The idea that WWE is clearing the decks for Paul Heyman and Eric Bischoff to start fresh this Monday and Tuesday for Raw and SmackDown Live makes some sense. If either or both have creative ideas, handcuffing them with ongoing storylines they’d rather not have to clear up seems illogical. As such, seeing Shinsuke Nakamura decisively pin Finn Balor to win the Intercontinental Title and New Day capture the gold on SmackDown has sound reasoning. Not every fan likes what went down in those specific cases, but fans should be able to wrap their heads around why things took place as they did.
With that in mind, can the same be said for Raw?
Understanding Extreme Rules
On Sunday night, WWE did a couple of things that seemed a bit off. Of the two title changes to take place that included stars from the red brand, the lesser troubling decision was taking the United States Championship off if Ricochet. A star the company has spent the last few weeks building up, he’s no longer a titleholder and The Club, namely AJ Styles, hold a belt they probably didn’t need.
Ricochet wasn’t buried in the changeover so it’s not a huge issue, just a little surprising. Is he going to continue to get his push or will Heyman go elsewhere? Keeping the title on Ricochet at least provided a bit of security if WWE wanted him to be a focal point on the show moving forward.
Odder is the decision to give Brock Lesnar the Universal Championship when he cashed in on Seth Rollins to close the show.
Giving Brock another run as champion only does a couple of things. One, it makes it appear as though the man taking over creative for Raw wants his own client to hold the top Championship on his new show. There may be more going on than we know and of course, this is pre-scripted drama, but first appearances make this decision look a bit biased.
Second, because everyone is unclear about the status of Lesnar and how many appearances he may make going forward, was it wise to put the Universal around a superstar who may or may not be on Heyman’s first show as Executive Director?
** Update: WWE has advertised Lesnar for tonight’s Raw.
What About the Raw Reunion?
Perhaps the most puzzling is advertising a Raw reunion show for one week from tonight’s show, the first under the Heyman regime. Typically, these reunion shows aren’t very eventful in terms of progressing storylines. Instead, they are about multiple cameos and silly segments that provide nostalgia but not much more. How does this help Heyman develop any angles worth investing in?
Instead of building new characters Heyman may want to push, fans will see names like Steve Austin, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Santino Marella, Eric Bischoff and others who have nothing to do with the current product. At one point, WWE even asked Jim Ross to be part of the show? Really?
Heyman is going to have his hands full trying to come up with ideas that work for whatever creative he may have planned.
Lesnar Is Still A Draw
Maybe the thought process behind this decision isn’t as complex as we’re making it out to be. Lesnar’s successful cash-in led to a big jump in ticket prices for tonight’s episode of Monday Night Raw at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York.
WWE must be aware of his status as an attraction.