WWE Raw has been in a state of flux for some time, but at least fans will have the Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins rivalry to look forward to on Monday nights through the remainder of 2018.
This period for Raw, stretching from Survivor Series to the Royal Rumble, has been known to be boring in the years past. WWE typically holds off on delivering must-see programming until after the Rumble, making almost every show leading up to the event a chore to get through.
Unfortunately, WWE has had the mentality for months that it can subject fans to repetitive programming and the same matches over and over again. Rollins vs. Ambrose, on the other hand, feels fresh and has been the shot of adrenaline the flagship show desperately needed.
Roman Reigns' break to deal with leukemia forced WWE to reshuffle the Raw roster. Braun Strowman and Elias were both abruptly turned faced, while Ambrose was transitioned into a heel role by turning on his tag team partner, Seth Rollins.
According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t Wrestling News Source), Ambrose's betrayal of his Shield stablemates was the plan all along, which is why it had been teased ad nauseam earlier on in the fall. Reigns' illness simply expedited the process and caused WWE to run with the rivalry sooner than expected.
There's no telling whether Raw would be any better off with The Shield as a cohesive unit, but Rollins and Ambrose's resumption of their rivalry from years ago, just with the roles reversed, has given fans a reason to tune in to Raw lately to see what will happen next.
Although it only kicked off in October, WWE has already done right by the rivalry. Ambrose's heel turn couldn't have been better booked considering it came immediately after he and Rollins regained the Raw Tag Team Championships on the night of Reigns' announcement.
It had been a great while since the WWE Universe had seen anything nearly as shocking as that turn of events, one that shook Raw to its core and infuriated fans (though for the right reasons). That unforgettable ending to the show left everyone wondering where WWE would take the storyline next, and so far, WWE has succeeded in capturing (and keeping) their attention.
Not rushing the rivalry by having Ambrose explain his actions the next week was also a smart move on WWE's part. Fans should be clamoring to find out what was going through Ambrose's mind when he attacked Rollins, and thus the progression of the program has been masterful.
Outside of the friends-turned-foes angle, there isn't too much to get excited about on Raw nowadays.
The show is back to having an absentee Universal champion following Brock Lesnar's title victory versus Braun Strowman at Crown Jewel. There's no telling how often he will be around in the buildup to the Royal Rumble, making the Intercontinental Championship picture with Ambrose and Rollins the top feud on Raw as a result.
Beyond that, Raw's well runs dry. There are several Superstars who aren't involved in anything of note, including Drew McIntyre, Bobby Lashley, Finn Balor, Dolph Ziggler and Elias, so it's up to Ambrose and Rollins to carry the show for the foreseeable future.
WWE is notorious for either blowing off angles with promise prematurely or not striking while the iron is hot. It would be criminal of the company to do one of those things with Ambrose vs. Rollins because the two of them have barely scratched the surface of what they're capable of.
There are ways of furthering this feud without having Ambrose and Rollins brawl or face each other every other Monday night. Therefore, their ability to ensure fans remain invested in their rivalry without even touching most weeks is what has made it so compelling.
WWE Raw could use all the help it can get, and when all else fails, the company can continue to rely on Rollins vs. Ambrose to get it through the dark days ahead before the new year.
Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, is an Endicott College alumnus and aspiring journalist. Visit his website, Next Era Wrestling, and "like" his official Facebook page to continue the conversation on all things wrestling.