Although a big story will unfold on Monday Night Raw involving the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, the real hook for tonight’s episode is the diabolic heel turn of one Seth Rollins.
Rollins, formerly of the Shield, turned on former mates Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose last week. Rollins aligned himself with Triple H and Randy Orton, forming a third version of Evolution, and viciously assaulted Reigns and Ambrose with a steel chair.
Was it too soon to break up the Shield? There’s no doubt there was money left to be made with the trio as babyfaces. Coming off their decisive 3-0 sweep over Batista, Orton, and the Game at Payback in Chicago, it seemed the group was never hotter. Another question looms over the WWE: was Rollins the right guy to turn? Tonight’s edition of Raw will be a great barometer.
You would expect Rollins to have a significant amount of heat, and a trained eye will study the crowd’s reaction to him. If the place is electric and filled with fiery hate, there’s a good chance the turn actually helped get him over. You want the audience to react to Rollins like a star. If the patrons sit on their hands, it shows that they still have some work left to do.
It’s important to remember that the break-up was done to freshen things up. With Batista leaving to promote his movie, the feud with Evolution in their current incarnation was over. The WWE was left with a decision: rekindle the program with the Wyatt Family from earlier in the year, or break up the Shield and continue the feud with Evolution.
Vince McMahon chose the latter, thinking that another feud with the Wyatts would be stale, whereas a Rollins heel turn is interesting.
With ratings in the tank and their world champion out of commission, something needed to be done to get their audience’s juices flowing. At the end of the day, it’s all about ratings and WWE Network subscriptions, and Rollins’ treachery certainly got people talking. Whether that talk equates to more eyeballs watching Raw tonight is another question, but that’s exactly what McMahon and Co. are hoping for.