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    Wednesday, August 14, 2019

    The Smark Henry RAW Review (8/12/19): What Time Is It?

    Fresh out of SummerSlam, this week's RAW tried its best to maintain that momentum, if not surpass it. To do that, new champions were welcomed and old faces returned. With Seth Rollins regaining the WWE Universal Championship at SummerSlam, I was genuinely curious at what was going to happen next. We never expected Brock to lose, and I sure as hell never expected for someone to return to the WWE this week. Who was it? You probably already know. It's Boss Time.

    The Revival versus The Lucha House Party ended up being a part of the 24/7 Championship shenanigans—because of course it did—though this week's story also led to history being made when The Revival became the first 24/7 Co-Champions. Then R-Truth pinned one of them to get the title back, no thanks to Carmella, becoming a billionth-time 24/7 Champion. Unfortunately for Truth—and I suppose this is just the fate of most 24/7 champions—his reign was not meant for long, as lurking in the shadows was an angry Elias with a guitar in hand. 

    Elias was still probably mad that he got interrupted by Ricochet during his regularly scheduled "interrupt my performance" performance in the ring—and then got pinned by Ricochet despite his shoulder being up after their pretty botch-y match—that he had to spoil R-Truth's title win backstage. He must've really wanted to smash his guitar on someone's back so much, which isn't really practical since he now has to get a replacement guitar and he's supposed to be a "musician," unless he spends all his WWE money on a billion guitars. That's probably the... truth. 

    Hopefully, Elias' title reign could lead to a new direction , as after a while, Truth's shenanigans can become too comedic. That is, of course, unless Truth wins it again while I'm drafting this review. Sigh.

    It's been apparently almost a year since Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart's passing away, so despite her injured arm from SummerSlam, Natalya came out to talk about her dad in a pretty nice and heartwarming moment—at least if you're an Anvil fan, and I am. As I've mentioned numerous times before, the Hart Foundation is one of my favorite tag teams of all time. This was probably one of the biggest reasons—if not the biggest—of why I'm sometimes biased towards Nattie. Sure, I can't see Nattie overthrowing Becky Lynch as WWE RAW Women's Champion at the moment but I can definitely see her as one of the best if not the more consistent performers in the women's division. 

    I can even—holy shit, is that Sasha Banks?! She just returned and her hair's no longer purple! It's now blue! Her hair turned heel on the same night she turned heel on Natalya. Well, technically, interrupting Nattie during her emotional promo was already a heel turn but actually attacking her and brutalizing her already injured arm? That's just nasty

    Becky then made the save for Nattie because she respects her now or something and of course social media. I honestly didn't expect Sasha to return because I was pretty sure she was still on weird terms with WWE, so weird that she was supposedly AEW-bound. Damn it, Twitter. You've tricked me again! That said, this is easily the most exciting feud for Becky since WrestleMania. Sorry, Nattie! Banks putting the champ down was a great visual, making her return pretty awesome. See? A few days months off can really liven up a wrestler's career. Unless you're Dolph Ziggler, apparently.

    With new Universal Champion Seth Rollins opening this week's RAW, I was almost confused if anyone not named Baron Corbin (because WWE has traumatized me as much) would interrupt him. I mean, sure, Brock Lesnar could, since it was The Beast that Rollins slayed despite that rib injury to regain the title. But let's face it, Brock wasn't anywhere near this week's RAW, especially since he's not getting an automatic rematch for the title. Or so we've been told. Not even Paul Heyman's stellar acting could convince me otherwise. Those backstage segments involving Brock's locker room (or Brocker room?) were a sham, Paul, but props for trying. Thankfully, it wasn't Corbin that came out but the all-champions heel stable hilariously/depressingly named The OC. *cue that show's theme*

    AJ Styles versus Seth Rollins was always going to be amazing. Seth was clearly not 100% because of his rib injury but he did beat Brock just the previous night to win the title off of him, so The OC attacking him for the DQ finish was somewhat logical. I mean, if AJ couldn't beat Brock and if Seth beat Brock even with injured ribs, then these heels would've taken that as motivation to #BeatUpSethRollins. Ricochet coming out to make the save was somewhat expected, considering The OC recently took his title from him and have been beating him down since. Braun Strowman, though? Now that was a surprise.

    I wasn't a fan of Strowman just running through The OC like that, but to be fair, he's done worse things as The Monster Among Men. Like attempted murder. While Braun did give Seth his title back without a fuss, I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up betraying him for the Universal Championship. I could see Braun joining The OC but that's never going to happen. Braun just doesn't need a stable right now. With Clash of Champions as the next PPV, chances are Seth versus AJ will still happen as a full-on match while Braun and Ricochet might just face The OC in a tag team match. Sigh. Here's hoping there's a better plan for all that, without sacrificing The OC's momentum. In Heyman I trust. 

    RAW REVIEW: This week's RAW was pretty solid, with the progression of feuds and characters steadily done. The announcement of the return of the King of the Ring tournament and another outstanding return in the form of a blue-haired heel Sasha Banks leave a lot to be excited about. The only caveat is the missing Fiend, as Bray Wyatt's alter-ego was nowhere to be found on RAW this week despite that stellar performance at SummerSlam. Hopefully, this could just be smart booking for the long run, as keeping him off TV now will just make people want to see him more. I'm giving this week's RAW a B for "Bank on blue."  

