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    Thursday, July 11, 2019

    The Smark Henry RAW Review (7/8/19): The Luchador Janitor

    In a night full of squash matches—Bobby Lashley murdering a returning Rey Mysterio, Viking Raiders murdering... those guys, and Cesaro forcing No Way Jose to evaluate his career choices—RAW also had all of its champions getting laid out by their #1 contenders to gain, I guess, sympathy heading into WWE Extreme Rules. WWE Universal Champion Seth Rollins and RAW Women's Champion Becky Lynch, the current RAW Champion Couple, were ambushed by the annoying duo of Baron Corbin and Lacey Evans after Rollins and Lynch's fun match against Andrade and Zelina Vega; WWE United States Champion Ricochet got his ass handed to him, again, by the more interesting AJ Styles and The Club; and even RAW Tag Team Champions The Revival fell hard to The Usos.

    Meanwhile, Roman Reigns teamed up with a "masked janitor" against Shane McMahon and Drew McIntyre in a match with a confusing finish, and SmackDown Women's Champion Bayley was also on this week's RAW because what even is a brand split anymore?!

    Spoiler alert: WWE Universal Champion Seth Rollins and RAW Women's Champion Becky Lynch are still dating. To unnecessarily remind all of us of that fact, the pair was booked to face Andrade and Zelina Vega in an equally unnecessary Mixed Tag Team Elimination match. I'm not going to lie, I thought this was another season of Mixed Match Challenge, which—although I like the concept of—I'm not sure I actually like the execution of. 

    Also not a lie? The fact that this was a fun match. The elimination part was just a little weird because if this were any other tag team match, that would've been fine. But it was a mixed tag match, which meant that Seth was only ever allowed to put his hands on Andrade and Becky, well, I guess Becky can fight anyone she wants. Oof, Andrade just pushed her against the barricade, much to Seth's concerned because for the last time, guys, they are dating! That it basically became a singles match between Seth and Andrade after Becky eliminated Zelina made the elimination part a bit awkward. Again, overall a really fun match. I always love me some Andrade! That guy has chemistry with everyone.

    After the match, as the Champion Couple stood tall at the ramp, proudly raising their respective titles, Baron Corbin came out and whacked Seth from behind followed by Lacey Evans who also "whacked"—sort of, that punch looked weird—Becky from behind with her patented Women's Right. Have I mentioned how I am such a big fan of that whole schtick? Women's Right? A right-handed hook? That just writes itself. I'm not (yet) a big fan of Lacey as a potential RAW Women's Champion, though, especially after this week's sneak attack and I doubt I'll ever be a fan of Baron Corbin because, obviously, he's Baron Corbin.

    Speaking of obvious things, United States Champion Ricochet was again laid out by The Club for the second consecutive week. It's like Ricochet didn't learn from that whole #BeatUpJohnCena thing three years ago. Sure, he said during his pre-match promo that he saw the 3-on-1 beatdown coming but, considering it still happened without him getting to do anything to protect himself, did he really?

    The champ was scheduled to face big ol' Luke Gallows in a singles match but, despite Gallows dominating the smaller man, he easily got that win with a roll-up from out of nowhere... kind of like The Club brushing off Charly Caruso backstage instead of trying to make #BeatUpRicochet trend. Karl Anderson getting to wrestle (and lose to) Ricochet next was expected, though I appreciated Karl getting a singles match even though it wasn't that long. I've always been a fan of Anderson's in-ring work, especially during his time in Japan.

    In the end, Ricochet also beat Anderson, though in a better match and with that awe-inspiring 630 senton finisher, before The Club did what they do best and #BeatUpRicochet. Styles pulled out a wicked-looking brainbuster, which I thought was just beautiful. The Magic Killer is still weird in my very honest opinion. What the hell was Anderson even doing during that move? Pretending to be the ropes? At least that Boot of Doom is basically a Claymore and F5 combo.

    Shane McMahon is still apparently the face of both RAW and SmackDown, as evident on this week's show where he appeared in numerous backstage segments with Drew McIntyre. I actually didn't think this was that bad, if only it were someone else not named McMahon. Shane was on a quest to look for Roman Reigns' partner for their tag team main event match because The Undertaker is too expensive to appear every night on RAW. But instead of soliciting backstage talent, he talked to non-wrestling everyday joes like the concessionaire guy and a janitor. Nice.

    The janitor, Gary Garbutt, came out in a mask, which pretty much confirmed that this wasn't the same janitor from before. Who could it be? No, it wasn't The Undertaker. It was actually Cedric Alexander who did a pretty good job of acting like the janitor until he started flying all over the ring. I'm not going to lie, I actually thought the guy under the mask was a drunk Montez Ford from the Street Profits. Cedric managed to bewilder Shane, seemingly outmaneuvering the Best in the World, until Drew Claymored his head off for the win. 

