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    Tuesday, February 16, 2021

    The RAW RhetoRick (2/15/21): Needs More Claymore

    I love how RAW Adam Pearce is different from SmackDown Adam Pearce. On SmackDown, he made four out of six participants work for their spots and booked two participants related to the top champion he's trying to spite. On RAW, he made Kofi Kingston compete for a spot despite being a former WWE Champion, the qualifying factor he himself thought of. See the difference? I'm Ricky Publico, and this is the RAW RhetoRick. 

    I'll save you the trouble: no, RAW didn't suck this week, but it wasn't a stellar episode, either. At best, it was a nitpick-able show, which means their heart was in the right place but it didn't translate in the final product. And you know what, I will happily take this over the pile of garbage we usually "enjoy" on Monday nights. So how did the Red Brand try to advance their Elimination Chamber storylines? By booking around around a Gauntlet match with the last Chamber entry as the top prize. Brilliant!

    Let's start at the beginning with a surprisingly well-paced opening segment. That's certainly an adjective you won't use to describe MizTV, but here we are. Your enjoyment of it will certainly depend on how much you enjoy or hate a long-winding Miz rant, but it did a great job translating Drew McIntyre's frustrations into violence instead of an uninspired monologue. Because cutting a promo is the last thing I want from the WWE Champion. Just be pissed off and kick everyone's heads off! 

    And when "Andrew" left, Miz got his heat back by removing himself from the Elimination Chamber match. Mr. Money in the Bank is really applying the free lesson he got from Edge last week and the way he did it was such a boss move. I really love the way they are booking The Miz as a pseudo-threat and a guy who can bounce back from an embarrassing stumble as fast as he delivers his MizTV opening spiel. As annoying as he is, you can't deny he's one of the best complex heels today.

    As for being a master strategist, his plan would've worked perfectly if it wasn't for Kofi Kingston. While I do want to see JoMo enter the Chamber once again, Kofi Kingston didn't need to earn his spot when the only thing the other participants had to do was be a former WWE Champion. But fine, since RAW Adam Pearce is inefficient and illogical, we got a good Kingston vs. Miz match out of it. Remember when they used to play hot potato with the IC title back in the day? Good times.

    And in the end, Kofi Kingston picked up the win. Finally, after one year and four months, Kofi finds himself back in the WWE title picture. But I can't help but notice that RETRIBUTION didn't show up in any of Kofi Kingston's segments this week. If anything, it would make perfect sense for Mustafa Ali to cost Kofi his spot at the Elimination Chamber match. You know, the same spot Kofi Kingston took from him two years ago? Man, they really want to make Ali look as inefficient as possible, huh?

    Then we come to the Gauntlet itself. It wasn't a bad match, really. It's just that it had way too many nitpick-able moments and I'm excited to comment on all of them. For starters, I actually had no problem with Kofi Kingston being the first man out. As much as I love KofiMania, this isn't 2019. He got his spot in the Chamber, that's his win for the night. And it's not like he's going to win the Chamber, anyway. I expect Mustafa Ali to wreck him a new one because I still believe in continuity, dammit!

    What irks me was the fact that they hyped up how irate Drew McIntyre is and how he's in a foul mood when he entered at number two, only to struggle to get rid of an already exhausted and Omos-less AJ Styles. So much for McIntyre's foul mood. That would've been a perfect time to one-shot Styles with a Claymore or two and emphasize the rage of the WWE Champion. Didn't we use to call him the Scottish Psychopath? He should still access that side every once in a while—especially if he's in a foul mood. 

    So instead of a lengthy commercial-packed gauntlet, we could've witnessed a tightly-paced main event full of storyline progressions. Jeff Hardy and Randy Orton could've then given Drew McIntyre a run for his money before Sheamus one-shots him with a Brogue Kick. Because yes, that's how the match should've ended—an impressive but equally flukey win. Because if the endgame is clearly Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus, why give us that WrestleMania match now in a random RAW episode?

    Besides, that would cement Sheamus's heel turn further. Because at this point, there's no turning back. Sheamus is a bad guy now and the least they could do for him is make him commit to his villainous role. Why are they still booking him as a friendly rival to McIntyre when they already established that he's a petty-ass bitch who ends friendships over titles? This rivalry should be a blood feud at this point and this Gauntlet match would've set it up perfectly. Definitely a missed opportunity for RAW

    CLOSING RHETORICK: While it wasn't as good as last week, this week's episode continued the streak of not sucking, and that in itself deserves all the praise. RAW is slowly getting its groove back in terms of delivering great television and it shows. Think about it: RAW got the gauntlet main event while SmackDown will get the lazy six-man tag main event. That's amazing! They really have to work on crafting better stories though. Nail that and RAW will be able to reclaim its former glory. 

    Show Grade: C

    RhetoRickal Statements

    • AJ Styles recognizing how Kofi Kingston fought his way into the Elimination Chamber match is the heel energy we rarely get in WWE these days. See, heels can have babyface qualities, too.

    • I will never get tired of seeing Bobby Lashley manhandle anyone, especially Riddle. Also, look at Lucha House Party getting some air time not involving the 24/7 Championship.
    • Speaking of the 24/7 Championship, Bad Bunny is now the new champion! For the first time in a while, the titleholder is actually someone of value. Bunny better bring that gold to SNL or we riot. 

    • The Fiend has now entered the unapologetically campy level of his gimmick with that Alexa Bliss demon circle promo and I am now more uninterested than before. You used to be cool, man. What, you wanna be The Deadman 2.0 or something? Alexa Bliss distracting Orton by taking over all the LED screens was pretty dope though. 

    • I mean, I'd love to shit on the Lacey Evans pregnancy angle, but hey, we can't all announce pregnancies gracefully like Becky Lynch. And yes, Lacey is legit pregnant. Congratulations! Hopefully, this will spell the end for this Flair drama nonsense. 

    • While I'm glad Shayna Baszler picked up a dominating win, I'm pretty sure I'm the only one disappointed Lana didn't win via pure luck. I guess Creative has run out of clever ways to do so. 

    • Do you think Bad Bunny is WWE's response to AEW's frog splashing Snoop Dogg? WWE better get Charles Barkley to wrestle a match at WrestleMania 37.

    Header image from WWE.com


    Ricky Publico (@nyamnyamgarbage) is Smark Henry's resident main roster reviewer...  for better or worse. A known lover of 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's anxious about the future, now more than ever. LET HIM IN

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    Item Reviewed: The RAW RhetoRick (2/15/21): Needs More Claymore Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ricky Jay Publico
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