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    Saturday, March 30, 2019

    The Smark Henry RAW Review (3/25/19): Samoa No

    Editor's note: This week's RAW review is a little late because it's quite a busy time here at the Smark Henry offices. But that doesn't mean we're any less excited about the last few episodes until the biggest event of the year in WrestleMania.

    It's official! The Triple Threat match involving Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, and RAW Women's Champion Ronda Rousey for the RAW Women's Championship is the main event of WrestleMania—not that I'm surprised because I think it's been a long time coming. Also a long time coming? Triple H's in-ring retirement match, which is actually also Batista's in-ring retirement match, so I guess we're getting an in-ring career versus in-ring career match between these two guys at WrestleMania? More importantly, was this Dean Ambrose's final WWE match? Again? So many questions, so little time.

    It's certainly awesome that WWE is finally having women main event WrestleMania, though I hope that actually sticks because we all know that cards are always subject to change, especially with Vince getting bored backstage, right, Kofi Kingston? That said, to hype up such a historic event—for WWE anyway—we had our three main-eventers undergo a Beat the Clock challenge, which RAW Women's Champion Ronda Rousey mocked because her gimmick says so. I don't know about that choice, but wouldn't it have been better if she mocked her competition instead of the format? Maybe it's just me, though.

    While Ronda set the time after beating Sarah Logan, Charlotte Flair failed to tap Ruby Riott out before the time expired. Understandably, Flair was furious, so she attacked the eventual winner Becky Lynch before The Man could roll up Liv Morgan from outta nowhere. Oh, Riott Squad. I have no idea why WWE hates you so much, but as the only real all-women's stable on either show, you should really be getting better matches than these ones. 

    Oh, they're fighting Becky, Charlotte, and Ronda in a six-woman tag team match next week? I guess I'm copy-pasting that sentiment for next week's review then.

    All in all, these three matches did a great job of showcasing how competitive these three women can be, with Ronda even sticking around to watch how her WrestleMania competition would fare against her time, even though she initially thought it was stupid and should've just left with her husband. Wait, where was her husband? Did they actually ban him? Wow. 

    Aside from that, though, it didn't really feel that special, considering that at the early stages of this feud, the story was already pretty damn special. Oh, and also because outside of bragging rights—remember when that was a PPV?—and reminding us that the women will main event this year's WrestleMania, this Beat the Clock Challenge didn't actually have a point.

    So... Batista sent a hoity toity letter to NXT Daddy Triple H—man, that leather jacket looked so tight—with Hollywood-level demands? What a heel. I chuckled at Triple H's joke referencing the Spice Girls' song, "Wannabe." Ah, good times. The entire promo in itself was fantastic, though I don't really get the gravity of Triple H putting his in-ring career on the line, considering he doesn't really wrestle that much anymore. 

    It'll be a good student versus master feud, though, and considering that Batista's bringing some celebrity flavor to that match, it could very well be the traditional celebrity ma—oh, yeah, the SNL guys are entering the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal for some reason. I just hope Batista comes out dressed like Drax while Triple H comes out dressed like Thor. Man, that would be awesome. 

    The match I wanted to see at WrestleMania as WWE Hall of Famer and Olympic gold medalist Kurt Angle's retirement match happened this week, too. United States Champion Samoa Joe journeyed forth from SmackethDown Liveth to do battle with his fellow submission machine. I've seen a better match between these two elsewhere but apparently this was the first time they have fought each other... in a WWE ring. Gee, what a great factoid that could've been exploited on a grander stage.

    Maybe it's for the better, though, as watching Angle here and comparing him with the many times he battled Joe years ago made me realize that maybe he wouldn't look that great in his retirement match if he actually fought A-plus athletes like Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, and Chad Gable. Those three are really great in the ring and Angle may not be able to catch up to them in a longer, WrestleMania-caliber match. It's a sad truth but it's a truth.

    I'm 50-50 with the chosen finish here, but I guess it was the only way to protect both men. Joe is the United States Champion and he has to look good on his way to defending his title against Rey Mysterio Jr. and Rey Mysterio Jr.'s son with Eddie Guerrero at WrestleMania. Likewise, Kurt Angle needs to look good and win his matches on his way out via retirement. Neither man could've afforded to get tapped out.

