The World’s Largest Substitute Teacher

Hey, kids, it’s the Baron of all things Botch with another “Spot”.  Look at that!  Snazzy new opening!   I likes!

Renee is coming along nicely.  Our Magnate Mat is not a fan of how she’s doing so far but I’m okay with it.  She’s not getting it like Corey Graves has but who does?  He took to it like a duck to water.  Everyone else has to learn on the job.  Cole was shaky when he started too so why should Renee be any different?  On with the show…


Backstage segment – Baron Corbin, Triple H, & Stephanie McMahon

Trips is a riot…LOL!  Stephanie is here to regulate.  She is such amazing slime.  Corbin is too so it’s nice to see them go at it with each other.  Very nice segment.


In-ring segment – The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns) & Baron Corbin

All three of them in the ring together.  No way Reigns’ll get booed here….right?  Well…  It’s not that he did badly here at all – he didn’t.  It’s just that the crowd isn’t into him like Vince wants them to be.  As we’ve often said in these parts, that’s not Roman’s fault, it’s Vince’s.  This was a decent segment, to be sure.

Corbin has been so much fun in this role.  It’s so in his wheelhouse.  It’s so completely right to see Ziggler, Strowman, and McIntyre together.  They just…look right.  Ziggler, in particular, deserves to have the fun he’s having.  Braun’s dialog just felt completely scripted in this instance.  Braun did it well – he always does – but it just felt scripted.  Dolph is scripted but he always sounds good.  Drew does too.

Ziggler, Strowman, and McIntyre want to create issues with The Shield and they’re going after Ambrose to do it.  This was very well-done – mostly because of Ziggler.  Good segment throughout.


Finn Bálor (w/ Bayley) vs. Jinder Mahal (w/ Alicia Fox)

I have absolutely zero interest in the “Mixed Match Challenge”.  I don’t think it’s a horrible idea or anything like that; it’s just not for me.  They do things like that for the casual fan and it’s perfectly fine for what it is.  I will say that I covered it last year for the site and the page views for those reviews were epically low.  The Queen then decided we should take a pass this year and I totally agree with her.

This was fun.  Of course, Finn can work his face off but the stuff outside the  ring with Bayley & Fox is what won Bálor the match.  Sadly, Sunil took the blame for Mahal’s loss.  Jinder has been so cruel to him that it’s not a huge mystery.  This was clearly intended to get us interested in Mixed Match Challenge.  They’re promoting this harder than they did the last one.  Will I hold out and continue to avoid MMC?  Time will tell…LOL!


Natalya, Brie Bella, & Nikki Bella vs. The Riott Squad (Ruby Riott, Sarah Logan, & Liv Morgan)

I was late watching “Raw” because I had to work last night so I heard that something had gone very wrong during this match.  I just didn’t know what.  I saw the kick that lit up my fellow writers.  Our Queen contends that it was Brie’s fault and I feel differently.  Brie went for the “Yes Kicks” and a few of them went just fine with Liv selling each one very well.  On the offending kick, Liv’s head went down lower to continue selling and she got caught by Brie’s foot.  That seemed to be all Liv’s fault.  To be frank, I kind of really only care that Liv is okay.  As has been said countless times, this isn’t ballet and things happen.  Dre said backstage that “If people wanna blame Brie or Liv then by all means do that but when one of their favorites accidentally hurts someone, they better keep that same energy” and I agree with him totally.  We can’t lose our heads here.

Beyond that, the match was actually pretty good and the right team won.  It’s nice to see the Riott Squad get the win so they can keep it moving.  Hopefully, Liv will recover quickly and fully so she can enjoy this ascent.


In-ring segment – Stephanie McMahon & Triple H

Steph got emotional and it was really cool to see.  They do these segments so well.  They take pediatric cancer research very seriously.  In fact, our logo designer (and our Queen’s daughter), Ellie Spahn, is a pediatric cancer survivor herself.  She had a ganglioneuroblastoma.  This form of cancer can affect the neck, chest, abdomen, or spine of the patient and, in short, Ellie is grateful to have survived it.  They even had the Hyundai Hope on Wheel vehicle there on-site.  The audience was all about it too.  When the kids were presented with the belts, they chanted “you deserve it”.  The girl was legitimately touched and it was so sweet.


