Sometimes, you just know RAW is going to be good. Maybe it was the glitz of Los Angeles or the well advertised Tag Team Championship match, but it felt like last night's RAW was destined to be exceptional.
And it was.
With the Royal Rumble officially looming, WWE was forced to kick itself into gear and declare creative directions for its cast of characters. Even though there's plenty of time for things to evolve, it looks like WWE's magic formula going forward will rely heavily on The Shield and Braun Strowman as they seek to destroy the likes of Jason Jordan, Samoa Joe, The Bar and of course, Kane.
It's an exciting time to be a WWE fan and it looks like Vince McMahon and Co. are ready to reward us for our undying commitment to their product. Let's break down the latest edition of RAW and try to figure just where WWE is heading as 2017 comes to a close.
1. The Importance of Jason Jordan
Heels are the most vital part of any wrestling show. It's easy to get lost in the matches, interviews, music, LED screens, and Michael Cole's exposition, but in the end, wrestling is about Good vs. Evil. While that line tends to blur, that doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
Jason Jordan's heel turn has been masterfully facilitated by WWE. Even more, he has yet to fully declare himself as a villain by a heinous act. Instead, he's naturally become the entitled product of nepotism that we all have experienced in our lives. He's dislikable on a visceral level and it's beautiful.
Even more, our hatred for Jordan tricked us into loving Roman Reigns that much more.
2. Nia Loves Enzo
Not only did Nia Jax debut some snazzy new hair braids, but she may have launched a romance angle with the Cruiserweight Champion, Enzo Amore.
And by the looks of it, Enzo is down to reciprocate the interest.
Where this is going, I do not know, but I can't wait to see what happens next week.
It must be mentioned that RAW's Fatal 4-Way match involving Cedric Alexander, Mustapha Ali, Tony Nese and Drew Gulak was outstanding. It felt like one of those moments that 205 Live will be able to point to and say "See, we're actually great."
Let's hope WWE keeps letting the Cruiserweights shine.
3. We are WOKEN
Despite WWE clearly making an exception in allowing Matt Hardy to use his famed gimmick from Impact, fans were worried that Vince McMahon and Co. would ruin the beloved character. While that can still happen, Woken Matt Hardy's debut on Monday was spectacular.
The inconsistent accent, archaic language, and maniacal facial expressions were in full effect during Hardy's dueling promo with Bray Wyatt. In fact, Hardy was so deeply 'Woken' it made Bray Wyatt seem coherent.
Its impossible to guess how far WWE will run with this, but Bray isn't the best opponent. With his own bizarre incantations, it doesn't provide the distinct juxtaposition that Broken Matt Hardy will need to endear himself to more casual fans. Regardless, this will have some fun moment, but I'm a little worried that Bray will come out on top and put the Woken era to bed.
4. Asuka Comes Back to Earth
Last week, when Asuka disposed of Dana Brooke in 4 seconds it appeared that WWE had re-dedicated themselves to making her look unstoppable.
Well, after a competitive match with Alicia Foxx, Asuka looks human again. This likely isn't a big deal to WWE officials as they have long-term plans for the Empress of Tomorrow. However, details like this one could alter the impact of WWE's vision for Asuka. They'll tell us she's the most dominant force in women's wrestling, but they have yet to truly show us.
5. A 6-Man Main Event
While it would have been great to see Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins become 2-time RAW Tag Team Champions, the timing wasn't quite right.
Instead of giving the fans exactly what the wanted, a resolution, WWE chose to add more tension to the story. More tension came in the form of more bodies as now Samoa Joe and Roman Reigns have entered the picture. With WWE still eager to collect on this Shield reunion, we can officially be on the lookout for a 6-man tag match with high stakes - likely at the Rumble.
With no John Cen or Brock Lesnar, WWE has to combine star power to create a compelling main event. While this Shield vs. Joe, Sheamus, and Ceras are just getting started, we can safely assume that it will be a blast.