Best: Wow, Daniel Bryan’s Suddenly A Foot Taller
I’ll admit it, I fell for it.
Sunday’s SummerSlam event was so legitimately unpredictable that I came into Raw with the feeling that anything could happen. The WWE.com five-point preview was just THIS PERSON HAD A MATCH AT SUMMERSLAM, WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR THIS PERSON. It was so vague, and SummerSlam was SO full of John Cena getting f*cked up like he was the Dirt Bike Kid that yeah, sure, maybe they’re gonna surprise us. Then the music played for one second too long and my (and I’m assuming your) brain went, “oh, right, it’s gonna be Stephanie.”
The good news is that “it’s gonna be Stephanie” isn’t the death sentence it used to be. Girl comes side-galloping out in a Daniel Bryan parody shirt and incredible mom jeans to remind us that she has power-walked past Vickie Guerrero as the greatest heel of a generation.
Best: Stephanie McMahon Rubbernecking This Horribly-Acted Modelfight
That leads to Nikki Bella explaining why she turned on Her Sister Brie at SummerSlam, which should’ve just been “I don’t like her and she’s gotten me beaten up for a couple of months” but was ten-or-so minutes of Nikki and Steph having an awkward conversation and side-eyeing an empty ramp while Brie slowly got dressed, slowly hit her cue and slowly walked to the ring. Once she’s there, they launch into a chilling, emotionally-driving scene that reminded me of Meryl Streep and Viola Davis in Doubt. You know, if they’d both had lobotomies.
You know how bad this is, I don’t need to tell you. Imagine if Brie Bella was doing her I’ll see you … IN COURT act but to ANOTHER BRIE BELLA. It’s like watching a cat vomit in front of a mirror. I’m giving it a Best, though, because Stephanie is AMAZING in the background. These sisters are slapping and sobbing and tearing their family apart, and this horrible woman in heels and a t-shirt with her pants pulled up to her boobs is gawking in the background all OH SHIT THESE MODELS ARE ABOUT TO FLIP OUT. It’s like she’s in a mall watching teenagers get thrown out. All she needed was a toddler on a leash.
The Bella Twins angle becomes really hilarious and fun if you pretend Stephanie and Daniel Bryan are battling them against each other like Pokémon.
Brie Bella used ACT.
It’s not every effective.
Best: HOSSFEST ’14
Continuing the “torn from Brandon’s brain” vibe of Cena vs. Lesnar, Raw’s opening match was the hossiest collection of hosses that ever hossed, pairing up Mark Henry and The Big Show against The Wyatt Family. They’re still having the Wyatts lose at every opportunity and did the exact same finish as the match they had on Friday’s Smackdown, but it was four spectacularly large, terrifying human beings clubbing each other in the back and kicking each other in the face. Am I supposed to hate that?
Wins and losses and “where is it going” aside, putting guys like Harper and Rowan in the ring with guys like Henry and Show is a great idea. The Wyatts are great characters who’ve lost focus, but they’ve become spectacular workers. Show and Henry are the KINGS of having their underrated in-ring skills buried beneath miles and miles of worthless character bullshit, so you’re basically giving four guys who can go a chance to do so against people who understand where they’re at and want to make something good. It’s sorta the opposite of those heatless midcard feuds guys like Kingston and Ziggler get stuck in … those guys get stuck and go through the motions. Henry and Show are the kings of magically becoming unstuck, shaking off (sh-shaking off) the dead weight of WWE character development to become instantly relevant again. They’re just born and built to be people you’d pay to see wrestle. They’re f*cking giant.
This entire match was great. How often do you see a match where Luke Harper is the smallest guy in it? I think if WWE wants to put on truly memorable, effective shows, they need to embrace every aspect of what makes wrestling great and do them all at once instead of picking and choosing. Raw was a great example of this working. You had a fast-paced, high-action six-man tag. You had a main event with guys going through tables and piles of chairs and cinderblocks. You had dumb melodrama, and you had unrealistic, absurd giants you’d never meet in real life fighting each other. Do it all. All of it’s good. Even the parts I hate. Everybody watching should have something to remember.
Worst: Ric Flair Has Totally Forgotten The Miz
speaking of having something to remember
“Hey Ric, long time no see!”
“hi I’m ric flair tha nay-cha boy woo”
“Yeah man I know, I’m the Miz”
“The Miz. Your former protégé?”
“No, The Miz. I do the figure four now because of you?”
“never heard of it. are you an anime?”
“Am I a what now?”
“your jacket. are you one of the polyphonic spree, fat boy?”
“No, I’m The Miz. You want to escort me to ringside again tonight?”
“can’t you see I’m trying to have a conversation with billy gunn”
Ziggler should’ve held up his phone, hit play on YouTube video of Wade Barrett’s entrance theme and just rolled up Miz while he stared off into the distance.
Best: Seth Rollins Accepts The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
And now, a rare bird: WWE being timely and funny.
I know, I can’t believe it either.
If you missed it, Dean Ambrose interrupts a Seth Rollins promo (thanks, btw) by dumping a bucket of ice water on him. WWE does the Zack Ryder Memorial Pan To The Right to reveal Ambrose, who says “what? It’s for charity” and throws the bucket in his face. It’s wonderful, and it’s legitimately funny. On top of that, it’s WWE taking an aspect of popular web culture and doing it WELL at the height of that thing’s popularity. Have they ever done that before? These are the guys who keep bringing back Jared from Subway and shitcanned Paul Burchill for being a Johnny Depp pirate instead of an “avast ye scalawags” Blackbeard. I’ll pop so hard if Big Show starts playing the Knockout Game.
Supplementary Best: now we have a kayfabe explanation for why these wrestlers are always so wet.