After being brutally attacked by Samoa Joe and The Bar, it was revealed Raw this week that Dean Ambrose could miss nine months of action after his elbow surgery. Ambrose’s injury has led to some major changes on WWE television. After last night’s Christmas edition of Raw, Jason Jordan and Seth Rollins are the new Raw Tag Team Champions, and Roman Reigns’ rivalry with Samoa Joe is quickly reaching a boiling point.
On Raw, Roman Reigns defended the Intercontinental Championship against Samoa Joe. The match ended in a disqualification after Roman’s rage got the better of him, and he pushed referee John Cone. Afterward, Reigns brutally attacked Samoa Joe with steel steps outside the ring. For storyline purposes, WWE officials “fined” Roman Reigns five thousand dollars for his actions against an official and his attack on Samoa Joe.
On WWE programming, Samoa Joe has become the scapegoat for Ambrose’s injury, and Roman has sworn vengeance against him. Their feud over the IC Title was already very physical, but their rivalry was elevated to another level after Roman’s attack on Joe last night. WWE officials “fining” Reigns was just a small boost to show that how personal the feud has become, and they may even push their next match with a big stipulation.
WWE officials still have another month to build to the WWE Royal Rumble PPV. The expectation is Samoa Joe will challenge Roman Reigns for the IC Championship again at the event. With their rivalry reaching a new intensity, the challenge will be on WWE officials to keep that going over the next few weeks. However, Roman has a great chance to earn favor with the fans since he will be the one defending Ambrose’s honor.
Some fans could argue that Roman’s attack on Samoa Joe is “too heel,” but Reigns giving into his rage isn’t out of character. In the past, the WWE Universe has actually gotten behind him after he lashes out against a top heel. On paper, WWE’s “fine” might seem silly. However, it sells the feud between Roman Reigns and Samoa Joe and sells Roman’s need for revenge after Joe injured Ambrose and wrote him off Raw last week.