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The Smark Henry RAW Report (5/7/18): Anyone But Roman


Backlash is now behind us—thank God—and now we immediately move on to more interesting matters: Money in the Bank. Now, let me remind you that all WWE pay-per-views are co-branded from now on, which means that both the men and the women's MITB match slots are more limited. That was made clear on this week's episode of RAW, when Superstars clawed their way for their spots in different qualifying matches.



I don't know if I'm the only one who feels this way, but there isn't anything in the WWE lately that really interests me. I'm not sure if it's from the boring buildup that led to the huge disappointment that was Backlash, or if I'm just not into what they're doing with the newly drafted Superstars on each brand. There was one thing that got me to actually react; and that was the teased feud between Jinder Mahal and Roman Reigns. Mahal cost Reigns the Triple Threat MITB qualifying main event, leading to Finn Bálor's sweet victory. It was a great move, not only because it prevented Reigns from being a part of the MITB match, but because it made a statement, especially when Mahal has been trying to impress the RAW General Manager, Kurt Angle. Gosh, I was so worried Reigns was going to win it as it would've given him an opportunity to eventually face Brock Lesnar for the 78,943,787,893th time. No exaggeration.

Yeah, just like all of you, I would've hoped for Reigns to have turned heel... But let's be real, here: it's not happening any time soon. And while this feud also has a big chance of falling short like the previous one with Samoa Joe—people literally left the building during that match, you guys—it's still rather a fresh feud that I didn't know I wanted to see until this week. I'll probably change my mind completely in the next couple of weeks, but let's try to stay optimistic for now, yes?



Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn bickering is really fun to watch just because they're entertaining performers—but if this leads to another feud, we can't say it's something we haven't seen before. Neither of the two supposed besties qualified for the MITB match—Owens lost against Braun Strowman, while Zayn lost to Bálor along with Reigns—so we could either have that match between them right away, or watch them tag with each other once more.



Seth Rollins issued an open challenge for the Intercontinental Championship, and those are always exciting. I was getting all anxious and excited about who it could be, and then *car crash sound* Mojo Rawley came out. He cut a nice promo, though, saying that it would no longer be called "Monday Night Rollins," but "Monday Night Rawley." Now, this match was pretty good, but for the one reason we all already know: Rollins is skilled enough to carry his opponents, no matter who it is. And that, folks, is why there is never a terrible Rollins match... And why he should also father my children. Maybe that's why he looks so jacked, because, you know, of all the carrying. Ha-ha, Nicole tries to crack a joke, so funny.



Switching gears, we move on to the women: we were given another lovely Triple Threat qualifying match between Sasha Banks, Ember Moon and Ruby Riott. All three girls shone well in the match—that Eclipse on both girls at the same time was everything—while continuing the Sasha/Bayley storyline against the Riott Squad... if anyone still cares about that feud because I sure don't.

But what honestly shocks me is that Sasha won't take part in the MITB match. She's the, if not one of, the top female talent on the RAW roster, and I'd like to see her take part in it somehow. It's too early to predict anything, but maybe Bayley gets a spot, which would then cause more tension between her and an insanely jealous Sasha. Or my imagination should probably calm down.



No Way Jose siding with Titus Worldwide—is he officially part of the squad now? I don't know—makes their team the epitome of "having fun" and "never taking yourself too seriously." I mean, it's the perfect contrast, really, especially when you're set to feud against an edgelord in Baron Corbin and rebels in The Revival. The match wasn't anything extraordinary, but the story behind it has a cute message.



You guys, they gave us Jinder Mahal vs. Chad Gable twice in a row, and Bobby Roode vs. Elias three times. Three. That's... almost a month. Of just watching them wrestle. Over. And over. Again. It's heading nowhere, honestly. How are you supposed to get a compelling feud going if you're going to let them wrestle each other every single week? How will that get anybody excited for a potential match at a pay-per-view if there's zero suspense leading towards it?

And while we're on that note, the team of Bray Wyatt and Matt Hardy isn't heading anywhere, either, if they're just going to have quick and meaningless tag matches every week. You could say that winning all the time is clearly to build them up as a team, but even until today, there is no convincing me otherwise that this team is simply comprised of two random Superstars who had nothing else to do. Their promos are boring and unexciting to me—unlike, say, another random pair like Daniel Bryan and Kane, who contrarily had this compelling story behind them, with really fun and relatable segments every week.

You can also add Bobby Lashley to that list, and perhaps even Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler. Bruh, these guys I just mentioned are Intercontinental Championship material, at the very least. It would be such a shame if they don't go after any gold any time soon. You can argue that they're in that process of being built up—but I'm sorry, I just don't see how feuding with Heath Slater and Rhyno would get anybody to want to tune into you every week when we all know how it's going to go down. Eventually, people would want to use those types of matches as a bathroom break—or at least for me, my breakfast-cooking break. Also, I just suddenly realized how much I miss The Miz on RAW. Man...

Wanting to get rid of the bitter taste Backlash left us with, it's good to know we're quickly moving on to a pay-per-view that really matters. RAW was all about the MITB this week, and it'll be interesting to see how it'll all unfold in the next episodes. That said, they'll really have to do something about all these amazing Superstars who are currently stuck on idle. I grade this episode a C-.


Quick Hitters:
  • Seth Rollins open challenges every week, please. That is all.

Photos by WWE

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