Hey, kids. It’s the Baron of Botch with another “Spot of Botch”! Last week had its moments (all of them involved Heyman) but it wasn’t incredible. This was kind of more of the same. Let’s see where it goes, shall we?
In-ring segment – “The Constable” Baron Corbin, Kurt Angle, & Roman Reigns
This whole thing has Paul Heyman’s incredibly creative hands all over it…and I’m really enjoying this. They had no small task in trying to get “Lesnar/Reigns 3: The Smell of Repetition” over and Heyman, bless him, has done it for me. He’s added very interesting wrinkles to this whole thing – even injecting himself into the proceedings to spice things up. This isn’t over, by and large, but it is with me. As for this segment, everyone did really well here…even Roman. His face is becoming more expressive which is exactly what needed to happen. Baron makes incredibly good slime and I’m all about this character tweak. The smile he gets on his face – you know, the one that looks like he’s about to double over from laughter – is just great. He’s really killing it now.
“The Constable” Baron Corbin vs. Roman Reigns (w/ aftermatch antics from Finn Bálor)
We talked a bit during the chat about how Roman has officially found his Moves of Doom. In truth, they all have them so I won’t dog him for that. This wasn’t bad at all. Corbin brought it to Roman throughout the match – getting in most of the offense. The slamming of Roman’s head into the corner was particularly brutal – which is what made it so good. Loved that Baron tried to roll out but Finn Bálor wouldn’t let him do it. Of course, he backed right into a Superman Punch and the spear ended things. Finn got in the ring after the match was over and picked the bones nicely.
Honorable mention must go to the girl who played the fool out of Roman when he went to slap hands outside of the ring. She was hilarious!
Backstage segment – Seth Rollins
Seth never does badly in these segments…or any others. It did it’s job – no more, no less. Short and sweet.
Bobby Roode vs. Mojo Rawley
Fewer have been harder done than Bobby Roode. He was a rock star in NXT. He then gets called up to the main roster and poof! Forgotten about for all intents and purposes. He badly needs to be turned heel but it’s not happening and I’m not sure why. He’s bounced from match to match and no one cares. It’s a shame because, on top of the obvious, he’s also not getting any younger. The man is 41 years-old and while that’s hardly elderly by any means, he’s also been working for 20 years. Mojo hasn’t exactly done well either. They seem to be doing something with him now and they absolutely should. He has decent ring skills and he can talk extremely well. He also has the size that Vince likes. Given how much they continually talked him up, it’s clear they’ve got something in mind for him. As for this match, while it was well-worked, the audience was so quiet, you could have heard a pin drop. They simply didn’t care. I enjoyed that Mojo kept trash talking Roode while the match was happening a la Kevin Owens.
Backstage segment – Elias
Man, I love him. He’s so full of himself. Short segment but full of personality.
In-ring segment – Elias & Bobby Lashley
Elias showing off some chops in there tonight! He’s shooting his own documentary too. Hilarious! He’s an absolute riot. I love his response when he said “anything that makes me forget I’m in Jacksonville”. He’s beyond expressive. I was trying to see who the indie guys were but I didn’t recognize any of them. I always try to spot them out but I wasn’t successful this time. When Bobby and Roman were feuding, Bobby was good on the mic. Now that he’s not (and Paul isn’t writing his dialog), he’s terrible again. Elias did everything he could to make this work but Bobby was just leaden in there. “I think your boots are a joke…etc, etc.”. What? Horrible dialog. Worse is the fact that Bobby didn’t pull it off well. The segment was meant to move the feud forward and it did that; it just didn’t do it well. In short, Elias did well. Bobby was…like Bobby.
Backstage segment – Tyler Breeze, Seth Rollins, & Roman Reigns
Breeze campaigning for something to do. Poor guy. He was really good here…just like always. At least he’s getting on the show.
Rezar (w/ Akam of the Authors of Pain) vs. Titus O’Neil (w/ Apollo Crews & Dana Brooke of Titus Worldwide)
WWE is funny. They’re perfectly willing to trade on his charity work but they won’t make him matter. He’s the most criminally-underused talent on the roster right now. He’s been around forever and little has ever been done with him other than a win with Darren Young for the Tag titles a few years ago. Titus Worldwide has done even less. The Authors of Pain have also done nothing since debuting. They desperately needed Paul Ellering and WWE took him away when they debuted. This is not the first time we’ve seen a similar match and I didn’t care about it. These teams are both lost in the weeds.
The Kevin Owens Show – Kevin Owens, Jinder Mahal, Sunil Singh, & Braun Strowman
Jinder is now…a yogi. Uh…what? He is getting on TV so that’s good but they are killing him off. Kevin Owens is a total rock star. It was fun watching KO force Jinder into a match with Braun Strowman. The visual of Braun pushing over the riser was just great.
Jinder Mahal (w/ Sunil Singh & Kevin Owens) vs. Braun Strowman
Owens yelling Jinder’s chant at him was a riot! Of course, this wasn’t a match. This was just about Braun and Kevin’s continuing feud. Jinder “won” I guess. Sunil deserves a statue in the park for the abuse he takes. He really sells it so well. I’m still waiting for Samir to return from his ACL injury so they can become the incredible tag team they actually are.
