Week 2 of Bayley Watch on the main roster, how is WWE doing thus far?
Daniel DeMarco: Just fine by my view. I can see the hate for the Bayley-New Day combo coming, but that pairing was like that team you never would have thought of, but once it was a reality you realized how great of a match it was. WWE is going with the clean babyface approach still, and that is good. Bayley won again, so that is good. And she looks well on her way to being WWE’s main roster underdog like she was in NXT. It is a role suited just for her, and it is far from broken. Keep it up, WWE.
Travis Wakeman: No complaints here. Though I’m not the biggest Bayley fan (at least not as big as most seem to be), she’s been used great so far. Her debut was solid and gave her a chance to get the huge crowd pop she deserved, win a match and not be Charlotte all at once. Speaking of that, I like the way Charlotte is being handled in relation to Bayley to this point. Keeping her away from the action, on commentary, is perfect. Pairing Bayley with New Day made plenty of sense and set up a six-person tag team match that allowed two angles to progress at once. Of course, Dana Brooke is the one who keeps looking bad at the hands of Bayley, but I still have qualms with her being called up from NXT in the first place.
Jason Hall: So far so good. Having Bayley tag with New Day is the perfect way to give her a win and build her as a legitimate contender without taking away from Charlotte as champion. With only four healthy active female Superstars making weekly appearances, there has to be a way to build Bayley without the typical “she beat Dana Brooke again” match. At least this time New Day and The Club were involved.
Riley Kontek: So far, so good. Having a fun person like Bayley pair up with a fun group like New Day is a good way to display her personality. If you remember, Emma’s debut on the main roster saw her plugged in with Santino Marrella in a stupid storyline, which made Emma dead on arrival. Bayley has avoided that scenario. Plus, she scored the pin fall in the six-person, intergender matchup, so she’s two-for-two in matches on Raw so far. Can’t complain about that.
JN: A solid job. The company is obviously, and rightfully so, protecting her a bit. All of which is fine, as the endgame isn’t to have a 5-star match on Raw during the early portion of her main roster run.
What will be interesting is the next few weeks, though. A point in time when the new car smell wears off, and some of the WWE Universe’s more casual fans are trying to get acclimated to her. She is a crazy talent, and the WWE seems to be invested in her, so there will unlikely be an issue, but if fans are going to her hold her to a Sasha Banks-level of standard, they are going to be disappointed. After all, there’s only one “Legit Boss.”
Outside of Kevin Owens, who is the biggest winner of Monday’s Universal Championship match?
DD: Seth Rollins, easily. I’m not so sure the WWE universe would have reacted very well to Rollins being the champion again. And Owens defeating Rollins would have bypassed that, but it would not have benefited Rollins in any way. Rollins looked on his way to a slow downward spiral the last few weeks with the audience before Raw’s closing. Now he is back. There is real reason for the audience to feel sympathy for Rollins, and he looks right on path for the face-turn everyone has been waiting for since his return from injury. Rollins is back in business, and if WWE follows up well, it will be in a big way.
TW: Can I say nobody? Because I don’t feel like anyone aside from Owens should be considered a “winner” here. There was no surprise in Big Cass being the first guy eliminated, but the inclusion of Triple H was unexpected. My biggest question coming out of the match is what will happen with Seth Rollins going forward? Is he going to turn face? What is going to be his new finishing move? Surely he can’t continue to use the Pedigree, which in my opinion is a good thing (just don’t have Owens adopt it). So if the answers to those questions make Rollins a “winner,” then give me him for the answer to this question. Some exciting stuff ahead though, that is for sure.
JH: I’d say Cass. Sure, he was the first one eliminated but he may have improved his long-term stock more than anyone. Cass managed to look strong and hold his own in a main event title match. That’s something that will impress WWE brass. Rollins and Reigns have already achieved more than being screwed out of a title victory. Yes, Rollins will stay in the picture, but I wouldn’t say it helps or hurts his stock. Although it does make him more likely to work a long angle with Owens and Triple H if he is a babyface.
