– Welcome to my second ever Best And Worst Of WWE [Insert Older Pay-per-view Show Title Here] report. The first effort, in case you missed it, was last month’s Best And Worst Of Royal Rumble 2000. That went over pretty well, even if it burned me out so much I couldn’t do a report for the 2012 edition, and Elimination Chamber is only a few years old so let’s consider “February PPV” time sensitive.
– Comments are appreciated. Clicking “like” is appreciated, tweets and retweets are appreciated, showing and sharing this to and with the people you know are appreciated. Older show reports are sketchy because nobody’s googling for them, so our traffic goes way down and they take like 80 hours to write, so why bother? But I WANT to write them, so if you support them and make them a success, I’ll keep cranking them out. At least make me popular enough to do a Best And Worst of that Glory Days Of Wrestling tin I bought at Half Price Books for like negative 2.99.
– Don’t forget to come back on Sunday and participate in our open discussion thread for Elimination Chamber 2012, happening live. I won’t be around for it, as I’ll be at ACW’s show in San Antonio, but I’ll be back in time to skim through and steal your jokes.
– A.J. was only three years old when this pay-per-view happened so she is not featured, but don’t worry, this is when the Divas were nearly naked 24/7, so if you’re That Guy you’ll enjoy it anyway.
But for now, please enjoy the Best And Worst Of WWE No Way Out 2007.
Best: I Think You Can See Her Kidneys
A lot of wrestling fans who hung on to WWF when the Attitude Era ended and the dreaded E arrived cite 2007 as the year when things started to go bad. As someone who has been watching wrestling for three decades I can assure you that wrestling has ALWAYS been bad, but 2007 is when a lot of people gave up. My theory: Divas started getting forced into pants around here, and by 2008 we’d lost the two greatest physical contributions to WWE television:
1. Trying to look under Mickie James’ skirt when she went for pinfalls
2. Melina’s proper split ring entrance
Anyway, the idea I’m trying to get across is that there’s no point in denying women athleticism and legitimacy in favor of cheesecake taint shots unless you’re willing to allow them the cheesecake taint shots. Being all “look how sexy this is!” while making everyone look stupid and unsexy is a waste of time. The second idea I’m trying to get across is “holy sh*t look at Melina’s vagina”.
Best: Team Future Endeavors Vs. Team F**king Up Our Legacies
The opening match of the show is MNM (Joey Mercury dressed as Mankind because he’s a month removed from having his face shredded with a ladder, and John Morrison back when he was Johnny Nitro) teaming with Montel Vontavious Porter (MVP) to face Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy during that weird period where they started teaming again and felt too much like adults to be “Boyz” so they were just “The Hardyz” and
Worst: Chris Benoit Is Fine, But His Selling Makes Me Uncomfortable
There’s no point in turning the No Way Out 2007 report into “here’s what I think happened with Chris Benoit”, so the short version is that Benoit was my favorite wrestler in the world from like 1995 until 7 PM or so on June 24, 2007. I can think objectively enough to not pretend like what he did made him a terrible wrestler, but I’m also not dispassionate enough to watch a match he’s in without feeling creeped-the-hell-out throughout.
So yeah, this is a completely and totally all right six-man tag team match to start a pro wrestling pay-per-view. I think MNM is one of the great lost gimmicks of WWE, especially when they could’ve pulled a Federline and been the kayfabe catalyst for hooking up assumedly heel General Managers with A-list celebrities for Raw hosting gigs. It protected Morrison’s eventual pointless flashiness, gave Joey Mercury something to do besides shave his head and vanish from the Earth and shielded us from the knowledge that Melina would go drug-eyes and burst into tears as a stimulus response to f**king anything. The Hardyz are the Hardyz, like them or not, and one of my favorite things to do for a 10-spot of wrestling years was watch Benoit reverse sh*t into the Crossface for a finish.
He does that here, and man, I bet I really would’ve liked it.
Worst: JBL’s Stunted Commentary
WWE Champion JBL was great. I liked his act, I liked his car (I always end up supporting guys with car entrances, for whatever reason), I liked his faux-Dallas entrance theme. In fact, if you ignore his career between 1992 and 2003 I like everything he did, including (and sometimes especially) his color commentary with Michael Cole. Maybe it’s just the way he says “Michael”. MYcull!
