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    Wednesday, June 23, 2021

    RAW Food for Thought (6/21/21): Kofi in the Bank

    I can't lie; I honestly thought this was a solid episode of Monday Night RAW. WWE efficiently established the post-PPV state of affairs and the matches for Money In The Bank

    After rightfully retaining against Drew McIntyre once again at Hell in a Cell, Bobby Lashley will carry the torch for WWE when crowds return. However, his celebration in the VIP Lounge with MVP and Lashley's Ladies was interrupted by the irreverent New Day. WWE actually relied on continuity and used Kofi's rebuke of MVP's offer to officially challenge Bobby Lashley for the WWE Championship. Flushed with victory, Bobby Lashley immediately accepts and even challenged Xavier Woods to the 1st Hell in a Cell match in a decade on RAW

    This segment sets up an exciting feud for two reasons. First, this might be the first-ever singles match for the WWE Championship between two black men. If The Rock did it already, then it's the first one in 20 years, which is still significant. Second, the conflict between the New Day and The Hurt Business is a common issue among adult men, especially millennials. The New Day represents a laid-back mindset when it comes to growing up. They are idealistic optimists who enjoy video games and the little things in life. Some people might derisively call them "beta males." 

    Conversely, The Hurt Business represents the supposedly more mature mindset of "work hard, play hard." They are realists who understand that the only constant in life is the grind and pursuit of wealth. They enjoy the things that only financial success can bring: fine wine, women, and luxuries. Others might call look at these figures as "alpha males." I cannot wait to see how they develop this feud in the weeks to come.

    The rest of RAW was largely filled with qualifying matches for the Money In The Bank Ladder Matches. I was relieved when they announced several matches for the night because filling up RAW's runtime with matches can only be a good thing. I thought all of them were good or, at least, pretty decent. They were even able to advance certain storylines. 

    The men's side was able to get more athletic superstars (Riddle, Ricochet, and John Morrison) over the main eventers (AJ Styles, Randy Orton, and Drew McIntyre). The latter three still get a last chance Triple Threat match, which I cannot wait to see.

    The women's side showed us that Eva Marie didn't qualify for MITB, which helped me breathe a big sigh of relief. I don't want that woman anywhere near a big ladder match. I felt bad for Piper Niven, a.k.a. Doudrop, because I wanted her in that match. However, sacrifices must be made for the greater good. As for the controversy, you can tell that Piper didn't like the name. She was even mouthing "Piper" to Eva Marie when the latter was asked what her name was. This gives me a sliver of hope that this Doudrop business is only a storyline thing. 

    The only qualifying match that felt half-baked was the reunion of Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross against Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler. I don't even dislike Nikki Cross's new gimmick. For me, she just needs to drop the mask since she's not hiding her identity or changing its design altogether. For me, the elephant in the room is why Alexa and Nikki would reunite after such an acrimonious split? Sure, it can be inferred that they're letting bygones be bygones for the sake of qualifying for MITB, but still. This sudden reunion would have been better if supplemented with an Alexa's Playground episode or some other segment to justify it. It wouldn't even ruin the surprise of Nikki's new look since she can just save the reveal for the match.

    Lastly, we turn to the RAW Women's Championship title picture. This was the only major letdown of the show for me. After retaining the title via DQ at Hell in a Cell, Rhea Ripley got reprimanded by WWE officials Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville. It's both interesting and confusing because I don't remember the last time a babyface champion was criticized for doing this. Perhaps Rhea is now turning into a tweener? Then, Charlotte Flair is granted another title match by the officials after commending Rhea's underhanded tactics. I really hope this leads to a no-disqualification PPV match because this segment would not make any sense otherwise!

    Final Grade: B

    Stray Observations:

    • I also do not care about the feud between Jaxson Ryker and Elias, but I do like strap matches! Kudos to WWE Creative for getting me to care. Jaxson flagellating himself without flinching was a nice touch.
    • Mind control is one of the hardest powers to write for comic books, so I don't know why WWE is doing it. How can you even beat someone in wrestling who has mind control powers? Reginald was able to snap out of it somehow this week. Hopefully, they think this possible development through.
    • Last week's episode was the most Scottish ever! A record three Scottish wrestlers won last week, which is a nice reprieve from Scotland losing that same day at Euro 2020
    • The highlight of RAW Talk this week is The Miz putting R-Truth on the hot seat for smoking weed in Europe. 

    Header image from WWE


    Kim Antonio is a contributor to Smark Henry and a lifelong fan of professional wrestling. He was first exposed to wrestling as a small child when his older cousin would practice finishers on him, which led him to hate wrestling. Later, he saw it on TV and was hooked ever since. He dreams of being a wrestling booker after watching Ready to Rumble and playing GM Mode on SmackDown vs. Raw. He hopes fellow fans will learn someday that there's nothing wrong with loving both shows of competing promotions.
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    Item Reviewed: RAW Food for Thought (6/21/21): Kofi in the Bank Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Kim Antonio
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