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The Smark Henry RAW Review (9/12/16): Reign of Terror




This week's episode of RAW was a few days removed from their whirlwind of a world tour, which included legs in Shanghai, London and Manila. Not only that, but it's also two weeks away from their first brand-exclusive PPV, Clash of Champions. With a lot on their plate on a constant basis, they still have to fill their weekly quota of three hours of television. Their episodes have been hit-and-miss since the beginning of the brand split, but the possibility of a continuation of the Seth Rollins-Triple H-Kevin Owens saga is enough to make loyal viewers tune in.

Charlotte, the Women's Champion of Raw, needed a challenger for Clash of Champions. Along with perennial rival Sasha Banks and the new girl Bayley came an unexpected third pursuer for the title in Charlotte's protege, Dana Brooke. GM Mick Foley set up a Triple Threat match to determine the #1 contender, and Sasha ended up winning by swiping the victory from Bayley. Sasha's win was to be expected, seeing as she still has unfinished business with "The Queen." However, letting Bayley take the loss was ill-advised. Bayley had only debuted recently, and a loss such as this could fan out the white-hot flames she had upon entering the fray that is the RAW women's division.


Sami Zayn was the guest of this week's Highlight Reel, and this was arguably the best time he's ever had on the mic. Promo work mixed in with just a sprinkle of truth can add so much intensity to it, and that's exactly how Sami Zayn delivered his verbal barrage directed at Chris Jericho. Zayn is a breath of fresh air amongst Superstars who constantly yell at the mic all the time to get their points across, as here he keeps his composure yet still manages to hit Jericho where it hurts.

In retaliation, a visibly bothered Y2J bashes Zayn across his face with a cellphone and delivers a Codebreaker. These could be seeds planted for a rivalry between the two, and it would bear quite the fruit if this would be the plan moving forward.

Meanwhile, Jericho's new best friend Kevin Owens—also the Universal Champion—had to face Roman Reigns to stop his Clash of Champions title defense from turning into a Triple Threat match. The two delivered a hard-hitting match that culminated in a clean victory for the champ, something he needed after his shady title win two weeks ago. The United States Champion Rusev brought about some much-needed continuity to the proceedings, especially after his rivalry over Reigns was hastily dropped after SummerSlam. He went on to attack Reigns and send a message that they're far from over.


Aside from these bright spots however, the show faltered on all accounts. There was a proliferation of singles matches, which would mean good if only they weren't such uninteresting and uninspired contests. The bouts involving Jinder Mahal and Bo Dallas were a chore to watch, while Nia Jax faced her toughest challenge in the form of Alicia Fox. At this point, it could be justifiable to hot-shot Nia right into the Women's title picture as this build-up is beginning to hurt her more than help. With no other threat for the foreseeable future, it'll be hard to tune in to a Nia match knowing the opponent won't put up much of a fight.

Not even the upcoming arrival of the Cruiserweights could spell as the sole savior of RAW. For all the great segments and matches that can be produced—and are produced—every Monday, it's dwarfed by some tedious, some unnecessary, and some downright intolerable ones. Matches that matter are more of what we need, and not ones involving those lower on the totem pole with no merit. The closest we get to a storyline is the scuffle between Darren Young and Titus O' Neil, but that has failed to pique any interest. A simple insertion of a storyline for these filler segments may actually do wonders and make people care, but maybe not even the creative department cares in that regard.

All of that, and not even a Rollins or Triple H sighting tonight! No wonder three hours of Raw is daunting to sit through. Especially after realizing you were waiting for something major to unfold and instead got nothing in return. We did get a Rusev return, but that pales in comparison to the magic "The Game" and "The Architect" should be making together.

With each passing week of not taking the bull by the horns, WWE will either end up selling those with bated breath extremely short, or it would blow us away with their inevitable showdown. Knowing the talent involved, it would be the latter, but don't be surprised if it ends up being the former due to some mishandled creative decisions.

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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