Cheap Shots are unfiltered, uncensored opinions, and those opinions reflect only the author!
After some time off for convalescence, I see four words at the top of my flight manifest that make me laugh. As a proud supporter of World Class, there are two chants rattling around my head in a heartbeat. “Go (Von Erich) Go”, and “Go Home Freebird!” In Texas and most places in The South, the latter was viewed as an insult. However, fans of the art form in Ray Gunkel Territory took pride in being a hotbed of Southern Wrestling. Every organization had its flashpoint. Jim Crockett Promotions was no different. Without Atlanta TV, even Ric Flair isn’t the same. Before Crockett had a monopoly on The NWA Gold and Atlanta: Michael Hayes, Terry Gordy, and Buddy Roberts claimed it as home. In fact, they gave it a nickname when Saint Richard was in diapers as a champion. Say four words to fans of a certain age and they may start singing. “Bad Street, Atlanta, GA!”
As cruising speeds over Bad Street are attained, Vinnie’s circus is in town for The Go Home Monday Night Raw before the days-long bender in The Big Easy. Show opens with Jonathan Coachman impersonating a parrot in the ring, There is a clothed table with two chairs on each side of him. Why? Guess we need to kill 20 minutes? Steph and Triple H come out first. Daddy’s Little Girl must shake her ass to remind us she works out. After we get done barfing, they walk around the ring, so a cameraman can get a close ground-level shot of them pointing up at the WrestleMania sign. No one forgot! Angle and Rousey follow with their typical baby face entrances.
This was supposed to be a Q&A driven by marks on social media. Good luck with that. Triple H pulled the segment in its true direction rehashing old arguments from The Rumble. “Kurt, why did you ruin her signing?” Again? Who cares at this point? WWE scripting is useless. Angle was repeating one line throughout about Stephanie tapping out. Ronda asked her why she was hired under false pretenses. Steph said it’s par for the course and The Baddest Woman on The Planet doesn’t take losing very well. Ronda asked which her dominant hand was, so she could break the other one!
Coachman tried to save things by going to the pre-fight photo-op. All Rousey has to do to get a pop is move. Steph feigns a handshake. Ronda steps up. Kurt attempts to break it up, He takes a shot from Trips and falls out of the ring. Ronda grabs Paul’s throat while Steph sneaks behind her to give her a choke slam through a table? Steph, you’re not 6’2’’. You look stupid giving the move. Never mind Ronda’s real athletic instincts make suspension of disbelief almost impossible. Someone beats her, it won’t be Stephanie McMahon. Segment felt unnecessary and unbelievable. I genuinely hope they don’t screw up this match for the sake of publicity.
Regular programming begins with recess when Bayley takes on Sonya Deville with the remaining members of Absolute Yawn at ringside. A very solid match was used to spotlight The Women’s Battle Royal at Mania. The Human Elmo won despite attempted shenanigans from Mandy Rose, who jumped her after the match. This prompted The Legit Boss to run down and make the save? HEY VINCE, quit taking logic out of her hands. She could be the best heel on the roster. LET HER WORK! Instead of keeping her out of it, writers wasted another fight because Bayley wouldn’t raise her hand after the brawl last week? Have I mentioned Vince McMahon is an idiot? Unfortunately, Paige’s injury has really taken the spine out of Absolution, and likely cost Sasha Banks her WrestleMania moment. A match between The Pale Rider and The Female Dragon would’ve stolen the show. Now most of these performers are being wasted and none of them will win the battle royal
Oh look, it’s time to give away a PPV match on TV! The Move Set Twins had a very good match which saw Seth Rollins beat The 8-Pack Irishman with a curb stomp thanks to WWE’s booking habits. Seth’s Iron Man performance is still male match of the year. This segment was also notable for The Miz on commentary gushing about his new baby girl. Congratulations Mike! Not only are you stealing money, but they gave you a baby face promo. Don’t do this to us! It’s the rough equivalent to making Flair a baby face before 50. No one outside of Charlotte bought it, and he was only a baby face because he was shoved down our throats for decades. Short answer long. The Miz is not a baby face. They might make him one, but nobody would believe it.
I sincerely hope Stamford cuts down the number of promos on Raw after WrestleMania. If not, at least do a better job paying them off. Knowing Vince’s disdain for smart marks and sheep, they probably won’t. Two wasted segments: First, The Bar comes out for at least the third time asking who Braun Strowman’s partner is for Mania. He cuts them off and comes out to say his partner is in the back and will reveal himself if he can have a singles match with Sheamus or Cesaro. The Bar agrees, only to have Braun come out in a dress shirt and glasses, proclaiming that his name is Brains. When did they hire Vince Russo again? Stop this crap! Speaking of crap, John Cena’s music hits half-way through the show. Okay Vince, Johnny Goodguy can head straight for New Orleans now. Mr. Calloway ain’t comin’ out at 9:00PM! Surprise, no gong or Rob Ritchie! Same promo for a month straight. Only part that woke me up was when he called Atlanta Dallas’ warm-up act. Guessing Michael Hayes had something to do with that line. Thank You Sir! I know WrestleMania needs surprises. Holding these two off until Sunday is not fair to WWE’s normal audience. The McMahon Family hasn’t cared about fair or logical since Montreal.
Enter Woken Matt Hardy and Goldust cutting dueling promos on The Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal. These Veterans are both fabulous! The Son of A Son of A Plumber says that when he wins, they will make a documentary about him. Woken Matt Says everyone will be DELETED in honor of “Humongous Wonder #8!” God Bless Matt Hardy. Most of his solo stuff is actually getting better. Given his previous stop, that was an incredibly tough ask. He won a match with Goldust. Good as he is, it’s not about wrestling anymore, but character expansion. Stay out of his way and let the man do his thing.
More dueling promos. This time it was Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax. Little Miss Math Class and her BFF Mickie James were rehashing their boom mic promo in Bright Letter Format while Nia got a sit-down interview. She said Alexa’s treatment of her was a flashback to her time in school. She was always different. She is proud of herself. Big Fine is confident in her abilities, and ready to squash Alexa like a bug! Cue a Women’s Tag Match with Alexa and Mickie taking on Dana Brooke and Asuka. After well over a year on The Main Roster can Dana Brooke do no more than copy Chyna? Thank God for Asuka, who made Mickie tap out in less than ten minutes. Afterward, both heels jumped Asuka until Big Fine’s music hit, forcing Little Miss Math Class to run like a five-year-old. Mickie took A Samoan Drop, and Alexa is still dead at Mania!
After being discarded easier then Kleenex earlier in the night, Kurt Angle had nothing better to do than running around backstage worrying about a work because WWE. First it was Paul Heyman, insistent that he would stay positive. Then Roman Reigns who said that despite Brock Lesnar’s lack of respect for everything and everyone, he would hear Heyman out provided The Walrus didn’t say anything stupid. Have you met Paul Heyman in a work? Angle asks both competitors not to wreck the match at Mania. Really Kurt? Don’t worry, neither one is Carmella. Heyman and Mr. Roid Rage are out first. Paul is mid-promo when a human wall forms at the entrance because WWE. Two minutes later, The Samoan Hype Machine asks them why they are protecting the part-time bastard. Good Luck Roman, we’ve been asking for years. Magically, the wall opens allowing Reigns to get to the ring. Five Superman Punches later, Roman takes an F5 and the show is over. I expected more from the go home show to WrestleMania. Sorry for The Blues Bad Street. Y’all deserved a better set. I hope my passengers join me in Nashville tomorrow.