Backstage segment – Dean Ambrose & Dolph Ziggler

They are really pushing hard to divide Dean from the Shield and I love it.  Very well-done.


Chad Gable (w/ Bobby Roode) vs. Konnor (w/ Viktor)

Gable is a total and complete riot.  It’s fun watching this happen.  Konnor, on the other hand, is essentially forgotten about as is Viktor.  Both Gable & Konnor cut short but decent promos before the match began.  As for the match, Gable is great in there.  Really, it could have been him booked in the position of Kurt Angle’s child and it would have been totally believable.  What I never saw coming was a Konnor victory!  Wow!  That has never happened.


Backstage segment – Triple H.

This is more about the Undertaker/Triple H. match so who cares, really?  He did it well but, again, who cares?


Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre vs. The Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder)

This was really good.  The back and forth was just great here.  Theoretically, we had two “heel” teams facing each other but the motivator is, of course, that Ziggler & McIntyre cost The Revival their opportunity for the belts by taking them out before their match with The B-Team.  The way McIntyre picked Wilder off of the mat from a prone position and suplexed him was just scary.  I had no doubt who’d win this and I wasn’t wrong.  Fun match.  Based on what I’m seeing, Vince loved it too.


In-ring segment – Elias, Kevin Owens, & Lio Rush

No Monday is complete without an A-minor chord.  It just gets better with Kevin Owens.  Kevin is just a great bully.  When I thought it couldn’t get better, I get Lio.  I am clearly a huge fan (those who read my “205 Live” blog know it to be true).  They go after Lio’s size (I was dead when Kevin pulled out the booster seat) and he never gets flustered.  He just keeps going.  I love that he wouldn’t go down to the ring until “MY MAN” Bobby Lashley showed up.  Lio is everything Bobby needed.  Bobby is a machine but he needed someone to help him out on the mic and Lio has been just brilliant thus far.  I’m so glad Vince forgot about his momentary Emma misstep and has allowed him to show how good he really is.


Bobby Lashley vs Elias

Of course, this is Denver so Bobby is over like rover.  Bobby getting cheered like this is pretty novel and he had a lot of fun with it.  Elias picked the leg and worked on it for a very long time.  The matches are generally not thought of for guys like Lashley because they can’t sell but Lashley was there for it and they told a great story.  I truly hate that dive that many do that sends their competitor through the ropes and onto the floor.  It’s completely dangerous and unnecessary.

The stuff after the match with Lio was fun too. He’s the little guy that, no matter what they do, they can’t get their hands on.  Lio pulls it off because of his extreme athleticism and it’s fun to watch.


Backstage segment – Seth Rollins & Drew McIntyre

Two can play this game.  Divide and conquer…on both sides.  Like this!


Nia Jax (w/ Ember Moon) vs. Alicia Fox (w/ Alexa Bliss & Mickie James)

Ember and Nia’s promo was kinda cute but hardly amazing.  Both can do better.  As for the match, Alicia is beautifully unhinged – so much so that it camouflages how good she really is in the ring.  This was a fairly quick match.  We had a debate backstage about wins and losses.  Sir Mitch seems to think they matter in all cases and I totally disagree.  Alicia Fox is the poster child for how little they matter for her.  She can lose and it means nothing.  They don’t matter for that character in the least bit.  We just want her to be unhinged and tell a story in the ring.  She does both extremely well and that’s all we need.


Backstage segment – Drew McIntyre & Dean Ambrose

The plot thickens.  A brief but well-done segment.


There was yet another Undertaker/Triple H. segment.  It’s amazing how much they think we actually care about this.  Maybe the casual fan does.  As for me, I couldn’t possibly care less.  I do care they are giving so much time to it.  I can’t wait for Super Showdown so it can go away.


The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, & Roman Reigns) vs. Baron Corbin & AOP (Akam & Rezar) [w/ Drake Maverick]

So glad to see Akam and Rezar getting a shot here.  Good for them!  Nice story told here.  Of course, both teams were here but we also got Braun, Dolph, & Drew to tell more story.  The match was fun.  How could it not be?  The bit of storytelling at the end was really good too.  They gave the casuals something and gave us great ring work too.  Nicely done.


This was a really good episode of “Raw”.  The issue with Liv is unfortunate but I’m sure she’ll be back soon and better than ever.  Join me again next week for another “Spot”!