WWE LOVE, LIKE, AND HATE ON THE ROAD TO ELIMINATION CHAMBER

It’s time for WWE Love, Like, and Hate from RAW and Smackdown Live this week. Elimination Chamber is Sunday. These are the go-home shows. I type these thoughts as they happen. Rest in Peace Pedro Morales.

LOVED IT

THE GAUNTLET

I’m not doing a full play by play of the gauntlet. It was over an hour long. Randy Orton won. Randy Orton enters the Elimination Chamber last this Sunday.

It was last year at this time that Seth Rollins began his excellent 2018 with an epic Gauntlet Match performance. Does 2019 hold a similar fate for Kofi Kingston? Kofi replaced the injured Mustafa Ali in a gauntlet match Tuesday night. The winner of this match becomes the final entrant in the Elimination Chamber match for the WWE Championship this Sunday. New Day has been on record as saying they would love for Kofi to have a WWE Championship run before it’s all said an done. His performance tonight was the first step to seeing New Day’s dream come to reality.

Kofi started the match with Daniel Bryan. He eliminated Bryan, then Jeff Hardy, and finally Samoa Joe before being eliminated by AJ Styles. WWE says Kofi lasted over an hour. Bleacher report said 50 minutes. Either way this did everything to establish Kofi as a legitimate threat to Bryan’s WWE Championship. Not just for this Sunday, but maybe somewhere down the line in 2019. I have to wonder if Mustafa would’ve received the same treatment as Kofi did tonight. Unless Meltzer reports it, I guess that will forever be unknown.

Looking back at last year’s RAW Gauntlet, Seth’s performance is what I remember the most. I was pretty sure that Braun eventually won the gauntlet and that Roman ended up winning the Chamber. But I had to look that up to double check. While looking this up, I realized Seth defeated Roman and John Cena before losing to Elias. So Kofi actually defeated one more Superstar than The Kingslayer. Hopefully WWE capitalizes on this. And hopefully the ratings prove this gauntlet was worth the risk. Last year’s RAW gauntlet proved to be a ratings success. Hour long matches are typically what the IWC wants. But your casual viewer may not always dig it.

Randy Orton winning with the RKO in quick fashion accomplished several goals. As Bleacher Report points out, the RKO finish protects a future AJ Styles vs Randy Orton matchup. The RKO is the ultimate out of nowhere finish. If WWE follows traditional booking procedure, those who win on TV don’t win at the PPV. So Randy isn’t winning this Sunday. Last year’s first gauntlet exit was Roman Reigns. Reigns won the Chamber match to determine Brock Lesnar’s Wrestlemania opponent. This year’s first Gauntlet exit was Daniel Bryan. This year’s Chamber is for his WWE Championship. So if I were a betting man (which I am) I’d bet the farm on Daniel Bryan to retain this Sunday at Elimination Chamber.

CHARLOTTE KICKS OFF SMACKDOWN

Charlotte came out to say she feels sorry for Becky. Obviously sarcastically. Charlotte says she’s the backbone of this division. Charlotte stating facts here. Mr. McMahon chose The Queen because he made a smart business decision. Wrestlemania is the biggest event of the year. It won’t be wasted on a flash in the pan like Becky Lynch. Boo me now says The Queen. Charlotte dedicates this Mania victory to her “best friend” Becky Lynch. Charlotte even gives the crowd the WHAT? chant. My goodness. Charlotte will have a front row seat for Ronda’s match at EC.

Yes, I wanted this to be Becky vs Ronda. No, I don’t love Charlotte being female Roman. Shoved down our throat against our will. But I have to admit… Charlotte in this heel role is spectacular. This promo was short, sweet, and to the point. Charlotte was born to be this heel. Her father is the dirtiest player in the game, and Charlotte is following in his footsteps.

