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    Wednesday, September 18, 2019

    The Smark Henry RAW Review (9/16/19): All Hail...The Fiend!

    Remember when they announced the 2019 King of the Ring Tournament? I do, and I was so stoked for it. Remember when Maria Kanellis returned to WWE and brought Mike Kanellis with her? I do, and I was so into their theme song. Remember Rusev, Cedric Alexander, and the RAW Tag Team Championships? I do, and I wish I wasn't writing this review in the middle of a hectic week. Maybe that's why I'm so salty writing this. That or I'm using a computer that needs to be put down. Either way, this week's RAW happened. Yay.

    I know, I know. I was super stoked when we started seeing more of Maria and Mike Kanellis because I'm such a huge fan of their theme song. Now, however, I'm a little... confused. The gender reveal party, though, was made more interesting by the Street Profits (why do you guys still not have a freaking match on RAW?!). Congratulations to Maria for having a baby boy... with Ricochet?! What the cuck?! Mike getting pissed at this—blinded by his rage so much that logic escaped him—was natural and I was glad that Ricochet came out in character, trying to explain everything to Mike, instead of doing his usual entrance. I was freaking worried that they'd just go with his usual entrance.

    Ricochet beat Mike, of course, because why not, only for Maria to reveal that the real father is actually... Rusev?! Oh, come on! We all know Rusev is married to Lana! He would never⁠—oooh, fancy mustache! KILL HIM, RUSEV!

    The best part of all this was actually Corey Graves calling Mike a beta cuck on commentary. It should've been Rusev's return to WWE programming because he's been gone for so long but he was, for some reason, pulled into this storyline, so now I'm not actually sure if this was better than him just chilling at home with Lana. This was, for all intents and purposes, weirder than that time Rey Mysterio and Eddie Guerrero fought for custody of Rey's son. At least that one made sense to my super young self.

    If I remember correctly, the King of the Ring Tournament was supposed to be at Clash of Champions. I guess everyone lost interest in it, so it was moved to this week's RAW. Wack. It wasn't even placed during the second hour. Royal wack. 

    Despite all that, though, it was quite possibly the best match of the night. Chad Gable is perfect as a sympathetic underdog while, sigh, truth be told, Baron Corbin is actually a pretty good midcard heel. No one tell him I wrote that.

    I was so engaged in this match—thanks to these two—that I started screaming at Corbin to freaking tap when Chad got that ankle lock, well, locked in. That or I just really hate the idea of King Corbin. If you missed the context of why that spot was so great, let me just remind you that Corbin retired Kurt Angle, whose submission finisher was the Ankle Lock. Karma, right? Well, almost. Corbin still ended up hitting the End of Days to pin a game Gable and win the tournament. So. Much. Hate.

    Regardless of my personal bias, however, this was a pretty logical step for Corbin's character. While Gable lost this tournament, he had one of the most—if not the most—impressive showings in the entire thing, so here's to hoping that'll lead to something really good for him. Gable is amazing in the ring, and with the right storyline, he could be a really big player for SmackDown in the years to come. The short jokes are a little too much but, hey, whatever works for his underdog persona. 

    WWE Universal Champion Seth Rollins may have retained his title at Clash of Champions against Braun Strowman, which probably makes him the Beast Slayer now, but he was also attacked by The Fiend right after. It's a little cringe-y that Seth chose to go full sunny sunshine babyface here instead of storming out to that ring for that opening segment, rationally annoyed that he was blindsided by Bray Wyatt's creepy but awesome alter ego. Thankfully, Wyatt not only appeared on the TitanTron in his full Firefly Fun House glory but also interacted with someone outside of the Fun House. Considering that the last time Wyatt and the Fun House addressed someone from the TitanTron in a non-interactive, pre-recorded video, this was essentially a step-up. I still miss you, Finn the Human.

