Hey, kids! It’s the Botching one with yet another Raw Getback…from Blunderdome! Two weeks of me – can you stand it? Sam is off this week because of work so my apologies in advance. Michael Cole said that Samoa Joe had the night off to start the show. There was no explanation of where he was or why he was off. In his place, we got Dolph for half and MVP for half. Dolph wasn’t awful but he wasn’t great either. He was just kinda…there. Most in DD weren’t really feeling him and I get it. It’s his first time so he can be forgiven. My issue with MVP doing it as that he’s arrogant and mean with the Hurt Business, yet he’s neither of those things on commentary, though he was good as a heel-ish commentator. He just didn’t fit there based on what his character is. Okay, on with the show.
Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford) vs. Cesaro/Nakamura
Really fun match. It never ceases to amaze me how much air Montez gets on his splash. Even more amazing was the process in his hair. Gotta love it. As always, #LottaRespect for Cesaro and Nakamura. They both did their thing in and they don’t look particularly week in defeat, though I do wonder why this was a clean loss.
Backstage segment – Lana, Angel Garza, Andrade, & Zelina Vega
Lana with Natalya is already incredibly tired. I did like seeing Angel spitting game to her so that was fun if a little stilted. English isn’t his first language so he’s forgiven. Andrade and Angel are oil and water on promos together. That part was horrible. Zelina was the only thing that made that bearable. That Zelina just decided she was over the whole thing and has seemingly moved on rather suddenly is a puzzler but I’m not mad at it. Garza and Andrade seem to be headed into an actual feud now.
In-ring segment – The Hurt Business (MVP, Lashley, Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander), Apollo, & Ricochet
Man, you can feel the MVP in Cedric’s promo, though he still sounded very much like the heel I remember him being at times in CWF. MVP’s clearly been working with Cedric, Ricochet, and Apollo and I’m all for that. This was Cedric’s first mic work as a heel and he was good right out of the gate. Apollo and Ricochet came out with more anger than we’ve seen from them before too so that was fun. They were really good here. I loved MVP and Lashley’s reaction to them too. That entire faction has become great slime and Cedric fits really well just as I knew he would.
Cedric Alexander vs. Ricochet
In the DD, Dre referred to all of them as “5 of the most athletically gifted wrestlers on the planet sharing the stage right now”, understandably leaving out MVP because of his actual role here and that’s absolutely true. There was no way this match wasn’t gonna be good. Great back and forth between Alexander & Ricochet and it got more time than I thought it’d get. Cedric’s Lumbar Check is just incredible. It’s even more incredible when you’ve got someone in there who takes it really well and makes it look just devastating. Ricochet took it brilliantly.
Backstage segment – Retribution
Okay, after weeks of just showing up and doing things because…reasons, we now have a premise! They’ve been trapped in the Performance Center and they’ve had enough of it. Cool! I can get with that. Let’s see where this goes from here.
Backstage segment – Mickie James
The woman is as dry as melba toast (ask your parents) on the mic. She said words and, while we already know it’s scripted, it shouldn’t sound like it. This sounded like it. It ebbed and flowed weirdly. Thank you very next.
Hurt Business, “Security”, & Adam Pearce
That was fun. Hurt Business don’t work for nothing. Gotta love it. Loved Adam too. Whenever we get segments like this, I always look at the person being spoken to so I can see reactions. Adam is golden there. He was totally into this and it was very enjoyable. Nothing is better than MVP’s arrogance and it was here on full display. In DD, we’re all wondering if Adam has something to do with Retribution. It’s certainly starting to feel like it. The best part of this? I have no idea.
Asuka vs. Mickie James
If Sam were writing this blog, this one would have been my bathroom break as I expected nothing from it and Mickie as Raw Women’s champion does nothing for me either. My main issue with Mickie is this: she’s an anachronism – a symbol of days gone by. She’s totally out of step with the current crop of women in every conceivable way. She doesn’t talk well and while her work isn’t terrible, it’s doesn’t stand out either. Am I alone in my thinking or is the “hip attack” the dumb-diddy-dumb dumbest thing in pro wrestling? It’s just insipid – no matter who does it. I love Asuka dearly but…just no. As for Mickie’s odd windmill kick, it was somehow off by miles. The commentary team tried to cover but it was painfully obvious. This was hardly a match made in Heaven by any means.
The word we’re hearing with regard to the strange ending is that Mickie popped her shoulder. I think it happened when she went to roll Asuka over into a pin while being trapped inside the Asuka Lock. The ref ended the match and she was out of that ring in a hurry. I hate to see anyone legitimately injured.
Zelina was absolutely rushed out there and it appears that Zelina is gonna start working the ring and she wasn’t Asuka. I. Am. HERE for it!
Backstage segment – Keith Lee
His promo style is unlike anyone else’s in the WWE. It’s slow and measured – kind of like a really nice Jake Roberts. He never raises his voice and I love it. This time, he was more serious here and I liked it. It was short but did its job nicely.
