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The Smark Henry RAW Review (10/21/19): ¡RAW Es Carrillo!



I like Mexican culture. By that, I mean I like the food (shout out to nachos and quesadillas), I like the people (shout out to Melissa Villaseñor, who will never get to read this but it's worth a shot), and I like the lucha libre. I am an Eddie Guerrero fan, after all, and I once broke up with my girlfriend in high school when she said Eddie was being an annoying dick. Shut your dirty mouth, Em. Eddie is my king. 

That said, it was fun seeing my favorite luchadors—Andrade, the legendary Rey Mysterio, and okay, sure, even Sin Cara—get their piece of the spotlight this week. To top that off, Humberto Carillo even had a match with the Universal Champion Seth Rollins in his RAW debut! All we need now is Angel Garza getting revealed as Maria Kanellis' baby daddy, so I can get that grinning pants-off charisma machine on my screen every week. Oooh, papi!


Rey Mysterio walking out to the ring to promote the WWE Champion Brock Lesnar vs. Cain Velasquez feud should feel a little weird because that feud technically belongs on SmackDown. Brand split! Then again, that title match will be on Crown Jewel, Brock's advocate Paul Heyman currently runs RAW, and Cain Velasquez didn't actually get drafted to a brand, so I guess this works.

The back and forth between Rey and Paul was pretty awesome, especially when Rey yelled at him in Spanish. That actually reminded me of the good old days of vintage SmackDown, when Paul was in charge of it and Rey was exclusive to that brand, competing with the likes of the late great Eddie Guerrero, the legendary cruiserweights of my childhood in Jamie Noble and Brian Kendrick and Tajiri, and of course, that awesome feud between Brock Lesnar and The Underbiker. That motorcycle entrance gave me goosebumps.

Shelton Benjamin interrupting Rey Mysterio was a pleasant surprise, too. He looked good and even sounded better on the mic, definitely better than whatever they planned for him with those backstage segments on SmackDown. I almost forgot that Brock and Shelton actually had a history with one another, with Shelton training Brock and both of them being in the same OVW batch, so it was awesome to be reminded of that here.

But then Cain Velasquez's music hit and he came out to protect Rey-Rey from Shelton's bullying. I'm going to be honest with you—I initially thought Cain was King Corbin. It took me a few seconds to snap out of the confusion of Corbin walking out for this segment. Oof.

On paper, a brawl between Shelton and Cain would've been cool. In execution, however, Cain picking up Shelton and slamming him down looked clumsy and Shelton rolling out of the ring to escape Cain's sleeper didn't really make much of an impact. Still, this segment was pretty good overall.


When will this weird Rusev/Lana/Lashley story end? 

Jerry "The King" Lawler and his King's Court segment did nothing but aggravate my already seething hatred for this weird storyline that makes little to no sense. Rusev's mustache is even starting to piss me off now. The thing that made Rusev a hot babyface, in my honest opinion, was the fact that he was coming off as an authentic relatable character over on Twitter and that carried over to his in-ring shenanigans with Lana and his former tag partner Aiden English.

WWE crapped on that by ending that Rusev Day stable early with a weird sex-fueled mystery involving English and Lana, and now they're crapping on Rusev and Lana again with another weird sex-fueled story, this time involving Lashley. I don't know about you, but I'm not interested in whoever either Lana or Rusev is sleeping with, which I'm sure is each other because they are a married couple who we all know to be very loving towards each other and oh my god why am I now writing about this crap I hate this I hate everything about this I hate that fake restaurant's terrible decor—

I wasn't the only one who apparently finds this storyline stupid as well, as the crowd made sure everyone heard their dissatisfaction with all the "What?" chants. Rusev's charismatic command of the crowd was on full display here, however, when he managed to stop those chants by referring to Lawler's Hall of Fame status. It's just stupid and sad, though, that WWE is wasting his potential and turning him into a Mexican telenovela protagonist: He's going to beat up Lashley... for poisoning his wife's mind, and he still wears his wedding ring because he believes Lana will get back with him? This Jerry Springer bullshit is not my cup of tea. It's more a cup of pisswater, and I don't want to drink that. 

Also, why didn't King Corbin trash the King's Court? That gimmick infringement should've pissed off this year's King of the Ring. 


