Hey, kids! It’s the Baron of all things Botch with another edition of “The Spot”. I must first comment on the job Renee Young is doing. So far, so good, really. She’s not catching on like Corey Graves did but she’s more than holding her own. She’s speaking out more now and seems more involved than she did when she started. She’ll get there – we just need to give her time. I’m excited that she’s on commentary and that Coachman…isn’t. Okay, on with the show…
In-ring segment – Dean Ambrose, Baron Corbin
Charley is beginning to get it. Her face has been dead for the most part since she showed up on “Raw”. She was much better here. She really reacted to the things Dean said. As for the segment itself, it was pretty “meh”. I didn’t hate it; I just didn’t care too much about it. Dean was really good but the angle is just…”meh”.
Baron does really well here as the “World’s Largest Substitute Teacher”. Dre and I both agree that it made no sense for Braun to be one of Dean’s match-up choices. It would have been far more fun to just leave it at Seth & Roman. There were a lot of fun directions they could have gone in had they just left it at that. Introducing Braun was a lazy choice.
Dean Ambrose vs. Braun Strowman
During our Queen’s “Royal Inquisition” last night (it’s on our Facebook page and it’s really worth watching), we were talking a bit about stars that WWE can depend on 10-15 years down the line the way Shawn Michaels, Triple H, and The Rock are depended upon now. We couldn’t really come up with anyone. Of course, Queen mentioned that Vince doesn’t build anymore and she’s totally right – hence Vince’s need to depend on the past in order to sell tickets. That’s just got to change sooner than later or there won’t be a product in 10-15 years worth watching.
This was a good match. Braun was semi-merciless and Dean refused to give in. Very nice back and forth here. Of course, the rest of the Shield along with Ziggler & McIntyre had to come out and the match didn’t end clean. Baron coming out to introduce two new matches involving these guys made some sense. Hey, it gives us more wrestling so how bad can that be?
Backstage segment – Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose
A tiny bit more tension. I like it.
Roman Reigns vs. Dolph Ziggler
Why Baron decided this shouldn’t be a non-title match made zero sense. Really a head-scratcher. It didn’t affect the match though. This one was really fun. Dolph sells incredibly well and Roman can go far better than he’s ever given credit for. Dolph sold Roman’s spear incredibly well and it made it look more devastating.
Ronda Rousey (w/ The Bella Twins) vs. Ruby Riott (w/ Liv Morgan & Sarah Logan)
Ruby is such a star. I’m truly happy that Liv is okay but Sarah & Liv have no business with Ruby. She’s on a whole different level. I will give Liv that she reacts well to what’s happening in the ring – far better than Sarah does. Ronda’s selling game has improved greatly. Ruby was just vicious (dig the underused fishhook while Ronda was tied up in the ropes) and Ronda sold every bit of it very well.
Ronda’s offense remains pretty terrible. Her gut wrench suplex on Ruby was a total mess. The move was executed but Ronda was really shaky with it. That’s just one example. Thankfully, her offensive sequence was kept short so it didn’t look as awful as it could have.
Bobby Roode (w/ Chad Gable) vs. Konnor (w/ Viktor)
Konnor and Viktor cut a promo before the match started and it was okay, I guess. Gone are the comedic elements of the character we saw in “The Fashion Files” and now they’re back to being dark and reductive in a Road Warriors-kinda way. Konnor has been with WWE since 2005. In all this time, he’s done painfully little so it’s nice to see him finally get some attention on “Raw”. Good match with Viktor’s mild interference getting a second victory for Konnor. Amazing!
A Moment of Bliss
Alexa is just platinum. “Trish’s wrinkly eyes”. DEAD! Hilarious segment…even if I couldn’t care less about the match.
The B-Team (Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel) vs. The Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder)
Well, this came out of nowhere. In Kendra’s “Royal Inquisition” last night, we were talking about the fact that B-Team have nowhere to go. It’s as if WWE heard us ’cause here they are! Really, I’m not sure where either team goes but since all of B-Team’s wins until tonight have been booked as near-accidents, they have no real credibility – even when they were tag champs. Cole still sold it like it was an accident but it really wasn’t. The work in the ring showed that Revival made a mistake and Bo capitalized. I’m also glad they’ll be in a feud – this time with AOP. I don’t expect B-Team to come out of this well but at least they have something to do for a while.
