WWE Raw Results: Loss of Roman Reigns Changes Everything and Top Takeaways
Going into the event, the October 22 edition of WWE Raw seemed to be all about building to Evolution and Crown Jewel. No one could predict what was coming: news that would change the brand for the foreseeable future.
Promises of Triple H and Shawn Michaels appearing to talk down The Undertaker and Kane as well as a contract signing between Ronda Rousey and Nikki Bella should have been the highlights of the show. On any other night, they would have main-evented.
However, this was a special night for the worst of reasons. Roman Reigns, who was expected to main-event Crown Jewel in defense of his Universal Championship against Brock Lesnar and Braun Strowman, was forced to relinquish his title.
This one moment changed the red brand completely, setting up a series of turns that leave so many questions up in the air.
These are the biggest takeaways from a night of drama and action that set a bold new course for the brand in the wake of such somber news.
Roman Reigns' Absence Will Be Felt
It was as shocking a moment as has been seen in WWE in years, and it was talked about from the start of the show to long after it ended.
Reigns opened the show with the announcement that his leukemia had returned. As a result, he had to relinquish his Universal Championship and leave WWE until the disease was back into remission. His Shield teammates, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins, hugged him and stood with him on the stage.
The Big Dog was not always universally accepted as the face of WWE, with fans often feeling like he was being forced into a face role that was not best for him. That said, he was absolutely one of the company's most talented stars. His in-ring consistency was only beneath the absolute best in the business.
He had a clear impact on the brand and was one of the biggest stars in the company. Losing him will change WWE significantly, taking away one of the biggest attractions on a brand already in need of more young stars. It is hard to say where the company goes from here.
Whether he should have or not, the former champion did main-event the last few WrestleManias. But it is unlikely he will recover in time to make it back to the Showcase of the Immortals in 2019, leaving his spot open for someone else to step up.
It will take time for anyone to take on that role, though. Hopefully Reigns can make a full recovery and return to WWE sooner rather than later. We wish him the best.
Braun Strowman Will Be Primary Beneficiary of Reigns' Departure
WWE must move on, and it looks like Strowman will be the first man to try to take up Reigns' mantle.
The Monster Among Men will fight Lesnar for the Universal Championship at Crown Jewel and has already returned to a face role, promising he would give The Big Dog a title shot when he returned.
The odds are good that The Beast Incarnate will lose on Nov. 2 and then leave for the UFC. This means it is more likely than not Strowman will be the next world champion, a spot many hoped he would already be in before Reigns was forced to vacate the title.
The Monster's heel turn was a disappointing move that needed to be rectified. He's gotten himself over too well for the company to move away from him. This coming title reign will be his first time holding WWE gold, and he will thrive in the role.
From the forthcoming feud with Drew McIntyre to future potential clashes with Rollins, Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Bobby Lashley and more, this title run could be what the Universal Championship needs to stand out again after a series of lackluster championship reigns.
Raw may now lack some depth at the top, but the opportunity presented could allow a few new stars to take over the company, especially Strowman.
Elias Turning Face Could Finally Give Him a Chance as More Than a Comedy Act
After defeating Apollo Crews with the Drift Away, Elias decided to restart his interrupted concert, but Baron Corbin stopped it and told him to get off the stage. Instead, he blasted the acting general manager with his guitar.
For the past few months, despite getting massively over and putting on multiple great matches, Elias has been used as a sideshow comedy act on Raw. His supposed feud with Crews was meant to be a turning point, but it may have been a diversion from the musician's true story.
Reigns' announcement may have also fueled this move, with WWE feeling they needed more faces on the brand. While Elias' gimmick is somewhat better suited for a heel role, he can make this change work and turn his taunts toward his foes rather than the crowd.
The crowd is ready to support Elias. Hopefully the company is also ready. He deserves a better spotlight than what he has been given, and Raw will need everyone to step up in the coming months.
WWE Has Completely Dropped the Ball on Evolution
In the final week of building to Evolution, The Bella Twins taunted Ronda Rousey, with Nikki slapping the champion but only getting a promise of destruction to come in response.
Inside the squared circle, Ruby Riott caught Sasha Banks with a Riott Kick to take a victory, while Ember Moon won a Fatal 4-Way match to build momentum.
There are a few exciting matches on the Evolution card, including Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair, Kairi Sane vs. Shayna Baszler and the final of the Mae Young Classic. However, the overall bill feels like a waste of the talent involved.
Trish Stratus and Lita are returning for a tag team match with nothing at stake. Rousey is fighting her least imposing threat to date with only a few weeks of story leading up to it. Most of the women are stuck in a Battle Royal with a "future title match" on the line.
If this was a normal pay-per-view card, it would have never been allowed to go on. The problem is not a lack of talent or depth, though: WWE just did not do the work necessary to build Sunday's show. It is remarkable just how many stars are stuck in empty matches.
Hopefully the great singles matches on the card will be able to carry the event. This should not be a one-off experiment but rather an annual event that celebrates the women's division even if its debut starts off rocky thanks to poor booking.
October 22 Was the Night the Shield Came Down
In support of their brother, Rollins and Ambrose fought McIntyre and Ziggler for the Raw Tag Team Championships, and they refused to go down.
With Strowman eliminating McIntyre from the equation, Rollins was able to hit The Stomp on The Showoff and win the tag titles.
Afterward, though, Ambrose snapped, assaulting his tag partner and executing a Dirty Deeds on the exposed concrete. This heel turn may have been inevitable, but no one could have seen it all going down like this. WWE didn't let the faces have their moment of catharsis—The Shield couldn't have one last night.
The turn of The Lunatic Fringe balances out the turns of Strowman and Elias, giving the company a new top heel. The champs will likely quickly drop the titles to a group such as The Revival and move on to feuding for the Intercontinental Championship, creating a powerful focal point for the brand.
The Shield is no more. Reigns' illness may have left the stable incomplete, but it was The Lunatic Fringe who sealed its fate by turning on Rollins—the man who once took Ambrose out himself for personal gain.
Raw looks much different coming out of this week than it did coming in, and it may take a while to adjust to just how unique this product will be going forward. The red brand has balanced out the loss of its world champion by changing the entire direction of the show.