Roman Reigns is still not the WWE Universal champion; Brock Lesnar is still the WWE Universal champion, and, boy, is the Big Dog not happy about this easily verifiable fact. In their steel cage match at the Greatest Royal Rumble ever, Roman Reigns became the first WWE superstar to be on the receiving end of WWE official ineptitude. In the long, storied history of professional wrestling, a professional wrestler has always been able to count on officials to make the right call -- until Chad Patton came along and ruined what should have been the biggest moment of Roman Reigns’ career. Everybody has to have a fall guy and Roman Reigns found his in WWE referee Chad Patton.
As the Raw commentary team pointed out in the opening segment of Monday Night Raw this week, the replay clearly shows that Reigns’ feet hit the floor first, so Lesnar shouldn’t have left Saudi Arabia with the Universal title. Roman Reigns knows that he should be the Universal champion, but he is not the Universal champion. Instead, as all of the best babyfaces in the history of professional wrestling have done, Reigns spent the opening segment complaining and making excuses for not following through on what he said he would do. Again. He complains about You Know Who not being in Montreal. He complains about how the officials came to the conclusion that Lesnar was the victory in their steel cage match. But then he gets interrupted.
Samoa Joe is on the screen, and Samoa Joe reminds Roman Reigns that they have a match at Backlash on Sunday.
So is that it for Reigns and Lesnar? At least for the time being? After facing -- and probably defeating -- Samoa Joe this Sunday, where does Reigns go? Having Reigns go over Lesnar in Saudi Arabia made sense, but now what? If Brock makes it past June 9 with the belt, he’ll become the longest-reigning champion in the “modern era”, which would both add more prestige to Lesnar’s reign and minimize the legacy of CM Punk’s two-year reign. After beating Reigns again, technicality or not, Lesnar should move on, but there is just one problem -- there is no other logical choice to dethrone the Beast. If it’s not Reigns, it has to be Strowman, except, well, Lesnar defeated Strowman just a few months ago at No Mercy in what was not a memorable affair. By continuing on with Lesnar as the Universal champion, the company has backed themselves into a corner, and I’m not sure how and when they’ll get out of it. I just know it won’t be soon, and Paul Heyman will be reminding us all of this fact sooner rather than later.
Corey Graves’ hair is a work of art. The first shot of him awkwardly standing up with the rest of the Raw commentary team -- Coach is back! (But...why?) -- cracked me up because all I could think about was Mark Wahlberg’s character in THE OTHER GUYS screaming, “I’m a peacock, you gotta let me fly!” Fly away, Corey, to a better commentary team -- like Smackdown Live, perhaps. You'd probably be good there with your old friend Byron and Tom Phillips, of course.
Jinder Mahal has not improved in the ring over the last year, but he has improved on the mic. His comedy can be hit or miss, but his lack of awareness and general presence works right now. Just maybe don’t have him wrestle as much?
“You both suck!”
The pops for Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens sent a chill up my spine, and I’m glad. These two are the best talkers in the company right now, and their work in this opening segment, especially Owens, was top-notch. Go to Montreal more often, WWE!
Why does everyone want to face that loser Roman Reigns? Shouldn’t Mahal, Owens and Zayn want a piece of, you know, the Universal champion? Not Roman Reigns?
Pitting Braun Strowman, their most universally beloved babyface, with Roman Reigns is a risky play. Let’s see if it pays off for them, Cotton.
Elias Special Tea Alert.
Bobby Roode could never play for the Denver Nuggets.
For the most part, Elias and Roode was a lot of fun with the highlight being how devastating Elias’ chops come across to those watching at home. Still, this program has me wondering if these two could work as a tag team. Glorious Music has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
I have no idea where the Authors of Pain are heading.
“Good thing they have national health care in Canada,” Corey Graves said before getting verbally assaulted by Vince McMahon in his earpiece for the next fifteen minutes.
I think this Seth Rollins babyface run is working out.
Rollins, like Reigns, calls out Lesnar for not being a full-timer, but, because of the rules of professional wrestling, gets cheered for it. It really is interesting that the Rollins character isn’t all that different than Reigns, but the results couldn’t be more different.
“Four Horsemen of the WWE.” I hope Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel find their happily ever after.
Ruby Riott vs. Sasha Banks would have been the match of the night if not for Finn Balor vs. Rollins in the main event. Riott’s kicks are something else, and her cannonball of the top rope onto Banks was fantastic. I’m not buying any stock in the Riott Squad, but the leader of the group, Ruby Riott, seems to always deliver when given enough time.
Why did the official not kick the Riott Squad out after the first two instances of interference? Who was that guy? Chad Patton?
Pro Wrestling Idea: “Moment of Bliss”, but every week for the next decade.
“It’s a cup. You just sit in a cup.”
The Deletors of Worlds.
I need to mention that the Revival lost to the Fashion Police on Main Event this week.
In the six-man tag match, Michael Cole and company made an obvious effort to hype up Jinder Mahal’s presence on Raw. I don’t know if we’re getting a Mahal Universal title reign, but he’s getting a big match with Lesnar or Reigns in 2018.
“Homecoming was ruined.”
Is Baron Corbin just Dolph Ziggler in 2017?
Ronda Rousey angrily power walking after people is unintentionally hilarious, but I’m not sure that’s a good thing.
Rollins vs. Balor stole the show, and it went on at the end of a mostly forgettable Monday Night Raw. It was a track meet, that told the story that these two know each other’s move sets backward and forward.
Superplex-into-a-Falcon-Arrow forever and ever.
“Finn Balor Flies.”
Seth Rollins is your new Monday Night Raw glue guy with The Miz going to Smackdown Live and Brock Lesnar continuing to lurk behind the shadows.