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The Smark Henry RAW Report (4/23/18): Something We've Never Seen Before


This episode of Monday Night RAW was quite an eventful one: it paid tribute to the late Bruno Sammartino, and it was the go-home episode for The Greatest Royal Rumble happening this Saturday morning (Manila time) at Saudi Arabia. I honestly didn't think the latter was going to be such a big deal of a house show until they mentioned it about 352 times. This was also the episode after the Superstar Shakeup, which means enough introducing new characters, and now time to actually do something with them.


After the bell rung ten times for Bruno, the arena was calm, until boom! Brock Lesnar's music hit. This was the first time he showed up after WrestleMania, so I was already getting used to not seeing him around. Again.

Paul Heyman went on and on, as usual, and even promoted The Greatest Royal Rumble, which Lesnar would be a part of. After what almost felt like an entire 15 minutes of talking, Roman Reigns finally came out to interrupt, and disappointingly said only a couple of words. That was it. No physical altercation despite being in the ring at the same time. But most importantly, no physical altercation despite squaring off in a steel cage at Saudi Arabia in a few days from now. I mean, it's the very least they could do to hype a match we've seen one too many times already. And, there's already enough talking done when Lesnar isn't in the arena, anyway!

Now, I'm not sure why, but I have this slight feeling that Roman Reigns could actually come home with the Universal Title. Why else would they hype this event as much as they did if nothing cool could potentially happen? Or this is probably me wishful thinking because I'm so sick and tired of Lesnar holding that title hostage. I'm still deep in that #AnyoneButBrock movement!


It didn't make too much sense to me how Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas still kept The Miz's theme song. They turned on him last week during his last match before moving to SmackDown Live... However, the Miztourage trying really hard to find a new master is probably one of the most entertaining storylines in the program right now. I laughed pretty hard when they tried to cling on Seth Rollins, and then Finn Bálor.


The next best storyline on RAW, for me, is Ronda Rousey's friendship with Natalya. Nattie worked the leg so well, and when Ronda came out to help, it looked like it was both of them against the world. I said it last week, and I'll say it again this week: I love getting Ronda involved in the women's division as much as possible, even though we all know she isn't ready to have those regular, weekly matches. I pray all of this would lead into a feud between Ronda and Nattie in the future. Going back, this 10-woman tag match was the main event of the episode, and it itself delivered pretty well. I was invested!

So where do Sasha Banks and Bayley go from here? Eh, I stopped caring at this point—they spread that feud out way too thin. And as for Ember Moon: unless they give her a really compelling feud to work with, she's just going to remain as interesting on RAW as she was in NXT—which you could, like, compare it to watching paint dry. She just has a really cool finisher.

Alexa Bliss, though, has something pretty cool going on with her "A Moment of Bliss" segments. It's ridiculously absurd to its core, but it was presented as something really sincere—which not only made for comedic gold, but it also made you want to punch her in the face because it's so annoyingly fake as she tries to reverse the situation to make it look like she's the victim in everything. This segment is good because it's actually relatable. C'mon, we all know a guy. Or girl.


This is why you don't have two feuds at the same time. Samoa Joe was given 30 seconds, on his phone, to cut a promo against Roman Reigns for their match at Backlash. Since Reigns is also going to be busy with Lesnar, Joe was randomly added to the Triple Threat match at The Greatest Royal Rumble, which would then become a Fatal 4-Way. The heck did he do to earn it?


There were a lot of unexpected victories on the show: Elias won against Bobby Roode, and Chad Gable won against Jinder Mahal! All with quick roll-ups, of course. These shockers could be the start of interesting feuds, if WWE doesn't let go of them.


Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens continue to be the General Managers' biggest nightmare. Doesn't matter which brand they're in, they're the reckless troublemakers that would annoy the shit out of any boss. They still continued to mess with Kurt Angle this week, so they eventually got what they deserved: a match against Braun Strowman and Bobby Lashley. Hoooo boy.

This isn't what I expected out of a returning Lashley, though. He's booked as a threat and gave an amazing performance, sure—but to me, he still remains on idle until he is given something relevant and, you know, not a random tag team match. Maybe my expectations are just really high because of the rumors they once fed us about Lashley going up against Lesnar for the title... So until he gets that, I'm not too interested.

Now that I think about it, it felt like Teddy Long booked this episode: we had six tag matches total! So many things happened, I felt like there was so much to write about. But overall, this was ok as an episode after the Superstar Shakeup—Creative needs to find a way to make all the new faces fit altogether—but even better as a go-home episode for The Greatest Royal Rumble. Granted, none of the matches actually hyped the event on Saturday, but I think everyone mentioned it enough for me to want to tune in. I give this episode a C+!


Quick Hitters:
  • Baron Corbin is like the edgelord we all make fun of, who goes and hates on the funny guys for no reason. Boo you, Corbin. Let loose a little!
  • Were those loud Roman Reigns fans in the front row during the Paul Heyman promo plants? It looked so excruciatingly staged. I feel bad.

Photos by WWE

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