Rewatching these shows years later allow me to take myself out of the moment more easily, and I noticed something really, really grating about JBL’s commentary — how he never sounds like he’s saying something off the top of his head. He’s got these little speeches prepared and sometimes he’ll be silent for a minute or so and then just burst into these longwinded YOU KNOW SOMETHING MYCULL NOBODY HERE RESPECTS CHAVO GUERRERO HE’S A LATIN WARRIOR HIS NAME MEANS WARRIOR THESE PEOPLE BLAGH BLAGH BLAGH and it comes out of NOWHERE and then he just stops, and Cole continues this thing and we wait for the next one.
To put it another way, he’s babyface announcer Matt Striker in the body of a shouty heel. That’s … not a fantastic combination.
Worst: WWE Cruiserweight Wrestling
You’ll hear a lot of people complain about how WWE handles cruiserweights, and how they should renew their focus on smaller, more athletic wrestling to appease the huge sect of wrestling fans who love high flyers like Rey Mysterio. They should, yes, on paper. But no, they really shouldn’t.
Why? Because THIS is what it looks like when WWE runs a cruiserweight division. Similarly to what happens when they tell you they’re gonna focus on the women or tag teams and don’t because they don’t have the attention span to do two things at once, WWE’s interpretation of the style WCW made popular in the United States (truefax) is “smaller guys wrestling like the bigger guys plus dropkicks”. How else can you explain a “Cruiserweight Open” with Scotty 2 Hotty, Jamie Noble and Shannon Christ On A God Damned Cracker Moore as the participants?
They were just as sad in the 90s. When WCW was bringing in guys like Mysterio and Jushin Thunder Liger, WWE was bringing in Great Sasuke and immediately ditching him for a TAKA Michinoku push with good intentions that ended with culturephobic lip-synching and Val Venis almost getting his pee-pee choppy-choppy. Essa Rios was fine and all but I can’t fap it to Los Super Astros if I know it’s gonna culminate with a leprechaun retiring as champ.
This blows, is what I’m saying.
Best: OH SH*T MUHAMMAD HASSAN IS HERE
Worst: Wait, It’s Just F**king Daivari
I love Muhammad Hassan’s entrance music for its lasting connotation of UH OH SOMEBODY’S INTERRUPTING US WE GOTTA BOO THE SH*T OUT OF WHOEVER THIS IS and do not appreciate it getting handed-me-down to the guy whose only contribution to wrestling was a splash with a carpet who stopped splashing people with his carpet.Subscribe to UPROXX
That was my ringtone for almost two years. I’d hit “play” on it when I snuck up on people, or in the middle of conversations I didn’t want to be a part of. “Voices” is currently the only theme that comes close to being as good for this.
Worst: Post-Hurricane Shane Helms
I can only think of one wrestler I’d like to see less in 2007 than the post-Hurricane, pre-drunk driving into somebody’s YouTube channel “Shining Wizard means jumping and kicking a guy” sunglasses TitanTron and do-rag-ass shorts Gregory Helms.
Unfortunately that person is also in this match.
Worst: Post-Birth Shannon Moore
The first chapter of the Book Of DILLIGAF is just pictures of the crowd when Shannon Moore is wrestling. I don’t think there’s a wrestler who doesn’t wear a puff-painted tank top with NASTY across the front who’s gotten more mileage out of being friends with popular wrestlers than Shannon Moore. Think about the best Shannon Moore match you’ve ever seen. Now imagine Moore being replaced by anyone in that match. Would that’ve made it worse?
The only moment I can think of where Moore was indispensable was when CM Punk called him a poser and smacked him in the face for whimpering through a Justin Timberlake lyric on ECW. Shannon Moore The Wrestler is asshole on a plate.
Worst: The Most Compelling Person In This Match Is A Joke About Asians
Maybe I should’ve picked a show that didn’t happen in 2007.
Anyway, can you think of a decent, high-flying wrestler of Asian heritage? The only two in this match are
1. Funaki, doing his gimmick where he’s a backstage interviewer who can barely speak English
2. Jimmy Yang neé Wang, who is Smackdown’s “resident redneck”
If you don’t remember the career trajectory of Jimmy Yang, it went roughly like this: Asian stereotype –> Elvis –> Asian stereotype –> redneck stereotype –> teaming with a white guy doing a black stereotype –> release –> Japan, for like a minute –> TNA nostalgia matches. He’s okay, in the way that a lot of these guys are “okay”, but he never learned how stupid that kick he does where he kicks you in the back of the leg to drop you to a kneel and then jumps over you and slaps the sh*t out of his thighs as he flips looks.
He almost wins the match, but loses when Chavo Guerrero does a frog splash that Michael Cole calls “disrespectful” because Eddie Guerrero “invented it”. Somewhere in Hell, Art Barr stops putting powder in his hair for a second, squints his eyes and asks “wait, what”.
