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    Saturday, July 31, 2021

    RAW Food for Thought (7/26/31): Monday Night Confusion


    The euphoric highs of last week's episode are gone. Monday Night RAW unfortunately went back to reality with one confusing development after another. You might as well make a drinking game out of it.

    Before we head into the crappy, let's talk about the good stuff first. Charlotte Flair was easily the MVP of this week's episode! She enthusiastically played the role of conniving heel, generating all sorts of heat from the crowd. She enjoyed it so much that she even broke character with a few giggles. The Queen went into overdrive to put Nikki A.S.H. over as an underdog babyface after beating the latter. The crowd was part-Flair country though, so that may have motivated her to go extra in getting jeers. I'm excited to see more of their developing rivalry as we count down to SummerSlam.

    Alright, let's dig deep into this week's conundrums. First, there's the issue with doing Championship Contender's Matches. This stipulation isn't exclusive to WWE but it tends to be overused, especially on RAW. Having the champion often lose this kind of match leads to a loss of prestige for both the champion and the title. 

    I can understand why WWE did it again this week with Damian Priest versus Sheamus. After all, they have an established rivalry already. However, they could have given the screentime to any other midcard heel for Priest to face. Seems like a missed opportunity, really. 

    Second, ring announcer Mike Rome caused some confusion by declaring Drew McIntyre the winner in his match against Veer due to DQ. I had to wrap my head around this because Drew clearly lost by kicking Veer's head in with the chair. Even commentary had to justify what Mike Rome said until they clarified that Drew definitely lost this match. However, the official results online say otherwise. 

    Third, they wasted the rematch between Keith Lee and NXT Champion Karrion Kross as a tune-up match. I get that this wasn't 100% intentional on WWE's part since Jeff Hardy tested positive for COVID-19 and they had to find a quick replacement. But why Keith Lee? They could have picked anybody else to feed Karrion Kross's comeback win. And if it had to be Keith Lee, why do it now with no build-up? This could easily have been a PPV match given their history. Ugh. 

    Lastly, why did they have Mustafa Ali and Mansoor team up? I was actually enjoying their burgeoning rivalry. I understand that RAW needs more tag teams but we already have a reluctant tag team in RK-Bro. They also won at the expense of Mace and T-Bar, an actual tag team with chemistry and history. WWE missed another opportunity by not connecting this match to Retribution's history as well. (Commentary mentioned Ali and T-Bar and Mace's history. —Ed)

    Honestly, this episode wasn't memorable outside of the RAW Women's Title picture. Some matches were entertaining but the show's recurring problems are hard to ignore. Like they say on Chernobyl, "Not great, not terrible."

    Show Grade: C+

    Monday Night Footnotes:

    • Looks like we're getting RK-Bro vs AJ Styles and Omos for SummerSlam. I thought it would happen at a later PPV.
    • I considered Bobby Lashley's Roman-style stack pinfall victory over Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin as one of the show's major detriments. However, the old Hurt Business died a long time ago so this burial makes no difference. 
    • After Jeff Hardy's diagnosis, the bad luck continued with Natalya's injury. If she's out for the foreseeable future, the Women's Tag Team Division is about to become microscopic.
    Image courtesy of WWE

    *****

    Kim Antonio is a contributor to Smark Henry and a lifelong fan of professional wrestling. He was first exposed to wrestling as a small child when his older cousin would practice finishers on him, which led him to hate wrestling. Later, he saw it on TV and was hooked ever since. He dreams of being a wrestling booker after watching Ready to Rumble and playing GM Mode on SmackDown vs. Raw. He hopes fellow fans will learn someday that there's nothing wrong with loving both shows of competing promotions. 

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    Item Reviewed: RAW Food for Thought (7/26/31): Monday Night Confusion Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Kim Antonio
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