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The Smark Henry RAW Report (9/28/15): A Funky Fresh Change Of Pace

There’s something genuinely amusing about the way WWE has been going about this angle involving Kane and his multiple personalities. Last week left me wondering whether or not they pulled the trigger too quickly on the reveal that there were no alter egos, just one Kane. This week on RAW, it seems as if they’re still pushing the duality between Corporate Kane and Demon Kane.

For starters, I find the presence of Ashley, the HR officer, particularly hilarious. I mean, with all of the bullshit that virtually all of the characters go through on a weekly basis, all it took was an “anonymous tip” from Seth Rollins, obviously, to make the Authority realize that they’ve fostered an “unsafe working environment” for someone. 

And then there was the bit where Corporate Kane presented Rollins with a gift in a box. It wasn’t until someone on Reddit pointed it out when it hit me that it was a subtle yet brilliant reference to the movie, Se7en, particularly that climactic scene where Brad Pitt’s Detective Mills asks Kevin Spacey’s John Doe what was in the box. Of course Kane’s box contained a severed head in it—Seth Rollins’ severed head. From his statue. Which Sting trashed weeks ago. Brilliant.

Somewhere along the way, while Corporate Kane kept teasing that he was indeed in control of his sensibilities and behavior, it reaffirmed me on my initial assumption that Kane has been fully lucid and aware this whole time. After the way RAW ended last week, the only conclusion I could arrive at was that Kane had been playing both Rollins and the Authority all along. That being said, it seemed strange that everybody but Rollins saw through Kane. If the idea is to actually confuse the viewers, then that clearly worked on me. Otherwise, I actually want to know what’s going on.

During the climactic segment where Seth Rollins gives Corporate Kane a Pedigree and subsequent steel chair shots, I noticed that Creative managed to accomplish three goals simultaneously. The first was to build even more sympathy for Kane. They already did a good job of establishing him as an interesting character to get behind with the multiple personalities, considering he’s been in WWE for the last two decades. 

The second was to get even more heat on Rollins. Ashley from HR said it best when she called Rollins an assortment of adjectives from “rude” to “narcissistic” and “cruel,” all words which perfectly describe the champ. His unprovoked attack on Kane afterward made him look like such an asshole that he ended up deserving his comeuppance shortly thereafter.

The third was to remind us all just how much of a badass Demon Kane is. When they had Corporate Kane brought to an ambulance, he was just a mortal who had been decimated by another man. When he reemerged as Demon Kane, it was the same body, just possessed by a different spirit altogether. From the way he stumbled out of the ambulance, then stomping his broken leg to fix it himself—which is fucking badass—that’s the type of comeback that would make any villain shit themselves!

Rollins wasn’t being weaselly when he attacked Kane; he was being an arrogant prick who wanted to show Kane who the man was. But when Demon Kane resurfaced and made a beeline for Rollins, you couldn’t blame the guy for being frightened. If you beat a dude’s leg to the point of it being virtually broken, and he rises back up and fixes it himself, then shakes it off and walks normally, wouldn’t that scare the fuck out of you? Exactly.

It all made for a great story that built throughout the night. My only question is, where does the Authority go from here? Surely they see every little bit that we’re seeing. Are they going to keep playing dumb by not listening to Seth Rollins’ claims? Is Kane actually lucid and aware all along? Are they going to take action against Kane and relieve him of his duties? Are they going to confront Kane about it again? This is where WWE should be careful in the coming weeks so as not to insult their viewers’ intelligence.

Remember, the Authority is still supposed to play the heel card. That means protecting their golden boy, Seth Rollins, should remain their top priority. If they blind themselves from his pleas against Kane, then we go back into that murky territory I brought up several weeks ago, where the Authority can’t seem to decide whether they’re faces or heels. Actually, you know what, they still can’t make up their damn minds. And it’s a shameful thing, lobster head.

It's A New Day, Jim.

If you missed the Gotham reference, then you missed out on the wonderful fact that two of my favorite shows used the phrase “it’s a new day” in ironic fashion on the same day. In last week’s episode of Gotham, Commissioner Sarah Essen’s first words to Jim Gordon upon his reinstatement to the Police Department were “It’s a new day, Jim,” an encouragement of hope for the daunting tasks ahead. This week, Essen’s dying words were also “It’s a new day, Jim.” Clearly, she was still trying to give him hope, while deep inside, I’m sure she realized that she was about to go into the light and have her own new day.

