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    Wednesday, February 6, 2019

    The Smark Henry RAW Review (2/4/19): The Man Versus The McMahon

    Happy Lunar New Year, folks! Hope you've got your nian gao—that's tikoy for us from the islands—with you and not on your television or computer monitors, though I'd understand why you'd have thrown it at your TVs because we're all Becky Lynch fans and we all hate Stephanie McMahon. Otherwise, you're probably like me who hates concerts during their wrestling shows. Can you even consider that Jeff Jarrett and Road Dogg sing-a-long segment a concert? Oh, god, that was weird. At least we've got Drew McInt... Nope. McCorbinTyre is the worst. 

    After making his return at the Royal Rumble as well as getting taken out by Elias last week, Jeff Jarrett tried to one-up his guitar-wielding adversary in the WWE Hall of Famer's first RAW match since the Attitude Era. Unfortunately, and thank god for this, Elias ended up with the victory, though Jarrett and Road Dogg made him pay with a post-match attack. 

    Prior to the actual match, Jarrett and Road Dogg performed a duet of sorts, with Road Dogg barely remembering the words to "With My Baby Tonight." No one would want to remember those words. That segment before the match was okay, but outside of nostalgia, it was really nothing special. We've seen Jarrett better elsewhere and Road Dogg better elsewhen, but I did love Elias' jab at Road Dogg causing SmackDown Live's ratings to drop. The crowd sounded like they loved that, too. 

    The finish seemed a little clunky in that I think they meant to make it appear like Elias could hit Drift Away from out of nowhere, but the execution of it seemed slower than intended, which made the entire thing a little surprising but not in a good way. Elias getting the win here us always the right decision, and while the old guys getting their revenge for last week's beating made some sense, my friend who didn't see last week's episode thought they were the bad guys beating up the new guy. Plus, the guitar didn't even break. 

    Is Elias going to get himself some back-up now? Or is he just going to take on Road Dogg and beat him next week? Whatever happens, Elias needs to continue racking up wins, and hopefully, he doesn't lose to either Jeff Jarrett or Road Dogg. That would be worse than another "With My Baby Tonight" sing-a-long. 

    Jeez. I get that it's a three-hour show, but they had a bunch of wrestlers doing backstage segments instead of wrestling matches, so that's not an actual excuse. Bard-on-bard violence is super weird.

    Former RAW General Manager and forever Olympic Hero Kurt Angle took to the ring to make some sort of announcement, but before he could actually make that announcement, he was interrupted by Baron Corbin and then Drew McIntyre, both of whom had interesting wins over Angle in the last few months. Both of these guys also attacked Braun Strowman last week, so they should've expected the Monster Among Men to come down to that ring so they could "get these hands." Later in the main event, Angle and Strowman faced McCorbinTyre in a tag team match that ended in a disqualification when Strowman couldn't keep his hands off Corbin while Angle was the legal man. 

    Angle's promo was basically nostalgia done right. It was heart-warming and at the same time inspiring, offering us a cozy walk through memory lane with his potential retirement patiently waiting for us in the form of Father Time... if only we were able to finish the actual walk. 

    The heels' interruption was well done, putting on hold what could be a WrestleMania moment if things do go in that direction, with either McCorbinTyre retiring Angle or more appropriately, just McIntyre retiring Angle in a really great match akin to that one where McIntyre tapped Kurt out with his own Angle Lock. That could've been a great retirement match for The Olympic Hero, to be honest, but WrestleMania is a far better stage to have it on.

    Just one thing: Strowman surviving a Claymore that knocked him into the audience was both great and terrible. On one hand, Braun saving Kurt from the double-team humiliation by planting McCorbinTyre on top of the steel steps, one after the other, was a sweet substitute for an actual victory. On the other? It was a Claymore, Drew's finisher, and it should've put Braun down for an hour or so. Maybe if they had done another move on Braun, the Glasgow Kiss, or just hit him with a chair, then that could've been better, but Braun brushing off Drew's finisher? I was not a fan of that bit.

    Speaking of being a fan of bits, rather a fan of herself, Stephanie McMahon managed to inject herself into the hottest WrestleMania 35 feud between the Women's Royal Rumble winner, "The Man" Becky Lynch, and the RAW Women's Champion, The Baddest Woman on the Planet, "Rowdy" Ronda Rousey, by suspending Lynch because she wouldn't go see the doctor. Sounds like my mom. Okay, so maybe Lynch did attack her, a WWE executive and her employer, which would actually make her decision quite logical. Damn, professionalism and corporate mumbo-jumbo!

    Lynch has been refusing medical attention, too, perhaps out of fear of not getting medically cleared for what may very well be the most anticipated match of WrestleMania. She did just suffer that very fate when she was pulled out of her Survivor Series champion versus champion match with Rousey after The Rock's cousin broke her face. Her fear, then, is also very logical. Publicly suspending her, though, was a very weird decision on Steph's part, though it did make for a great storyline beatdown, upping Lynch's stock as a bad-ass babyface in the vein of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. As Lynch was escorted out like the bad-ass that she is, Rousey confronted her with a furious scowl, all while Becky mocked the champ with that Irish smirk.

    Rousey took all that fury back in the ring, submitting Liv Morgan and then Sarah Logan, whom she invited in that ring, in separate matches before egging Ruby Riott on to try her luck last. Riott, however, thought better of the situation and fled with her Squad. This, I think, was meant to tease Ruby as a possible substitute should Becky fail to get medically cleared for that WrestleMania match. Hopefully, that never comes to pass. I like Ruby and all, but this is Becky's moment. It would be a shame if she gets sidelined yet again when she's so close to finally tapping Rousey out. Shame, shame, shame.   

