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The Smark Henry RAW Review (6/24/19): The Legion of Depression



This week on RAW, The Undertaker returned to save the Big Dog that retired him (sort of), United States Champion Ricochet and AJ Styles owned the main event (no duh?!), and we even crowned a bunch of 24/7 Champions including Heath Slater and EC3 before R-Truth won the title back for the nth time.

I'm not going to lie—I found the 24/7 title shenanigans very entertaining this week, including Drake Maverick's wedding woes but excluding Drake Maverick getting squashed in lightning-quick fashion. The latter was expected but it just seemed too lackluster for me.

I was less entertained by The Undertaker's shock return because his awful match with Goldberg is still very fresh in my mind. I also wasn't sure why he returned to specifically save Roman Reigns from Shane McMahon. I mean, storywise, of course, because money is always a great incentive. After all, if we're being honest here, it's the best incentive.


The Miz is still playing a face, apparently, as he had 24/7 Champion R-Truth and Carmella on his Miz TV segment and didn't even try to pin Truth for the title. It's like The Miz is seemingly too good for that title—like the title wasn't even awesome enough to be in his radar. Strange. Maybe he's suddenly valuing his Awesome Truth history more than gold around his waist? It's hard to figure The Miz out these days. He's still sort of feuding with Shane McMahon while ignoring the team-up opportunity with Roman Reigns, right? Strange.

The whole bit about Drake Maverick wanting to regain the love of his life because his wife wants a divorce—with the love of his life actually being the title and not his wife—was actually pretty damn funny. Drake's delivery was on point here. If you actually think about it, though, Truth is the clearly the heel in this dynamic because what kind of babyface ruins someone else's freaking wedding?! Fortunately for Truth, his brand of comedy is too over at the moment, making him immune from any heel heat. Drake getting called Hornswoggle was both predictable—because he's short, I guess—and awesome—if it was an intentional reference to Drake's feud with Swoggle over in TNA. Yes, Rockstar Spud Drake Maverick feuded with Hornswoggle in TNA. I don't remember much of it, but that's probably just my brain trying to salvage what's left of my sanity.

Speaking of sanity, Mojo Rawley's new gimmick is that he's not sane, right? Or is he a Power Rangers villain? That whole mirror thing actually has potential but the quality of that face paint is a letdown. I guess I'll just have to confirm all that next week because his scheduled match against Heath Slater just turned into... Heath Slater becoming 24/7 Champion? No, wait, Truth is champion again. Hey, wait a minute! Where did former Cruiserweight Champion Cedric Alexander come from? Oh, he's now the 24/7 Champion? Watch out for— EC3's the new champion! I mean, EC3 deserves way better than this but I guess it's a pretty good start. Oh, god, Carmella just... And now... Sigh. 

R-Truth's going to be like a hundred-time 24/7 Champion before EC3 ever wins the Universal Championship, isn't he? That's pretty sad. For EC3, I mean. It would most likely be awesome for Truth. Beating Ric Flair with most championships won? Wooo! With both Maverick and EC3 looking like the Legion of Depression this week, though, doesn't that make for a good opportunity to get them both together in a more official alliance of sorts?


The Club may or may not be reuniting and I have mixed feelings regarding that idea. On one hand, the reunion might help Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson get back to top form. On the other, does AJ even need The Club? I guess, maybe if he's turning heel on United States Champion Ricochet, though to be fair, he just beat Ricochet this week without Gallows and Anderson's help, so I don't actually know how that'll work now. Will The Good Brothers turn on AJ and side with Ricochet? Wow, that's... I'm not quite sure I can buy a heel Ricochet this early. 

With heels in The Revival though, Gallows and Anderson going after the tag titles as babyfaces could be an interesting storyline, especially since everyone loves it when a face chases after a title, right 205 Live? If they go this route, I could see Gallows and Anderson taking a page out of the Los Guerreros playbook, stealing wins with heel tactics but in a hilarious way. They should definitely drop that "Neeeeerd" catchphrase, though, because that's just terrible.
  
I thought the backstage segment with No Way Jose's orgy conga line was pretty amusing. AJ still wants The Good Brothers to return to their badass roots but the pair have now seemingly settled for mediocrity in the WWE. Hey, if the paycheck is that good, why be extra? That or not being given any TV time has logically made them dumb in the ring. The Viking Raiders winning over Gallows and Anderson was both the expected—and if their mysterious dynamic with AJ has to continue—and the better option. 

It's a little odd for Ricochet to lose a non-title match this week, even if it's to "The Phenomenal" AJ Styles, but the entire bout was off the charts. I wasn't sure who'd win before all was said and done, considering Ricochet just won the U.S. title at Stomping Grounds and AJ was just returning from injury. My best bet was for AJ to lose and blame it on his health or something or even The Club to interfere and attack Ricochet regardless of whether AJ was in on it or not. In the end, AJ raising Ricochet's hand without attacking him was definitely an inspired choice here, as it makes the championship shine as a beacon of fair play and competition than just another plot device for betrayal. 


