– Comments, shares, likes, and especially Reddit submissions/up votes are appreciated. I will also accept Pinterest shares, if you are reading this and are Destiny.
– GIFS courtesy of Jerusalem at Punchsport Pagoda.
– If you’d like to laugh at something wrestling-related that ISN’T the Best and Worst of Raw report, make sure you check out my thorough gallery of old WCW promo photos. Part 2 is going up tomorrow, so check back for that, as well.
– (tomorrow is my birthday, don’t tell anybody)
(and don’t feel like you’ve got to fill up the comments section with birthday messages, just share these columns and stuff.)
– I am going to be LIVE AND IN THE HOUSE
AND THE ST. LOUIS ANARCHY REP IN THE REY DE VOLADORES TOURNAMENT for National Pro Wrestling Day in Philadelphia on February 2. If you want to hang out and say hi and see some great wrestling, come to this thing.
– Due to time restrictions I’m not going to be able to throw a Jack Swagger Of Mars into this week’s report, but all that means is that you’ll get a double-shot next week. Or I’ll just write all the middle chapters at once and put them in a big finale piece. Whatever you wanna do.
Until then, please click through for the Best And Worst Of WWE Raw for January 14, 2013.
Best: Good Guy Alberto Del Rio Might Go The Way Of The Miz, But For Now, I’m Going To Love Him
I think Big Show is the best WWE performer of the last year.
That’s a weird thing to type, but I think I mean it. Other people have had better matches, and better promos, and they’ve moved more merchandise or whatever, but I’m going to rank Show ahead of all of them, because he’s the guy who really seems to get how wrestling is supposed to work. Look at his feud with Cody Rhodes during WrestleMania. He allowed Cody to use actual, factual WWE history to mock and deride him and never felt the need to get the last word. If Cody had used old footage to make the Rock look stupid, Rock would’ve just said YEAH AND YOU’VE GOT A TOUCAN SAM ASSHOLE or whatever and everyone would’ve laughed, and Cody would’ve gotten Rock Bottomed. Show let the tensions build and allowed Cody to be SO UNBELIEVABLY DESERVING OF A PUNCH before punching him at Mania and ending the story.
Of course, that didn’t really end the story because wrestling stories NEVER end, but it worked. When he got into it with John Laurinaitis, he once again allowed himself to look weak and vulnerable, because it made sense. He knew Cody Rhodes was right about what a joke he’d been, and when he was humiliated and fired, he sold his soul to get his job back. That led through the Cena and Sheamus feuds, where Show knew he could be dominant (because he’s a f**king giant) but never forgot that humiliation and sadness were just around the corner, so he was all YEAH I’M GONNA KNOCK YOU OUT and “oh god, don’t let this happen again” simultaneously. How great is that? A complex, layered character who can be understood by the masses as “big guy who is strong and mean but also a coward.”
That’s where we join Show now. He lost the belt in a thrown-together match featuring non-wrestling situations (having a table turned over on him to keep him from getting up), and while a normal person might go “I want a rematch!” and just knock Del Rio out in a one-on-one (because Del Rio is TERRIBLE in the clutch), Show’s brain goes ALERT, ALERT, YOU’RE AN EMBARRASSMENT AGAIN. It’s like having an eating disorder. Even when you overcome it, you’re still gonna occasionally eat a big piece of cake and see the fattest person ever when you look in the mirror. Show goes to Vince in an attempt to right the wrong without the work (because he’s in panic mode), and both Vince and his opponents know the easiest way to take him off his game of being THE BIGGEST HARDEST TO BEAT TOUGHEST PUNCHING PERSON EVER is to childishly embarrass him.
All Ricardo has to do is threaten to throw water on him and Show’s all, “no, no you’d better not” from all the way across the ring. It’s not that he’s scared of Ricardo, he’s just f**king terrified of whatever’s in that bucket, because it means his doubts are validated and his true, glorious run is over for real. Ricardo motions with the bucket and Show FULL-ON FLINCHES. It’s just confetti, because The Harlem Globetrotters and of course it is, but that makes it worse. They didn’t humiliate him, like they might’ve with water … they’re just f**king with him.
So yeah, Big Show is the best character on pro wrestling TV. I hope he gets his win back over Del Rio at Royal Rumble, but I also kinda hope he doesn’t. I also want to see him get back his belt only to lose it to Ziggler on a cash-in. You know, in the same way I want to watch Don Draper cheat on his wife.
Worst: Vince McMahon < Ricardo Rodriguez
ALBERTO DEL RIAAAA!!
I do not believe for one second that the guy who told Carlito to “spic it up” when he talked is excited for a Mexican Heavyweight Champion.
Best: Holy Shit, Wade Barrett Just Pinned Randy Orton Clean
Raise your hand if you saw that finish coming. If your hand is up, you’re a f**king liar.
I guess it says something for Randy Orton’s star power that every clean loss he takes shocks me. This one was clean as a whistle, too … Wade Barrett out-wrestled him, tossed him into the post and hit his terrible Bullhammer elbow to get the pin in the middle of the ring. My only complaint (other than the Bullhammer) is that the announcers didn’t spend 15 minutes replaying it and doing Owen Voices about it, because it deserved it. It also should’ve been for the Intercontinental Championship, because Wade needs his own “I’ve beaten X Y and Z” list for any future CM Punk-stye declarations of greatness.
Also, remember when Wade called the Bullhammer “The Souvenir,” because it leaves you with something to remember him? He should have dumb sentences like that to explain all of his moves. If he’s gonna keep using a signature elbow pad he should change the Bullhammer to the “Dog Boner,” because when he’s ready to f**k you, the red comes out.
Worst: More Jokes About Eve Being A Whore, Or
Best: Eve Slapping Teddy Long In The Face
I didn’t like Eve trying to get out of a match stipulation by seducing Booker T, and I liked his pretend interest in it and laughter even less, but I LOVED Eve’s last interaction with blood rival Teddy being a slap to his stupid face, and I will watch it on loop forever.
That’s the best on-screen WWE slap in years. Not as good as the all-time king (the time Cherry slapped Maryse, and Maryse sold it like she was falling out of an airplane), but it was good.
Best: How Are You Enjoying This Raw, @TrueKofi?
Last week Kofi Kingston got knocked out in hilarious fashion, so this week he gets to sit at home and tweet stuff like “@JohnCena sure is good! #Raw20.” I approve of this career trajectory and hope it continues. By February we can have him standing outside during Great Khali matches, clapping his ass off.