WWE RAW: Roman Reigns - Popular By Association

It's been a while since I've dropped by BumWineBob.com, but I thought it was high time for a visit.  For those of you not familiar with my prose stylings (Does complaining about wrestling and movies qualify as prose?), my name is Justin Ballard, I am a self-avowed pro wrestling and film super-dork, and my website is Enuffa.com (as in, Can't Get Enuffa that Stuff), where you can find coverage of wrestling, movies, music, beer, and other pop culture shenanigans.  Like us on Facebook (facebook.com/enuffa), join our FB group (www.facebook.com/groups/EnuffaDotCom), follow us on Twitter (@EnuffaDotCom), and don't forget to subscribe to stay abreast of all new updates!  Thanks to Bob for the cross-promotion!

Welp, that happened.  After nearly three-and-a-half years, The Shield is back together.  Like your favorite band reuniting.  Hell, it's like The Beatles getting back together (not at all hyperbole...).  And after three years of Vince stubbornly trying to shove Roman Reigns up everyone's ass as the next top babyface, he finally figured out that only one of two scenarios would get him over: turn him heel or reunite him with Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins.  I'll still never understand why he wasn't made a ruthless, destructive sonofabitch heel a year ago, but I'd be lying if I said this plan didn't light up my tingly parts just a bit.

And as of now it's working.  As much as it kinda smells like pandering, the sight of The Shield joining fists on the RAW stage got the crowd cheering Roman Reigns for the first time in three years.  They're officially booked in the main event of TLC 2017, against Braun Strowman, The Miz, Cesaro and Sheamus.  Personally I'd relegate The Miz to a managerial role or take him out of the match altogether.  He doesn't really belong.  Character-wise it would make sense for him to stay on the sidelines and let the other six guys kill each other.  Maybe that's exactly what will happen.  Regardless, this is the most intriguing PPV main event in a few months at least.  I'm hoping we also get a Shield-centric Survivor Series elimination match next month.  It only makes sense.

The question now is, how long does it last?  Does WWE have the sense to recognize that people only like Roman when his two buddies are around?  Do they build toward the inevitable Brock-Roman rematch by aligning Brock with Cesaro & Sheamus (or two other bad guys, maybe Joe and Braun)?  I mean it'd be nice for the top babyface in the company to actually get cheered at the end of WrestleMania after winning the belt, wouldn't it?  It'll have been four years since we saw that happen.  My suggestion is, keep The Shield together as long as it takes for people to actually get behind Reigns.  And next time they do break up, repackage Roman so he isn't still clinging to the tropes of his former stable.  I maintain that a big part of why he didn't get over the first time was because he still dressed the same, looked the same, used the same music, and for a while still entered through the crowd.  He came off like a jilted lover who still had pictures of his old flame all over his house even though she'd long since moved on.  Ambrose got over it, why didn't Roman?

In other news, TLC will also feature yet another Finn Balor-Bray Wyatt match, only this time Wyatt is...a cross-dresser?  Taking a page out of the Norman Bates playbook, WWE has invented a separate personality for Wyatt, in the form of the long-alluded-to Sister Abigail.  Donning a veil (and I think makeup?), and speaking with a digitally-altered voice, Wyatt will evidently appear at TLC as this alternate personality.  And it seems fairly certain Balor will appear as The Demon King.  I suppose it's appropriate that this PPV is less than ten days before Halloween.  This is pretty goofy shit, but at least it justifies the second rematch last month.  I wondered why SummerSlam's Wyatt-Demon match wasn't the end of the feud since Balor going back to his unadorned look a month later was anticlimactic.  But I guess this was where it was all headed?  Coupla weirdos fighting each other while pretending to be other people?  It's all good I guess.  It's far from the least interesting thing this company's doing right now.

Enzo has already lost the Cruiserweight Title.  I mean, Enzo obviously has no business winning any championships, but if you're gonna have a douchebag babyface undeservedly win a belt just so the entire division and the fans can turn on him, have him keep the belt for several months so when he loses it, it's a huge moment.  See: Man, Honky Tonk.  I know what's gonna happen here.  They're pulling the same shit they did with Sasha and Charlotte.  Instead of a big PPV payoff, they hotshotted the match on free TV, had the title change, and at the PPV rematch Enzo's just gonna win it back.  What is with WWE's penchant for making three moves to achieve the same effect as one?  Their booking the past two years has been so overly complicated when the simple approach would be much more effective.  This Cruiserweight division desperately needs a transcendent, great Cruiser babyface to be the centerpiece.  They had an excellent heel champ in Neville, but now they need a hero.  Oh right, WWE doesn't apparently know how to book heroes anymore.  Because evidently in real life Vince McMahon doesn't associate with genuinely decent people, so he forgot what one acts like.

And finally, TLC will feature the main roster debut of the undefeated Asuka, who obliterated the NXT women's division for the better part of two years and held that championship longer (a whopping 510 days) than any other title holder in the company's modern era, including CM Punk.  Last night we found out her first victim, er, opponent will be Emma.  Fitting since that was her first NXT TakeOver opponent.  That match was quite good, nearly stealing the show.  So there's plenty of potential for an excellent showing at TLC, though the right move in this case is probably a short, one-sided affair with Asuka destroying Emma.  In any case, main roster creative now has on their hands an easy, self-booking scenario.  Asuka should be largely presented as a female Goldberg for the first 4-6 months; brief, dominant weekly matches against a variety of opponents (bring in some of the Mae Young Classic participants if necessary), and either no promos or very succinct, one-to-five-word soundbites.  It should all build to a Title match at WrestleMania, and she should keep that belt for at least a year.  This would be the perfect time to simply look at what NXT did with her, and do that exact same thing.  Do not try to reinvent the wheel - it hasn't worked for the main roster since I dunno when.  See: Alpha, American; Banks, Sasha; Bayley.... 

Well that's where my head's at after this week's RAW; the red brand is most certainly in a stronger place than its blue counterpart these days.  I'm not sure how Smackdown can be salvaged, aside from Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn running amok for the next six months.  But RAW has several intriguing threads heading into their first Brock-less PPV since Extreme Rules.  Let's hope WWE can follow through on them.  Eh, who are we kiddin'??

Thanks again for reading, and don't forget to check out Enuffa.com for more of my thoughts concerning wrestling, movies, music, beer, and lots more!  Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter!

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