I Don’t Fear the Unknown, the Unknown Fears Me!

Hey, kids.  It’s the Botching One ready to deliver another “Spot” to you.  We pick up with the screwy finish from the 5-way match last week where Finn and Seth both pinned Bray.  Turns out Kurt has decided to give them both a spot in the Elimination Chamber match.  This makes total sense and I’m happy with it.  Now, there are 7 men in the Elimination Chamber match – the largest man-on-man Elimination Chamber match ever.  This is gonna be fun!

 

In-ring segment – Roman Reigns

I think we should be clear about something.  Any reaction (for the most part) is a good one (he got slightly lost for second there before he started calling out the names of his competitors in the match) but it was pretty solid.  When Roman gets boos, he doesn’t feel defeated.  He’s actually soaking them in.  Your reaction means he wins.  If you didn’t react and just sat there, then he’d be in trouble…but you don’t.  You boo him.  He affects you.  He wins.

His mic has become significantly better than it used to be.  It still needs work but it’s better and his face goes with what he says too.  That took some time but he’s mostly there.   That says a lot given how far he’s really come in that department.

 

Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins

This was a good solid match.  The chemistry between them is there and they worked hard.  After matches like these, I’m not particularly interested in hearing the likes of “Roman can’t work”.  He can…and he did.  We all know Seth can too (we’d get far more of it after this).  I enjoyed watching Roman continue to tease the Superman Punch.  When he landed it as Seth was jumping from the top rope, it was a thing of beauty.  Quite often, when these moves like these are slowed down, they don’t look real because you can’t really punch someone like that and continue to do anything.  This one, on the other hand (see what I did there?) looked fantastic slowed down.  That’s a real credit to Roman for throwing it properly and Seth for taking it well.  I love nuances like that.  The finish was great (we don’t generally see the surprise roll-up) and it told a nice story.  Roman was out-thought and it looked great.  Roman’s reaction to it continued to tell the story.  Regardless of what anyone thinks, Roman is in the spot he’s in for a reason.  Seth moves on to face…

 

Seth Rollins vs. John Cena

Seth continued to tell the story.  He needed to put Cena away quickly given the fact that Cena was fresh and Seth had expended much energy with Roman already.

I really liked John’s emphasis on rest holds.  Makes sense too.  Sap Seth of his strength and life is a whole lot easier.  This is what makes Cena and Seth so good; they both really understand how to tell a story that keeps the fans interested.  I love a high-flying match but it’s not necessary all of the time.  Just tell me a story and I’m good.  Cena and Seth did a lot of that here and it was great.  When was the last time you saw someone else get an AA off on Cena?  Yeah, I don’t know either.

In short, you can’t ask for more from a match.  This was that good and both of them showed out here… the crowd totally loved it.  I did too.

 

Seth Rollins vs. Elias

Elias, just like Cena, was off to a fast start.  He’s still selling the double-bass attack from Braun last week so he’s got the tape around his stomach area.  I’m not sure what good that little strip of tape would do for something like that but…show business.

 

Backstage segment – John Cena

The nuance of excuse…I liked it.  He’s “trying to balance a lot of things at once”.  He was very matter-of-fact and trying to find positivity.  How he could even talk after all he went through is pretty impressive.  A few in DD noticed how different that promo sounded and I agree with them.  Some of this would have been due to fatigue…but not all of it.

 

Okay, back to the match…

As we all know, they are in the middle of “upping” the push of Elias and Seth had been in there for quite a while.  After working through Reigns and Cena, it wasn’t gonna happen a third time.  Elias took it with Drift Away but the real winner here was Seth who battled for, as Cole said, for one hour and five minutes.  Win or lose, he came out of that looking like a million bucks!

 

Elias vs. Finn Balor

There will be no “waiting for the bell to ring” in this match and that makes perfect sense, really.  Corey announcing “Koo dee Graaas” was a bit of a fail.  Not how you say it, man.  Yes, I know…I’m a stickler.

 

Backstage segment – Seth Rollins

Seth’s concern on his face spoke volumes and he spoke truth.  None of this means anything if they don’t win Elimination Chamber.  He spoke with great conviction and it was great.  He’s always excellent on the mic and this was no exception.

 

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

These guys worked hard too.  I love Balor’s sling blade and his Coup de Grace.  Elias is merciless and that’s always fun too.  They have some pretty decent chemistry together, really.

 

Finn Balor vs. The Miz

Another novel way to start one.  The Miztourage came down the walkway to Miz’s music distract Bálor and Miz came up from behind to begin the match.  Nice stuff.

 

Backstage segment – Elias

Another promise of domination at Elimination Chamber.  That’s really all they can do here and he did it really well.  He was likely supposed to come out and say “Walk With Elias” but he didn’t so Cole did it for him.  Either way, we’ll done.  The Miztourage near-continual interference spiced up the match nicely with story but it didn’t get in the way of the action these two provided.

 

Back to our feature presentation…

It was fun watching these two.  The back and forth was great.

 

The Miz vs. Braun Strowman

Seeing Miz’s face turn as he realized who would be coming out to face him was just priceless.  It’d make a great meme (and I’m sure someone has already done it).  Braun’s scream coupled with Miz’s eyes closing was absolutely hilarious.  Braun has some real speed!  He went after Miz while he took off like a scalded dog and Braun gave chase nicely.  Once back in the ring, it looked really good.

