Hey everybody! SAM here with Botch and boy, was last week a slog of an episode. We could barely get ourselves to write it but write we did. You can see it (here) if you haven’t yet. We were hoping this week would be better and we will see if it was. There were some things to look forward to so let us see what Raw had for us this week.
Randy Orton Promo
I really have no words to describe how amazing Randy was here. The man has been on fire since last year and he has continued that into 2021. He wore that mask well and sold his dive into madness too. Seems like we may be getting yet another wrinkle to Randy’s character and I am eager to see what it is. Randy is simply the man right now on the mic in WWE and really can only be touched by Roman Reigns as far as heels go. This was just brilliant pacing and everything that Randy excels at. I really feel like I am underselling how amazing this opening promo by Randy was because it was truly that good.
Yeah, this was exceptional work. Randy, already incredibly sinister, is now creepy and sinister. His character work has been second-to-none since this entire pandemic began and this was just more of it. I enjoyed the pacing of it too. No one paces better than Randy – face or heel. For as great as Roman is, and he is great, he can’t hold a candle to Randy right now; no one can. Words don’t do this promo justice.
Oh, and apparently Vince Russo and the “wrestling fans” (you know the ones) aren’t fans of this angle. These are the fans that time is rendering obsolete. They all hate fun. Don’t be like them.
Backstage Segment – Lacey Evans & Ric Flair
I really do not dig this angle. I mean, it is nice to see Lacey back on tv on a regular basis but does it have to be like this? Lacey can make a great heel but I just am not feeling this with her at all.
At least Lacey’s on TV on a regular basis, even if it makes zero sense and I couldn’t care less about the storyline she’s being saddled with. Hopefully, it results in something meaningful.
Charlotte Flair vs Peyton Royce
This match was not all that great. I will always say that Peyton is much better than people give her credit for but it feels like she does not mesh that great with Charlotte. Stuff like that happens and it feels like that is the case here. The match was decent at best and I did not care much for Ric Flair coming out and then Lacey coming out with one of his robes on. Charlotte won the match so at least there’s that.
What an uncharacteristic mess. Both of them are better than this. Charlotte wasn’t bad here but Peyton was not great. She couldn’t even keep her foot on the rope for Charlotte to do damage. Nothing about this match worked. Peyton’s selling of the Figure Eight was “Lex Luger awful”. Raw was beginning an uncomfortable spiral that it didn’t totally recover from.
Backstage Segment – The Hurt Business & Riddle
Not the best segment form everybody here. Riddle usually does well but not so much here. The Hurt Business were okay I guess except for that foot stomp by Lashley. I think if the camera wasn’t as low to catch him clearly missing Riddle’s foot, it wouldn’t have been so bad. So far, not the best start to Raw following that amazing promo by Orton.
No one was “on” here. Riddle was painfully unfunny and this encounter is overdone and boring. Nothing came from it that mattered. Lashley missing Riddle’s foot by miles was just the icing on a very boring cake.
Xavier Woods vs Mace
This match was fine enough and it really is nice that WWE is letting Woods work the ring while Kofi is out. I will say though that the promo that Ali had in a video prior to this was well done. The man can talk and he has a right to have beef with Kofi. Kofi did take his spot and momentum when he was injured and hasn’t been the same since. If anything, this could be something that could be used to help build up Retribution but I don’t have faith based on their booking. Again, the match was fine enough but man did Mace botch his finisher. You could see Woods slip from his grip with the spin and it didn’t look good at all. At least Mace won so they might be trying with Retribution ever so slightly.
It’s simple, really. Retribution is nothing and nowhere. I don’t agree with Sam about Mustafa’s promo. We’ve already heard variations of it before and there was nothing new about any of it. Mustafa did fine; he just had nothing new to say so I didn’t care. Mace…poor Mace. He’s not terrible but I just don’t care. As Sam said, he completely screwed up his finisher and it looked just awful. Mace won but do you care? I don’t.
Backstage Segment – Asuka
I have no idea what any of this was supposed to be. Seemed like someone messed up the timing of the interview segment and the recap of Alexa shooting a fireball at Randy. All around bad which made for a nothing segment.
Twinsies! It was just wretched. The whole thing felt off and Asuka was unusually terrible here.
Alexa’s Playground- Alexa Bliss & Asuka
Something about this segment just felt off to me and I cannot put my finger on it. I really like Alexa right now and how she truly misses her friend the Fiend. Asuka came in with all this energy and that may be what made this feel off. Asuka is always a boatload of energy and it just felt out of place. I did like Alexa telling her not to sit in the swing and not to invoke the Fiend’s name. Also, the fake grass was a nice touch. Not the best segment here and just felt off.
Asuka was not having her best night. There as zero chemistry between Alexa and her. Alexa did very well (she always does) but Asuka was the failure here. She was a total anachronism and nothing she did meshed with Alexa.
Backstage Segment- The Miz & John Morrison
Short little backstage segment here as Miz and Morrison were heading towards the ring. They each took the time to hype up having Goldberg on the Dirt Sheet and would not reveal what their plans are. Nice and short and to the point.
