After Roman Reigns received a great reaction at TLC, WWE took it one step further and had him win the WWE World Heavyweight Title on Raw.
Raw was in Philadelphia Monday night, home of one of Roman Reigns' toughest moments when he was booed out of the building when he won the Royal Rumble. Yet, when he first showed up to confront Stephanie McMahon, he received an incredibly loud pop. Stephanie yelled at him, and slapped him, but wouldn't fire him, as she was giving the job to someone else. That someone else was her dad, Vince McMahon, who hadn't been on Raw in over a year. Instead of firing him though, McMahon put him in a title vs. career match, where he had to win the title or he would be fired from the company.
The match played out how you would expect. Reigns had to overcome not just Sheamus, but interference from Rusev and Alberto Del Rio and even Vince McMahon. Reigns ran through all of them, including hitting Vince McMahon with a thunderous Superman Punch. It seemed like they might pull a swerve, as Sheamus hit a Brogue Kick after Reigns hit McMahon, but he kicked out, and then speared Sheamus to win the title. This time, nobody came out to ruin his party, and he is the new WWE World Heavyweight champion.
There has been plenty of complaining about Reigns, and for good reason. It seems like they've finally figured him out, though. He doesn't need to be The Rock. He needs to be who he was in The Shield. And they've used him well. Anyone who says otherwise isn't paying attention. No matter what the reason, even if it was just because they'd rather see Reigns than Sheamus, WWE has been pressing the right buttons over the past two nights. Philadelphia doesn't just cheer for anyone, and they cheered and cheered loudly for Reigns.
It also was a good Raw overall. It was entertaining, storylines progressed, and yes, it featured the first WWE or World Heavyweight title change on RAW since 2013. Quite frankly, this episode was what fans had been asking for. It felt a lot like an episode that you might see in the Attitude Era, or even the ruthless aggression era. Not a lot of great matches, but matches that moved along storylines, and one or two big matches that kept fans tuned in. This was a perfect formula that kept the normal three-hour grind moving along nicely.
So for 27 hours, WWE has been giving fans what they want. Will it continue? Only time will tell on that.
The Rest of RAW:
- I mentioned that there were two truly good matches on RAW Monday night. The other was a rematch between the Wyatt Family and the ECW Originals. Instead of a table match, it was simply an extreme rules match, and everyone involved seemed much more comfortable in this match. The match wasn't as clunky as the night before, and it featured several great spots. Tommy Dreamer even looked good in the match, hitting a Death Valley Driver off the stage through tables. I was a bit concerned that they might use this to give the ECW Originals a completely unnecessary win, but they made the right decision in giving the Wyatts another win. It was a great way to feature the ECW wrestlers in the home of ECW.
- Dean Ambrose and Dolph Ziggler had a nice match that seems to be setting up the future of the IC title picture. After a solid match between the two, Kevin Owens came out to cause the DQ and leave the two laying after several powerbombs. Triple-threat matches with these three would not be a terrible way at all to make the IC title feel like it matters again.
- Charlotte and Becky Lynch beat Brie Bella and Alicia Fox. The story was once again Ric Flair rubbing off on Charlotte. Ric helped Becky pick up the win as he tripped Alicia when Becky's back was turned, leading to Becky locking on the DisArmHer. It's been clunky to this point, but I do like where they're going with the the Charlotte storyline.
- Alberto Del Rio and Rusev beat Ryback and Jack Swagger. The League of Nations debuted a new theme as they made their way to the ring, so it seems like the group is in it for a while. With Sheamus dropping the belt, it wouldn't have shocked me if they had just all gone their separate ways before the Royal Rumble.
- Neville beat Tyler Breeze. Miz was on the outside "directing" Neville. After the match, Miz said that he saw talent in Neville, and he would help him. In return, Neville would have to help Miz with his British accent so Miz could audition to play James Bond. The odd-couple aspect could really work with these two.
- The New Day came out to recap the match from the night before. They brought out The Usos and the Lucha Dragons, and congratulated them on a great match. They put both of the teams over, and shook their hands. After both teams started to make their way back up the ramp, the New Day started celebrating, dancing in the ring and going a bit over the top in the celebration. That caused the Usos and Lucha Dragons to run back in and attack the New Day. It was a bit odd, and quite frankly, it made the crowd boo the two face teams. WWE has to be more careful that they're not making faces who are supposed to be angry simply act like jerks.