Seth Rollins and AOP WWE's Latest Random Heel Trio, More Raw Fallout
Seth Rollins finally pulled the proverbial trigger on his heel turn Monday, aligning himself with Akam and Rezar of AOP following an impassioned rant against the WWE Universe.
That development headlined this week's Raw, a show that failed miserably to drum up genuine excitement for the TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs pay-per-view this coming Sunday but did provide enough developments including intriguing stars to keep fans interested.
From Liv Morgan to Sami Zayn, unfunny writing to yet another heel trio, delve into the night that was on USA Network with this recap of the December 9 episode of WWE's flagship.
Another Heel Trio...
The rant against the WWE Universe that served as the official heel turn for Seth Rollins was absolutely necessary and will only help him be his best and most effective. With that said, the turn comes as a result of his alignment with Authors of Pain in yet another heel trio that feels forced, undefined and completely random.
There will be WWE apologists that try to spin the union as one that makes total sense and has been hinted at now for weeks but in reality, there was no chance in hell the creative team actually sat back as late as eight weeks ago and thought they would eventually be pairing the Superstar who was supposed to be the lead babyface of the brand with a tag team it had so woefully mismanaged before.
While the trio has a great look, and Akam and Rezar should thrive as muscle for the loudmouth Rollins, the trio highlights a bigger problem in WWE in which Superstars are thrown together with no real rhyme or reason to provide opposition to top heroes.
Not only do we now have Rollins and AOP atop Raw, we currently have King Corbin, Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode as antagonists for The Big Dog, Roman Reigns, over on SmackDown. Throw in The OC, which reunited in the summer under the auspices that every single fan in the history of pro wrestling is aware of AJ Styles, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows' past alliances, and you have a lazy booking crutch currently leaned on heavily by the writing teams.
It is something that either needs to stop or have more effort put into it because the randomness of it all, coupled with the undefined motivations and characters, only highlights the complete and utter lack of effort put into storytelling by today's creative team.
Unfunny 'Monday After Weekend' Segment Threatens Street Profits Popularity
Overly scripted attempts at humor have never been one of WWE's strong suits. In fact, they often land with a thud and end up hurting the talent involved. Such was the case Monday as The Street Profits appeared in a pre-taped vignette similar to that of Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update.
The segment was unfunny and single-handedly managed to erase a significant portion of Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford's cool factor, just an hour or so after they were beaten by The Viking Raiders in a match that did not have to happen.
In one fell swoop, WWE's attempt to be funny backfired and hurt The Street Profits' heat, diminishing the momentum they had built for themselves as one of the most fun, charismatic acts in all of WWE.
As has been the case for well over a decade now, the company's lack of trust in its performers to be themselves and be engaging rather than scripting everything out, force-feeding talent their words and hoping it comes across as funny to the viewing audience of Millenials as it did to 74-year-old Vince McMahon, damns the show and its stars to mediocrity.
If not worse.
Liv Morgan's Transformation Offers Up Second Chance at First Impression
Liv Morgan has spent months teasing a transformation on social media that began with her loss to Charlotte Flair on the July 19 episode of SmackDown. Since that night, though, she has not appeared on television. Instead, she has taken to Twitter to post cryptic messages to fans waiting to see the new Liv.
Monday night, they came one step closer to that moment as a video package hyped her upcoming return and said transformation.
What fans can expect from the New Jersey native remains to be seen but her effort to get it over on social media before we have even laid eyes on it is indicative of her investment in it. Furthermore, the return essentially gives her a rare second chance at a first impression.
As one-third of The Riott Squad, she was an underdeveloped character. Yes, the trio of Superstars got over and worked well together despite its rather thrown-together nature, but it was clearly a star vehicle for Ruby Riott rather than Morgan and Sarah Logan.
Now free of the alliance, she can break out and be a star in her own right. The transformation essentially leaves behind the playful, blue-tongued competitor and in its place, the unknown. The intrigue enough is worth tuning in and finding out just what the new Morgan will be all about and what role she will play in the currently loaded Raw women's division.
Floating Manager Role Perfect for the Outstanding Sami Zayn
Sami Zayn has been a revelation in the managerial role, single-handedly getting Shinsuke Nakamura over at a level The Artist struggled to over the last two years. His role as the mouthpiece for the Intercontinental champion has not only gotten Nakamura over with audiences, it has allowed Zayn the opportunity to shine as a talker and a character.
It is of no great surprise, then, that WWE officials would want to maximize his abilities by bringing him to Raw as a floater, the explanation for his ability to do so despite being a SmackDown talent that his manager's license is not brand exclusive.
Pairing him with Mojo Rawley is a great move that will only help serve Rawley, who has had opportunities but was missing one key element to finding success in WWE. As we saw on Monday night, Rawley instantly came across better in his confrontation with Kevin Owens than he would have had he just stomped to the ring and cut the same overhyped promo he has become synonymous with.
Zayn is a brilliant hype man whose frenetic energy is infectious and whose ability to get fans to boo him is second to few. As long as the company manages not to overexpose him, Zayn is the type of star who can help the company finally get over Superstars it has struggled to for quite some time.