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The Smark Henry RAW Report (10/5/15): New Day, New Edge



Several weeks ago, I said that I wanted the New Day to keep interacting with other members of the roster, and to annoy everyone regardless of alignment. If they did that, it might just push them to a whole new stratosphere of annoyance, where nobody would want to even be associated with them. They accomplished that and then some this week when they pissed off Stephanie McMahon backstage, and when they debuted a new mean streak that told the world that the New Day is not a team to mess with.

Having the New Day come out and pretend to be positive, but actually berate everyone else and bitch and whine all the time is a great heel schtick. But at some point, bringing out the trombone and busting out all these witty chants is going to get the New Day the babyface pop from the smarkiest of fans. At the rate they’re going, they’ve won over a huge chunk of the WWE Universe that it might be hard to get the New Day some heel heat.

It initially didn’t help them when they came out to challenge John Cena for the U.S. Open Challenge last week. While Cena got a great match out of Xavier Woods, the segment as a whole looked like a stopgap for Cena, who didn’t appear to have anybody to feud with heading into Hell In A Cell

But after this week, it’s clear that the New Day isn’t just out to get the Dudley Boyz. They’re also out to get John Cena, along with anyone else who stands in their way. And it was a brilliant move to have the New Day attack Dolph Ziggler backstage and have Big E take his place as Cena’s challenger. That’s the element I’ve been wanting to see in the U.S. Open Challenge storyline. By having guys attack other potential challengers backstage, it makes the Open Challenge mean something more. Plus, it amps up the intensity and the gravity of the title shot. It shows that these guys, regardless of alignment, really want the chance to become U.S. Champion.

More importantly, this new mean streak that the New Day showed—both by attacking Dolph before the match and by taking out Cena, Dolph, and the Dudley Boyz post-match—elevates their credibility to a new level. Whereas in recent years, the Tag Team Champions were just midcarders passing the belt around to the next hot tag team, the New Day has clearly separated themselves from that pack. Hell, they’re starting to get into Shield territory right here.

The best part about all of this is it connects several WWE storylines together. One issue I generally have with WWE programming is how characters seem so isolated, like they all live in their own little world. In reality, since they all work in the same place, their stories/issues can’t just be in a vacuum. At some point, they’re going to have to intersect, much like everyone else’s issues and lives do in reality. By having the New Day mess with Cena and now, Dolph Ziggler, you introduce a more realistic dynamic, which is the fact that these guys are obnoxious bullies, and they’re starting to hurt anyone who’s within their crosshairs. 

The Mask

After watching SmackDown! over the weekend and RAW this week, I’m still not convinced that Kane isn’t in full control. While I’m beginning to warm up to our fuhrer’s theory about Kane’s dual identity being in a very similar dynamic to that of Stanley Ipkiss and the Mask, there’s really something about Kane’s actions that convinces me that he’s just playing all of us, and that he does know what he is doing.

As Corporate Kane, he lets himself get into these situations where he has to get hurt and taken out because he understands that both Seth Rollins and the Authority have their eyes on him. Therefore, he wants Seth to take him out because he’s ultimately setting Rollins up. 

Now, the Authority included a stipulation in Kane’s world title match against Seth Rollins at Hell In A Cell where if Demon Kane loses the match, Corporate Kane is fired. First, since when was the Authority this anal about differentiating Kane’s identities? Second, if Kane has been trolling everyone all this time, then stripping him of his corporate responsibilities makes no sense because as the Demon, Kane can run roughshod over the WWE regardless of who’s in charge. After all, the Big Red Machine has never been one to respect authority himself anyway. 

If they really wanted to add gravitas to the world title match, then they should have just made the match a gimmick match. Then again, I do understand the confusion of having a gimmick match other than Hell In A Cell when the PPV is named, you know, Hell In A Cell

Before we move on, let me just rant about Stephanie McMahon for a bit. I’m not going to stop ranting about the Authority being confused as fuck about their alignment until they actually fix it. If Steph and Trips are supposed to be banking on Seth as their golden boy, then they should be acting like it. They should be protecting Seth like the spoiled son he’s been acting like, instead of having Steph tell Seth that his problems are his alone. 

That being said, I wasn’t entirely pleased with Steph acting all annoyed towards the New Day backstage. While that goes against my initial suggestion that both faces and heels should end up hating the New Day, having Steph book the New Day into another Tag Team Championship match against the Dudley Boyz is such a face GM thing to do. What did the Dudleyz do to get another title shot? The only good thing that came out of that backstage segment is it could very well have been the impetus for the New Day’s mean streak.

More Diva Drama

Paige and Nattie put out a fun little match this week on RAW. I liked the back and forth they had because it allowed both women to get in their respective offenses. 

I’ve said before that I like Paige as a heel more because she gets to be a smashmouth wrestler, which lets her stand out more when she’s a villain. This is the first time in quite a while that we’re seeing it, and it feels refreshing so much so that I want to see this heel run last long.


It was pretty strange that they let Nattie get the best of Paige already because now Nattie’s got nothing to prove against Paige. Since wins and losses essentially don’t matter, then Nattie has no reason to face Paige again if her ultimate intentions are to challenge Charlotte for the Divas Championship. The Paige-Nattie feud could have had more steam if Paige used underhanded tactics to beat Nattie, or if Paige had beaten and maimed Nattie into submission. 

It would be a shame if they just ended Nattie and Paige’s feud just like this because it’s a story about a younger wrestler disrespecting a grizzled vet, which is always a good program to run on TV. Plus, it keeps both women busy while Nikki Bella invokes her rematch clause against Charlotte.