Perfectly fine for what it was. As short as this was, it was a step up from most of what previously occurred. A coherent story was told.
Backstage Segment – Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax
Shayna cut a promo prior to her match with Mandy Rose and it actually was a bit fun. She gloated about how she has beaten her and how she plans on winning the Royal Rumble. She said nobody will get in her way and that includes her tag partner. I liked how offended Nia was at that comment and they would argue a bit as Shayna walked towards the ring.
This feud will not die. I mean…Shayna is great with promos like this but why are they still feuding with Mandy & Dana? They’re not telling a story good enough that it can be told this long. Promo was fine but the storytelling isn’t.
Backstage Segment Sort Of – Jeff Jarrett
I just didn’t care for anything Jarrett had to say here. He picked Goldberg and that’s cool, I guess.
He added nothing. No clue why this was shoved in there.
Mandy Rose vs Shayna Baszler
The work was fine enough but I had a hard time getting into this match. I think it has to do with seeing a variation of this match for so many weeks now that I am tired of it. It was decent and there was a moment where my screen went black and it looked like Mandy was fixing her top. I would assume she had a slip and that is why that happened. Shayna would end up winning and argue a bit with Nia over her comments. Dana would kick them into each other and that was that.
Agreed. Don’t care. Not everyone got the black screen but I got it too. Not a huge deal. I’m also bored with the match. Dana got in a rather odd kick at the end. Who knows why? Who cares? Dana’s completely boring and Mandy deserves better than to be saddled with her.
Backstage Segment – Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler
Another fun little segment backstage with these two. They were still arguing and would then be interviewed about how they are arguing. They admitted that they didn’t like each other and still don’t and then Shayna had a good idea. She says it is time for them to get their rematch for the tag titles since Charlotte and Asuka are having their own issues. Nia agreed and they would end up walking off. Fun segment and probably the most I have liked these two together.
Decent promo. It has long since been time for Shayna & Nia to get the rematch. Either that or break them up so Shayna can be the killer she was in NXT. This is movement and I’m happy to finally see some meaningful movement.
Backstage Segment – Charlotte Flair
I still don’t care about this storyline and this segment didn’t help to change that. Charlotte was fine on the mic here but I just don’t get that swagger and edge from her when she is a face. Seems like she has plan in dealing with Lacey and we will see what will come of it.
I didn’t like Charlotte here as much as Sam did. That she has a plan means nothing to me. She’s in a bad storyline and nothing she does will fix it. Poor Charlotte. Poor Lacey.
Backstage Segment – Adam Pearce, Ricochet, AJ Styles & Omos
This wasn’t the best segment in the world but I can’t help but like AJ here. Ricochet is not great on the mic at all but I did like his shoutout to the movie 50 First Dates. It is a great one and might be an underrated one by Adam Sandler nowadays. AJ poked fun at Pearce for having Kevin Owens replace him in his match with Roman Reigns and seems like Ricochet will have to beat AJ in order to show he belongs in the Royal Rumble.
That crowns are for everyone else other than Ricochet. He was just putrid here. He’s utterly vanilla and has been since he showed up. He just will not show anything. There was a moment during “Raw Talk” where he did. It wasn’t that long ago but he appears to have not realized that it was good so he can’t get back to it. He just hasn’t figured it out and I’ve completely given up. Pearce, AJ, & Omos were fun here, though all have been more fun in other segments.
Ricochet vs AJ Styles
It is so very hard for either of these men to have a bad match and I don’t think they could even if they tried. AJ is one of the all-time greatest to do it in the ring and Ricochet is one of the best right now. Ricochet may not be great on the mic but he excels in the ring. Really fun back and forth in this match and I would love it if we got a real lengthy match between them because they would tear the house down. Not that they didn’t here but we all know they can hit that higher level. I was left with my jaw wide open at the finish too because that had to be one of the best transitions into the Styles Clash I have ever seen. You really do have to see it to appreciate how great it looked.
This is where Ricochet never fails. He’s absolutely scary good in the ring and it showed here big time. AJ and Ricochet are so good in there and they have great chemistry together. This match got some time too and I enjoyed every second of it. I, too, loved how AJ got into the Styles Clash. Really fun match.
The Dirt Sheet – The Miz & John Morrison & Goldberg?
This segment was so much fun and was easily one of the best parts of Raw this week. They hyped up Goldberg coming out and out came Gillberg. I was marking out seeing him and I loved it. It was perfect and I also have to say it was great to see him looking healthy after he suffered a heart attack. Drew McIntyre’s music hit and I was just wondering who it could be that would be playing Drew. It ended up being an actor by the name of David Krumholtz and his name may not sound familiar but you would recognize him from his roles from movies and television. I was dying and this segment was pure gold on every level. Miz said he will cash in on whoever is WWE Champion and I wouldn’t mind that one bit.