Backstage segment – Roman Reigns & Dean Ambrose
Yet more dissension. Both of them sold it well. Again, I like it.
Backstage segment – Braun Strowman, Dolph Ziggler, & Drew McIntyre
Nicely done. Dolph’s face told that story from beginning to end. A rift on this end too. The storytelling with this whole thing is pretty darned good.
Seth Rollins vs. Drew McIntyre
We knew this would be good and it was. In truth, this one was the most fun for me. Now that Drew is showing real effort (he didn’t his first go-around with WWE), he can and does have great matches. This one certainly qualifies. I really liked Seth’s Sunset Buckle Bomb. That’s certainly not something we see every day. We even get more storytelling. Dolph comes out and helps Drew secure the victory – thus proving his usefulness to the trio’s dynamic. As before, all members of The Shield come out to save each other. Course, Braun showed up too. I loved the Shield mocking at the end of this segment too.
In-ring segment – Elias, Kevin Owens, Lio Rush, & Bobby Lashey
I have never in my life witnessed such nuclear heat as that which Elias created with the statement that comprises the title of this week’s “Spot”. Elias had trouble keeping it together after he did it too. He wasn’t quite sure what to do at first. Heck, most wouldn’t. Kevin didn’t really miss a step and just kept going. He just can’t be shaken and it speak to how good Kevin really is. It’s in this unexpected moments that you really find out what these guys are made of and Kevin just shined. I also love that Vince and company didn’t run from it. Their response? Turn the house lights up and light the crowd! Inspired choice! That didn’t stop him from egging them on a bit. Kevin continued but he had a terrible time doing it because of the volume of the crowd noise but, again, he didn’t miss a step.
The same cannot be said for poor Lio. His pacing was completely off and I have no idea why. He came out being serious and the arrogance was mostly gone. I’m not sure who’s idea that was. His whole thing didn’t work because he was just glacial. He just wouldn’t stop talking and it was painful. I was actually glad to see Lashley come out to put an end to his talking. I never thought I’d actually say that but it’s totally true in this case. Lio is usually so much better than this and I hope he’s not made to suffer for getting this so wrong. Lio’s performance actually brings down my grade for all that matters.
Kevin Owens vs. Bobby Lashley
Nice work from both of them. Kevin’s trash talk in the ring is undefeated. His ring work is too. Bobby was all power in there and it was a lot of fun to watch. Great too was the end. For once, Lio got squashed rather than being able to nimbly evade damage. Fun match!
Bayley (w/ Finn Bálor) vs. Alicia Fox (w/ Jinder Mahal & Sunil Singh)
I deeply and abidingly love Alicia Fox. I have for years. She’s great in the ring, she’s completely nuts, and she’s beyond fun. Few have fallen harder and faster than Bayley has. She was amazing in NXT and has been miles from that on “Raw”. This match was all about promoting “Mixed Match Challenge” so it was fairly short and told a very MMC-friendly story.
In-ring segment – Shawn Michaels, Undertaker, Kane
The only thing I’ll say for this segment is that it moves us to the conclusion of a storyline no one asked for. They imagine that we care about this and so many of us just don’t. None of us here at Wrestle Royalty do and we’re definitely not alone. The crowd tonight was having fun seeing them all in the ring together and I would too. Anyone would. It’s just that story isn’t one I care about in the least bit. It’s 2018, not 1998. There’s just no reason to be reaching back this way at this stage. Vince wouldn’t feel he had to had he been consistently building stars. Sadly, he hasn’t and so we get things like this from time to time.
So ends another episode of “Monday Night Raw”. This wasn’t bad at all. The best part was, of course, the nuclear heat Elias and Kevin were basking in. We all had a blast with it in the Dignified Discussion last night. The rest of the night was largely fun too. See you all next week for another “Spot”!