Hey, kids, it’s the Botching One taking over for our venerable Queen as she’s out of town this week. This is, of course, the go-home to the Extreme Rules PPV which airs this Sunday on the WWE Network. I relish this opportunity to write in the Queen’s absence as I have some things to say and won’t hesitate to Flush a few people down the Royal toiled who richly deserve it. Let’s dive in, shall we?
Cinéma de Loading Area – Dolph Ziggler & Kevin Owens
The rumor has been that Kevin wanted a nice, long babyface run and it appears he’s going to get it. Ziggler jumped out of his car to do an interview, he started talking about Kevin, and Kevin interrupted as only Kevin can. I love that both shows are reaching to be different and this was definitely a different way to open the show. Dolph & Kevin pulled this off brilliantly. You can’t do any more than they did here. Kevin even got busted open so they both gave a lot to this.
It’s nice to see the B-Team on TV but it’s a shame neither Axel nor Dallas really matter anymore.
Backstage segment – Shane McMahon
Got it. Now, he’s a corrupt leader. Cool.
Look, I absolutely love Shane as a babyface character. He’s good at it and has no trouble getting the crowd behind him. It’s as a heel that he simply can’t get it done. I don’t hate him for the reasons they want me to hate him. He’s an absolutely awful heel in the traditional sense. He just doesn’t have heel chops. He’s also terribly overexposed. He’s on both shows all the time and I’ve had enough. I know I’m not alone. He should have remained a special attraction but now he bores me to tears. I was kinda hoping the Roman feud would be the end of it but…well…keep reading.
Cinéma de Pipebomb – Kevin Owens & Shane McMahon
Kevin absolutely KILLED this. He spoke to my SOUL! What I find really impressive is that he left absolutely no dead air. He was never just filling. He was platinum here. Shane came out to try to shut him down and he did it adequately but I should have felt more anger and vitriol from him. Such has been the problem during Shane’s entire heel run. I just can’t care enough to hate him because I don’t believe him. Shane did the bare minimum here but that’s all it needed. Had he done more, it would have lessened my enjoyment of this.
Finn Bálor vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Nice to see Shinsuke back. It’s been a while. He’s never been less than interesting in the ring. He’s sick of being ignored and, gosh darn it, he’s not gonna take it anymore! Corey sold that aspect to give this match some direction. Finn’s promo prior to the match did that too. What I didn’t see coming was Finn being used to further that story. Yeah, it would have been rather odd to have Shinsuke come back only to lose but why are they using a title holder to give Shinsuke the rub? Yet again, the IC title means nothing and it’s become a prop.
The match? It’s Finn & Shinsuke so, of course, it was uniformly excellent for what they were able to do. They’ve known each other forever so the chemistry was definitely there. Shinsuke pulled out some interesting moves too – especially the leg sweep under the ropes that took Finn down. He also pulled off a nice Kinshasa outside the ring – selling a slightly more mercenary Shinsuke.
Backstage segment – Shane McMahon, Drew McIntyre, Elias & Dolph Ziggler
So Shane has now been in 3 of 4 segments. See what I mean? He won’t go away. Drew is always fun, of course, but poor Elias. He just doesn’t matter anymore. They’ve made him into a total bit player in the Shane thing. Dolph did what he could but there’s no saving anything Shane’s in at this point. It’s all just so completely tired.
Cinéma de Deep Shadow – Samoa Joe
Few are better on promos like this than Joe. He’s just so completely captivating. He makes everyone he’s working with so much better and he’s doing it for Kofi, who was already great, too. Joe alone on a mic in a dark room is everything. He’s another one who never gets lost. He also knows darkness better than anyone in the WWE and he basks in it. Great stuff.
Contract signing – Nikki Cross & Bayley
This storyline is shaping up to be delicious. When Nikki finally realizes what Alexis is doing, it will be delectable. We already know Alexis is award-winning slime and Nikki is killing it as the naive sidekick who’s doing all the work. Nikki was so amazing here. She’s defending Alexis for all she’s worth.
