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    Wednesday, July 11, 2018

    The Smark Henry RAW Review (7/10/18): Welcome to Mountain Drew

    Not a lot of people saw it coming when Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre were paired together. Not a lot of people saw it coming when Ziggler won the WWE Intercontinental Championship from Seth "Freaking" Rollins. Not a lot of people saw it coming when a reinvigorated McIntyre main evented this week's RAW against the former WWE Intercontinental Champion. Some things we never see coming, but at the very least, we can still be thankful for them. So thank you, WWE, for this well-deserved respite from the entirety of this week's RAW.

    All those 3MB jokes can now be put to rest, or at least dumped on Jinder Mahal, Heath Slater, and his kids, because this McIntyre we're seeing right now is no joke. The Sinister Scotsman's intensity is so damn good. No offense to Ziggler, but McIntyre should've won that Intercontinental Championship off of Rollins—that or he should be catapulted straight to the Universal title picture as soon as possible.

    McIntyre looks legit. He has that terrifyingly realistic aura that could no doubt measure up to the likes of WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar, Bobby Lashley, or even Roman Reigns. His stiff matches and his threatening physique make him pretty dang interesting, not to mention formidable. Any way you look at it, McIntyre deserves to be fighting those guys for WWE's top brass, and with Lesnar's recent involvement with UFC, WWE may need someone believable enough to be their next champion—that is, if Lesnar even drops the belt. For all we know, he could just keep it throughout the rest of the year. Baaaaad Lesnar.

    Speaking of baaaaad things, the bad blood between Roman Reigns and Bobby "Bob" Lashley finally came to a head outside of a tag team match against The Revival, instead taking the form of a massive brawl involving everyone else from the back. This was a little weird since they already crossed paths backstage just a few minutes before they brawled, but props to Finn Bálor for attacking The Constable Baron Corbin during the scuffle. Also, Lashley has more respect for Sami Zayn than Reigns even though Zayn mocked his sisters and his history with the U.S. army? Yikes. Lashley really hates Reigns then.

    It's a bit hard to get into the Lashley/Reigns feud because they don't actually have anything to fight for. There's no real beef between the two of them. Bragging rights? That's a different pay-per-view. Although Lashley somewhat upped his promo skills this week, he's still repeating the same lines reserved for a returning vet. The same thing's happening with Reigns who's also repeating the same lines but this time for someone who never left the business. It's basically John Cena versus The Rock all over again, except it's less interesting because Lashley doesn't have his promo notes scribbled on his wrist.

    Last week, Mr. Bully in the Bank, Braun Strowman, locked my best friend in the whole wide world and Canada's greatest hero, Kevin Owens, in a portable toilet before pushing the entire thing with Owens still inside off the stage. This week, because of that traumatic attempt on his life, my best friend Kevin Owens did the smart thing and took refuge in RAW General Manager Kurt Angle's office. Pretty great premise, right?

    Damn, right, because this meant Owens was free to keep owning RAW with all that backstage segment gold for another week. Let's face facts: Owens is a genius and Strowman is a ruffian. The whole Steel Cage match stipulation between him and my best friend Kevin Owens at Extreme Rules is uncalled for. I mean, it's not like Owens is just going to run away from Strowman during a scheduled match. What? He did that last week? Blasphemy! My best friend Kevin Owens just needed a warm-up jog in the middle of that match and you know it. How dare you? How dare you speak ill of Canada's greatest hero?

    And how dare WWE play subtle with this age-old, classic gimmick match that actually, technically, makes sense if you really think about it? One of the competitors keeps dodging the other? Put them in a cage. Or if someone really deserves to kayfabe die, use a cell instead of a cage. But if there are six people, and there's a title on the line, turn that cage or cell into a chamber. Classic WWE.

    Unfortunately, and it breaks my heart to admit this, I don't think Owens is fated to win this bout against Strowman at Extreme Rules. Strowman has the Money in the Bank briefcase, after all, and, well, a steel cage means Owens can't run around and trick Strowman into a loss. Then again, Owens might not even want to win this match—or any match for that matter—against the Monster Among Men. Owens might just want to survive; but trapped inside a steel cage, he's pretty much out of options. Well, aside from maybe getting thrown through a steel cage wall. Or powerslammed through the mat so he could crawl out from under the ring to win the match. Now that last bit was pretty creative.