RK: Rollins. It appears that we will finally get the much-desired babyface turn that should have happened long ago when he returned from his knee injury. Obviously, Rollins is an extremely good heel, so I can see why WWE wanted him that way, but everything surrounding his return and his potential made him a natural choice to be a babyface. He now looks like he will enter a high-profile feud with Triple H, which will help elevate him even further, especially if he goes over (which he’d better).
JN: This is an incredible question. Whatever I am paying you, question producer, tripe it. What is triple of zero again?
Anyway, I will go with Big Cass. Yes, he was the first guy eliminated in the match, but he performed in a way which made you feel like he belonged with the other more experienced top dogs.
Really, it was a good first dry run at testing Cass out in the main event scene. Even though no one expected him to win, the crowd was behind him, he was pretty stinking good in the ring, and there were even a few moments that made you think he might actually win
Oddly, this can vanish quickly – at least in terms relative to his singles stardom – as he will be going back to being in a tag team.
Fill in the blank: Monday’s main event was __________.
DD: How you do it. That’s how you do it, WWE. And just last week I thought things were back to normal after the brand split that was supposed to change things up. Sure tricked me. WWE delivered. It was a great main event. It featured a major return, and in that return was a major storyline swerve, culminating in Kevin Owens’ first WWE championship run. Wow. Crowning the champ everyone seemed to be craving, but knew deep down WWE would likely not go with. Setting up a major storyline that could very well see the final chapter of the Seth Rollins-Triple H/Authority angle. What a night. What a night indeed. The worry is always there that WWE will fumble the ball on the great run it has going, but I will give the benefit of the doubt on this one; to make moves that dramatic is awfully promising.
TW: Exceptional. I am not afraid to admit when I “mark out” watching WWE, and this was the first time I did in years. I’m not going to go as far as to say I followed Kevin Owens when he went by Kevin Steen in Ring of Honor, but the first time I saw him in NXT, I knew that he needed to be the top guy in WWE someday. I became a big fan and that was only made stronger when he defeated John Cena in his first match on the main roster. Then, somehow, WWE blew it with him. I started to have real doubts when he’d lose matches to guys like Neville and even Sami Zayn, but Monday’s main event was a perfect storm of things coming together. Of course, if Finn Balor doesn’t get injured, Owens is still waiting for this moment. I love how Triple H came out and symbolically kicked Rollins to the curb while anointing Owens as “his guy.” That was made even better when you saw that Mick Foley and Stephanie McMahon didn’t seem happy with his actions. I love all the possibilities that lie ahead now on Raw but most importantly, I love that Owens is getting his turn. How many times have you heard the crowd pop that loudly for a heel when he’s won the top championship? I can’t think of many. Best ending to Raw in quite awhile, if you ask me.
JH: Slow, but eventful. Really, everything leading up to the main event just seemed like protocol. Most of the storylines were just being repeated. But the main event managed to exceed expectations and provide a memorable finish. There’s so many cliffhangers involving Rollins, Triple H, Mick Foley and Stephanie after that ending.
RK: Suspenseful. I think every fan watching the main event thought that Roman Reigns or Seth Rollins was going to win the match. Not only that, nobody expected Triple H to show up at all and do what he did. The main event let Big Cass shine, as he looked strong, even if he was the first eliminated. After that, we expected Kevin Owens to take the next elimination, which would boil it down to the final two that everyone was expecting. However, Triple H’s surprise led to an unlikely betrayal, which allowed Owens to surprisingly become Raw’s world champion. Good stuff.
People are already knocking various aspects of the main event, but those people need to calm down. Kevin Owens won the title, so that’s a “yay” situation. Roman Reigns wasn’t forced down our throat; another “yay” situation. Cass looked strong, Rollins played his role as smoothly as possible, and the upcoming storyline of Hunter-Rollins-Stephanie due to Triple H interfering has gold written all over it.
I can’t say enough nice things about it. Even without it being a 5-star match, it progressed several stories, crowned a deserving champion, and leaves me in excitement for next Monday to come quickly. And, I mean, how often does that happen?