Hey, kids, it’s the Botching One here to imbibe another “Spot of Botch”. Add a lump of sugar and let’s get started…
In-ring segment – Jonathan Coachman w/ Ronda Rousey, Kurt Angle, Stephanie McMahon, & Triple H.
Why Coachman? He’s just so completely dull. This new run for him has not been good and just adds fuel to the fact that the commentary panel only needs two people. Three is overkill. Coachman almost makes me miss Booker…almost.
Triple H. and Stephanie are the ultimate trolls. They all told a pretty good story here. Ronda reacted well too. She did botch the line in the title a bit by not finishing it. Still, it worked and it got the reaction it was supposed to get. I do like the off-handed way she delivered the part we got.
I have to say that I have no clue why Vince didn’t get involved in this angle. He really should have. There’s a very large plot hole here. When Kurt made the match, Steph and Trips simply could have said “no” and more importantly, fired Angle. Vince could have plugged that hole as the chairman of WWE by forcing Steph and Trips to accept in the match.
The photo session was a new twist and it allowed the segment to break down nicely. The table spot to Ronda was a bit too orchestrated but it still told the story well.
Bayley vs. Sonya Deville (w/ Mandy Rose & Paige [Absolution])
Not really sure what this match was supposed to do. As a match itself, it meant nothing. Yeah, Sasha came out to make the save but that didn’t mean much either. It may have moved their dissension a bit or maybe not. It was too long for what it didn’t accomplish too. It was well-worked so I can, at least, give it that.
Back from commercial, Coachman, tried to make a joke about few from Atlanta winning anything. He fumbled it (shock and surprise!). Just…
Finn Bálor vs. Seth Rollins (w/ Miz on commentary)
When they get in the ring together, they tear it down. It’s just what they do. They grapple well, they fly, they do it all. You might imagine that they’d take it easy heading into WrestleMania to make sure they both make it but they didn’t. Not at all. They gave it all here and it was a great match. This match even got the amount of time it needed to tell the story they needed to tell. The near falls were spectacular and Rollins’ superplex was a thing of beauty – maybe the best I’ve ever seen.
Most fun here was Miz. I’m not sure Miz cared too much about this match. He’s in full-on “daddy euphoria” and pretty much all he talked about on commentary. No matter where Cole and company took it, it all went back to Monroe Sky. It even affected how he spoke of Rollins & Bálor. He wasn’t overly Miz-like. He was very complimentary of both of them and it was bizarre…in the best way. All of this is as it should be.
Backstage segment – Kurt Angle & Paul Heyman
I think Kurt likely lost his place at the beginning of this but Paul, being the professional he is, completely saved it to the point that I’m not sure most even noticed. Still, their interaction was perfect and Heyman’s dismissal of Kurt’s concerns was an absolute riot. Paul has been the only good thing about this feud and he continued to be great here.
The Bar (Sheamus & Cesaro) & Braun Strowman
The Bar heels it up very well. The two of them together are just golden and they were here too. Braun is always fun too. He’s deliberate, he’s funny, and he’s articulate. He’s not your typical big monster and I love it.
The Bar (Sheamus & Cesaro) vs. Brain Strowman
No, that’s not a typo. Braun decided he should have a brother. DEAD! Brain came out and regulated as only he can. I like that we won’t know who Braun’s tag partner is until WrestleMania. The match didn’t reach a conclusion but it didn’t have to. It was more mind games from Braun and I loved every second of it.
Cinéma de Shattered Dreams – Goldust
No one could ever do this better. He morphed this character into something slightly different and it’s every bit as compelling as it was. If it were featured on WWE TV each week, I wouldn’t be mad at it.
Cinéma de Woken – “Woken” Matt Hardy
Ah, yes, the bizarre one. “Humungous Wonder #8”. Riotous! Thankfully, our Woken one has gotten over big time on social media so we’ll see more Woken madness and I can’t wait. I’m thinking Michael Cole might be the next one to be…DELETED!
“Woken” Matt Hardy vs. Goldust
I would love this feud madly. Watching Matt coral the audience into giving Goldust a standing ovation was just great. I do find it funny that the commentators kept talking up the “Andre the Giant Battle Royal” like it matters. At the end of the match, the Woken one went to the trophy as though it were speaking to him. He began shouting “procure” in his own weird way and I love it.
Cinéma de Mean Girl – Alexa Bliss & Mickie James
Alexa is golden where this is concerned but Mickie is truly terrible. Mandy Rose would be much better at this. Really, most of them would be better at this than Mickie is. The push and pull of really good and really bad evened out the grade a bit.
In-ring segment – John Cena
Some of this has been corny but this promo brought it all together. He really got the crowd involved in his frustration that the Undertaker hasn’t responded. As he slunk out of the ring, you could go with it. As always, he told a great story here. That he’s had to do it all alone makes it all the more impressive.
Of course, I’m a miserable mark so I know that WWE hasn’t felt the need to promote this ahead of time. That’s why we haven’t seen Undertaker yet. He could show up on “Smackdown Live” tonight but I’d be rather surprised if we did. The rumor is that we’ll be seeing him at WrestleMania itself.
Cinéma de Lockeroom – Kurt Angle & Roman Reigns
Again, Kurt is trying to guard his main event so he’s with Roman now. They actually did quite well here. The storyline is silly but this segment was very good.
