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    Wednesday, March 24, 2021

    The RAW RhetoRick (3/22/21): The Nightmare Cometh

    Move over, Barbecue Fiend. There's a new nightmare in town and she doesn't need a goofy-ass mask to prove it. I'm Ricky Publico, and this is the RAW RhetoRick.

    Let's just ignore what happened at this week's main event and focus on what should have been the main event: the RAW debut of Rhea Ripley. Her main roster arrival should've been treated with more fanfare. How often do you get someone like her anyway? After a couple of missteps and hesitations, this should've been the perfect time to hype her up as the next big thing.

    But fine, her introduction got relegated to the first hour. At least we didn't have to wait two more hours to witness the badassery that is Rhea Ripley. It's also a good thing they didn't fuck it up by giving her a lousy squash match or a terrible gimmick change (yet). And how appropriate that she pretty much took the spot meant for Charlotte Flair after the latter took hers in NXT a year ago. That's a happy coincidence right there. Strapping her the rocket this early really was the only way to make her debut a memorable one.

    And imagine if this segment was the main event. It would've given three women the boost instead of just one. Peyton Royce wrestled the match of her life after cutting the promo of her life and she didn't disappoint one bit. Sure, she ended up losing, but I really hope that match convinced people backstage to not let her fade away in the background. The main event spot would've been a great way to close the show instead of serving us another episode of Fiend bullshitry. Rhea, Peyton, and Asuka deserved better.

    Now there's only one thing left to do: have Rhea Ripley go over Asuka and claim her spot at the top of the women's division. I love Asuka as much as the next guy, but Rhea needs this more than anyone else. They would be stupid enough to make the same mistake of having her choke on the big leagues. So here's hoping that WWE won't drop the ball on Rhea Ripley this time around.

    Speaking of segments that should be main events, why the hell is All Mighty WWE Champion Bobby Lashley opening the show again when I've said time and time again that he deserves to headline every episode? Lashley keeps picking up big wins, but it wouldn't matter if they keep parading Fiend Kruger around like he's the most important character on RAW. Put some respect in his name by putting the WWE Championship storyline where it belongs: in the freaking main event. How hard can that be?

    Also, why are they trying so hard to devalue the Hurt Business as a faction? I don't mind Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin losing to Drew McIntyre. But why does he suddenly want to put a hit on Drew? That's something The Miz would do, not someone who's All Mighty. Why not just be upset about Cedric and Shelton for not finishing the job they themselves started? Bounties are a fun addition to an angle, but I just don't think someone as dominant as Lashley would resort to such a cowardly tactic. 

    And what's up with Sheamus being a glutton for punishment? This man wrestled a brutal No Holds Barred match the night before and the next night, he's being the punching bag for the WWE Champion. Having him chase the United States Championship feels like a downgrade, but I guess that's better than nothing at all. And hey, it's not like Sheamus vs. Riddle isn't going to be lit. If you want to watch two white men batter each other until they turn red all over, you'll get exactly that with these two and then some.

    Finally, Bad Bunny vs. The Miz has now been set for WrestleMania. Good job for not focusing away from the guitar shot as well. That wasn't too hard, was it? Miz and Morrison did a great job hyping Miz up as a two-time Grand Slam Champion. And he also pinned Jeff Hardy clean as a whistle? When's the last time The Miz was painted as a dangerous threat? Suck it, Miz haters. He pretty much set himself up as the big target for Bad Bunny and his guitar to pummel with. And just like that, their rivalry is etched in stone.

    Also, it's really bold of them to book Bad Bunny in a singles match. Does that mean he can actually wrestle now? A tag team match would've helped give John Morrison and Damian Priest some Mania exposure instead of just hanging around at ringside. And what if Bunny choked at Mania the way he sort of fumbled his lines this week? I love Bad Bunny, but unless he's secretly an amazing luchador, he should really have a partner out there to cover his bases. And yes, to shoot invisible arrows. That's always kewl.

    FINAL RHETORICK: If you forget the fact that Five Nights at Fiend's closed the show, this week's episode of RAW was a banger. Hard-hitting matches and fun segments made the three-hour watch worthwhile. Now that there's no PPVs to worry about, every episode can now focus on building up WrestleMania so I expect the next shows to be as good, if not better, than this one right here.

    Final Grade: B+

    RhetoRickal Statements Haunted By Their Potential

    • I'm probably in the minority here, but Barbecue Fiend looks like shit. It looks passable when the lights are down, but it looks even shittier in render form. And what's with his getup? I'm pretty sure he wasn't burned while wearing a burlap sack. Fiend V1 looked dope as hell, now he looks like literal trash. Can't wait for the $10,000 custom belt they're going to make out of his new hideous mask. 
    • Loved the banter between New Day, AJ Styles, and Omos. The big man was a bit stiff with his acting, but it still worked as a quirky fun promo to set up a possible rift between the challengers. The way Omos moved had me worrying though. He's just a little more agile than Great Khali but is that good enough for him to receive a Mania debut? I guess there's only one way to find out.
    • Bruh, did they really add train sounds to Braun Strowman's signature tackle? See, even WWE wants to make Braun look stupid. And it's working! Yeah, go choo-choo, motherfucker. While you're at it, go remix the Thomas the Tank Engine theme song and make it his entrance theme. That would be perfect.
    • Reginald is such an effective heel manager. If you don't get why he's with Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler, good. Use that confusion to hate him more. Get annoyed by his flipping antics. I can't wait to hear how live crowds will react to this piece of shit.

    Header image taken from WWE.com


    Ricky Publico (@nyamnyamgarbage) is Smark Henry's resident main roster reviewer...  for better or worse. A known lover of 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 (3/22/21): The Nightmare Cometh Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ricky Jay Publico
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