 

Backstage segment – Finn Bálor

He sounded great and reminded us that while the Miztourage got involved heavily here, they won’t be able to do it in the Elimination Chamber.  I’d love to see Finn take it and go on to face Brock and it’d make sense too.  Finn never actually lost the Universal title.  Do I think it’ll actually happen?  Not a chance…and that saddens me.  Cole and Graves interrupted a tiny bit while Bálor was giving his promo and it feels very much like Vince chewed their ears off for doing it.  They sold it well when they got back to the action and everything went on without incident.  Frankly, if I’m Vince, I’m mad at the audio guy for not muting their mics while the promo was going on.  Ah well, minor issue…

 

Back on terra canvas…

This was mostly about selling Strowman’s monster-ness and it did the job really well.  Miz is a beast when it comes to selling.  The Skull Crushing Finale on Strowman was awkward (the guy is huge!) but he did get away with it.  Of course, the kick-out left Miz on top of the Miztourage outside the ring.  Of course, Strowman wasn’t gonna lose and he took it with a Running Power Slam.

 

Promo – Braun Strowman

Yeah, see the blog title.  He speaks like a beast and nails it every time.  He even got in his “I’m not finished with you” and “You’re gonna get these hands” lines off.  Of course, we knew he was NOT finished with Miz and company.  He went after both Dallas and Axel and then…Miz reappeared…on his back.  It’s Miz’s worst nightmare come real and it was great.

 

That was 2 solid hours of wrestling.   No one can complain now.

 

From the sublime to the ridiculous.  Jeff Jarrett is being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.  I’ve already said a lot (our Queen did too) about our disdain for this decision.  He was a decent mid-card guy and a horrible businessman.  That really kinda cuts to the chase.  What we can’t argue is that this has people talking.  Maybe that’s what WWE wanted.  This is entertainment after all.  If that’s what they wanted, they’re getting it.

 

In-ring segment – Asuka 

Asuka is a truly lovely woman.  She lights up the whole coliseum when she smiles.  I find that when she smiles, I have to too.  I am officially smitten.

The promo itself was, as expected, shaky.  She did what all she could.  English is not her first language at all but her charisma won out in the end.  She’s so completely unique that she could talk about plumbing and I’d still be captivated.  ‘Course, Nia had to come out and spoil the party.  She got the better of Asuka here which, of course, means Nia will lose on Sunday and the streak will continue.  I doubt anyone feels differently.  If you haven’t seen it, they had a great match in NXT TakeOver:  The End back in 2016that’s worth checking out.  It’s on YouTube in bad quality if you’re in the mood.

 

Ronda Rousey, whether you love her entrance into the WWE or not, is good for business.  She just is.  She’ll get eyes on the product that wouldn’t watch otherwise.  WWE is not now and has never been an athletic competition; it’s entertainment.  WWE seeks to entertain.  Ronda is a spectacle and she will entertain.

 

The Bar (Sheamus & Cesaro) vs. Titus…WorldWIIIIDE (Titus O’Neil and Apollo w/ Dana Brooke)

Ah, the match of the follicle challenged.  I kid, I kid.  It’s true, though.  Only Sheamus has a full head of hair.  Those heads are bald for a reason.  As someone who’s slightly losing his as well, I get it.  I could never get away with a bald head like they all do (think of a cue ball on a pool table) but I’m nowhere near needing that yet.  Okay, enough of about hairlines.  Onto the match.

Apollo really is one heck of a worker.  We already know Sheamus and Cesaro are and we know Titus can hold his own too.  Apollo was pretty impressive here and did most of the work in there.  Better yet, he got the pin on Cesaro.  I found it pretty cheap, honestly (it was nothing but a roll-up) but it served its purpose.  I’m happy anytime they appear to be elevating a worker a little and they seem to be doing that with Titus Worldwide.  Good for them!

Throughout, Dana was as involved as she could be, trying to get the crowd on their side throughout.  That’s what a good “statistician” should do, after all.

 

Backstage segments – Woken Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt

Bray says, “[Hardy’s] words mean nothing”.  He’s half-right.  Bray’s don’t either.  This feud has been handled so poorly and I couldn’t care less about it.  They have gold with Matt’s gimmick and they don’t seem to notice it.  They’ve reduced him to a ridiculously overdone laugh and two catch words.  Bray has been equally hard done and his character has gone nowhere in a long time.  I remain hopeful that with the knowledge that Hardy now owns all of the Broken property, maybe they’ll start using the parts of it to make it work as it should.  That would be…DELIGHTFUL!

 

Black History Month segment

I love how WWE does stuff like this.  They always capture the sensitivity of it without being cloying.  What those poor men went through is just deplorable.  Hearing about the Memphis Sanitation Strike is truly moving and Roman and Titus were genuinely moved as they spoke.  Grade issued out of pure unadulterated respect.

 

Sasha Banks, Bayley, and Mickie James vs. Absolution (Sonya Deville & Mandy Rose w/ Paige) and Alexa Bliss

I love that the women got the last match on the show.  It’s happened before and it does my heart good to see it each time they do it.  Most of them can go (Mandy and Sonya need a bit more time but they’ll get it).  Mandy did acquit herself well here, though, and so did Sonya.  Sadly, Absolution was never booked to be as dominant as they should have been.  They can be toppled and have been.  It’s the same with the Riott Squad.

Interesting too, is how this ended.  Sasha tapped Alexa out with the Bank Statement.  Absolution attacked and once done, they decided they wanted Alexa too.  Guess who saved her?  Mickie James.  It now looks like Alexa really has an ally.  Think it’s really what it appears to be?  Yeah, I don’t either.  We’ll see this play out in the first women’s Elimination Chamber match this Sunday night!

 

Don’t forget to join us this Sunday here for another Dignified Discussion!  With that, I wish you all a pleasant day.  Botch…OUT!