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The Smark Henry RAW Review (11/18/19): Super bRAWl



This week's RAW had great wrestling, especially that Kevin Owens versus Drew McIntyre match that I am not totally biased towards. Yes, I am completely unbiased towards the hard-hitting match between my best friend in the whole world, Kevin Owens, and my other favorite wrestler, Drew McIntyre. Absolutely not. That said, some of the finishes this week were weird and littered with plotholes, which is probably to be expected from a WWE show anyway. Oooh, shots fired. Tweet me, Khan.


Remember when RAW Women's Champion Becky Lynch, who was then a SmackDown wrestler, invaded RAW with a bloody face? Well, this time around, she opens this Survivor Series go-home episode by sharing my sentiments towards the whole brand supremacy schtick: I don't care. I just want to see Keith Lee throw himself over the ropes again and decimate both RAW and SmackDown with that one move. God almighty, that man can fly!

It's been a while since I've seen the IIconics, so seeing my two favorite Australians here—outside of Buddy Murphy, Shane Thorne (yes, I still like Shane Thorne), Rhea Ripley (yes, she is Australian), Toni Storm (yes, also Australian), and Bronson Reed—made me pop up with a very loud "IIconic" chant that disturbed the person next to me. Charlotte Flair came out to back Becky because whatever, and with that heelish promo, I'm now 100% certain the Flair and Natalya tandem is now dead in the water, especially since Natalya just lost to WWE Women's Tag Team Champion Asuka in a match that didn't even see a hint of Flair's shadow.

Billie Kay tapping out to frenemies Charlotte and Becky was expected, much to my dismay, though the post-match assault of the two RAW Horsewomen by the three NXT Horsewomen woke me up to a vicious frenzy. Now, all we need is a Ronda Rousey return and I guess a Sasha Banks and SmackDown Women's Champion Bayley face turn? Or will the rumored Horsewomen versus Horsewomen match at WrestleMania become a tweener versus heels plus one face affair? Becky punching a security guard out of frustration was quite unexpected but I'm not sure I liked that because the poor guy who was just doing his job.


With Seth Rollins putting his Team RAW spot on the line in his match against Andrade, you'd think Team SmackDown would've opted to have the Lucha House Party ensure Rollins' loss and Andrade's recruitment instead of just attacking both men. It's sad that the only thing they managed to do here was spoil a really great match between two great athletes. 

I was already on the fence about Andrade losing to Seth during the match and the near-falls kept me on the edge of my seat. Zelina Vega getting countered by Seth's mid-apron huracanrana and being made to leave ringside by the referee made me more concerned about Andrade's chances. Seeing LHP come out and attack Seth was bittersweet because (A) "Yay, Lucha World Order team-up with all the luchadors under heel Rey Mysterio's leadership!" but also (B) "Hasn't this been the exact same finish for the recent Seth Rollins matches?" Andrade being forced to team with Seth to fend off LHP because of their "mutual love for RAW" only added to the weirdness in my gut.

Speaking of weirdness, Kevin Owens versus Drew McIntyre didn't technically make sense, as both men will be fighting for the same team at Survivor Series. If you want your team members to play well, the correct option is a team-building activity that focuses on establishing loyalty and even friendship, not scheduling them for a fight in the parking lot like that Charlie Day movie. That said, screw logic. This match was epic, dare I say even better than the Rollins/Andrade match. Oh, wait, this match was thrown out in favor of Triple H coming down to the ring to cut a promo with Owens' recruitment to Team NXT? I spoke too soon. 

NXT bRAWling with RAW (get it?) to end this match/segment/whatever was inevitable, though a bit meh because instead of hyping me up for the upcoming brand versus brand versus brand action, it actually made me think about the concept of human resource management. Wouldn't it have been more effective as a recruitment lure for Kevin Owens if NXT attacked Drew McIntyre? Heck, why recruit Owens alone? NXT could've recruited McIntyre as well with Triple H interrupting the match with a promo that talks about how this match didn't make sense in the first place and was just RAW's way of continually treating Owens and McIntyre as pieces to be played with instead of the actual players that they are. That usually works with our HR.