Best: Hornswoggle Gets His Christmas Wish Four Years Early
Four years before he wasted a Christmas Wish on the “ability to talk”, Hornswoggle was simply “Little Bastard”, a Leprechaun who lived under the ring and gave Fit Finlay a small, man-shaped object with which to hit people when his penile shillelagh was unavailable. I can’t confirm, but this might’ve been the first time they ever called him “Hornswoggle”.
But yeah, Hornswoggle reveals that he’s not afraid of the Boogeyman, he’s afraid of the Little Boogeyman, establishing in canon that Hornswoggle isn’t a midget but in fact a shoot leprechaun, which complicated the whole “why does the Boogeyman have a little version of himself too” thing and made the jabbering child custody stuff that came later even worse. Maybe the part of his brain that controls speech was ruptured when JBL launched a trashcan at his face at Wrestlemania 24.
Throwing Hornswoggle in the garbage is more or less the last time he was intentionally funny for years. Fun fact: Hornswoggle’s WWE run has lasted four years longer than Brock Lesnar’s and five longer than Ultimo Dragon’s.
Worst: Unnecessary Soundbites Before Entrance Themes
This match (which, for the record, is Finlay and Hornswoggle vs. The Boogeyman and Little The Boogeyman) features two of my least favorite WWE entrance themes — the kind that have someone talking before the music starts. I don’t know what the formal name for them is, but I know the worst ever is a tie between Bob Holly’s HOW D’YA LIKE ME NOW and Stevie Richards’ I’LL SHOW YOU, YOU’LL SEE.
Boogeyman and Finlay both have themes that over-explain what they’re doing. Boogeyman’s is “I’M THE BOOGEYMAN! AND I’M COMING TO GET YA! HAHAHA” which was established when he crawled out in red smoke with worms hanging out of his mouth and bashed himself in the head with a comically-oversized alarm clock. Finlay’s “My name is Finlay, and I love to fight” is somehow even worse and is basically a WWE job interview prefacing some stereotypical Celt Rock. Putting FINLAY across the screen and having him fight would’ve accomplished it.
Somebody help me make a site where we record new, more appropriate blurbs for pre-entrance theme use. Boogeyman’s should be I’M THE BOOGEYMAN, AND I HOPE MY LEGS STAY TOGETHER. Finlay’s can be PLEASE PAY 20 DOLLARS TO SEE ME STIFF SAMI CALLIHAN.
Worst: The Boogeyman Is Basically The Worst Wrestler Of All Time
Boogeyman’s gimmick was dumb but effective, and if he’d had the wrestling ability of a Dolph Ziggler he probably could’ve taken it to God knows where. Unfortunately he had the wrestling ability of Raja f**king Lion and couldn’t make anything look natural, so his matches are full of random choke holds, shimmy dancing and Stinger Splashes where he gets a running start, jumps straight up about a foot away from the guy and then “splashes” down on them with the impact of an Eve Torres moonsault.
For whatever reason I have a lot of oddly positive memories of The Boogeyman, but damn, watching him move around is like an endless loop of Kelly Kelly running the ropes.
Best: JBL During This Match
I mentioned problems with JBL’s commentary on the last page, but don’t let that take away from how unbelievably funny the man can be, whether he’s talking over a pre-Crisis The Miz match or trying to figure out how he wrestled in the same ring where Hornswoggle is de-worming a black midget.
JBL has three fantastic commentary moments during this:
1. When Hornswoggle and Little Boogeyman finally have their “fat guys noticing each other in the Royal Rumble” moment and get ready to throw down, JBL says, “WE GON’ HAVE US ONE HELL OF A LITTLE FIGHT”. That’s moments after saying the match has been “Gulliver’s Travels meets Disney on acid”.
2. Getting upset that MYcull is calling Hornswoggle “Little Bastard” (despite Little Bastard being his announced name) and suggesting that Swoggle’s parents aren’t “Mr. and Mrs. Bastard”.
3. Saying Finlay should jump up and down on the Little Boogeyman’s belly until he spits out worms.
That’s some quality color, right there.
Best: Violence To Minis
JBL mentions it himself, but this match validates my theory: as proven by King Kong Bundy at Wrestlemania 3, little people wrestling is not funny. However, things done TO little people DURING wrestling IS. For example, Hornswoggle going HA HA and jumping up and down isn’t funny, but it’s a f**king riot when JBL fallaway slams him into a cage wall. A midget named “Little Beaver” isn’t funny, but dropping a 458 pound elbow on him is.
