Samoa Joe Tease Hints at Possible Seth Rollins Feud and More WWE Raw Fallout

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistDecember 24, 2019

Samoa Joe Tease Hints at Possible Seth Rollins Feud and More WWE Raw Fallout

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    The December 23 episode of Raw may have been a taped holiday fare, but it did present fans with the emergence of a new challenger to Seth Rollins and AOP's reign of dominance: Samoa Joe.

    The Destroyer was defiant as he rose from the announce position, unwavering in his refusal to move so that the trio could inflict further damage to United States champion Rey Mysterio. In the process, he set in motion a rivalry that has the potential to grip audiences in a way nothing Rollins has been apart of this last year did.

    Joe's emergence as a threat to Rollins and Co. was but one of the night's biggest takeaways.

    The others?

    The continued over-promotion of grand nuptials, the power of vignettes for returning Superstars and the return of creativity to the 24/7 Championship.

Samoa Joe vs. Seth Rollins Is a Main Event Feud Fans Deserve

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    Samoa Joe has always managed to strike a nerve with fans because he is unapologetically badass. Whether he is a heel or a babyface, Joe's no-nonsense approach to his character and in-ring performance has always made him a compelling and popular performer.

    Monday night, that badassery was on full display as he defiantly stood up in the face of the imposing Akam and Rezar, refusing to move from the announce position so they could put Rey Mysterio through it. He paid dearly, enduring a beatdown from AOP at the order of Seth Rollins, but in the process, he set himself up for a rivalry with Rollins that the loyal, patient fans of WWE deserve.

    Rollins vs. Kevin Owens has, to this point, been a solid enough program, but Joe as the resistant Superstar standing up to the egotistical Rollins is a money feud the likes of which could draw fans to Raw if handled correctly.

    That they have yet to have a high-profile, major rivalry of any sort to this point only makes it that much more appealing. 

    What WWE Creative must be aware of is the importance of booking Joe with care. Beating him too many times, as has been the case throughout his main roster career, devalues him and erases the aura he has worked his entire career to develop.

    While the company clearly values Rollins above just about any other Superstar on the roster, he does not have the potential to create interest in the product the way a vengeful, unstoppable and rebellious Joe does. Protecting him is, in this case, more important than the continued pushing of The Architect.

    Their prospective rivalry got off on the right foot Monday on a show that was otherwise flat. Now, it is time for Paul Heyman to channel the same vision that helped produce total badass Taz and apply it to a star who has, to this point, been wildly mismanaged during his WWE run.

WWE Creative Severely Overrating Fan Excitement for Lashley-Lana Wedding

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    WWE Creative has continuously overrated fans' excitement for the Rusev-Bobby Lashley-Lana storyline and continues to do so with its promotion of the latter two's wedding on next week's episode of Raw.

    Monday saw Lashley steamroll his way to a win over a game Cedric Alexander while commentators put over the upcoming nuptials ad nauseam.

    The fact that those in power are promoting the final Raw of the decade, a show that has the potential to define the current product entering a new 10-year stretch, on the back of a storyline wedding that feels more like a desperate ratings ploy than a storyline that fans care about, is reflective of the flawed creative process within the company.

    Luckily for those in charge of writing the show, Rusev has remained as popular as he has and Lana has been pitch-perfect in her annoying, self-serving personality. Otherwise, the angle for next week's show would be dead on arrival.

Liv Morgan Vignettes Will Prove to Be a Huge Asset in Getting Her Over With Fans

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    Liv Morgan has always felt like a Superstar whose real potential was never touched upon as a member of The Riott Squad. While that trio was a fun, cohesive and entertaining part of the women's division, the New Jersey native was always the third-most-important member. 

    She was the one who her fellow Superstars steamrolled in singles competition as the babyfaces looked to send a message to Ruby Riott, a smiling and fun-loving harlequin whose credibility as a threat to the top stars in the division was nearly nonexistent.

    We saw that play out months ago on SmackDown, when Morgan lost to Charlotte Flair, sparking a transformation that fans are finally seeing play out in the pre-taped vignettes that have aired the last two weeks on Raw. 

    Morgan promised she was anything but typical this week, further hinting that the woman fans were about to see return to the squared circle was not the same one they last saw jobbing out to The Queen.

    What that ultimately means for her character remains to be seen, but one thing is for certain: Reintroducing Morgan through vignettes that will allow fans to connect with her before she ever sets foot in the squared circle will do more for her ability to get over than throwing her in a meaningless match from out of nowhere ever would.

    Hopefully, this is the push she needs to achieve success and, more importantly, WWE Creative utilizes vignettes to get more of its talented roster over.

Creativity Returns to the 24/7 Championship

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    Earlier this year, the 24/7 Championship exploded onto Raw and immediately resulted in some of the most fun, creative and popular segments of 2019. R-Truth's comedic timing was a huge part of that, but in recent months, the title has been devalued, the centerpiece of predictable and repetitive segments.

    With time to fill on a pre-taped episode, creative effort returned to the title as R-Truth, Akira Tozawa and even Santa Claus himself took to the streets of New York City, fighting each other for the right to leave Monday night with the gold.

    The pre-tapes were innocent fun, showcasing Truth's value to the company while showing the type of comedic chemistry he and Tozawa share. If anything comes from it, it may be a buddy team no one knew they wanted.

    Hopefully, it also reminds the creative team how much of a welcome break from the monotony the title can be when a little effort is put into its defenses.