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Kevin Owens begins his reign as WWE Universal champion after winning the vacant title last Monday in Houston. …
WWE Raw TV Report
September 5, 2016 – Episode #1,215
Live in Kansas City, Mo.
Report by James Caldwell (@JCTorch), PWTorch assistant editor
MOBILE ALERT: If you are reading the Report on a handheld device, visit the mobile version of the report by HARD-PRESSING THIS LINK for the most frequent updates. VIP MEMBERS: Access your ad-free version by HARD-PRESSING THIS LINK.
- Week 7 of the Brand Split – Raw run by Stephanie McMahon & Mick Foley
- Kevin Owens new Universal champion
- Sheamus (2-0) vs. Cesaro in Match #3 of Best-of-Seven Series
- Women’s champion Charlotte vs. Bayley in a non-title match
Raw opened with a video package hyping a “shocking ending” to last week’s show when Triple H helped Kevin Owens win the vacant Universal Title after turning on his protege, Seth Rollins.
Earlier Today: Stephanie McMahon was on the phone telling someone in the marketing department that they need a big celebration for Kevin Owens. Mick Foley walked up behind Stephanie selling upsetness. Foley told Stephanie that her husband made him look like a fool last Monday. And now she won’t talk to him. Why? Stephanie said she was embarrassed as a leader, commissioner, and executive. And embarrassed by her own husband. Stephanie pleaded with Foley to believe her that she is still the same girl with the shy smile from the 1990s. Foley said he does believe her. Because if he doesn’t, then it makes her a really good liar and a really bad person. And he cannot believe that. Foley walked off. Stephanie sold catching her breath through tears.
Live in the arena, balloons were falling from the ceiling and Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley were standing by in the ring. Stephanie introduced the new Universal champion Kevin Owens, who walked out on-stage holding the Universal Title belt. Owens was in a casual suit consisting of an unbuttoned dress shirt, suit jacket, and pants.
Owens slid into the ring and walked past a handshake from Foley to pose in the ring. Loud mixed reaction for Owens, who was then greeted by a full pyro display. Huge pyro display. Owens took a look at the title belt as confetti fell from the ceiling to honor Owens. Owens walked around the ring soaking up the crowd response, then his music stopped.
Owens smiled and surveyed the scene. “Look at this!” he said. Owens thanked Stephanie and Mick for this celebration. Steph tried to act happy for Owens as champion, saying he deserves it. You’re right. I do deserve this. Owens said he deserves this title. And, in fact, last week when he won the title, the entire arena was chanting, “You deserve it.” And they were 100 percent right.
What he doesn’t deserve, though, is a crowd full of idiots trying to hi-jack his moment. And last week was his moment, just like tonight is his moment. Owens heeled on the crowd, saying he is great and special, not the fans. “I know I deserve it!” Owens shouted. Owens said last week he beat three Superstars to win the title.
But, he is man enough to admit that Triple H did show up at the end to give him a little nudge. All Hunter did was make things right – put him at the very top of this industry. And now Raw shall be known as the Kevin Owens Show.
Suddenly, Seth Rollins’s music played. Rollins marched down to the ring with purpose with a bone to pick with Owens. Rollins told Owens this isn’t about him. He asked Stephanie how she could do this to him after he put this company – your company – on his back. He said he blew every ligament in his leg and came back faster than anyone ever. And this is how you treat me?
Owens told Rollins that this is his show, haven’t you heard? Rollins told Owens to shut up. The four of them argued about whether Stephanie knew what happened last week. Owens then asked Seth where this passion was the last few months. He said ever since Seth returned from injury, he has been designing blueprints for total failure. Seth punched Owens in the face, prompting Steph to yell at Rollins to stop it. But, he punched Owens again.
[Q2] Steph shouted at Seth that as of this moment, he is indefinitely suspended. “No he’s not,” Mick declared. Everyone popped for Foley taking control. Foley told Steph that this is Raw and they’re here to make matches. He said he’s never particularly liked Seth, but he doesn’t want to see Seth on the sidelines. Foley booked Owens vs. Seth for the title at Clash of Champions. Seth liked that, while Steph glared at Seth. Owens was upset over Foley’s booking and yelled at Foley while Steph left the ring in frustration.
Still to come: Women’s champion Charlotte vs. Bayley in an early giveaway of this match-up.