    RAW REVIEW: Not a lot happened on this week's RAW, if you don't count the many storyline disappointments and heartbreaks I had watching the damned thing. Kurt Angle versus Samoa Joe should've been at WrestleMania; Ronda, Becky, and Charlotte should've brawled all over the arena; and Triple H should've made fun of Batista's sensitive nipples. On any given week, this would've been somewhat acceptable, but considering we're this close to 'Mania, it's the opposite of what anyone wants. Ha. That's another "Wannabe" reference. I'm giving this week's RAW a C for "Coquina is apparently a kind of rock, so I have no idea why Samoa Joe called his finisher the Coquina Clutch."  

    Quick Hitters:
    • Even with Jinder Mahal and the Singh Brothers, Bobby Lashley still couldn't stop Finn Bálor's desire to regain the Intercontinental Championship. Finn wasn't even technically ready for Jinder, as his scheduled match was against Lashley and Lio Rush, who revealed he wasn't medically cleared to compete this week. At least Lashley was protected here, though in predictable fashion with Jinder eating that Coup de Grace.
    • Elias' segments in the streets of New York were pretty hilarious, especially when his stuff got stolen behind him and when someone dropped that coin in his cup. Haha! Someone thought he was playing for coins. Nice.
    • Aleister Black and Ricochet beat RAW Tag Team Champions The Revival, so they're getting another title shot, right? It's odd how Black and Ricochet work well as a tag team—that Black Mass/360 Senton combo is a fun combo—but all I can see are two singles stars that should be separately vying for singles gold.
    • Roman Reigns finally accepted Drew McIntyre's WrestleMania challenge and then beat him down, only for Drew to steal a page from Shinsuke Nakamura's book, low-blowing the Big Dog's smaller dog to stand tall over his impressive adversary. That low blow must've been really painful because Roman never showed up during Drew's Last Man Standing match with Dean Ambrose in the main event. That could've been a great follow-up to further hype their feud but instead we got another amazing physical contest between Dean and Drew. This is his last WWE match now, right? RIGHT?!
    • Nia Jax and Tamina are turds. Or are they our saviors? The Samoan cousins interrupted a face versus face match between WWE Women's Tag Team Champion Sasha Banks and Natalya, only for Beth Phoenix to take them both down. Man, I missed the Glam Slam. I'm still not sold on the Divas of Doom as contenders to the women's tag titles, but at least the IIconics will win that WrestleMania title match. Don't quote me on that.
    • Congratulations to The Hart Foundation for getting inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. They were one of my favorite tag teams growing up, and I even made my first CAW in a WWE game a member of the Hart Foundation. Read as I basically ripped them off because I didn't have an original bone in my body. Natalya will most likely induct them and it will be a well-deserved heartwarming moment.
    • This week's Alexa Bliss' A Moment of Bliss featured WWE Greatest Royal Rumble Champion Braun Strowman—remember when that was a thing and he had that belt lol—and SNL's Colin Jost and Michael Che. I'm a huge fan of SNL, including its Weekend Update segment, but this was... something else. At least the segment was in the ring this time?
    • Baron Corbin beat Apollo (Crews). Yep. That happened.
    • Oooh, Beastslayer! Was it just me or was Seth Rollins' promo this week a little disappointing? Just me? Paul Heyman worked his magic yet again by falling down and cowering while he was backing away from Seth to make the babyface look very in control.
    • The main event was great, but I felt like it failed as a sequel to last week's main event that saw Drew McIntyre hit the Claymore on Dean Ambrose while the Lunatic Fringe's head was caught in the stairs' rails. Or whatever you call that part of the stairs, I'm not a stairs engineer. That match could've effectively written Dean out of TV and the company itself, though I'm starting to think he may not actually be leaving the WWE. Hmm. Conspiracies.
    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. Samoa Joe is the only Samoan Joe I know.
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    Item Reviewed: The Smark Henry RAW Review (3/25/19): Samoa No Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Pepe Serapio
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