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The Smark Henry RAW Review (8/9/16): August Burns Red


WWE had now entered its third week with the brand extension, and for the flagship show Monday Night RAW, they have three hours to fill up every week. This time around, however, they chose not to showcase some of their bigger stars that could have helped the show out. In consequence, this episode had a lot of missing holes and felt like it was walking awkwardly on stilts.

Kevin Owens had now officially inserted himself into the feud between Chris Jericho and Enzo Amore, as Jericho's tag partner and equivalent to Enzo's hard-hitting buddy Big Cass. The two traded jabs with one another, though it was not as fun to witness as last week's. The Prizefighter and The Ayatallah of Rock n' Rolla may need to work out some kinks, as on their first showing as a unit, their promo work was awkward at best. Given that this was their first night hopping off of each other, it was to be expected and these two could gain great chemistry over time.

However, what really hurt this segment was Enzo, as there was something off with his delivery this week. A man who has proven himself to be pure gold on the mic, it was quite a shock to see him not his usual self tonight. His wordplay is still top-notch (referencing two classic rock hits alongside a baseball team, no less) yet his verbal jabs at the newly-christened "Jeri-KO" left a lot to be desired. The segment suffered as a result, especially when Enzo was more concerned with hitting a home run on Sasha Banks.


Speaking of Sasha Banks, our Women's Champion was treated merely to a two-minute romp around the ring against Dana Brooke. Understandable that she had to get a quick win after losing by pinfall to Charlotte last week, but this was definitely counter-productive. It did virtually nothing to enhance her feud against Charlotte, even though her challenger was there at ringside. We have seen this before, Sasha has indeed beaten Dana before, and there is no new layer to speak of with this encounter - especially after the sad excuse of a match clocked in at a mere two minutes and twenty-five seconds.

Neville found a new partner in Sin Cara, and the two high-flyers ended up being a makeshift team, all the while defeating the world-renowned Dudley Boyz. This tag match was generally okay, even if the action was clunky-looking at times. Meanwhile, Darren Young played a little dirty via roll-up to pick up the win over his former tag partner Titus O' Neil. Raw is being filled to the brim with matches such as these, which sadly have no long-term effect on anything else. None of these six are booked for SummerSlam (at least, not yet), so this is nothing more than the state of affairs for RAW's glorified undercard.

The main event showcased a segment which was a lead-in in itself to a match, which has definitely happened before. But what was also expected was a ground-breaking meeting between the GM's of the WWE, Mick Foley of RAW and Daniel Bryan of SmackDown Live. It instead had Bryan goading Mick to book a championship match between Cesaro and Rusev. The Swiss Superman providing double duty since he competed against Sheamus earlier in the night, while the Bulgarian Brute still had emotional trauma over his wife Lana getting cake all over herself thanks to Roman Reigns.

Solid outing from Cesaro as usual, as we expect nothing less. He continues to show how much of a workhorse he is and his matches are always a delight to watch. However, as much as the brand split could provide fresh match-ups, we're still treated to the same contests most of the time. The absences of the likes of Finn Balor and Brock Lesnar in the ring severely hurt the show, even if the former gave us an in-depth look at Irish mythology while the latter talked about suplexing his SummerSlam opponent ‘til kingdom come.

This is something that would have been mended easily pre-brand split but now was a startling void staring right back at WWE brass. This could be avoided by longer match-ups, and more newness in their encounters. Enzo and Cass taking on Jericho and Owens is definitely a step in the right direction, but having main events that could also lead to search results as far back as last year reeks of staleness. They need to do something, and fast, before RAW becomes a channel-changing affair instead of a sit-through one. “We’ve all seen this before” is definitely a mantra the fans need to keep by heart, especially now that there’s no more turning back for the New Era—only crashing and burning, if it fails to succeed.

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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