Vince McMahon Reportedly Rewrote WWE Raw; Plans for Roman Reigns, Aleister BlackAugust 25, 2020
Bleacher Report catches you up on the latest news from the WWE Universe.
McMahon Reportedly Makes Late Changes to Raw
Monday's newsworthy episode of Raw was reportedly still undergoing script changes even after the show started.
According to Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio (h/t WrestlingInc.com's Joshua Gagnon), WWE Chairman Vince McMahon made "numerous changes" to the Raw script Monday, and it wasn't finalized until 9 p.m. ET, which was one hour after the show started.
Monday's Raw was an important show since it occurred one night after SummerSlam and was also the go-home edition of Raw prior to Sunday's Payback pay-per-view.
Overall, WWE seemingly did a solid job of balancing the fallout from SummerSlam and building up some matches for Payback.
WWE set the stage for a future rematch between WWE champion Drew McIntyre and Randy Orton, and also booked a match between Orton and the debuting Keith Lee for Payback, as Lee interjected himself into the McIntyre vs. Orton rivalry.
Additionally, Sasha Banks lost her Raw Women's Championship rematch against Asuka, and a WWE Women's Tag Team Championship match pitting Banks and Bayley against the newly formed team of Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax was booked for Payback.
Meltzer noted that all of the Payback matches made on Raw were decided ahead of time, so while it is difficult to say what was changed from the original script and what wasn't, Raw was fairly effective overall.
Plans for Reigns After Return at SummerSlam
After five months away due to the coronavirus pandemic, Roman Reigns made his shocking return to WWE after the main event at SummerSlam.
Reigns took out both Braun Strowman and "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt with spears after The Fiend beat Strowman to become the new Universal champion.
According to Meltzer (h/t Felix Upton of Ringside News), WWE is likely looking to move forward with a singles feud between Reigns and Wyatt since that was the original plan for WrestleMania 36 before it splintered into Reigns vs. Goldberg and Wyatt vs. John Cena.
Reigns vs. Goldberg never happened since The Big Dog stepped away, which resulted in Strowman taking his place and beating Goldberg for the Universal title.
On Monday's Raw, it was announced that The Fiend will defend the Universal Championship against Reigns and Strowman in a Triple Threat match at Payback. The contract signing for that match will occur Friday on SmackDown.
Conventional wisdom suggests that Wyatt may pin or submit Strowman in the match to retain, which would give Reigns a gripe to receive a one-on-one rematch against The Fiend.
Reigns and Wyatt have a long history as opponents, but a feud between them now would be different than any before it, as Reigns seemingly has a new attitude and Wyatt has a compelling character in The Fiend.
Reported Reason for Black's Heel Turn
A few weeks after getting his eye injured by Seth Rollins and Murphy, Aleister Black made his return to WWE programming on Monday's episode of Raw as a guest on the Kevin Owens Show.
Black was wearing a wrap around his eye didn't seem to be acting himself. After Owens showed footage of Black getting injured at the behest of Black himself, he took KO out with Black Mass.
According to Meltzer (h/t Upton), the turn was done since Owens needs an opponent. The original plan was for Owens to feud with Rollins again, but with Rey Mysterio re-signing with WWE, there was no place for Owens in that program.
While the Rollins vs. Owens feud had some high points, including the match at WrestleMania 36, going back to the well at this point wouldn't have made much sense.
Black vs. Owens is far more compelling since it has never been done and Black hasn't yet been a heel on the main roster.
Since Black and Owens are two of the best all-around talents WWE has to offer, it stands to reason that they'll deliver both in terms of promos and in-ring work in the coming weeks.
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