    Quick Hitters:

    • The Street Profits still recapping things in the back and The Viking Raiders still squashing local talents make me feel a bit sad about RAW's handling of their tag team division. Both of these teams are so talented that even outside of the title picture they could put on great matches. All they need is a decent storyline.  
    • Sami Zayn playing a prophet and warning the Street Profits about the perils of being on the main roster was hilarious. Run, Street Profits! Run! He wasn't wrong, though. Unfortunately for Sami, he mentioned Samoa Joe, and you know what happens when anyone mentions Joe: They get choked the eff out. In seconds. Oof.
    • Speaking of Samoa Joe, I never bought into Samoa Joe's "babyface turn" last week because it just wasn't a babyface turn. Roman Reigns apologizing to Joe and Joe accepting that apology, even being somewhat concerned after Reigns almost got murdered by that mystery driver, was simply done to move them past that feud. Joe is so charismatic that even when he's written as a full heel, people are still behind him, so dipping him a bit in the tweener territory—basically a heel who wants to choke people out with his own hands to prove his superiority without resorting to unnecessary murder outside the business—wasn't damaging at all. Case in point: He simply continued berating the fans this week in his regularly scheduled scary Samoa Joe promo. The Power Game has touched another. Sorry, Zayn!
    • Dolph Ziggler's version of the Black Knight's "Tis but a scratch!" line from Monthy Python cracked me up so much, I would the choke the eff out of anyone who didn't get that reference. Okay, maybe not, I'm physically weak. That said, it's a bit sad that Dolph got creamed by The Miz this week—twice in a row—even though it was a pretty good TV match... after getting creamed by Goldberg at SummerSlam, thrice in a row. Where does Dolph go from here, though? Back to his stand-up comedy tour? Or is this his new gimmick? I hope WWE has better plans for him and doesn't just forget how Dolph's so talented in the ring and how he can be hilarious on the mic. 
    • Andrade continues his domination of Rey Mysterio this week with a clean sweep in their 2 out of 3 Falls Match. What the hell, right? I was expecting this to be the usual 2-1 encounter, but lo and behold, Andrade destroyed Rey-Rey's career without even breaking a sweat. Zelina Vega helping Andrade secure the first pin was the most Zelina thing I've seen since their NXT days, which is a very good thing, and Andrade getting his final pin to win the match via his finisher gives me hope that he'll get pushed towards title contention soon. 100% booking, bay bay! That or this was all just to fan the flames of an upcoming Mysterio family feud. Rey's got kids! Or a kid. Or at least Eddie Guerrero's kid.
    • It's always nice to see Stone Cold Steve Austin so I won't complain that this was through a Skype call and not a backstage segment where Baron Corbin ate a Stunner. Steve just needed to plug his show while discreetly endorsing Seth after his Twitter oopsies. That's the bottom line.
    • Drew McIntyre's Claymore on Cedric Alexander to end their feud—I think... at least that's what Drew said backstage—was beautiful. This match was one of the best of the night, with both Drew and Cedric looking amazing throughout. Even with this loss, Cedric was still made to appear like a worthy competitor, like he deserves more matches and more ring time, which he does. That Spanish Fly from the top rope and even those close roll-ups from him definitely helped his case.
    • I like both Bobby Robert Roode and No Way Jose but Roode winning this match was the better option. I just hope they have something for him again because he's one of the best wrestlers they have and he's currently doing squat at the moment. I miss his pornstache. Sad. Just put him in a tag team with EC3, WWE. Like the Main Event thing.
    • The Kabuki Warriors without Paige—who was out because of neck surgery—is a much better view. Sorry, Paige! What isn't a much better view is Kairi Sane eating the pin. Sure, this was a WWE Women's Tag Team Championship match and Bliss/Cross just recently won the title, but the Kabuki Warriors are so fun to watch that seeing them lose like this so quickly was just disheartening. Asuka eating the pin instead would be just as disheartening, considering she was pretty much a dominant force in NXT and is actually a former SmackDown Champion. I guess booking just tried to do what it could. That ringside kerfuffle between Alexa and Asuka was a pretty decent way to write the latter out of the match, though. I'm glad that they're finally giving the women's tag titles a much-deserved piece of spotlight, but to be honest, they currently don't have enough established tag teams to set-up any meaningful feuds. Hopefully, the Kabuki Warriors get another title opportunity. Hopefully.
    • I'm so stoked for the King of the Ring tournament, especially if they end up giving the winner a Universal Championship opportunity. Tournaments are always fun to watch but without a meaningful reward to motive the competitors, they usually just become... okay. Giving the winner a title opportunity makes everything feel so much more important, the stakes much higher, and the matches more worth it.
    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. According to him, Kevin Owens is his best friend in the whole wide world. My bet is on Drew McIntyre to win the King of the Ring tournament, with Creative wanting to put face paint on him so he can cosplay Braveheart...if they ever find anyone who's brave enough to paint Drew's face and can withstand a Claymore to the face. 
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    Item Reviewed: The Smark Henry RAW Review (8/12/19): What Time Is It? Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Pepe Serapio
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