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    Wednesday, November 7, 2018

    The Smark Henry RAW Review (11/5/18): Charly Caruso is a Snitch

    Survivor Series is just around the corner, and I for one am very excited to see Team Red decimate Team Blue (sorry, not sorry, Ricky Publíco). This week's RAW was taped in Manchester, England, so I went way out of my sanity expecting an NXT UK reference or cameo. We did not get that, but we did get the next best thing: An A+ main event featuring the U.K.'s own, Drew McIntyre. Thank you, Corbin. Or Strowman? Eh.

    The entire RAW roster was out on the stage to open the show in order to emphasize how Survivor Series is meant to be a big deal in terms of brand supremacy. Acting RAW GM Baron Corbin said as much before revealing the two brand versus brand matches we already know will happen on the PPV: RAW Women's Champion "Rowdy" Ronda Rousey versus SmackDown Women's Champion Becky Lynch, and newly-crowned WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar (ugh) versus WWE Champion AJ Styles. Becky and AJ might be awesome, but Ronda and Brock are MMA legends, so there's no way in hell RAW's main champs are losing at that PPV, right? Right?! 

    Aside from those two matches, we're also getting two traditional 5-on-5 Survivor Series Matches, one for the women and one for the men. Alexa Bliss will be Team Captain for the RAW women's team#blissedwhile surprise, surprise, Corbin's the Team Captain for the RAW men's team. Or is he? 

    After revealing Drew McIntyre, Dolph Ziggler, and the monster he screwed over at that PPV—Braun Strowman—will be on Team RAW: Sausagefest Edition, Corbin was interrupted by the returning Kurt Angle, who wanted to be team captain because he was team captain last year. Angle challenged Corbin to a match to determine who gets to be team captain this year. Corbin hesitated at first but ended up accepting, and the match was set. That was until Strowman chased Corbin out of the arena. McIntyre instead ended up facing Angle, crushing his dream to captain Team RAW for another year in a row by forcing Angle to tap to the ankle lock in a pretty fantastic main event. I can't believe I'm typing this, but thank you, Strowman.

    Throughout the night, the Monster Among Men stalked Corbin and for good reason. Corbin cost Braun his most recent PPV title match, and if we've learned anything through the course of Strowman's career, it's that he will murder you if you cross him once. Good luck, Corbin. You probably won't even make it to Survivor Series if Braun gets "these hands" around your neck. Don't tell Charly Caruso where you are!

    I get why Corbin would put Braun on Team RAW, considering Braun was one of last year's survivors (the other one was Triple H, who backstabbed Angle into elimination before winning the match with Braun). What I'm not too keen about is Corbin's poor foresight. Why the hell did he cost Braun his title match and make an enemy out of him if he'd need him for his Survivor Series team? Because he wanted Brock to face AJ instead? Honestly, Corbin should've just stayed out of that title match. 

    Either Brock or Braun could decimate AJ in their own right anyway, and the loser of that title match could've been recruited into Team RAW peacefully. Of course, there's still the bad blood between Braun and Drew but it's not as big of a deal as the bad blood between the team captain and the team's MVP (the "m" means monster, by the way). Corbin fucked up greatly in this aspect.

    I'm not sure if this is actually true, but this week's RAW felt like it had more female presence on it than in previous episodes. Perhaps this was WWE's attempt at redemption after leaving the women out of that weird all-male PPV, Saudi Sausagefest? Sure, we had Evolution but it was barely given any effort regarding promotions and the like, at least compared to that other PPV. For shame. 

    But back to this week's developments: Alexa Bliss was named the captain of the female RAW Survivor Series team, RAW Women's Champion Ronda Rousey readied herself to wage war against SmackDown Women's Champion Becky Lynch, and Nia Jax, who won that Evolution Battle Royal, will be waiting for her shot at Rousey. Jax also formed an alliance with Tamina this week, while Natalya seemed to have gained a new storyline in her feud against the Riott Squad. Oh, and BaySash was there, too, facing the Riott Squad with Natalya in an Evolution rematch. Remember Evolution? Good times.

    It's interesting that Bliss has yet to name both Mickie James and Alicia Fox to her team, as I'm sure they're going to get special privileges for being good BFFs to Bliss, who reportedly won't be wrestling in that match. Then again, they did technically embarrass Bliss after losing that tag team match to Trish Stratus and Lita at the PPV. Bliss could just spin that, though, calling it a fluke win or whatever, so it shouldn't be that big of a deal. Unless Trish and Lita take their spots from Mickie and Alicia next week? Okay, I'm very excited to see how this team develops in the coming weeks.

    This Nia & Tamina team-up is also mighty interesting. Nia turned full heel this week, destroying former best friend Ember Moon with Tamina. Man, that was a pretty hard beatdown. Will Jax and Tamina get recruited by Bliss? If she's smart, and I know Bliss is, she probably will. These two are the biggest and baddest recruits Bliss can get at the moment, to be honest. That would mean Team RAW's female Survivor Series team could be 100% heels, though. I honestly wouldn't mind that if it gets the job done. No wrestler on SmackDown, save for Asuka maybe, can really be a threat to such an alliance. RIP, Ember.

