Sasha Banks' Return, Seth Rollins Makes a New Friend and More WWE Raw Fallout
The fallout from SummerSlam was palpable as new dynamics were established on the August 12 edition of WWE Raw in the wake of major victories. Some of the biggest stars of the night were not even on Sunday's card, but they were clearly paying attention to the show.
Becky Lynch pulled off a signature victory over Natalya at The Biggest Party of the Summer, but Sasha Banks showed her and her most recent challenger no respect on Monday. The Boss returned to WWE with an emphatic statement, laying out both women.
Samoa Joe continued his evolution as a performer by shutting up Sami Zayn with a Coquina Clutch. However, he did not quite declare he's ready to turn face just yet.
Dolph Ziggler followed up Sunday's embarrassing loss at the hands of Goldberg with more embarrassment. He tapped out to The Miz, perhaps throwing out the last shreds of credibility he has left.
One man continuing to prove his own credibility is Drew McIntyre. The Scottish Psychopath put on a show with Cedric Alexander and took the win. He clearly established his status as the favorite in the newly announced return of King of the Ring.
Braun Strowman stopped a three-on-one assault by The OC on Seth Rollins, setting up an unlikely friendship. However, it is not entirely clear whose title The Monster Among Men is interested in.
These moments highlighted one of the most action-driven editions of Raw in recent memory, showcasing how ready WWE is start telling brand new stories.
Becky Lynch Finally Has a Legitimate Challenger with Return of Sasha Banks
Natalya came out in a sling and refused to take back what she said about Becky Lynch, promising she would get The Man back.
In a surprise return, though, Sasha Banks interrupted The Queen of Harts and laid her out with a steel chair. Lynch came to Natalya's aid only to also get laid out.
The Boss is back, and Raw has so desperately needed her. While SmackDown's women's division is stacked, the red brand could barely scrounge up challengers for The Man. Banks instantly becomes the biggest challenger she has had since Charlotte Flair.
The Boss brought new blue hair and a new attitude that she has needed since she came to the main roster. Few women are better suited for the role of heel. Her attitude is too limited as a babyface.
While her disappearance from TV caused some turmoil and drama, it has worked out for the best. Bayley is leading the charge on SmackDown, while Banks is back in title contention on Raw. The two might even be champions by Survivor Series in November, setting up a fantastic story.
Lynch vs. Banks is a headline-attraction match for Clash of Champions on September 15, and it finally feels as though the Raw women's champion has a challenger who could legitimately dethrone her.
Samoa Joe Needs to Turn Babyface, but It Doesn't Have to Be Overnight
Sami Zayn called out The Street Profits backstage and then started insulting Samoa Joe, only for The Samoan Submission Machine to hear him.
The match that followed was short and sweet as Joe quickly locked Zayn in the Coquina Clutch. Afterward, he denounced the WWE Universe despite their sudden support.
Hints in the last two weeks have made it clear Joe could be turning babyface. From his surprising worry when Roman Reigns got hurt to his willingness to take down heels who get in his way, WWE has set up a fresh character arc for a man who had somewhat lost his way on the main roster.
His post-match promo would indicate the company will not go in that direction, but it doesn't mean there is no hope. Face turns come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes, they are sudden as a long-time villain sees the error in his ways.
Other times, perhaps like this case, a heel must slowly grow into his new role and responsibility. The Samoan Submission Machine has shown a respect for faces and a detest for heels, but he still does not trust the WWE Universe.
It may take a major heel to force Joe to see that the fans want what is best for him. It could be the story that finally puts the star veteran on the map.
Dolph Ziggler's Best Bet May Be Full Transition to Comedy Role
Dolph Ziggler ran his mouth again, this time on The Miz. After feigning an injury that would not allow him to compete, he attacked The A-Lister but still lost to his long-time rival by submission with the figure-four leg lock. He talked down Miz until he returned to the ring and hit a Skull Crushing Finale as well.
The Showoff returned to WWE a few months back with major hype. He took out Kofi Kingston in a brutal attack that set him up for multiple major spotlight matches on pay-per-view. However, he could not win a single time.
What followed ruined all remaining credibility Ziggler had when he was squashed on back-to-back PPVs by Kevin Owens and Goldberg. He didn't last too much longer on Raw against Miz, and he is only emphasizing his failure by begging to get put down after his matches.
At this point, it would take some kind of divine intervention for him to become relevant again. However, it may work to completely shift gears. It is time to repackage Ziggler in a way he has not been in nearly a decade.
The Showoff has been spending much of his time outside WWE doing standup comedy. Why not just commit to that in WWE as well? There's nothing wrong with working such a role if it keeps you relevant. R-Truth and Drake Maverick are thriving in that position right now.
If Ziggler wants to remain on the card, this may be his best bet. No one is going to take him seriously working with top stars, but he'd be perfect trying to steal the spotlight from Truth.
Drew McIntyre Is the Perfect Winner for King of the Ring
Finally fighting in the ring, Cedric Alexander gave Drew McIntyre all he could handle in a competitive match where The Lumbar Legacy almost took the win multiple times. However, he ran into a Claymore, which sealed the victory for The Scottish Psychopath.
WWE announced King of the Ring returning next week with both these men involved. While it has been a while since the company actually committed to a King of the Ring winner, this is the right moment to establish a star with a tournament victory.
Who better than McIntyre? The heavyweight has felt like a star since the night he returned to WWE. He's got the look, the presence and the character work to sell every aspect of the business. For some reason, he can't catch a break, though.
The Scot could have stolen the show at SummerSlam working with Alexander. The two certainly did so on Raw, and it's not the first time recently he's had a standout TV match despite a limited spotlight.
It is time to let McIntyre off his leash. He should be feuding with Seth Rollins for the Universal Championship. He should have already won multiple titles in WWE.
Perhaps someone backstage hasn't quite seen enough to commit to McIntyre yet.
Braun Strowman Comes to Seth Rollins' Aid with Gold in Mind
AJ Styles interrupted Seth Rollins' victory speech to challenge The Beastslayer to a battle of champions. The universal champion accepted, but The Phenomenal One gave up on the fight and got himself disqualified when he was close to losing.
Ricochet tried to save the champion from the attack but was outmatched. Braun Strowman arrived and sent Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson and Styles all running up the ramp. The Monster Among Men then handed Rollins his championship.
This was a fairly unclear moment for The Monster Among Men to get back into the spotlight. It set him up either to challenge The OC or Rollins. While it is a good thing to be involved in multiple potential title pictures, the lack of clarity made it questionable how important this ending was.
Rollins vs. Strowman is a money pairing, but it may be too early. The same could be said for a clash with Styles. If he challenges The Beastslayer, he will lose another world title match; if he challenges The OC, he might squash their momentum.
Either way, it is nice to have The Monster back on TV. Maybe it is finally time for him to start winning matches that matter. It is remarkable that he has still never held a singles title in WWE.