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    Tuesday, December 1, 2020

    The RAW RhetoRick (11/30/20): See What I Mean?

    So are we really having another go at the storied Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt rivalry? Because I'm all for it. I'm Ricky Publico, and this is the RAW RhetoRick.

    Look, I wasn't gung-ho on the idea at first either. But c'mon, do you really want to see Randy Orton face Drew McIntyre in another stipulation match for the WWE Championship? And the thing is, I also don't want The Fiend win another world title. I don't know if this is a hot take, but The Fiend isn't someone who should be chasing titles. He's a freak of nature with unexplained powers! What exactly does he need fame and glory for? To make shitty and expensive horror title belts? No, thanks. 

    Let's just have him fuck around with other people and carve a more legendary career out of compelling, creative, and out-of-the-box storylines. And besides, he's already had his fair share of top title reigns. Him entering into another familiar and personal rivalry should help correct The Fiend's course as a character in WWE. He doesn't need to be the top champion to prove he's the most dangerous entity in the WWE canon. Just give Bray Wyatt more creative freedom on how he torments his rivals. 

    Orton targeting Fiend Alexa is a great example of The Fiend being a great anchor for great storytelling. I will always love storylines that use their rich history efficiently, and Orton's is no different. Aside from declaring his intent to RKO his gramma for the WWE Championship, he actually RKO'd his then-kayfabe girlfriend Stacy Keibler that one time. And remember who took out Nia Jax at last year's men's Royal Rumble match? Orton doesn't see gender, and that's probably why The Fiend was scared of The Viper. Isn't that crazy? The Fiend is actually afraid of something or someone?

    See how humanized The Fiend was during that segment? As Tom Phillips pointed out, The Fiend had to beg for Alexa Bliss, the only non-puppet friend he probably has. Bray Wyatt's character is always rooted in someone dear to his heart and this time, it's Fiend Alexa. See, this is far from a revenge story. Did you really expect Orton to just sit around and wait for another Fiend attack? This time around, The Fiend is vulnerable as if he can get suplexed by an old man in Saudi Arabia. 

    So yes, let's hear it for yet another awesome Orton vs. Wyatt rivalry. Keep your fingers crossed that we'll finally get the second Firefly Fun House match featuring Orton's rollercoaster career. If you're still turned off by the idea, think of it as an extension of their 2017 affair rather than a rehash. With a creative mastermind in Bray Wyatt leading the storyline and a total package performer in Randy Orton carrying his end of the stick, this could easily be an epic WrestleMania rematch waiting to happen.

    I feel like I'm late to the party by pointing this out, but I really love MizTV's new format. It starts slow with jokes and laughs and once the babyface deflects the insults, Miz shifts into high gear and drops the bomb on the poor Fella. Miz standing tall after the brawl was a nice touch, too. Segments like these give Miz more gravitas as Mr. Money in the "Brank." Oh Miz, you and your accidental missteps on the mic. But then the tag match happened and it was what it was. We get it, guys, Sheamus will turn on Drew McIntyre eventually. This isn't our first rodeo. And of course Miz isn't going to cash in this week. 

    So instead, I'd like to focus on McIntyre's cringy rah-rah pre-match interview. Yes, Drew, you're the first person to make a "phenomenal" pun. And what's with the "You may have won the battle but I will win the war" thing? What war are they fighting? The "Who's The Best Champion with Long Hair and a Beard War?" I think I finally know why I'm not so high onDrew McIntyre. You know what's worse than a boring champion? A boring champion who's trying too hard not to be one.   

    AJ Styles winning this week's "sudden death" three-way probably means he's just a transitional contender. First off, why was this match billed as sudden death? Damn you and your random match descriptions. And as for the match itself, it's the exact quality you'd expect from hearing the names of AJ Styles, Matt Riddle, and Keith Lee, which is pretty damn good. Aside from giving the win to a big star who can take a major loss, they had the sense to not have Lee get pinned on free TV.

    It's no secret that I'm starting to like RETRIBUTION, right? Now that someone's giving them proper booking, we can all finally see how capable the stable really is. Slapjack's victory against Ricochet was a great example of this. Four people effectively hoodwinking a lone babyface to take home the victory? Now that's a capable heel faction in my book. Creative is slowly getting the hang of treating RETRIBUTION right and I'm all for it. Also, Slapjack's finisher actually slaps. 

    And this week, they received a blessing disguised as a botch: Dana Brooke accidentally unmasking RECKONING, revealing her identity as Mia Yim to the entire world. Think Shockmaster but less terrible (and legendary). I just hate how no one addressed this during the short match. They could've acted amazed or shocked about it, but then I remember how script-heavy every WWE production is. Maskless Mia Yim should now be part of the RETRIBUTION canon simply because it's so much better that way. 

    CLOSING RHETHORICK: Aside from the "meh" event (now that's how you pull off a "get it" joke, Drew), this week's episode of RAW was pretty eventful. It had a nice balance of action and segments, starting with the WTF opening of Randy Orton and Alexa Fiend. It was a less exhausting show to finish through that I actually didn't feel the two hours pass by. Look at that, every once in a while the red brand pulls a fast and good one on ya. 

    Show Grade: B-


    RhetoRickal Questions That Are Quite Musical

    • Wasn't the Jeff Hardy vs. Elias match bangin' or what? Finally, a Jeff Hardy vs. Elias match that's actually worth watching! I completely forgot how I enjoyed the first Symphony of Destruction match and this week's version was no different. Yes, more guitar wailing and guitar pick wolverening! There's no Braun Strowman to tune up the band with a cello, but Elias getting electrocuted was pretty damn close. 
    • Why does the RETRIBUTION backstage promo sound like a medication commercial? Ali explained what the product does, Slapjack shared a testimonial about how the product made him realized that he's a forgotten, discarded husk of a man, and Ali wrapped it up with a nice tag line at the end. All we needed was a list of side effects from taking RETRIBUTION: shitty names, useless masks, and terrible booking for the first few months. 
    • Is it weird to like a Lana match? Her tag team match this week was really good. It's not just Lana, of course, but her being the narrative driving force made this random tag match a bit more compelling. And isn't the clever ways she's picking up victories amazing? You can call me crazy all you want, but Lana having the best dumb luck is entertaining to me. 
    • Where's the New Day vs. Hurt Business rematch? I was expecting the Hurt Business to finally capture the RAW Tag Team Championships this week to make the episode have even more memorable moments, but I guess Cedric Alexander pinning Xavier Woods and over-celebrating his win were good enough. 

    Photo from WWE.com

    GIF of the Week


    They are tag team champs for a reason. 


    *****

    Ricky Publico (@nyamnyamgarbage) 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 (11/30/20): See What I Mean? Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ricky Jay Publico
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