WWE Raw Results: Overused Roman Reigns and Top Takeaways
WWE Extreme Rules 2018 is rapidly approaching, so the July 2 edition of Monday Night Raw began the final buildup to the event. With the card mostly unsettled, this week's show was focused on announcing and developing big matches for the night.
Despite Roman Reigns not having a match at Extreme Rules before the night, he took up heavy screen time on this show including two tag matches, leading to a frustrating overuse of The Big Dog.
One team Reigns fought this week, The Revival, got another major rub, looking dominant as they finally build momentum.
Elsewhere on this show, The B-Team continued to rely on the same impersonation that has disappointingly run thin. On the other hand, Baron Corbin has used his gimmick to change direction on this brand and become a defining star as The Constable.
At the end of the night, though, it was Braun Strowman and Kevin Owens' show once again as The Monster Among Men put another dent in KO's status on the roster as he trapped him in a port-o-potty and knocked him off the stage.
These are the major takeaways from this week's Raw, highlighting which stars are on the rise and which are falling quickly.
Raw Remains Too Heavily Reliant on Roman Reigns
This week, Reigns opened Raw to set up two tag team matches later in the night. He called out Bobby Lashley before their third match against The Revival only to be interrupted by Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre, setting up a second match on the same night with Seth Rollins against the heels.
He dominated screen time despite this being the second-to-last episode of Raw before Extreme Rules. Even with The Big Dog's struggles to connect with fans, he is continually being overexposed. It's the wrong strategy to use with Reigns right now.
There's no doubt the former WWE champion is a talented performer. He regularly puts on great matches with everyone on the roster, and his bouts this week were serious highlights of the show. However, the way Reigns was presented here will do nothing to ingratiate him to the WWE Universe.
These matches did not need to happen on the same Raw, especially after a long opening segment to set them both up. The excellent tag team match Reigns had with Rollins against Ziggler and McIntyre was lessened in value because it became a long setup for the later Revival clash.
The decision emphasizes WWE's desire to keep Reigns as the one true top star on the brand. The Raw roster is stacked. That is proved every week by the performances of many wrestlers.
Why must the focus always be on Reigns?
The Revival Finally Gaining Momentum Toward Tag Team Gold
While they did not pull off another win, Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder again made an impact at The Big Dog's expense, choosing to get disqualified and beat down Reigns further. The Revival made their mark on a world champion and should finally be building much needed momentum.
Going into 2017, it would not have been unreasonable to call Dawson and Wilder the best tag team in the WWE, even the whole world. They were putting on incredible matches every time, and their old-school ground-and-pound style was introducing a new generation to classic tag team psychology.
However, injuries to both Dawson and Wilder ruined their main roster debut, and they have not recovered. Despite a limited Raw tag team roster, the Top Guys have barely even appeared on TV. These last few weeks have been the most memorable of their entire 2018 run.
The two NXT stalwarts alongside The Authors of Pain look to be finally coming into focus. The Raw tag team division will need both to impress and keep up with SmackDown. The current champions are still waiting for worthy rivals who can challenge them.
The B-Team's Impersonation of the Tag Team Champions Is Growing Old
The reinvention of Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas has been fun to watch, but they're already becoming one-note characters again. The crux of their feud with Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt is the team's irreverence, showcased by their repeated impersonations of the Raw tag team champions.
Unfortunately, this repeated gimmick has been stretched thin. Axel's Woken Matt impression is more annoying than funny at this point partially because Matt's own gimmick was already limited. A parody of an already ridiculous concept rarely works.
This feud is building to one match that will likely end the rivalry. It is all or nothing for The B-Team. If the pair run out of stories to tell before their biggest match, Axel and Dallas could fall into the background for good. There may only be one more week for The B-Team to prove its worth to the division.
This has often been the story of Axel and Dallas' careers. They are talented and charismatic stars who can rarely be taken seriously, so they are given bad material that lessens their standing for the future.
All they can do is make the most of the opportunities.
Baron Corbin Has Truly Been Revitalized by His Role as Constable
Corbin has always been a limited but talented star who could not quite take the next step. It is looking like all he needed was a change of character as Corbin showed this week. His role as constable has been fun to watch so far, but this week his confidence was on full display in a long promo with Balor.
Before Stephanie McMahon handpicked him to change the culture on Raw, he was an overconfident bully without much success. His turn to constable has brought that story full circle as now Constable Corbin can consistently use Stephanie's approval as the reason behind his confidence.
Watching Corbin play up his pride in his role alongside his overwhelming ego makes the star all the more unlikable, and it also makes him more memorable. The former Lone Wolf just sounds at home on the mic when he is telling everyone how much he wants to make them better without any genuine interest.
It also helps that the change in direction has placed Corbin in a role that will constantly get screen time. He can work alongside a star such as The Demon without feeling lesser.
In fact, Corbin overshadowed Balor in their segment this week.
Kevin Owens May Not Survive Feud with Braun Strowman
Owens' life has been spiraling out of control since he crossed paths with Braun Strowman, and this week was no different.
KO tried to escape his match with The Monster Among Men only to end up a mess and potentially injured when Strowman threw him and the portable toilet he was in off the stage.
The massive incident is just the latest Owens has been at the center of thanks to Strowman, who has turned The Prizefighter into his personal crash test dummy. While these spots have looked dangerous, they likely are not threatening his life but could lead to a serious downgrade in Owens' position on the card.
The former WWE universal champion has remained an integral part of both brands since he lost his world championship in 2017. Right now, he could be seen as the top heel on Raw, an honor that is limited due to the surplus of top faces.
If Owens continues to look like the fool next to Strowman, though, he will not last as the No. 1 heel. As entertaining as his segments have been, he is following the same path that stalled Elias' run. KO must be careful not to turn into a joke character and lose his remaining credibility.
Short term, Strowman and Owens are doing great work together that has made for quality main event segments on Raw. Long term though, KO will need to get away from Mr. Monster in the Bank if he wants to remain a main-event villain.