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The Smark Henry RAW Review (4/29/19): Burn it Down, Build it Up



It's Money in the Bank season, and I am so excited to watch qualifying matches for each competitor... Wait, what? Alexa Bliss is just going to tell us who's competing for the Money in the Bank Ladder Match on the RAW side of things? She's also going to do the same for the female competitors by just copy-pasting the same segment for later in the night? Well, at least Baron Corbin's not main-eventing this week. Wait, what's the main event this week? Oh, come on!


Lio Rush wasn't with Bobby Lashley this week when The All Mighty graced Miz TV with his presence, so I guess he really is in hot water. Rush's absence is unfortunate because he's a really great athlete and he works well as a heel on the mic, annoying fans to no end and almost effortlessly. In the ring, Rush has unlimited potential. That is, if we take his height out of the equation... but that isn't how the main roster works sadly. If his backstage heat on the main roster is truly nuclear, can't they just send him back to 205 Live where he could win the Cruiserweight Championship instead of turning him into a Sasha Banks or Luke Harper? Benching him indefinitely would be a waste of great talent.

The actual segment, though, was bound to lead to a match between Miz and his guest because that's what usually happens if an in-ring wrestling talk show only has one guest and the host has nothing else at the moment. Surprisingly—mostly because I expected brands to honor their separation like divorced parents—Shane McMahon cost Miz the match, so I guess the Miz/Shane feud is going to continue. Huh.

To be fair, a feud existing across two separate brands could be interesting, and the last time Shane and Miz settled their differences, the conclusion was somewhat controversial, so this could actually work. I've already moved past Miz/Shane, though, so I'll need something more from this pair to keep me interested. Maybe Miz punches Vince in the face one of these days? Oh, wait, Roman already did that. A steel cage match between Miz and Shane could be fun, though, but I'm sure Lashley will probably just run interference here and give Shane another win over Miz. Please let me be wrong.


Money in the Bank is one of those exciting WWE PPVs because of the gimmick multi-person ladder match with the winner getting a future title shot via a contract within a briefcase. I know, that sounds a bit weird to non-wrestling fans but the possibilities of who wins and becomes a potential new champion from out of nowhere are just brilliant. The concept keeps you guessing and thinking of various new feuds and storylines, not unlike theory-crafting new Marvel movies and, well, storylines. Thus, it was a bit disappointing when RAW's Money in the Bank Ladder Match competitors were just flat-out announced in another "A Moment of Bliss" segment instead of qualifying matches peppered all over the show. Also, Baron Corbin was here and we all hate him.

Ricochet being part of the ladder match already has me salivating. He was part of that North American Championship Ladder Match that saw Adam Cole (BAY BAY) get crowned as the inaugural champion and that was pretty awesome. Drew McIntyre is a barbarian, so he'll be fun to watch in this match. 

The potential of either Ricochet or Drew challenging Universal Champion Seth Rollins or AJ Styles, depending on who wins their match, is also exciting. Ricochet can work well with either Seth or AJ for a fun high-flying match while Drew can portray an intense monster working against either Seth or AJ as the tenacious underdog. Braun can also portray that, no duh, but Drew just looks more intense and honestly can have more layers as a sinister big man than Braun's mindless monster. Oh, and Corbin... Well, Corbin should've been replaced by Robert Roode here. Then again, baby steps.

The actual tag team match between Ricochet and Strowman versus Corbin's Midcard of Villains was pretty standard fare: the tinier babyface getting worked over until the bigger babyface gets the hot tag and runs over the heels. I was very glad when we had that continuity regarding Corbin and Drew's partnership. Last week, Corbin stole Drew's victory in a Triple Threat match for a Universal title opportunity, which Styles now has, and this week, Drew repaid the favor by punching Corbin in the face. Ha. That's karma for you. Right in the face.

Oh, yeah, we also got a second "A Moment of Bliss" segment for the second Money in the Bank ladder match competitors reveal. This was basically a copy-paste version of the first segment but for women, with this segment also leading to a match between the competitors, though only Alexa Bliss and Naomi got in the ring. because turning it into a full-blown tag team match featuring all four of them would probably be too obvious. This segment was just terrible, though the singles match between Bliss and Naomi was interesting in that Bliss lost because she wasn't wearing her proper ring gear and Naomi stole her shoes or something. Alexa should probably ask Corbin for advice on how to wrestle in non-wrestling gear.


