That’s Not Pie, That’s Cupcake (Raw Review)

Hey, kids.  It’s the Botching one and our friendly neighborhood Sovereign staring Eye to Eye at this week’s episode of Raw.  So far, this collaboration has been a real blast.  It’s fun reading what he says and being able to react to it.  It’s going to kind of flip-flop each week with him starting one week and me starting the next.  I started quite a bit of this one this week but didn’t get the beginning because of work.  The title is always a collaboration with both of us looking for the perfect phrase.  Something always jumps out and this week was no different.  Anyway, let’s get to the show.  Take it away, Sam!

 

A Moment of Bliss – Alexa Bliss and Randy Orton

I honestly have not really been a fan of this reoccurring segment from Bliss but this was a fun one. She came out and she is so much fun in this twisted version that has been influenced by Bray Wyatt. The way she introduced Randy Orton was a ton of fun and then Orton came out and was the total opposite of her silliness. Things changed once Orton started to talk about his past with Bray Wyatt. I did like how Alexa disagreed with what Randy had to say about how Bray is because she is still corrupted by him. I like that Orton talked about figuring out the Fiend’s weakness and that he felt like he did. He stared down Bliss and the Fiend would show up. Nice touch to have Alexa in Randy’s arms and for him to simply hand her over to the Fiend. This already feels so much better than their previous encounter and hopefully it ends better as well.  

 

This has become the Firefly House remix of A Moment of Bliss.  Love the new set and that she sat indian style on one of her yellow chairs.  The dollhouse with bars in the middle was sufficiently creepy.  Alexa is the perfect female Bray Wyatt here.  She’s just terminally unbothered…until.  Orton is relatively unbothered too.  He needed to find the Fiend’s weakness…and he did.  The head games were really fun here.  Both Orton and Bliss delivered big time.  This is one of those segments that actually benefits from the lack of a real crowd.  Solid storytelling here.

 

 

Jeff Hardy vs Elias – Symphony of Destruction Match

I really thought I would be grading this a bit lower but I am shocked that it is as high as this. This storyline has been going on for a bit and now this is supposedly the blow off. We shall see how close they stick to that one. I will say that this gets a bit of a bump in the rating because of R-Truth hiding in the piano and the way he sold that. He ran off and the jobbers followed. The match itself made use of the instruments at ringside and it was fun. I will say I laughed when I saw Elias electrocute himself and he sold it well. I will be shocked (Shame, Sam…shame…love, Botch) if Jeff did not come out with an injury after that Swanton Bomb. It was way too close to the steps and he is lucky that he did not get knocked out. Jeff came out on top and I do hope he is okay and can move on now from Elias and vice versa.  

 

Well, someone spent some time in Guitar Center.  Love that Elias’ theme is now a song on his new album, “Universal Truth” which we reviewed (here).  Of course, this match wasn’t going to take place in the ring and it was taken outside within one minute.  Love that Truth was chillin’ in the piano.  He is our national treasure and he must be protected at all costs.  Poor Gulak and Lince.  No mercy shown in the hunt for 24/7 titles.  The idea of using guitar picks is just inspired.  One could call out silly thing here but why bother?  This was entertainment…and I was entertained.  Hardy’s final Swanton looked absolutely awful.  There’s no way he didn’t hit the back of his head.  Still, he had the presence of mind to play the tambourine a little so I’m guessing he’s okay.  I didn’t imagine I’d hate this…and I didn’t.  Fun match…darn it!

RIP to the instruments that gave their lives for our entertainment.  Let’s hope many were floor models and were at least played a little before they met their demise.  The good news is that the trumpet survived.  I think the double bass, that one white Fender telecaster, and even the drum sets might have survived too.

 

 

Backstage segment – Riddle and Keith Lee

Riddle is such a goof and I love every minute of it. The man knows what his character is and gives it 100% every time. If you have seen his stuff outside of wrestling, you know this is pretty much him but amped up a bit for the screen. He found Lee and tried to talk to him but you could see he didn’t want to talk to his longtime friend. Riddle rambled and Lee used that as a way to escape. Fun segment here and Riddle’s ceiling is so very high.  

