Hello, kids, it’s the Botching One with another “Spot of Botch” to soothe your wrestling-parched souls. Let’s dive in, shall we?
In-ring segment – Kurt Angle & Jinder Mahal (w/ Sunil Singh)
Jinder is very heavily-scripted (they all are, I know), but he really sounds like it. His voice is also not built for the shouting that he’s forced to do while cutting promos. It cracks a lot. Kurt did his best here but this wasn’t what it could have been.
Jinder Mahal vs. Jeff Hardy (U.S. Title Match)
This was a decent match with a rather unexpected outcome. I didn’t expect the title change we got at all. I don’t hate Jinder’s ring work as much as others do. In fact, I don’t hate him as much as others do. Jinder’s only real crime is being pushed to the moon without any warning. He went from jobber to champ with lighting speed. The push was begun in the most inorganic way. Because it was so quick, he had to learn under fire and it’s been a little touch-and-go for him. Jeff has hardly been used in spectacular fashion since his return but clearly, they have designs on making more of him. He can handle it so I’m all for that.
Backstage segment – Jinder Mahal (w/ Sunil Singh) & No Way Jose
He got a little caught up in his words but the anger was spot-on. While I really like No Way Jose, the reason for him coming out during this segment made zero sense so I’ll just leave that there.
Bayley vs. Sasha Banks
Of course, this match wasn’t going to find a resolution. Bayley’s now wearing a bib to the ring and I don’t get that all. It looks awful. Bayley gave us an epic botch off the second rope that did her no favors here. Beyond that, the match was to their usual standards…until Riott Squad came out. It appears they will now be the new thorn in Banks & Bayley’s side.
Authors of Pain (Akam & Rezar) & Heath Slater & Rhyno
As Vince isn’t much on managers anymore, Paul Ellering, the Authors of Pain’s mouthpiece in NXT, is now gone. They’ll miss him but I think they’ll get along fine. As for the match, the outcome was really obvious here but Slater & Rhyno made a game of this from time to time. Still, the Authors of Pain looked dominant and that’s what the point of this match was.
Miz TV – The Miz, The Miztourage (Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel), Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, and Kurt Angle
What a fun segment! Sami reading the email to Kurt was an absolute riot! No heel turn has ever been more successful than Sami’s. He has been perfect in his new heel role. When he went to put on the glasses, he cracked a little and Curtis very nearly corpsed. It was high-larious! Everybody else more or less played support while he did it. Miz was a riot too. I didn’t see Miz’s exit to Smackdown Live coming but I can’t wait for his move over there. Further, The Miztourage isn’t moving with him. Unless they’re hooked up with Owens & Zayn, Curt & Bo are in a lot of trouble. Our Queen and I are working on an article about all the moves and I’ll talk more about it there.
“Woken” Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt vs. The Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder) (w/ The Bar [Sheamus & Cesaro] on commentary)
I love Hardy & Wyatt together. They are completely bizarre and they accentuate each other’s weirdness beautifully. Plenty of WONDAFUL weirdness ensued during this match. I love that Corey plays face for them too – even “Woken”ly pronouncing the words Matt uses. This match was all about that and the Revival were just foils for all of it. They did get in some offense but it was all for naught. The Revival are quite lost right now and only time will tell if Vince gets hot on them at some point.
Backstage segment – The Bar (Sheamus & Cesaro) & Breezango (Tyler Breeze & Fandango)
This was great! Do find it funny that Sheamus has begun dying his red hair even redder. Maybe it’s beginning to go grey? I don’t know but it’s just odd. Love the entire interaction and love that they’re on “Raw” now!
Backstage segment – Kurt Angle, Ronda Rousey, & Natalya
Ronda was pretty good here. She was very natural and informal. I liked it as it’s refreshing. No one else is like that. Yep, we’ve also now got Natalya! The recognition and hug from Ronda took too long but it also took too long for the director to pull out of the single shot of Natalya to the two-shot of Ronda and Natalya. She had to wait.
Ember Moon vs. Mickie James (w/ Nia Jax on commentary)
I love Ember Moon. She can work her face off and she’s got a great look. Mickie is completely boring and nothing has been done with her since she re-emerged. She’s done nothing but be Alexa’s mean girlfriend in the Alexa/Nia feud and she hasn’t done it particularly well. I will say that Mickie sold Ember’s finisher perfectly! I’m not sure it’s ever been sold better.
