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    Wednesday, October 5, 2016

    The Smark Henry RAW Review (10/5/16): Sky's the Limit

    (Obligatory Triple H update: He was not there tonight)

    This week's RAW now slowly started to roar its engine as it nears Hell in a Cell, and had a Women's match as the headliner for the first time since 2004. This brings an emphasis for the division which we’ve never seen before. However, the show won't be able to piggyback on Charlotte and Sasha Banks alone, and for all the variety they had in the main event, they unfortunately failed to capitalize on bringing that variety everywhere else.

    To kick things off, Lana confronted Roman Reigns and the two had a confrontation on the microphone. Lana was handling herself quite nicely, standing up to Reigns until Rusev came in and attacked The Big Dog. However, the former champ ate a Superman Punch for his efforts. It's evident here that even with Reigns in the midcard, he's still pretty much a focal point of the show no matter where he ends up—whether in the beginning, middle, or end.

    Vince McMahon and WWE Creative being as stubborn as they are, the two are set to do battle in a rematch inside Hell in a Cell. Though much like his past rivalry with Bray Wyatt, this specific feud for Roman doesn't merit much need for the Cell itself—especially when compared to the feuds that the structure has hosted in the past. Maybe even the Cell would be an afterthought due to Roman's presence.

    Chris Jericho and the best bud he helped retain the Universal Championship, Kevin Owens, looked to gain more gold in the form of the RAW Tag Team Championships. However, while Jericho was busy punking out Kelso and Hyde Ashton Kutcher and Danny Masterson, Owens had a lingering problem in the form of Seth Rollins. A distraction by The Architect caused Jericho the title match against The New Day, and could bring about a rift in the friendship between Jeri-KO.

    The segment and match that followed showed that Owens is aware he has bigger things on his plate. Maybe it's for the best if the two of them went their separate ways a little more, seeing as Jericho was able to strike gold with Sami Zayn back at Clash of Champions. They could be friends doing their own thing, at least before Jericho inevitably comes lusting after Owens' Universal title.

    Another champion also had a lot on his plate, as the Cruiserweight Champion TJ Perkins faced off against Brian Kendrick in a rematch. Fast-paced and thunderous, their contest was just as good as Clash of Champions' when the title was on the line. However, this time around, Kendrick won via submission in a non-title contest. Let the head-scratching commence! A champ losing without his title on the line isn't new in the land of WWE booking, however, it's always been questionable, especially when you're a fresh face like Perkins who'll need all the wins you can get. Beating the champ in a non-title match only devalues both the title and the titleholder, while at the same time making contenderships all for naught.

    Titus O' Neil gained a new character in the form of his own brand ambassador, but Michael Cole put it wisely when he asked "is the Titus brand a one-hit wonder?" after the former Prime Time Player lost to Sami Zayn. A win by knocking off Zayn could have done so much for Titus here, but so much for building a character up. Just as a midcard talent gains a little bit of depth, it gets shot down to the ground. Darren Young pairing up with Bob Backlund, anyone? A hot streak in the vein of Braun Strowman's (which is still going on) would rebuild journeymen talent like Titus in terms of their image and reputation. Is that too much to ask?

    However, if there's any character change WWE did right this week, it was with Gallows and Anderson. Once a team that lost their luster after their leader AJ Styles got drafted over to SmackDown Live, they no longer fancied themselves as doctors or retirement specialists. They picked up a win over the Golden Truth and sought to put the tag division on notice. Call their characterization bland or generic, but the in-ring action speaks for itself. It's much fitting for Gallows and Anderson to be treated as silent workhorses - also known as being the badasses that they are - than to flub and flop over corny comedy spots.

    For only the second time in RAW history, the women took center stage in delivering a main event match. Charlotte took on Sasha Banks in a hard-hitting contest, as these two can always be counted on to have a great match. It ended with Sasha overcoming the odds and making her former best friend tap out. She ended the show with her newly-won championship in the air and with tears in her eyes... Wait, haven't we seen this before?

    In what could definitely serve as deja vu, this, in fact already happened. Sasha's first Women's Championship win came on the RAW right after the WWE Draft, where she also beat Charlotte. For all the action, emotion, and validity that came with this main event, it felt somewhat like a rehash of something that RAW already played with. Sasha's won the title before in this fashion, the only difference being when the match took place.

    For all the newness this week’s RAW had in terms of match and segment order and some character booking, there wasn’t much difference to be had with the participants involved. The likes of Gallows and Anderson getting some traction is a step in the right direction. However, some improvement could be made over other Superstars like Titus O’ Neil who need all the help they can get.

    Even with Charlotte and Sasha main-eventing and making history, this was already a scene that played out before. The same goes for Reigns and Rusev, which is getting quite tiring to watch. Some variety would be much obliged in keeping RAW fresh, and it doesn’t always have to be a rivalry, per se. Hopefully they’ll put that into action and dig into their rich talent pool as the weeks go by.

    Photos from WWE


    Miguel Asistio (@MTGMAis also known as the best writer in the world—at least according to his CM Punk-inspired delusions of grandeur. In the real world, he's been a proud fan of the WWE since its Ruthless Aggression days. He also enjoys reading comic books and playing fighting games when not trying to make his dream of being a successful novelist come true.
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    Item Reviewed: The Smark Henry RAW Review (10/5/16): Sky's the Limit Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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