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    Tuesday, October 27, 2020

    The RAW RhetoRick (10/26/20): A Smidgen of Déjà Vu

    I'm pretty sure we've seen most of the things that happened this week years ago. I'm Ricky Publico, and this is the RAW RhetoRick. 

    So Hell in a Cell was an interesting show. On one hand, we got three HIAC matches for the price of one with two skippable segments on the side. Roman Reigns vs. Jey Uso was the soapy opera we all expected, Sasha Banks vs. Bayley was the unexpected gold mine of the night, and Drew McItnyre vs. Randy Orton gave us the most interesting ending to a WWE PPV in a long while.

    Randy Orton winning the WWE Championship is definitely a double-edged sword. For one, it's always nice to see Orton capture his 14th world title. But this means we have yet to see the end of the bland Drew McIntyre vs. Randy Orton rivalry. Also, the fact that this storyline will take a break to give way for the Bragging Rights Survivor Series brand wars is yet another double-edged sword.

    Hooray, we're skipping it in favor of seeing the Tribal Chief whoop Orton's ass. Bummer, we're getting another Orton vs. McIntyre in another ridiculous stipulation match. But it seems like McIntyre won't be the only one gunning for the top prize. Based from what transpired this week, it seems like The Fiend is ready to rekindle his rivalry with Randy Orton. Yey, another rehash! Are we back in 2017, Marty?

    But for realsies, I wouldn't mind if they did pull the trigger on another Orton vs. Wyatt feud. This isn't 2017 when Wyatt's the dopey hipster. We're talking about The Fiend here. And it's not like Orton's the conquering hero in this scenario. This is one of those rare moments in wrestling where a heel vs. heel storyline makes perfect sense. Sure, you won't know who to root for, but you'll enjoy the chaos nonetheless. Imagine a Fun House match but with Orton's career as the backdrop. 

    And can we talk about Alexa Bliss' ongoing descent to madness? Because it's so finger-licking, stereotypical-French-chef-finger-kissing good! She had a more prominent role in this week's Firefly Fun House segment where she basically fed Rambling Rabbit with arsenic tea. And her demeanor during the final segment was superb. "You can take a seat, Randy. I promise I won't bite." Chills, man.

    Speaking of time travel, are we back in 2010? Because I just saw The Miz take away the Money in the Bank briefcase from Otis at Hell in a Cell. So why did Otis win it in the first place? I'm not complaining, I'm just genuinely curious. It's rare for Creative to go to lengths to correct themselves. Sending Mandy Rose to RAW, breaking up Heavy Machinery, and turning Tucker heel just to remove Otis from title contention? They must really regret strapping the rocket to a clearly not-so-ready Otis. 

    Again, no complaints here on Miz winning the MITB briefcase. I've always wanted to see him return to the top where he clearly belongs. And now, Orton can pretty much add him to his list of problems. I'm sure he hasn't forgotten about that fated day when the Miz girl frowned upon Miz raising his newly won WWE Championship. I can't wait to see an updated version of that moment. Please don't let that happen at the ThunderDome. I want to see an actual little girl's world shatter before her eyes. 

    Instead of wasting my time shitting on Retribution, I'd like to focus my efforts on highlighting how good the Hurt Business is looking in this storyline. For the third time in a row, they got the job of whooping the loser club's asses done. Bobby Lashley made an example of Slapjack back at Hell in a Cell and 24 hours later, here they are utterly decimating Retribution. That's how you legitimize a power stable.

    Okay, maybe just a paragraph dedicated to these bozos. Retribution is beyond saving at this point, and yet they still add little quirks that make them look worse. What, does Mia Yim suffer from pararibulitis now (that's for all three of us who binged Dirk Gently on Netflix and loved every bit of it)? What exactly did that accomplish? And good job ending the match by running away for the nth time. Pathetic.

    And what's this, another four-way match involving RAW's women's division? Sure, it wasn't a tag match and it was for the final spot at the Women's Survivor Series team, but Lana picking up yet another empty victory placed this match under the "Uh, This Happened Already" list. Don't get me wrong, this match was okay and it finally established Peyton Royce as a capable solo act.

    If the end goal of the segment is to drive Lana through yet another table, why not give Peyton Royce the victory she needs and do the Lana spot after just for the lulz? I do enjoy the dynamic between Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax, though. It's not exactly the 2020 version of Team Hell No, but it's pretty damn close. It's probably the only time I will enjoy a couple of bullies bossing people around. 

    To be fair, not everything from this week's episode was a repeat of weeks or years past. Keith Lee finally got a decisive win over someone. That's something, I guess. I tolerate Elias as much as the next guy, but I really wish Keith Lee squashed the hell out of our resident rockstar. Is it really that hard to build up WWE's next big thing? Giving him a lame victory because of a distraction ain't gonna cut it.  

    Creative's really doing Keith Lee dirty with this wishy-washy push. Make up your mind already: do you want Keith Lee at the top or not? Stop marinating him for the inevitable kill (that's an Among Us reference for you young'uns). Give him more dominating, overwhelming, and mind-blowing victories over the biggest babyfaces. Also, his new theme still sucks. Bask in its glory, for it is generic af. 

    And then there was Sheamus vs. Matt Riddle, a first-time encounter that blew everyone away. This match was that one reminder every week that WWE can offer us great matches if they're in the mood. Styles vs. Hardy earlier in the show was good too, but Sheamus vs. Riddle was more hard-hitting and physical when they didn't need to be. Hats off to both men for giving me something to rave about this week. 

    CLOSING RHETORICK: You know what? This week's episode wasn't as bad as usual. Sure, it relied too much on rehashing old segments from previous seasons and rivalries, but it did give us yet another great Fun House segment, great action led by Sheamus vs. Matt Riddle, and some Survivor Series developments. Also, Rambling Rabbit dissolved into orange goo and got his head whacked. Fun.  

    RAW Grade: C

    RhetoRickal Questions that are Basically Just Throwaway Jokes

    • So NXT is not the third brand anymore, right? Not that I'm complaining, just making sure. Keep NXT away from all this main roster mess.
    • What's up with Sheamus' render? Is he really going with that stupid hat? It's like they want Sheamus to look as stupid as humanly possible. Give him a proper render, dammit! 
    • Where are the SmackDown Superstars? It's pretty impressive how the brand split remained intact this week. We could've had a continuation of the Otis vs. Tucker storyline, but I guess they're really pushing for the next PPV's brand wars. Kudos to you, RAW
    • Is Asuka the perfect Big E replacement? I'm okay with it.

    GIF of the Week

    A visual representation of Retribution's current booking:


    Ricky Publico (@TeetotaleRicky) is Smark Henry's resident RAW reviewer...  for better or worse. A known lover of wrestling tournaments, he's a sucker for well-executed promos and fast-paced matches. While he enjoys nitpicking shows, he now prefers enjoying wrestling for what it is instead of stressing himself over things he can't control. He's anxious about the future, now more than ever. LET HIM IN. 

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    Item Reviewed: The RAW RhetoRick (10/26/20): A Smidgen of Déjà Vu Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ricky Jay Publico
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