Seth Rollins Back in Main Event, Dirty Dawgs Are Relevant, More WWE Raw Fallout
The October 25 edition of Monday Night Raw introduced the "new era" of the red brand with a freshly drafted roster competing for opportunities.
Seth Rollins looked to rebound after his loss to Edge in Hell in a Cell, and he pulled that off in a major way. He won a ladder match against Finn Balor, Kevin Owens and Rey Mysterio to become the new No. 1 contender to Big E's WWE Championship.
Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode won a Triple Threat to earn a same-day shot at the Raw Tag Team Championships. While The Dirty Dawgs lost to RK-Bro, it was the biggest spotlight Ziggler and Roode have had in months.
Damien Priest and Keith "Bearcat" Lee had new entrances that set the stage for wins on Raw. While it is clear both will be pushed, it was a disappointed change in presentation that showcased both men as too generic for their talent.
Bianca Belair called her shot against Becky Lynch for the Raw Women's Championship, and the match was made for next week. This was a chance to give Big Time Becks and The EST a real battle with no one to get in the way.
This week's Raw was a show that set the stage for the future while settling some lingering questions about many stars.
Seth Rollins Returns to the Title Picture at the Perfect Time
Big E continues to build his legacy as WWE champion by defeating some of the absolute best. Following Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre, Seth Rollins made sense as the next challenger.
The Messiah completed the feud of the year with Edge. While he lost that rivalry, the Rated-R Superstar is not likely to be a fulltime performer at his age, so Rollins was always going to be the more immediate beneficiary of the trilogy of great matches.
It is unclear when the Power of Positivity will face the Monday Night Messiah. If the plan is to build up Monday Night Raw with big matches, it could come soon, which makes it far less likely that Rollins will defeat E.
The WWE champion should continue to run with the gold through the year, and he's got a date with Roman Reigns at WWE Survivor Series. However, there is a story to tell if the Messiah were to win the world title and face a motivated Edge one last time.
Regardless, the future of Raw is tied to these two men, and it should be fun to watch Rollins push the Power of Positivity in his return to the main event picture.
Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode Have a Chance to Restart on Raw
Since losing the SmackDown Tag Team Championships to The Mysterios in May, Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode have barely been on television. It was good to see them back in a major role on the red brand.
Working two long matches on the night, Raw showed faith in the veterans, even without giving them the victory over Randy Orton and Riddle.
The Dirty Dawgs are two of the best veterans in WWE and can work any role. It was shocking not to see them on SmackDown for so long.
The Raw tag team division is evolving around new talent including The Street Profits and Alpha Academy. Hopefully, Roode and Ziggler can play a stronger role in this tag team division than they were allowed down the stretch for SmackDown.
WWE Needs to Learn to Enhance, Not Take Away, from Talent Like Priest and Lee
Damian Priest returned to television after a hiatus, fighting T-Bar. Before winning inconclusively by disqualification, he arrived with a new entrance that lacked the spark and fire of his old introduction.
Keith "Bearcat" Lee entered with his own new entrance, highlighting his new nickname with a bear growl. He defeated Cedric Alexander in a dominant display, though his presentation continues to lack what makes Lee special.
Priest and Lee came into NXT with serious hype and were big stars in size and presence. Their presentation was enthralling, and their talent showed that all the more. With each change, WWE has seemingly taken away more of that air from these Superstars.
Both are too talented to fail, but WWE should be finding ways to build up stars rather than tear them down. The Archer of Infamy had a spectacular entrance, and it was all taken away for the sake of trying something more in WWE's wheelhouse.
Bearcat is building a new persona only because WWE seemingly wouldn't accept what he was doing before. Hopefully, he can make it work, but his entrance change indicates a return to something familiar for WWE rather than leaning into his singular talent.
Becky Lynch vs. Bianca Belair Needs to Be the Clean Finish of This Rivalry
Becky Lynch vs. Bianca Belair has been an ongoing feud since SummerSlam 2021, but every time the two clash, neither has walked out with a clear answer as to who is better.
With the next match set to be the main event of next week's Raw, it is a chance to let Bianca and Lynch tell a complete story. Sasha Banks and Charlotte Flair will not be around to interfere. The EST knows most of Big Time Becks' tricks.
While this feud may not end here, this should be a moment to either reinforce Lynch as champion or crown Belair for a fresh match at WWE Survivor Series against The Queen.
What matters most is that the shenanigans need to be thrown aside. Anything that distracts from the talent also limits this feud. This should be one of the biggest feuds in wrestling and needs the time to shine in that light.