Everybody Gets a Pop in the WWE

Monday Night Raw in New Orleans’ Smoothie King Center last week made it clear that the WWE is not in the wrestling business. There was a lot of wrestling in the three-hour show, but it was also really talky, with a segment that introduced children battling cancer as part of the WWE’s Connor’s Cure initiative. Legends Triple H and Mick Foley cut promos, and after Kevin Owens destroyed Tyler Breeze with an ugly power bomb on the ring apron, he spent time in the ring explaining himself.

Spooky and Wrestling Don't Mix

It seems like the WWE news this week should start with “Hell in a Cell,” where Shane McMahon took a 20-foot dive on to an announce table in his loss to Kevin Owens (thanks to a save from Sami Zayn), but the Eater of Buzz Bray Wyatt demands attention. Finn Balor is one of the WWE’s top stars, but his charisma and in-ring dynamics have evaporated in his feud with Wyatt. I wondered if Seth Rollins might be overrated during his program with Wyatt, but Rollins is fun again now that he’s with Dean Ambrose and feuding with Cesaro and Sheamus. Wyatt appears to be the weak link.

The Beat Downs Go On Forever

A basic rule in the WWE playbook is that if you want to build heat on a character or in a feud, go for a beat down. Time and again, heels have taken the last 10 minutes of Raw to waffle someone with a folding chair again and again, usually in a two- or three-on-one situation, just to amplify the cruel unfairness. A week ago, The Miz and the Miztourage pounded on Roman Reigns well after he’d stopped moving, going so far as starting to leave the ring and come back down the ramp to beat on Reigns’ prone body some more.

Roman Reigns Shows His Softer Side

This year’s number one project in the WWE is clearly building Roman Reigns. He’s big, agile, and charismatic, and perhaps because he was picked for big things years ago, fans have been slow to truly embrace him. At the recent “No Mercy” pay-per-view, he completed a brief program with John Cena designed to give Cena a chance to tell the fans that Reigns has earned his respect.

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