    RAW REVIEW: Elias getting the win over Jeff Jarrett was a great decision. Road Dogg and Jarrett beating him up after the match? Not so much. The main event match was a little weird for me but if they do end up going with Kurt Angle's retirement at WrestleMania, then that could be a great justification for this week's finish. Becky Lynch's WrestleMania status, though, is very concerning storyline-wise, especially with that tease of an encounter between RAW Women's Champion Ronda Rousey and Ruby Riott and of course Lynch's attack on Stephanie McMahon. Hopefully, this doesn't lead to Lynch getting taken off that WrestleMania title match. I'm not going to lie but all this makes for pretty great suspense regarding the feud. Props to the brand for being very detail-oriented this week, though, from the former Edgeheads acknowledging last week's typo that no one probably even cared about (Zackh misspelled that misspelling wew) to the announcers talking about memorizing "With Your Baby Tonight" this week (who even memorizes lyrics these days?). That doesn't always happen and I appreciate the change. I'm giving this week's RAW a C for "Can Steph not?!"  

    Quick Hitters:
    • Is Vince really reading my reviews? I mean, I finally got my Finn Bálor versus Lio Rush match, the one I never stopped talking about, and it was pretty entertaining. I'm just not sure if Intercontinental Champion Bobby Lashley is also a man of great taste. Bobby said he'd only grant Finn a title shot if he could "entertain" the champion enough against his hype man, which is weird because I didn't know champions got to make their own title matches, but he got himself thrown out of the match halfway through, so I'm guessing he's going to use that as an excuse to say he wasn't thoroughly entertained. What a dick.
    • The Revival once again became the No. 1 Contenders to RAW Tag Team Champions Bobby Roode and Chad Gable after earning a title shot by beating Heavy Machinery, Lucha House Party, and The B-Team in a Four Corners tag team match. Cool name but it was basically just a Fatal Four-way tag team match. The action was fantastic, with Heavy Machinery and LHP providing some of the best highlights of the match, but the post-match interview that saw Dawson and Wilder troll the fans was the greatest takeaway in all this. Yes, they are leaving... RAW with the tag team titles. Top Guys out.
    • Okay, I've got to admit, I failed to see the potential in this Nikki Cross and Alicia Fox alliance, but that "don't CROSS the FOX" line slapped me hard in the face. Fox and Cross are both crazy women, which I guess was the glue that bound them together. Unfortunately, this was Sasha Banks and Bayley's victory from the get-go. The Boss and Hug Connection (I really hate that dumb name) are now the fifth team to qualify for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship Elimination Chamber match. Hopefully this means that Kairi Sane and Io Shirai will get added to that match or maybe Chelsea Green debuts with her "psychotic" gimmick and teams with Cross to get added to that match or... The last team's going to be Naomi and Carmella, isn't it? Sigh.
    • After losing her opportunity with Mickie James to qualify for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship Elimination Chamber match, Alexa Bliss decided to torment all of us by doing another A Moment of Bliss. Dear segment, why won't you just die? Wait, who's her guest? EC3? Okay, let's give this episode a chance. What I'm not giving a chance is that weird sexual tension between Alexa and EC3, which seemed one-sided from Alexa and disturbing to just about everyone who knows that Alexa's with Buddy Murphy (Murphy has abs, too, and he's more fun to watch, no offense, Derrick Bateman). After Nia Jax and Tamina interrupted the segment, Dean Ambrose followed suit, quipped that Nia has a crush on him or something (Renee Young versus Nia Jax in a Dean Ambrose's Contract on a Pole match confirmed?!), annoyed The Top One Percent into a wrestling match (EC1 and EC2 are dead obviously), and lost said match to the sexy mute. EC3 has yet to actually speak while Ambrose is now on a losing streak. That doesn't sound good, right, AEW's Cody Rhodes?
    • In a backstage segment, Dana Brooke tried to apologize to Natalya for losing their opportunity at the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship but got pissed enough to want a match against the Natalya because Natalya was "giving her the silent treatment." She wasn't. Natalya actually had headphones on, so she didn't hear anything Dana was saying. Hilarious. You know, I just realized that Natalya has a great argument for becoming the first WWE Women's Tag Team Champion: her dad. The Hart Foundation was a great tag team, so maybe have Natalya honor that legacy by teaming up with another Canadian and making history? Aliyah's Canadian and her Cat's Meow gimmick would mesh well with Natalya's cat mom weirdness, so that could work, I guess. Book it, Vince!
    • Also in another backstage segment, Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins called themselves losers and vowed to change all that. Also, who spells "Zack" as "Zach"? Weirdos. Speaking of weirdos, Ryder's former Hype Bros tag team partner also had a backstage segment of his own, yelling at his reflection in the mirror. I suddenly miss The Hype Bros.
    • Paige finally made her return... to plug her movie? I was hoping she'd play manager to the likes of Drew McIntyre or maybe Pete Dunne, but I'll definitely try to see that movie. Looks good.
    • Oh, and it's Black History Month. Hopefully, we finally get an African-American WWE champion, right, Apollo Crews? If only. Crews looks like he's going to be busy with Rezar and Drake Maverick for a while. Get well soon, Akam, and get a diaper, Drake.
    • Ric Flair's also celebrating his 70th birthday on RAW in three weeks. I guess Charlotte's getting Becky's spot at WrestleMania. Woo!
    Images from WWE


    Jofer Serapio (@ShawarmaJoereviews WWE RAW & NXT UK for Smark Henry. He has been an avid professional wrestling fan since grade school. These reviews are as close to professional wrestling as he can get. Man, Road Dogg really took Elias' "SmackDown ratings" jab personally.
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    Item Reviewed: The Smark Henry RAW Review (2/4/19): The Man Versus The McMahon Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Pepe Serapio
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