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The Smark Henry RAW Report (4/30/18): Déjà Vu


While watching this episode of Monday Night RAW, I was too focused on it being the fallout of the Greatest Royal Rumble that I completely forgot it was also the go-home show for Backlash. It took place in Montréal in Quebec, Canada, and the first thing that caught my attention as it started was how hot the crowd was. It was totally refreshing when the last thing I watched prior to this was the Greatest Royal Rumble, which had what I thought was the shittiest, most disrespectful crowd brought to you by the Royal Family of Saudi Arabia. *sarcastic smile* Setting up my livestream, I kept swearing to myself that they had ought to give us like five women's matches... which totally didn't happen. Sigh.


I'm so disappointed. Roman Reigns came out and still talked about Brock Lesnar and their "controversial" finish at the GRR (Brock Lesnar had both feet on the ground first, actually. Reigns had one foot on the apron) completely ignoring Samoa Joe. The latter then popped up on the screen to cut a promo—something we've seen a dozen times. Yes, the screen—you'd think they'd confront each other face-to-face or finally get it on, right? No. Not only did this feel like such a one-sided feud, but it also felt beyond lazy. So even if a distracted Reigns was the objective, I still didn't like it because I don't see the point. There's no getting the people hooked to this feud.

Yikes. Roman Reigns was booed out the building. Hilariously enough, Jinder Mahal came out next—totally not designed to have Reigns cheered—and you just felt the crowd hesitate completely. "A-aww fuck, okay, well we hate this guy, too, right? Boo!" Then it sounded like the crowd was losing their minds and ripping their hair out in excitement when their hometown heroes Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens came out. Wait, what?

They spoke French to the crowd, which—fun fact—I barely understood because Canadian French is pretty much like an alien language to actual French people. But anyway, the crowd was so, so into it, and I don't understand what was going through the minds of those who thought this whole thing would actually be a good idea. Creative basically fed Reigns those nuclear boos by making him face those guys.


Overall, it was a fun segment and match for a regular episode of RAW, but it did absolutely nothing to hype Roman Reign's match against Samoa Joe this Monday (Manila time). So good luck with that. A 6-Man tag is not really what you'd expect from Braun Strowman, either, who had previously beat 49 other men to win the largest Royal Rumble Match in history. That's, uhm, supposedly a big deal. And Bobby Lashley is just there... Doing babyface-y stuff... Because he's a generic babyface. I have yet to hear him talk and make a real impact since the return.


Next, we had Bobby Roode vs. Elias. Wait, I feel like I've seen this before. Oh right, it's what was booked last week, too. I mean, okay, rematches are fine, really. But what's the best these guys can do anyway to make people want to tune in to them? Nothing. I wish they could deliver nearly half as good as Finn Bálor and Seth Rollins—who faced each other for the billionth time this year but still—no bias, okay?! I promise—managed to give us a solid main event. There's just something about their matches that still make a lot of people excited to see them. They never fail to give us those mini-heart attacks we long for with all those crazy moves they do for us.


Switching gears, I expected bigger and better matches from the girls who weren't allowed to step foot in Saudi Arabia. Instead, we got Sasha Banks vs. Ruby Riott, which was good, but it literally dit nothing to them, especially a week away from Backlash. I stopped caring for the Sasha and Bayley feud a long time ago—if there even was one.


On that note, Mickie James, with Alexa Bliss in her corner, faced Natalya, who had Ronda Rousey in her corner. Alexa will be busy with the RAW Women's Champion, Nia Jax, come this Monday, so this won't end in a tag team match at Backlash despite it being the obvious solution to what had happened in this week's episode. I guess either way is fine—Alexa still has her ridiculous yet genius "A Moment of Bliss" vignettes that Nia should deal with.

Overall, the show felt like it was entirely made of copy-pasted mix-and-match segments. The show actually did nothing to hype Backlash, which is a shame because it's the episode right before the pay-per-view. I think they hyped the GRR way more, unfortunately. We couldn't even get the General Manager to show up? Welp, let's now hop on SmackDown Live's train and see what they got! I grade this episode a C-.


Quick Hitters:
  • Roman Reigns came out with a t-shirt, and it was Finn Bálor's, too! Just kidding, but it made me think that at first glance.
  • Hold up, is No Way Jose part of Titus Worldslide now? Sorry, I meant Worldwide. But seriously, on the jobber route or not, I hope No Way Jose would just stay on his own instead of giving up his "unique" gimmick just to work under Titus. On your own, you still have this beam of light—in that stable, it's almost guaranteed you'll go nowhere.
  • This was also the episode I officially bid farewell to my ovaries, after hearing both Seth Rollins and Finn Bálor speak French.

Photos by WWE

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