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The Smark Henry RAW Review (9/18/18): Whose RAW is This?



That Universal Championship Hell in a Cell match at Hell in a Cell was weird, to say the least. They addressed that on this week's RAW with more weird, to say the least. A Triple Threat match involving Universal Champion Roman Reigns, criminal-at-large Braun Strowman, and part-time UFC fighter Brock Lesnar? That was expected. Booking that match for November's Crown Jewel PPV in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia? Uhh, what?

I do love the name Crown Jewel, though it sounds more appropriate for a WWE PPV in the U.K. or maybe even an NXT U.K. PPV, but this whole thing just feels a bit odd for me. The Greatest Royal Rumble PPV wasn't free of controversy—mostly outside of storylines—and now they're going back there for more controversy? What a weird decision. Why would WWE jeopardize their philanthropic ideals oh, right. Money.

I love Paul Heyman, so when Strowman chased him off on RAW this week, I grew a bit concerned. I don't like RAW Acting GM Baron Corbin, but Strowman threatening to kill himyes, he actually said he'd kill himalso made me a bit concerned. Hey, if Strowman was in Corbin's shoes, he'd book himself a title match, too. It's just good, logical progression. Although he's a heel GM, Corbin's still an active wrestler and this selfish act showed off how brilliant he could actually be outside of the ring. Him plotting with RAW Tag Team Champion Dolph Ziggler against Intercontinental Champion Seth Rollins added to that. That arrogance of his was a good balance to prevent him from being too OP, inevitably costing him his self-booked title match.

But screw that, right? He's the damn GM, of course he'll just restart the title match after getting disqualified and make it a No DQ match. This was like the Hell in a Cell main event last night, but with a single chair instead of a really red steel structure. In the end, Team ZigMcMan got chased out of the ring, Corbin got back in the ring to eat a Spear and the succeeding pin, and I was left wondering where Heyman was and if Strowman actually ate him. Oh, no. Oh, god, no. Someone call the cops!


Even though the heels have Corbin on their side, this was still Monday Night Rollins. The Intercontinental title match between champion Seth and challenger Dolph played up the effects of Hell in a Cell for both men, which I appreciated a lot. It's little things like continuity that really enhance the product, especially with something like the Hell in a Cell Match that pretty much has its own lore. 

If you don't know what happened between these two men at Hell in a Cell, then you should at least know that they didn't throw hands only during their match. Also, it wasn't only hands that got thrown around. Definitely the better option than having grandpa Mick do his spot. 

Night after night, Rollins and Ziggler keep proving they're key players in the survival of RAW. We've seen both men tussle so many times, but it never gets old. These two could fight forever and we'd all be okay with it. Rollins and Ziggler might be on opposite sides of the coin in this feud, but there's no denying they're both workhorses that keep RAW great. Well, as great as it is. 


Backstage with Natalya and the Bella Twins, RAW Women's Champion Ronda Rousey made her intentions clear for this week: She wanted to put out an open challenge for her title. Will Alexa Bliss sneak her way back onto the title picture? Will a returning female wrestler from the past take up the challenge to plug Evolution? Is an NXT call-up happening? Please, wrestling gods, let it be Nikki Cross. 

The answer to those questions is one and the same: A big fat NO. It's actually a Natalya heel turn wait, no, damn it, Riott Squad! I was expecting an actual match! Now I have to settle for the Bella Twins saving Ronda Rousey? Really? Really? Really?! Oh, wait, this was all a plug for their six-woman tag match at Super Show-Down? What?


Man, The Undertaker is still amazing on the microphone. His promo gave me chills, man. But, even though Taker waxed poetic here, the fact still remains that at the back of our minds, we can't forget what we've seen of his most recent matches. He's older now, so far from his prime, obviously, and a lot of us even doubt if he could still go in that ring any longer than a Brock Lesnar title defense. 

The revelation that he's bringing Kane with him to his Super Show-Down match against Triple H did excite me for a bit at least. Then it made me a little sad. This is basically retired DX versus retired Brothers of Destruction decades later. Shawn Michaels has his hunting show, Triple H is now a suit, and Kane's even a mayor now, what the hell. I just hope no one tears their quad during this match.  


"Whose kid is this?" JFC, Elias! You didn't have to kill Lio Rush! SAVAGE! Rush's comeback wasn't bad, though. "23-year-old piece of gold?" Damn. Just give him a title and that'll really resonate. Reminds me of Shelton Benjamin's Gold Standard gimmick way back when, except Rush is on two shows, and on this one, he's managing Bobby Lashley. 

