WWE: 3 reasons why an Edge-less Judgement Day could work
Despite only being established earlier this year, the budding WWE faction Judgment Day has already experienced a series of swerves that completely changed their makeup.
After beating him at Hell in a Cell the night before, Finn Balor joined Edge, Damien Priest, and Rhea Ripley on Raw, just before the group turned on their founder and leader, kicking him out for good. It was something that took the WWE Universe by complete surprise in the moment but has since left many scratching their heads.
Why kick out the founding member so soon? Why would Priest and Ripley take in the person they just defeated as their new leader? Whether it was because of a rumored supernatural spin in store for the group or just to make Edge a babyface once more, it was certainly not the type of thing one would normally write for a faction that is just trying to establish itself.
But fear not; this new direction could actually work for Judgment Day in the long run. Here are three reasons why Balor, Priest, and Ripley could succeed as a group.
3. The Demon can be unleashed again
From the start of this budding faction, Judgment Day always felt like it was on the cusp of going full supernatural. After all, “creepy cult-like group” as a description covers both supernatural – see The Wyatt Family leading into The Fiend – and non-supernatural – see Dark Order – groups.
If the reports are true that that’s the direction Judgment Day is going, then Edge could have theoretically worked as a leader. He simply could have continued to draw on the Brood roots that he has already been referencing since his heel turn. However, Finn Balor’s inclusion could also bring back an alternate persona that could use a soft reboot: The Demon.
Balor’s alter-ego, when properly used, is captivating as well as intimidating. However, the last appearance of the character was disappointing, to say the least, losing to Roman Reigns at Extreme Rules after an unexplained rope malfunction that turned a hype match into a dud that was undoubtedly supposed to protect the Demon but failed spectacularly.
With a loss like that, a reappearance of the character has to be done with proper care, and under the framework of leading a new group just might work. While Balor should not cut weekly promos with the group in full Demon attire, referencing the persona as the source of his power in the group could give the Demon an interesting new angle.
2. The new Judgment Day gives Damien Priest more direction
Damian Priest’s wrestling journey has been interesting.
After years of working the indies, Priest joined WWE in late 2018 on NXT. While his in-ring work has been mostly solid, and he has won both the NXT North American and United States titles, his character has certainly gone through plenty of shifts.
In his NXT debut, Priest was actually introduced as Punishment Martinez, the name he used on the indies, before being repackaged as Damian Priest a few months later. After losing a match against a certain well-known superstar at TakeOver: In Your House 2020, a match that had Triple H specifically praising Priest’s “star-making night,” Priest turned face. When he joined the Main Roster, still as a babyface, where he was immediately thrust into pop culture tie-in angles, both successful and disastrous.
Priest’s US Title run often had him in a moral grey area, until his loss of the title against a certain well-known superstar cemented him as a heel, leading directly into him joining Judgment Day.
Priest has been able to hold his own through the character changes and angles, but this new Judgement Day could give him an excellent opportunity to have a consistent heel persona. Priest’s presentation fits a heel character very naturally, especially in a stable that could go for a more supernatural route. So long as the stable itself remains consistent, Priest won’t have to worry about his character needing to change due to how he works a match, whether a celebrity needs a partner, or just due to the general inconsistent booking of WWE – again, hopefully.
Balor being the new leader also helps Priest, even moreso than Edge. Who was the superstar that beat Priest at the TakeOver match that led to his babyface turn and beat Priest for the US Title, leading to his heel turn? That would be Balor.
The idea of Priest working as a heel under the wrestler that changed the trajectory of his career multiple times makes sense and could even create an interesting dynamic.
1. Rhea Ripley is still a great inclusion
While Finn Balor’s inclusion will breathe new life into both his career and the group and himself, and Priest could use this change in leadership to further cement his character, Rhea Ripley works well as a member of Judgment Day no matter who the leader is.
Similar to Priest, Ripley has seen her share of success on the main roster but has been in some more nebulous angles and team-ups. She worked with the top women’s stars in 2021, like Asuka and Charlotte Flair surrounding the Raw Women’s Championship, winning and losing to both before ultimately losing the belt to Flair. From there, she’s been in tag teams with Nikki A.S.H. – which was a fun but slightly confusing odd couple that did see them win tag team gold – and Liv Morgan. The latter group was broken up when Ripley turned heel, leading to her joining Judgment Day.
Ripley’s presentation fits well into the established vibe of Judgment Day and could let her establish her place in the WWE roster following the end of her initial runs as Raw Women’s Champion ended. Whether or not Edge is the leader does not change her fit with the group, and she should still be able to thrive under a more supernatural angle, assuming it is done with the right buildup. While this early leadership swerve caused both confusion and excitement, a focus on gaining momentum through good promos and booking is exactly what Judgment Day needs and Ripley’s character should be able to do the rest in really elevating herself and the group as a fixture in WWE.