The video of Seth & Roman becoming The Shield with the kid with Down’s syndrome was the moment of the night. Just had to throw that in there.
Backsage segment – “The Constable” Baron Corbin & Kurt Angle
Short but notable only for Baron’s grin. I love that slimey look he gets.
Backstage interview – Roman Reigns
Roman did well here. It was heavily intercut with the story of the feud up until now but he spoke well and reacted well too. His face when Corey mentioned that Brock’s camp declined to be involved in the interview was great. He didn’t do too much; he slightly reacted and it was very real. Paul (through writing) has painted Brock as a complete mercenary. He was already a heel but his heel-ness has been MAJORLY ratcheted up. He cares for no one and it’s given this feud a whole new dimension.
“The Constable” Baron Corbin, Kurt Angle, Seth Rollins, & Roman Reigns
Of course, Stephanie took Roman away from Seth – creating a handicapped match. Roman came back and asked Corbin how his ribs were. The way he did it was just perfect. When Roman hit Corbin, Corbin sold it perfectly. Kurt grinning after it happened was great too. Nice segment.
Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre vs. Seth Rollins & Um…
They’ve actually given Dolph a halfway-decent run with the IC belt. Who’d a thunk it? As for the match, it was very creatively done. Seth couldn’t look like a pushover but he also couldn’t win. Seth came off looking really smart at the beginning – dancing between both to keep his edge over them. Drew botched actually catching Rollins and it looked awful. Overall, a really good match that’s not easy to book properly…but they did it.
The B-Team (Curtis Axel & Bo Dallas) vs. The Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder) [w/ interference by Deleter of Worlds (Woken Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt]
The new theme! It’s awesome! I’m so glad they dumped the other one. It was hyper-generic and it had to die. This is so much better! It’s a total lampoon of the college march thing and the fans can chant along to it. Perfection! Even stranger, the team itself is undefeated! Not bad for two guys who were essentially “left for dead” when Miz ran off the Smackdown Live! This match wasn’t bad either, though I wasn’t really into it given how little Vince cares about The Revival. Even with this match, The Revival were just fodder for for the continuation of the Deleter of Worlds/B-Team feud. It was special fun to see Bray hit his brother, Bo, with Sister Abigail.
Backstage interview – Paul Heyman
I can’t say enough good about this. He really gave this all he had. He barely bothered to shave, his eyes were bloodshot, and he can cry on cue. Brock has left him and he is a broken man. He sold this perfectly. It’s also quite obvious that this was old school freestyle work. There’s no more he could have done, really. Renee, for her part, was really good here too. She was working with an absolute genius here and she pulled it off really well. This may very well be the best segment on any WWE show that I have ever seen.
The Riott Squad (Livv Morgan & Sarah Logan w/ Ruby Riott) vs. The Boss N’ Hug Connection (Bayley & Sasha Banks)
Nothing spectacular about this match. Poor Orange Bayley Buddy. Bayley tried to unfurl it and she succeeded but it just wouldn’t stand up. That was more compelling than this match. Sarah does a good job of selling her power. We’ve seen permutations of this over and over again by now. At least Ember Moon isn’t caught up in it anymore. Don’t get me wrong. Sarah & Livv did okay here; it’s just hard to care…or at least it was. Ruby came down to interfere and all is right with their world once more. No team has ever needed its leader more than Sarah and Livv. They should be quite thankful that she’s back. Ruby is every bit of their charisma, mic skill, and almost all of their ring work. The woman is a star and I’d be perfectly happy to see her break away from them and become a singles star.
Ronda Rousey (w/ Natalya) vs. Alicia Fox (w/ Alexa Bliss)
Bizarre that Alicia came out to work but she came out to Alexa’s theme. Oh well. It doesn’t matter. Prior to the match, they did an in-ring interview and Alexa wins with these each time. Vince has her running the “overhyped/overrated rookie” thing completely into the ground. She extolled the virtues of Alicia nicely too. When the crowd got on her, she handled them like a…ahem…boss. Alicia is…much…on the mic because she’s supposed to be. She’s supposed to be off the rails and she does it well.
The match? Yeah, it was clear why Vince put Ronda in the ring with Alicia. Alicia knows what she’s doing and Ronda was going to need someone like that to be successful tonight. Sadly, she blew it anyway. This was a train wreck. Despite all the hyper-bowl, Ronda is, in fact, not “better than she has any right to be” as Triple H. said. Skill-wise, Ronda really is very much an “overrated rookie”. Rather than being in a “Raw” ring, she belongs in a bingo hall figuring this whole thing out. The only thing I can say is that she sells decently. I’ll let her have that…and only that. She rushed everything she did, botched almost everything she did, and was unnecessarily stiff too. She really whipped Alicia around and it wasn’t needed. Just an awful match. Ronda needs to fix this and fix it fast. I have no doubt that she wants this and that she’s doing this for the right reasons. I also really like her personality. She just isn’t ready yet…not at all.
Awful way to end what was otherwise a kind of “meh” show. They are still building toward what is likely to be a 7 hour show. I’m into the main event and a couple of other things but they’ve definitely got work to do otherwise. See you next week for another “Spot of Botch”!