Coming off Roman Reigns' topical character-arc at TLC, WWE ensured that his newfangled momentum escalated to a higher plateau on Monday night. They attempted to capitalize of his lightening in a bottle moment, taking leap of faith by pushing all their chips frontward on starting the Roman Empire.
By virtue of astute booking, excellent performances and a dosage of luck - the risk paid off.
In contrast to Raw's habitual style, the show took its observers on a story-driven excursion. The excursion had building blocks and alongside those blocks were wait-and-see questions, creating eagerness over how the story would unravel.
The unknown separates a cannot-miss show from a passable one. Once a show can no longer create questions nor satisfyingly answer them, it lacks suspense and ambiguity, consequently rendering it meaningless. Most Raws suffer because of those deficiencies, failing to create a reason anyone should watch hour to hour -- never mind week to week.
This episode, however, was different - this episode had a plotline which progressed through the whole night.
Raw wasted no time on answering the intriguing question coming out of TLC: what Roman Reigns' repercussions for his actions at the pay-per-view (PPV) would be. Stephanie McMahon told Reigns Triple H did not want to fire him but that someone later on that night just may...Vincent Kennedy McMahon.
The segment was compendious, and ket Reigns from saying something banal and/or fatuous to harm his garden-fresh character-arc and set something up to which we could look forward.
But to no one's surprise, Stephanie McMahon could not resist an attempt to obtain some of Reigns' new heat.
In this day and age, it would be indisputably thickheaded for WWE to display man-on-woman violence on its programming. However, that does not mean they should put its wrestlers in situations where they look like pushovers, backing down to an aggressively physical women.
Roman Reigns smiled and brushed it off, but Stephanie McMahon nevertheless came out unscathed from yet another situation in which she was contumelious and physically abusive. It is deplorable that she continuously stockpiles heat, yet never passes her heat on to someone in need of it. The character is excessively self-indulgent, counterproductive and serves little purpose on the show.
Vince McMahon thankfully evinced how it is done, and while behind-the-curtain McMahon is tiresome, his on-screen character will never overstay its welcoming.
The character being so affably evil is what makes it so efficacious. He could screw anyone over he pleases but that would make the show rather unentertaining and hackneyed. The character works because it pretends it to be something it is not. He pretends he is a man of integrity and impartiality, giving wrestlers the illusion they determine their own fate, but in reality he concocts schemes that make it seemingly impossible for the said wrestler to triumph.
On Monday Night Raw, McMahon gave Reigns an opportunity to determine his fate: king of the world or king of the unemployment line -- and of course we already knew which outcome McMahon would desire to see.
In those type of matches, something happens which indicates the face-in-peril will not overcome the insurmountable odds stacked against him. But because of the face-in-peril's resiliency and perseverance, he overcomes the and makes McMahon's conspiracy blow up in his face. This results in the babyface to look like the world's best conqueror and overcomer ever.
The formula works nearly every time, and it might have been the most suitable way to make Roman Reigns a made-man. The Philadelphia crowd, of all crowds, cheered him on as if they thought he was Daniel Bryan. They were screaming, jumping up and down and chanting "YES!" repeatedly through the match. They wanted to see the face-in-peril Roman Reigns overcome the odds, keep his job and finally become WWE champion.
When he did, the place then became unglued.
WWE struggles with keeping its wrestlers interesting for an extended time. Even their recent interesting wrestlers eventually became cliché-ridden and static. Frankly, the only wrestlers who maintain their magnetism are the part-timers who scarcely are on television.
The company indubitably wants Roman Reigns to be their figurehead, which means backstage politics will not mar his opportunity. The only things that could mar his opportunity are vacuously written promos and aimless directional booking, two things that have sabotaged him before.
By way of clever booking, outstanding performances and some luck - one of WWE's toughest crowds endorsed Reigns as their new WWE champion. However, whether WWE can continue booking him in an interesting and enchanting fashion is the million-dollar question lingering from this point on.