Seth Rollins Backlash Becoming Too Loud to Ignore and More WWE Raw Fallout
WWE's trip through England continued Monday night with a pre-taped episode of Raw that featured a bombshell announcement from Lana, the latest in the three-way rivalry between the Raw, SmackDown and NXT women's champions, and further evidence of fans' growing disdain for Raw's top babyface.
Seth Rollins again found himself on the receiving end of jeers so loud the commentary team had no choice but to acknowledge them. The growing disconnect between the lead hero and disenfranchised fans ranks as the biggest takeaway from the Veteran's Day episode of the flagship show.
Dive deeper into that topic, as well as Lana's baby daddy drama and Becky Lynch's unfortunate run-in with Bayley and Shayna Baszler, with this recap of the biggest moments from the USA Network broadcast.
The Backlash Is Real for Seth Rollins
WWE taped Raw Friday afternoon, giving itself three full days to edit out the immense jeers that greeted Seth Rollins for his promo regarding his Survivor Series team. Yet, Monday on the USA Network, the boos were still there, untouched by a company notorious for altering sound on its shows.
It was further proof that the negativity that has accompanied Rollins over the last month has become too obvious to ignore.
Commentator Vic Joseph made light of the reaction, referring to the crowd as "finicky" to mask the fact that the guy positioned to be the top babyface on the flagship show has become increasingly despised by the fan base.
This week's broadcast was the latest example of the mounting backlash against a character that has become too bland, one-dimensional and unlikable for fans to continue supporting.
The creative team's inability to develop his persona, Rollins' tendency to try too hard to get his emotions across and the overexposure of the Superstar have hurt what was the very connection with audiences that launched him to the top of the show in the first place.
It is unfortunate, if only because Rollins' efforts between the ropes have never waned. He remains a standard-bearer for WWE, even as the company has transformed his character into a less-charismatic John Cena.
The crowd has had enough of Rollins in this form. If there is any Superstar who could benefit from going away for a little and coming back refreshed in time for Royal Rumble or WrestleMania, it is The Architect.
The more WWE insists on shoving him down fans' throats, overbooking him and pushing him into positions that do not reflect his strengths as a performer, the more the jeers will greet him in arenas across the globe. And if that happens, it will be only a matter of time before the company must discuss a heel turn for a guy whose best work from an on-screen persona standpoint came when he was the spoiled, entitled face of The Authority back in 2015.
Women's Triple Threat Match Set to Steal the Show at Survivor Series
Survivor Series will feature a number of inter-promotional wars between some of the most talented performers in the industry, but it is the match pitting Raw women's champion Becky Lynch, NXT women's champion Shayna Baszler and SmackDown women's champion Bayley against each other in a Triple Threat match that is poised to steal the show.
Part of that has to do with the performers themselves. But it's also the stellar booking and promo work that has preceded the match to this point.
Monday, Lynch again addressed The Queen of Spades and her fellow Four Horsewoman with a compelling, well-executed promo. From there, she had her shot at claiming the women's tag team titles ruined by interference from her Survivor Series opposition.
Baszler provided a distraction from the stands while Bayley came from out of nowhere, laying The Man out and leaving her clutching her ribs in agony. The SmackDown women's champion sent a message loudly and clearly to her foes that she is not the same happy-go-lucky, smiling babyface who will stand back and watch as the other two women in the match intimidate her and steal the spotlight.
It was a much-needed angle that will only strengthen the intrigue for the bout and in the process, present a match that people actually want to tune in to see.
Rusev and Lana Continue to Make the Most of Dated, Mind-Numbing Creative
The Rusev-Lana-Bobby Lashley storyline has straddled the line of ridiculousness for the last month so when the Ravishing Russian took to the squared circle Monday night and revealed that she was with child, it was hard to be surprised that the program had taken the latest turn.
When the revelation was exposed as the latest bit of manipulation by a vengeful lover to set up another beatdown by Lashley, it was even less surprising.
Yet, as ludicrous and flat bad as the storyline has been since its inception, one cannot deny that Rusev and Lana have made the absolute most of their television time by embracing the material and elevating it through their performances.
It was Lana's turn to grab the spotlight and make it hers this week. She came across as a natural, believable heel as she recapped her last two months of sexual escapades, made her shocking revelation, then exposed her words as lies as she assisted Lashley in a beatdown that left The Bulgarian Brute in a heap.
Yes, the content of the storyline may suck harder than a Hoover vacuum but two of the more underutilized performers in all of WWE have taken it, embraced it and delivered performances far better than the material deserves.