[Commercial Break at 8:19]
Backstage: Stephanie and Foley argued over Foley over-stepping his boundaries. Kevin Owens interrupted the argument to accuse Foley of playing favorites by rewarding Seth’s bad behavior with a title shot. He said he’s actually going to reward Owens’s behavior with a match against Sami Zayn. (A few weeks after their blow-off match?) Chris Jericho interrupted to have Owens’s back. Jericho ran down Foley, then Steph told Jericho not to yell at Foley. Foley booked Jericho against Seth Rollins tonight. (That positions Seth as a default face despite acting heelish and whiny in the opening segment.) Jericho gritted his teeth over that decision, then Steph smiled at them like they just got owned. Owens and Jericho complained to themselves.
In-ring: Women’s champion Charlotte was introduced to the ring along with Dana Brooke after they sold tension for the 83rd time on the Raw pre-show. Dana brought a clipboard with her to the ring to take notes on what Charlotte does to Bayley. Huge pop for Bayley making her introduction to the ring. Bayley did a full ring intro as Charlotte hung out in the ring waiting out the crowd response.
1 — WWE Women’s champion CHARLOTTE (w/Dana Brooke) vs. BAYLEY — non-title match
It felt like there should have been more build-up to this first main roster encounter. Charlotte controlled early on, but she made the mistake of bouncing Bayley’s head off the top turnbuckle. Bayley no-sold, then repeatedly slammed Bayley’s head into the buckle. Charlotte bailed to the outside to get a breather. That’s where she caught Bayley in a trap to stand tall heading to break.
[Q3] [Commercial Break at 8:30]
Back from break, Charlotte was controlling Bayley in the ring as Dana held out her clipboard to “take notes.” Charlotte cut off a comeback, then posted Bayley in the corner. Charlotte then attacked the leg looking to set up for the figure-eight leglock. But, Bayley pushed off, sending Charlotte right into Dana, bumping heads. Bayley then dropped Charlotte with Bayley-to-Belly for the pin and the win.
Post-match, the crowd exploded for Bayley’s win. She’s got mega-star written all over her. Bayley hobbled to her feet and soaked up the win as Charlotte recovered in the ring and contemplated yelling at Dana. She opted not to, still in shock over losing to Bayley.
WINNER: Bayley at 12:37. And now time for the 84th tease of Charlotte/Dana tension. Depending on what the deal is with Sasha, they have a star ready to be made in Bayley.
Still to come: Sasha Banks is back on Raw to pull a Wade Barrett delivering some bad news.
Still to come: Chris Jericho vs. Seth Rollins.
Still to come: Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn.
Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton were shown on-camera to introduce a video package on Connor the Crusher to begin a campaign for pediatric cancer awareness month in September.
[Q4] [Commercial Break at 8:45]
The Cruiserweights are coming: Gran Metalik was highlighted, then Jack Gallagher and Akira Tozawa. They arrive in two weeks.
Backstage: Tension Tease #84 between Charlotte and Dana. Charlotte shouted at Dana that she’s not helping anything. Dana vowed to fix it and make it up to her. Charlotte instead slapped her across the face.
In-ring: Bo Dallas walked out to the ring holding a poster to Bo-Lieve in Bo. Dallas marched to the ring acting more serious than usual. Awaiting him in the ring was a jobber, who he dressed down before the bell sounded.
2 — BO DALLAS vs. KYLE ROBERTS
As soon as the bell sounded, Dallas clotheslined the jobber hard to the mat. Dallas pounded on the kid before finishing him with a spinning reverse facebuster. Dallas pinned him, then paraded around ringside with his political sign.
WINNER: Dallas at 0:39. The crowd didn’t know what to do this version of Dallas. A lot of follow-up needed to this shift work.
Still to come: The Club addresses their OLD FART research.
Backstage: Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens walked and talked down the hallway. Owens said his suit cost $750 and he got a new haircut. Jericho told Owens that he will not let Seth Rollins treat him like he did earlier tonight. He vowed to make Seth look like an ass tonight. Owens told Jericho to go do … “it.”
[Commercial Break at 8:54]
Tomorrow Night: A.J. Styles confronts WWE champion Dean Ambrose on Smackdown.
In-ring: Chris Jericho was introduced to the ring for the top-of-the-hour main event. Jericho walked to the ring sneering toward the crowd, then Seth Rollins’s music played to bring out Jericho’s opponent.
