Lets acknowledge the obvious… This wasn’t the plan. Eight days ago Finn Balor was crowned the first-ever WWE Universal Champion. One torn labrum later, Kevin Owens is crowned the new “first-ever” WWE Universal Champion. There were a lot of things right with WWE’s presentation Monday. There were a lot of things wrong with WWE’s presentation on Monday. Unfortunately, the things that are wrong are issues that have plagued the company for years, so lets get those out of the way first…
• After a tremendous match that saw superman punches, spears, pop up power bombs, the match essentially ended with 2 pedigrees. Two pedigrees delivered by a guy not in the match. Two pedigrees delivered by, at least the last time we saw him, another WWE authority figure. Two pedigrees that were sold like gun shots.
• Kevin Owens was basically handed the WWE title (I will not continuously reference it as the Universal title). He basically just showed up, made the cover, and celebrated.
• When putting over a first time champion you want them to look strong, don’t you? Owens had a tremendous match, but didn’t look strong in the finish. Triple H beat Reigns and Rollins. Owens got the pin.
• Now that I read that back, all the negatives have to do with Triple H, whose reemergence is what will make the coming weeks very compelling television.
• It’s Kevin Owens. I mean come on! Dude is unreal. Crazy good and better then any spot WWE has previously slotted him at. He’s a better overall performer then anyone on the main roster.
• The presentation was perfect. WWE made the match feel special. The opening promo was about 10 minutes instead of the usual 20 and the individual videos that aired throughout the show were great. The match was presented as meaningful, therefore it was.
• The announcing. I know right! Been awhile since we’ve been able to say that about a Raw announce team but this crew was solid and Michael Cole made you feel as if you just say something shocking (even though the turn was pretty telegraphed from the moment HHH took entered the ring).
• The crowd reaction. Most crowds these days are annoying. They’re either too quiet or too smart for their own good. This crowd “got it”.
• The inevitable Seth Rollins face turn. The crowd so desperately wanted Rollins to be a babyface after returning from injury but WWE was still so behind Reigns that wouldn’t let that happen. Which reminds me…
• The inevitable Roman Reigns heel turn. They gotta do it, right? It makes too much sense now. RIGHT?!?!?!?!
So, as always, after a beautifully booked angle – whats next? The downside to moments like this is we fantasy book ourselves into totally unrealistic scenarios. We had every major NXT talent debuting on the draft, remember? Most recently, we had Goldberg appearing at the end of SummerSlam to challenge Brock Lesnar. So what now? Triple H returns to form a super NXT faction and take over both shows?
It never works out the way we book it in our head. All we can do is hope to enjoy the ride.
(Also we can hope WWE doesn’t screw this up Monday and make this all meaningless.)
(Oh, we can also hope they no longer book Kevin Owens like a middle tier guy and treat him like the superstar he is)