...So the main event was the Universal Championship contract-signing between champion and "Beast Slayer" Seth Rollins and "The Phenomenal" AJ Styles? Huh. The back-and-forth between challengers seemed a bit off to me. AJ thinks Seth wants to be the next AJ but Seth just wants to be the only Seth? Okay. That's... interesting. AJ teasing about doing unexpected things to get what he wants perked me up, though, mostly because Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson are back on RAW. The Club reunion confirmed?! 

The brawl that followed was also pretty interesting, with AJ seemingly turning heel to deliver a Phenomenal Forearm on Seth, driving the champ through the table. I've never seen anything happen like that before, so I liked that. Regardless of who plays face and who plays heel, this AJ/Seth match is going to be fantastic, dare I say... phenomenal. Both are amazing talents and this match could even be WrestleMania worthy. 

RAW REVIEW: I've got to be honest here, I'm very disappointed with RAW's Money in the Bank ladder match competitors and that includes the women's ladder match competitors. Only Ricochet and Drew McIntyre appear to be interesting prospects for me, though only Drew seem to have an actual chance at winning that briefcase. Overall, this week's RAW was just okay, so I'm giving it a C for "Corbin should've been replaced by Robert Roode and his sexy mustache."  

Quick Hitters:

  • Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson getting "shook up" to RAW could be interesting, considering what happened in the contract signing between AJ Styles and Universal Champion Seth Rollins. I wouldn't be against The Club reuniting again as heels, or maybe as tweeners, but with more members spread out over all the brands because stables are my source of power.
  • The Usos filming The Revival in the locker room was... odd. Is this what actually happens in the Uso Penitentiary? I don't want to know. 
  • What I wanted to know was who are the RAW Tag Team Champions again? Oh, right, Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins. Man, they really need to do something with those guys. Oh, they beat The Revival? With a roll-up? Okay then. The champs are clearly getting overshadowed by the other teams in this division, which might hint to their eventual title loss. As it stands, Ryder and Hawkins appear to be nothing more than transitional champions, without any real creative investment.
  • The Viking Raiders and The Lucha House Party finally got to settle their differences in the ring, with the NXT Tag Team Champions coming out on top—clearly the better choice. The Raiders have great potential in the RAW tag title picture while LHP is... I'm not even sure what to make their stable. They need to get built-up, maybe? Outside of their naming fiasco, the Raiders are actually getting booked strongly and impressively. That's a sign of good things to come for Erik and Ivar.
  • Bray Wyatt's Firefly Funhouse added Rambling Rabbit, which made me think this was a reference to Adam Rose's creepy Bunny before WWE got bored with that run. They really upped the sinister undertones here, especially with Wyatt's painting of his burning compound (Randy Orton should've been jailed for arson, by the way) and "sociopath" being the word of the day. 
  • RAW and SmackDown Women's Champion Becky Lynch's pull-apart brawl with Lacey Evans was pretty cool, I guess. I just think Becky appearing on both brands every week to cut promos is starting to expose her too much to the fans and could easily make them bored of her. She needs to start doing something else but brawling with a challenger every week may not be the best way to do that. 
  • Sami Zayn continues to be the best heel promo on RAW. Unfortunately, it's been weeks now, and all he's been doing is cutting these promos, which, while great, don't really seem to be leading to anything for him. We're not quite sure who his next feud is, which might mean these promos will not have any payoff for everyone involved and that would be quite the shame.
  • Rey Mysterio getting a surprise win over United States Champion Samoa Joe probably means he's getting another title shot at Money in the Bank. I'm not sure the finish protected Joe entirely—especially after Joe ate the pin last week in their Triple Threat match with AJ—because Joe was so close to the bottom rope that he could've just reached for it to break the pin. Damn it, Joe.  
Images from WWE


*****

Jofer Serapio (@ShawarmaJoereviews WWE RAW 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. Drew McIntyre should destroy Baron Corbin.

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