Why Ronda Rousey Return is Bad News, Shinsuke Nakamura Rising, More WWE Raw Takes

Kevin Berge

WWE Raw's new-look roster took center stage in the May 15 edition of the show, as old stars made an impact and new names arrived.

Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler returned with a statement as they attacked Raquel Rodriguez. They laid claim to the WWE Women's Tag Team Championships as soon as Rodriguez and Liv Morgan can defend them.

Shinsuke Nakamura picked up an impactful win over The Miz, continuing a steady rise back to the top of the card.

Mustafa Ali picked up a surprise victory in a Battle Royal to determine the next challenger to intercontinental champion Gunther at Night of Champions on May 27.

JD McDonagh made his presence felt by attacking Dolph Ziggler, and one man who took an interest in The Irish Ace's actions was Finn Bálor. The Judgment Day controlled Monday's episode of Raw, even winning in the main event.

This was an important night for the red brand that set the stage for what is to come.

Women's Tag Division Better Off Without Rousey and Baszler as Champs

Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler were set up as the perfect tandem to lead the women's tag team division at the start of 2023, but an injury to The Baddest Woman on the Planet delayed that plan until now.

In the meantime, the WWE Women's Tag Team Championships continued to grow less relevant. More importantly, though, Rousey has lost much of her aura as a top act.

At this point, Raquel Rodriguez and Liv Morgan are more interesting titleholders and far more popular. Assuming Morgan's current injury is not serious, they can better set up challengers as fighting champions.

WWE could well move even further backward by putting the gold on Rousey and Baszler. The Queen of Spades already had a similar tag title run with Nia Jax that went nowhere.

Only a wholesale commitment to the division will change things, and fans will not invest in Rousey at the top anymore.

Shinsuke Nakamura Finally Starting to Feel Like a Star Again

A half-decade ago, Shinsuke Nakamura won the 2018 men's Royal Rumble to a massive ovation. He was a certain future WWE champion.

That time has long passed, though, and The Artist has barely registered on WWE programming over the past year. But that was up until the 2023 draft.

After Nakamura was drafted in a high spot for Raw (No. 7), the company has treated him once more as a competitor who can compete with the top names.

Even last week, when he lost to Seth Rollins in the World Heavyweight Championship tournament, he looked like a future world title contender.

WWE has a chance to rebuild a main event act in short order. The red brand could certainly use Nakamura on a roster that is lacking depth.

Don't Be Fooled By Mustafa Ali's Out-of-Nowhere Push

Mustafa Ali has been on a surprising winning streak as of late, and he got his biggest victory of the year on Monday when he earned a title match against Gunther at Night of Champions.

Few will believe Ali can dethrone the intercontinental champion in Saudi Arabia on May 27, but it could serve as a strong rebound opportunity for him to regain some relevancy.

However, that is assuming WWE will push a man who has been left behind far too often. Much of Ali's mystique vanished following his failed attempt to challenge Seth Rollins for the United States title in October 2022.

As a booker, Triple H has not clearly favored Ali. He did not even set up the 37-year-old to be drafted to Raw or SmackDown. With bigger names occupied, it seems more likely he will be a stopgap challenger for Gunther.

Hope is not completely lost, but WWE needs to do something big with Ali beyond this one win to solidify his status as a future top star.

JD McDonagh Must Join The Judgment Day

JD McDonagh has arrived on Raw. His first feud will be with Dolph Ziggler, which is a smart spot for a great wrestler looking to build his character.

The Irish Ace is one of the most promising NXT call-ups. He can instantly work with the top names in the business.

McDonagh does still need a clear character angle, though. He was never quite able to get his Necessary Evil gimmick over on the gold brand, and he would be better served fitting in alongside the top heel act on Raw.

Finn Bálor originally trained his fellow Irishman, and he was seen watching McDonagh's interview with Cathy Kelley near the end of Monday's show. This was before The Judgment Day once more main-evented on the red brand.

Joining The Judgment Day is a big opportunity, and McDonagh could be the perfect final piece for the group. He has the mean streak and has history with Bálor. The story writes itself.


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