[Q5 — second hour]
3 — CHRIS JERICHO vs. SETH ROLLINS
Rollins cleared Jericho to the outside early on, then he nailed a suicide dive. Meanwhile, Graves bragged about Raw crushing Smackdown in the ratings last week. Down on the floor, Rollins dragged Jericho around ringside punishing him.
Back in the ring, Rollins pounded on Jericho before slapping him across the face. WWE cut backstage to show Owens sitting in the locker room watching the match on a TV monitor. Suddenly, Jericho dropkicked Rollins off the ring apron down to the floor. Raw cut to break.
[Commercial Break at 9:05]
Back from break, Jericho was still in control. But, Seth answered with a Slingblade. He tried a springboard move, but Jericho caught Seth’s leg and transitioned to the Walls of Jericho. Rollins scraped for the bottom rope and got it to escape the hold. Seth then came back with a thrust kick to the face for a two count.
Both men sold on the mat before Seth got up and climbed to the top turnbuckle. But, Jericho cut him off. Jericho wanted a superplex, but Seth blocked and dumped Jericho down to the mat. Seth then airballed a frogsplash. Jericho followed right up with a Lionsault for a close two count.
[Q6] Both men sold on the mat before Jericho kicked Seth in the chest. Codebreaker attempt, but Seth blocked. Jericho with an enziguiri kick, but Seth came right back with The Pedigree. Cole noted there was a little message behind that. Seth covered Jericho for the win.
WINNER: Rollins at 13:45. Really good action, but it was so odd seeing Seth in the face role, especially when he hasn’t actually turned face. The opening segment was a chance to redefine him as humbled by the turn of events associating with the heels and taking shortcuts to win, but he continued to be complainy and whiny. Soft babyface launch.
Up Next: Sheamus vs. Cesaro in Match #3 of their best-of-seven.
[Commercial Break at 9:17]
Smackdown plug: The first Smackdown Women’s champion will be determined this Sunday at Backlash.
In-ring: Cesaro was introduced to the ring selling his back injury from last Monday’s Raw. Earlier today, Cesaro said in an inset promo that Sheamus thinks he already won the series, but Sheamus is one loss away from losing his confidence. Cesaro vowed to expose Sheamus and his insecurities tonight. Sheamus was then introduced to the ring up 2-0. In an inset promo, Sheamus vowed to break Cesaro’s back after injuring him last week. Sheamus slipped in some news that they will wrestle Match #4 in London this Wednesday.
4 — SHEAMUS (2-0) vs. CESARO (0-2) — Match #3 of Best-of-Seven series
Sheamus quickly targeted Cesaro’s back by tossing him high into the air to deliver a back body drop. Cesaro rolled to the floor trying to recover, drawing out Sheamus to blast him with a clothesline. But, back in the ring, Sheamus pounded Cesaro’s back with knee strikes.Sheamus nailed the Irish Curse backbreaker, but Cesaro kicked out of a pin.
Sheamus nailed the Irish Curse backbreaker, but Cesaro kicked out of a pin. Sheamus then delivered three consecutive backbreakers for a nearfall. Sheamus followed with the Celtic Cross, which he turned into a high-impact backbreaker.
Cesaro complained about the pain, forcing the ref to see if he wants to give up the match. Cesaro waved him off, then walked right into a Brogue Kick. Sheamus pinned Cesaro for the win, prompting the announcers to stack a super deck for Cesaro trying to win this series.
WINNER: Sheamus at 4:05 to go up 3-0 heading into London on Wednesday.
Still to come: Sasha Banks will deliver some bad news.
[Q7] [Commercial Break at 9:29]
In-ring: Back on Raw, the Shining Stars were in the ring holding flowers. They invited everyone to come visit them in Puerto Rico. Suddenly, Enzo Amore’s music played to a big reaction. Out came Big Cass and Enzo fired up for tag action. Enzo said it looks like they got a couple of hatahs over here. He said no one wants to buy their Caribbean time share because they’re right here in the middle of America in Kansas City. And, it just so happens that today is Labor Day. And the irony is listening to them talk makes him feel like he’s going into labor.
Enzo assumed the position and Cass led a breathing techniques routine to the tune of “How ya doin?” Suddenly, Enzo produced the baby. A beautiful baby boy. What should we call him? Cass said they should call him the one word that comes to mind to describe the Shining Stars. S-A-W-F-T! Enzo left the ring with his pretend baby and handed it over to a female fan on the front row.
