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The Smark Henry RAW Review (3/11/19): The Lunatic's Last Fight?



RAW is DRAW McIntyre... Or something along those lines. At least this week's RAW felt like it, even if just in the later moments of the night. Most of it was still dominated by The Shield for good reason, as this was apparently their final appearance as a trio—or at least that's what I'm getting from how that main event ended.

Wait, who the heck stabs someone in the eye with a pencil?! A psychopath, that's who!


Weird things first, Bobby Lashley cosplaying Zordon during Finn Bálor's entrance was not a good thing. That just reminded me of that super weird super close-up they did on his face when he was doing that super weird schtick about loving his three sisters. The "loving his three sisters" part wasn't the weirdest part, though. It was the fact that it came out of nowhere and led to an awful segment with Sami Zayn and three guys pretending to be Bobby's sisters. I have no idea who wrote that but they should have been fired. Or at least thrown into a dumpster by Braun Strowman.

If the Power Rangers reference wasn't weird enough, Lashley actually ended up beating Finn here and became a two-time Intercontinental Champion. Lio Rush helped, ringing the bell early, but it was still a bit weird. This was just three weeks after he lost the title to Bálor at Elimination Chamber, so I'm a bit concerned that this is going to turn the Intercontinental Championship into a hot potato that Finn and Bobby will be trading with each other with for the next several weeks—that or The Demon returns at WrestleMania to reclaim the title from Bobby. That would still be weird, though, considering Finn didn't need The Demon to win the title in the first place but WrestleMania's gotta WrestleMania.


In the other Spear versus Too Sweet feud, Triple H and Batista's face-to-face was technically more of a face-in-the-ring-to-face-behind-a-bunch-of-guards-on-the-ramp. Batista sounded like a spoiled child at one point, yelling at NXT Daddy Triple H to give him what he wanted, which was obviously a match between the two of them at WrestleMania

It's officially going to be Batista's final match, according to him anyway, in which he'll end Triple H's career. Talk about clingy, dragging your bro with you on your way out. It's an interesting idea, though. Will it just be Batista's final match? Or will it actually be both guys' final matches? 

It's still a little hard to believe that that could be the case for Triple H since he's not really that active anymore and can still do one-off matches during big PPVs like WrestleMania. Then again, his last injury could very well have made him think he'd much be more comfortable running the shows behind the curtain, which he's doing very well, mind you. 

I'm not going to lie, this was easily my favorite segment of the night. Batista's obsession with proving he's the better man clearly led to him wanting control over the man whose shadow he fell behind in Evolution (not the PPV), during most of his career until he moved to SmackDown and dominated that brand as its champion. 

It's the classic tale of the student wanting to prove he's outgrown his teacher, the prince overthrowing his kingly father for the throne, and despite the somewhat crazy lines being thrown around here, this dynamic is phenomenal for this feud. The No Holds Barred stipulation gives it that extra oomph to make everything glow and glisten in the afternoon sun. That line sounded better in my head. Hah. 


I actually thought that Fastlane was the last time I'd ever see The Shield together as a unit for a long time. I guess they just meant that it was their final match together or something like that. I was sort of surprised—but not really because WWE has an obsession with The Shield—that the trio of Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, and Seth Rollins opened this week's RAW. Oh, wait, this was their farewell address? Sure, Vince. Sure. 

Regardless of whatever conspiracy theories won't leave my brain alone, I look forward to the next chapter in Roman Reigns' WWE career, Seth Rollins' WrestleMania title match against Universal Champion Brock Lesnar, and Dean Ambrose—damn it, Drew McIntyre, you sexy Scottish psychopath! Can't you just let the man leave with his head high?!

Before the main event, Roman and Dean showed support for their brother Seth during their opening segment, leaving him in the ring to cut a promo on his WrestleMania title match against Brock, only to get interrupted by Brock's advocate Paul Heyman who's always awesome on the mic, and thrown around the ring via German suplexes by Bro—Shelton Benjamin?! What?! 

Shelton's surprise appearance here was pretty damn good—he's still an exciting athlete!—though I thought he would've been a better fit as Kurt Angle's opponent later in the night for the Olympic Gold Medalist's last match ever in his hometown. Remember, Team Angle, guys? No idea why Apollo Crews fought Angle instead but okay then.

Back to the promo, though, Rollins pointing out how Brock struggled with the likes of Finn Bálor, AJ Styles, and Daniel Bryan—opponents who are quicker and to an extent, more athletic than Brock, opponents who aren't that different from Seth—was an interesting angle to go with for this feud. Heyman countering with a pretty good point about all those guys being last-minute opponents gave both of them equally balanced arguments, which makes me want to see how that WrestleMania title match will actually end. I'm over the idea of Seth as Universal Champion but I'm also over not seeing the Universal Championship on RAW.

Speaking of how things will actually end, we never got to see Roman Reigns versus Baron Corbin—such a shame /sarcasm—because Drew McIntyre brutalized the Big Dog before the match could even begin. That Claymore looked really devastating and I could really buy into Roman getting concussed here. As if on cue, which was most likely the case, both Seth and Dean came to their brother's aid, with Dean even going as far as demanding a Falls Count Anywhere match with Drew later in the night, which was an awesome main event.

