Hey, kids. It’s the Botching One once again with another edition of “A Spot”. Let’s begin by talking a bit about the Elimination Chamber. The ladies, as expected, stole the night for me. They worked the Chamber just like the guys do and told more compelling stories doing it. They established the beginning of the feud between Sasha and Bayley quite nicely. Absolution was eliminated quickly and Alexa came out of it the victor heading into WrestleMania. The men’s Elimination Chamber was a disaster. Vince is absolutely dead set on pushing Roman whether we’re interested or not. Worse yet, he’s doing it at the expense of Braun and other stars we all like better. The outcome was all wrong and few care about Brock vs. Roman 2.0.
In-ring segment – Alexa Bliss & Mickie James
Mickie completely owned me last night with the promo that followed the women’s Elimination Chamber match. I was sold on her sweetness and then, in brilliant Alexa fashion, it was gonzo. Tonight, as is always the case, she owned the mic and had the audience in the palm of her hand. It was beautiful. She could have talked for the next hour and I would have enjoyed it.
Mickie just kinda stood there and reacted…sorta. She kinda tried to be a mean girl with Mickie and she’s not good at it. I have absolutely no idea why they brought her back, honestly. She’s done nothing of note since her return.
I loved that Asuka resurfaced for to have a little fun. Her purposeful walk. Asuka reacting to Alexa’s insults was priceless. Bayley and Sasha came out to save Asuka from Alexa and company and we now get a six-women tag match. This segment couldn’t possibly have been any better. Yes, I just gave five stars to a talking segment.
Sasha Banks, Bayley, & Asuka vs. Alexa Bliss, Mickie James, and Nia Jax
This was a good match. It continued to sell the dissension between Bayley and Sasha. This time, Bayley got the upper hand and I liked it. Wouldn’t it be cool if Bayley was the heel in this? She needs some kind of character shake-up badly and this would be perfect. It’s all there to turn her. Will they? I doubt it.
In-ring segment – John Cena
I was a little afraid of this because of how it might come off but he did really well here. He’s done similar before (how can he not; he’s been at this for 15 years and there are only so many ways) but I liked it. He was committed and it was very good. I’m not one of those “I’ve heard all this before” kinda guys. I listen to each Cena promo for what it is…and this really was good, I feel. He also, better than just about anyone else, knows how to get out of the way of the crowd and let them chant when they wish to. His brilliant challenge to The Undertaker. He pulled it back (“that match is not happening”) and took the energy out of the room incredibly well.
Bray Wyatt vs. Heath Slater & Rhyno
Rhyno is in a squash?!? What??? I know he’s not being used in anything resembling an important way but…what? This encounter (the match didn’t happen; the bell never rang) was just meant to make Bray look angry and it was truly awful. Bray’s character (through no fault of his own) is more stale than 3 week-old bread.
In-ring segment – Bray Wyatt
His promo at the end made this better. Bray is doing all he can to make this nonsense work. I have no clue why Bray and Woken Matt are still in a feud and I have no idea what motivated it to begin with so I can’t care. Woken Matt is…well…Broken so I don’t care about this reductive run-through of the gimmick that worked so well elsewhere. Again, this isn’t Bray’s fault and it might not be Matt’s either. Bray tried to wake this up a bit and he did. He’s got the goods. I just wish WWE saw it.
In-ring segment – The Miz (w/ the Miztourage)
I love passionate Miz. No one is better when they have an axe to grind. He’s right on too. The IC title has a storied history and should be included on “WrestleMania”. He’s likely unhappy about that and turned it up to 20 for this segment. This was reminiscent of what he did with Daniel Bryan on the set of “Talking Smack”. He gets so into it and it’s just perfection when he does.
The Miz vs. Seth Rollins
Rollins showed out last week! The man is quite simply a machine. I’m also certain that he’s shortened his life expectancy with these matches. Despite what many say, Miz can really go too. These two went back and forth and did a very nice job. You can say whatever you want about Miz but the man knows how to tell a story in there and he works as well as anyone. There’s a reason that he hasn’t ever been injured. True, he doesn’t take many chances but he doesn’t need to. When you’re good enough, it just isn’t necessary and Miz fits the bill. Rollins’ dive at the end ¾ of the way across the ring was just incredible. I’m almost okay with the winner. The only reason I’m not is because the winner wasn’t the title holder. When competitors beat title holders clean like this, it devalues the title on the loser.
The Miz vs. Finn Bálor
Well, that fell apart quickly. It should have too. The Good Brothers came out to save Finn from the Miztourage. This led to the ejection of everyone not named Miz and Finn. The match went on and this was pretty darned good too and I’m a huge fan of Finn Bálor. Still, Yet again, the title holder is beaten. I can’t be the only one who’s not feeling that. I mean…I’m glad Bálor got a victory but he got one over someone who’d already wrestled a match; not as meaningful, really. It’s just wrong for a title holder to be beaten twice in one evening. That said, Miz was in there killing it for over a half hour and I loved it.