The succeeding match between Elias and Lashley was okay, but it was the ringside shenanigans that really woke me up. My best friend in the whole wide world, Kevin Owens, naturally came out because he's not done with Lashley. Rush getting chased by Owens and then Elias—who even ate a kick from Rush—but still coming out on top (for the most part) was a sight to behold. Lio Rush, if you've never seen 205 Live, is a pretty great athlete. He's fast and agile and just awe-inspiring in that ring. 

Rush is currently a heel on 205 Live but he is so charismatic, I'm okay with him managing the stale and often confusing babyface that is Lashley. Eddie Guerrero started off as a heel, but won the hearts of many despite his underhanded tactics. I might be going overboard here, but I think Rush's act could also go that way. Up against KO's dangerous heel persona, that may just happen. I'm suddenly all in (sorry, WWE) on Rush being a consistent part of RAW.  It's just sad that this is at the expense of Owens' murderous cravings. He should've just attacked Elias like a dangerous mad man.

In so far as bringing in 205 Live guys as managers, I'm still 50-50 on it. Between Maverick and Rush, the former Rockstar Spud being AOP's manager on RAW isn't a huge leap from his role as a GM since they both entail managing more active wrestlers. Rush, however, is already an active wrestler on 205 Live and we were given the opportunity to see his athletic prowess this week. Whether that translates to more in-ring action on RAW for him remains to be seen. Lashley & Rush versus Owens & Elias for next week confirmed?

I'm giving this week's RAW a C for "Corbin better have the cops on speed dial because Braun's definitely murdering him in cold blood."  

Quick Hitters:

  • RAW Tag Team Champion Drew McIntyre versus Dean Ambrose was bound to happen, considering their current tag team/stable feud despite both men deserving of a bigger standalone feud with each other. Still, it's better than nothing and the right man came out on top. Sorry, Dean, but heel McIntyre is way better than face Ambrose. Maybe if you turned heel... Hmm.
  • I liked how 205 Live GM and AOP Manager Drake Maverick stopped his two behemoths from murdering a staffer backstage. Is Drake actually a tweener? Maybe he just saw AOP and realized how much they were being wasted on RAW? Cole did scream how Maverick "discovered a gold mine." Maybe this is all just business for him. After all, he's not just sicking them on anyone and everyone they cross paths with. He's still cosplaying as them, though, which is still hilarious. Just wear a suit, Spud. This isn't Spudlyville. You're their manager, not a Spike Dudley rip-off.
  • Glorious Gable continued their feud with The Ascension this week, with Chad Gable beating Viktor in a singles match. It looks like Bobby Roode has Gable's back, for now. RIP, Ascension. You guys have been on a losing streak against Gable and Roode, do you still even remember being so dominant in NXT? Konnor remembers. Konnor got that post-match attack in because he remembers. Tune in next week when Roode faces and beats Konnor in that ring. Or maybe Roode'll lose. That could be interesting.
  • BaySash' segment with the Superstars of Tomorrow was pretty cool. Cooler than them, to be honest. Corey Graves got it when he dissed Sasha for basking in Bayley's limelight. You should attack her, Sasha! Bayley beating Dana Brooke, who was fresh from her exit from Titus Worldwide was just sad. The in-ring action wasn't that bad, but I'm not sure where we're going with Dana. BaySash will most likely get a tag match at Evolution, but what about Dana? They took her from that weird but intriguing storyline with Apollo for nothing? Why, WWE, why?
  • Speaking of the women's tag team division, Alexa Bliss is going to help elevate Mickie James and Alicia Fox in tag team competition? Well, the trio's off to a bad start, as their Mean Girls schtick didn't seem to work against Ember Moon. who found her back-up in the returning Nia Jax. Finally. Jax getting the pin instead of Moon was a little meh for me since Ember deserves better than getting thrown around in random matches. Also, Jax needs a better finisher than a Samoan Drop. I know she's Samoan but it doesn't fit in with her destructive potential. Rousey's finisher is sort of like it, too. What about a Samoan Driver? That could be good for her. Congrats to Jax for winning The Association of National Advertisers' #SeeHER Now Award, though. 
  • Hispanic Heritage Month? Viva La Raza! Rey Mysterio's returning to SmackDown Live this week, isn't he? Or maybe Andrade "Cien" Almas is winning a match? Lucha House Party party on 205 Live? I miss Eddie.
Images from WWE


*****

Jofer Serapio (@ShawarmaJoereviews WWE RAW for Smark Henry. His favorite professional wrestling shows include NXT, Lucha Underground, WWE, NJPW, Ring of Honor, and (gasp) Impact Wrestling. He pops hard for Samoa Joe, Marty Scurll, Kevin Owens, Drew McIntyre, and Andrade "Cien" Almas. 

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