    What's not creative is whatever the hell is still happening between Bayley and Sasha Banks. The whole counseling angle worked with Daniel Bryan and Kane because, well, those two guys had charisma and strangely, comedic timing—both of which Bayley and Sasha don't seem to have, at least not in these segments. This storyline is just super confusing. Didn't Bayley beat Banks at ringside a few RAWs ago, essentially to the point of, like, maybe injuring her and putting her on the shelf? Why isn't Banks trying to do the same to Bayley? It's not like she's showing signs of forgiving the motherhugger or anything either.

    Last week, they were mocking each other, and terribly so. This week? This week is setting them both back. Way back. Back out of the fans' graces. Also, who the hell was that and where was Dr. Shelby?! If this storyline just ends with Bayley and Banks tagging again, hugging it out, like Team Hell No did, then this is just a complete waste of everyone's time. With Extreme Rules right around the corner, Bayley and Banks should be trying to kill each other in their nth attempt to make history.

    I'll give this week's RAW a D for Drew McIntyre as Universal Champion.

    Quick Hitters:

    • In an attempt to tease her PPV title defense, the only Extreme Rules match on the card for some reason, WWE RAW Women's Champion Alexa Bliss took a kendo stick (please don't put this on a pole) and made Nia Jax pay for simply smiling at her sneaky opportunistic betrayal at Money in the Bank. It wasn't as extreme as most people wanted but it was what it was. Bliss should've just asked for tips from Kurt Angle regarding taking down giants, though. Remember that time Angle shot Big Show with tranquilizer darts? Good times.
    • Mojo Rawley and No Way Jose finally got into a match together, which wasn't that bad. This, despite Rawley previously denying Jose of matches because... he dances? What made Mojo cave this time? The conga line threatening him with a lawsuit?  
    • I like how Jinder Mahal went from trying to murder Reigns and Seth Rollins, the latter by association with Reigns, during their "intense" feud, to trying to help Rollins find his inner peace. Whatever Jinder's on should be cause for investigation. Too bad WWE's best detectives, the Fashion Police a.k.a. Breezango are on the shelf, what with Fandango injured. In the meantime, Tyler Breeze is "selling" fashion advice to people backstage, probably to pay for Fandango's medical expenses. 
    • Speaking of Tyler Breeze being a good friend, Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan are jerks. Serves Liv right, losing to former NXT Women's Champion Ember Moon, who is the very definition of a gifted athlete. Great match, though. Props to Liv for improving a whole lot.  
    • The B-Team continued to cosplay as The Deleters of Worlds in a pretty entertaining segment this week. We should've probably seen this coming—the cosplay thing, not just the segments. I mean, didn't Curtis Axel cosplay as Hulk Hogan with Damien Sandow before? That wasn't that bad, too, to be fair, until it finally ran its course. Hardy's now lost a bunch of single matches to both Axel and Dallas. How do the tag champs deal with this fact? Surprisingly, by beating the living snot out of the challengers. So much for mind games. Going by WWE's 50-50 booking, that means we'll have new champs at Extreme Rules.   
    • Finn Bálor and Bobby Roode, a.k.a. two former NXT Champions WWE doesn't know how to book, versus Elias and the love-child of Authority Kane and Big Cass' entire schtick with Daniel Bryan, Constable Baron Corbin. For some reason, I was excited for this match. Maybe it was because Roode finally got an actual match on RAW since... he got sent there? Too bad he ate the pin. Too bad the faces lost. Roode needs to turn heel at this point, and while we're at it, turn Bálor heel, too. Add them to McIntyre and Ziggler and you get a pretty badass group of workers whose main complaint can be getting overlooked despite their talent. With the exception of Ziggler, they can even reference being great NXT Champions way back when. Or is that illegal now?
    Images from WWE


    Jofer Serapio (@JoferSerapio) is just some guy on the Internet who writes a bunch of unrelated stuff. Like Sasha Banks, his favorite wrestler is Eddie Guerrero. Unlike Sasha Banks, he's never going to get attacked by his best friend because Kevin Owens is too busy running away from Braun Strowman. He's into NXT, Lucha Underground, WWE, NJPW, Ring of Honor, and (gasp) Impact Wrestling. Guy does not discriminate. Guy just whines a lot.
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    Item Reviewed: The Smark Henry RAW Review (7/10/18): Welcome to Mountain Drew Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Pepe Serapio
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