BRM Reviews the 7/30/2018 Raw (bad and boring)

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Big Red Machine
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BRM Reviews the 7/30/2018 Raw (bad and boring)

Post by Big Red Machine » Jul 30th, '18, 22:42

OPENING SEGMENT- meh
They showed us Brock on the TitanTron so that everyone knows he’s here. He got booed. Then Roman Reigns came out to the ring, and he got booed, too. Crowd was about 50/50 on Roman. He tries for a cheap pop but still gets booed. He then rehashed a bunch of stuff he’s already said over the past few months. He vows that Brock won’t “get up in my yard” tonight, whatever exactly that means.
Paul Heyman came out and got massively cheered and the people did his intro along with him. They might hate Brock, but they still love Heyman. He says the usual stuff. Roman rebuts by telling Heyman to shut up and demands Brock’s presence. Heyman tells everyone that Brock will come out when and if he feels like coming out. Okay… so now they’re teasing that Brock won’t do anything tonight, either?
Roman tries to talk tough. He does it well, but the whole situation kind of came off as looking set up specifically for Roman to look tough. I mean… obviously that was the goal here, but it Heyman didn’t feel like his usual self, and Roman’s stuff felt very rehearsed. Maybe if I was more of a Roman supporter this wouldn’t have come to me so much this way.

They announced Nattie (w/Ronda) vs. Alicia Fox (w/Alexa Bliss!). Why the f*ck is Alexa managing Alicia Fox? You’d think Alexa would be staying as far away from Ronda as possible. I guess it’s plausible that Alexa has some sort of trap, but this feels very out of character. I wouldn’t be shocked if I found out tomorrow that they originally had Mickie James in this spot but Mickie is injured or sick or whatever and couldn’t wrestle so they just stuck Fox in her spot without any kayfabe effort to justify Alexa’s presence at ringside despite this change.

HEYMAN & BROCK IN BROCK’S LOCKER ROOM- Brock is reading a magazine called “The Backwoodsman.” He tells Heyman (read as: the fans) that “I don’t watch the show, Paul. Why would I watch the show?” Heyman says that Brock has to hear what Roman said about him, so he pulls out his phone and pulls up the video. Let me get this straight: WWE puts the video of every important thing that happens up on social media immediately after it happens, but they can’t figure out why people don’t feel the need to watch their show?
Instead of watch, Brock throws Paul’s phone again the wall, shattering it. That was dumb. The announcers then heavy-handedly made the point that “Brock doesn’t seem to care about anything.” Meanwhile, Finn Balor had to just stand in the ring and do nothing. Why couldn’t we have this segment AFTER the Balor vs. Corbin match?

FINN BALOR vs. BARON CORBIN- 6.75/10
In a moment of wonderful irony, Michael Cole attempts to transition from talking about Brock to talking about Balor vs. Corbin, but Coach interrupts him and says he wants to know what it means that Brock isn’t watching the show.
Michael Cole tells us that the issue between Balor and Corbin is “interesting,” which proves that Cole has an astonishingly generous definition of that word. I know I could say this about fifteen different things every week and don’t but for some reason this one really jumped out at me.
They had a very good match, with Corbin managing to avoid the Coup de Grace several times before hitting the End of Days for the win. While the match was good, the booking feels like merely just giving Corbin his win back from the PPV. It’s treading water rather than moving forward.

POST-MATCH SEGMENT- Corbin goes back and attacks Balor after the match. Okay, we’ve got some heat again, but it’s still treading water than moving the story forward.

