What's Next for The Shield, Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte and More WWE Raw Fallout
The March 4 episode of WWE Raw not only served as the final bit of hype for Sunday's Fastlane pay-per-view, but it also did an exceptional job of continuing to lay the groundwork for the top matches at WrestleMania 35, including Becky Lynch vs. Ronda Rousey vs. Charlotte Flair.
That three-way rivalry over the Raw Women's Championship intensified Monday with a shift in attitude from Rousey and a brutal assault on Lynch that left The Man vulnerable for the first time in weeks.
It was one of several high-profile segments on a show that also featured Triple H's rebuttal to Batista's attack on Ric Flair last week and the reunion of one of wrestling's greatest factions, The Shield.
Read on to relive the highlights of Monday's show and find out what they may mean for WWE as it continues its journey on the Road to WrestleMania.
The Shield Reunion Should Set Roman Reigns vs. Dean Ambrose in Motion
The Shield may have reunited to fend off the trio of Drew McIntyre, Bobby Lashley and Baron Corbin Monday night, but their union may prove short-lived.
Seth Rollins already has a date for WrestleMania 35 in the form of a Universal Championship match with Brock Lesnar but neither the recently returned Roman Reigns nor the potentially soon-to-be departing Dean Ambrose do.
Ambrose's reluctance to join his former brothers in justice should foreshadow one more betrayal by The Lunatic Fringe and set up an epic encounter with The Big Dog on wrestling's grandest stage.
While that may break the hearts of fans excited to see the storied faction back together after Monday's show, it makes sense within the context of the story that has been told dating back to Ambrose's heel turn last fall.
It was then that he championed the idea he did not need The Shield to succeed. It was then that he controversially mocked Reigns' leukemia diagnosis.
To suddenly pull the proverbial trigger on a babyface turn when there is still one last, great rivalry to be had between two guys whose last high-profile match was in the finals of the WWE Championship Tournament at Survivor Series 2015, would be a mistake.
Ambrose has had the potential to be the hottest heel in the industry the majority of his career, but a series of booking missteps and an unwillingness to turn him earlier in his career prevented that from happening.
Who knows what the future holds for him and whether he renews his contract or not.
In the event that he waves goodbye to the company he has been part of since 2011, one last great run as the delightfully evil nemesis to Reigns is the perfect way to bid adieu.
Ronda Rousey Unloads as Womens' Championship Main Event Is Inevitable
Ronda Rousey not only retrieved the Raw Women's Championship she seemingly vacated on last week's show, she beat the ever-loving hell out of Becky Lynch while Charlotte Flair watched from ringside. That added more heat to the three-way rivalry that will inevitably end in the first women's main event in WrestleMania history.
Rousey was relentless in her criticisms of the fans for booing her and of Stephanie McMahon for her treatment despite making the company money. She was ferocious as she woman-handled Lynch, leaving The Man writhing in pain to close out the show.
Embracing the audience's jeers is a smart move on the part of Rousey and WWE Creative in that they are almost guaranteed to get louder on the Road to WrestleMania.
The fans are so firmly in the corner of Lynch that any attempt to portray Rousey as a traditional babyface would fail in Batista- and Roman Reigns-esque ways.
Rousey's attitude shift gives fans a definitive character to root against while championing their antihero and adds heat to a WrestleMania match that was already red hot.
Lynch faces Flair Sunday at Fastlane in the latest addition to their match collection, but all eyes will be on Rousey, potential interference from Rowdy and the three-way match that should make history at The Granddaddy of Them All.
Heavy Machinery's Victory, Tag Title Outcome Highlight Issues with Division
Heavy Machinery defeated The B-Team, The Ascension and the team of Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins in a Gauntlet match Monday...and no one cared.
Throw in a tag team title bout between The Revival and NXT's Aleister Black and Ricochet mired in interference by former champions Chad Gable and Bobby Roode and you have a night of lackluster gains from a division in turmoil.
It is difficult to convince the audience to care about teams when it is so apparent the writing team doesn't believe in them.
Heavy Machinery beat three teams in succession that cannot buy wins, devaluing them even further than they already were.
Black and Ricochet are the definition of thrown-together in that they had nothing to do with each other before their main roster call-up, Gable and Roode were personality-less as champions, and The Revival are so inconsistently booked it is a minor miracle they can get over at all.
Until WWE Creative invests itself in the teams it has to play with on Raw, the division will continue to flounder, and that means a ton of talented wrestlers will be hugely underserved.
Triple H Delivers Superb Promo Despite Unnecessary Reid Flair Reference
When Triple H wants to, he can deliver some compelling dialogue.
The Game has been cutting promos on WWE television for two decades and has a strong understanding of what registers with fans and what does not.
It should be of no great surprise to anyone that he cut a stellar promo setting up a face-to-face with Batista on next week's show.
Emotional and raw (pun intended), it did a great job of adding levity to a feud still in its infancy.
With that said, it did not need the Reid Flair mention.
Yes, it proved how Triple H has been there for Flair during the toughest times of his life, but that could have been established without specifically mentioning the deceased.
It was cheap and did not add to what was otherwise a great bit of talking from a grizzled vet who has been through this Road to WrestleMania before and knows how important a quality promo can be to a program.