This week in WWE was the start of the road to WrestleMania. The WWE Universe witnessed some extremely creative storyline developments, a brand-new champion crowned, and a heinous act from The Viper to his former Rated-RKO partner Edge that left the world in complete shock.
Here are my top five moments from this week.
5. Samoa Joe & Kevin Owens Outsmart The Monday Night Messiah & Co.
Over the past few weeks, Seth Rollins and his new entourage of The AOP and the recently joined Buddy Murphy have been running roughshod on Raw. The Visionary has found a clever way to isolate Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe at every turn but this week not so much.
Prior to their Raw Tag Team Championship match, Rollins showed backstage footage of Akam and Rezar at bay keeping things two-on-two. The babyfaces had a scheme of their own, as The Viking Raiders attacked AOP. It was a terrific plot twist that I didn’t see coming. Oh yeah, the tag team match was also awesome but that moment stood out to me!
4. The Loss Of The United States Championship
I find this quite interesting that I haven’t heard anyone mention that the only title that’s actually consistently shown on TV, the United States Championship will be missing for several weeks. Yes, I understand that Brock Lesnar is featured on more scheduled dates so we will technically see the WWE Championship but it’s not the same as having it defended or present every week.
It couldn’t have come at a worse time for Andrade to fail a drug test and be suspended. I understand that it’s only protocol and WWE had to punish the champion, but what it did was provide a huge hole on Monday nights.
3. A Monster Intercontinental Champion
That’s right folks, The Monster Among Men is finally holding a singles championship in WWE. It should have happened years ago, but I guess better late than never. I feel like Braun Strowman has worked insanely hard and was involved in some ridiculous storylines that have truly earned him this championship.
On this week’s edition of Friday Night SmackDown, Strowman defeated Shinsuke Nakamura and dethroned his 200-day title reign as Intercontinental Champion. Now that The Monster Among Men is the champion, the question now is who will step up to the test? I’m very excited about this!
2. Goldie Is Coming Home At TakeOver: Portland
Let me paint a picture for you, the days of The Undisputed Era running roughshod all over NXT may be numbered. Last week, Keith Lee won the North American Championship dethroning Roderick Strong and ending the prophecy. Then at Worlds Collide, they quite simply got owned by Imperium who stood tall despite being down a man.
On this week’s edition of NXT, The Psycho Killer Tommaso Ciampa laid waste to UE outside making sure Adam Cole had no backup. Ciampa then came down with a table in hand and spray-painted a large X signaling what fate awaited the NXT Champion. Of course, Cole would charge the ring and would eat a thunderous powerbomb through said table. This was such an awesome segment!
1. The Legend Killer Is Back
This past Sunday, quite arguably one of the greatest sports entertainers of all time The Rated-R Superstar Edge made his triumphant return at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view. It was truly a once in a lifetime type of moment that made grown men cry. So what did WWE do? They allowed the WWE Universe to experience the greatest of highs only to bring us down in a blink of an eye.
During the Royal Rumble, The Viper was poised to strike his former Rated-RKO partner with an RKO but his plan backfired and Edge eliminated him. On this week’s edition of Raw, the ending was one of the best well-written angles in a very long time. The Rated-R Superstar came down to a hero’s welcome. He entered the ring with the glee of hope in his eyes.
He was just as excited as the WWE Universe was to see him back as an in-ring performer. Then, Randy Orton came down to share this special moment with his friend. Outside of kayfabe, you have to know there was a real joy being displayed between both superstars. Just as the Texas Rattlesnake “Stone Cold Steve Austin” told us in the 90s DTA (Don’t Trust Anybody), most certainly don’t trust a Viper.
Orton asked Edge for a mini Rated-RKO reunion for old times’ sake. A second later, The Viper struck and shocked the world. If you’re like me, and you got caught up in the moment you turned your head and then yelled out WTF. The WWE Universe went silent in disbelief as Edge was dropped with a vicious RKO. What happened next was absolutely despicable and beautiful all at the same time.
The Viper grabbed two steel chairs and in one moment reverted back to his days as The Legend Killer. Edge laid lifeless as Orton delivered a Con-Chair-To. Thus igniting one of the best and I assume extremely heinous rivalries of all time. This is only the first step, as The Legend Killer can take out his foe’s real-life wife Beth Phoenix, and his former Edgeheads Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins to make things very very personal.