HEYMAN & ANGLE BACKSTAGE- bad
Heyman is in the process of ordering a backstage worker to get him a new phone as quickly as possible when Kurt Angle shows up and demands to know why Brock is refusing to “appear in front of our live audience.” If you want anyone to think these segments are in any way real, you need to have your characters actually talk like they really would. I highly doubt anyone in real life says “our live audience” instead of “the crowd.”
Angle insists that Brock has a “contractual obligation to appear.” Heyman says that Brock was only obligated to show up at the building. Clearly one of these men is sorely mistaken, and this seems like the sort of issue that both men should 100% know what the deal is with.
Heyman tells Angle that if he wants Brock to come out, he should go talk to Brock himself. Kurt says that Heyman is under contract to WWE, and if Brock doesn’t appear in front of the live crowd tonight, Kurt will fire Heyman. Okay… so what? Kurt also said that Heyman is an employee of Brock’s, and when Heyman returned in 2012, it was as an employee of Brock Lesnar, not an employee of the WWE. In fact, this is the first time that we’ve had any indication that Heyman appearing at WWE events is paid for by anyone other than Brock Lesnar, as a representative of Brock Lesnar. If it was established back in 2012 that being Brock’s advocate is enough to allow Heyman to appear on WWE TV and Heyman is still getting paid by Brock, then why should Heyman give a sh*t if Angle terminates his WWE contract? It’s not like he has any other clients, but even if he did, one would think that his deal with them would be the same as his deal with Brock (or, presumably Zelina Vega’s with Almas, or any other manager) where he gets paid by them and is allowed to show up on TV representing them, so it’s not like this would prevent him from taking on additional clients (which we haven’t even had any indication that he wants to do) so why should Heyman care? This feels like a totally empty threat that has been contrived purely for the sake of cheap drama for tonight’s show.

HISTORIC RECAP OF LAST WEEK’S HISTORIC ANNOUNCEMENT TO MAKE HISTORY BY HAVING A HISTORIC FIRST-EVER ALL-WOMEN’S HISTORIC PPV- They’ve now got the video package version of this, with shots of other apparently historic moments spliced in.


ALICIA FOX & ALEXA BLISS! BACKSTAGE- bad
They outright tell us Mickie is injured… and that Alexa “hand-picked” Alicia Fox to take her place. ALICIA FOX? Really? Not Ember Moon or Sasha or someone with… you know… actual credibility? If you want to keep it a heel, then Sarah Logan or even Liv Morgan would make more sense than Alicia Fox. At least they come with an extra person at ringside.
Even backstage in a supposedly private conversation, Alexa has to refer to Ronda as an “overhyped rookie.” She also called Fox a “trailblazer of this women’s division,” which is a ridiculous load of malarkey, but I will assume that Alexa just said it to stroke Fox’s ego. She also had to mention “the first-ever all women’s PPV WWE Evolution,” just in case Fox somehow didn’t know what she was talking about if she had just said “the all-women’s PPV” or just said “Evolution.” Fox is back to being a crazy person. She cut a bad promo on Nattie. This was bad.

ALICIA FOX (w/Alexa Bliss!) vs. RONDA ROUSEY’S FRIEND NATALYA (w/Ronda Rousey)- 4.5/10
Nattie is the one wrestling tonight’s match, so of course they have her wait on the ramp and switch over to Ronda’s music to give Ronda the big entrance and Nattie walks down to the ring to Ronda’s music. It wouldn’t shock me if next week they come out to Ronda’s music with Ronda riding Nattie like a pony. I can’t quite call it a Roman Reigns type of thing because Ronda actually is (and feels like) a bigger star than the rest of the women and the men’s division was big enough to have non-Roman things going on, but it is frustrating how much of the women’s division feels like it is being purposely warped around Ronda (and doubly so for me as someone who has been a long-time fan of Nattie’s and had hoped that WWE’s vaunted Women’s Evolution would have allowed them to evolve their storytelling for Nattie to something beyond revolving around being Bret’s niece or being on Total Divas… and now they finally do that by making her Ronda’s designated babyface in peril).
When Fox came out they had Alexa come out first and wait on the ramp while they switched to Fox’s music for Fox’s entrance and came down to that, which is how you should do a second’s entrance (if you do one at all, which I usually think you shouldn’t).
Coach is lamenting how “thirty days not being able to compete must have felt like thirty months for Ronda Rousey.” Please keep in mind that the elapsed time between Ronda’s only two matches so far has been forty days, during which she was not suspended at all and seemed to have no problem not wrestling. Or, if you want to count the house shows she worked during that period, Coach’s statement also ignores the house shows she worked during her suspension, which they had to bend over backwards in their local market commercials to explain why she was allowed to wrestle at.
Cole made certain to call both women “trailblazers.” Fox worked Nattie over. Nattie made a short comeback and hit her finisher but Fox actually kicked out. Fox took over, then baited Ronda into the ring so that Bliss could punch Nattie in the face. Fox then hit Nattie with a big boot for the win, meaning that since beat the champion cleanly in a non-title match, Nattie has now lost two straight matches. Rousey tried to get the armbar on Alexa after the match but Fox made the save. Ronda then hit fox with her Twisting Samoan Drop thing. My guess is that they’ll wind up naming that move the “Historic First-Ever All-Women’s WWE PPV Evolution on October 28th From Nassau Coliseum,” just so they have an excuse to say that phrase a few more times each show.
But wait… there’s more! Alexa was apparently not smart enough to run away during this, so Ronda went after her and caught her but Fox made the save AGAIN and threw Ronda into the barricades. Why even do that first part if you were just going to do this right after it?

