Hey, kids! It’s the Botching One with another “Spot”. In my opinion, Backlash wasn’t as terrible as many are making it out to be. Heck, the intermission segment was worth the whole PPV for me. Along the way, there were dogs but that’s always the case. My only beef with it is that it came too quickly behind GRR. It came so quickly that they barely had time to build anything in it so it was hard to be invested. You can read more about that in “The Afterglow” where our Queen encapsulates the whole thing.
Okay, onto “Monday Night Raw”!
In-ring segment – Kurt Angle, Braun Strowman, & Kevin Owens
Kurt was kinda doing a “state of the WWE” address along with a taster of what was to come last night and then Braun came out for story time. His delivery is completely ludicrous and I love it. He just sounds like a beast. That was a fun story and Kurt sold it well. Of course, this was really about Braun insisting that he’s qualified to be in the MITB ladder match.
When Owens gets on the mic, he just articulates his thoughts to well. He just doesn’t get lost. He’s all fire and bluster and it’s great. He stated his case perfectly.
Owens is just great when things don’t go his way. He completely sells it. Kurt announced a match (“starting…RIGHT NOW!”) and the look on his face was just perfect. Loved it!
Braun Strowman vs. Kevin Owens
Braun himself is exceptional in the ring for a man of his size. They’d really been trading on his speed and they should. He runs around that ring like a gazelle. Still, none of it works if Owens doesn’t sell it and there aren’t many who do it better. The way he sold those shoulder tackles outside the ring was just epic. Owens waited in the ring while Strowman was selling outside of the ring struggling to get back in while the ten-count persisted and Owens sold it like the only thing he wanted in life was for him to miss it. He did it more than once and it was great. Selling is everything and Owens is such a pro at it.
Must of the story was “I don’t know what to do to put him away” and it was beautifully told. He came with everything and nothing worked. He even tried for the Pop-up Powerbomb but he didn’t get that off. This match was much fun and I enjoyed watching them work together.
Backstage segment – Roman Reigns
Roman continues to do the “backstage politics” promo and, just like always, it makes zero sense coming from him. He’s not doing it badly; he shows real fire and passion. The problem is the booking. As a result, this didn’t work.
Cinéma de iPhone – Bayley
She’s totally unbelievable. Like…totally. She has zero genuine personality anymore. Her fall from grace in “NXT” has been the most dizzying and spectacular that I can think of. She was given opportunities when she arrived and blown most of them. She’s been a total disappointment and I get no pleasure in saying that.
Cinéma de iPhone – Breezango
“Bedazzled grappling hook”. Oh my. These two are just magic together. This was quick but it showed off their zaniness perfectly.
Backstage segment – Kurt Angle, Goldust, & Jinder Mahal
I will aways love Goldust. He remains compelling even after all this time. He’s never been in a MITB ladder match and he stated his case here. While he was doing it, Kurt just didn’t know what to do with his face and I loved it.
Jinder came in and warbled about “getting no opportunities”. He did this fairly well. When he’s backstage and he’s short but sweet, the results are decent. Jinder’s main problem is that he can’t shout. His low voice won’t allow it. When he tries to, he often goes horse. Anyway, Kurt put him in his place nicely.
No Way Jose & Titus Worldwide (Titus O’Neil, & Apollo Crews) [w/ Dana Brooke] vs. The Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder) and Baron Corbin
I fear greatly for No Way Jose. In NXT, he danced mostly alone with few exceptions and it had its own vibe. On the main roster, he comes out with a conga line. The one thing I can think of is Adam Rose and we know how well that worked out.
Our Queen finds the Revival boring and I do too. They’ve thus far shown no personality other than stereotypical heel. They’re literally a tribute to the Minnesota Wrecking Crew (Ole & Arn Anderson). The gear is slightly hopped-up but the boots are very much modeled on Ole’s old boots from the 80’s.
