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The Smark Henry RAW Review (2/3/20): Holding Pattern


We're less than two weeks removed from the Royal Rumble event and I'm back to being bored with RAW. I was trying to figure out why that was the case and I realized it's because of the schedule of the upcoming PPVs. The next one is WWE Blood Money Super ShowDown, which will be on February 27 (U.S. time) in Saudi Arabia and with the way WWE has been treating these Saudi shows, they're as good as canon at this point. Hell, this show is basically the February PPV. And the one after that is the last PPV before 'Mania: Elimination Chamber 2020, which falls on March 8 (U.S. time).

What I'm trying to point out here is that there is a lot of time between the Rumble and the next big live event. Recent history shows that WWE hasn't managed long stretches of time between PPVs like this very well. And we're seeing it play out like so again! You could say that's the downside of juggling long-term booking for WrestleMania storylines and short-term booking like the ones for the upcoming shows. But the fact remains that it leaves episodes of RAW boring and incentivizes fans to just skip the show or fast forward through them.

I can understand the Creative direction for storylines like Randy Orton being unable to publicly rationalize what he did to Edge or Drew McIntyre being built to be the unstoppable warrior who could eventually take Brock Lesnar down. Those stories need some time to develop and I'm willing to see them play out.

But pitting Kevin Owens against Seth Rollins' disciples with the Viking Raiders in Samoa Joe's place feels like this angle is now running in place. Again, I see the intent. The reaction KO got—a loud standing ovation—in defeat is more than enough proof that Creative has successfully built a compelling babyface in Owens. However, do we really have to see him keep ramming himself through a wall over and over again? At some point, we're going to have to call KO insane, aren't we? Isn't that insanity—after all—doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result?


And how about Mojo Rawley's supposed character development? One week they have him come out with Riddick Moss and promise to defend the 24/7 Championship out in the open unlike every other previous champion, the next, he doesn't defend the title and then he gets treated like a chump, taking a Claymore Kick and then the L in less than 10 seconds. If the angle isn't running in place, it takes two steps forward and then one step back.

The women's division isn't in better shape either. For one, they're really drawing out the Charlotte Flair/Rhea Ripley rivalry by having Charlotte go to NXT just so she can respond to Rhea's challenge on RAW. That's probably because neither woman is going to appear at WWE Blood Money, so they might as well milk this program for as long as they can. That's okay, I guess, but why is Asuka challenging Becky Lynch again? And why is Becky acting like female Orange Cassidy now? It seems like RAW has legitimately run out of options for contenders to Becky's title.

It's a shame because RAW should be riding such a high coming off the Royal Rumble with a lot of the big moments having direct effects on its Superstars. And yet, with the exception of the major storylines involving Drew McIntyre, Randy Orton, Ricochet and Brock Lesnar, it's like WWE is phoning it in again because it knows it can just pick up the pace once we get closer to the Saudi show.

Grade: D

Quick Hitters:

  • Yay! Ruby Riott's back—oh wait, she hates Liv Morgan now? So is every returning Superstar supposed to feud with their old friends? Is that how it is these days? Randy Orton started it and now Ruby's followed suit.
  • On that note, why the hell are we still seeing Lana vs. Liv Morgan?
  • Bobby Lashley wasn't on RAW last week and all of a sudden, he's in a Triple Threat Match for an opportunity to face Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship? What did he even do to earn it?
  • I like seeing Angel Garza aligning with Zelina Vega because it gives the latter something to do while Andrade's suspended. But why must every one of this new generation of Latino stars resort to pulling back the mat and DDT-ing their opponent through the ground? Have they filed a trademark for that method of attempted murder?
  • Hey, Humberto Carrillo, why couldn't you run out and return the favor for Rey Mysterio? Jeez.
  • Aleister Black may be winning all the time, but he's had basically zero character development since coming out of that Buddy Murphy feud. At least Murphy's a tag champ now and is part of a major storyline. Aleister is just kicking people in the face and being all cryptic each week.
Header image from WWE

*****


Stan Sy (@_StanSy) is the Editor at Large of Smark Henry and is also a radio DJ on Wave 89.1, an events host, a freelance writer, and one of the hosts of The Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast. He also used to be one of the hosts and writers of The Wrestling Gods on FOX. He enjoys watching WWE, NXTLucha Underground, and the occasional New Japan match. You can ask him questions about wrestling, Survivor (yes, the reality show), or whatever you like on his CuriousCat account.

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