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    Wednesday, April 8, 2020

    RAWDown RunDown (4/6/20): The Most Social Event (Repeat 'Til Fade)

    Let it be known that the weekly RAW review is now under new management—the #NitPickRick management, that is. That's right, I left my cozy job as SmackDown's resident voice of reason and moved up the ladder to Monday nights. What can I say, I hate working weekends. So yeah, I guess I'll still hang around for four years or more. You can't escape me. 

    I know I started late this week, but expect more riveting RAW reviews from ya boy Ricky every Wednesday. I'm feeling good about my new post and I hear Jacob Tambunting is doing a great job steering the boat I just jumped out from. I'll probably have to change the title too, so stay tuned. Or if you have any ideas, @ me on Twitter. Or just follow me like a normal person. 

    So yeah, how appropriate that I'm starting my new job with a post-WrestleMania show where they introduce a bunch of new narratives for the rest of the year. Can you believe WrestleMania 36, the most social event of the year, actually happened? COVID-19 may be a deadly pandemic, but it apparently can't kill WWE's drive to give us the most social event of the year. 

    I hate to admit it, but WrestleMania 36, the most social event of the year, did deliver great moments. Case in point: Drew McIntyre winning the WWE Championship. Granted, it would've been better if a sea of WWE fans cheered him on, but we can finally rest easy that a part-timer is no longer the WWE Champion. Let's count our losses and move on to the future. 

    In fact, the future didn't wait that long because 20 minutes after McIntyre won the title, he already had a challenger. And it's The Big Show? Okay, I guess. I mean, we all love Big Show, but I wasn't even worried the slightest that McIntyre would lose. 

    I guess it makes sense that a giant and a veteran is the only one imposing enough who can convincingly push around McIntyre like that. And yes, allowing McIntyre to beat two behemoths in one night adds to the champion's legitimacy. But on the other hand, Big Show is basically the Jerry Gergich of WWE (Parks and Recs fans, wassup?). He's handy to have around but at this point, his character has nothing to offer of value. 

    I also love how Drew McIntyre wasn't painted like a generic meathead who would accept any challenge thrown his way. Finally, a thinking man's champion! He did end up accepting the challenge, but Big Show had to provoke him and slap him around to get the match. And to me, that's effort enough to give McIntyre a dash of personality. The future definitely looks great. 

    This week's episode really doubled down on presenting new beginnings and resets for some of their Superstars. Asuka's looking to go solo, I think, after her impressive victory against Liv Morgan in a great opener. Asuka definitely needed this win because—and I'm not ashamed to say this—she doesn't belong in the tag team division. She belongs at the top, dammit!

    Looking to add more depth to the women's division is the return of Nia Jax. And now I finally understand why Becky Lynch had to retain the RAW Women’s Champion at WrestleMania 36, the most social event of the year. Are we finally getting a Becky Lynch vs. Nia Jax program? They’d be fools not to do it, but at the same time, isn’t it kinda too late? The facebreaker thing is a good stepping point, so let’s see if they can make something out of it in the coming weeks.

    While on the subject of depth, how about Bianca Belair joining RAW? It’s been a long time coming and I’m glad I’ll get to see more of her every week. And it looks like she’ll join forces with the Street Profits, forming what’s possibly the most charismatic stable in WWE today. Now that’s something to be hyped about. Although “The EST of WWE” isn’t as snappy as her old moniker, no?

    And Apollo Crews is on RAW now? Apparently, he's an expiring draft pick, whatever that means. Weirdly enough, he got to show his stuff in a lengthy match against Aleister Black that I'm inclined to believe that a push is waiting for the guy. Sure, he lost the match, but it wasn't a run-of-the-mill squash match, either. It was a great match worthy of an audience. 

    But now that I think about it, I probably won't get my hopes up. If Vince can give up on guys like Cedric Alexander and Ricochet, what makes you think he'll have something for Apollo, a guy he gave up on a long time ago? The least they could do is finish what they started and keep giving Apollo Crews the limelight in the coming weeks. The man can definitely deliver, all he needs (and anyone else, for that matter) is a fair chance to shine. 

    Speaking of Cedric Alexander and Ricochet, I can't believe they actually teamed up. It's like someone read my mind or something. On paper, it makes total sense for them to form this dynamic duo of flips and tricks, and this week's execution proved just that. Hopefully, someone in the back will realize how silly it is to give up on two amazing Superstars.

    RAWDOWN RUNDOWN: Overall, this week’s post-WrestleMania RAW wasn’t that bad. They managed to introduce new possibilities while still giving us plenty of action. Asuka vs. Liv Morgan and Aleister Black vs. Apollo Crews definitely stole the show, but the back-to-back NXT squash matches did drag the show down a bit. And as impressive as the main event was, it was basically a glorified Big show squash match so it definitely didn’t help. But hey, things are looking up for RAW, and I can’t wait to see what they have in store for the McIntyre Era.

    Show Grade: C+

    RunDown CutDown

    • I just realized—the team of Ricochet and Cedric Alexander is the modern iteration of Air Boom. Remember? Kofi Kingston and Evan Bourne? Two high-flying utility players with nothing going on teaming up? Right? What should we call them this time? 
    • If it wasn’t for the amazing Firefly Fun House match, Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins at WrestleMania 36, the most social event of the year, would win my MOTY. I don’t know why I shared this with you guys, I guess I just wanted an excuse to add in Seth Rollins. He stomped the lights out of Denzel DeJournette. That’s nice. 
    • Man, the NXT guys are getting whipped this week. Also, at this point, should we consider Deonna Purrazzo part of the RAW roster? Yey, more depth! 
    • Can someone tell Byron Saxton that the Money in the Bank briefcase exists? Most champions who had to deal with a cash-in did so right after a championship match. Drew McIntyre had a 20-minute rest. Calm your tits, Byron.

    Photos from WWE.com


    Ricky Publico (@TeetotaleRicky) is Smark Henry's resident RAW reviewer... for better or worse. A known lover of wrestling tournaments, he's a sucker for well-executed promos and fast-paced matches. While he enjoys nitpicking shows, he now prefers enjoying wrestling for what it is instead of stressing himself over things he can't control. He also writes reviews for PWR and everyone loves him for it. Don't fact check that.
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    Item Reviewed: RAWDown RunDown (4/6/20): The Most Social Event (Repeat 'Til Fade) Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ricky Jay Publico
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