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The Smark Henry RAW Report (7/24/17): Yin and Yang


This was another Monday Night RAW to look out for, as they hyped the episode all week long with nice matches announced in advanced. We had Sasha Banks vs. Bayley for the #1 Contendership, Elias Samson vs. Finn Bálor in a No Disqualification match, and of course, the new chapter for Jason Jordan. So far, they’ve been doing a pretty good job hyping the fans to get them excited to watch the next episode. This one in particular was quite a solid one, with an even balance between good moments and bad moments, and it didn’t need big names like Brock Lesnar, nor any other celebrity guest. I’m proud! *wipes tear*

As excited I was for the previously announced match between Sasha Banks vs. Bayley, I mostly wanted to see what was next for Jason Jordan.



...Aaaaand it failed. Jordan’s match against Curt Hawkins was fine; nobody really doubts his athletic abilities. That little promo he cut before the match, however, was kinda awful; I wish he could speak more confidently and project better... I’m speaking negatively about the guy right now, but not hopelessly. I hope that the spotlight can bring out the best in him, and that he learns to be less timid over time.

That said, it looks like he’s playing a really good dude with an adorably supportive father. Others could either bully him for it so he could make sumbong to daddy, or, the “boring chants” could get to him eventually and he could turn against the crowd. Either way, I hope he loosens up more. It’s a work in progress, guys! I won’t give up on Jason Jordan just yet! 



Going back to that Sasha/Bayley match, though: I think it did wonders for the women’s division. How much do you wanna bet they’ve had these spot ideas saved on the notes of their phones for a while now? I mean, it wasn’t the best match they’ve ever had, but you really felt the chemistry of the two and them really living up to women’s wrestling. Bayley hasn’t really been getting what she deserves lately and we’ve all been hoping to see more out of her since we all already know she can easily sit in the same table as Sasha and Alexa. With that said, everything was equal between them, as it should be, giving us a really competitive match with a (very important and satisfying) hint of drama. Bayley is back, people!

The best part was the outcome: I think everybody expected the winner to be Sasha, even moments before the match ended, until it was all suddenly reversed. Sasha showing arrogance towards Bayley in the little backstage segments was awesome because I’d love for them to actually keep that tension always, until Sasha breaks. I never really minded who would win the ticket to SummerSlam, just as long as it’s the start of a Sasha turn. Please. This is one friendship breakup I’m dying to see!
 


...Aaaaand then you had Emma vs. Nia Jax. I’ll give credit where credit is due: Nia’s improved so much—that senton suit her so well—and I think she’s doing alright for herself. Emma, on the other hand, is being wasted to bits. I mean, I get that someone’s gotta lose to Nia, but why choose the super talented woman who just made an exciting return? This was WWE’s shot at making Emma a threat to the girls, but they just completely threw away all of her potential right in the trash. I just hope she goes and begs for more “opportunities” because that angle is probably going to lead to something.




One of, if not the highlight of the episode was brought to you by Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins. I’m adoring their storyline right now—and no, not just because it involves my bae Seth Rollins. Or is it? Anyway, I love how this differs from a lot of other stories we’ve been getting. This isn’t one of the handful of breakups we’ve had this year, but, in fact, the opposite: it’s a story about what happens after the breakup and when one of them is trying to win back the other’s trust to get the band back together. It’s brilliant! Although one thing that bothered me about this was actually the result of the match. I believe Miz and his Miztourage should’ve taken home the victory, as they should’ve highlighted the lack of trust between Rollins and Ambrose seeing as how their team is still quite the work in progress. It didn’t necessarily ruin anything as they continued to make their relationship a blur, but the loss would’ve surely given them another reason to straighten up and work effectively together to beat the common enemy.



Last but certainly not the least, was the explosive opening for this episode. I mean, all the talking part was fine, but the physical part that came after it was awesome and kinda hilarious. It was so intense that Braun Strowman almost killed one of the “security guards.” Legit. I don’t care if he’s a real-life wrestler. If you get thrown that high up from the top rope all the way to the floor, it’s going to hurt a lot. Damn, what a monster!


The best thing about this feud, in general, is knowing how high the stakes are for Brock Lesnar at this point: he’s facing three of the most dangerous guys in WWE all at once. Knowing the rules of a Fatal 4-Way Match, the champion doesn’t even have to get pinned to lose the title. May the best man win, really. But we’ll save those predictions for another time!


There was nothing groundbreaking in this episode and not too much buzz, but I realized I was able to actually say something about almost all the matches and segments of this show. I think almost every storyline really got the chance to shine. We’re now getting close to SummerSlam, and feud developments are now surely evident, as hype for the pay-per-view of the summer is now increasing. Some moments were well done, while some moments were questionable. A lot of the characters with contrasting feelings and personalities found ways to work together. I felt like the whole show had a great balance, so I grade it a solid B+.



Quick Hitters:
  • As predicted, no one gives a shit about Enzo and Cass anymore. The hype is over. Cass beats Enzo every time. We all know it’s going to be The Big Show vs. Big Cass at SummerSlam. Big deal. (Heh, big.) 
  • Sheamus and Cesaro just watching the others and not compete is a good way for the champs not run over every existing tag team in the roster, knowing how they decided to break them all up this year. 
  • Ok, I kinda liked that No Disqualification Match between Elias Samson and Finn Bálor. It’s not as brutal as the No DQ Matches we used to get once upon a time, but, it wasn’t bad. I really liked how Bray Wyatt interfered in the end—it was short and clear and nobody had to listen to him talk. It was perfect. 
  • I just really, really wanted to point out how cute Kurt Angle's acting was when he was seen watching his son's match. I'M NOT CRYING, YOU'RE CRYING!


Photos by WWE

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