Regardless, WWE could stand to bring Mini Goldust and Mini Vader out of retirement.
Best: All Hail King Bookah
Everything about this picture is great. Sharmell, Booker’s super obvious looking robe, the black guy in the upper left smiling his ass off, Charles Robinson with his hands on his hips.
The best reaction I had rewatching this show was King Booker showing up, and me getting this huge smile across my face and being all OH SH*T KING BOOKER. I don’t know why Booker T doing a high concept reinvention of WWE’s “King” (as well as Abraham Washington’s gimmick of acting proper, then getting pissed and turning street) is such a riot even years later, but something about it is just so damn inspired. The pose with his pinkie up, the horrible accent, the gold tights with the “T” royal crest on the crotch (a letter he fought long and hard to have the rights to, thank you very much). It all works. And yeah, it’s just Booker T and he’s still gonna do what Booker T does, but it makes everything seem more… purposeful?
Sharmell deserves most of the bests, though. She’s one of the most under-appreciated valets in wrestling history, dating back to when she was The Artist Formerly Known as Prince Iaukea’s “Paisley”. Here she nails the ALL HAIL KING BOOKAHHHHH catchphrase in the most annoying way possible and keeps it going throughout the match, not being afraid to look weird and ugly as she contorts her face and shouts at the referee.
She’s an extension of Booker’s gimmick: an average person playing queen. It’s brilliant.
Best: The Ancient Order Of Royal Houstonians
Booker T is always getting into feuds with people over the dumbest things: losing the use of the letter T and throwing in with a bunch of jobbers with military pun names, being upset that Edge got a Japanese shampoo commercial, calling Hulk Hogan the n-word, etc.
I don’t remember a second of this angle (I tend to repress most Kane angles … I didn’t remember that time he murdered Paul Bearer by accident via shoving him off an arena balcony from the top of a tables and ladders construct until I was like three weeks into counseling), but if more things involved city officials being douchebags and getting chokeslammed for it we’d be in a better place. Pretty sure that was the plot of Ghostbusters, wasn’t it?
Next time I’m in Houston I’m going to drive around looking for their lodge. I hope they have that pay-per-view poster of Booker T killing a dragon hanging on their wall somewhere.
Worst: Kane Is Gonna Be The Same No Matter How Far Back I Go, Isn’t He
Since his 2012 return as a welding Fire Rapist, the Best And Worst Of WWE Raw column I run has been full of “oh man this angle Kane’s in is ridiculous and funny but his matches are still punches and boredom”.
That proves true here, as it did in his 2000 Royal Rumble appearance, and I’m worried that no matter how far back I go with these, Kane’s always going to be a really funny, written-by-invalids character rendered unenjoyable to me by uppercut strikes and jumping clotheslines. I can go back to the Christmas Creature and be all HAHA LOOK AT HIM HE’S A WRESTLING TREE I THINK but it’s still just gonna be punches.
Did Kane have a run as a progressive high-flyer in the late 70s I didn’t know about, by any chance?
Best: This Guy Loves His Domino Shirt
One of the major things I took away from watching this show on DVD is that the f**king guy a few rows back has a white t-shirt with DOMINO written on it and he loves it so much.
This is one of at least 100 screencaps I could’ve taken to prove it. I don’t know where he got a Domino shirt (Deuce and Domino are on the show but they didn’t have a shirt, and I know Domino didn’t have his own) and I don’t know why he thinks he has to hold it up to his chin so we could read “Domino” for the entire show, but he got one and he DOES. I can’t tell who’s worse, him, or the kid a few seats over who just mindlessly chops crotch for three hours no matter what’s happening in the ring.
I’m not above call and response in wrestling, but Jesus, at least wait until you’re called before you respond.
Best: Vinnie Jones, Gettin’ Heat
Vinnie Jones (the actor and retired Welsh footballer you may know best as the guy who f**ked up how funny “I’m the Juggernaut, bitch” was forever) has been trolling society in one way or another since like 1984, so it’s not surprise that he’d respond to Michael Cole’s stupid question of “Hi Vinnie Jones, star of The Condemned” with a borderline Ren and Stimpy thing about how HE’S the star of ‘at movie, NOT STONE COLD, and also in real life he beat Stone Cold up.
