Hey, kids, it’s the Botching one debuting our newest segment: “A Spot of Botch”. No need to worry. Dre will continue to write for the site but time constraints have prohibited him from continuing to write the “Raw” blog. As a result, I’m starting to feel a bit like Corey Graves but I like it. Hopefully, you will too. Let’s dive into this week’s episode of “Raw”, shall we?
In-ring segment – John Cena & The Miz
I swear he’s going to run out of colors for merch sooner than later. John is a hype machine and he’s quite simply the best at it. He’s a good way to get the show going too. He went out there to pump some air into the Elimination Chamber. He also ratchets up the drama a bit by stating that his own WrestleMania shot is at stake if he can’t win.
The Miz is always fun on the mic. It’s pretty amazing how far he’s come, really. He got in there tonight and stood toe-to-toe with Cena – NOT an easy thing to do. Love the way The Miztourage went after Cena so that Miz could get a leg up on the match. Of course, it didn’t work because Kurt Angle showed up and removed The Miztourage from ring side so that the match could begin.
The Miz vs. John Cena
They told a pretty good story here and the match was good too. Both Miz and Cena get quite a bit of unjustified criticism for their ring work and I have no idea why. Both tell a great story and both are quite athletic. They worked really hard. I’m very happy that they didn’t make Miz look weak. He kicked out of the AA, something that doesn’t happen often. I don’t love that the Figure Four Leglock was so easily escaped by Cena. That move has always been devastating and it was a bit devalued here.
The commentary is still good but Coach doesn’t fit yet. He’s very square and plain as of now. He isn’t showing any real personality yet. Despite how messy Booker was, he always showed plenty of personality. Coachman is a bit too “talking head” at this point and I’m hopeful it gets better.
I know they have a story to tell with Miz being the first in the chamber but champions should not lose if the belt is not involved. I hate seeing that and it happens too often. When it does, it devalues the title being held.
Winnah: John Cena!
Backstage segment – “Woken” Matt Hardy
So far, so bad with Matt Hardy’s gimmick as it appears in WWE. This is very much “Broken” redux. WWE has no clue what they’re doing with this and they’ve reduced Matt to a stupid laugh and “Delete!”. There’s so much more that can be done and they aren’t doing it. If this is what they’re gonna make of something that worked so well, check, please.
Backstage segment – Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson
This was nice and quick. It told us what we needed to know and kept the Revival feud going. Interesting to see them cutting heel promos and working as faces. I like it!
Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson vs. The Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder)
The Revival is, thus far, the Minnesota Wrecking Crew revisited. Even their boots are very Ole Anderson. Because of the WWE’s short attention span, we aren’t getting as much of the “pick a body part and work on it” as we got with the Minnesota Wrecking Crew. This was a decent match. It appeared for a little while that WWE wasn’t going to give them a chance but maybe they’re gonna get one after all.
Winnah: The Revival!
In-ring segment – Kurt Angle and Seth Rollins
The announcement of Ronda Rousey singing her “Raw” contract at “Elimination Chamber” got very little reaction. Definitely not what they wanted. Sorry to hear that Jason will miss WrestleMania. He was doing quite well and now he’s on the shelf. Kurt’s promo in the ring was really messy. He mumbled, fumbled, and stumbled his way through this and it wasn’t great.
Thankfully, Rollins came out and made a game of this. Rollins came out determined to have something to do at Elimination Chamber since Jordan is out and Rollins has nothing to do. Effective storytelling (though Angle continued to stumble a bit).
Backstage segment – Bray Wyatt
Yes, I know, Bray. You know them better than they know themselves and you can fix them. His claims of “feasting” on anyone fall flat because he doesn’t ever actually do it. My issue with him are almost all booking-related and I feel bad that that they seemingly don’t know what to do with Bray. He’s really fallen through the cracks. As it’s not all his fault, I won’t hammer him too badly on the grade.
Sasha Banks vs. Bayley
Shut up, Coachman. The thing about his 9 year-old daughter was a non-starter and it added nothing to the story.
Bayley is another one that’s been completely overlooked. To be fair, much of it is her fault. She’s been botching and has been far less compelling on the main roster. All that made her special in NXT is pretty much gone now.