The only one who’s not pulling her weight is Bayley. She is terminally boring and she cannot act. She’s required to do it here and she’s coming up woefully short. I really want to get lost in this but Bayley just won’t let me. She doesn’t give enough and here, she even blew her lines a little. I can’t believe her and it’s affecting my enjoyment of this angle. When this match ends and Nikki pins Bayley, Bayley can get out of the deep waters she can’t swim in and the real fun can begin.
Nikki Cross vs. Carmella
Carmella, despite all that’s said, IS a good worker and she did well here. This was, of course, to continue to sell Nikki as a legitimate threat and it worked.
Backstage segment – Kabuki Warriors (Kairi Sane & Asuka) w/ Paige & The IIconics (Peyton Royce & Billie Kay)
Nice to see the Kabuki Warriors (dumb name…really dumb name) again. Paige was fun here. This was hyper-scripted like everything else but this felt like it. Royce & Kay were fun too. Mad Cow Bird Flu. Dead!
I normally don’t cover recaps but I’m positively GIDDY that Cedric is back on my TV. I didn’t see him in any of the 24/7 stuff and I thought that was odd but then I got him in the main event! He acquitted himself brilliantly so hopefully, that won’t be the last we see of him.
Backstage segment – Roman Reigns
I couldn’t be less excited for Roman’s match. It’s not his fault. It’s everyone else’s – especially Taker. He’s deep in Ric Flair territory (he doesn’t know when to hang it up) and it’s just sad at this point. Roman’s trying to get me into this and it’s not gonna happen. Sorry.
Xavier Woods vs. Otis vs. Daniel Bryan
Love all participants getting time for promos before the match began. All of them did well. Otis was particularly fun but when isn’t he? He’s just dripping in “it”. Seeing him do a riff on the “W…W…E…World (you get the gist) was a riot. Tucker is getting better too. Of course, Xavier/Big E & Daniel were great. They always are.
Otis couldn’t be more different from Xavier and Daniel in the ring and yet they all made it work. Otis’ strength is absolutely freakish! The double suplex looked amazing but I’m certain it was nothing for him to do. Xavier and Daniel came together to make him look absolutely golden in there. Of course, Tucker & E. got into their own little skirmish outside of the ring which was fun. All in all, a really fun match as they can all go extremely well. Otis took it and I love that.
Cinéma de Passion – Ali
Ali NAILS with these vignettes. He’s so passionate and real. This is a guy you build around and they’re doing great character work here. Can’t wait to see where all of this leads. I’m intrigued.
Backstage segment – Aleister Black & Cesaro
Black’s reactions here were just perfect. He’s slowly going insane and I love every second of it. He totally gets it. As for his opponent, I’m not sure I get the choice of Cesaro. I’m okay with it…I just don’t get it. He needs a serious rebuild and I guess this is it. They’ll put on a great show – that’s for sure.
Backstage segment – Shelton Benjamin
I love that I have absolutely no idea this grinning and quizzical looking around is going. Not one clue.
Backstage segment – Kofi Kingston
Kofi’s been at this a long time. He does great work in these. Same thing here. Business as usual for a total pro like Kofi….BAAAAYBEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!
Roman Reigns vs. Dolph Ziggler
I don’t hate on Roman like everyone else does. I have no issue with him – I promise. I just despise the feud he’s currently stuck in like a school bus in a swamp. They’ve even added Undertaker to it to make it even more tedious than it already was. Yes, that’s the one thing they could have done to make this worse…and they’ve actually done it. It’s as if they’re trying to discover new levels of suck heretofore unseen. From my perspective, mission accomplished.
I also feel bad that Dolph, Drew, and Elias are caught up in it too. Heck, I even feel bad for Greg Hamilton. All of them deserve so much better. I feel epic amounts of “X-Pac Heat” for Shane at this point and it shouldn’t be that way.
Shane was, of course, on commentary to be his unbelievable self. Silliness. The match really was good. How could it not be? Look at the participants. Reigns & Ziggler can absolutely KILL it easily. They absolutely delivered here.
The very best part of this was Kevin interfering quickly and disappearing into the shadows. Still, the upshot of this is that Shane will continue to be doing his really bad heel thing and I’ll have to watch it. KO will have to find a way to make me care. He can…but it won’t be easy.