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    Wednesday, May 23, 2018

    The Smark Henry RAW Report (5/21/18): Stop This Madness

    Last week's episode of Monday Night RAW actually wasn't that bad, considering how inconsistent it's been ever since the Superstar Shakeup. That episode made me look forward to this week's, intriguing me with what Sami Zayn would have up his sleeves and who Seth Rollins' next opponent would be for the open challenge. As much as last week's episode entertained me, I still kept my expectations low for this one, considering how fast the writers could screw things up and kill momentum.

    Welp, there you go. Stephanie McMahon is back, and so I guess we're officially doing this again. Roman Reigns is now clearly in this Underdog vs. Authority angle, which—as I've explained last week—just isn't believable enough for the crowd to enjoy. On top of that, I feel like it's the type of storyline Creative likes to give every top or rising star, and it's hard not to notice its overused formula.

    It's important to note, though, that Stephanie McMahon's character is so hatable, that her mere presence was actually able to give Reigns the cheers. Weird. It wasn't as loud as Kevin Owens' pops, but, it's certainly a step. That goes to show, however, that Roman Reigns can't fulfill the direction he's been assigned to without the help of others around him who are able to, like Stephanie McMahon and Seth Rollins. And ironically, this is who they're making their top star. Why?

    Like I said last week, Roman Reigns is not a terrible wrestler, okay: his match with Kevin Owens was rather fun, and was even better when they added Jinder Mahal and Seth Rollins into the mix and made it a tag team match. Obviously, anything Rollins dips his feet in just turns into liquid gold.

    I was waiting for this segment the most because I was so curious about how it would play out... It was terrible. It was way too cheesy—you can compare the whole thing to the Bayley: This Is Your Life segment. Yes, it was that bad.

    Note that I was optimistic about it while anticipating, but man, was it cringeworthy. The crowd wasn't too happy either, and booed that segment all the way through. I can't even imagine how embarrassing it was for the performers to make the most of what they're given, and just have the audience reject the shit out of it. To think this is Bobby Lashley's first real storyline since coming back to the WWE, and it's safe to say they've wasted him in no time.

    This segment excited me the minute they announced it because I knew this was when all the tension would really start. The challenge itself was too amicable—that stuff extremely bores me. I prefer it when there are real reasons as to why two people would want to fight, other than it being "because it's what I'm paid to do."

    Stephanie McMahon, knowing what's "best for business," stirred the pot completely between these two, though it almost felt like overkill: yeah, yeah, we get it—Nia Jax is "bigger." I didn't need to hear it 47 times. But then again, I think most of us can agree that it was best to give Steph the microphone, instead of completely leaving it to the two competitors.

    Steph's character is the most manipulative bitch in the company, and people boo her because they know it. For some reason, that went over Ronda Rousey and Nia Jax's head, and it made them look a little stupid. But, I don't think this is the last we'll see of Steph in this particular storyline, so the two competitors should be able to wake up eventually. Or...or not. Either way, this segment added a lot to the feud, and now I'm even more excited for it than I was last week. Phew, that's one thing they did good this week.

    Frankly, I personally forget—or choose to dismiss, rather—the part where it's probably way too early for Ronda to have this kind of opportunity. She acted really modest about it, and that showed that they acknowledged and anticipated what everybody was going to say. And that was pretty much enough for me, so let's move on. She gave an amazing performance at WrestleMania and stole the entire show—there's no real reason to doubt her now if she's proven to us that she is capable of giving us a Match Of The Night quality performance.

    Speaking of women, Natalya won the Fatal 4-Way Money In The Bank qualifying match against Liv Morgan, Sarah Logan, and Dana Brooke—jeez, I never would have guessed. That match was sluggish, and I just wanted to get it over with.

    Okay, this is too much. What's up with RAW lately? Who writes this stuff? I don't understand how anybody would think it's a good idea to keep repeating these matches over and over again. I feel like this is another experimental phase wherein they're trying to minimize real suspense and build up for pay-per-views, because of limited slots due to the new co-branding rule. Or, you know, they're just old and they suck.

    Elias vs. Bobby Roode, The B Team vs. Fashion Police—seems like they've forgotten all about the Authors of Pain—Baron Corbin vs. No Way Jose... I can't anymore. I can't keep watching this bullshit every week—I feel like I'm just wasting so much of my time and I'm wasting even more time having to write about them.

    It's boring. I don't know how else to put it. Some stuff on Monday Night RAW have the potential to entertain us and get us excited for certain matches, but it's generally gone downhill after WrestleMania and the Superstar Shakeup. They can't get episodes to be consistently good anymore because the matches every week are so unvaried and the stories behind them are either underdeveloped or just plain mediocre. I mean, just going on YouTube to link these videos, I can already notice the things people are interested to watch—you'll see those with much more than a million views... and those who have about 100,000 views. The contrast, really. It makes me sad because I have always chosen to watch more RAW than I do SmackDown... And it's making me seriously reconsider. I'm tired of getting disappointed.

    The main event was Finn Bálor vs. Braun Strowman, and it's strange considering they were paired up just the previous week. Regardless, it was entertaining, and Braun sure knows how to get a crowd to react using the language of pure pro wrestling. But that's all it's ever going to be. People are going to forget about it sooner or later because there is no compelling story behind it.

    Anyway, overall, clearly I didn't enjoy this episode in its entirety. It did have its good parts, but we're talking about an hour maximum of watchable content over three. Last week, they did everything to hype the upcoming MITB matches, and this week, they did nothing. I grade it a D.

    Quick Hitters:
    • Sasha Banks and Bayley weren't even in this episode. I'd rather see them do something bold with their storyline than anything involving the Riott Squad.
    • Chad Gable and Dolph Ziggler put in a good matchup, now if only they gave it more time. I also think everyone can agree that there is much more money in pushing Drew McIntyre as a singles competitor. Well, okay, maybe only until Creative can get their shit together first.
    • I promise you I don't have my period. Just an exhausted fan here. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go watch SmackDown now.

    Photos by WWE
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    Item Reviewed: The Smark Henry RAW Report (5/21/18): Stop This Madness Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Unknown
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