Speaking of the New Day, they gave the U.S. Championship Open Challenge quite a refreshing kick to the nuts this week. The trio answered Jearn’s open challenge and chose Xavier Woods as their representative, which I thought was an interesting choice. I actually liked it because we haven’t seen much of Xavier wrestling since the New Day’s inception. The match between Cena and Woods was solid and got enough time to tell a story, which involved Big E and Kofi being ejected, only to return and beat Cena up when they realized that #LOLCenaAboutToWin.

I'd like to see the New Day go after singles titles more because of the sheer novelty.
A side note on the U.S. Championship Open Challenge: WWE announced on Facebook that Heath Slater would be John Cena’s challenger for this week’s RAW. There was even a video and all, and this Monday just so happened to be “Heath Slater Appreciation Day” on social media. But all Slater got this week was a Superstars match against Cesaro, which was taped before RAW

I’m actually very open to seeing Slater challenge Cena, and this week’s letdown could very well just be the catalyst for the momentum Slater needs to have a crazy reaction once he finally gets to challenge Cena. Imagine Slater being shown in backstage videos—whether on RAW or YouTube—trying to be the challenger, only to get beaten to it time and time again, whether by another dude who got to gorilla first, or by someone who literally beat him up to get him out of the way. If you can’t get behind a guy like that, then you’ve got no soul.

Going back to Cena, having the Dudley Boyz come out to his aid made sense because they still had beef to address with the New Day. Plus, it made the six-man tag team match that came afterward make sense. Oftentimes, we’d just get an assortment of babyfaces teaming up against any combination of heels they’re feuding against. There is no reason why Face A teams up with Face B other than (1) because the Authority said so or (2) because Heel A is feuding with Face A and is teaming with Face B, who Heel B is feuding with. At least the Dudley Boyz made sense because they evened the odds for Cena and they got a chance to try and beat their adversaries.

Slobberknockers and Slugfests

I’m glad that Dean Ambrose doesn’t seem to trust Randy Orton (and vice versa), especially after what Chris Jericho did to him and Roman Reigns at Night of Champions. What Dean should realize is that it’s his and Roman’s fault in the first place for not coming to Randy’s aid when the Viper was the victim of a Wyatt Family sneak attack. In any case, it was great seeing the tension between Randy and Dean in the locker room. Having Roman Reigns attempt to be the peacemaker was a good way to develop his character because it adds the nuance of him trying to be a leader now.

Speaking of Roman Reigns, it was a breath of fresh air to have his match with Bray Wyatt closing the show. It was just an all-out brawl, which was a fair expectation from both men. Unlike their match at Battleground where they started off by locking up, both men kicked off the match with multiple punches and blows. That’s how it should have been in July, and it was definitely the way to go this week. After all, these two have been feuding for months!

These two aren't singing the Thunder Buddy Song anytime soon.
The finish was also something relatively new given that (1) RAW had been closing with either Cena, Rollins, or the Authority over the last few months and (2) it ended with both men maiming each other to the point that they were both incapable of even getting up. It opens the door for more questions to be answered in the next few weeks, as well as laying the foundation that both men can’t seem to get one up over the other in a one-on-one setting.

As for Luke Harper and Braun Strowman, it was good that Creative had something for them other than “accompany Bray for his match even though you’re banned from ringside, only to get sent to the back anyway.” Having them wrestle against the Prime Time Players this week was good for two reasons: (1) it sets the table for Harper and Strowman as the Wyatt Family’s bet in the tag team division down the road and (2) it reminds us that the Prime Time Players as sympathetic babyfaces after the PTP got in the Dudley Boyz’ faces on SmackDown! That segment from last Thursday showed that for all of their jokes and gimmickry, Titus and Darren are also capable of having serious feelings.

The Enemy Of My Enemy Is My Friend

After repeatedly teasing that Rusev would be the heel we’d eventually feel sorry for because Kevin Owens keeps walking out on him, we are getting the possibility of a Rusev/Kevin Owens alliance instead. And I LOVE IT, MAGGLE!

Both guys are just big, burly dudes who wrestle in a smashmouth way. Plus, they’re great at drawing heat. Maybe by aligning with Owens, Rusev can add another dimension beyond his “foreigner with issues towards his ex” schtick. Or they could just be the Un-Americans circa 2015. Welp.

Rusev was thrown towards you by Kevin Owens, you hothead.
What’s nice about this little angle is that the whole “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” story was used to justify Rusev’s apparent forgiveness towards Kevin Owens. At the very least, it makes Rusev look like even more of an asshole for ganging up on Ryback, whose only offense was being in Rusev’s way when Owens shoved him. It’ll be interesting when Rusev finally sets his sights on that shiny new championship on Kevin Owens’ shoulder.

