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The Smark Henry RAW Report (8/24/15): Fallout Shelter

What’s good? This is your boy Ro, taking over for Stan in this week’s SH RAW Report while he’s out blending in with the locals in his so-called “wrestling pilgrimage” to Tokyo. I can’t promise you that I’ll be as corny as he is, but I will promise you that this review will be just as good.

We’re still dealing with so much from SummerSlam when RAW threw in more than a couple of surprises of its own. Let’s tackle all the big talking points today!

The Pip-Boy 

Look, here’s my biggest problem with Jon Stewart screwing Cena over: it’s a dick move, and Stewart has spent 16 years establishing a reputation of being a guy who speaks out against dicks, whether it’s in the American political scene or the whole world.

The reason why they ran that angle no longer matters. I don’t really care if Stewart did it to honor Ric Flair; as Cena himself said, I’m at peace with that. It’s a human feeling.

But it also doesn’t matter if the Brooklyn crowd was loudly against Cena. It doesn’t matter if Jon can justify it by having the crowd’s approval. To screw a guy out of a win is just the act of a terrible man, and to have Jon Stewart—a good guy—do it is to kind of sacrifice that good guy persona. There was a disconnect. Why couldn’t it have been a celebrity with a “bad guy” reputation? A natural heel like Justin Bieber?


My second biggest problem is, once again, John Cena’s going to be set up as a hypocrite. 

He hit Stewart with an AA, and while the motivations behind that are still justifiable—he’s really pissed, and people do dumb things when they’re pissed—you know they’re going to sweep this sort of less-than-proper behavior under the rug. 

The thing that makes Cena #ScumbagCena is the fact that he spews so much goody two-shoes rhetoric that it sets him up to fail whenever he displays actual human behavior, like anger. It’s the plot point behind Heyman taunting Cena to give into his dark side, which involved hurting a defenseless old non-wrestler. You know, like Jon Stewart? What the WWE needs to realize is that you can still be a Boy Scout, you can still be a hero to children and still see your integrity falter.

What they don’t do, for whatever reason, is acknowledge this facet of humanity to Cena. They never have him acknowledge these faults, these times when he crosses the line that you know exists—things that human beings intentionally and/or inadvertently do. He ripped into Owens for powerbombing MGK; if Cena is the indefatigable paragon of American virtue, shouldn’t he, a good guy, have let Stewart off the hook under the same logic? 

But again, in a vacuum, it’s okay that Cena took his rage out on Stewart. Because it’s human to feel anger. But if Cena is to follow the logic that’s been laid out for babyfaces and conquering heroes, they should have him go out and say, “I messed up. I should not have done that. I am sorry.” It’s always “I AM DOING THIS FOR THE WWE UNIVERSE! I AM DOING THIS FOR EVERYONE WHO NEEDS AN OPPORTUNITY!” It’s like they’re afraid that kids would love Cena less for being a raging bull from time to time. 

I’m going to point the finger to Vince, because he created this new Hulk Hogan. He thinks that this is how good guys behave. If he really wanted to push storylines into three dimensions, like they’re doing with Taker and Lesnar and whatever the Diva Revolution is trying to be at the moment, they need to get in touch with how people actually behave. 

You’re SPECIAL, Bo 

We’ve been going back and forth over the past few weeks on the Undertaker and Brock Lesnar’s respective alignments. At first, the initial crotch kick put Taker squarely in the heel camp, then we argued that the feud transcended the traditional face/heel paradigm, and theeeen what went down at the SummerSlam main event brought us back under that paradigm. 

Taker is now 100% a dick, and after squashing Bo Dallas to begin RAW, Lesnar might very well be 100% a hero. Having annoying Bo come out was the easiest way to get a pop, of course. 

But are we okay with this development? Paul Heyman didn’t want to wait until WrestleMania, Royal Rumble, and Survivor Series, but we all know that we’re probably waiting ‘til next April. They inexplicably won’t come back next week, forcing everyone to forget all about it until it’s convenient.

Unless we are getting something like Brock vs. Bo for Night of Champions. I think I’d actually buy that matchup. We’ll need Brock in a consistent midcard-ish program to wash away the bitter taste of that finish. (Protip to anyone who runs a wrestling promotion: if the finish to one of your biggest matches raises more questions than it does answers, it’s probably not a good idea.) 

The Dudley Express 



This should be mad fun. 

Also, a quick aside on the New Day: I’ve been hearing some people call this incarnation of the New Day a “minstrel show” that typecasts three black personalities as mindless entertainers. 

That’s silly. 

If that’s how you look at the New Day, then it’s because you’re still looking at them through an unnecessary racial lens. I don’t compute “black” plus “singing and dancing” = “racist,” because I don’t try to hunt down injustices in every little thing. The New Day are brash, arrogant, and intentionally annoying. They sing and dance to rub in the fact that they’re better than their opponents. 

Not everything is intentional. Not everything needs to be vilified. And the world should not be reduced to a binary that flattens the nuances of complex issues such as racism; it’s not a black-and-white choice between “racist” and “not racist.” To do so betrays narrow-mindedness. It’s like people crying foul over R-Truth’s character; you all say it’s racist to typecast an African-American as a rapper, but did you know that he originally wanted to pursue a career as a rapper when he was young? Guy never wanted to be a wrestler in the first place. 

If the New Day wants to sing and dance on their own volition, to get their own heat, why stop them?

The Day The Bomb Dropped

I don’t know if it’s the douchey Brooklyn crowd (which might be #1 on my Top Heel Crowds list) but the world—as well as that beyond Brooklyn—has begun to turn on the Diva Revolution. Let me just say that I called it a month ago. Everything I said in this column is an apt description of the angle’s problem. 

That, and they really wanted to see Sasha Banks. The WWE made the wrong move by not involving Team BAD at all. 

Stray thoughts 

  • I don’t mind Seth vs. Sting at all, but I do wish Randy Orton, Cesaro, Kevin Owens, and Sheamus competed with each other to earn the new #1 contendership. How can people just walk in and have a title shot, anyway? 
  • How big of dicks were Orton, Cesaro, Dolph Ziggler, and Ryback after their match? I get why Owens, Rusev, and Sheamus would be mad at Big Show for dropping the ball (which is a weird angle, but we’ll see) but what justifiable reason do the faces have for attacking Big Show while he’s down? 
  • Can we please put Rusev and Owens in a tag team? The Un-Americans 2K15? 
  • Braun Strowman looks pretty damn impressive. He must be all right if he gets to bypass NXT entirely. I guess this means neither of Roman or Dean are turning on the other for the time being. Can’t wait to see who the Shield gets as a third man. 

All in all, while some of the action was good—Match of the Night might have to be the eight-man tag—I feel like everyone was plain exhausted from all the wrestling that had happened over the past three days. If it weren’t for the surprise returns, this RAW wouldn’t have been an episode to write home about. It’s time to take a damn break, even though those things don’t really exist in the WWE. I’ll give this show a plain B.

What did you think of RAW? Do you agree or disagree with anything I said? Excited for the Dudleys and Sting? Let’s discuss!

Photo from WWE

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