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    Thursday, January 25, 2018

    The Smark Henry RAW Report (1/22/18): RAW 25

    Aaaaaaaaaaaand after the longest week ever, the day has finally come: it's the 25th anniversary of Monday Night RAW! All month, they'd been teasing us with names so big that it had the power to lure in old fans who don't even watch anymore. That's how hyped it was. So did it actually live up to the hype? Debatable. Stone Cold Steve Austin, D-Generation X, Undertaker, Trish Status, Christian, and Eric Bischoff were only a few of the legends who appeared on the show. There was also a nice mix between current Superstars and old-timers in some segments, as well as a title change.

    Now, this is the part where I feel confused. I enjoyed the show, but it felt a little lacking. There were really good parts, but it had its little issues. The whole thing revolved around legends that were present, and most fans enjoyed it merely for the nostalgia act they certainly delivered. But that, right there, was also the show's biggest problem: too much of the past, barely anything of the present. Mind you, the Rumble is less than a week away, and they barely did anything to build that up. They gave us such a small handful of matches, but none of which stood out in particular, nor were that important to remember. I seriously had to Google the matches because I forgot a lot of them.

    Another strange thing they did was to hold it in two different places. The old-school theme of the Manhattan Center was a nice touch, but man did I feel bad for those who were physically there. When you put one show in two locations, you're dividing the content the audience paid regular—sorry, I mean an exorbitant—price for. Only a fourth of the actual show was at the Manhattan Center, and if I were there, I'd probably complain, too.

    Let's start with the good stuff. The show opened with Shane, Stephanie, and Vince McMahon in the ring, with the latter an expert at getting people to boo him. And of course, a segment with The McMahons like that wouldn't be complete without Stone Cold Steve Austin interrupting and giving everybody a Stunner.

    I freaking loved this. When you're a true wrestling fan, this segment showed you that the feeling never really leaves you: whether you're a naïve child, or a fully-functioning adult—wrestling makes you feel a special type of bliss. And even after all these years, Vince McMahon still takes the cake as the worst seller of Stunners in all of mankind. Never change.

    My only nitpicky issue with it is that Austin wasn't given the chance to say anything. He's one of the best on the mic in the history of pro wrestling, and you're not going to give him the mic?! Shame. Other than that, it was the show-opener we all needed.

    DX was joined by fellow Kliq member Scott Hall—and to make it even better, out came Bálor Club. They shared a nice little "Too Sweet" and that moment had now been checked off of people's list of things on RAW 25 that were heavily anticipated and needed to happen.

    My issue with this is that the The Revival were the sacrificial lambs for them and DX, which probably wasn't that great of a move if they were trying to build them up to be anything really relevant. Now, I believe they can recover from it—they can continue to cut those shoot-y promos on TV and realistically talk about incidents like that and how unfair it is. But it's important to note that teams like The Ascension, who were once fed to the APA, were never truly taken seriously after that—so The Revival have to act now and save themselves.

    Roman Reigns and The Miz was one of the highlights of the episode, with Miz winning his eighth Intercontinental Championship. The match was nice, and everybody's happy—but did this happen so that Roman could go and win the Royal Rumble? So who's the real loser here?

    Speaking of the Royal Rumble, we didn't get that signature brawl we'd get to hype the pay-per-view—which is a little strange to me because a lot of them were already set to be out there in the ring to act as human walls for Brock Lesnar, Braun Strowman, and Kane. The three were called to go out there, but there was no real reason for it—like Kurt Angle wanted them to fight, but deep down we know those weren't his intentions when he hired the entire locker room—with legends, may I add—to stop them. They barely even did anything and were completely useless out there. I thought they were there to end the show in a brawl—but instead, they added absolutely nothing to the segment. So that was a bit off and slightly disappointing.

    Another thing that really disappointed me was how they brought up the women. Whether it was the snooze-fest and predictable 8-Woman Tag Match, or the way they just lined up the female legends to just look pretty and wave hello—that's not the way to hype the historical first-ever women's Royal Rumble Match happening that same week. Yes, there was a little something-something going on in the end there with Asuka destroying even her own teammates, which was cool, but I swear it needed a whole lot more SmackDown in it.

    I shed a tear or two hearing Trish Stratus' music hit—like, wow, what a queen she is. Seriously. They could've done something—anything—to talk about the Royal Rumble and tease it, not only to get everybody more excited about it, but to make it seem like this is truly an important thing to them. I guess not.

    Switching gears, the Undertaker made an appearance and cut a short promo about... well, we're not too sure, either. He basically told each of his former opponents in the last 25 years to rest in peace. So... they can rest now because he's retiring, or...? He did choke a lil' bit when the crowd was chanting "one more match." I don't think he should have one more match. All roads and signs point to his retirement—he left his gear in the ring last WrestleMania for cryin' out loud! Anyway, take it as you will, folks.

    So many loved that this was a legend-centric show, but so many people also hated it at the same time because they spent the entire episode glorifying the past too much, while almost forgetting about building the future. I remember RAW 1000 having a perfect mix of both, continuing to build up their storylines. But... I guess celebrating a silver anniversary is a huge milestone, and maybe, just this one night, that's okay. I grade this episode an A-!

    Quick hitters:
    • Bray Wyatt beat Matt Hardy clean and that was it. So what now? I'm officially bored. Next.
    • Enzo Amore was suspended hours before the show—and now fired—so no Cruiserweights in sight. He sure can drag a division up, but also can drag it down from 100 to 0 real' quick.
    • I'm sad Lita wasn't invited on the show—but she did her thing on RAW 1000 and that's probably why she wasn't there.
    • I refuse to believe that's Torrie Wilson, you guys. That's like some Benjamin Button shit right there.

    Photos by WWE
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    Item Reviewed: The Smark Henry RAW Report (1/22/18): RAW 25 Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Unknown
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