HEYMAN TRIES TO TALK BROCK INTO GOING OUT TO THE RING- pointless
He argues that Brock should go out there to promote the show, thus driving up Network subscriptions and making the show more valuable. Isn’t that Heyman’s job? Brock is now reading “American Frontiersman.” Brock tells Heyman that he “doesn’t care about the WWE Universe” and would rather be at home on his couch. At this point the camera felt it was necessary to zoom out to show us that Brock had his feet up. He told Heyman to make himself useful by getting Brock a steak.

We then cut to the announcers so that Michael Cole can explain to Coach that because Brock isn’t watching Raw (Cole actually even said “we established that earlier in the program”) he doesn’t know that Kurt will fire Heyman if Brock doesn’t appear in front of the live crowd. If you want your announcers to say something to the audience, just have them do it. Don’t have them tell each other stuff they each clearly already know. It makes them look like idiots, and it makes the show awkward. You already have them talk to the audience when they’re plugging PPV matches, so why not when they’re getting over angles?

KURT, RONDA, & NATTIE BACKSTAGE- fine
Ronda wants a fight. Kurt books her against Alicia Fox next week. That will be quite the test of Ronda’s in-ring acumen.

THE DRIFTER SINGS- He gets decent cheap heat before getting interrupted by Bobby Lashley. He claims he is a fan of The Drifter and wants a front-row seat, but The Drifter insists that Lashley “sing with Elias” instead. Elias promises to keep it “slow and simple, just like you” so Lashley can follow along. Elias then proceeds to play history’s slowest rendition of Rockin’ Robin, and Lashley actually sings along. Loser. Then he stood directly in front of Elias, who, of course, jumped Lashley from behind. Lashley got up and beat The Drifter up anyway, so no heat.

OWENS & CORBIN BACKSTAGE- Owens sucks up to Corbin wonderfully, but Corbin ultimately wouldn’t do… whatever it was that Owens wanted him to.

BRAUN STROWMAN vs. JINDER MAHAL (w/Sunil Singh)- DUD!
Owens temporarily stole the briefcase and tricked Braun into chasing him so he got counted out. This was done so the announcers could emphasize to us that “if this happens at SummerSlam, Braun Strowman would lose Money in the Bank!” Yeah. We know. We don’t need to see a count-out for you to tell us what would happen if someone got counted out.

CORBIN, KURT, & STEPH VIA PHONE BACKSTAGE- Steph ordered Kurt to do something which led to Kurt protesting that “our fans on Raw will be very disappointed.” This dialogue is horrendous. Whatever this mystery thing is, Steph is doing it “to protect the main event at SummerSlam.”

MOJO RAWLEY CUTS A PROMO ON THE OTHER JOBBERS IN THE LOCKER ROOM- dull
Mojo prattled on and on. Mike Bennett appeared on TV for the first time in forever, with no mention that he had ever been gone. Bobby Roode showed up and asked him if Mojo had a problem with him. Mojo said “what are you going to do about it” so Roode took him down and the referees and agents showed up to break it up. This made everyone involved look like geeks.