Remember when Charlotte struggled on the mic? Those days are long gone. Charlotte Flair killed this shit. This is why she was “added” to the Mania Main Event. Don’t get it twisted. Charlotte was “added” in storyline. But a Wrestlemania Main Event was always destined to involve Charlotte. It was Becky that was added to the Main Event after she figuratively blew up with the fans, and literally blew up when Nia broke her face.

RONDA TALKS SENSE INTO BECKY… HOPEFULLY

On Becky’s fourth appearance on RAW (she’s a Smackdown star remember) The Man ran in to her ol’ pal Ronda Rousey backstage. Ronda wasn’t saying big words or speaking too quickly. Ronda essentially said….”Listen dumbass. We can Main Event fucking Wrestlemania. Get your head out of your ass and say sorry. Even if you don’t mean it.”

Good for Ronda. She and Becky may be rivals but Ronda knows business. Ronda knows she needs Becky to headline Mania. Ronda is treating this like a UFC match. It’s big. It takes two to tango. Don’t fuck this up Becky. I didn’t love that this took place during a Ruby Riott vs Nikki Cross match. Ruby has a title match this Sunday, ya know, before Wrestlemania. And Nikki is a new call up. But nobody cares so I guess I shouldn’t either.

LIKED IT

STEPHANIE, HUNTER, AND BECKY KICK OFF RAW

HHH and Stephanie did “what’s best for business” and invited Becky Lynch back on RAW. The crowd loves Becky. HHH apologized to Lynch for his comments last week on Smackdown Live. Becky saw her doctor. WWE doctors agreed with Lynch’s doctor. No structural damage. A couple weeks of rehab and Lynch will be able to compete at Wrestlemania. Becky is no longer suspended.

Stephanie says Lynch’s match with Rousey is on…. if….Becky apologizes to Steph and Hunter. The power couple apologized to Becky after all. Just say you’re sorry Becky. Becky doesn’t trust HHH and Stephanie. Lynch says she’ll fight Hunter, Stephanie, and Stephanie’s old man. Take your apology and shove it up your ass, says The Man. Steph and Becky get face to face. Hunter says calm down. This is not the hill you want to die on. Hunter gives The Man the motivational speech. Becky has til the end of the night to make her choice. Say sorry or no Rousey match.

Look. I love Becky Lynch. But three straight shows starting with Becky is the exact opposite of what made Becky rise to prominence. Becky was the fighting underdog. Now she starts RAW and Smackdown? With the McMahon family? I think it’s too much Becky. I love ice cream. I don’t want ice cream for every meal. The Man is also being stubborn for no reason. Just say sorry and get your match with Ronda. Yeah, it might make you look “weak”… but you already tapped out to Asuka and NOBODY CARES. Apologize and move on. But this is WWE. Logic shall not apply.

APOLOGY TIME

We close RAW how we started. It’s time for will she or won’t she. Becky says she’s been getting advice all night. Becky doesn’t trust the two people in front of her. “If all that’s keeping me from my dream is two little words… then I’m sorry.” Becky gives her half ass apology. A deal is a deal. There’s too much time left in the show. Becky asks if that’s it. That’s it. Becky is going to Wrestlemania. Becky begins to cut a hype promo when Ronda’s music hits. Ronda hits the ring when all of a sudden, Vince comes out! Vince says hold up. Vince says Becky thinks she’s bigger than WWE. Vince doesn’t like bad attitudes, that goes for Ronda too. Vince says “You’re not the man. I’m The Man.” …

Vince suspends Becky for 60 days! That’s five days past Mania. Steph and HHH might accept that half ass apology but Vince will not. Vince has a replacement for Becky Lynch. It’s Charlotte Flair! Charlotte will replace Becky at Wrestlemania. Vince has hand picked Charlotte and tells Ronda to take a look. After Wrestlemania, the new RAW Women’s Champion will be Charlotte Flair! The show goes off the air.

