WWE Raw came to us this week from the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Canada. The two notable moments of this week’s Raw was the return of former WWE Women’s champion Trish Stratus, and a supposed heel turn by Braun Strowman. As the Inquisitr reported, the AT&T Center recently revealed six matches for Hell in a Cell, including Braun Strowman facing Roman Reigns for the WWE Universal Championship. So, it wasn’t a huge surprise when “The Monster in the Bank” kicked off Raw by cashing in his championship contract to face “The Big Dog” at the WWE pay-per-view, and that bout will be a Hell in a Cell match. The main event of Raw was then booked which featured Braun Strowman teaming with Roman Reigns to face Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre.
The WWE really wants fans to get behind their push of Roman Reigns, and they are going to great lengths to do so. They first got a large portion of fans to cheer “The Big Dog” over Brock Lesnar by making “The Beast Incarnate” look like a lazy champion, though many fans and analysts felt like this negative booking did the company more harm than good. Then on last week’s Raw, the WWE had The Shield reunite to get fans behind Roman Reigns. The only problem with that decision is that all three members of The Shield attacked the very popular Braun Strowman, a babyface. Though they are faces, in heel-like fashion, The Shield ganged up on Braun and powerbombed him through the announce table. This left the live audience partly cheering because they loved The Shield reuniting, and partly silent because fans love “The Monster in the Bank.” Now, the WWE is trying to get fans behind Reigns by having Stowman turn heel.
Many fans feel that the booking of Braun Strowman has been broken over the course of the last couple of weeks. The WWE superstar kept saying that he’s not a coward, so he let everyone know ahead of time that he was going to cash in at SummerSlam after Reigns and Lesnar wrestled, and he did the same thing during Roman’s match on last week’s Raw. This was a huge plot hole because you don’t have to wait for the end of a match to cash in the contract, as seen by John Cena in 2012 when he cashed in his contract a week in advance to face CM Punk. So, many fans felt that “The Monster in the Bank” trying to cash in after Reigns wrestled was indeed a cowardly act. The WWE fixed this plot hole by having Strowman cash in at the beginning of Raw to face “The Big Dog” at Hell in a Cell, but the broken booking continued at the end of the show.
During the tag team main event, Roman Reigns took the heat from the heels for most of the contest. For the finish, Reigns made the hot tag to Braun Strowman, and that’s when things went south. Instead of firing up and pummeling Ziggler and McIntyre, “The Monster in the Bank” turned heel and ganged up with Dolph and Drew to decimate Reigns. Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose did their best to help, but they too were laid out by the trio of heels. Instead of the crowd booing this heel turn, they were largely just silent, and some were even cheering the heels on. The live audience popped when Rollins and Ambrose hit the ring, but they didn’t really boo that much when they were laid out.
Braun Strowman was way more over as a face than Roman Reigns, and it could be argued that the WWE has hitched their cart to the wrong horse. Not only will it be difficult for fans to boo a heel Strowman, but there is a great chance that “The Big Dog” will face even more backlash because many fans will likely blame him and the WWE for turning one of their favorite superstars into a heel. In addition, as seen through most of Lesnar’s career, fans typically don’t boo a powerful superstar that they view as a legitimate badass. When Strowman was a heel before, most fans cheered him anyway. This will likely happen again during this heel run.
Even in kayfabe, this heel turn doesn’t make sense. “The Monster in the Bank” was attacked by The Shield and put through a table. So, it could be argued that The Shield are actually the bad guys in this storyline. Moreover, Strowman aligning himself with Ziggler and McIntyre, and the three attacking The Shield, was just Braun getting even. Regardless, it looks like the WWE has formed a new alliance to feud with The Shield, and it looks like Ziggler and McIntyre will face Rollins and Ambrose in a tag team match at Hell in a Cell, as the Inquisitr documented. There’s also a chance that the WWE will back away from this Braun heel turn like they recently did with Bayley, but that doesn’t seem as likely.
The WWE did provide the Toronto audience with a pleasant treat on Raw, as Canada’s own Trish Stratus made an appearance. Elias was in the ring cutting his usual entertaining promo, and after he insulted Canada, the former WWE Women’s champion came down to the ring. The two had some verbal back and forth, but when Elias told Trish that he doesn’t date women in their 60s, Stratus responded with a slap to Elias’ face. Elias left the ring, and “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey and Natalya joined Trish in the ring.
Alexa Bliss then came out and, per her usual, cut a solid promo. She told Trish that she looked great, but that she looked forward to beating Stratus up at Evolution. Bliss said that she is the woman who replaced Trish, and when the crowd reacted, she simply said the fans know that she’s correct with that statement, and that silenced the crowd.
In numerous shoot interviews, “Little Miss Bliss” has said that Trish was a huge influence on her becoming a wrestler, so many fans view their bout at Evolution as a dream match. In closing, Alexa Bliss said that she is invoking her rematch clause at Hell in the Cell, where she will challenge Ronda Rousey for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship, and this was somewhat expected as the AT&T Center had already announced that match as well.