 

I just…uh…well…it…you know…I kinda…LOLOLOLOL!!!!!

 

 

 

Backstage segment – Retribution

The promo was solid enough as Ali spoke more about Ricochet needing to join them. I love Ali and think he makes for a great stable leader but the booking has been subpar. Slap Jack got to talk as well and he wasn’t as compelling as Ali. So much potential but it is being wasted.  

 

We’ve heard this song and dance before.  Ali was good here but I wanted more anger from him than we got.  His voice gave it but his face didn’t.  He needs to do a few of these in a mirror so he can see himself and adjust.  He’s never quite given enough facially, though is voice always does the work really well.  Slap Jack might as well have been reading from a teleprompter.  No matter, really.  WWE doesn’t care about this stable.  Why should I?

Ricochet added a promo himself on Twitter and…well…he tried it.  He was trying for intensity rather than embodying it.  I didn’t hate it but I didn’t exactly love it.  I wish he’d had more time to feud with the Hurt Business so MVP could fix his thing a little.

 

 

Ricochet vs. Slap Jack

There was nothing wrong with the ring work it was just that I didn’t have much reason to care. I just am not invested in this story and that goes down to creative fumbling Retribution from pretty much the start. There was potential but they have not done a good job. The other members of Retribution, minus Reckoning, came out to help Ali but Ricochet was able to fend them off. Dana Brooke even came down to slap Ali because she is still mad that Reckoning took her out of Survivor Series. Ricochet ended up losing and looked rather weak and Retribution look like, well, themselves that we have come to know them.  

 

You just have to feel bad for Ali, Dominik, and Mia.  They are just amazing and deserve so much more than they’re getting.  Ricochet is no slouch in the ring so it wasn’t a total waste but it nearly was.  Dana came out to slap Ali quite justifiably because of Reckoning attacking her last week in what has to be the most convincing segment Dana has ever been in.  Slap Jack ended up with the win and that’s nice.  Ricochet has been a staple of Main Event and Retribution was on Main Event this past week too.  Tells us what we need to know.  I come away from this with no real need to care about either Ricochet or Retribution.  They’re both just stuck.  It could be worse, I guess.  Apollo Crews is barely even on Smackdown.  SMH…

 

Miz TV – The Miz, John Morrison, & Sheamus

Miz TV is something I have said gets used too much and I do still feel that way. Talk show segments in wrestling should be made to feel special when they happen and that alure is gone from Miz TV. That being said, this was plenty of fun and that goes to who was involved. I think Sheamus has been on quite the good run since his return and he has been killer on the mic. The Miz is great as usual and I loved how he tried to drive a wedge into his friendship with Drew McIntyre and how he called his career a joke. Morrison was good as well and I know I enjoy him on the mic a bit more than other writers here. This would end up being a brawl and the Miz would stand tall with Morrison after hitting Sheamus with the briefcase. That poor briefcase stood no chance against Sheamus.  

 

Morrison referenced the Lord of the Dance.  LOL!.  “Money in the brank”  How painful!  Nice one, Miz.  In truth, this was used to continue the slow burn of the inevitable Drew vs. Sheamus.  I’m loving the idea of that.  Miz is a great instigator and he did it beautifully.  The beatdown of Sheamus was kinda fun.

 

Backstage segment – Asuka & Lana/Shayna & Nia

This was short and to the point and you can see that Lana is having fun with Asuka. I mean, how can you not? Asuka is clearly someone that is probably one of the most well-liked people backstage and you see it when she is partnered up with someone. Asuka has a plan and Lana isn’t saying what it is. Good stuff from both women here.  Shayna and Nia had their turn and it was just more of the same not getting along stuff with them. I mean, it was good but I honestly just want to see Shayna fight Asuka for the title. 

