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    Wednesday, August 7, 2019

    The Smark Henry RAW Review (8/5/19): Straight Fire

    Hey everyone! Nico Parungo here, once again filling Pepe Serapio's big-ass shoes and I’m pretty happy to do so since RAW was pretty good this week. It wasn’t perfect, there were definitely things for me to nickpick—because my name is Nico, which can be shortened to Nick, please don’t sue me Rick—but this was one of those weeks where RAW actually felt like a pro wrestling show, which is always a positive.

    Before we get to the nitty-gritty, I’d just like to bring up a good thing WWE did. The ten-bell salute dedicated to victims of the El Paso shooting was really nice and so was that video tribute to Harley Race. No jokes there, just pointing out how a company that can be the epitome of classless can do some very classy things. 

    Let’s start with Becky Lynch, who felt like a big star again tonight. After winning a tag team match with Charlotte Flair via disqualification when Natalya refused to release the Sharpshooter—look at all that exposition, it’s like I work for WWE—Becky cut an amazing promo. Dare I say? It was STRAIGHT FIYAAAAH!!

    That straight fire burned her opponent to the ground in a big way when Becky said Natalya has been letting Canada down for her entire career. Her jab at Nattie’s stint in Total Divas was also pretty great. It’s the kind of intensity we should expect from The Man on a weekly basis. Too bad the same couldn’t be said for Natalya, who clapped back by talking about how much better her finishing move is. Is she a Shonen Jump villain? I’m surprised she didn’t talk about her final form.

    Paul Heyman also showed that he’s no slouch on the mic by not doing the same BUH-ROCK LESSNAAAR promo he’s been reciting for years now. Okay, he did that too, but the promo started getting good when Heyman mocked all of Seth’s new nicknames that came post-WrestleMania. His best insult to Seth was this: “Weren’t you supposed to be the Architect of the arson that would burn down Suplex City?” He actually used Seth’s stupid nickname and catchphrase to make it seem like his character has some purpose. THIS IS WHY HE IS/SHOULD BE RUNNING RAW!

    We also got a pants-creamer of a match when Rey Mysterio took on Andrade. It seems like WWE just puts these two together when they need something good to be said about their show but I can’t complain, especially when Andrade not-Cien Almas won. We even had a good reason for this match happening since Andrade ripped Rey’s mask last week like it was nothing. Seriously, he ripped it like a bag of chips, a task this writer often struggles with.

    The Fatal 4-Way Elimination Match for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship was pretty solid, even if I have mixed feelings about the outcome. Having Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross as your Women’s Tag Team Champions makes a ton of sense since the duo is seen every week but I also feel like The Kabuki Warriors were robbed of their traditional title match since they technically won that opportunity at a house show in Japan a few months ago. Still, putting the belts on Alexa and Nikki means these championships can finally feel important. Plus, it'll mean more if The Kabuki Warriors end up beating them in the end.

    It wasn’t all rainbows and anime girls sadly. Seth limping out to get another beating from Brock was just plain stupid to watch. He got some mic time right after, talking about his love for the business no matter how much it beats him down, though it also lacked impact. Despite that awesome Heyman promo, this feud just isn’t compelling and I’m more than ready to move on.

    We’re also getting Goldberg vs. Dolph Ziggler because SummerSlam needs your nostalgia money and Trish Stratus vs. Charlotte Flair won’t please the incels (I mean, it could, but not in the way you want it too). I’m pretty numb about this, especially since they teased Dolph vs. Shawn Michaels first, which would have made me ugly cry for joy. Sadly, Bill needs to redeem himself after that horrible match with The Undertaker and he’ll do so at Ziggler’s expense. At least it’ll be quick.

    Though not perfect, this was a great go-home edition of RAW. Storylines progressed, Superstars showed their stuff, wrestlers wrestled, and titles changed hands. This gets a solid B+

    Match Results:
    • Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair def. Natalya and Trish Stratus via DQ
    • Andrade def. Rey Mysterio
    • The Viking Raiders squash local talent
    • The OC (AJ Styles, Karl Anderson, & Luke Gallows) def. The New Day (Big E & Xavier Woods) and Ricochet
    • Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross def. The IIconics (Billy Kaye and Peyton Royce), Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville, and The Kabuki Warriors (Asuke and Kairi Sane) in a Fatal 4-Way Elimination Match to become the new WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions

    The Raw-View:
    • Maybe it’s because she missed a lot of TV for the past few weeks but I forgot how damn good Charlotte Flair is. I enjoyed what we got out of her during the opening tag match and hope she carries Trish to a good-to-great match at SummerSlam.
    • This Mike and Maria Kanellis storyline is still my guilty pleasure. While I’m bummed that Maria lost the 24/7 Championship so quickly, the fact that Mike pinned her during a pregnancy check-up was hilarious. I hate that he immediately lost it to R-Truth though but that’s to be expected with this 24/7 Championship nonsense. Hoping this isn’t the payoff to all the abuse Mike has taken from Maria.
    • I could watch these backstage segments with The Street Profits all day and this week’s interaction with Kurt Angle proved that. Montez Ford almost made plugging the WWE Network endearing and Angelo Dawkins looked like a heroic babyface when he stopped Drew McIntyre from coming near Kurt. Good stuff.
    • Bray Wyatt attacking Kurt Angle with the Mandible Claw was fine but it’s starting to feel old. The lights going out one-by-one is Bray’s M.O. at this point and makes anyone waiting in the ring look dumb. I still have high hopes for Wyatt and hope he continues to be booked strong.
    • Samoa Joe deserves a raise for trying to stay heel while getting Roman Reigns some medical attention. Through his actions alone, you could tell that he was concerned about Roman’s health and pissed for not being able to kick his ass himself in the parking lot. How is Joe not the Universal Champion, WWE?
    • Luke Gallows looks awesome with face paint. The OC look awesome winning. Keep it up.
    • Can the Viking Raiders have a proper match soon? Their NXT stint proved that these two can have long and exciting bouts.
    • For a brief moment in the Fatal 4-Way, The IIconics actually looked like a credible threat by taking down their opposition with an array of double team moves... before they were immediately pinned. Why didn’t WWE book them like this from the get-go?
    Images from WWE

    Nico Parungo is a writer for Epicstream.com and has contributed several reviews for PWR and MWF. When he isn't frustrated about the WWE, he's playing video games at home and is bugging his friends with glorious puns. He's new to the world of Twitter drama but is quickly getting hooked.
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    Item Reviewed: The Smark Henry RAW Review (8/5/19): Straight Fire Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Nico Parungo
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