Narcissist Sasha Banks Is Key to Successful Heel Turn and More WWE Raw Fallout

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistAugust 20, 2019

Narcissist Sasha Banks Is Key to Successful Heel Turn and More WWE Raw Fallout

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    The August 19 episode of WWE Raw continued to lay the groundwork for the rivalries and stories that will fuel the upcoming Clash of Champions pay-per-view event, including the first look at what Sasha Banks' new heel persona will look like.

    The Boss joined Michael Cole for a promo that portrayed a narcissistic young woman more concerned with her return, her looks and everyone's reaction to them than taking responsibility for her actions a week ago.

    Joining her character development as a major takeaway from Monday's show was antiquated storyline advancement for Braun Strowman and Seth Rollins and more professional disappointment for Cesaro.

Self-Absorbed Sasha Banks Will Succeed as Heel

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    After an explosive return to WWE a week ago, Monday's show was of the utmost importance for Sasha Banks.

    Her first promo would be key to establishing the character that would serve as a suitable heel foil to Raw women's champion Becky Lynch. She could not deliver the same charismatic promo full of swagger that made her a breakout star in NXT and one of WWE's premier female talents. She needed to change things up, to garner heat and ensure fans will not cheer for her over The Man.

    While the overall effectiveness of it remains to be seen, Banks and WWE Creative set out to portray The Boss as a self-absorbed, narcissistic villainess who cared more about her new look than taking responsibility for her brutal assault on Natalya.

    Throw in a nasty one-liner about The Queen of Harts going to hell and saying hello to her father for Banks and you have the groundwork for a character both the performer and the writing team can build upon.

    If Banks changed nothing about her on-screen persona, odds are fans would turn her back to a babyface sooner than later. That is what happened in 2016 upon her main roster call-up and history would likely repeat itself. That Banks is an engaging, compelling and ferocious one fans cannot help but root for.

    This Banks, one that is more worried about the way her blue hair looks and the crowd's reaction to it, is a character fans can, and should, boo. Dismissing interviewers, arrogantly grinning with glee over a beatdown she will not even acknowledge and attacking rivals from behind and further injuring them are all elements that will only serve to enhance the character and establish her as the undisputed top heel in the division.

    The key, though, will be the continued development of that narcissistic, conceited personality that is concerned more about her looks than anything else. Otherwise, we get a retread of a character that did not work in the role WWE Creative had planned for her in the first place.

Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman Win Tag Titles in Tired Booking Trope

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    Somewhere, Vince Russo is giddy with excitement over Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman winning the Raw Tag Team Championships despite preparing to feud over the universal title. 

    The idea of tag team partners who do not get along winning the tag titles is a tired booking trope with roots in the Attitude Era. Back then, it was a plot device designed to advance storylines. While it may have worked, it also devalued the titles, making them a prop rather than a coveted prize for the company's tag teams to compete over.

    In the years that followed, it became a watered-down and less effective booking trope that only served to make the tag team division as a whole look weaker when compared to the singles competitors who could seemingly be thrown together on any given night and beat teams that had been together for years.

    Such was the case Monday night, when Rollins and Strowman defeated Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson in the main event of Raw to win the titles. The Monster Among Men repeatedly peeked at his teammate's universal title, making it very clear his focus was on dethroning The Beastslayer as the brand's top dog.

    Those tag titles he just won? Inconsequential.

    Devaluing the titles when the writing team easily could have had Strowman make clear his desire to challenge for the Universal Championship was a rare booking misstep on Monday's show. Furthermore, it comes at a time when Anderson and Gallows were just starting to regain momentum and credibility as part of The O.C.

    All signs point to the team regaining the titles by defeating Strowman and Rollins, and that will be good enough for some. They will argue it means more to beat the two lead babyfaces on Raw for the gold than it did to defeat The Usos and The Revival to win them in the first place.

    The problem with that logic? They had to lose the titles to set up a win that will have nothing to do with them and everything to do with adding heat to Rollins vs. Strowman.

    The significance of the titles are diminished and whoever wins them is insignificant because at the end of the day, the entire ordeal is designed only to get the two top dogs and their issues over. It is a flawed story whose 20 years on WWE television is reflective of a creative process still leaning on what made the Attitude Era successful despite its negative effects on the talent and the titles. 

WWE Misses the Boat with Cesaro...Again

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    Cesaro should have gone over Samoa Joe in the opening match of this year's King of the Ring tournament.

    Yes, Joe has been building momentum in recent weeks and appears on track for a tweener push at least and full-fledged babyface run at most. After a year of losing high-profile title matches to AJ Styles and Kofi Kingston, that is probably the best direction to take with The Destroyer, but Monday night really should have belonged to his Swiss opponent.

    Cesaro is one of the most gifted professional wrestlers of all time. His adaptability between the ropes makes him one of the most diverse workers on the roster. He has the look of a major star and is low-key charismatic, but he has always lacked that one character that would really connect him to the audience in a way that being an amazing worker never has.

    Winning King of the Ring and becoming a badass king who rules over the WWE Universenot unlike was originally intended with the great William Regal back in 2008would do him wonders and allow him to become more than Sheamus' tag partner or a ridiculously good wrestler.

    As has happened so many times over the course of his career, though, he was chosen to make someone else look good and put them over in the process.