5 — ENZO AMORE & BIG CASS vs. SHINING STARS (PRIMO & EPICO)
Enzo quickly knocked the Stars to the outside, then nailed a big splash on the outside. Quick break with Enzo & Cass in control.
[Commercial Break at 9:39]
During the break, the Stars took out Enzo with heel tactics. Back live in the ring, the Stars isolated Enzo, cutting off Cass from taking a tag. Suddenly, Primo airballed a corner attack, getting himself hung up in the corner. Enzo then crawled toward Big Cass to make the tag simultaneous to Epico tagging in.
Cass wiped out Epico with big-man offense, then nailed the Empire Elbow, Stinger Splash, and big boot. Tag to Enzo, who tried to fly off the top rope, but Primo cut them off. Chaos in the ring, then Epico suddenly rolled up Enzo from behind for a surprise three count. Enzo & Cass sold being shocked after the match.
WINNERS: Shining Stars at 7:05. WWE has barely acknowledged Cass in the Universal Title match last Monday and now Cass & Enzo lose to a low-end tag team. Something is off here.
[Q8] Still to come: Owens vs. Zayn.
Smackdown plug: Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt at Backlash.
[Commercial Break at 9:47]
Backstage: Sami Zayn was standing by with Tom Phillips. Zayn said he really thought beating Owens would advance his career. And he beat him at Battleground. But, since then, what’s happened? He’s been directionless. And now Owens is the Universal champion. He said that stings. In walked Kevin Owens holding the Universal Title. Owens said what’s funny is just a couple of years ago, he was trying to catch up to Zayn. But, now he’s at the finish line before Zayn. “I won the race,” Owens said. “This means I’m better than you.” Owens told Zayn that he’s nothing. Zayn said he wasn’t nothing when he beat him at Battleground. He said this race will never be over. And he will win the Universal Title at some point – on his own; he won’t need Triple H to hand it to him on a silver platter. Zayn walked off.
In-ring: Nia Jax was introduced to the ring to face a jobber identified as Ann Esposito. She appeared to be plucked out of the crowd based on her wardrobe. But, she’s friends with Alicia Fox, according to a tweet. Corey pointed out some friend Fox is getting her a booking against Jax.
6 — NIA JAX vs. ANN ESPOSITO
Jax dominated, destroyed, and decimated Esposito, finishing her with a powerslam.
WINNER: Jax Squash at 1:35.
Up Next: The Club has another retirement service planned – this time for New Day.
[Commercial Break at 9:56]
OLD FART Segment
Back on Raw, Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows were in the ring. Luke Gallows introduced himself. Karl Anderson introduced himself. He said they are retirement specialists.
[Q9 — third hour] The Club’s next assignment is to retire New Day as tag champions at Clash of Champions. So, tonight, they want to show everyone exactly what New Day is like under their care in the future. They welcomed out the “Old Day.”
Old man Big E. wheezed out the New Day intro before a slow beat version of their music played. Three men selling being senior citizens hobbled out on-stage. Club eventually helped them into the ring to stand together with a walker, cane, and small trombone.
The man appearing to be Old Kofi Kingston was shaking like it was 15 degrees in the building. Anderson asked Dr. Woods for his medical opinion. He said he remembered being hit by Choo Choo from Kalamazoo. Gallows then addressed Old Big E. clearly giving up on life. He said he even soiled himself. Old New Day then tried to shake their hips doing the dance, injuring themselves.
Suddenly, New Day’s theme played to bring out Big E., Kofi Kingston, and Xavier Woods to interrupt. Xavier laughed to himself wondering what’s happening right now. Kofi painted a picture of the WWE Universe exploding if they touch fingers with the old versions of them. So, they should just beat up the bald guys. But, Karl and Doc bailed from the ring to avoid a fight.
New Day was left in the ring to confront the old versions of themselves. The oldies tried to dance, but New Day showed them how to dance. The bit wasn’t over, though, as New Day cleared the old folks from the ring. Big E. delivered the Big Ending to the old version of himself, combined with Xavier coming off the top rope with a cutter. New Day told Club to worry about Clash of Champions in three weeks.
[ Reax: How did this get slotted at the top of the third hour? Unbelievably lame. ]
Earlier Tonight: Kevin Owens confronted Seth Rollins, telling him he’s a total failure.
