When Roman Reigns became the Universal Champion at Summerslam, it signalled the end of Brock Lesnar’s controversial but incredible run at the top. It seemed a given that it would be Roman Reigns who’d topple the beast, but with Braun Strowman circling the ring like a shark, it felt like Vince may well halt the Roman Empire once more, refusing to give the Big Dog what he wanted. It was Brock Lesnar, however, that cost himself the title, getting involved with Strowman outside the ring, leading to a victory for Reigns in the shape of a spear. There was no cashing in of the Money in the Bank briefcase, no foul play, and no twist in the fight’s crescendo; Reigns walked away with the belt and the deed was finally done.
This week’s RAW had to be one of the finest of recent months, and as the show came to an end, Roman Reigns would defend his newly attained Universal Championship belt against a man who has been waiting for an opportunity to claim it back. Finn Bálor never had the chance to defend the title after becoming the inaugural champion back at Summerslam in 2016, so Reign’s decision to hand him the rematch was welcomed by everyone in the WWE Universe. Realistically Roman was probably going to retain, but it was refreshing to see a Universal Championship match not solely focused on either Lesnar or Reigns.
Braun Strowman’s interruption was predictable – clearly setting up some kind of feud between the two of them, but what followed was completely unexpected to the point I had to slap myself a few times in case I was dreaming. It was time for Strowman to cash in his opportunity, and it was time for the Monster in the Bank to win the title; thankfully Vince McMahon was on top of his game. Seriously Vince, well played. Whether you’re happy with the WWE at present or not, The Shield’s reformation in the dying seconds was a genius move in so many ways.
Roman Reigns has been the source of a lot of negativity on social media. Many WWE fans really don’t like him, claiming he’s poor at promos, limited in the ring technically, and generally doesn’t have any kind of personality. Bringing The Shield back into the fray means there’s a reason for the booing. If this resurgence makes Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose fully-fledged bad guys, a feud with Strowman will work wonders for Reigns, and help him finally turn heel in a way many were seldom expecting. I for one thought it may be Paul Heyman that beckoned him over to the dark side, but no. As Rollins and Ambrose ran to the ring to help stop Strowman, it all became perfectly clear.
You have to wonder how long Vince was planning this moment. Dean Ambrose had been out of action for a long time, and Seth Rollins hasn’t had the most engaging storylines, even if his feud with Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre played out beautifully in the ring. When The Shield came to the WWE, they were about order through violence, taking whatever they wanted and getting the job done whoever the opponent was. It feels as though this might not be a temporary run, but an opportunity to give purpose to each of its members.
The WWE Universe has helped to blur the lines of what being a heel is and how they are perceived, with Becky Lynch’s recent promo proving we love heels more than the supposed good guys. The Shield was never particularly disliked – in fact, they were loved for their attitude and their approach, so I doubt they’re going to get booed. If anything Ambrose and Rollins will help Reigns to get over with the fans ever since he went solo.
Seth Rollins is adored by many, and I doubt that’ll change now he’s back at the side of Roman. He’s the Intercontinental Champion and his potential with storylines could double with being a member of the Hounds of Justice. Dean Ambrose is without a belt, but that could very well change. If The Shield is going to dominate RAW, the Tag Team Championships could easily find themselves around the waists of Rollins and Ambrose; The B-Team can’t hold those belts forever. And if you witnessed Dean Ambrose’s return a couple of weeks ago on RAW, you’ll know just how much the fans love him too.
Next week’s RAW is hopefully going to address exactly what The Shield’s intentions are going forward, and I imagine they aren’t going anywhere, especially after the pop they got in Brooklyn. Braun Strowman is going to relish this potential feud, as it’s pretty obvious there aren’t many superstars alone that can stop him. It’s difficult to stop such a dominant force, and watching The Shield work together to take him down could provide for some great viewing.
Vince is a smart man, and he knows how to make money. The sounds of digital tills on the WWE Shop ringing after purchases of The Shield’s merch will no doubt mean a good run for the stable, and if this isn’t just a temporary solution to get Roman Reigns over, their return could mark a changing point for RAW, reversing the poor ratings of late to give us all something to help get us invested in the once dominating Monday night brand.