In-ring segment – Elias
I love the lighting botch at the beginning. They fixed it quick but I laughed when I saw it. As for Elias, we all commented in the DD last night that he has it all. He can work and he can talk all night long. Of course, he had to drag the city and he did it here brilliantly like he always does. Not sure what was up with grandma’s shawl but the segment was great.
Elias vs. Heath Slater (w/ Rhyn0)
This is the result of an inconsequential feud and it reached its merciful conclusion tonight. The match was quick and Heath jobbed. They don’t care about Heath or Rhyno anymore and, though I wish unemployment on no one, it wouldn’t surprise me if Heath and Rhyno were released with the oncoming purge of talent.
Cinéma de Drywall – Braun Strowman and Curt Hawkins
I loved this! I loved that as Curt spoke trying to convince Braun to pick him as his tag team partner, Braun didn’t just stand there like a robot. He reacted to Curt. Braun is really special and he’s just waiting to break out and be a major force in the WWE.
Interview – Nia Jax
I know a lot of people don’t like this storyline but I love it and I’ll tell you why. There are so many young girls and boys who are bullied every day of their lives. Unlike when I was younger, there is also now social media. They go to school and get bullied but they can’t go home and get away from it like I could. They go home and their phones keep the fun going through Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram. The bullying is perpetual now in a way that it never was before. Kids are committing suicide because they simply can’t escape it and that’s truly awful. This is why a storyline like this is so perfect. Think about it. Alexa Bliss is the mean, entitled bully who took advantage of Nia and will stop at nothing to make her feel like nothing. Is Nia bigger? Yes, and Alexa knows that. Bliss attacks her self-confidence with fat jokes and mental anguish – just like you’d get if you were a young girl or boy in school. Nia’s response is not only to fight back with her size, she’s also fighting back with her refusal to let Alexa destroy her confidence. That’s so much more important. Anyone can fight but Nia is showing young girls how to remain confident in the face of adversity. This angle is a long time in coming and my hope is that it’s helping all young girls and boys to realize that they’re special for who they are no matter what they look like. Better yet, bullying can be triumphed over.
Alexa and Nia have made this work beautifully. Alexa has really ratcheted up the meanness (with requisite mean hanger-on, Mickie) and Nia has shown great nuance in her ability to put it over. During this interview, there’s a quiet resignation when Nia realizes that she’s let Alexa get to her and she comes to the conclusion that she’s strong, confident, and worthwhile. She revels in her differences and loves who she is. Nia very nearly broke when she said all this and it was really nice to see. She was glassy-eyed too which made this all the more powerful.
This may be the most important angle WWE has ever done. It’s also been beautifully done and I’m thoroughly engrossed in how this plays out.
Alexa Bliss (w/ Mickie James) vs. Dana Brooke & Asuka
Not sure if there’s anything to the fact that Titus Worldwide didn’t come out with Dana. Maybe there isn’t. They did keep mentioning her being a part of Titus Worldwide We’ll find out as time goes on. The faction is nowhere so maybe it’ll break up and Dana will get a shot on her own. I’m worried about all three of them when the purge comes around.
I’m not quite sure why we needed this match but it wasn’t bad for what it is. Dana has gotten better in the ring. That’s rather odd given that she’s barely been in the ring since joining Titus Worldwide but good for her nonetheless.
Coach asked another foolish question about Asuka’s streak. Again, I must say…
This is going to get a lot of use. I just know it.
Anyway, they got a little mileage out of Brooke being worked over by Bliss & James as, contrary to what Coach thought, Asuka’s streak would be adversely affected if she lost in her tag effort with Brooke. Of course, Nia had to come out and she did – almost getting her hands on Alexa. This was really the point of the match. The thing is, though, I was already sold on it because of the superior storytelling.
In-ring segment – Paul Heyman, Brock Lesnar, & Roman Reigns
Okay, the line-up of guys on the ramp was cute but we always know how this goes. As for Heyman, he could talk all night and I’d listen. He’s just perfection. In the fact of a ridiculous storyline, Heyman has been its bright spot. This whole thing has been fairly ludicrous and the only two good things have have come from it are Heyman’s mic work and, hopefully, the Universal Title on someone else’s waist. Vince’s desperation to get Roman over has surfaced in this angle to almost ludicrous levels (calling Brock “Vince’s boy”?? Pot, calling kettle??).
Lesnar reacted a bit here so it’s possible he was listening to at least a little of what Heyman said.
Roman came out and was “blocked” or whatever by the crew of WWE wrestlers. Roman could have done what anyone else would have done and delivered a scathing indictment of the fact that Brock is a part-timer but all he did was say that he was. He doesn’t have the chops to do what was needed and the segment needed that badly. ‘Course, we got mutiny and the workers stepped aside to let Roman get into the ring. Brock got the better of the physical exchange and there you go.
I’m giving it four out of respect for Heyman’s incredible mic work.
So goes “Raw”‘s go-home to WrestleMania. This was hardly a disaster of a show but, because the storylines were well-set before the show began, WWE didn’t do much here. I’m excited for WrestleMania and Wrestle Royalty will cover it from every possible angle. Stay tuned and see you next week for another “Spot of Botch”!