I have to leave this here. Coachman is fast becoming insufferable. He said “Miz hasn’t complained” and he landed right in Booker territory. There must be something about that seat. He’s been such a complete letdown since he started. This is proof of what Kendra’s been saying all along: We don’t need three guys on commentary. I’d be fine with just Cole and Graves. Coachman has added nothing to the team since he showed up. He’s completely boring and all that made him special is gone. What a shame…
Backstage segment – Seth Rollins
He spoke TROOF! Bálor wasn’t impressive beating someone that Rollins just beat. He wants Miz for the IC title. Apparently, Bálor has rights to it too because…reasons…
In-ring segment – Roman Reigns
Vince just will not give it up with him. Had Roman been built organically, I’d have no problem…but he wasn’t. He was shoved down our throats to such an extent that people have generated a loathing for him usually reserved for the least capable superstars. Roman can work the ring for sure. Anyone who says he can’t is being foolish. However, what he can’t do…is pull off anything like this. It was mind-numbing. When Roman ramped up to “shoot”, I knew this would be terrible. He acted as if he were doing battle with himself (the whole “should I/shouldn’t I”? thing) and he’s only a slightly better actor than Mariah Carey was in “Glitter”. The whole thing was completely transparent and I bought nothing. I know some of the wrestlers liked it and he’s gotten kudos on Twitter but if I don’t buy it, I don’t buy it…and I didn’t. The fake fire was all bluster and no substance. He tried to achieve solidarity with the guys in the back and with the audience but the response he sought he didn’t really get. This was straight out of the CM Punk promo book. Problem is that CM Punk’s pipe bomb was passion and fire personified while Roman can’t even find the lighter.
Cinéma de IPhoné – Braun Strowman
Big, angry dude…but he does it so well. Some don’t like the words popping up while the workers say them but I’m cool with it.
The Bar (Sheamus & Cesaro) vs. Titus Worldwide (Titus O’Neil & Apollo)
Really, WWE? Really? Titus and Apollo are getting over – enough to have their own shirt. EC was the time to strap them. They didn’t. Instead, I thought, “surely, they’ll do it tonight”. Um…no. Not only did they not strap them, they decided that Titus Worldwide should lose two falls to nothing. What?!?!? Booking nightmare!
Okay, the match. They all looked good in there. Apollo, in particular, is frighteningly athletic. I’ve been tracking him since he was on the indie scene as Uhaa Nation. Mr. Hughes trained him and he did a fantastic job with this dude. His standing moonsault is really a thing of beauty. Titus is no slouch either. He’s one of the great WWE misses. He knows how to get over but he always hits a brick wall with WWE’s booking. Cesaro and Sheamus have long been beasts so this really was one heck of a match. My only qualm is the outcome. It was dead wrong.
In-ring promo – The Bar
These two are just golden together. They are the best thing to happen to each other. Sheamus said there’s no one left to beat and he’s right. I’m not sure how they move forward. This is a real problem as both deserve to be at WrestleMania.
Warrior Award – Jarrius “JJ” Robertson
All I can say to this is that no other inductee this year is fit to be inducted with him. Bravo Dana Warrior and WWE.
In-ring segment – Elias
“Every word uttered from Corey Graves’ stupid face is noise pollution”. DEAD! Then, he heeled further with “Every time you people open your mouths, that is noise pollution”. Man, I love him! He is such a complete natural in there.
Elias vs. Braun Strowman
I know I’m in the minority but these two have been very entertaining together and they can feud for a while as far as I’m concerned. Think about it. Because of Elias, we got Braun with that double bass singin’ us a country sawng. Braun was able to show us his tremendous sense of humor. Would that have happened otherwise. I really doubt it. I loved Elias grabbing the fire extinguisher and getting his “fire in the hole” on with Braun. I also loved Braun chasing Elias down in the back. ‘Course, Elias got away and the feud continues.
In-ring segment – Triple H., Stephanie McMahon, Kurt Angle, & Ronda Rousey
Stephanie is such complete slime…and I love her madly. She laid down the law in the dirtiest way possible. Ronda is trying her best for sure but she’s still a little green and that’s okay. She got better as this segment went on. She has “it” and we saw more of it tonight than we did at EC. Quick improvement like this is great. The crowd was into it and that’s what matters. Kurt doing the simpering employee thing worked really well too. Steph’s apology was just incredible. The way she marched up to Ronda was just genius. ‘Course, Triple H cold-cocked Kurt on his way out of the ring and with that, we are likely witnessing the beginning of Kurt Angle & Ronda Rousey vs. Triple H. & Stephanie McMahon. I’m perfectly okay with that. Ronda is still new but she’ll find it in the ring rather quickly, I think. Stephanie has proven she can work when she has to. Triple H. & Kurt definitely can.
So ends another episode of “Raw”. Overall, I’m happy with the way most of it went. I wish Titus Worldwide was in a better spot and Roman’s promo was, to quote the New Day, complete and total booty. Still this was a good one for the most part. Join me again next week for another “Spot”!