No Way Jose does a mean “hot tag”. That was fun. He also takes a mean End of Days. Apollo sells well (he had lots of time to do it), and this was a decent match all around.
Carmax commercial – Breezango
This was completely silly and nonsensical…and I loved every second of it.
MITB Qualifying Match: Sasha Banks vs. Ruby Riott (w/ Liv Morgan & Sarah Logan) vs. Ember Moon
Ember is CRISP in there. She’s so much fun to watch and when she’s paired with Banks & Riott, the results are just amazing. These women got a little time for this one and they pulled it off brilliantly.
Sarah Logan seems to be coming to life a bit. She grabbed Ember’s leg to keep her from getting a move off and when Ember looked back at her, her face showed real emotion. Good for her! The Riott Squad got involved often and all of it told a great story.
Ruby’s double-facebuster/neck-breaker on Ember & Sasha was pretty incredible to look at. Ruby is one heck of a performer too and she’ll scream in there too to help sell what she’s doing. I don’t like a lot of it (oh, Carmella?) but she never takes it too far.
We, of course, already know the brilliance that Sasha is capable of. Few tell a story and do it so athletically as Sasha. Her rocket launch onto the girls from the apron was really pretty. They all did dives but I think Sasha’s was the prettiest.
Bayley came out to save Sasha from the Riott wolves (because…reasons?) Ember Moon’s eclipse ended things (dag, what a move!) and that’s all she wrote. I love that she took the win because it proves that WWE likes her too.
Backstage segment – Ember Moon
Oh, the nerves. That was a little rough. She said all the right things but it just didn’t look natural. This wasn’t a disaster but it wasn’t great either. Queen and I both think she’ll get there.
Renee Young & Bobby Lashley: The 20/20 Interview
WWE is completely desperate to get him over at this point. He doesn’t get a reaction when he comes out and WWE didn’t bank on that. They thought his return would be triumphant. It wasn’t and this is what “bailing out the boat before it sinks” looks like. The problem? He wasn’t that over to begin with. Some disagree but all you have to do is take a look back at matches on WWE Network and it’s obvious.
He went away to TNA (at the time) and did get better. Since he’s come back to WWE, he’s forgotten all he learned in TNA. He’s shown zero personality. This interview needed to be great. It so wasn’t. It was nothing more than a rambling mess. He just talked…and talked…and talked…and talked some more. Renee did the best she could but he sounded completely scripted. I know they all are but it shouldn’t sound that way. This did. Even the ridiculous “I love you” to his sisters rang completely false and felt totally manipulative and awkward. “LOVE ME, DARN IT!”
Lashley is now in very real trouble. He’s not over and that interview wasn’t over fast enough. It was just painful and it did him absolutely no favors. In fact, it actually did some damage in my eyes. Next…
Backstage segment – Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn
These two are just golden together so I’m glad this segment followed. I hate the idea that cracks are forming between them and hope it’s not the beginning of splitsville. They play off of each other so well and so naturally. Real friends do that. Extremely well-done.
Jinder Mahal (w/ Sunil Singh) vs. Chad Gable
Chad is just great in there. He can work with anyone and make it look good. With the exception of Jinder’s mega botch at GRR, I don’t hate Jinder’s ring work either. He can tell a decent story in there. He’s no AJ Styles but he can get it done. Jinder needed a win to remain competitive and he got one. I’m not sure where this leaves Gable though. We don’t know exactly what caused Jinder to attack Chad because the director was on the wrong camera when it was happening. In the DD, we were all hoping Jason would come out for the save as he’s been cleared to return but that didn’t happen.
Oh, and Coachman’s “Word of the Hour” is just the dumbest thing ever. He’s actually becoming more bearable on commentary but that will always be stupid.
Cinéma de iPhone – Alexa Bliss
I loved the content but it was far too fast. That’s a booking thing, not Alexa, I’m sure. She always nails it.