Shane McMahon and Drew McIntyre actually beat up Roman Reigns in their match. Huh. I half-expected this match to end up with Super Reigns destroying both Shane and Drew with relative ease, but I guess this was way better and more believable. Despite Reigns' strength and determination, Shane and Drew are two wrestlers with respectively impressive histories. Shane has had his fair share of hardcore matches, winning and surviving some, while Drew is clearly built to withstand and dish out massive amounts of pain. 

I was not a fan of Drew losing to Reigns at Stomping Grounds, but that crowd reaction does make a decent argument. Drew is now 0-2 against Reigns and it's starting to feel like he's a glass cannon—he looks tough, but against Reigns, he's pretty much fluff.

The Undertaker returning from out of nowhere was unexpected and pretty confusing for me. Reigns retired Taker, so I'm not entirely sure why he saved the Big Dog's butt here. Maybe he just hates Shane this much, too? Logically, The Dead Man could've just opted to return with a simple segment about hell coming for RAW or something along those lines. Saving the man who sort of retired him is a little odd, though that question will most likely get answered in the following weeks. Extreme Rules is still a few weeks away, to be fair. 

With The Undertaker backing up Roman against Drew and Shane, though, I'm worried Drew will have to eat the pin in that tag team match and I'm pretty sure I don't like that idea. Unless of course, Drew gets to retire The Undertaker for good? Nah, I can still see plenty of money and bad nostalgia-driven matches in The Dead Man's future

RAW REVIEW: Most of this week's RAW either lacked substance—as if they were just there for shock ratings value—or logic. To be fair, the latter seems more prominent with these shows owing perhaps to last minute changes or exhausting weekly creative quotas. This week's RAW also felt like it had more finishes than actual matches. Maybe that was actually the case. Interestingly, Bray Wyatt and his Firefly Fun House segment went missing this week, though if you paid enough attention, you'd have noticed Abby the Witch and Mercy the Buzzard stalking The Miz and WWE Champion Kofi Kingston, which was pretty cool. I'm giving this week's RAW a C for "Champions! Champions everywhere!"  

Quick Hitters:

  • Universal Champion Seth Rollins and RAW Women's Champion Becky Lynch are dating. Now that that's out of the way, Baron Corbin and Lacey Evans facing them at Extreme Rules in a Last Chance Winner Takes All Mixed Tag Team Match—man, that's a mouthful—was pretty predictable. That said, I personally like it because I loved the idea of the Mixed Match Challenge. My only problem with this is that, because this is WWE, intergender tag team matches usually just lets the girls hit the boys, making it less believable when you realize that, regardless of gender, these are paid athletes who entertain us by uppercutting each other's nuts. I do get the whole PG thing and that it's not cool for children to see boys hit girls. All I'm saying is that the potential for awesomeness—including Seth Curb Stomping Lacey to the mat—is going to be downplayed if even hinted at. Oh, and Baron Corbin's in this match, so booooo!
  • The Champions team of RAW Tag Team Champions The Revival and SmackDown Tag Team Champions Daniel Bryan & Rowan faced the Challengers team of The New Day (Xavier Woods and Big E, obviously, since Kofi Kingston is now too busy as WWE Champion) and The Usos in an Elimination Tag Team match because ad breaks. I won't talk about that in detail because that's someone else's job. What I'm going to talk about is that Daniel ate the pin for his team here despite being totally over at Stomping Grounds. It's definitely an odd choice, considering Rowan was in this match. While I like both The New Day and The Usos, I was actually hoping that newer teams would be challenging the champions instead of these two already well-established future Hall of Fame tag teams getting overexposed in the tag title scene. Le sigh.
  • Bobby Lashley beating up Braun Strowman after Braun beat him in their scheduled tug of war basically channeled my negative feelings towards this entire thing. What is even happening with these two? Wouldn't a Best of Five/Seven Series be better if they want to prolong this feud than these random tests of strength? I didn't even remember these two were still feuding until I saw that backstage segment with Braun pulling that truck. Both Bobby and Braun deserve better.
  • WWE Champion Kofi Kingston beating both Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens in respective and successive singles matches might be good for Kofi but it's definitely terrible for the Canadian best friends. Both matches were pretty good, though, so I guess that's a plus? Samoa Joe assaulting Kofi afterwards was pretty awesome. I'm all in for Joe being Kofi's next challenger but, uhh, Kofi's a SmackDown wrestler and Joe's a RAW wrestler, so Joe's pretty much losing this match, isn't he? Damn it, WWE. Joe is too good for his recent losses. If you double down on thinking about it, too, you'll realize Kofi might be winning his matches but the lack of credibility behind his recent opponents pretty much nullifies his dominance. Dolph Ziggler, Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, and even Samoa Joe are all great wrestlers but they've all had a string of pretty crappy booking luck in that ring.
  • I thought Alexa Bliss beating Naomi before teaming up with "best friend" Nikki Cross against Naomi and Natalya was a decent continuation of the Bliss/Cross storyline. Cross "costing" Naomi the match and then pushing both Naomi and Alexa to the mat was a logical play on Nikki's instability and may imply that Alexa won't be able to control Cross as much as she'd like to if Nikki's craziness comes into, well, play.
  • Charly Caruso was pretty mean this week. What the heck.       
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. Spoiler alert: The Undertaker versus Shane McMahon will one-up The Undertaker versus Goldberg.

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