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The Smark Henry RAW Report (3/12/18): No Chance In Hell


Daylight Savings Time is back, which means RAW starts at 8 AM (Manila time) again—I needed about four alarms to go off before I was able to get up. I must say, it was actually pretty worth it, and I felt surprisingly bitin when the episode ended, albeit it being pretty eventful.



The show started off in a way none of us really expected: an angry Roman Reigns calling out, uhm, Vince McMahon. Reigns broke the fourth wall again—if we can still even call it that at this point—by getting the Chairman involved and by ironically calling Brock Lesnar his "boy." I can't even tell if this whole thing was done to desperately compensate for Lesnar no-showing when he was advertised to, or, I'm just really freakin' worked.

Brock Lesnar not showing up every week is actually getting me very invested in this storyline, wondering when he'll actually show up. WWE gave Reigns the honors to carry this entire feud with the intention of converting the crowd into getting behind him—and jeez, it's working. It's like they cast a magic spell on all of us that makes me want to take back everything bad I said about this feud since Elimination Chamber.



But was I the only one who felt like something was off in Vince's promo? It felt so dragging, like he was really beating around the bush—in the worst, most boring way—and didn't get his message across as clearly as I would've hoped he would. Initially, I wasn't a huge fan of the suspension, either, and thought that it was pretty unnecessary—until I realized that it was the best way to tell everyone that ultimately, the big boss is Vince McMahon and you just don't mess with him.

But apart from that, it's important to note that what makes this storyline work is how they've been making everything look and feel so real. Every word spoken continues to feed the smarks, as they usually get off from promos that feel like they've been taken straight from the dirt sheets. In a wrestling community full of adults who understand that pro wrestling isn't real, WWE going the extra mile to blur the line between script and reality and leaving people genuinely confused is what gets this particular demographic hooked into a storyline. It's nostalgic, and it makes people enjoy it the way they did when they were children.



Switching gears, they spent a large amount of time on the Nia Jax storyline with Alexa Bliss—which was pretty much confirmed for WrestleMania ever since Asuka showed up at Fastlane and chose to challenge Charlotte Flair for her title instead. I loved everything about the segment and I'm really hooked to this storyline, because I believe there's an important message behind it: Alexa is basically the bully picking on the "different" girl, and the latter isn't going to let it happen. This personally hit close to home because I grew up being the weird tomboy-ish kid whose life revolved around watching WWE programming and got heavily bullied because I wasn't like most girls. ...Hey!

So yes, this storyline is a creative one that needed to be done, and a refreshing one from the typical "must destroy everyone and everything!" type of roles they give the bigger Superstars. It's great. Also, Alexa—rest in peace, girl.



So after the stunt the WWE pulled to increase Fastlane's ratings by adding John Cena to their card, Cena was back on RAW to cut another fun promo. He finally called out The Undertaker for a match at WrestleMania, but he did it in such a savage way by mentioning Taker being on his wife's social media... basically throwing all kayfabe out the window and referring to him as a normal human being. Like, stop. Hold up one second. So, you mean to tell me, that The Undertaker isn't actually dead, and has a life of his own? Stop. Our hearts can't handle it.

Granted, I feel like 'Taker is way too old for another match, but this is one I've been waiting to see for years. I actually would've been okay with the idea of him losing or retiring to Cena years ago, so I hope that would be the case this year. Please, please let this be the last. There's no one else to face after that. I hope we get The Undertaker's response on next week's episode!



Braun Strowman is your new...#1 Contender for the Tag Team Championships? No, that doesn't sound right. Nor will it ever. So, uhh, why did he invade that Tag Team Battle Royal again when he is a singles competitor? Yes, in all italics to emphasize. I was beyond confused and frustrated as to why he needed to be inserted in this. There are so many teams on RAW with such promising potential and now all of their hard work goes to one man who doesn't even deserve it.

Yes, granted, it's something new and different, and will probably serve as an attraction match at WrestleMania as opposed to facing any other already-established team on the roster. They knew if they did that, nobody would truly pay attention—but ultimately, whose fault is that? They can always build a compelling storyline for anything but just wasn't able to build anything up enough for the Tag Team division. It's a shame. So now, we get Strowman desperately inserted in it at the expense of a talented division who just got absolutely buried. At this point, the Superstars in the tag division should probably ask themselves why they even team up in the first place if all it took was one guy to take it away from them.

Hopefully by next week, they come up with some explanation to it: either they announce it as a Handicap match, or tease us on who Braun's partner would be. But yeah, no, I don't really see him as a team player... And with that said, how will anyone ever be able to take the title off of the Monster Among Men if he can easily destroy everyone you put in his way?



Why the heck was Bayley seen walking down the ramp with Sasha Banks? She refused to hug Sasha just last week and clearly didn't want anything to do with her, but this week, for some reason, she agreed to make an entrance with her and stand with her at ringside during her match. Where is the logic?! Bayley then left the party early, which caused Sasha some trouble with Absolution, but there was really no good explanation as to why she forced herself to watch her match when she's supposedly done.

Nevertheless, I like this feud. But knowing how good wrestlers these two are, I think it's safe to say I'm more hooked on the idea of how good of a wrestling match they'd pull off together at WrestleMania with their real-life chemistry, more than I am with the actual story behind it.

Without the advertised appearance of Brock Lesnar nor Ronda Rousey, they still managed to give us an entertaining episode of RAW. Honestly, I do feel like the episodes to come can only get better from here as they make sure that every single storyline would draw people to watch WrestleMania. This week's episode did some interesting advances to storylines, and not a minute felt too wasted. Waking up early then was worth it! I grade this episode an A-.


Quick Hitters:
  • I'm convinced we're going to see Queen Rebecca, King Maxel, Lord Wolfgang, Señor Benjamin, and Vanguard-1 at WrestleMania after the promo vignette they showed. That's one hell of an entrance I bet you never thought you'd see at the Grandest Stage of them All.
  • They created a women's version of the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal, called the Fabulous Moolah Memorial Battle Royal. No—just no. It's unreal how they're going to name an all-women's match over a pimp who abused and took advantage of other women. Where the hell is the justice? And it's not like the rest of the women don't deserve to participate at WrestleMania—it's just that these girls deserve an award to be named after someone who empowers and elevates them, rather than from someone who objectified and enslaved women. It once again contradicts everything these women have fought for. Someone start an online petition on this, please!
  • Seth Rollins vs. Finn Bálor will never be a bad idea. Thank you for the treat, WWE. 💖

Photos by WWE

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