Hi, kids! It’s the Botching One with another “Spot of Botch”. These guys have done some EPIC traveling lately and somehow, they’ve managed to keep up. Let’s dive into this episode, shall we?
In-ring segment – Roman Reigns, Samoa Joe, Jinder Mahal, Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, Bobby Lashley, and Braun Strowman
Here’s something we never like to see open the show. It turns out they are going to go the controversy route. I really figured they’d just sweep the “Roman’s feet hit first” thing under the rug and move on. At least that’s what I hoped. This feud needs to end.
The “Roman Sucks” chants were almost nuclear so the audience doesn’t care about this either. Thankfully, Samoa Joe showed up and saved this from itself. Roman just stood there with a foolish look on his face while Joe ate him for dinner. It was beautiful and short.
Then, Jinder came out and it sucked again. Jinder actually got cheered when he came out. Not a lot of them…but he got them. Perhaps it was the fact that he’s Canadian too? Gotta be. Betcha never thought you’d see that.
This promo made me dizzy because Sami came out and made it good again. The roof came off the point when he did too. I loved the French that we’d get from him and from Kevin. He did the “cheap pop” thing and still did it like a heel would do it, albeit only a bit lighter. He let the audience have it.
Kevin came out in a fleur de lis-adorned KO shirt and the audience went wild again. Coach debuted his completely-unnecessary “word of the hour” again. He led a Popularity Contest and it was an absolute riot. Lashley came out to try to take them on but it went nowhere. Braun then showed up and we have ourselves a match for later! I actually feared for Sunil when Braun threw him to Jinder. Jinder botches and I was afraid he wouldn’t catch him. Thankfully, he did it really well and Sunil’s fall was well-cushioned.
In-ring segment – Elias
A-minor means Elias. He is so incredibly over. The audience has a sense of humor! He asked them to hold their applause and they…didn’t. Elias handled it well and had fun with it. I loved that when he started playing, they clapped along. His growth feels very organic so this is going very well for him.
Elias vs. Bobby Roode
Thus far, Bobby has been fairly wasted on the main roster. Hopefully, that’s set to change now that he’s on “Monday Night Raw”. Elias throws a very interesting body slam. I say “throws” because that’s what he does when he executes them. It’s very safe but unusual and I like it. What didn’t look safe was Elias shoving Roode into the ring post and watching Bobby fall unprotected. It was, though (the slo-mo made that clear), so this was all selling. Bobby does that very well and the commentators sold the confusion really well – not doing much speaking at all.
Authors of Pain (Akam & Rezar) vs. Jean-Paul & Francois
Of course, Jean-Paul & Francois are the “jobbers du jour” (Corey hilariously called them “Jean-Paul & Jamoke”). To be fair, there is an art to flopping around convincingly and they did it. They protected themselves well and Jean-Paul took the Last Chapter like a champ. Francois was very concerned about the back of his head and protected it clearly when they went for the Super Collider. This was very quick and intended to get the AOP over even further. That it was quick makes it okay for me.
They did a promo after it and kept it very short but very well-done. I do miss Ellering with them because he’s just better at it.
In-ring segment – Seth Rollins & Finn Bálor, The Miztourage (Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel)
This crowd is unhinged and I love this! Seth had fun with them too. He had a good laugh with them. I could see him mouthing “what do you want me to do?” He just kinda had to let it happen. When they started chanting “you deserve it”, it clearly moved him too. Nice moment.
Finn came out and spoke French just like Seth did. These two have great matches so I wouldn’t care how long they went at it. This’d be the fifth time and I’m all about it.
The shirts that Bo & Curtis were wearing were an absolute riot. Bo & Curtis are looking for a country and it’s fun to watch them try to fit in. Of course, the “Four Horsemen” idea wasn’t gonna happen but we did get a fight out it – a quick fight, but a fight nonetheless. We also got a cool little reminder from Finn to Seth not to take your eyes off the ball. Nice storytelling.
Ruby Riott (w/ the Riott Squad [Liv Morgan & Sarah Logan]) vs. Sasha Banks
Sasha began with a promo and it sounded very scripted. She’s done far better. On to the match…
To be truthful, this was a little off and I’m not sure why. Due to the Saudi show, they were well-rested. Sasha wasn’t really moving in there like we know she can. She was just…slow. Thankfully, she woke up as the match progressed and got better. Riott took it and it made total sense.
