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The Smark Henry RAW Report (3/5/18): No Room for Misogyny


Recent RAW episodes have been segment-heavy to build up compelling storylines to lead us to WrestleMania. This week had a lot of continuity to the feuds set on the table, and there's so much to address—I don't even know where to begin!



So Kurt Angle finally lost it and sought vengeance after the cheap shot Triple H had thrown at him last week. Mentioning what happened at last year's Survivor Series was a nice added touch, picking up exactly where he had left off with Triple H—here is where it was all going to lead after all. They cut to the chase a month early and announced the Tag Team match we all knew was coming.

Last week, I mentioned how great Ronda Rousey was with her segment and how much of an improvement it was compared to her contract signing at Elimination Chamber. I had high hopes for her this week... aaaaaaaand it's gone. I was honestly cringing the whole time—the missed cue with the drumroll made me sad, as well as the excruciatingly awkward moments she had standing there and staring at her partner get beat up by Triple H. Girl, if you've put him through a table before, I'm pretty sure you can react to your WrestleMania partner being put in a Pedigree. I needed to remind myself that she's nowhere near a real WWE Superstar, and that it's sadly going to take years before she can truly get it...

I completely marked out for the ankle lock, though, and that alone made me want WrestleMania to arrive right now. However, we still have to wait an entire month before this match happens, which makes me wonder what's next for these two teams and what else they have up their sleeves to make RAW worth tuning into. I just really hope they're able to keep this momentum until then!



Just when I thought they were wasting Nia Jax, they gave her this great rematch with Asuka and then had her legitimately cry—that was a lot of tears, y'all—listening to RAW Women's Champion Alexa Bliss' painful pep-talk—if you can even call it that. Are we going to have a Triple Threat match at 'Mania? It's weird to think about because Nia technically hasn't earned anything. On the other hand, they wouldn't have given her that dramatic segment for nothing—it's clear now that she'll have a role to play at WrestleMania, and it's interesting to see where this story unfolds in the next few weeks.



John Cena returned on RAW this week, to cut a promo that reeks of "Fastlane isn't selling enough tickets, so I'm here on the other brand to promote it." The best part about this segment was when Goldust came out to interrupt—yes, don't worry, you read it right—and it's probably the most satisfyingly weird thing that has happened in the WWE this year so far. I couldn't quite understand the point he was trying to get across, but hey, it resulted in a match between them, which, I honestly wish could've gone a lot longer. Okay, granted, Goldust probably doesn't have as much in the tank as say, someone like Seth Rollins—but what else is he getting paid for?



What the fuck is a Symphony of Destruction? Who comes up with this stuff? Either way, the number of instruments that were present around the ring and on the stage was too underwhelming to call a match something like that. The match itself was crap, the finish was anticlimactic, and the only thing I truly appreciated about the precious fifteen minutes they spent on this was Elias' Dave Grohl impersonation playing piano, drums and guitar. I never would've imagined that pro wrestling could be this musically involved. Ever. This looks like a feud that has huge potential to be placed at the pre-show of WrestleMania. Ha! I went there.



Ah, finally! God answered my prayers. After a year of low-key bickering, Bayley and Sasha Banks are no longer on the same page—and goodness, they have about four weeks to keep it that way. I don't want to see them friends anymore, and I actually wish they'd start cutting kick-ass promos towards each other à la Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio. Girls don't need to be in the title picture to even have a match at WrestleMania—or anywhere, for that matter—this shows you that a simple and compelling storyline would suffice.



The Miz poked fun at this week's Oscars, giving his own awards called The Mizzies, which sadly had me giggling here and there. But it was back to business shortly after when Seth Rollins and Finn Bálor interrupted him. Yeah, these two continued to out-do each other, while still keeping their eyes on The Miz and the Intercontinental Championship. And of course, since we can't decide who's the better man between Rollins and Bálor—actually, we really just don't want to—then it now becomes a Triple Threat match for the title at WrestleMania! Who would've thought?

Anyway, I feel like it's a little too early to be announcing this. I mean, they do have a month to go, still. They could've spent the next weeks making Rollins and Bálor battle it out for the sole #1 contendership, and eventually twist the whole thing that would lead to the Triple Treat at the last-minute. I think it would've given us a bit more suspense that way!



Last but certainly not the least—I'd like to express my deep disappointment towards the Paul Heyman promo he cut to close the show. It started off good, as any typical Paul Heyman promo is expected to be. But then, to my surprise, it took a dark turn—and it wasn't your savage "heel" stuff, but rather something that could have genuinely, and unnecessarily angered people out there. Heyman referred to the Universal title as a "her" and as a "bitch" all in the same sentence and it couldn't have sounded any more misogynistic. With the WWE smothering its audience with the Women's Evolution movement and insisting on equality for women, I couldn't tell if this was a smart move on their part even if some might argue that this is "simply what heels do."

Then again, this is Paul Heyman we're talking about here, voice to the champion who can get away with anything he ever wanted. However, is there a limit to what the advocate and his client can do or say before it makes them look like genuinely disrespectful employees? Granted, Lesnar's title reign that could be compared to a hostage-taking isn't exactly his fault, but rather Creative's for booking him in this manner. But I highly doubt anybody writes Paul Heyman's lines.

I can already feel the hatred from middle-aged men who lived through the Attitude Era throwing tomatoes at me. You see, guys, I wasn't actually offended by Heyman's promo at all. What I'd like for you to do is to take the time to process the bigger picture here: Heyman's delivery is contradictory to what the company is currently representing. All I'm saying is, it's clear that the instruction given to him was to make damn sure that Roman Reigns got all the cheers he could possibly get.

This was an extremely eventful episode of Monday Night RAW, as they kept the train rolling on the way to The Grandest Stage of Them All. Compelling storylines have been slowly rising and developing, and it seems as though most of the matches and segments that go on the show have now become must-sees—that is, if you want to keep up with drama that will shape the card of WrestleMania. This fun episode earned itself a B-!

Quick Hitters

  • Just when I was about to go for my bathroom break, Matt Hardy decided to show up on the screen in the Hardy Compound. He exclaimed that WWE cannot handle another battle between him and Bray Wyatt and that only the Hardy Compound can—so I guess we're most likely getting a slightly altered version of the House of Horrors match. Help, I can't contain my excitement.
  • Micheal Cole literally called a cello "the biggest guitar in the world" and I don't even doubt he meant every word.
  • That wasn't Brock Lesnar's Universal Title, silly. That was the company's extra title that they carry around to every show. You could see WWE's generic plates on it, and not The Beast's. I have 20/20 vision. You're welcome. 
Photos by WWE

Comments

  1. You're taking things too seriously. Wrestling Soup podcast shouted you out, by the way. This is a terrible view point. It doesn't sound like you're bothered by this, but rather, "other people might feel this way", who are these people? Terrible writing. sheesh.

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