AKUM (w/Rezar) vs. APOLLO CREWS (w/Titus O’Neil & Dana Brooke)- 1.25/10
We got an inset promo from the AOP full of lines like “we offered you a chance to turn the page” and “your book will be slammed shut.” You know… exactly the same sort of dialogue that killed Ember Moon dead as a babyface. They had an even match which Crews won cleanly via roll-up. The AOP have now lost to a team of jobbers before their push even started.

SETH ROLLINS vs. DREW MCINTYRE (w/Dolph Ziggler)- 6.25/10
Cole notes to Graves that “you like to refer to McIntyre as ‘the Scottish Terminator.’” Has Corey ever said this before tonight?
Drew gave Rollins a guillotine into the steel frame of the ring, which is definitely something we haven’t seen in a long time. It would have been better if there wasn’t randomly a box of Tic-Tacs right there, but I’ll take what I can get from this show.
They had a decent match. Rollins hit his finisher, but then Dolph ran in for the DQ. If you’re going to do the DQ, why hurt Drew by having Seth hit his finisher on him first to make people think Seth was about to win? Why not just have Dolph attack on a double-down or something? Seth made a comeback on Dolph and beat him up, too.
Please keep in mind that of all of the non-Japanese call-ups over the past eighteen months, Drew is the guy who is doing THE BEST… and he is being treated more like Ziggler’s enforcer than anything else. Everyone else is a bit player AT BEST… when they even manage to make it onto TV. Meanwhile, the shows are terrible and full of frustrating finishes and storylines that feel like they never go anywhere. Hunter can’t take over soon enough.

ROMAN REIGNS, KURT ANGLE, & BARON CORBIN BACKSTAGE- bad
He tells Roman that Steph has ordered him removed from the building or else he’ll lose his title shot (sorry, “championship opportunity”) at SummerSlam. Kurt thought this would disappoint the fans? I guess Brock isn’t the only one who hasn’t been watching Raw. And yes, when Kurt mentioned this, the fans did, in fact, cheer.
Roman then asked “When’s this gonna stop? How long are you gonna do this for?” Well, it’s been almost three and a half years already so I don’t think it’s ever going to stop unless you just quit, Roman.
Roman begs Kurt to look at things from his point of view, which Roman points out Kurt should be able to do because Kurt has been a top star. Every time this whole “Kurt can’t stand up to Steph” plot rears its head it makes Kurt look worse and worse, and there has been no valid explanation for why he doesn’t do it. After all, he f*cked up the Ronda thing and didn’t get fired, so why Steph change her mind and fire him now? And even if she did, so what? He can’t go wrestle on Smackdown? And if she’s so evil then hasn’t she just fired him anyway? Surely his stealing of Baron Corbin’s phone to obstruct her from asserting her authority a few weeks ago is all the pretense she needs, right?
They bring in some cops to take Roman away. Kurt asks “is this really necessary?” to show us that he really doesn’t want to do this, but so what? What’s even the point? When have their constant attempts to get sympathy on the babyface authority figure who is always brow-beaten by Steph (both with Kurt and with Foley before him) ever actually paid off in any real way? And the mixed tag at Mania clearly isn’t it because 1) Kurt couldn’t get any revenge on Steph, and 2) the heat there really came from Hunter’s sucker-punch more than anything else because Kurt did legitimately come off like an idiot during the Ronda signing segment.
Corbin sniggered at Roman so Roman punched him. The punch could have looked better, but at least Corbin sold it big. This let Roman look defiant, but Balor should have been the first person to get over on Corbin after tonight’s attack (which hasn’t been mentioned since it happened. Can we at least get a promo from Balor about it?)

CHARLY CARUSO INTERVIEWS THE B-TEAM- Charly notes that they’re 7-0 now and asks them what the secret to their success has been. They were both clowns. Hardy & Wyatt magicked themselves into the ring. Matt, too, was a clown. I’m beginning to think that this whole thing has just been a “do everything we can to get Roman over”-esque scheme to make me not hate Bray Wyatt’s promos anymore.
The Revival then showed up and cut promos on both of the other teams. Bo touched Bray so Bray shoved him into The Revival. A brawl started which Bray & Matt won. Well… the heels usually get heat to start off a feud. Meanwhile, the champions scampered away like cowards. Some babyfaces they are.
When we returned from a commercial break, we were in the middle of…

MATT HARDY & BRAY WYATT vs. THE REVIVAL- 4/10
The B-Team were on commentary for this match, presumably in an attempt to prevent me from enjoying a Revival match because this show appears to have been booked specifically to annoy me. Thankfully, The Revival were able to win.