Alexa is just brilliant. This feud has been done incredibly well. She’s now playing the victim and doing it so well. I’m completely sold on Alexa because she’s so completely hate-able. Better still, this feud has made us all care about Nia. Before it, we absolutely didn’t and it was all Nia’s doing. She’d get on Twitter and brag about her lineage and it was just bad form. She’s stopped doing that and become involved in WWE’s most valuable storyline in years. She was humble and articulate here.
Backstage segment – Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, The Miz & The Miztourage (Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel)
Great tension here. The three entities present are more or less in it for themselves now and that story was well-told here. It was quick but effective.
Dolph Ziggler, Titus Worldwide (Titus O’Neill, Apollo, & Dana Brooke), & Drew McIntyre
Dolph is back on “Raw”!…and it means absolutely nothing. I’ve always liked him but he’s not going to get anywhere. I was really hoping they’d split Titus Worldwide up as they aren’t doing anything with any of them. This faction is nowhere and really needed to go. Titus was unusually stiff here. Apollo and Dana were game with their reactions but Titus failed them here. Once Drew showed up, Apollo & Titus became fish food. I fear for both of them going forward. Drew & Dolph are now going to be a team of sorts. That could be fun if they don’t make Drew as boring as they did the last time he was here.
In-ring segment – Roman Reigns & Samoa Joe
(Roman) / (Joe)
Given all of Reigns losses to Brock, he’s now lost all of his cool points. The feud has been completely terrible and no one buys the “privileged Brock vs. underdog Reigns” thing. They never did and they never will. The character is still making threats even if he wins this time, we’ll know why. Character-wise, there’s no reason he should ever beat Brock. The crowd hated this and boo’d it viciously – more so than usual.
Samoa Joe came out and made it all better. He came out and told the truth. Joe spit FIRE and Reigns just stood there with very little reaction. He really should have told his face to wake up and pay attention. The best Reigns could come up with was to try to get Joe down to the ring and then insult his size.
Don’t get me wrong. Most of this isn’t Reigns’ fault. This is just a badly-written and desperate attempt to make Reigns the face of WWE and it’s not working. Some of it, however, is.
Hard to grade because Joe was so good but Reigns was so bad. I had to split it up to be fair.
Mandy Rose (w/ Sonya Deville) vs. Natalya
This was a good choice. Natalya is a great hand in there and sorely needed for Mandy at this stage. Mandy isn’t terrible by any means but Natalya is great to help Mandy become better. This was a good match. Ronda had to come out and make the save. I love that Ronda just marched down to the ring without running and in response, Mandy & Sonya just excited. Sonya got back in got eaten by Ronda. Heels will be heels, of course, and Mandy made no effort to get in there to save Sonya. Good stuff.
Breezango (Tyler Breeze & Fandango) vs. The Bar (Sheamus & Cesaro)
I love Breezango. They are beyond entertaining. Everything about them is just fun, yet I know they can both really work. Cesaro’s attempted sunset flip on Fandango was an absolute riot! This is entertainment, kids, and I’m all about it. They made a match out of this too, by and large. The story was of a dominant Bar being upset by Breezango. Loved that!
Backstage segment – Elias
Elias is a great heel and he heel’d it up right off the bat. Rachel? I’m dead. Renee was a bit stiffer than I like her but at her worse, she’s still better than all the others.
Bobby Lashley, Braun Strowman, Seth Rollins, Finn Bálor & Bobby Roode vs. Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, The Miz, & The Miztourage (Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel)
Had to happen once. He did things like his all night but I restrained myself until I couldn’t any longer. “How’s Strowman gonna handle having a full-size partner?” UGH! The “word of the hour” thing is also insipid and I hope that doesn’t turn into a thing for him. In fact, I wish he’d just go. Is it wrong that he makes me yearn for Booker?
The match was populated by guys who can really go (yes, even Lashley). He’s much improved since his last run with the company and I think he’s going to be a lot of fun going forward. The action was break-neck at the end and hard to keep up with. Braun was fairly inert here because of how many stories needed to be told here. He did set up the story between Bo and Curt leaving Miz hanging. Why shouldn’t they? They’re officially on different shows now.
All in all, a very good episode of “Monday Night Raw”. The shakeup has panned out nicely for the Red brand. Join me next week for another “Spot”!