McIntyre and Ambrose went to war all over the arena, throwing fists and all sorts of weapons at each other. Renee Young's reactions here really helped elevate the emotional aspect of the match, especially when Drew stabbed Dean with a pencil in the eye. Jesus, Drew. What the heck. In the end, Drew stood tall, and this could very well be Ambrose's final match in the WWE for a while. 

I honestly have no problem with Dean putting Drew over on his way out, as I'm sure that's the case here. Dean has always been better as a physical competitor and this was one of the most physical RAW main events that we've seen for a while. That Claymore on Ambrose, while he was trapped in the stairwell, was just freaking brilliant, brutal, and blasphemous. Thank you, Dean. You will be missed. Not by that Claymore, though, because that Claymore hit you square in the face.  

RAW REVIEW: Fastlane is officially over and we're now on the Road to WrestleMania. This week's RAW provided us with some much-needed insight on how that WrestleMania card could end up looking. If Reigns versus Corbin won't happen, then it'll definitely be Reigns versus McIntyre. The Batista versus Triple H segment, as well as the brutal main event between Drew McIntyre and Dean Ambrose, were easily the best parts of this show. I'm giving this week's RAW a B for "Bye, Dean!"  

Quick Hitters:
  • WWE RAW Women's Champion Ronda Rousey's promo about wrestling being scripted was a little odd for me, especially since a promo technically requires a script. Well, most of the time. At the very least, when you see the word "promo," the word "script" immediately comes to mind. No? Just me? Man, advertising has really scarred me. Despite the problematic content, this is still the best version of Ronda since she joined the company. Her destroying Dana Brooke was a bit heartbreaking to me because Dana is one of those people backstage who has been overlooked and used mostly to fill out a match or get destroyed in a span of seconds. I absolutely loved Ronda denying the fans of the armbar, though, yelling at them to pay 16 bucks. That was both hilarious—armbars can't be that expensive—and pretty cool.
  • I liked the Aleister Black and Ricochet versus Chad Gable and Bobby Roode tag team match, most probably because Black has a really cool entrance and Ricochet does really cool things in the ring. These two NXT upstarts continued their impressive invasion of RAW with a win on another team of former RAW Tag Team Champions, and after the match, they were assaulted by current RAW Tag Team Champions The Revival to seemingly continue that title feud. Are they winning the tag titles real soon? I'm not going to be against that but I'd really much rather see them compete for singles gold. Black, in particular, is main event champion quality. Whatever that means. 
  • Alexa Bliss revealed during her A Moment of Bliss segment that she will be this year's host for WrestleMania. I'm guessing she's gone back to not being cleared to compete again? Is this their way to slowly ease her into a commentator role? Or maybe no celebrity just wanted to host WrestleMania this year. Why does WrestleMania even need a host? It's totally unnecessary, in my opinion. It's not SNL, right, Weekend Update guys?
  • Speaking of SNL and the Weekend Update guys, Braun Strowman is murdering them at WrestleMania? Oh, god, what are they doing to Braun?! More importantly, do Colin Jost and Michael Che have life insurance? Braun's going to trample them, even if it's two-on-one. Or maybe Nicholas will make his long-awaited WWE return and help Braun against—no, I can't do that. That is not... I'm moving on. 
  • I like No Way Jose's new look. It reminds me of Eddy Gordo from Tekken. The question is, will he perform some capoeira in the ring? Oh, wait, he doesn't even get ring time. That could change, though, if Elias' attack on him ends up being a feud between the two. I might want to see that... maybe because a guitarist versus a dancer in a music-themed match sounds fun. Save me, Jeff Jarrett.
  • Congratulations to Harlem Heat for going into the WWE Hall of Fame for 2019! I have fond memories of playing as that tag team on a console when I was a little kid. I had a WCW game and it was pretty freaking cool then. Ah, good times. Also, Booker T and Stevie Ray were a great team! They deserve this.
  • Meanwhile, Lacey Evans is still wasting time, I see. She should just fight someone.
  • Nia Jax taking on Natalya was the continuation of the post-match segment that saw the Samoan cousins beat up the Divas of Destruction at Fastlane. Beth Phoenix was actually in Nattie's corner here, which would suggest that the D.o.D. are taking on Jax and Tamina at WrestleMania. Oh, wait, WWE Women's Tag Team Champions BaySash just attacked Jax and Tamina backstage? Oh, no, does this mean that rumored Fatal 4-Way Tag Team match for the titles at WrestleMania might include the Divas of Destruction instead of the Sky Pirates?! N A N I ? !
Images from WWE


*****

Jofer Serapio (@ShawarmaJoereviews WWE RAW & NXT UK for Smark Henry. He has been an avid professional wrestling fan since grade school. These reviews are as close to professional wrestling as he can get. What the heck is WWE's obsession with Bobby Lashley's head?

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