Lashley vs. Erik
Of course, Lashley was gonna win. The match itself was rather quick. In effect, Erik jobbed to Lashley. I don’t even know why we got the match. The end.
Backstage segment – Kevin Owens
“Hot Topic”. ROFL!!! Great stuff. He just can’t help but be funny even when he’s being deathly serious. Love how Aleister came out just as he was walking away. I’m interested in this feud.
Cool! The smoke machine works again…and Braun’s here! Be still my beating…okay, I’m not into it yet. Still waiting for this part of “Raw” to capture my imagination but it hasn’t yet.
Backstage segment – Seth Rollins & Murphy
Really fun segment. Seth is completely psychotic. The way he went from magnanimous to just pure evil was really masterful. The relationship between Murphy & Seth has gotten completely and utterly dark. Murphy has become the abused wife who feels he needs Seth so he sticks around and takes the abuse. At some point, Murphy will have had enough and we’ll get that feud. Both of them did so well here. I like this version of Seth.
Backstage segment – The Mysterios
Dominik was good here; Rey was better than usual here, though still not that good. Together, they told a decent story and I’m interested in this match. Maybe this will blow the feud off? The focus of this promo was on Dominik and so to that end, it succeeded.
Seth Rollins vs. Dominik Mysterio
We were talking a little bit about this match before it began and Dre and I both think this feud is getting a little long in the tooth. The match itself was fun. Turns out Murphy was somewhat helpful out there after all – supplying the Singapore Cane to Seth. Rey returned the favor lately with another Cane. Poor Mitch. He made a terrible mistake and, while it didn’t cost Seth the match, it wouldn’t go unpunished. Gotta love it. All in all, this was a fun match. I really liked Dominik’s pacing as he climbed the cage to the top. He took his time but it didn’t look like he was slowing down. He made the speed make sense. Loved the predictable yet heinous attack on Murphy from Seth at the end. The subtle thing with Dominik’s sister very briefly checking on Murphy was nice too – clearly intentional. Wonder where that’ll go.
Dolph is busy tonight. First, commentary, then some dude here, then Riddick, then Braun. Still no clue how I feel about fake shoot fighting. I need more than just “matches” slapped together because someone’s mad. I do like seeing Jordan get regular use and he’s fun as the bodyguard/doordude whose function is…? I also really like that Suge D (Pineapple Pete) was part of the crowd around the ring. He moved on from AEW a few weeks ago. I thought I saw him and he confirmed it was him in a tweet just a little while after.
Backstage segment – Drew McIntyre & Keith Lee
Lee was spot on here. He’s had years of experience in wrestling so promos aren’t a huge deal for him. Drew has too so it was interesting to see him stumble a little here while Keith just nailed. The tension was fantastic and it drew me into the match even more.
Kevin Owens vs. Aleister Black
Very old school “take a limb and work it”. Kevin sold the damage like a champ. While the motivation for the feud is unclear, the match itself was solid. Again, we got flickering lights. This time, they enabled Kevin to hit the stunner and get the win. Look at who Retribution is helping. We have to notice, right. We do it because we don’t know. Great, isn’t it?
Riott Squad vs. Natalya & Lana
The Riott Squad promo was very…scripted and not up to their usual standard. We’ll call it a bad week and move on. Okay, the match. I thought it was very nice to see Lana place her leg onto Liv Morgan like that at the beginning. Very considerate of her. Lana basically jobbed to the Riott Squad. Natalya did very little. A nothing match with the proper outcome. The slightly more important thing is what happened at the end. Poor Lana. She was decimated via Samoa Drop onto the broadcaster’s table. Oh, and please don’t give into the “She got demolished for no reason so they must have it out for her because her husband…la la la la” nonsense. For those who may not be paying attention (and many on Twitter weren’t), Shayna & Nia did it because…drum roll…they wanted to send a message to Ruby & Liv! It actually fits the story they’re telling. That’s likely all it is.
It happened. I saw it. Braun came to wreck shop and he did. The idea of Dabba Kato going at it with Braun could be interesting. I still have no clue how to feel about fake shoot fighting. Sam and I are both perplexed by the whole thing. ‘Course, who doesn’t love an overly-active smoke machine?
Drew McIntyre vs. Keith Lee
This was fun. Drew sold his jaw trouble extremely well. This was a nice little hoss fight. Keith’s superplex onto Drew was just vicious and both sold it so well. Cole called it a war and it pretty much was. Of course, it couldn’t totally end clean and we got interfered with by Retribution.
That the Hurt Business, Drew, & Keith managed to get the better of them before we even know who they are is undeniable proof that WWE is just kinda winging their entire story. They’ve also created a big problem. Why should I view Retribution as a threat on any level when six WWE superstars managed to get the better of a dozen Retribution members? Maybe they can fix this mess but it’s not looking good.
All in all, this wasn’t a bad episode. It appeared they might finally have some direction with Retribution but then the end happened and it’s clear they kinda don’t. I could have done without the Asuka/Mickie match too but I really do hope Mickie’s injury isn’t too serious. I’m sure we’ll hear more about that soon. We’ll see you next week for another “Raw” blog!