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    Saturday, August 7, 2021

    RAW Food for Thought (8/2/21): Almost A Super Show

    Charlotte Flair and Nikki A.S.H.

    Stan Lee would have been proud of the match between Nikki A.S.H. and Charlotte Flairseriously. That No Holds Barred Match was straight out of the pages of The Amazing Spider-Man. WWE showed that it can do better ways of booking underdog babyface champions on Monday Night RAW. As a longtime comic book reader, I firmly believe that taking cues from underdog stories like Spider-Man and Kick-Ass can only benefit the Almost A Superhero gimmick. Heck, the match was so good that Chicagoans started chanting "This is awesome!" instead of "CM PUNK!"

    Nikki A.S.H. should also be commended for using weapons and being completely serious throughout the match. This was one of the problems that plagued the Bayley-Alexa Bliss feud of 2017. It's nice to know that WWE learned from all that and allowed Nikki to be a beacon of positivity without being bubbly all the time.

    Before we move on to the other parts of RAW, let's discuss the elephant in the room: Charlotte's Simone Biles promo. When I was watching RAW, I didn't really think there was anything wrong with it. It was the typical delusional heel promo with a topical reference. Charlotte empathized with Biles's struggle and painted herself as a similar victim. 

    Unfortunately, it caused an uproar online. A lot of people thought that the promo either trivialized Biles's situation or that it was too soon a reference. I get where they're coming from, I really do. It's definitely cheap heat. However, I respectfully disagree that the whole thing was in poor taste. I replayed her promo again and again as I wrote this review, and the only part that was in poor taste to me was "I am going to have my own nervous breakdown!" That's the trivialization right there. It doesn't really align well with the context of their feud at this point. Granted, I've never had a nervous breakdown but having one for the way she lost the RAW Women's Championship seems unlikely. Ultimately, I believe it is up to Simone Biles herself to decide whether or not this was awful. 

    Nothing much happened in the WWE Championship picture this week, apart from Goldberg showing how old he really is and the SummerSlam match with Bobby Lashley becoming official. It's sad that the most noteworthy parts of this segment were Gage Goldberg and the "We want Wyatt!" chants. Weirdly enough, there were no CM Punk chants from the Second City even though they were completely appropriate here. 

    What else happened this week? We got the rubber match between Keith Lee and NXT Champion Karrion Kross. It was a very good match for Keith Lee and it won over the cynical Allstate Arena crowd. It just sucks that this monumental moment happened with no build—again.

    The rest of the RAW women's division got two first-ever matches this week. The first one was a nice match between Nia Jax and Rhea Ripley. It was a solid match where Rhea displayed her freakish strength. The aftermath also teased a possible break-up between Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler. If ShayNia does split up, both careers will improve but the Woman's Tag Division will shrink further. The second match was a disappointing affair between Tamina and Doudrop. This could have easily been a showcase of two powerhouses but was just fodder for the developing feud between Eva Marie and Alexa Bliss.

    Overall, this episode was good but not worthy of Chicago's historic wrestling stature. Like last week, it was carried by the compelling feud between the RAW Women's Champion Nikki A.S.H. and Charlotte Flair. Creative needs to start putting the same effort into the rest of the show. 

    Show Grade: B

    Monday Night Footnotes:

    • Too bad Mustafa Ali couldn't get a win in his hometown. At least Mansoor took the pin. 
    • I am curious as to what Jinder Mahal has planned. It's most likely a lawsuit but I'm looking forward to it either way.
    • Rant: What's the point of chanting "CM Punk!" at WWE shows in 2021? The monopoly is dead. AEW Rampage is happening in the same month and metropolis. Why would you pay Vince McMahon for the time and space to protest Vince McMahon? All you accomplish is lining his pockets and risking your health in this pandemic. I would never go to the concert of a band I hate just to chant the name of a much better one in my opinion. Just boycott it and attend something else. 
    Images 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 (8/2/21): Almost A Super Show Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Kim Antonio
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