    I can't stress how much I love the resulting skits after this opening segment. Wyatt putting up framed photos of his "friends," actually victims, with their eyes crossed out was fantastic. The 24/7 Championship skits throughout the show were also hilarious, with 24/7 Champion R-Truth losing the title to Mayor Glenn "Kane" Jacobs, before the two made up and Truth brought Kane Jacobs to RAW. These shenanigans paid off in the main event, where Seth Rollins almost pinned RAW Tag Team Champion Robert Roode clean if not for RAW Tag Team Champion Dolph Ziggler attacking Seth to cause the disqualification finish. Seth versus Roode would've made a great PPV main event, by the way, but Roode has been booked terribly that people don't really care about him right now.

    Because it wouldn't be a post-match beat down party without The OC, the trio joined the Tag Team Champions in beating down Seth. That was, until the Demon Glenn came out and Chokeslammed everyone to hell like the good old days. Unfortunately for The Undertaker's Brother of Destruction, 
    The Fiend is here now. Bray's alter ego choked Kane in turn and then terrified Seth to end the show with the Firefly Fun House credits distorting for like a minute or two. You should've listened to Rambling Rabbit, Seth. You should've run while you still had the chance.

    RAW REVIEW: From Cedric Alexander to Braun Strowman destroying the tag team champions to Rusev's weird return, this week's RAW had its fair share of wack decisions. Its saving grace? The immensely over Fiend. Having that storyline dominate most of RAW strangely keeps its flaws at bay, making the episode still bearably entertaining. I'm giving this week's RAW a B for "Baron is boring, but Bray is best for business." 

    Quick Hitters:

    • Fuming from his Clash of Champions loss, Braun Strowman embarrassed both the RAW and SmackDown Tag Team Champions for... reasons. I was not a fan of this. We already know how brutish Braun can be, so him doing just that at the expense of four champions is not good. At least Robert Roode was portrayed as being smart enough to get out of dodge, but still. Four champions were embarrassed by one guy, even if that guy is Braun, and that just looks dumb for everyone. I mean, they were already on a Tag Team Summit, whatever the heck that was.
    • Speaking of getting embarrassed, Cedric Alexander continued to get buried by United States Champion AJ Styles for... reasons. Alexander teaming up with Viking Raiders was weird enough but Cedric losing two straight matches in such an obviously dominating manner is terrible for his character. I mean, sure, this was against AJ Styles and The OC's Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows were also involved, but two straight matches? Oof. If the idea was to bolster Cedric as an underdog, this was not the way to do it. Both losses were utterly devastating in such short spans of time that people may end up just forgetting about him. Again.
    • Rey Mysterio beat Cesaro in a solid match to continue his retirement tour. That's not an official thing, I'm just guessing Mysterio's winning streak will probably lead to something interesting. Hopefully.
    • I liked AOP's pre-recorded video segment. Each member getting to speak in their respective native tongue while wearing a suit really added a layer of intrigue to their character.
    • Heel Bayley and Heel Sasha Banks beat WWE Women's Tag Team Champions Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross with underhanded tactics like the heels they now are. Bayley going after Alexa's leg was pretty cool, which left Nikki to suffer a two-on-one onslaught. That last one was not cool. Are Bayley and Sasha going to challenge for the tag titles to resolve those rumors regarding Sasha's departure into an organic storyline that makes sense if you also consider the rumored real-life beef between Sasha and Alexa⁠— Wait, never mind, it's going to be Sasha vs. RAW Women's Champion Becky Lynch at Hell in a Cell instead. Charlotte joined Becky in saving Nikki from a Bay/Sash post-match assault, so I'm guessing it's also going to be Charlotte vs SmackDown Women's Champion Bayley at Hell in a Cell as well. Okay.
    • Lacey Evans beating Dana Brooke with Natalya's uncle Bret "The Hitman" Hart's Sharpshooter seems to imply Lacey and Nattie will continue to feud... for some reason.
    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. According to him, Kevin Owens is his best friend in the whole wide world. Well, Corbin is king now, so I guess this is art imitating life tragically.
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    Item Reviewed: The Smark Henry RAW Review (9/16/19): All Hail...The Fiend! Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Pepe Serapio
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