By: Frank Hyden
WWE RAW was last night and we finally got some advancement on the Retribution storyline. But that’s not a good thing. This was one of the worst episodes of RAW I’ve ever seen. Let’s get to the rundown.
BAD/UGLY- Retribution is signed to contracts and beats down The Hurt Business
“What the hell?” I said that several times as I watched this opening segment. The 5 main members of Retribution were revealed to be Mia Yim, Dominik Dijakovic, Shane Thorne, Dio Maddin, and Mercedes Martinez. Ok, no problem there. However, they were wearing these weird Bane-style or Mad Max-style masks. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though, but Mia still had blue hair so she was instantly recognizable. That’s the first “What the hell?”. She talked a bit, which she needs a new mask or something because her’s kept slipping off, then Dijakovic took the mic. He had a big mask on and some makeup so he looked a fair bit different. Then he started talking in some exaggerated growl. That was the second but it’s wrestling so ok. Oh, and btw, Tom Philips announced that Retribution has been given contracts. What the hell?
I know it’s wrestling logic but why would WWE give contracts to people who have been vandalizing their property and attacking people? I guess it fits, though, because these guys are WWE’s version of Antifa and the mainstream media and celebrities give those idiots all kinds of friendly airtime, bail-outs, and treat them like the good guys instead of a bunch of masked goons.
Another “What the hell?” is for the promo they cut, talking about they’re going to destroy WWE and rebuild it in their image by draining the lifeblood of the company. This almost crosses over into “What the fuck?” territory as it’s just so over the top and ridiculous. This is movie supervillain type of stuff here.
Anyway, another “What the hell?” was for the camera work. During this segment, they kept cutting to a side angle shot, similar to the hard angle, where the camera would bounce up and down in a very annoying way. I know it’s supposed to evoke the chaos of the moment and all that but it’s like the shaky cam in action movie fights, it sucks. It’s not as bad as the shaky cam that ruins movie fights, but it sucks for the same reasons. Here’s a video WWE posted on their Twitter page with what I’ve described so far.
To wrap up the “What the hell?”‘s, it was announced later in the night that the Retribution members have names like Slapjack, T-Bar, and Mace. Are these wrestlers or Transformers? That’s a facepalm there.
Anyway, WWE United States Champion Bobby Lashley came out and they talked some before The Hurt Business got beat down by Retribution. At least they had more members come out before the beatdown so there was a clear numbers advantage for Retribution so THB doesn’t look as bad. Though this is a complete tonal dissonance as one side looks, talks, and acts like cartoon characters while the other side is much more real and even cool. They don’t mesh well. It’s like an episode of Dragonball Z where Piccolo and Cell are about to face off then they cut to Master Roshi and Oolong assing around with some dumb slapstick “comedy”. It doesn’t fit and takes away from the cool factor. You about get whiplash from the complete shift in tone.
GOOD/BAD- Angel Garza & Andrade beat Seth Rollins & Murphy and Humberto Carrillo & Dominik Mysterio
The match itself was fairly good, no surprise there given the guys involved. Rollins walked out on Murphy as Andrade and Garza finished him off. Why were Rollins and Murphy given this opportunity? Why were Carrillo and Mysterio? I guess we’re not supposed to question it, but it’s just weird.
BAD- Shane McMahon and Dabba Kato on The KO Show
Kevin Owens and Shane McMahon talked before Dabba-Kato came out. Then Braun Strowman came out to hype their RAW Underground fight later. There’s been worse things on the show so far but I just don’t care about this stuff. There’s a really good Monday Night Football game going on right now and this is what WWE counterprograms with? Oh, and Aleister Black attacked Owens at the end of this segment, but he was back to wearing the eye patch/wrap thing that he wasn’t wearing on RAW Underground. What? Why not?
BAD- Drew McIntyre vs. Keith Lee is interrupted by Randy Orton
Why the hell are they doing this match again? The same dumb stipulation as last time where if Lee wins and Orton can’t make the title match, Lee gets the shot. Orton interfered, as everyone knew was going to happen and cut a promo about beating Drew and all that stuff. Sometimes I really wish I could watch Orton promos at 1.5x speed or something. His promos are generally pretty good but he talks. So. Damn. Deliberate.
He’ll say. Two words. Then pause. For effect. If he would just speed it up and talk like a normal person, I’d like his promos a lot better. It normally doesn’t bother me this much but after the shitshow this episode has been so far, I don’t have the desire to sit through another of his slo-mo promos.
GOOD- Zelina Vega beats Mickie James
With the win, Vega gets a title shot at WWE RAW Women’s Champion Asuka at Clash of Champions. The match was good enough and Vega is a new opponent so I’m interested.
GOOD/BAD- Apollo Crews beat Cedric Alexander
The match was pretty good, but the finish was odd. Why have Alexander lose? Anyway, The Hurt Business beat down Crews and Ricochet after the match.
UGLY- Seth Rollins and Maury Povich “You are not the father!” bullshit
Rollins came out and said that Rey was not Aaliyah’s father. Man, what the hell? What are they doing here? Get the hell out of here with this bullshit. No one cares.
BAD- WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax squash Lana and Natalya
The Riott Squad was on commentary as Baszler crushed Lana and tapped her out. The Riott Squad cowered away, which really makes them look great heading into their tag title match Sunday.
BAD- Asuka vs. Peyton Royce ends in DQ
The match was just ok. I didn’t really care for it but some of that might be just how shitty this episode has been and that coloring my viewpoint. Anyway, Zelina Vega runs in for the DQ.
GOOD/BAD- RAW Underground stuff
Dolph Ziggler beat Arturo Ruas by submission. Riddick Moss beat Erik by TKO, and Braun Strowman beat Dabba-Kato by TKO. The Ziggler and Moss wins were kind of good, but the Strowman win over Kato was slow and not good. It doesn’t do Strowman any favors and makes Kato lose his debut, unless you count him beating no-namers.
BAD- Retribution vs. The Hurt Business ends in DQ
The action wasn’t very good and it ended in DQ. That was the right move, as no way could you have THB lose to Retribution, they’re one of the best things on RAW. Nor could you have Retribution lose their debut, so you had to have it end it DQ. The DQ came because more Retribution members ran in and attacked, leading Drew McIntyre and others to run in for the save. Then, Randy Orton RKO’d McIntyre and stood over him as the show ended.
To paraphrase JR from King of the Ring 1998- Finally, mercifully, this show is over. However, instead of “They gave you of their souls, here tonight!” it’s more like “They took of your soul, here tonight!” as I feel like this was so hard to sit through. I almost can’t put into words how hard this show was to watch tonight. Holy hell.
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