What’s up, kids? It’s the Botching One ready with another episode of “The Pickup”!
So Enzo went missing from “Raw” last night. It is said that he had the flu and that could be true but other “rumors” are also flying about why he might not have been there. Given that “Raw” happened on New Years Day, I’m sure you can imagine what those “rumors” would be. As I was really looking forward to seeing Enzo vs. Cedric Alexander, I was pretty disappointed that it didn’t happen. If the “rumors” are true, one has to wonder about possible repercussions for Enzo. Either way, Enzo really is making a difference in my enjoyment of “205 Live” and not just because of his own character. His presence has also brought more out of Drew Gulak and even a little more out of Ariya Daivari. The “Zo Train” thing is slowly becoming a decent villainous stable and I was enjoying the direction. We’ll see if that direction is derailed if the “rumors” are true. Of course, if Enzo is legitimately ill, we wish him a speedy recovery. This particular strain of flu is taking no prisoners this year. Enzo wasn’t on this episode of “205 Live” either so it might really be the flu.
The appearance of Goldust with Cedric and the Cruiserweights on “Monday Night Raw” this week was quite welcome. It was really cool to see 48 year-old Goldust hanging acceptably with the Alexander, Gulak, and Daivari. Cedric loved it too as you could tell that Cedric is a big fan of his. My hope is that we’ll see more of this co-mingling as time goes on. Why not also have the Cruiserweights in singles matches with the Raw superstars? If Vince wants this to really get over, that’ll be the way to do it rather than just have Cruiserweights vs. Cruiserweights constantly. That’s definitely not working on its own at this point.
Okay, on with the show…
Akira Tozawa vs. TJP
No performer was more hard-done in 2016 than Akira Tozawa. Superstars are expected to get themselves over and Akira did just that…very simply…with one loud “HA”. That’s all it took! The fans loved him and he signed up with Titus Worldwide. Titus (and at times, Apollo) would appear on “205 Live” with Akira when he had matches. The faction was over too and everyone was happy. I was sure he’d be the next cruiserweight champ. Then, it just…ended. They unceremoniously removed Tozawa from the faction, he appeared in fewer matches, and Tozawa’s momentum was stopped cold. No clue what happened there. Whatever it was, it was a real shame. Here’s hoping Tozawa can get his groove back.
TJP is another who more or less died buy he died at his own hand. A 2016 WWE success story, he very much became yesterday’s hero in 2017. While he’s always been great in the ring, has always been incredibly boring otherwise and the fans didn’t really care about him that much. As a result of his own weaknesses, he went from cruiserweight champ to the “we have nothing for you” doghouse that he’s been residing in for a long time now. Even Vic struggled to remember how long it had been. Tonight, he finally returned from exile. If the crowd reaction to his return was any indication, he wasn’t really missed.
In spite of the nonsense Tozawa has had to deal with, he remains fairly over even now. TJP’s meager momentum is now completely gone. The match itself was good but with these two, it had to be. Both of them are real pros and they know what they’re doing in there. I enjoyed TJP’s offense throughout. He found novel ways to work on TJP’s shoulder. We even got the often-ignored surfboard! I also have to hand it to Tozawa for some really good selling. While “coming back, he didn’t forget about the shoulder TJP had been brutalizing. Why they gave TJP the victory here is entirely beyond me. As he raised his hand in victory, the audience as completely ambivalent…just as they were before.
Backstage segment – Cedric Alexander & Goldust
Cedric is incredibly plastic and I don’t believe him (when do I?) but Goldust made this work. He’s not the least bit afraid of being silly and over-the-top and we got all of that here. It was nearly fun and could have been spectacular if Cedric were at least competent on the mic. Maybe they’ll be together for a while per this promo and Goldy can help Cedric find some charisma on the mic. To use the Queen’s word, “UGH!”
“Gentleman” Jack Gallagher vs Hideo Itami
Gallagher just kills it on the mic whether he’s a face or a heel. His eloquence has twisted into hateful vengeance here and it’s totally platinum. They re-ran the footage of Hideo’s horrible botch on Kendrick. I hate that for Kendrick and wish him a full recovery. What Hideo did was completely and totally reckless and I was hoping he’d be disciplined for it. It’s not his first time injuring people with GTS either.
Itami came out to zero reaction (well-deserved, really). They want him to be a face but he’s just not – definitely in this situation. Gallagher came after him with a steel pipe and got some (for the character) well-deserved retribution. There was some very mild booing when Gallagher walked back up the ramp but only a little. People just weren’t unhappy with what happened. It’s possible that this will get Hideo written off TV for a while. If that’s so, he deserves it, honestly. Bon voyage, dearest Felicia. We knew ye well.
Backstage segment – Ariya Daivari, Drew Gulak, and Goldust
This wasn’t great. For the first time I can recall, Gulak got completely and totally lost. He literally froze looking for words after he’d said “Now that Enzo isn’t with us”. A rare but awful misstep for Gulak. Things understandably got better when Goldust showed up. He came in and saved the segment. Had he not shown up, the grade would have been much lower.
Drew Gulak & Ariya Daivari vs. Cedric Alexander & Goldust
It’s so odd that Cedric can be so terrible on the mic, yet show all that charisma in the ring. On the downside, I’m not quite sure why Cedric was smiling while his arm was being twisted. I hate it when workers do that nonsense. Your arm is being twisted! That kinda hurts, no? Drew’s interactions with Goldust in the ring were completely priceless. Goldust was getting a few well-deserved “you’ve still got it” chants. Watching him stop to catch his breath after running the ropes was absolutely priceless. I was DEAD.
Goldust knows how to add comedy without being corny. He adds the one element that’s generally missing from cruiserweight matches: levity. He’s also more over than any other star on “205 Live”. He really knows how to get the crowd involved with the other cruiserweights are rather insular when performing. What Goldust doesn’t do is keep the focus on himself. He does all that he does at the service of the cruiserweights. He’s completely selfless and it says a lot about him.
Cedric’s spill through the ropes didn’t look good at all. He didn’t brace himself in the least bit. He just went straight through and hit the pads with his left shoulder. He appeared okay but I’m hoping I’ve seen the last of that. It wasn’t needed. Cedric is the only performer anywhere who can make the overdone #dive look amazing each time he does it. He can do it all he wants and I’ll never complain about it.