    Speaking of Nia, has anyone else noticed how they've turned her into a female Big Show? Because here at Smark Henry, we sure have. At the start of the year, Nia garnered a lot of sympathy during her feud with mean girl Alexa Bliss. That was from March to April. In May, Jax turned heel to accommodate Ronda Rousey. A month later, she turned face again against Alexa Bliss again. She returned as a face after recovering from injury in September and now she's back to being a heel again. Nice. Big Show never had a Tamina, though, so I guess that's new? Wait, no, he had a Kane. Yikes.

    Last week, I expressed concern regarding the future of the RAW Tag Team Championships because the tag champsSeth Rollins, who's also the Intercontinental Champion, and his former Shield brother turned attacker, Dean Ambroseare currently locked in a pretty intense feud. This week, the tag titles found a new home after Rollins was beaten down by AOP, who are now the new tag champs. Great managerial skills, 205 Live GM Drake Maverick! This means Vince probably reads my reviews, right? Unblock me, Vince.

    Prior to this match, Rollins cut a promo on losing the World Cupmore like the World Seriesand Corbin slapping Roman in the face by helping Brock regain the Universal title. I don't know about you, but Brock has beaten Braun before, so he most likely didn't even need that assist. Seth then referenced Dean and the tag titles but before he could probably relinquish them, Corbin came out and scheduled that handicap title match. I also can't believe I'm typing this, but thank you, Corbin? Now run before Braun gets "these hands" around your neck!

    Immediately after the match, Dean came out to apologize to Rollins and explain himselfsike! Dean beat the living shit out of Seth and not even Mrs. Ambrose could offer any explanation to what was going on. Props to Michael Cole for finally remembering that Renee Young is married to Dean. It would've been weird if they didn't make that connection now, as his wife has been sitting at commentary since that controversy happened. Of course, Renee might have been deliberately keeping mum on the situation because she was still processing what was going on with her husband. That's her excuse. What was Michael Cole's?

    Quick question, though: Seth's facing United States Champion Shinsuke Nakamura at Survivor Series, right? That's going to be a really fantastic match. Calling it now: Dean distracts Seth, allowing Nakamura to low-blow him. Nakamura gets the win, then Dean gets in the ring to destroy Seth again. Hopefully, Dean doesn't just flat-out destroy that match before it ends. I need to know which secondary singles championship is better. Spoiler alert: It's the Intercontinental Championship, which suit-wearing Bobby Roode should be flaunting right now.

    With AOP becoming RAW tag champs, I guess they'll be facing SmackDown tag champs The Bar at Survivor Series? Oh, no. The Bar has Big Show while AOP has... 205 Live GM Drake Maverick? Could Maverick finally take to the ring for at least some ringside shenanigans at Survivor Series? Oh, man, I'd love to see that. Show's just going to punch him in mid-air, isn't he? Sigh.

    While that's going on, I guess we'll be having a Revival versus Lucha House Party feud on the side? Last week's match wasn't that bad, and if this ends up jumpstarting a "revival" (get it?) of the RAW tag division, I'm all for it. As much as I like pairing two singles wrestlers together and calling them a tag team (I've got my eye on you, Velveteen Dream and R-Truth), I'd much rather have established tag teams feuding over the titles and each other. It's their division, after all.

    RAW REVIEW: RAW did its job effectively this week, hyping me up for the upcoming Survivor Series, while also referencing both Evolution and that other PPV. The main event between Kurt Angle and Drew McIntyre was amazing and all the storyline developments in both the women's and tag team divisions were well-appreciated. This week's RAW wasn't just tolerable, too, because it was pretty entertaining throughout. I'm looking forward to seeing who joins which team next week, how feuds progress, and when the women's tag team titles will finally be unveiled. That Nia/Tamina alliance confirms the tag titles, right? RIGHT?! I'm giving this week's RAW a B for "Braun's gonna kill you (Corbin)!"  

    Quick Hitters:
    • Despite having a Singh Brother backing him up, Jinder Mahal was hindered by Apollo Crews, who is seemingly being pushed again. Maybe that loss against Elias doesn't count? Apollo needs a better finisher, though. That standing moonsault does not look inspiring. 
    • Elias's face push continues this week at the expense of Dolph Ziggler, who was screwed out of that weird World Cup tournament by none other than Shane McMahon. Dear God, that sounds awful. Shane won that tournament? How?! He wasn't even part of the tournament JFC. I didn't watch that PPV for obvious reasons, and from the way things sound, I clearly dodged that bullet. GG DZ.
    • With annoying mouthpiece Lio Rush by his side, Bobby Lashley faced and beat Finn Bálor again. Okay then. Lashley catching Bálor in mid-air while Finn was attempting to dropkick Rush's soul out of his body against the barrier was the highlight of this match for me. I'd love to see Finn versus Lio soon, though a McIntyre-Lashley feud or even a McIntyre-Bálor feud could be more probable. 
    Images from WWE


    Jofer Serapio (@ShawarmaJoereviews WWE RAW & NXT UK for Smark Henry. He has been an avid professional wrestling fan since grade school. These reviews are as close to professional wrestling as he can get. #TeamRed4Life 
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    Item Reviewed: The Smark Henry RAW Review (11/5/18): Charly Caruso is a Snitch Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Pepe Serapio
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