Moving forward, it makes me wonder where Dolph Ziggler fits in all of this. After all, a triple threat feud for the IC title between Rusev, Ryback, and KO seems fine for now. 

#DivaRevolution Phase 2

It’s good that they’re keeping with the theme of Paige not playing well with others, so they still had her take shots at both Team Bella and Charlotte & Becky Lynch. I was afraid that just because Paige turned heel, she’d suddenly find her way on Team Bella just to mess with Charlotte and Becky. I’m glad that isn’t the case.

Having a brief PCB reunion was fun, if only because it showed how much all of the other Divas supposedly hate Team Bella. But in the end, when Paige mouths off about how the #DivaRevolution is all about her, then her true intentions become clear and she turns into what’s essentially the Kevin Owens of the Divas Division.

Did you really not see this coming, Becky?
It’s also relieving to see that they’re keeping Nattie in this story moving forward, instead of reducing her into an afterthought again. This current angle in the Divas division looks like it’ll shape up to be quite the story since many interpersonal relationships are bound to be explored: Charlotte & Becky vs. Team Bella, Charlotte & Becky vs. Paige, Paige vs. Team Bella, Paige vs. Nattie.

There’s just one problem with all of this. Where the hell does Team B.A.D. fit into the mix? It’ll be such a shame to waste Naomi, Tamina, and Sasha Banks’ talents by forgetting about them altogether.

Pitstop on the Go To Hell Tour

To an extent, I still can’t believe the seriousness with which WWE is treating what’s essentially a glorified house show at Madison Square Garden. They’re practically building up Big Show vs. Brock Lesnar as if it main events the next PPV! Not that it’s a bad thing. It’s actually beneficial because prior to the WWE Network, nobody gave a shit about house shows. At least, little by little, we’re seeing them get incorporated into WWE canon. Speaking of canon, this week’s hype package featuring the history of matches between Show and Lesnar was grade-A PPV quality. 

It was a relief to have Paul Heyman physically present on RAW this week. Hell, he should have been on RAW last week to kick off the Go To Hell tour hype train. Couldn’t he be bothered to show up to Laredo last week instead of having us awkwardly sit through his voice narrating over another video package?

In line with what seems to be this week’s recurring theme of mixing things up, Paul Heyman didn’t exactly cut a masterful promo complete with scathing burns. In fact, it was just a pedestrian promo, even for Paul Heyman. What was surprising was seeing Big Show intimidate him, which was a nice little nod to their history from the early 2000s. 

Return of the King

Great to see King Barrett back in a WWE ring!

We're just not sure what throne King Barrett is here to reclaim.
I’m just not sure how he fits in this Stardust-Neville feud. Clearly, it isn’t over, but it’s also apparent that King Barrett isn’t a babyface himself because he also clocked Neville with the Bullhammer. What’s great is that he got a measure of revenge on Stardust for taking him out post-SummerSlam. That sets up several weeks’ worth of feuding that at the very least prevents Barrett from floundering around in the midcard once again. 

What I want to see is if his status as King of the Ring still holds any merit right now (probably not), but if he could use it to get a midcard title feud down the road, then why the hell not, right? Interesting fun fact: King Barrett has held the Intercontinental Championship at some point in each of the last five years.

As for Neville, we all knew his alliance with the Lucha Dragons wasn’t going to last long. It’s not like they were going to get anywhere as a trio anyway. Here’s to hoping that the return of the king doesn’t lead to Neville being the man that Creative forgets.


As a whole, this week’s episode of RAW was quite refreshing given the little things Creative did to shake things up, particularly with the John Cena U.S. Championship Open Challenge, the main event, and several of the feuds. The wrestling on the show, while minimal, was fun as well. Though admittedly, this week’s RAW focused more on segments advancing the stories than the actual matches. The fact that several characters are now left seemingly without a place after this episode also leaves a bit to be desired. All of these result in a rating of a B+ for this week’s RAW.

What do you think about this week’s episode? Sound off in the comments section below!

Photos from WWE.


Stan Sy (@_StanSyis the Editor at Large of Smark Henry, and is also a radio DJ, an events host, a freelance writer, and one of the hosts of the Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast. He enjoys watching WWE, NXT, Lucha Underground, and the occasional New Japan match. Every now and then, he dresses up in fancy suits to book matches as PWR's longest-tenured General Manager to date.

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