Still to come: Owens vs. Zayn in singles action.
[Commercial Break at 10:12]
[Q10] Bob Backlund’s voice produced Darren Young back from break. No indication of Young’s opponent is as Young made his way out. WWE cut to the ring to show Jinder Mahal standing by in the ring. Titus O’Neil was on commentary to address D-Young’s match.
7 — DARREN YOUNG (w/Bob Backlund) vs. JINDER MAHAL
Young controlled early on as Titus bragged about being more successful then D-Young. Meanwhile, Titus picked a fight with Byron Saxton on commentary. Back in the ring, Young dropkicked Mahal to the floor. Suddenly, Titus left commentary and walked down to the ring. Young shook off the distraction, then dropped Mahal with Gut Check for the win.
Post-match, Young charged Titus on the floor to attack him. Young snapped on Titus, letting his inner barbarism come out. Young removed O’Neil’s dress shoe and chucked it at him, then refs spilled out trying to separate the former tag partners. Young continued to tackle Titus, though. Young eventually let go and returned to the ring to celebrate with Bob.
WINNER: Young at 2:14.
Trainer’s Room: Alicia Fox left the trainer’s room after checking on her old friend. Nia Jax stopped Fox in the hallway and picked a fight. Fox went old-school tossing things around, then accidentally bumped Jax in the face, who threw her across a table. Fox went nuts as Raw cut to break.
[Commercial Break at 10:22]
In-ring: Braun Strowman was introduced to the ring for the next match. WWE cut backstage to Tom Phillips standing by with Sin Cara, who took this match to defend the honor of the lucha jobber last Monday.
8 — BRAUN STROWMAN vs. SIN CARA
Cara tried to quickly strike Strowman, who came right back with a knock-down clothesline. Strowman punished Cara, but Cara came back with a head scissors, prompting perhaps the worst sell of a head scissors ever recorded on television. Cara then knocked Strowman to the outside and nailed a dropkick. But, Strowman ripped Cara off the ring apron down to the floor. Cara sold being knocked out as the ref reached a ten count.
WINNER: Strowman via count-out at 2:12. Strowman might need to go back to squash matches after that horrible sell of a head scissors.
[Q11] Post-match, Strowman wasn’t done with Sin Cara. Strowman left the ring and pounded Cara with a clothesline. “Roarrrrrr!” he shouted. Strowman galloped up the entrance ramp to the stage.
Up Next: Sasha Banks delivers some “bad news.”
[Commercial Break at 10:31]
In-ring: Sasha Banks’s music played to bring out The Boss dressed in street clothes. Michael Cole said there’s been a lot of rumor and speculation floating around about Sasha’s injury condition following Summerslam. The announcers over-played the injury as Sasha took the mic with a subdued attitude.
Sasha said there’s a saying that every journey has an end. And every story has a final chapter. Sasha shouted out to Mae Young and Fabulous Moolah, Alundra Blayze and Luna Vachon, and Trish Stratus and Lita who broke the mold. Sasha went back to July 2015 when Stephanie McMahon introduced the next generation of women in WWE.
Sasha said they got rid of the “stupid butterfly title.” Sasha got emotional saying they did it. She said they became Superstars. She said this is about all of them. And her revolution is every time she steps in the ring. Sasha held her stomach. She said every time she steps in the ring, she does it for every little girl.
Sasha reflected on her WWE journey starting with collecting soda cans to save up money to buy a ticket to a WWE show. Sasha got emotional. She said that at Summerslam, she was pushed to her limits. Scratch that – pushed beyond her limits. Sasha said Charlotte tried to break her back and Charlotte beat her straight up. But, she’s out here because earlier today she met with doctors. And she has an update on her condition.
Suddenly, Dana Brooke’s music interrupted. Dana, representing the bimbos Sasha cut a promo on, vowed to finish what Sasha started at Summerslam. She told Sasha that her little journey is going to end right here, right now on her terms. Dana approached Sasha, who nailed her with a Backstabber into the Sasha Banks.
Actually, the bad news is for Charlotte. She told Dana to send a message to Charlotte that she’s been medically cleared and she’s coming for the Women’s Title at Clash of Champions. Sasha threw down the mic to a pop, then smiled on the way out.
Main Event: Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn is up next.
[Q12] [Commercial Break at 10:45]
Tomorrow Night: Dean Ambrose vs. A.J. Styles confrontation on Smackdown.