Moment of Bliss – Alexa Bliss
I absolutely LOVE these. She pulls these off so well. Alexa is platinum on the mic and she proves it over and over again. “It’s a cup…you sit…in a cup” I couldn’t breathe!
Backstage segment – Titus O’Neil
Well, this was awful. It was heavily scripted and strangely leaden. Of course, they all are but they shouldn’t feel like it. This did. I didn’t believe a word of it. Baron came out and did what he could but it was dead already. This really just wasn’t good. That’s a real shame because it could have been. It should have been in the ring with Renee and he should have just been allowed to just have fun with it. He could have made something of this. Instead, we got this boring nonsense. Thankfully, we got more later.
Backstage segment – “Woken” Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt
This is just getting unhinged and I plan to enjoy every second of it. This is exactly what Bray needed. An absolute riot. Coach even did something right here. When they came back from the segment itself, the completely mystified look on Coach’s face was just perfect. As Hardy has already addressed Cole and the Chair of Wheels on Twitter, I really hope it turns into something at some point. It’d be…WONDERFUL!
Braun Strowman, Bobby Lashley, & Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, & Jinder Mahal
Bobby is being treated like a big deal but he just isn’t. He’s been gone from WWE for over ten years and as I said last week, he’s largely been forgotten. Vince doesn’t seem to realize that and is insisting on making him a big deal without building him organically. He’s putting him in with Braun every chance he gets in an attempt to get him over. Even the commentators are in overdrive trying to get him over. They basically recited his entire athletic biography while he was working in there. So far, so bad. The crowd cheered mercilessly when Owens attacked Lashley. I’m sure Roman was greatly relieved that Lashley was out there. Roman was the last to come out and the audience voiced its opinion. I’m sure you can imagine how that went. On to the match…
This was what you’d expect and that’s not a bad thing. A lot of solid back and forth. It, of course, took forever for Braun to get into the ring as he got the hottest of tags. I did like the Jinder whip into a Roman spear. That was very cool to watch. Braun’s running power slam is always fun to watch too. Solid match from all involves…yes…even Roman. Just to be clear, I’m not Roman hater; I’m a hater of his booking. His character has been damaged and I’m not sure where they take him from here, honestly. This was a nice match but they need to rethink Roman’s character to get him out of this mess they put him in.
Baron Corbin vs. No Way Jose
Forgive me if I’m not over the moon about this match. Baron has been less than compelling since he got to the main roster. No Way Jose isn’t going so well either as they’ve just turned him into Adam Rose with a Spanish accent. I was a fan of him on the Indies and it’s a shame that they are doing this to him.
Baron began with a promo. He tried to play with the crowd but they didn’t care. He expected them to and when they didn’t, he got a little lost. He went back to his script before it got too grizzly. He tried to heel the crowd during the match too but it went nowhere.
The crowd was dead for this one…like completely dead. I didn’t love it either.
Titus Worldwide unexpectedly came out and stood on the ramp to distract. I’m so grateful that they revisited Titus slide and gave him a minute to have fun with it. He deserved to. Apollo and Dana did well with the assist too. He did a very nice fake slip off of the ring, Corbin was distracted, and match over. Titus’ appearance and the fun that ensued brings the grade up.
Natalya (w/ Ronda Rousey) vs. Mickie James (w/ Alexa Bliss)
This was a very quick, uneventful match. It served little purpose other than to bring out Nia Jax out for a little fun. I have no clue why Nia came out without her belt.
Cinéma de ZiggleVision (Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre)
Very short and effective promo. It appeared to have been done in some storage room which was a little odd but it worked.
Seth Rollins vs. Finn Bálor
I have zero problem seeing this match yet again. The back and forth was really nice here. They never fail to impress and didn’t here either. The superplex from Rollins into the falcon arrow from Bálor was beyond cool to watch and the crowd just loved it. Finn has made an art out of being the bridesmaid. He always comes so close and can’t quite get it. This is another case where I’m not sure where they take the character. Finn loses a whole lot so where to now? Yes, it was a great match but where do they take him now?
This was a decent episode of “Monday Night Raw” but I have no clue how they were supposed to do an effective “go home” to Backlash with so little time. I really think Backlash is a mistake and could be the PPV I am least into. Join me next week for another “Spot of Botch” and, before that, this Sunday in our “Dignified Discussion – Backlash”!