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    Thursday, July 18, 2019

    The Smark Henry RAW Review (7/15/19): The Fun Leaves The House

    A friend of mine described the recently concluded WWE Extreme Rules PPV as a pretty great dessert but with the unfortunate topping of a heaping hot pile of cow dung, referring of course to Brock Lesnar cashing in on Seth Rollins and becoming the new WWE Universal Champion as the bovine excrement. With that in mind, did anyone else think that this RAW after Extreme Rules continued to disappoint most fans? Or did most of you think that Paul Heyman's first night as RAW Executive Director was a resounding success? Wait, who's challenging RAW Women's Champion Becky Lynch for the title again? Really? Huh, I'm honestly not sure how to feel about that.

    Apparently, Natalya is the new RAW Women's Champion #1 Contender, which is appropriate, considering SummerSlam will be in Canada this year. She should get a great hometown pop during that title match... if Becky doesn't outshine her, which she probably will. 

    Natalya beating the likes of Carmella, Naomi, and even a sneaky opportunist by the name of Alexa Bliss would have been a fun moment, if only it didn't take so freaking long to get there. Most of the other matches were clearly shorter than this one and some of them—I'm just going to be blunt here—involved far better performers. I'm looking at that Joe versus Finn match with the scowliest scowl I can ever scowl.

    Alexa rolling Carmella up to eliminate her from the match should've tipped me off about more roll-ups to come in the night, especially after Natalya eliminated Naomi next ALSO WITH A FREAKING ROLL-UP. Was this the theme to this show? Roll-ups? Roll-ups everwhere? 

    Nikki Cross' appearance in this match was something of a silver lining, though. The crowd chanting her name instead of Alexa's—the name she told everyone to chant or at least cheer, if there's even any difference there—made me laugh. It's interesting that Bliss/Cross is still a thing after their abysmal performance against SmackDown Women's Champion Bayley at Extreme Rules. There were two of them and only one of Bayley. How even?

    The post-match verbal face-off between Becky and Nattie had the competitors spewing embers at each other—even though they also put out some weird lines—so this could be quite interesting. I've always considered Natalya as an interesting character, mostly because of her affiliation with the Hart Foundation and with her history with Becky so she could make for a great contender. Natalya combines both power and technical wrestling, too, not far from Becky's own style, so there's that. At least it's not Lacey Evans again, I guess. 

    Speaking of the ideology that comes with the word "again," Samoa Joe versus Finn Bálor made me very excited. I was a fan of this matchup from NXT, so naturally, I had high hopes for this RAW match, especially since it's Paul Heyman's RAW. Wait, what do you mean Joe won via roll-up? Joe's a monster. Monsters don't roll babyfaces up, especially not monsters named Samoa Joe who's known for tapping people out. 

    Finn beating Joe up after the match and then celebrating was also very weird. Did Finn not realize he lost this match? Or is this a new WWE thing, considering Cedric Alexander did the same as well after getting pinned by Drew McIntyre in the tag team main event last week? Yikes.

    Thankfully, Bray Wyatt finally made his debut in the ring, hitting Finn with Sister Abigail from out of nowhere. Is it still called Sister Abigail, though? We'll probably find out next week. Or the week after that. Or the week after that and so on and so forth. 

    Bray's new get-up, especially in the dark, was pretty terrifying... to children, at least, because I'm a grown man and I don't get terrified by scary wrestlers... as long as they're in another country. But I digress. 

    This set-up actually made Bray look really great, if not more interesting than ever in recent memory, and I'm honestly super excited to see more of him in that ring. Hopefully not against Finn as the Pumpkin Spice Demon. That was cray-cray, and debatably not the good kind of cray-cray.

    Oh, hey. Brock Lesnar is the new WWE Universal Champion. Yay. I guess Paul Heyman the Advocate is now Paul Heyman the Authority... I mean, Executive Director. I'm not going to lie, though, that 10-man contender's battle royal was a pretty great idea. With new school favorites like Cesaro and Sami Zayn tangling with old school favorites like Randy Orton and Rey Mysterio, this also served to whet the appetite for interesting matchups in the long run. Orton looked especially reinvigorated in this match. 

    In the end, Seth Rollins won, so I guess WWE found a way to give him his title rematch without giving him his title rematch. Technically, he wasn't handed that opportunity and he actually worked hard for it by facing nine other hungry competitors. That should count for something, though I was pretty sure that this was going to be the exact conclusion after that babyface promo by Seth earlier in the night. 