 

Lana and Asuka together are kinda fun.  Short but sweet.  I don’t know what it means but I’m also not supposed to.  They’re holding back which is fine.  Shayna & Nia have been “at each other’s throats” all week.  Shame it didn’t really show.  I mean…they did the script and it was fine.  Not awful or anything; it was just…meh.

 

Asuka & Lana vs. Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler

This match was what it was and I will say that you can clearly see that Lana is putting in work. She is looking more comfortable in the ring and actually knows how to sell a bit too. Asuka would do more of the heavy lifting when it came to offense and I was just wondering if we would actually see Lana get the win here. I will say though that Nia seemed off here because she was off with her timing. The match was what it was and Lana would end up picking up the win after Asuka hit Shayna with a sliding knee. I know my cohorts here want Asuka in a program on her own but if there is nothing for her, this is better than nothing. 

 

Dre’s thing is that Asuka shouldn’t even be in this situation and I agree.  The Raw Women’s champion has no direction or angle of her own.  Let that sink in.

There is NOTHING for Asuka…the Raw Women’s champion!  Like…how??

Nia’s botch where she didn’t head toward the ropes to got though them like she was supposed to was so very Nia.  Terrible timing as usual.  Lana was fine and she is improving.  Shayna is essentially treading water.  The killer from NXT is no more and that’s just odd to me.  The best thing we got was Lana beating Shayna.  Shayna can’t say a thing to Nia about it anymore.  LOL!  Gotta love it.

 

Backstage segment – Sheamus & Drew McIntyre

It is just so clear how long these two have known each other by the way they act during their segments together. Their friendship is real and you can see the bond in the way they interact. The slow burn for their eventual feud is going lovely and I cannot wait to see what comes next.  

 

They’re just so natural together.  This slow burn is working incredibly well…  As I said before, they’ve been together since the Irish Whip days.  When this feud actually happens, it will be absolutely epochal…and I cannot wait…but I’m fine to do it.  Too many stories are just rushed along and if this is a slow implosion a la Bayley/Sasha, I am totally here for it.

 

 

Xavier Woods vs. Cedric Alexander 

Xavier Woods was taking on Cedric Alexander and it ended up being a fun match. I loved the promo by Woods and Kofi prior to the match and Kofi taking the time to congratulate Woods on landing a hosting gig with the relaunching G4TV. As a fan of that network from my youth, Woods is exactly the type of person that G4 wants and he is the perfect man for that gig. I did enjoy their promo work with the Hurt Business as well but the New Day always gets the better of them. They are just so good on the mic that it takes quite the talent to get one over on them.  

This was a fun match and we knew it would been considering both men can bring it in the ring. Woods is seemingly making up for lost time when he was out injured and is putting his all into his work. Solid back and forth and I wondered if they would continue the trend of the New Day beating the Hurt Business. That wasn’t the case as Cedric would end up pinning Woods in the ring and went off to celebrate by his lonesome. We shall see how MVP and Shelton take that because they looked confused and possibly not so happy about that.  

 

We got a pair of promos to open this one up.  Xavier just became the host of G4 and I am HERE for it.  Gotta love that.  The dream sequence transitions…LOL!  The Hurt Business came out.  MVP’s creative win/loss math was fun.  Cedric has been showing real fire of late I’m here for it.  He nearly made Xavier crack too.  I always love a good corpsing.

The match itself was fun.  No way it wouldn’t be.  Cedric is one of the most underrated wrestlers in the world and Xavier is no slouch at all.  The anger we’re getting from Cedric’s promos is also coming out in his ring work.  He’s far rougher in there than he had been.  Love that he took this too.  I deeply love his finisher. Now, MVP can crow…and we KNOW he will.  Great that Cedric went off to celebrate on his own too, leaving MVP and Shelton behind at the ring.  LOL!

 

 

Backstage segment – Riddle, AJ Styles, & Omos

Riddle continues to be his goofy self and I love it. Riddle is just that dude that gets everything. He knows his character down pat and it shines every time. I love how AJ was just annoyed buy him but Omos seems to like him. I love that AJ doesn’t want Omos to talk to Riddle and I hope we see more of Omos and Riddle interacting because this seems like gold. This segment was just a ton of fun all around.  

