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The Smark Henry RAW Review (8/22/16): Back to Square One



A night removed off The Biggest Party of the Summer, the WWE Universe was left collectively scratching its head as they needed answers. The victor of SummerSlam's main event was Brock Lesnar by means of a nasty TKO, blurring the line between reality and the confines of what's regularly fair game in a pro wrestling match. His performance in this match essentially propelled him to another league of his own and away from everyone else on the roster. What could have been the compelling aftermath made this episode of RAW must-see for that reason alone.

Of course, knowing both WWE and Brock, it failed to capitalize on all that momentum. Brock wasn't in the Brooklyn area anymore and was now out of dodge.

Nonetheless, the show had to go on even if it had absences in more ways than one. Newly-crowned All Red Everything Universal Champion Finn Balor was forced to vacate the recyclable parts of a red carpet title after an injury during his SummerSlam match. In a moment that was definitely more bitter than sweet, the rocket strapped to his back now lost its engine, as GM Mick Foley and Commissioner Stephanie McMahon announced a series of matches to determine the next champ to pick up the scraps.


Another absence came in the form of Sasha Banks, the now-dethroned Boss did not make an appearance after her loss to Charlotte. However, the new Women's Champion was greeted by a debuting Bayley. She was greeted to a raucous reception, and took down Charlotte's lackey, Dana Brooke in her first match on the red brand. Though her appearance and addition to RAW is much-welcomed, this definitely looked like a last-ditch save for RAW’s Women's Division, which now looks paper-thin—ironic since they're the show with the Women's Championship.

Four matches were littered throughout the show featuring all the Superstars who've made their intent to capturing the Universal Championship clear. Big Cass, best known for being a tag-team big man, beat Rusev in an uninspiring effort via count-out. The high-flying Neville lost to Kevin Owens, while Seth Rollins beat Sami Zayn in a great opening to the show, in which Rollins (still) gave it his all and so did Zayn. The fourth match came in the form of Roman Reigns and Chris Jericho where The Big Dog walked out victorious. Just as we thought Reigns had been deposed from the title picture, here he is again sticking out like a bulletproof vest-wearing sore thumb.

All of this build-up for a Fatal Four way match next week feels like a sad retread, as this method had already been done not too long ago. Throw in a random Braun Strowman squash match in the middle of the show, and you've got the same old formula RAW toyed around with at the start of the New Era. However, could WWE be at genuine fault here even if this time around, there were circumstances beyond their control?

Most of the time, RAW falters due to the inability of it being booked properly. Being a three-hour show is hard to produce enough as it is, but for this week, these holes in their roster were not the creative team's problem and thus the show was backed into a corner it tried its best to get out of. It's a commendable effort, but pity won't equal ratings or viewer investment. The show must go on and tonight, it had to and it did. Though, that didn't necessarily make for a great one this week.

Photos from WWE

*****

Miguel Asistio (@MTGMAis also known as the best writer in the world—at least according to his CM Punk-inspired delusions of grandeur. In the real world, he's been a proud fan of the WWE since its Ruthless Aggression days. He also enjoys reading comic books and playing fighting games when not trying to make his dream of being a successful novelist come true.

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