If the reaction to him every time he appears with the spotlight in the middle of the ring is any indication, Elias is a future World’s Champion. I have, in my life, never been more wrong about a performer’s potential — okay, to be fair, I also thought Stardust was the future of wrestling…. so…. — or ended up changing my personal opinion on a character as completely as I have Elias. He seems to have a preternatural understanding of both his character (which appears, as is the case with most great performers, to be an extension of himself) and its place in the world. There’s no assumption he won’t “show ass,” but there’s also no assumption he’s not actually a tough and gifted performer. It’s rare to see someone who is unquestionably a heel, but have them be treated as not quite a monster but not quite a chickenshit. He’s just good and getting better.
Bobby Roode in particular is nice cannon fodder for guys like Elias. A top-of-the-card technical performer, his age and relatively weaksauce gimmick — whether he is cosplaying Ric Flair or thinks he’s actually on his level is unclear and never really explored — make him seem like a genuine conquest without sacrificing the momentum of a performer with more long-term potential. And since he’s spent the overwhelming majority of his career outside of the WWE, he still feels fresh. Which, more so than almost anything else they’ve done over the past few years as they’ve restocked/revamped their roster, is what’s made the show work on the levels it seems to be working now.
Speaking of cannon fodder, The Ascension had their worlds deleted by… the Deleter(s) of Worlds. It’s truly one of the most wonderful things in wrestling to have incredibly gifted performers like Viktor (and, bless his heart, Konnor) at the bottom of the card. The weird meta in-ring storytelling — which is an extension of the exploratory and cinematic nature of the Broken universe — works especially well in this context, making Viktor look as good as they need him to (he got a standing ovation from the crowd at Matt’s prompting) before he was DELETED.