    I wasn't a fan of Cesaro getting eliminated first but he did lose his Extreme Rules match to Aleister Black, so he probably still had his head elsewhere. Braun Strowman eliminating Bobby Lashley simply continued their feud in a logical manner. They fought each other like hell at Extreme Rules, so one of them was bound to have had an eye out against the other in this match. Big E's elimination was also disappointing but also very predictable. As much as I'd love for Big E to bring his Twitter jokes to RAW as Brock's next contender, he just won the SmackDown Tag Team Championships with Xavier Woods and has an entire brand to dominate with his "brothers." 

    Sami Zayn, unfortunately—and Rey Mysterio, too—were never going that far in this match. Seth eliminating his own Shield brother Roman Reigns along with Braun Strowman at the same time pretty much spoiled the ending of this match for me, but it was pretty cool nonetheless. Randy Orton also made a pretty good statement as a possible contender prior to getting eliminated himself. 

    RAW REVIEW: To be fair, this wasn't a terrible RAW. But it wasn't a great RAW, either. It was just a decent RAW. It's great to see some relatively new faces get featured while getting less of Shane McMahon. All things considered, most of the promos this week were pretty good. Bray Wyatt's re-debut and Cedric Alexander's push (or is it?) are both interesting routes to explore. The women's match, however, dragged longer than it should have while the Joe versus Finn match was way shorter than expected. Hopefully, Seth beats Brock at SummerSlam. Otherwise, all the storyline progression will be for naught. Sigh... Seth's going to get rekt at that PPV, isn't he? I'm giving this week's RAW a C for "Canada."    

    Quick Hitters:

    • What happened to Bobby Roode's pornstache? At least his win/loss record in the ring hasn't changed: He's still eating pins. 
    • RAW Tag Team Champions The Revival retaining was what I was hoping for at Extreme Rules. Are they going to continue feuding with The Usos, though? I love me some Uso but I was really hoping to see some fresh faces in the tag title scene unless it's The Club taking the titles from The Revival. I'm into that. 
    • Why is United States Champion AJ Styles still beating up Ricochet, though? He's already proven, somewhat, that he's better than him by winning the title at Extreme Rules. I'm not saying I don't want to see another Styles versus Ricochet match, because I freaking want that, but it's just a little off logically.
    • Speaking of The Club, having them win a six-man tag team match against Lucha House Party was a great decision. LHP was obviously losing this match, but at least it's getting The Club some measure of credibility as a formidable stable. Styles' Calf Crusher on Kalisto looked especially brutal, too, making this version of AJ a complete and utter threat to anyone who'd try to take the title off him. Oh, wait, did The Club take out Ricochet earlier so he won't meddle in this beatdown? If so, smart move.
    • The Viking Raiders continued to squash local talents. Yup. They're still doing that.
    • Cedric Alexander getting the win over a Shane McMahon-less Drew McIntyre was surprising. Is this Drew's new feud? What about that rumored match between him and The Undertaker? I'm liking this new Shane-less Drew but I hope this loss actually leads somewhere interesting for him. Otherwise, I'm more of a Drew fan than a Cedric fan because RAW Cedric Alexander isn't that interesting as a character at the moment. Also, Drew is ripped.  
    • Zack Ryder pinning Mike Kanellis after a Rough Ryder—man, I haven't seen that finisher win anything for the longest time—was sort of cool. Mike continues to get berated by his pregnant wife Maria for being a complete loser, which I hope actually leads somewhere and isn't just an excuse to make Mike job forever. I love Maria in this role and Mike plays his pretty well, too. I've been rooting for this pair to get a fun storyline since their debut because of how cool their theme is, so hopefully, this leads to that. Please, please lead to that.
    • The Miz and Dolph Ziggler are feuding again? What year is this again? 2019, right? Weird.
    • This week's 24/7 Championship shenanigans were more of a pre-taped skit than an in-ring or at least backstage scuffle, but it was something you don't see every day. Drake obviously can't manage both the title and his marriage, so he gets pinned by R-Truth in a hotel room he booked for himself and his wife in their attempt to finally consummate their marriage. A word of advice, Drake? Never trust room service. That's how they get you. At least no one got pinned by that Small Package. Corey Graves gets it.
    Images from WWE


    Jofer Serapio (@ShawarmaJoereviews WWE RAW 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. Bray Wyatt isn't eating those children, is he?
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    Item Reviewed: The Smark Henry RAW Review (7/15/19): The Fun Leaves The House Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Pepe Serapio
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