It appears that Seth Rollins’ villainous stable has grown from three members to four, with Buddy Murphy officially joining forces with the former Universal Champion and Authors of Pain (Akam and Rezar) in the main event of this week’s episode of Monday Night Raw.
As recapped by Wrestling Inc., the stage for Murphy’s alignment with Rollins’ faction was set when the ex-Cruiserweight Champion lost his fourth straight televised match against Aleister Black, effectively ending their feud. Following the loss, Murphy appeared shocked by his defeat as he remained seated at ringside, watching the following match between Erick Rowan and a local jobber and the main-event match, which saw Rollins and AOP take on Kevin Owens, Samoa Joe, and Big Show in a six-man tag team match with “Fist Fight” rules.
With Murphy still silent and refusing to answer questions from interviewer Charly Caruso, the Australian grappler continued observing the Fist Fight match. Although the babyface trio — with Show doing most of the work in the ring, per Cageside Seats — dominated early on against the heel faction, Rollins asked Murphy for help, which he provided toward the end of the match, hitting the seven-footer with a low blow and allowing Rollins and AOP to pick up the victory.
As further noted, it seemed that Murphy was hesitant at first to join forces with Rollins, Akam, and Rezar, but he eventually agreed, hugging the stable leader as all four men raised each other’s hands to close out this week’s Raw.
The new storyline development came just weeks after it was reported that Monday Night Raw executive director Paul Heyman is interested in pushing a number of wrestlers and giving these mid-card talents more of a chance to shine on the red brand’s programming. While it was suggested at that time that Murphy and Black might eventually join forces and form a tag team of their own, Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter stressed that the most likely plan was to establish Black as a top babyface and Murphy as one of Raw‘s biggest heels.
While Murphy’s role in the faction and his creative direction in the long term are still unclear, there could be a chance he and his stablemates might use their strength in numbers to their advantage at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view’s eponymous men’s battle royal on Sunday, January 26. Per ProWrestling.net, Murphy was announced on Monday as one of the entrants in the men’s Royal Rumble match, though as of this writing, Rollins, Akam, and Rezar have yet to confirm their participation.