 

Riddle is a nut and I love it.  The scripting is completely silly.  AJ tried to rattle him and he just couldn’t do it.  I loved everything about that.  Even when AJ hit him, Riddle wouldn’t take him seriously.  Omos speaking up about Riddle’s bunny…LOL!  Like…what?  I kinda want more Omos/Riddle interaction.

Oh, it’s entertainment!  Pipe down, Mitch!

 

 

Keith Lee vs. AJ Styles vs. Riddle

I had big hopes for this match and it was good but felt like it never hit that next gear. This match is absolutely one that can be one that tears the house down but this wasn’t that. It was still a pretty good match and all but it could have been a bit better. They did do a good job in showing just how beastly Lee can be in the ring and I liked how Riddle had his moments as well. AJ had to pick his spots a bit more than he usually would and that was a nice way to show him being a veteran. Good stuff and AJ does make the most sense winning this. It would have been fun to see either Riddle or Lee win but it is not their time quite yet.  

 

Keith Lee’s ability to move in the ring just mystifies me.  He shouldn’t be able to do most things he does.  They really sold Keith’s size here which makes a lot of sense.  Very solid match from all of them.  Really fun back and forth.  Not sure why AJ won but I’m not too upset with it.  I’d rather have seen Lee take it but it wasn’t to be.  I’m not sure what’s next for Lee as that is unclear.  Hopefully, something comes up and soon.  Based on what happened on the show, we know it won’t be the U.S. title.  I just don’t want him to fall between cracks as has happened to many before him.

 

 

Backstage segment – The Miz & John Morrison

Miz’s face when Charly pointed out to him that he was just spewing facts and not an actual plan or strategy was perfect. That realization that he has no idea what to do was perfect. Morrison would help his buddy by saying he had had an idea and they would go see what that is about. This was short but effective.  

 

Relatively quick and dirty storytelling.  Charly called out Miz’s babbling and Miz took off.  Not bad for what it was.

 

 

Dana Brooke vs. Reckoning

I’ll be honest here; I took a bathroom break prior to this match because there was no real interest in it. If they did a better job in booking Retribution, Reckoning would be a perfect candidate for challenging Asuka right now. The most notable thing about this match was Reckoning losing her mask during the match. It also makes ZERO SENSE for Dana to win here and Reckoning should have just squashed her in all honesty. This just makes Retribution look weaker and that post-match stuff from Ali with Reckoning just laughable.  

 

That scripting on that little promo tho.  Neither Ali nor Reckoning could overcome it.  Anyway, the match…

Did you know that Reckoning was really…MIA YIM!  Well, it is, darn it all to heck!  Turns out Reckoning’s mask was a little weak in the strap department and it came off expeditiously.  This was a little interesting match if for no other reason than to see the former Mia’s changed ring work.  She’s been heel elsewhere on the indies and that’s what we’re getting here.  ‘Course, the match itself ended relatively quickly.  No clue why Dana won this.  Reckoning ends up looking incredibly weak.  The interaction between Ali & Reckoning at the end was kinda something.  Will Ali exact…Retribution on her?

 

 

Backstage segment – Miz, Morrison, AJ Styles, & Omos

I loved how this was Morrison’s idea and how Miz was shocked that AJ wanted to go along with him helping them. Of course, that was because AJ feels like Miz is an easier opponent and I loved how Morrison pretty much agreed. I also love that Morrison brought a pie, I mean a cupcake, to this as a peace offering. This was a fun segment from three vets of the business and Miz looks to have some help this week in a possible cash-in scenario.  

 

This was pretty mundane, though not terrible, until Omos spoke up.  He gave us the title this week.  LOL!!  I absolutely died.  I immediately came back here and added it.  AJ played the fool out of Miz and I love it.  Who doesn’t love the planning of shenanigans??

