Yesterday’s edition of Monday Night Raw was the first Raw of the so-called “New Era”. With both Raw and Smackdown having separate rosters, this means that certain championship titles will be exclusive to a particular brand.
Dean Ambrose’s victory against Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns this past Sunday at Battleground meant that the WWE Title would be exclusive to Ambrose’s brand, Smackdown. This also meant that Raw was left without a major championship on their show. Due to this, Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley announced that Raw’s major championship will be called the WWE Universal Championship.
Raw General Manager Mick Foley also went on to announce that there would be two Fatal 4-Way matches that night on Raw. The winners of those two Fatal 4-Way’s would wrestle each other in the main event of Raw to determine who would go on to SummerSlam to compete for the Universal Title against Raw’s number one draft pick, Seth Rollins. It ultimately came down to Roman Reigns vs. NXT acquisition Finn Balor in the main event of Raw, and Finn Balor was the one who ended the night victorious.
This sets up Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor for the Universal Title at SummerSlam, which will be Balor’s first WWE PPV match. SummerSlam takes place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on Sunday, August 21.
WWE has yet to debut the actual Universal Championship. That could happen next week.
Mark’s reaction: Before yesterday’s Raw, I was fully expecting WWE to go with Rollins vs. Reigns for the title at SummerSlam. Having Balor in this match instead of Reigns is such a pleasant surprise. Balor was Raw’s third draft pick and second male draft pick behind Rollins, so WWE had to put Balor over in a big way to warrant his high pick in the draft.
Can Balor defeat Rollins at SummerSlam to become the inaugural Universal Champion? I think he has a shot. He just defeated Roman Reigns in clean fashion. With Reigns’ recent drop in stature due to the suspension and persistent negative crowd response, I see the top babyface on Raw as Balor. If WWE is pushing this “new era” idea then having Balor as your champ on Raw really shakes things up and puts Balor over on a huge stage as a big time star for the company.
Picture used above is courtesy of WWE.com.