Meanwhile, I’m not going to question what both Team Bella and Team B.A.D. were wearing in the backstage segment they had. But do keep in mind that they were in Boston in October, so it should have been much too nippy for what they were wearing. 


What I liked about the 6-woman tag team match was that it built Sasha up as the hot tag girl because of her hometown hero rub, and it did that pretty well. On top of that, it finally gave Team B.A.D. a good reason to interact with Team Bella. I was afraid that with all that was going on between Team PCB and Team Bella, then Team B.A.D. was going to get lost in the shuffle. I hope that this 6-woman tag match would remind people why Sasha Banks is a legit boss and why Team B.A.D. is actually amazing.

The Proposal

Summer Rae’s proposal to RuRu came out of nowhere, especially since her last recurring story was Dolph Ziggler supposedly fooling around with her by giving her gifts and doing God-knows-what with her backstage. Summer’s not the first woman to propose marriage to a male character in WWE canon, but it seemed more off than Creative probably intended it to.

Well, this is awkward.
I’m still not sure if Creative wants Rusev to slowly turn face or to still be a despicable heel, but I’m guessing they’re keeping him on the heel train now after he said “yes” to Summer’s proposal, but only after she leads him to more WWE gold. On one hand, it’s hard to actually hate a career-oriented male, especially one who wants to achieve success in his field. But the way in which he goes about it, to use Summer Rae to his advantage on the way to championship gold, and then to prioritize that over Summer’s feelings, all of that justify RuRu’s momentum as a heel.

Some People Just Never Learn

When King Barrett came back to RAW last week, I thought he’d returned as a badass babyface who would beat up whoever he pleases—basically Randy Orton lite. But from the moment he started speaking on commentary this week, it was clear that he was still strangely a heel. And while I expected him to go after Stardust, he instead started meddling with Neville, who had a quick match against Sheamus this week. I don’t understand why Barrett had to mess with Neville under the guise of caring for the Man That Gravity Forgot. Poor Neville. These heels just won’t leave the guy alone.


Speaking of guys who won’t leave other folks alone, hasn’t Big Show learned not to mess with Brock Lesnar? If he won’t learn his lesson despite incident after incident of him getting floored by Brock, then he deserves to get his ass handed to him again and again. On another note, it felt good to see Paul Heyman cut a promo like he normally would again. Last week’s promo against the Big Show felt so weird compared to his previous monologues. Seeing Heyman with his trademark swagger and vocal barbs helped establish a certain level of normalcy to RAW.

#WalkOwensWalk

I don’t remember the last time Sin Cara had a singles match, but it was a nice change of pace to see him face Kevin Owens one-on-one, even if it was in a squash match. At this point, I don’t have too much of a problem seeing Kevin Owens walk all over the Lucha Dragons to establish more heat for KO. But I do wish they had a long-term plan for Kalisto and Sin Cara, because they can’t be babyface jabronis forever given their talent. 

This week was forgivable because seeing Owens beat the shit out of Sin Cara, and then attempt to do the same with Kalisto, gave Ryback a reason to make the heroic rescue to put Owens in his place. Great move to have Kevin Owens resort to #WalkOwensWalk because if they want to make us care about Ryback vs. Owens, they might as well keep those two from throwing down for as long as they can.

The Final Countdown

Roman Reigns and Bray Wyatt are having their final battle inside Hell In A Cell, and it feels weird that this feud is about to reach its end. I say it’s weird because we’re ending it right where we began, which is with Reigns and Wyatt going at it one-on-one. It’s a shame that with all the additional characters this feud has brought in, we aren’t getting a mega-showdown featuring Reigns and his crew against the Wyatt Family at a huge show.


Instead, we got the match between Roman, Dean Ambrose, and Randy Orton against Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper, and Braun Strowman on RAW. The match itself was enjoyable, as should be expected from these six competitors. But it was lacking in areas like the tension between Randy Orton and Dean Ambrose, which wasn’t given any thought at all during the match. 

Here’s another gripe I have with this feud ending now: what does Chris Jericho’s return mean? Forgive me for being apurado, but Jericho’s return was supposed to have an impact on the Roman vs. Wyatt story. But so far, all it did was supposedly set the table for another Jericho return and a story for the next guy he’s supposed to put over.

Since we’re talking about the end of the Wyatt-Reigns story, I might as well lament the fact that they dropped the ball on what would have been a great opportunity to humanize Roman Reigns by incorporating his daughter into the story. What happened there? Did they not acquire the necessary permits to allow Roman’s daughter to go on TV? Did Mrs. Reigns say no to an angle involving their baby girl? They practically used the daughter already to take this feud to a personal level, but they didn’t even follow through on it. What a waste. This feud had so much potential for nuances and layers, and instead, all we’re getting is, “your boys keep jumping me, so fuck it, let’s lock each other up in Hell in a Cell and finish this.” What a waste.

*****

We’re three weeks away from Hell In A Cell, and we’ve already got five feuds set up for the show, which is actually good considering WWE’s track record in establishing programs for the PPV in recent years. That being said, this episode of RAW went a long way in establishing the direction for certain stories, but it wasn’t without a couple of headscratchers. I’m giving this episode a B.

But what did you think of this week’s RAW? Do you like this new mean streak from the New Day? Are you buying Kane’s multiple personality act? Are you satisfied with how they’re handling Roman vs. Bray? Sound off in the comments section below!

*****

Stan Sy is a radio DJ, an events host, a freelance writer, one of the hosts of the Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast, and Smark Henry's official PPV reviewer. 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. Follow him on Twitter: @_stansy

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