Seth Rollins opened Monday Night Raw and addressed the million pound gorilla in the room, Roman Reigns’ recent 30-day suspension for violating WWE’s wellness policy. Rollins quickly broke into it (claiming he wasn’t supposed to be, which is doubtful), and said that as the architect of their former team The Shield it “soils my good name” to be associated with him.
Rollins then advocated for Roman Reigns to be removed from the previously-scheduled triple threat match with himself and WWE champion Dean Ambrose at Battleground (the PPV falls outside the range of the 30-day disciplinary period, so entering tonight the storyline trajectory was murky.)
At this point, Ambrose’s music hit and he said Roman Reigns owned up to his mistake, and that he was down with the triple-threat match continuing as scheduled. Then AJ Styles, who lost to Reigns in two recent title matches and recently enlisted help to beat John Cena, proposed for himself to be the third member of the match. Ambrose said it would still be Reigns, Styles suggested a Fatal Four-Way, Ambrose said fine, and Rollins said no. THEN Cena’s music hit, and he also threw his hat in the ring.
At this point, Stephanie McMahon came out and adjudicated the matter: Seth Rollins versus John Cena, and AJ Styles versus Dean Ambrose; if Cena and Styles win, they get added to the match. (It sounds like Roman Reigns is still in it despite his suspension, but that wasn’t 100% specified.)
As I often write, the best wrestling comes when the lines of the story and real-life are inextricably intertwined and the viewers have to figure out what’s what. In this case, it was rolling with Reigns’ wellness suspension and dropping it right into the storyline. This was the best beginning of Raw in recent memory.
This post will be updated with video when it becomes available.