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    Tuesday, February 9, 2021

    The RAW RhetoRick (2/8/21): Purifying The Well

    For a minute there, I thought I was watching an episode of SmackDown. Then the RAW logo kept reminding me that I'm not exactly dreaming. I'm Ricky Publico, and this is the RAW RhetoRick.

    This week's episode scores big in my book for simply having a straightforward one-on-one main event match. When's the last time that happened? Ah right, the first RAW of 2021. But to me, it felt like a long time ago since we've had a RAW main event without screen glitches, fireballs, and other Fiend shenanigans. It's so refreshing! Did Daniel Bryan moonlight as a writer this week? Is Adam Pearce flexing his creative prowess? I don't know who to credit for it, but thanks for purifying the well for once. 

    Sure, we've seen Drew McIntyre vs. Randy Orton countless times, but I'd rather have Drew wrestle a relatively capable worker than watch him destroy an old man in under five minutes. This match was the perfect palette cleanser for that horrendous Royal Rumble opener. It's also a great reminder that McItnyre is one the finest brawlers out there. I may not enjoy the WWE Champion as a talker, but I'll always enjoy watching him beating people up. And sure, it ended in a DQ, but at least McIntyre stood tall in the end.

    Whoever was in charge of booking this show could've at least exerted more effort to prevent the Sheamus turn from happening last week. It's useless to complain about it now but I just can't help myself from being pissed. I still can't get over the fact that they've ruined a great character and they're not even giving him a one-on-one match with Drew McIntyre. They should then take Sheamus's story all the way to WrestleMania 37 because at this point, there's no one else suitable for the role of McIntyre's villain. 

    I was expecting Edge to take a break after his inter-brand tour of putting the top champions on notice. I would understand that the Rated-R Superstar doesn't need to appear every week to prove his worth. But thank heavens Edge isn't the type to enjoy sitting back at home watching the chaos unfold. After having a nice chat with his potential WrestleMania opponents, he's now targeting potential threats to his championship prophecy, starting with The Miz. Someone tell the devil that Edge is outworking him. 

    At this point, they should really pay Edge tuition for the amount of schooling he's giving out for free. If there's one man who can talk circles around The Miz, it's freaking Edge. I love the promo he cut to swat away the Awesome One. From what he said to the way he said it, Edge easily takes promo of the night. It's possibly his best promo since he declared himself for the Royal Rumble match. That's why I'm excited to see him feud with Roman Reigns back on SmackDown. Just say his name already, Edge!

    You gotta love how they're booking Bad Bunny. You could argue that he doesn't need to appear every week, but I feel like he's the one requesting to go out in the ring. What, are you going to tell Bad Bunny no?  They're booking him as a hero who outsmarts the heels with clever diversionary tactics and it's working like a charm. They could've booked him as a heel and have Booker T be his bodyguard, but I'm glad they didn't go with the low-hanging fruit. Good on RAW for actually being creative this time. 

    And the best part? His involvement is actually helping Damian Priest in his main roster journey. Imagine killing two birds with one fake-arrow-shooting star. Bad Bunny and Damian Priest are both rookies working together to boost each other's stock. Their pairing further solidifies Bunny as a legitimate and lovable wrestling fan and Priest as the next hottest thing in WWE right now. 

    Keith Lee is back! I'm really glad he's healthy enough to get cleared for competition because last month's Royal Rumble match needed more Spirit Bombs. I hope this means Mia Yim is healthy as well and we can finally see Xavier Woods vs. RECKONING next week. For the meantime, we had to settle for Keith Lee vs. Riddle, which is already a great alternative. And I guess this means Lee is now relegated to the US Title scene, but that means this championship picture just became more explosive than ever.  

    As if Keith Lee and Riddle butting heads wasn't enough, Bobby Lashley came out and dominated both men. And when I say dominated, I meant Lashley picked up Lee like he's nothing and slammed him straight to the mat. Jeez Louise. Lashley is basically a monster at this point and I'm left wondering why he isn't chasing a bigger fish like Drew McIntyre. I hope when WrestleMania 37 is in the books, the Hurt Business CEO can finally take the biggest prize in wrestling for his promising startup. 

    What irks me the most with the Charlotte Flair/Lacey Evans stuff is that this angle is clearly beneath Charlotte. Whether you like her or not, you should at least view her in the same regard as someone like John Cena or Triple H in terms of her accomplishments alone. Charlotte Flair has made history and broken records. She should be her division's own measuring stick. Why is she wasting her time hanging around with the her past? Is it really that hard to craft better stories for women in WWE? 

    And if you're a decent authority figure, how can you award Lacey Evans a title shot over a DQ win? That's just pathetic. Why not add Charlotte Flair to the mix instead? Why is Charlotte still chasing the Women's Tag Team Championships? If this is an Adam Pearce initiative, then it's a terrible look for the guy. I guess he's only worried about booking a great main event and not a solid undercard. What happened to you, Scrap Daddy? Oh, right. I guess RAW is still broken in some parts. 

    CLOSING RHETORICK: It sounds weird saying this, but this week's episode felt like a breeze to watch. Great matches, no wasted minutes, no dull segments, and only a few questionable booking decisions. I don't know exactly what happened or who to attribute this to. Was it because of Edge? Was it because Keith Lee is back? Was it because Alexa Fiend wasn't around? All I know is that I didn't hate myself that much after two hours. Holy shit, are they making RAW great again? I'm all for it!

    Show Grade: B

    RhetoRickal Statements That Aren't Big Draws

    • Mustafa Ali really did everything he could to maximize the mic time he's given and for that, I'm willing to invest some interest in his ongoing feud with Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods. I really hope they develop this storyline further because this is the ticket Retribution needs to save itself from irrelevancy. Good on you, Ali! 
    • I feel like they should've reserved the Tables match between Lana and Nia Jax for a PPV, but I can't argue with the results. At least this time, Lana earned the win after exerting some effort to push Nia Jax and her hole through a table. That's progress! And we even saw Naomi pick up a huge win over Shayna Baszler. That's a lot of value out of a single storyline. How can you not love Lana at this point? 
    • I almost forgot, Shane McMahon opened the show with Adam Pearce. After the Elimination Chamber announcement, he validated Pearce and left. Dammit, are they having another authority figure-centric storyline again? Please don't ruin Adam Pearce for me. 
    • I almost completely forgot that AJ Styles picked up a win over Jeff Hardy. I love how this opening match is a main event-caliber match in an alternate universe where TNA is the superior wrestling company. 
    • I like Angel Garza's gimmick: "Hey, you need a third guy for your stable?" 
    • Why is a chair shot to the head banned while a steel steps shot to the head is allowed? 
    • Where are the RAW Tag Team Champions?

    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 (2/8/21): Purifying The Well Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ricky Jay Publico
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