Cinéma de iPhone – The Ascension
“The Bunny in the Bank”. That’s all I have to say about that promo. They have been at the bottom of the card since they arrived and I doubt there’ll be any…ahem…ascension from that position coming any time soon.
Backstage segment – Kurt Angle, Jinder Mahal, Zack Ryder
This was just terrible…and it wasn’t Jinder’s fault at all…believe it or not. I won’t bother going any further.
Drew McIntyre & Dolph Ziggler vs. Heath Slater & Rhyno
Drew has come to the main roster as “big mean guy” while Dolph appears to be having some fun again. The best part of this was seeing Slater & McIntyre in the ring together again. For the two people who don’t know, they were both part of 3MB the last time McIntyre was there. The victory was, of course, decisive.
In-ring segment – Elias
He comes in to the ring with his guitar and does the same thing each time…and I love it each time. Never change, Elias. Please, never change. Even when the crowd began chanting “Rusev Day”, he still didn’t get rattled. He acknowledged it briefly and went on about his business. Fun fact: he writes all the songs he does on the show. There’s not much to any of them but it is additional effort.
The commentators seem to be having a lot of fun on this show and I’m there for it.
Elias vs. Bobby Roode
Both of these guys can get it done for sure. It’s still bizarre to see Bobby Roode in WWE after having been in the apartment that AJ Styles built for so many years. I just wish they’d really do something with him. Queen and I both agree that he’s been rather milquetoast since coming to the main roster (he was more fun in NXT). This match told a good story and it went back and forth nicely.
Bobby’s promo at the end was pretty good too. Amazing he could cut it after all that action.
In-ring segment – Seth Rollins
I love how responsive he is to the crowd. They wanted to chant “you deserve it” and once it started, he let them do it. Very cool.
Seth Rollins vs. Mojo Rawley
I’ll hand it to Mojo. They began chanting “We want Ryder” and he acknowledged it. He spoke softly and intently for the most part. It wasn’t much to write home about but he did it decently. As for the match, this was really only about establishing an “open challenge” thing for Rollins but it was better than it had any right to be…and it wasn’t all Rollins. Mojo is also a very strong individual and showed it throughout the match. He was game for this one and gave it what he had. He’s become rather soft in the middle and needs to hit the gym harder.
Note that they are no longer referring to Rollins’ finisher as “The Curb Stomp” but as “The Stomp”. Oh, Vince…
Cinéma de iPhone – Finn Bálor
Nice, quick segment. He got the rhythm right and it said all it needed to say. It’s a real shame he’s been losing left and right lately.
Deleter of Worlds (Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt) vs. Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel
“The Island of Length is about to become Woken!!” I DEARLY LOVE that Corey is UTTERLY WOKEN! The commentators had more fun with this match than any other and I loved it. Corey just wouldn’t stop – forcing Cole & Coach to play straight men and I laughed through the whole thing.
The commentators were so much fun that I barely noticed the match itself. It wasn’t the point so I’m cool with it. They’re responsible for some of this grade for sure.
Cinéma de iPhone – Natalya
Another good, quick promo.
Cinéma de iPhone – Baron Corbin
Equally quick as Natalya’s and equally as effective.
Finn Bálor vs. Sami Zayn vs. Roman Reigns
Loved watching Finn & Sami team up…albeit briefly. When they did it, the Universe was definitely there for it. They went nuts and I did too. ‘Course, when they went at it, it became even more fun. These two tore it down together. Sami’s heel turn has been the stuff of legends. He was still good as a face but he’s become incredible as a heel.
Roman Reigns was in this too. He was all about the power and size game which is perfect for this. I liked Jinder’s interference as it took away Roman’s otherwise-forgone-conclusion of a victory. I also love that Finn took it. He’ll be SO much fun in MITB.
This wasn’t a bad episode but it had some truly terrible stuff – Lashley’s interview being the absolute worst. See you next week for another “Spot of Botch”