    After the match, as Cedric unmasked himself, he seemed to be pretty proud of... losing the match? Okay, maybe it was more about being proud of getting to main event and maybe even having Roman's back but at what cost? I'm sorry, former 24/7 Champion Cedric Alexander, but you just pretty much screwed up. Shane is a vindictive child and he will most likely pee on your career next week. To be fair, Cedric as Shane's next target would leave Roman open to feud with someone else. Hopefully not Drew again because we've all seen that match 100 times.

    RAW REVIEW: I'm not going to lie, this week's episode was pretty disappointing compared to last week's show. Although it had some fun matches as well as segments, the larger storylines that take most of the time have become the worst parts of the show. This was most definitely a step back. I'm giving this week's RAW a C for "Cedric Alexander is going to get Miz'd."  

    Quick Hitters:

    • Was it just me or was that Paul Heyman promo a bit lackluster than we've grown used to? Maybe it's because of his upcoming role as RAW Executive Director. That or he's just finally tired of saying the same thing over and over again with Brock Lesnar as Mr. Money in the Boombox, but sure, Paul, Brock will surely cash in at Extreme Rules. Sure.
    • Speaking of being sure, I thought Braun Strowman was out of commission because of that ruptured spleen? Apparently not, as it's been confirmed that Braun will face Bobby Lashley at Extreme Rules. I'm okay with that as long as no one tries to do another arm-wrestling thing.
    • The Usos and The Miz beating RAW Tag Team Champions The Revival and Elias continued the night's theme of champions losing to their contenders. That said, this was a pretty fun match, with the heels dominating most of the early part. I guess The Miz and Elias are feuding with each other outside the Shane McMahon vortex now. The Revival taking the first win was fine by me but Elias walking out on them made their Two-out-of-Three Falls Tag Team match a Handicap Match. Whew. That was a mouthful. A fingers-ful? I guess at least The Revival has Elias to blame for their loss?
    • Drake Maverick has a beautiful wife. More importantly, he has the 24/7 Championship. I find his marriage consummation schtick easily hilarious, but to be fair, I've always found Drake to be easily hilarious, except for that pee-pee thing. That was just weird. By the way, R-Truth doesn't even need the 24/7 Championship to stay hilarious. He just is. Hopefully, Drake gets a longer reign as 24/7 Champion, at least up until we get bored of his antics.  
    • Speaking of 24/7 Championship shenanigans, the Viking Raiders are clearly not fans. After murdering two unknown names, the wrestlers chasing after Drake ended up in the ring with the Raiders who destroyed anyone and everyone that got too close to them. Well, except for Truth who wisely changed his mind and ran after Drake instead of getting it on with the bigger boys.
    • Rey Mysterio returned after beating his doctor's expectations, only to get squashed by Bobby Lashley during his own open challenge. If last week's brawl segment with Braun hadn't raised Bobby's stock as a vicious barbarian, this wouldn't have worked. As it stands, Bobby is now a brutal and dangerous competitor, and this is definitely way better than his "kiss my ass" schtick with Lio Rush. By the way, has anyone seen Lio Rush? Oof.
    • Speaking of getting squashed, No Way Jose got destroyed by Cesaro with a Cesaro Swing followed by the Sharpshooter. This was pretty quick and although I like Jose, it was a great way to continue pushing a deserving athlete like Cesaro.
    • NXT Tag Team Champions The Street Profits did some backstage segments to hype Extreme Rules and plug the Network. No, not that stable. The WWE Network. This was all pretty funny but these guys can do more than just make people laugh. I hope WWE realizes that sooner than later.
    • Finally, the Kanellises... Kanellisi? Mike and Maria, the Greatest Love I've Ever Known, are getting more screen time. Some people may argue that this whole thing is embarrassing for Mike but so was the entire Attitude Era for most of the female wrestlers then. That said, Mike most likely agreed to this, which shows his masculinity isn't that fragile. I am actually very interested to find out how this storyline unfolds, though I'll be very disappointed if it's another Vince McMahon "he's not your father/I'm your father" thing. Hornswoggle remembers.
    • Prior to their Beat the Clock Challenge where the winner gets to choose the stipulation for the SmackDown Women's Championship at Extreme Rules (wait, this is RAW, wtf), Nikki Cross and champ Bayley did that super boring split-screen interview segment that I doubt anyone likes. Bayley beat a game and admittedly awesome-looking Sarah Logan (her gear plus that howling was awesome, her still coming out to the Riott Squad theme was not) while Nikki beat a heelish Dana Brooke. I mean, Dana and Bayley were clearly bullying Nikki, right? And Bayley attacking Nikki after the latter chose the stipulation? Heel move. That said, I'm looking forward to that 2-on-1 Handicap match for the SmackDown Women's title at Extreme Rules. Fingers crossed Nikki somehow wins the title. That would be just great.
    Images from WWE


    Jofer Serapio (@ShawarmaJoereviews WWE RAW 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. Sarah Logan deserves her own theme.
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    Item Reviewed: The Smark Henry RAW Review (7/8/19): The Luchador Janitor Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Pepe Serapio
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