RENEE YOUNG INTERVIEWS SETH ROLLINS- She asks him about having to fight two guys at once. Seth vowed to take his title back, then got jumped from behind by Dolph and Drew so they could get their heat back.

SASHA BANKS & BAYLEY vs. THE RIOTT SQUAD (Liv Morgan & Sarah Logan)- 4.5/10
Sarah Logan gave Liv Morgan a piggyback ride half way down the ramp, as is the Viking custom before a warrior heads into battle.
That add for Sasha Banks glasses at WWE Shop that was on screen during Sasha’s entrance was extremely annoying. WWE wants me to call Sasha & Bayley “The Boss and Hug Connection,” which has got to be the single worst tag team name in WWE history, and THINK OF THE GROUND THAT COVERS! Normally in a situation like this I’d come up with a rotating list of parody names to use for them instead, but I actually tried to come up with a list of lesbian-themed names for these two last week but couldn’t come up with any (the best ones I had were “Los Saphos del Mal” and “Bayley & Chick” [like Billy & Chuck] so that tells you how bad these names were). As you can see, I’m kind of in a bind here because I absolutely refuse to use that atrocious name, so I’m just going to call them “Sasha & Bayley” like I have been doing with Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt.
Cole pointed out that Sasha and Bayley’s gear was matching, but Sasha’s gear has so little space for any sort of designs that that I really couldn’t tell.
The announcers spent most of the match ignoring it so they could talk about Evolution, the first-ever all women’s PPV in WWE history, taking place on October 28th at the Nassau Coliseum. If ignoring a women’s match to instead put over the Women’s Evolution isn’t a microcosm of everything wrong with the Women’s Evolution then I don’t know what is.
The match itself was forgettable, with the babyfaces winning.

BROCK & HEYMAN IN BROCK’S LOCKER ROOM- Paul begs Brock to just come out, say hello, and say goodbye. Paul emphasizes that nothing can go wrong because Roman has been removed from the arena. Brock wants to know if he’ll get paid. Heyman finally fesses up to Brock what the deal is. In a sputtering effort to explain away the plot hole that I mentioned above that is killing this whole thing, Heyman claims that his WWE contract is what allows him to have a contract which Brock, which makes no sense. You could maybe say that a WWE contract is what allows Heyman to appear on WWE TV in a role other than that of Brock’s legal counsel, but Brock should be able to employ Heyman in other capacities (presumably Heyman sets up all of Brock’s appearances and negotiates his contracts and does other promotional work for him) whether Paul has a WWE contract or not.
Paul begs Brock to do it because they’re friends. Brock reacts violently to this suggestion. He asks Paul “how long have you been leeching off of me” and orders Paul to “march your ass out there and do your job.” This was certainly intended to tease the long-rumored possibility of Heyman turning on Brock and joining Roman, which is yet another thing that if they were going to do, they should have done it years ago.

CLOSING SEGMENT- boring
Angle and Corbin come out. Kurt wants Brock to come out but only gets a very somber Paul Heyman. Paul very sadly announces that Brock isn’t going to come out, so Kurt starts yell at Heyman about “what a real champion does.” Why is he yelling at Heyman? What has Heyman done wrong?
Kurt says that Brock is “the worst Universal Champion of all time.” Among the things Brock has failed to do that make him such a bad champion are not just “show up” and “defend his title,” but also do charity work and go “the extra mile for the WWE Universe. I don’t think they could possibly be any more heavy-handed with this without having Brock, like, punch a fan who asks him for an autograph.
Paul immediately starts to spin himself as the babyface here and suck up to Kurt. While Paul is clearly only saying this stuff to save his job, he’s not wrong that if Kurt is angry at Brock, he should be punishing Brock and not Paul. Kurt fires Paul anyway, not saying the traditional “YOU’RE FIRED!” but instead telling Paul “your contract is terminated!” which sounds much less cool. Paul begs for his job.
Brock then came out and gave Kurt an F-5. Heyman seems pleased with himself, as if this was some sort of plan, but it shouldn’t matter because he’s already fired. Brock went along with it for a bit, then started to choke Heyman. We got dueling chants of “WE WANT ROMAN!” and “NO WE DON’T!” with about a 55-45 split in favor of Roman. Brock then walked off.
Okay… so what? What was the point of any of this? To make Brock look mean? He doesn’t already? This whole thing was a giant waste, which was what pretty much this entire show felt like. We got a little bit of movement on the Ronda/Alexa story, we got some movement in the tag team division, and we got some movement on the Mojo vs. Roode feud that no one wants to see, but what else actually happened to tonight? This was two and a half hours of wasted time on a three-hour show. Raw feels like it has been in a horrible rut for over three months now. Something has to change.