The crowd didn’t really seem to care (if you remember, we saw the full, director’s cut trailer for The Condemned four times on every show between 2007 and 2009), to the point that I wanted Vinnie to start shoving down Stunts Granny and tearing up autograph books. SKULLDUGGERY? OY DID MORE SKULLS THAN ‘IM I DO
Best: Coming Up With A Reason For Why Deuce And Domino Exist
At one point JBL is all THEY GOTTA COME OUT HERE WITH THIS STUPID GIMMICK BUT BELIEVE ME DEUCE AND DOMINO ARE FOR REAL. And while “Seven-ing” them was probably the best call, trying to figure out why they exist is way more fun. I have two theories:
1. They are 1950s enthusiasts, like those assholes you know who wear cat eye glasses and pomade their hair because they didn’t develop a personality organically and ended up just picking one. Instant super heels. The only time you’re allowed to look like this after 1955 is in Pee-wee’s Playhouse.
2. The better theory: they aren’t 1950s enthusiasts, they’re time travelers FROM the 1950s and that old timey car they drive out is their time machine. They aren’t driving in from backstage, they’re arriving through a rip in the space-time continuum. That’s why you can hear 50s music in the background … it’s not a WWE entrance theme, it’s playing in real time wherever they come from. As you may have learned from movies, the only way you can tell when it’s the 1950s is if 1950s hits are playing.
Option two opens up a myriad of ideas why they’d want the tag team championships, ranging from a Sports Almanac-like power they’d get from bringing back future gold to a full reverse Marty McFly wherein they found out what happens with Chris Benoit and were trying to paradox the WWWF into never existing.
Read more about these ideas in Deuce And Domino: Many Waters, my latest sci-fi novel for WWE Press.
Worst: Cherry’s Rollerskates
Cherry is hot. Okay, she’s not hot, necessarily, but there’s something foxy about her. If you put her next to Maryse she’d look like a Saint Bernard, but if she was that busty blonde lady in her early 30s who waits tables with you and she’s kinda into 50s sh*t she would be top shelf tail.
THAT being said, Cherry has committed a Dynamic Dudes-level insult to wrestling fans by wearing rollerskates that don’t roll when she walks to the ring. I’m not sure I ever noticed it (or whether I just forgot noticing it, because seriously, it’s Cherry) but now that I do I can’t notice anything else.
Worst: London And Kendrick Really Could’ve Been Something Special
When I was young, my favorite tag team was the Rock n’ Roll Express. They were fast, they worked together well and they never gave up, even when they were getting the mullet grease beaten out of them. I didn’t realize that girls liked them because they were cute.
Fast forward to now, and the closest thing I think we’ve gotten to a viable Rock n’ Roll Express for a new generation was Paul London and Brian Kendrick, affectionately known on the Internet as “Londrick”, affectionately known elsewhere as guys who really like to smoke pot and f**k around on the indies. They were fast, they worked well together and they never gave up, not counting that one time Triple H beat them up singlehandedly for no reason. Brian Kendrick was probably the first guy I ever openly admitted to finding attractive, because Christ, the guy is basically a lady’s head on Aladdin’s body.
They held the tag team titles for a long time, and while that in itself is cool, the reality is that the tag titles they held were about as prestigious as those fake ones the Headbangers dragged around because the only people they ever wrestled were schlubs like KC James, Idol Stevens, Domino and Deuce. If they’d had a Midnight Express, they could’ve been special. If they’d had moments to let the crowd in on their weird ass personalities more than having them wear masks when they ran to the ring, they could’ve been special. If WWE Cruiserweight wrestling wasn’t a Korean hillbilly in jeans trading badly done top rope finishers with the worst ever Guerrero … well, you get the point.
If I could go back in time and rebook one WWE thing it would be London and Kendrick. And not to get too far into it, but I’d keep Michelle McCool a naughty teacher forever and turn Idol Stevens into Damien Sandow as quickly as f**king possible.
Worst: “Smash Mouth” Wrestling
Oh, right. Another bad thing about JBL’s commentary is how much he hates wrestling that isn’t “smash mouth”, i.e. punches and kicks and bodyslams. He’ll mention in passing that Kendrick is exciting to watch because he can counter a Doomsday Device into a victory roll for a pin but goes on and on with one of his screaming asides about how Deuce is the second coming of Bruiser Brody because he bodyslammed a guy.
Seriously, he spends the entirety of the Booker T/Kane match talking about how they’re “two of the best to ever sports entertain” and are totally “smash mouth”. And guess what? Outside of what he’s saying, the only two things I’ve ever associated with “smash mouth” are the XFL and the band Smash Mouth. Both of those things were terrible. Why do I want to wrestle like Smash Mouth?
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