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    Wednesday, August 30, 2017

    The Smark Henry RAW Report (8/28/17): Like A Lamb To The Slaughter

    Last week’s RAW was painfully underwhelming, and it stung even more given it was the RAW after SummerSlam. This week, the only thing that was hyped was a rematch between Sasha Banks and Alexa Bliss for the RAW Women’s Championship. We’d all hoped RAW would pick up the pace by developing and introducing storylines for No Mercy, and thank God it’s exactly what they did.

    This episode’s highlight was definitely John Cena and Roman Reigns. We went from a really slow and confusing start, to now the most exciting match on the No Mercy card. I know people who were shedding actual tears of joy (me) during that segment as Cena eviscerated Reigns in billions of pieces without even laying a finger on him.

    The realness of that segment garnered a lot of buzz from the world, and people are starting to wonder if that segment was a shoot or not. According to Dave Meltzer, it really wasn’t! You can’t deny that these guys, whether you like them or you hate them, are on top of the food chain for a reason; they’re so good at what they do and they managed to make it look as real as possible. (Especially John Cena. I still don’t like you, Roman Reigns.) That said, Reigns paused because he forgot his line from the script, you guys. But the two sure know how to keep things interesting and it shows you how much words and a good story can lift people’s interest in a feud.

    In today’s era, with the internet and social media, anyone is able to over-analyze every bit of backstage news that everyone fishes for. Smarks love to believe that everything they see on the shows is a reflection of what is happening backstage in real-life. I think we adult fans are at a point where we know that everything we see on TV is scripted, that we’d rather want to know what makes the script. The WWE is very well aware of how their audience works and took full advantage of that, and mixed backstage reality with their script.

    We all popped because Cena mentioned every issue we all have about Reigns (shit we’ve been saying for years) and nobody’s really done it as deep as Cena did. This automatically made the audience buy into a face-y, super-mega-cool Cena—even if it’s just for a while—and he didn’t have to turn heel to get any of the cheers he received! In fact, he didn’t do anything else but merely mention and acknowledge our issues, and nobody actually addressed them. Smark Henry Editor-In-Chief Romeo Moran even compared it to Taylor Swift’s new song: every issue thrown at her was mentioned, but not actually addressed. It’s some nice little manipulation. Well played, WWE.

    Now, other Superstars like The Miz love to talk about rather real facts in their promos, but this has tipped the scale. Cena and Reigns used words and phrases such as “promos”, “part-timer”, “golden shovel”, and even swear words that you wouldn’t really expect these two to use this way. But they definitely went all out, and it was truly amazing and left me speechless.

    However, was breaking the fourth wall really necessary to hype up their feud? Was using meta-narrative their best effort to draw interest? Some people say that it’s lazy writing, and perhaps even a little desperate on their part—that there was no way to make the feud compelling in kayfabe that they had to insert non-kayfabe aspects to the promos. Some people aren’t fans of how blurry the line is between reality and script.

    But in my opinion, WWE simply adapted to how their audience works nowadays—with the internet, social media, and all the dirt sheets—and made something worth talking about. Any buzz is better than no buzz, right? So, if you ask me, there really was nothing terrible about this segment—and no, guys, there’s no Reigns bias, I promise!—because they just did what they had to do to keep things fresh. People were intrigued, asking questions—and most importantly, reacting. People wouldn’t this much to it if they weren’t interested, and interest brings in the $$$! Lazy? Perhaps. Effective? I’ve written a whole page about this topic already, so, obviously.

    So I commend these guys a lot for this segment-of-the-year candidate. People probably gave them applauses and standing ovations while watching it at home. Why isn’t this the main event of WrestleMania, though?! Fo’real?!

    That tag team match afterwards was beyond anticlimactic, though. After the trash-talking of the century, you make these two team up? It made no sense; we already know they don’t get along. Clearly. It would’ve been best to keep them away from each other, because that would’ve emphasized on their hatred for one another by showing that teaming up is absolutely not an option. This is no Seth Rollins/Dean Ambrose situation! But maybe they did this to focus on their similarities and how their match at No Mercy could be a “passing-of-the-torch” type thing. Hah, who am I kidding, Roman Reigns will never be John Cena! 😡

    Moving from the best thing to happen on RAW this week, to the biggest disappointment: Sasha Banks losing the RAW Women’s Championship. Now, I really don’t know anymore. Why? Just… Why? For what? Is it because of the dirt sheet reports about her attitude? Why would you put the title on someone (extremely credible, may I add) only for them to lose it on the first defense. Sasha can’t catch a freaking break around here, can she?! But forget about how frustrating it must be for these girls—it’s incredibly frustrating for us fans. For so long, we’ve been begging for them not to hot-potato the title but here they are, back at it again. It’s just not nice to look at, regardless of who the holder is.

    They “saved” it real’ quick, though, when Nia Jax turned on Alexa à la Evolution to Randy Orton. Finally. Nia gets her shot at the title, and that’s great, I’m really happy for her, but if this was going to happen all along, they should’ve done this at SummerSlam or the RAW episode the night after. Sasha Banks is a 4-time Women’s Champion and it’s so nice to hear, but does she really deserve that when she’s never defended it successfully? I love Sasha, but it really isn’t fair. *Sigh*, this division is slowly dying.

    Switching gears, the show opened up with a time-consuming 15-Man Battle Royal for the #1 Contendership to the Intercontinental Championship. Big names like Finn Bálor were added to the mix to make sure the whole thing didn’t seem like a filler match full of forgotten midcarders. Bray Wyatt interrupting to throw Bálor out meant that their feud isn’t over. Joy...

    But the best part, of course, was the surprise we all got when Jeff Hardy took home the victory. Yes, so much yes! The Hardy Boyz were getting a little repetitive with their roles as a tag team, and it’s so refreshing to see them as single competitors. Though, there aren’t many tag teams left in the division, so separating The Hardy Boyz might cause trouble for Rollins and Ambrose. But, they are faces so they wouldn’t be feuding against the Hardys anyway. Besides, the latter are already established enough that even if they were to go separate ways, they’ll always be there in each other’s corner and would still be able to tag with each other whenever necessary. So all of this is good news!

    It felt like they had given us more segments than they gave us matches, which is never really a bad thing as it helps hype up stories. A women’s main event that wasn’t shoved to our faces 300 times, a surprise #1 contender, and a segment-of-the-year nominee—this RAW deserves an A-!

    Quick Hitters:
    • Southpaw Regional Wrestling reprezzent! That was a fun way to put Elias over. If you haven’t seen the web series, are you really living? 
    • Mickie James and Emma fought about hashtags and who started the women’s revolution, when really the only important hashtag that should come out of all this is #EmmaNeedsHerOldThemeBack. 
    • So Enzo Amore won his debut match as a cruiserweight. What universe is this and how do I get out of it?

    Photos by WWE
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    Item Reviewed: The Smark Henry RAW Report (8/28/17): Like A Lamb To The Slaughter Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Unknown
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