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Re: BRM Reviews the 7/30/2018 Raw (bad and boring)

Post by XIV » Jul 31st, '18, 02:41

Brock looked like a baby for most of it. Heyman came off looking ridiculous. The whole RAW should be forgotten. No movement. Just ridiculousness.

They’re doing a good job of finally making people cheer a Roman title win. But it should not be mistaken for roman being a face. Fans will just cheer because it means Brock won’t have it anymore.
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Re: BRM Reviews the 7/30/2018 Raw (bad and boring)

Post by XIV » Jul 31st, '18, 02:43

And another thing... if I was Braun Strowman. I’d cash in now, I Mean... nothing is stopping him from doing that. Why put the contract on the line to keep your title match when you could just go ahead and get your title match. Especially if Brock is in the building... or did I miss the part where they told Braun he can’t cash in until his match with Owens is concluded?
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Re: BRM Reviews the 7/30/2018 Raw (bad and boring)

Post by cero2k » Jul 31st, '18, 09:06

this show gave me the perfect reaction gif


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Re: BRM Reviews the 7/30/2018 Raw (bad and boring)

Post by KILLdozer » Jul 31st, '18, 09:43

Oh yeah. "Cashin' in the next time I see him!"

Hm ok.
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Re: BRM Reviews the 7/30/2018 Raw (bad and boring)

Post by cero2k » Jul 31st, '18, 10:08

KILLdozer wrote:
Jul 31st, '18, 09:43
Oh yeah. "Cashin' in the next time I see him!"

Hm ok.
yeah, really disappointed he didn't even try. it would had been AWESOME heat for Owens to cost him the chance, but I think they don't want you to remember so when Summerslam comes, no one is waiting for Strowman while Roman is celebrating

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Re: BRM Reviews the 7/30/2018 Raw (bad and boring)

Post by Big Red Machine » Jul 31st, '18, 10:11

XIV wrote:
Jul 31st, '18, 02:43
And another thing... if I was Braun Strowman. I’d cash in now, I Mean... nothing is stopping him from doing that. Why put the contract on the line to keep your title match when you could just go ahead and get your title match. Especially if Brock is in the building... or did I miss the part where they told Braun he can’t cash in until his match with Owens is concluded?
Good point. Braun could have come out and said "I'm cashing in now" and if Brock didn't show up, that's losing by forfeit. Maybe one could argue that with the mood Brock was in, he'd just purposely get himself DQed or something?
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Re: BRM Reviews the 7/30/2018 Raw (bad and boring)

Post by XIV » Jul 31st, '18, 17:04

Big Red Machine wrote:
Jul 31st, '18, 10:11
XIV wrote:
Jul 31st, '18, 02:43
And another thing... if I was Braun Strowman. I’d cash in now, I Mean... nothing is stopping him from doing that. Why put the contract on the line to keep your title match when you could just go ahead and get your title match. Especially if Brock is in the building... or did I miss the part where they told Braun he can’t cash in until his match with Owens is concluded?
Good point. Braun could have come out and said "I'm cashing in now" and if Brock didn't show up, that's losing by forfeit. Maybe one could argue that with the mood Brock was in, he'd just purposely get himself DQed or something?
It’s a loophole in the whole MITB case being on the line story.

I always hate when the case is put up as part of a match.
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