Rhea Ripley's Next Move Is Obvious, Finn Balor Gets Screwed, More WWE Raw Takes

Kevin Berge@TheBerge_Featured ColumnistApril 19, 2022

Rhea Ripley's Next Move Is Obvious, Finn Balor Gets Screwed, More WWE Raw Takes

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    Credit: WWE.com

    The evolution of WWE Raw continued with its April 18 edition. Following WrestleMania 38, the program has focused on reshaping the roster with a few key moves that established new stars with fresh angles.

    Rhea Ripley turned on Liv Morgan after they failed to win the the WWE Women's Tag Team Championships, meaning a new direction for one of the company's most talented female wrestlers is on the horizon along with an obvious destination.

    Theory won the United States Championship by defeating Finn Balor, putting an end to a run for The Prince that had barely got started.

    Kevin Owens competed in the main event against Cody Rhodes but not before pulling off the funniest segment of the night: He continued to question Ezekiel about his identity but failed to uncover the truth.

    This and more defined an episode of Raw in which the stars began to align for what WWE will look like come WrestleMania Backlash on May 8 and beyond.

Rhea Ripley Is Perfect Addition to Edge's Stable

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    Rhea Ripley can be a great heel, a role she embraced during her early NXT UK run, but she has not gotten the chance to play that same character on the main roster. Finally, though, fans may be about to see it.

    It's unfortunate that Ripley and Liv Morgan's tag team run was so short-lived. The women's tag team division could have used them, but clearly the company appears to have a stronger idea for The Nightmare's future.

    In a post-match interview, there was a purple glow behind Ripley as she spoke. It may only have been a subtle nod, but the direction seems set.

    Edge and Damian Priest need more members to become a truly dangerous stable. If there is any justifiable reason Ripley turned so quickly on Morgan, it's because she is set to work with them.

    The Australian is perfectly suited to join The Rated-R Superstar and The Archer of Infamy by embracing her darker side.

Kevin Owens Is the One to Help Ezekiel Get Over

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    Kevin Owens is the rare talent who can make anything work, and he has assuaged any early fears about this Ezekiel storyline. While there is still a chance Ezekiel will fail long term, he and KO have been a delight together so far.

    The KO Show on Monday was a rare WWE comedy segment that worked. Chad Gable was the perfect addition to this angle between a deluded man and the only person who refuses to play to his delusion.

    It is difficult to predict where this angle is going. How far will WWE be willing to take it? Will Elias return, or will that character simply disappear to be replaced by Ezekiel?

    Regardless, it has been clear from the start that this story was going to be tough to pull off. Luckily, Ezekiel is a charismatic character, and Owens is the right man to help build him up.

WWE Humor Reaches Low Point with 24/7 Championship

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    The 24/7 Championship has been an up-and-down affair for WWE since it was unveiled three years ago, but it has been far more down than up.

    Certain names have shined in the angle, such as R-Truth and Reggie. And almost everyone who has tried to make the title special was in Monday's wedding segment. Unfortunately, though, it came off more like a funeral procession.

    The crowd hated everything about this, and the talent involved had no idea what to do in answer to the "What?" chants from the stands. It was awkward and ultimately very strange.

    There was no point to any of it. Apparently everyone agreed to get married just to try to grab the title, but nothing appeared to be official given Truth's entertaining but unofficial officiating.

    WWE even found a moment to mock the idea of two women in a romantic relationship on the same show in which the challenger to the Raw Women's Championship is publicly out as gay. It was atrocious.

Finn Balor Did Not Need to be Sacrificed to Push Theory

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    Finn Balor won the United States Championship on February 28, but he never successfully defended it once in 49 days before dropping the belt to Theory on Monday.

    The Irishman's reign actually made Damian Priest's uneventful title run look much better in hindsight. At least The Archer of Infamy appeared at WrestleMania and began a hot angle with Edge.

    It is far too telling how the company views Balor that he was set up as a transitional champion for the younger WWE-made star.

    While Vince McMahon's protege has been built well to be a champion, Balor did not have to be sacrificed for him to thrive. There were 49 days when The Prince could have shined in title defenses.

    Some of the men who came out to celebrate Theory's victory, such as Cedric Alexander, Shelton Benjamin and T-Bar, could have gotten a rub from just working eight minutes with Balor. But WWE did not care to build anyone beyond Theory in this case.