Randy Orton replacing Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder in their tag team championship match in the main event was also a bit odd. Doesn't RAW have other well-established tag teams that should be next in line for championship opportunities? That said, Randy and Ricochet make for an intriguing duo, thanks to the paranoia brought about by the fact that Randy could and would definitely RKO Ricochet from out of nowhere. I'm actually expecting Randy to hit Ricochet with an RKO at Survivor Series, extending their story for the inevitable feud past the PPV. This rivalry excites me further because I will never forget the whole "dive situation" involving Randy and Twitter. That just writes itself.

Furthering this episode's theme of weirdly disappointing finishes, of course, the tag team championship main event match between RicKO and the RAW Tag Team Champions Viking Raiders ended up with a massive bRAWl between all three brands. The SmackDown contingent disappointed me for some reason but the NXT talents that joined in the fray fixed that. Was it all just because of the camera work, though? Those fast cuts were honestly wack. Triple H cutting a promo about NXT's doors being opened to welcome attacks from RAW and SmackDown both hyped me up and confused me to no end. How are they going to fit the Survivor Series shenanigans within that one episode when they should be focusing on their WarGames shenanigans?

RAW REVIEW: Like I said, the wrestling on this show was fantastic. Rollins versus Andrade, Owens versus McIntyre, and the 205 Live flashback of Murphy versus Tozawa were all awesome. Unfortunately, the finishes to most of the show's matches didn't live up to the in-ring action. This episode's Invasion developments were also less interesting than its previous iterations, and that sucks because this was the go-home RAW for Survivor Series. Still, the action was pretty great up until the finishes, so I'm giving this week's RAW a B for "bRAWl."     

Quick Hitters:

  • Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder continued to "support" up and coming tag teams here by getting attacked by the Authors of Pain—who finally found their way out of their seats and out of that dark room where they were shooting those videos—before their scheduled championship match against the RAW Tag Team Champions Viking Raiders. During this backstage segment, I grew confused whether I was supposed to feel mad about the attack on poor Hawkins and Ryder or delighted that the Authors of Pain are back to mauling people again.
  • Humberto Carrillo beating Karl Anderson to get a United States Championship match against AJ Styles next week, with The Street Profits nullifying the numbers advantage of The OC, seemed a tad unnecessary and unfair. I mean, how many times has AJ beaten Humberto decisively? This would've been cool if Humberto was booked differently, but as it stands, his opportunity seems unfair to other United States Championship contenders like... Uhh... Never mind.
  • I finally figured out what "RUSEV UDREA RUSEV MACHKA" actually means: It's Bulgarian for "Lana files for divorce; Lana files for restraining order against Rusev." It was nice seeing No Way Jose again, but his succeeding match with Bobby Lashley was a foregone conclusion. I have no idea why they went with the Full Nelson submission here, despite Lashley's Dominator and Spear—in my honest opinion—being much better finisher options.
  • Samoa Joe on commentary was a great idea. Joe's really good on the mic and he truly shined this week. 
  • Is Buddy Murphy going to fight Aleister Black? Or are these two going to start tagging together? I'm honestly cool with both options but more hyped with them fighting each other then tagging for that sweet Black Mass/Murphy's Law combo. Black missing Murphy's initial knocking on his dressing room was a little off-putting and unnecessary, though, considering they did end up eyeing each other after Murphy's awesome match with Akira Tozawa.
  • Speaking of tagging together, Rowan and R-Truth are going to be the next comedy pairing, aren't they? Sounds like typical WWE logic, especially since both men have been clashing with the Singh Brothers recently. 
  • Is it just me or did Paul Heyman forget to drop his usual "spoiler: Brock will win" schtick in his promo revealing the No Holds Barred stipulation in the WWE Champion Brock Lesnar versus Rey Mysterio title match for Survivor Series? It's interesting to me because, tweet me if I'm wrong, every time Paul drops his usual "spoiler: Brock wins lmao" line, Brock actually wins. Will Rey end up beating Brock at Survivor Series like that time Eddie Guerrero, another wrestler Brock respected a lot, beat the Beast for a main championship? Hmm. 
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. These people are terrible recruiters.

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