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    Wednesday, September 13, 2017

    The Smark Henry RAW Report (9/11/17): Amorether

    Hello, it's ya boy Ro talking over the Smark Henry RAW Report because Nicole can't come to the phone this week. Why? Oh, because she's dead! (...okay, her laptop is, and she has to take a rain check.)

    Luckily, there were a couple of big things that happened this week. Now more than ever heading into No Mercy, it seems like the order of the day for the Red Brand is to continue what the audience started and blur the lines even further with shoot promos. This time, however, we don't just get the perfunctory John Cena and Roman Reigns below-the-belt hits, but we also get a surprising true-to-life confrontation between Enzo Amore and... the Miz?

    Let's start with the already-existing feud. Other than the fact that Gold-Blooded Jason Jordan has been making these two main-eventers look like relative fools for not being able to beat him quickly, Roman Reigns is coming off more and more like an absolute dick as the weeks roll on. The worked shoots that take aim at the little behind-the-scenes things that make a good pro wrestler instead of the kayfabe qualities may start to get old, but if you look past them and see how each man is being written, you'll start to notice a great pattern that's setting Roman up well to be the clear heel in this rivalry.

    Consider the fact that Cena's quite on point in every shot he's taken so far, and all Roman can say is that he was in a great match with Jordan, he's been in more great matches than Cena has, and Cena needs the WWE because he can't break into Hollywood. The utter ludicrousness of those statements (none of which are true at this point, by the way) is what makes it perfect ammunition for an insolent little heel. In fact, if the rumors of Vince still planning for Roman to be the company's #1 babyface in the future are true, I'm realizing that having him be a dick moving forward is exactly the thing to do.

    "Say what now?" I hear you say. "Roman has to be a dick to be a face?"

    Yes, I tell you, because that's what you really wanted, right? You were never going to accept him as the goody two-shoes, sufferin' succotash hero no matter how many solid matches he could put out, so having him be a total jackass—against Cena, too, who's now the perfect foil because most of you have come around to him—is the way to go. The way I see it, Roman's embracing his inner Rock (which he even alludes to in a well-placed line about "knowing a guy" who could launch Cena's Hollywood career) and running with it moving forward is how they envision those boos turning into cheers. 

    It's certainly a lot more than what they ever did with Cena back in his peak, and even though I don't agree with it (I still believe that crowd reactions don't determine alignment) it's one way to go. I already find myself thinking how much better, more natural Samoan Joe sounds when he's shooting from the hip. If this is how RAW is following through with the self-awareness they've shown at the start of this storyline, I hope these two keep feuding until the end of the year.

    Meanwhile, on the third hour of the show, we get a bizarre but highly satisfying segment between the Miz and Enzo Amore that leaves nothing out of Enzo's current checkered backstage reputation. In a promo battle that sees Miz gunning for his second straight Promo of the Year award and any lines between face and heel get absolutely obliterated, Enzo gets dressed down for all his antics and far-fetched hopes that he could even compete in the cruiserweight division.

    It's a promo that everyone understands—because it's hard to get away from any news about Enzo at this point—but only really makes sense if Miz was a face. Enzo fires back with an even more baffling tirade about how Miz is nothing but a copycat, that doesn't address any of the concerns Miz brought up and makes even less sense than what Miz said because everyone in pro wrestling has taken from someone before them in some form or another.

    It led to what's technically the first cruiserweight/heavyweight match in this era, which is at least one positive, but Enzo lost that one as well. If the intent was to put Enzo down in order to establish a foundation for him to get back up, it didn't quite work. It all felt like one giant rib for him, and if it were unplanned, the least he could've done was own up to it and say he was going to change. None of that happened. He was still his old usual self in the following match. You see, WWE, people need to show signs of change if you want us to get behind them. 

    This whole storyline feels like one giant onscreen intervention for a guy they know still gets reactions, but it hasn't been working the way they want it to for one reason or another. Maybe Enzo just doesn't have enough self-awareness to do what he needs to do. Maybe the creative team doesn't actually know what they want to do with Enzo, and that they're only milking his real-life issues and criticisms to write up a buzzworthy angle. Regardless of what the real score is, they'll have one more week to do something with Enzo, because otherwise this entire feud against Neville will be nothing but a waste of time. It was a great burn from the Miz, but we already knew Neville was better than Enzo.

    Quick Hitters

    • I've finally figured out why a lot of things on RAW seem so inconsequential and all over the place, despite a real bit of effort as of late. The RAW style of booking big things—the biggest things—at the top of the first two hours make a lot of things feel irrelevant. What's the use of seeing a midcard feud like Finn Balor vs. Bray Wyatt or a filler match like Elias vs. Kalisto when I've already seen John Cena, Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman, and Brock Lesnar already do their thing?

      RAW is so blinded in trying to accomplish big short-term goals that they've forgotten how to do better and build up the long-term. No matter how good they are, putting the tag team division in the technical main event of the evening really is a strange look. SmackDown still works because they slot everything in its proper place most of the time, and when something other than the WWE Championship has to go on last, it's only after building up to it all night, and even the week before. The main event of this week's episode of RAW was an eight-man tag match made the same night because one tag match didn't go as planned—is that to imply that Kurt never booked a real main event for the evening? Because Cena/Strowman didn't go on last, either. It's really these little things that add up to a negative onscreen experience.
    • Do you know how messed up the order of these things are when I'm struggling to remember what was unforgettable about a Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman appearance? I see no reason why they couldn't have gone on last.
    • I legit thought Bray Wyatt was moving on to a feud with Goldust after losing to Finn Balor, right before he mentioned Finn. That's how lukewarm Bray has been booked—I was willing to believe that his next feud was with frickin' Goldust. Also, what does this make Goldust? Wasn't he a heel lately? Either way, I no longer know where this feud is going.
    • What's the point of Miz still being the Intercontinental Champion if he isn't going to defend it, and if it's not against Jason Jordan?
    • I wanna know who Bo Dallas's stylist is, because that man has made quite the turnaround since joining the Miztourage.
    • Speaking of Jordan, dude looks a little lost without Gable out there. It's like he's forgotten how to wrestle compellingly. His third act is fine; he just needs to figure out how to wrestle a good first act, which Gable has down pat.
    • Asuka is coming to destroy the RAW women's division, but there's not much to destroy. Glad Emma's getting a title shot, though, as she made Sasha infinitely more watchable than usual this week.
    • Booker T mentions someone, I think it was Roman Reigns, being a top-ranked wrestler on RAW. Yo, nobody is ranked on the show BECAUSE THERE ARE NO RANKINGS. EVERYTHING WOULD MAKE MORE SENSE IF ALL THE SHOWS HAD RANKINGS.
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    Item Reviewed: The Smark Henry RAW Report (9/11/17): Amorether Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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