In-ring: Sami Zayn was introduced to the ring for the TV main event. Kevin Owens was out next sporting a new “The Kevin Owens Show” t-shirt desgned like the old Raw is War logo with the red and black stacked text.
9 — WWE Universal champion KEVIN OWENS vs. SAMI ZAYN — non-title match
As soon as the bell sounded, Owens and Zayn charged each other and traded big blows. The match spilled to the floor, where Zayn caught Owens with a moonsault leg whip to the head. Owens sold on the floor and Zayn stood tall heading to the final break of the show.
[Commercial Break at 10:52]
Back from break, Owens was in control of the match in the ring. But, Zayn came back with a Blue Thunder Bomb in the middle of the ring for a close two count. Zayn followed with an exploder suplex into the corner.
The match moved to the ring apron, where Owens smashed Zayn on the side of the ring. Owens tried a pop-up powerbomb back in the ring, but Zayn escaped and dropped Owens to the mat for a close two count.
[Q13 — over-run] WWE zoomed out to the top of the building to reset the show as Owens and Zayn sold in the ring. Back to live action, Zayn landed awkwardly on his ankle, selling the recurring injury. On the floor, Owens tried a powerbomb on the ring apron, but Zayn slipped out and dropped Owens on his head.
Back in the ring, Zayn tried to nail the Helluva Kick, but his ankle gave out on him. So, Owens nailed him with a superkick. Owens then delivered an emphatic powerbomb in the middle of the ring. Owens covered Zayn for the win, then let out a huge scream finally conquering Zayn.
WINNER: Owens at 12:57. Fine main event, but set up all wrong with the heel champion looking to overcome the babyface thorn in his side to try to be legitimized as champion. They really didn’t have a gameplan for Zayn coming out of his victory over Owens at Battleground.
Post-match, Owens celebrated in the ring, then The Shield’s music suddenly played. Oh yeah, him. Roman Reigns walked out on-stage and walked down to the ring to a mixed reaction. Reigns slowly approached the ring, staring down Owens. Reigns then walked up to Owens, who was holding the Universal Title belt.
The lights came back up and the crowd audibly booed Reigns. Owens then bailed to the ring apron and told Reigns that he’s the champ. Suddenly, Chris Jericho walked down to the ring.
Then, Mick Foley’s music played. Foley said he can tell that Reigns wants a piece of Owens and the Universal Title. So next week on Raw, he’s booking Reigns against Owens. And if Reigns wins, then the title match at Clash of Champions will be a triple threat. The crowd booed the possibility of Reigns being added.
Owens left the ring yelling at Reigns that he’ll see him next week. Suddenly, Jericho hit the ring, but Reigns ducked a clothesline and nailed a spear. Owens acted unimpressed, then Reigns’s music played. Reigns and Owens talked trash, then Reigns posed in the ring to boos and cheers as Raw signed off seven minutes past the top of the hour.
OVERALL REAX: This show was all over the place with no clear top babyface at the moment. This was a lost opportunity for Seth Rollins to “ask for forgiveness” from the crowd and be positioned strongly, but he sounded like the same heel version of Rollins before wrestling in the default face role against Jericho. And there’s the dark cloud of Roman Reigns hanging over the show with no place to be after last week’s Universal Title result opposite a part-time, Triple H. Plus, no Triple H the week after being involved in a “shocking moment” that Michael Cole over-hyped as the biggest in 20 years. And, where’s U.S. champ Rusev? At the end of the day, the main focus of Raw is whether a heel authority figure, Stephanie, is lying or telling the truth. They had a week to sort out the storyline issues that resulted from how last week’s Raw ended and things seem just as messy.
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Most of the complaints about Raw are correct, but the one about Rollins needing to ask the crowd for “forgiveness” is just lame. Narcissists do not change into extremely humble people at the drop of a hat. This negation of basic psychology, where being betrayed by Triple H. would make a complete psychological shift in someone is everything that has always been wrong about face/heel turns. It is high time that these turns come with some psychological realism, which means their personality should stay in tact to at least some extent.
I disagree with your assesment of Rollins. Honestly, the crowd is going to cheer for him either way so he does not need to be the goody two shoes, pander to the crowd babyface. Just let him be in this tweener role for now and then eventually he may decide to get the crowd on his side. I personally prefer the babyfaces who dont mind getting their hands dirty to get the job done