Well that was something! All this air time for Becky Lynch only for us to get a SWERVE, BRO. Vince wasn’t particularly great on the mic, save for his “I’m The Man” jab. Seemed like he was rushing through it. As much as I wanted this match to be one on one Ronda vs Becky, we knew Charlotte would get inserted somehow. The idea of Vince having a handpicked champion is intriguing. But to replace Becky seems dumb. We know Becky will somehow find a way to get back into this match. It’s going to be a triple-threat.

The idea I guess is by inserting Charlotte and making her Vince’s pick, this will make the fans believe Charlotte will win at Wrestlemania. Becky gets hosed again. The Queen reigns again. Good idea in theory. But why waste all this time on Becky? We’ve seen Vince try to screw Austin numerous times, only for Stone Cold to prevail. I guess we’re going down the same road with Lynch.

Credit to WWE for some storytelling. Some build. A swerve. And a cliffhanger. Now we want to tune in tomorrow to see what the fallout is. I’m putting this in the LIKE category for two reasons. Number one. Becky going from underdog to McMahon target has happened too quickly. Number two. I feel Becky is going to be overexposed. She was on RAW SIX TIMES. She’s getting SCSA treatment. And while I love Becky, and while I understand the comparisons, she’s NOT STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN. Nobody is. Nobody will be. But hey, at least WWE is trying.

Also does anybody else care that two Smackdown women are fighting for the opportunity to face Ronda at Mania? If I was a RAW woman I’d be like “Really? Fuck this.”

HATED IT

ELIAS IS INTERRUPTED BY… YOU GUESSED IT (not just her though)

Elias strums the guitar. The camera cuts backstage to Finn Balor giving Becky Lynch a pep talk. Balor advises Becky not to let her pride get the best of her. We go back to Elias in the ring. He’s interrupted again by a year in review for Seth Rollins. Elias goes to start again but this time is interrupted by the Lucha House Party. Elias has had enough. Elias brings up how his album wasn’t nominated for a Grammy.

The LHP wants to Walk With Elias. Elias actually finishes a song! It’s a diss on Grand Rapids, where RAW is taking place tonight. LHP asks the crowd to grade the performance. The crowd says you suck. Elias asks if LHP can do better. Kalisto takes a stab at it. Kalisto actually strums a few solid strings. Elias is impressed. Elias asks for a duet. Elias grabs his other guitar (that just happened to be in the corner for no reason) and instead of a duet, it’s a guitar shot to Kalisto. Elias runs out of the ring and the segment comes to a close.

A few things. The segment in a vacuum is fine. Funny ha ha. But in totality I’m over it. Elias gets interrupted. Guitar shot. Repeat. Once again, Becky is on screen. If I love Becky and even I’m getting burned out, imagine how Becky haters must feel? I hope it’s good for ratings. Elias’ second interrupter is Seth Rollins. Okay. I guess if you’re going to be interrupted, it might as well be by The Man and The Man with too many nicknames. But LHP? Really? Elias is in no man’s land. He’s feuding with Jeff Jarrett and Kalisto. I get JJ for the guitar gimmick. But Kalisto and LHP? Come on man. Elias is a star. But not for long if he’s in the Lucha Zone.

KEVIN OWENS IS COMING

KO has been out with double knee surgery. He’s coming back. He doesn’t know if he will return to RAW or Smackdown Live, but he will be back in about a month. This was announced via pre-tape vignette. Sounds cool right? Well you’d be wrong. You see, this pre-tape took place from a family trip to the bowling alley. WTF. Kevin Owens. The heel of all heels is doing a return announcement from a fucking bowling alley. Face turn it is I suppose. I hate it.

I have to work this Sunday. It sucks. Daytona 500, NBA All-Star, Cain’s return to UFC, and WWE Elimination Chamber. But bills must be paid. I’ll have as much coverage on Twitter as I can while delivering pizza. And I will discuss all the fallout from WWEEC on Monday’s podcast. Follow on Social @TheFiveStarShow. And if you’d like to support The Show so I can take epic Sunday’s off, email fivestarshowtime@gmail.com