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The Smark Henry RAW Review (8/30/16): Finding A New Face





This week's RAW had a worthwhile main event, something not seen in quite a while. A Fatal Four-Way took place under elimination rules to determine the new Universal Champion, not long after inaugural titleholder Finn Balor was forced to relinquish the title. It featured a healthy mix of participants, 50% on the "been there, done that" situation with Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins, and the other 50% being the dark horses of the match - Kevin Owens and Big Cass.

Peppered with vignettes of the participants throughout the night, this match was made out to have that big fight feel, ladies and gentlemen. Plus, with the reemergence of a familiar face during the match itself to up the stakes, it made for some strenuous waiting for the average viewer during the first two hours. However, if one didn't believe that we are truly living in the New Era, then WWE gave us a reinforcement of it tonight.

Granted, I'm only talking about the main event and the preceding build-up to it. Raw this week felt pretty much more of the same, with matches of little consequence. Chris Jericho and Neville stole the show, they do have a bit of history together as Neville’s last match before getting injured earlier this year was against Jericho. However, it’s only a blip on the radar when you take into consideration that they're two of the guys who lost last week and thus were paired together since they weren't competing for the Universal Championship.

Also, our obligatory Nia Jax and Braun Strowman squash matches were also present. At this point their only saving grace is to actually have the two of them built up in epic proportions only to clash with each other, with gender not being a barrier. Cesaro and Sheamus continued their best-of-seven series, but much like Sami Zayn's match versus Jinder Mahal, it all served as filler for the massive three hours RAW is saddled with.

At the start of the show, the participants of the main event took part in a forum where they all took shots at one another. Rollins and Owens are their usual golden, god-like selves on the microphone leaving the two big men out in the dust, though surprisingly, Big Cass managed to hold his own with a nasty figurative burn to Rollins. Even with no Enzo to back him up, at least Cass wasn't out there looking like an idiot. Roman Reigns, however, decided to start the physicality which cut the segment short. Though I would like to believe that this was to show the idea that he is all action and little talk, this felt more of a weak way to hide his verbal shortcomings.



The match itself was an entertaining romp, as Big Cass showed himself to be more than just a filler spot the likes of Kofi Kingston and Ted DiBiase Jr. have held in past multi-man matches. He, however, was eliminated first in what prematurely ended the squeaky-cleanliness of this big fight. A familiar face not seen since WrestleMania, Triple H delivered a Pedigree to Reigns to help Rollins, but hit Rollins one with it as well. This caused Kevin Owens to pick up the scraps and become the Universal Champion.

A main goal of a television show is to get you to tune in to their next episode. RAW managed to do just that, even though it floundered miserably for the most part. The main event was the only thing that mattered, even if the championship belt still looked tacky and garish. Triple H's return (and subsequent turn on Seth Rollins) was reminiscent of turns he's done in the past, as the Pedigree is such an effective move when stalling for time - letting the betrayal sink in for the crowd.

WWE proved tonight that the brand extension honeymoon is not yet over, with the crowning of a beloved Prizefighter as champion of the universe. Here's to hoping RAW injects more of this weight and gravity to the other parts of the show, as a match or a segment that truly means something will connect with the audience even with a crappy-looking championship as its centerpiece.

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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