Cheap Shots are unfiltered, uncensored opinions, and those opinions reflect only the author!
Mad Man at the controls as the number of runways on The Road to WrestleMania begins to shrink. The cheese starts to bind as a smooth intensity picks up beneath my flight path over Milwaukee. Prior to this week’s RAW, most smart marks became aware that The “Second Generation” Rowdy one had her itinerary approved for regular appearances leading to Mania. If you weren’t, thank those at Air Traffic Control in Jersey and Phoenix, among others. Quoting Sandow, “YOU’RE WELCOME!”
The fondue party starts with GM Kurt Angle comes to the ring in attempt to rectify the embarrassment of a sucker punch from The COO last week. “Come out and fight me like a man!” Cue Steph’s music. The Assistant Principal comes out to say her husband is not at the arena yet. Daddy’s Little Girl starts cutting one of her textbook promos made of half-truths and half BS. Fourth Wall Alert. Hey, Dr. Strange; if you really wanna fire the dude, look at his rap sheet. Otherwise, stay in your office. Try not to get hurt on the walk back.
Too late! Joan Jett cuts through the crowd. Guess who came to dinner? Ms. Rousey is here! She comes to the ring old-school baby face. Slapping hands with EVERYBODY on the aisle. COOL! Stephanie’s condescendence didn’t stop. Ronda asked for clarification regarding a clause in her contract stating she could choose her Mania opponent. Steph said yes, but they had to be on the active roster as an athlete. Ronda steps up weigh-in style: “Okay, I choose you!”
My money says Paul was standing in Gorilla because Triple H’s music hits. “…That’s not happening.” Kurt muses about Trips being there. The Frenchman tells him not to keep score. Steph goes Mommy Dearest on Kurt without the mic. However, Ronda insists on wire hangers, and intercepts the incoming slap. We have reached Critical Mass. Triple H fanes leaving the ring. After that, I’m pretty sure the power couple wished they were back in Stamford. Nice to see them take a squash for once.
Funniest part was watching Steph bounce MMA style after cheap-shotting Rousey. In case we forgot. Ronda Rousey is a badass. She grabs Steph by the head, pulls her into the ring FROM THE FLOOR and gives her A Samoan Drop! Hubby already took an Ankle Lock from Angle. I don’t have to tell you our Main Event for Mania is set. Best opening segment in years!
Back to our regularly scheduled Monday Night Raw. Asuka and Nia had to follow that. Have fun ladies! Neither one did. Any Nia match is incredibly physical, and The Japanese Ace is afraid of nothing. This is an explosive combination that usually ends badly for someone. This encounter was no different. Jax used her power to rag doll The Rising Sun Mystic early, including multiple near falls.
Rarely do I complain about pure physics of the art form. Here we go. Nia is roughly twice Asuka’s size and six feet tall. Yes, she has Nia’s arm constricted, but that much power and leverage should spike anyone into the mat hard enough to break any hold? No? Fine, The Immovable Object gets up again, and walks Asuka against the ropes? BREAK THE HOLD! Welcome to the friggin’ circus! Nia rolls back onto the mat and taps out. Great story-telling, as Jax may have a kayfabe broken arm. Horrible way to get there. PS: I doubt Little Miss Math Class is capable of authentic compassion. She was sympathetic to Nia only to cover her ass. “You have friends.” Fabulous sell from The Big Girl, tears included!
Something had to bring us back to Earth after such a nuclear start. Bring out The Bar. Storyline says The Celtic Warrior and Swiss Mister have no opposition for The Tag Team Gold at Mania. Enter The Revival. Dash and Dawson have a great old-school gimmick. “We’ll beat you with toughness, double-teaming and wrestling.” Sad that’s a gimmick now, but marks are sheep. Revival beat The Bar, they have a shot at Mania Gold. Except, they didn’t. What’s this? Proper stringing out of a WWE storyline? Yay, someone can think!
It’s the fourth segment, and no John Cena? Scratch that. The best promo in the modern art form comes out and tells his Fastlane opponents he was winning Gold for a 17th time at The SmackDown PPV. If he did, BMJ told AJ Styles to invoke his rematch clause at Mania, making his match with Nakamura an instant Triple-Threat. For those who say Cena is prone to heel tendencies, here is another checkmark.
God Bless Texas…It’s The Son of a Son of a Plumber, quoting a 1950s Classic?? Why the Hell not? Goldust said he would like nothing more than to steal Johnny Goodguy’s Mania spotlight. Believe it or not, the first match ever between these legends was made on the spot. Cena won in less than ten minutes. It is truly unfortunate that a long-term program was not discussed over 15 years. Would’ve been very interesting.
Lunch time recess! The Human Elmo came out to cut an in-ring promo related to her actions and the non-tag with Lady Banks last week. Promos are not Bayley’s strong suit. Cue Absolute Yawn interrupting and teasing The Hugger possibly joining the group. Save it Scream Queen, nobody would believe it. A match between Bayley and Mandy Rose began with the remaining members of Absolute Yawn at ringside. The Walking Crayola showed toughness and a tiny mean streak to beat The Pound-For-Pound Pin-Up clean. Afterward, the threesome jumped Bayley. Sasha ran down for the save, which she made. The Legit Boss then motioned for a hug, but Bayley would not oblige.
Cut to backstage, and Braun Strowman and a bright-lettered, eighties-style promo about the Symphony of Destruction Match with Elias. I can’t be the only one digging these promos? Instruments line the stage as Elias does a brilliant tweener promo. Before hitting the ring, The Guitar Man asks for the house lights to be lowered. This swerve to run to a waiting car in the parking lot ended in failure as Braun picked up the back of the car. Sometimes WWE camera work for storyline purposes is very good. All we could see at first was the driver’s seat. Back inside the building, Elias got some offense in but was overwhelmed by an upright bass and a baby grand piano. Both were gimmicked of course, but don’t poke the bear, Elias.
Hey flock, LOOK! It’s your half-assed cult leader; with no cult, beating the same enhancement talent he destroyed last week. Another art form physics observation: Bray Wyatt stares at me upside-down, I grab his beard and pull until I rip it off his face! The Rambler gets through half a promo before being cut off by the leader of The Woken Warriors. Matt Hardy challenged Wyatt to a match at The Hardy Compound. I Hope he has enough stamina to do justice to this gimmick, and Stanford isn’t biting off more than they can chew. Wouldn’t be the first time.
Speaking of 90% of a segment I could’ve slept through: It’s the visual Nyquil known as MIZ TV. This Oscars rip-off mocked Kurt Angle’s lack of a Mania decision surrounding The IC Gold. Can I wake up yet? Miz’s back up was in the ring as Seth Rollins and his twin with the cooler entrance came out to disrupt proceedings. The Miz was granted a 3-on-2 Handicap Match; which The Move-Set Twins won when Finn Balor hit The Coups de Gras and Rollins get the pin with a Frog Splash. The match’s conclusion saw GM Angle come out and make the obvious Triple Threat for IC Gold at Mania.
Happy Heyman ended the night of quality cheese by attempting to prop up Brock Lesnar and The WWE Universal Gold. It was a miserable failure, and dude had to know that before he went out there. Steph, don’t ash him to say The Gold is 24/7/365 if YOUR Champion is rarely on Television or Part-Time on PPV. Roman finally came out: “All the fans want is A WWE Universal Champion to show up. Tell Brock to be ready for a fight next week.” As I land this plane in fly-over country I must say RAW was a good show. At times predictability can be electric. I hope my passengers enjoyed this trip and will join me for our next departure very soon.