Having said that, this was a good match! Sasha was nearly all “heel” here. These two women tore it DOWN in “NXT” so, of course, they are more than capable of giving us great matches together. Bayley got off her Bayley to Belly from the second rope and it looked great…in her home town, no less! This gets Bayley a MUCH needed win. Sadly, I’m not sure what this does to Sasha but I get the feeling that this story is very much in progress.
Nia’s interruption made sense too. She showed up from out of frame while we imagined a feel-good moment between Bayley and Sasha. Very nicely done. The promo afterwards was completed stilted and forgettable.
Backstage – Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns w/ The Bar (Sheamus and Cesaro)
A little gamesmanship back there. All four men postured a bit with each other and that last “nice skirt, fella” while the video faded out was brilliant.
Vignette – Asuka
They REALLY talked her up here. She really has been quite the threat and the most formidable woman on the roster right now. I’m certainly interested in the match. They did really well with each other on “NXT” so this should be fun.
Backstage segment – Titus Worldwide (Titus O’Neil, Apollo Crews, & Dana Brooke)
Well, that was fast. Titus took over the interview. Apollo was so scripted but he has gotten better…finally!
Backstage segment – Mickie James & Alexa Bliss
Mickie has been fairly flat since she came back with little exception. Alexa was golden here and Mickie was scripted. She gave it a little life but it could have been far better if she were more committed.
Absolution (Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville w/ Paige) vs. Mickie James & Alexa Bliss
This was a decent match. Mickie has never had problems in the ring and Alexa hasn’t either. The attack at the end was appropriate so that Alexa can continue to try to convince (read: fool) Mickie into thinking that she has her back.
In-ring segment – Elias & Braun Strowman
So now we know he’s playing Mitchell guitars. I’m guessing Mitchell is now supplying WWE with guitars so that Elias can wreck them when the storyline calls for it. Good for them! If you want to learn more about Mitchell Guitars, (click here).
Yes, I know…the promo. Elias is brilliance personified and he’s so comfortable out there. He’s great and I really hope he goes far. He’s got them all chanting “Walk with Elias”. He holds them in the palm of his hand week after week. It turns out he writes a new “song” each time one is needed.
Braun brought out that double bass and I just about died. Turns out he can sing a little too. This completely destroyed me. This is the funniest thing I’ve seen in years and I cannot breathe. I hate seeing a double bass get destroyed. This is too much of a rollercoaster of emotion for me. I must move on. 🙂
Backstage segment – Finn Balor
Nice, quick promo but full of conviction. It worked well.
Roman Reigns vs. Sheamus (w/ Cesaro)
Good match! They worked hard here for sure. Sheamus catching Roman in the midst of a Superman punch is something I haven’t seen before. Sheamus’ leap from the top rope into a spear was also really nice. Very nice work from both of them. Cesaro spiced things up nicely by continuing to stick his nose in too. This was all done to further assert Reigns dominance.
WWE HOF Induction – Ivory
About time, really. She was always incredibly athletic and could get it done in the ring. I always loved “Right to Censor” and she was the perfect female poster child for it. I’m beyond happy to see her take her rightful place in the HOF.
Fatal Five-way Match: Bray Wyatt, “Woken” Matt Hardy, Apollo Crews (w/ Titus O’Neil), Seth Rollins, & Finn Balor
There was no way this wasn’t going to be a lot of fun and it didn’t disappoint. All of them gave it all they had. They even gave it some time so they could tell an effective story. Everybody got a chance to shine here. Bray throws a clothesline unlike most and it just looks deadly. Apollo’s standing moonsault really is a thing of beauty. He really looked good here – seemingly being rewarded for better promos lately. The match ending is nothing I saw coming. Interesting twist. I also love the cliffhanger. They made no effort to solve the issue. Guess we’ll have to wait until next week for the answer!
Winnah: Seth Rollins & Finn Balor!
This was a pretty good episode. It moved all the angles going into “Elimination Chamber” along nicely. We also got a great addition to the WWE HOF. What did you think? Let me know in the comments below. See you next week for another “Spot of Botch”!