 

 

Backstage segment – Riddle & MVP

Riddle continues to shine on the mic this week and this time it was with MVP. MVP did do a better job in not coming close to cracking with Riddle but he still has some great facial expressions when reacting to what Riddle tells him. It is that perfect mix of puzzled and that boy ain’t right. MVP would end up shoving Riddle’s face and Lashley would attack Riddle before he could do anything to MVP. I am all for Riddle/Lashley because those matches could be physical and possibly grappling based as well. There is potential goodness with this feud.  

 

Riddle is just blissfully unaware of…everything.  The interactions with MVP have been stellar.  Lashley came out for the attack and that worked well.  Now we know what Riddle’s doing next.

 

 

Backstage segment – Keith Lee & Sheamus

This was short and to the point and that was all this needed. Lee is worried that Sheamus will betray their mutual friend and Sheamus wants Lee to stay out of his business. I could see a match between those two next week and that could be fun. 

 

A little dialog between Lee & Sheamus.  Short but somewhat effective as Lee merely voiced what might be going on in our own heads.  Of course, Sheamus copped to nothing.  Nice little tease.

 

 

In-ring segment – Drew McIntyre

The charisma that comes from Drew on the mic is just so wonderful to see every week. The man is having fun and he has the swagger of a champion. He talked about his journey so far and how he beat Orton to reclaim the title. He did talk about his match with Roman and how he showed him something in defeat. He said they will meet again and that he will win it the next time because Roman will not have his cousin to rely on for help. Drew is also ready for AJ at TLC and I have to wonder if they will have a regular match or if a gimmick match awaits them. Either way, another fun segment with Drew on the mic. 

 

Fun little promo from Drew to open up.  AJ & Drew in a ring together should be a blast and I’m legitimately looking forward to that one.  Got in some nice shots on Orton & Reigns too.

 

 

Drew McIntyre & Sheamus vs. Miz & John Morrison

This match was fun and a good way to end the night. The match itself was fine enough and I liked how strong they made Miz and Morrison look here. Sure, Sheamus and Drew are big dudes but they have not tagged together in a long time whereas the Miz and Morrison have been tagging a long time. That is a good bit of storytelling here and I appreciate that. Sheamus did take the bulk of the offense from Miz and Morisson and he wore it very well. I think the selling of Sheamus may be the most underrated part of his repertoire because he sells very well. AJ would be on commentary as well and he is always a joy on there because he feels like he is saying things off the top of his head and it doesn’t feel like he is in character as well. AJ would get involved in the finish to cause a DQ. The heels would beat down Drew and it looked like the door was open for Miz to cash-in. They did try but they took too long and Drew was able to recover and clear the ring. I loved how Omos pulled out AJ and carried him over his shoulder to the back. The trash talking AJ was doing while in that position was hilarious and Drew returned the smack talk as well.  

 

Fun match.  Sheamus is really solid when it comes to selling and he showed us that here when taking all the damage from Morrison & Miz.  AJ was fun on commentary too.  Omos carrying AJ to the back after he interfered was inspired.  LOL!!  AJ and Drew verbally going back and forth with each other at the end was fun too.

 

 

Final Thoughts

Overall, this was a solid show from Raw this week. We are seeing a bit more how the Raw side of things for TLC will shape up and there were some fun matches, the most fun matches being the main event, Woods/Alexander and the triple threat. The only real questionable thing to happen was seeing Dana Brooke beating Reckoning because that makes Reckoning look very weak. The opening segment with A Moment of Bliss was fun as well and the Symphony of Destruction match was better than I thought it would be. All in all, a solid outing from Raw this week and I look forward to how they continue the build towards TLC.  

 

Nice, solid show.  I didn’t feel the need to kill anything (Sam killed Reckoning/Dana for good reason but I didn’t).  Xavier/Cedric could have been longer but it did exactly what it need to do:  it gave MVP ammunition to talk and I’m sure Shelton/Kofi is close at hand.  Moment of Bliss, usually a bathroom break, was really good with Orton and Bliss giving it all.  Entertaining show and nothing was totally terrible for me.  See you next week!