Nia and the New Girl

Am I the only person who now just wants any and all matches involving Matt Hardy/Bray Wyatt to take place on the Hardy Compound, if only so they can make their terrible tandem finisher look like it’s not a pile of dog shit falling backwards onto another pile of dog shit? I’m sure they can fix that in postproduction.

While not exactly torture — in fact, this was an exceptionally watchable episode of Raw, if not a “great” one — this match also suffers from WWE’s tendency to mistake “being together as a team for a long time” for “talent and chemistry”. Now, listen, I love The Ascension as much as the next resident of Long Island the Wasteland, but they don’t get to suddenly be a competent tag team because you’ve decided you want your belts and division to mean something.

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Speaking of competent tag teams, there may be no better hands than Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas on Raw right now. As I’ve mentioned previously in this space, they are two top-of-the-card level workers (Bo Dallas main evented NXT for most of a year) who seem to have finally found something that allows them to transcend their respective legacies without fundamentally changing who they are. Curtis has been this kind of goofball since the glory days of RybAxel (a JMS favorite) and Bo Dallas’s aforementioned NXT title reign is a true “lost” treasure.

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Matches like this, where KO is able to work like a gifted wrestler and not a total chickenshit, are counterintuitively where he really gets to shine as a chickenshit. Bobby Roode is a mechanic of the highest order, allowing Owens to work like someone trying to win a fight (because he thinks he’s better than Roode) instead of trying to not lose a match. KO’s hyper competency interwines perfectly with his inability to put in the extra bit of effort to actually do things the “right” way. It’ll be interesting to see if they ever use it — along with his well-established and very real love of his family — to turn him into a conflicted hero type or if he’s just such an over heat machine that he’ll be “Mirror, Mirror” John Cena for ever. As opposed, of course, to “Mira, mira” John Cena:

Braun’s post-match beat down on both Owens and Roode was a nice way to pour in the concrete on him being established as the only serious threat for the Money in the Bank. Unless LITERALLY every single person (maybe in the arena) spends the first ten minutes trying  to murder him before burying him under a Heat Wave ’94 amount of ladders. (As it’s been proven experimentally that locking him in a garbage truck and/or crushing him with another truck doesn’t work.)

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