Hey, kids! It’s the Botching One with another edition of “The Pickup”. What a difference a couple of weeks can make. The show now features…no one. Everyone is on equal footing. The storylines have been all but eliminated and we’ve just got straight wrestling with some promos thrown in for spice. It’s definitely a different thing and one I’m going to have to get used to. Gulak is no longer out there being fun. Now, we get just the action with zero story other than the Cruiserweight Tournament ark.
Kalisto vs. Lince Dorado
With these two, you know you’re gonna get a fast match and that’s exactly what we got here. They have incredible chemistry too so that makes for a fun match. I really liked the way they’d both look over at the CW title when they’d perform a big move – selling the true intention of the match. I LOVED the Super Hurricanrana off the top rope. Lince is just a beast in there. He landed on his feet but he had to go down to really sell the spot and tell the story. You really can’t ask much more of a match. The near-finishes at the end were just masterful. These guys are fun to watch!
Vignette – Roderick Strong
They are really pushing him hard (i.e. forcing him down our throats). We’ve already seen similar vignettes before on NXT and they didn’t work there either. He’s still completely boring.
Backstage segment – Cedric Alexander
The usual problem. He was only sightly better. It says something when Mustafa can show up for about 2 seconds and display more charisma than Cedric did. Cedric simply isn’t getting this part of his game together and I’m losing hope.
Backstage segment – TJP
Liked him reading tweets and reacting to it justifiably. It’s scripted and he didn’t nail but it wasn’t terrible.
Vignette – Mark Andrews
This was pretty good, really. It didn’t do much but it didn’t have to.
Backstage segment – Akira Tozawa
The language barrier is always hard for him and that’s not his fault. He did what he could. I do like the “you’re fired” thing he does at the end of each of these. He DESPERATELY needs to be back with Titus Worldwide. Why they took him out of that dynamic is a complete mystery to me.
Backstage – Drake Maverick, Drew Gulak, and Tony Nese
Love that Drake referenced “that train has left the station”. He went after them and did it really well. Clearly, Enzo’s name is now verboten. Both Gulak and Nese reacted to the whole thing beautifully too.
Hideo Itami vs. Roderick Strong
The one thing that always bothers me is when workers don’t sell. Strong worked on Itami’s arm for a bit at the opening of the match and Itami sold it while it was happening but when the hold was released, it was like it never even happened. He had time to sell it too; he just didn’t. Still, he’s very good in the ring and Roderick, for all the complaining about his lack of personality I do, is as well. That shot Itami took to the side of the ring apron looked UGLY. It was also nice to see the modified Rings of Saturn too from Itami. Because they’re really pushing Strong, there was no way he wasn’t going to win.
All in all, this was a decent show but fairly uneventful. The show has become a different animal and the jury’s still out on whether or not this will work. This is a WWE audience. It isn’t ROH or NJPW; it’s WWE. The audience is different and the expectations are different. For what I’ve come to expect, this was rather bland with only moments of furthering story. I’m a guy that likes both. It appears, though, that I’m only going to get the matches here. Time will tell if this works. Join me next week for another edition of “The Pickup”.