Before his debut match against Universal Champion Seth Rollins, Humberto Carillo was interviewed backstage by Charly Caruso, and let me just say that his lines were pretty interesting—at the very least, when compared to Seth's own backstage interview segment with Charly. I mean, Seth got in Bray's head by finding his way on the Firefly Fun House set and burning it—well, a table at least—down? Weak. 

If you're going to implicitly reference Inception, at least make the production value decent. Seth burning an FFH table just looked like 9-year-old me accidentally flicking the ancestral oil lamps over and almost setting a table on fire during family rosary at my grandma's place. Don't worry, though, because my grandma's already dead... like The Fiend's potential at the hands of WWE.

But I digress. Seth then saw Carillo backstage and challenged him to a match right then and there, which I thought was nice because Carillo is truly a fantastic wrestler. Despite all this muck surrounding Seth, the guy remains a fantastic wrestler, too. Thus, this bout ended up being fantastic as expected. 

Seth appearing more out of control and a bit heelish by talking trash was finally a logical and interesting development. This was the psychological aftermath that his encounter with The Fiend led to. Seth winning against Carillo was always the only way to go about this, though it would've been interesting if the latter managed to eke out a win against a psychologically distracted Seth. That or The Fiend messes with his mind or something, lights turning on and off and on and off, and ambushes the champ in the dark. But I guess we'll have to wait for that Crown Jewel match between them with that hilarious stipulation.

RAW REVIEW: The Street Profits' post-match celebration to end the show was the cherry on top of this delicious episode of RAW that, with the exception of the weird Ric Flair opener, celebrated its newer stars. From Sin Cara to Aleister Black, Ricochet to Drew McIntyre, The Street Profits to Humberto Carillo, everyone was given their moment to truly shine. Although the Seth versus Fiend thing continues to be meh and the Rusev cuckold storyline will never be not disgusting, I'm still giving this week's RAW a B for "Babies can't be bent that way, Montez Ford!"  

Quick Hitters:

  • Wasn't this supposed to be the first RAW of the new era? Or at least the post-WWE-draft era of RAW? Weird choice to start it with Ric Flair but he did make a very intelligent final pick in Drew McIntyre, so I'll give Nature Boy Buddy Rogers' biggest fan a thumbs up here, even though I could barely understand his weird rambling of a ringside promo during Drew's match against Ricochet. That match, by the way, was very impressive, and the crowd sounded like they agreed with that sentiment. Drew winning was the logical choice here but I'm glad they also protected Ricochet via Drew's heelish antics outside the ring. It was just pretty weird that none of Hogan's other picks came out to save their teammate. What a bunch of pricks.
  • Aleister Black took too much offense from our "Hometown Wrestler of the Week" during a match that was supposed to showcase the Dutch Destroyer. Black works better as a fearsome, enigmatic brawler, someone who can take out everyone else outside of the roster in quick skirmishes, not have trouble trying to put down some guy we won't see again for a long while.
  • The Andrade versus Sin Cara match was surprising in that Cara actually got to showcase what he can do in the ring. The crowd actually seemed to get behind him. This wasn't even at the expense of Andrade because, if anything, this also made Andrade look like a formidable fighter. Zelina Vega's apron huracanrana is always a treat to watch and Andrade capitalizing on the Vega assist with the Hammerlock DDT is classic Andrade.
  • I expected no less from the Viking Raiders' annihilation of Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins because (a) The Raiders are the current RAW tag team champs, (b) they're big vicious guys who can keep up with cruiserweights, and (c) Ryder and Hawkins should be booked better by having their toy collecting passion incorporated into their characters.
  • The Bollywood Boys are at least getting to do something and Sunil Singh has even captured the 24/7 title from R-Truth. I like the Bollywood Boys as a tag team, for some reason, so it was pretty nice to see them getting utilized here. 
  • The Street Profits and a mystery partner were supposed to face The OC in a six-man tag team match, but for some reason, this just ended up being The Street Profits versus Gallows and Anderson in a normal tag match. This was odd because, throughout the night, everyone was hyping that six-man tag match with The Street Profits' mystery partner... who ended up being Kevin Owens. Owens didn't come out until the normal tag match was already underway but he did hit an interfering AJ Styles with a Stunner to the crowd's delight. Still, this was pretty odd.
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. According to him, Kevin Owens is his best friend in the whole wide world. Montez Ford returned that baby to its mother, right? Right?!

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