Hey everybody! I hope everybody’s doing well. I’m back to discuss this week’s Monday Night Raw. Many were wondering if WWE was going to address the Roman Reigns suspension on this week’s show considering they avoided it during last week’s Smackdown which was taped on Tuesday, the first day of Roman’s 30 days away. Monday in Tampa, Florida, the WWE came at the problem with all cylinders firing teasing changes at WWE Battleground.

Overall, I thought WWE handled this pretty well. They started with having Seth Rollins cut a promo on Roman. WWE still trying to get fans into the Roman Reigns character as a Babyface. Dean Ambrose positioned himself as his friend and being sympathetic. And Stephanie McMahon showed the disdain for Roman getting suspended as a necessary evil to get to the story of the night with John Cena and AJ Styles getting into the main event.
While I thought the angle was good for the episode. It gave us really good action with Ambrose versus AJ and Rollins versus John Cena, my thought is WWE could’ve taken this negative and shaken up the landscape a little bit. I really don’t know how this is going to go on for four weeks without Roman being available unless you added new names. We will have to see how this goes.

In other news, Titus O’Neil and Becky Lynch really shared ruthless aggression on the 14 anniversary of John Cena versus Kurt Angle. I like the fire shown by everybody this week. It really shows some honest grittiness the doesn’t get seen on WWE television. While I’m not sure if fans will pay attention to the storylines I at least enjoyed the presentation.

Enzo and Cass Versus the Social Outcasts seems like a lot of fun. It will be a good placeholder until The New Day is broken from the trance of the Wyatt Family. The tag team division has two interesting feuds going on right now you can’t really complain about that. However, I’m still not 100% sold on The Wyatt Family versus the New Day. I think if it becomes something that cements Bray Wyatt and company as important than fine. But how many times over the last three years have I said this and nothing came to be. Bray is a great promo but hasn’t been able to really become an actual threat.  Fans definitely notice that while his words are menacing his actions are not making Xavier Woods seem kind of silly I think would actually work better with Big E since he is the goof of the trio.

Sasha gets more leverage over Charlotte in a tag team battle. Hopefully, the match at Battleground will be something to put both of them in that higher echelon of women’s wrestling. I can definitely see WWE doing a women’s tournament in the vein of the Cruiserweight Classic later this year.

Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn went face-to-face with Chris Jericho being the ultimate shit starter. I’m kind of glad that the brand split is coming. As I feel, these two being separated will be the best thing for them as characters. Especially Sami who hasn’t really had his own identity outside of Owens. I’m not going to complain that Battleground is their final match for a while. Give them some new feuds and character development and then you can bring it back when you need to.

Speaking of  the upcoming brand split on July 19, we learned a few things from Monday Night Raw on how things may work. Michael Cole said on commentary when mentioning the podiums on the stage that the people in charge of each brand will now be known as COOs instead of General Managers. I like the terminology better than general managers as it gives more corporate feel and given WWE’s perception as a entertainment brand and not a sports franchise it works better. Triple H is the COO of Talent and Live Events. Stephanie McMahon is the Chief Brand Officer so this terminology that the little bit better with how WWE presents themselves to the outside world. That’s just a personal preference you may have a different opinion. Secondly WWE subtly calling Dean Ambrose the WWE champion again implies a second World Title is coming.


I wrote my thoughts on what they should do with the brand split which you can check out by going here.

While I don’t agree with adding a second World Title, I see why they would. It’s the same reason that they gave back in 2002 reviving to World Heavyweight Title as they wanted a champion on both brands live events for the touring schedule. I’m guessing the same reasoning applies here. The trouble with that is there is definitely going to be a hierarchy considering when the brand come together at Survivor Series what title is more important as Vince’s perception will come through. WWE has to be careful with having two titles because one is going to be seen as the lesser title in the eyes of the fans and management. One would hope with Smackdown going live this would not happen but old habits are hard to break. Hopefully, all this will be better the second time around.

Battleground is going to be interesting show in a lot of different ways it will be the final WWE pay-per-view before the brand split and WWE attempts to make their television vital again. Will it have the success they want. I’m not sure, but it deftly makes things more interesting on my side of things. As I’m going to have to do a separate Raw and Smackdown: each week to cover both brands. It’s going to be quite the interesting experiment.

About The Author

Dan is host of Shooting from the Hip which you can hear every Sunday at 8pm EST, 7pm CST right here on PWpop.com.