I’m sure the wrestling purists (whatever that is…) hated this but I couldn’t care less. “Wrestling fans” kill me when they complain about stuff like this. Before wrestling is anything, it’s entertainment. It’s not legitimate athletic competition and never has been. This segment entertained me. Was it ridiculous? Yeah…and I loved it. Fun to see Gillberg again. David Krumholtz as Drew was life-giving. If you don’t know about David, you can look (here) to see what he’s done. His Scottish accent was…something. I mean…
How can you not laugh at this by itself? That hair tho. I was laughing my fool head off the whole time and you were too. Don’t deny it. I saw you.
The Hurt Business vs Riddle & Lucha House Party
The grade for this really is due to me not being that into it. I loved the story of the tension between the members of the Hurt Business but I was not into the match itself outside of that. The work was fine enough but the story was clearly all about the Hurt Business tension and Riddle wanting a piece of Lashley. Good enough back and forth and the Hurt Business would end up winning. Riddle would hit Lashley with a knee after the match and escape. Decent enough match but with nice storytelling from the Hurt Business.
They just couldn’t get this episode of Raw to fly, could they? They go from brilliance to stuff we don’t care about. This alliance between the Lucha House Party and Riddle is meaningless. I don’t care about Lucha House Party. Amazing how quickly Riddle’s foot healed, even though it was taped up. He did his signature flip-flop kick virtually unencumbered. Probably ’cause Lashley didn’t really stomp on his foot at all. Who knows? Who cares? The point of this match wasn’t that team at all; it was the Hurt Business. Cedric & Shelton are falling apart and Cedric’s ego is running wild. Lashley was sick of it and brought it home. Riddle coming back to attack made no sense. He’s already been beaten clean. There’s nowhere else for that feud to go.
Backstage Segment – Elias & Jaxson Ryker
Ryker is holding back Elias and nothing has made me feel different. This is just not great at all and I do not care on any level. It is a shame because I like Elias and Ryker is not needed.
Poor Elias. I can only imagine he must have upset someone. Why else would be be saddled with Ryker. There is no chemistry between them. Elias is doing his best but Ryker is nothing and nowhere. Thank you very next.
Backstage Segment Sort Of – Drew McIntyre
If I was just grading this on how awesome Drew is, it would be much higher but I sadly cannot. I do not wish to see him face Goldberg and this doesn’t change that. Drew is awesome but this program is the total opposite of that.
It doesn’t matter what he says; I’ll never care about this. Drew (err…the script writer) did give us the title. Danke Schoen and all.
Jeff Hardy vs Jaxson Ryker
You know what, Ryker kind of stinks in the ring. His move set is so basic and I don’t see anything that really stands out about him besides his physique. Jeff isn’t what he was but he is so much better than Ryker that it is not even funny. The match was boring and Jeff would win by DQ. Jeff fought Ryker some more after the bell and Ryker would hit a spinning slam on him. SKIP!
Skulls-a-Go-Go! Three in a row! Even that episode with yesterday’s heroes didn’t get a sequence like this! I agree that Ryker is nothing in the ring. Add in a non-charismatic Jeff and we have ourselves a tidy little disaster. Why say more?
Asuka vs Alexa Bliss
This is not the easiest match to grade because it was so different. I actually do mean that in a good way because it made it much more interesting. It was a pretty standard match for the most part until the lights started to go down. Raw went to commercial and when Raw came back, Alexa had transformed. She wasn’t the playful Alexa anymore; she was more Fiend like and that was great. Asuka wasn’t deterred by it but she also could not do anything as well besides get in a few nonthreatening shots in. Alexa would end up winning here and would transform back into her playful self. I dug that and I am interested to see what twists this story has for us.
This really was a different kind of match for both of them…but it all worked nicely. Asuka didn’t know what to do with Alexa but she was game for it. She became Fiend-ette slowly but surely. She throws a very nice Sister Abigail too. That Alexa won made sense too; she kinda had to. I can just hear the “wrestling fans” cringing that the titleholder lost but, again, this isn’t real. They told me a story…and I loved it.
Y O U K N O W W H A T T H A T M E A N S…
Overall, this was better than last week but still not the best thing at the same time. There were some bright spots like the Dirt Sheet, Ricochet/AJ, the main event and Orton’s superb promo. I dug the tension between the Hurt Business too but everything else was just not up to par. It is a shame too because Raw was doing pretty well and now they seem to have hit a bit of a rough patch. All in all, better than last week but still not all that great at the same time.
What a schizophrenic episode of Raw. This had the very good and the very bad. Orton’s promo was life and breath. The issues in the Hurt Business were too much fun too. I sincerely hope nothing happens to break them up yet. The “wrestling fans” on Twitter are concerned about it and I hope they’re dead wrong. We got five (count ’em, five) matches/segments that were just trash. I disagree that this was better than last week. Our Super Skull Party says otherwise. This was a train wreck of a “Raw” episode that I very nearly turned off early. I knew I’d have to watch it anyway to do this so I stayed the course but it wasn’t easy. Here’s hoping for better next week. I am the eternal optimist.