Somehow, the Bobby Roode-Elias feud has managed to actually make Roode work as an honest-to-god babyface that people want to see do well because they believe in the quality of his work and, for whatever reason, his character’s, well, character. In fact, it’s hard to tell how much of it is just Elias being the best thing going and how much of it is Roode hitting a groove as a performer where he feels unencumbered by the expectations people who engaged with his previous incarnations have placed on him. There’s a certain freedom to the way he’s doing things on the main roster that felt much more forced when he was spending time in NXT.
Either way, this is a feud I have personally become invested in and I’d like to see these two work together a little more going forward, preferably in a way that keeps them both away from the Money in the Bank ladder match. For Elias, it seems like he has reached a level of stardom where having him in the match but not giving him the contract might hurt the match more than it helps him out, while Roode would just be cannon fodder to be thrown through ladders. A blowoff match that leads them to a chance at the IC belt would a perfect way to put a bow on the feud and let someone actually gain something as a result of what’s been easily one of the most pleasant surprises of the first half of the year.
Another (almost equally) pleasant surprise has been Mojo Rawley, who is easily the best promo ever to come out of the University of Maryland. And if he can ever figure out in the ring, which is not even that far past where he currently is, he can be a real force in the midcard. But, for now, he’s at least able to be carried to a solid and entertaining match by Seth Rollins.
That this was for the first for the IC title “open challenge” — for (presumably) the first competitor able to get to the ring after getting their music, entrance video and lights cued up by the production staff — is a nice follow-up on last week’s tease by Seth, which led to his (hopefully) last match with Finn for a while. It also puts to rest the rumors and innuendo that Rollins was being booked to start wrestling literal dustbrooms to save the company money on athletic tape and appearance fees.
Money they would have presumably spent on the glitter for Stay Tuned’s — the new name for Dallas and Axel’s tag team/ sad boy party — Well Dunn-esque dinner jackets masquerading as entrance attire. I know they think they aren’t supporting actors any more, but there has never been a pair of jabronis more in need of a The Rock than The Ax-Man and Bo. Also, for fuck’s sake, can we please acknowledge that Bo Dallas is Bray’s brother? It’s weird how much they look alike and if you are going to insist on not having them talk about that, then you probably shouldn’t have them work together.