The Best And Worst Of WWE Raw 12/19: Our QA Team Drops The Ball!

12.20.11 5 years ago 62 Comments

Hey there, friends!

– As I’m sure you’re all aware by now, Brandon took the week off in order to celebrate his girlfriend Destiny’s birthday. I know some of you might not think it’s a valid reason to skip out on writing jokes about pro wrestling, but it’s something I totally understand. I know when I celebrate the birth of a DT, writing is almost a logistical impossibility. Y’know, on account of the violent, involuntary shaking and the formication paranoia. Keep a vigilant eye out for those silverfish, Brandon!

– Anyway, my name is Justin O’Connor. I’m not Brandon, but I’m a lot like him. Well, in the same way Mega Bloks are a lot like LEGO. I might not be what you wanted, but I’m “close enough,” and since your parents are inattentive monsters you’ll have to just suck it up and find some use for those awful brown and green pieces. Like, say, attempting to swallow them until you get the toys you asked for in the first place. Or until the school places you under precautionary care and you’re not allowed to open a carton of chocolate milk without adult supervision.

– What I’m getting at is if you guys squint really hard and skim through the pop culture references fast enough, you might be able to delude yourselves into not being able to tell the difference. If that doesn’t work, you’re probably best off treating this week’s column like a regular Brandon column; except you just found out he’s underwent severe head trauma and now everyone’s just being polite by telling him how great he’s doing “in spite of his condition,” between giving one another “holy sh*t” eyes. Trust me, it’ll be easier for everyone involved.

– I don’t have any personal stuff to plug, so you’re off the hook this week. Not really though. Leave a comment.

Now that the formalities are out of the way, let’s tell some jokes about pro graps!

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Best: Oh Come On. Daniel Bryan Is The World Champion

I’ve got to hand it to WWE. When Brandon asked me to fill in for him a few weeks ago I accepted because I expected two hours of easy jokes about Kelly Kelly wondering how to pour the vodka out of her Slammy award, getting frustrated and throwing it into a pile with all the other expensive stuff she’s been given and doesn’t appreciate. Though, in her defense, the manner by which one procures alcohol from any given object is important. I mean, we can’t expect sinks to just pee into themselves, can we?

At no point during the interim did I expect to be tasked with recapping a show where the opening segment would feature WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION DANIEL BRYAN. Granted, I wasn’t especially concerned until last night’s Pay-Per-View. Not only was the show good of its own merit, but I also had this whole aside correlating Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez to Bertie Wooster and Reginald Jeeves of P.G. Wodehouse fame. Of course, I had to scrap it when that glorious, subservient bastard launched himself through a table made of the wood used to construct those toy planes you get as a prize from the dentist for not being an indignant little shit. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that doing things like “brushing your teeth” and “making an effort to prepare for a writing assignment” simply aren’t worth the hassle.

So not only was I deprived of the chance to pathetically champion my own hyper-literacy (and chew solid food when I’m 30,) but I wasn’t even afforded the consolation of laughing about how Raw began with an awkward John Cena promo. Instead of flailing at random keys to describe how Cena fumbled through an uncomfortable transition from a cringe-worthy Lyte Funky Ones (or whomever) reference into why he’s SO SERIOUS ABOUT HIS UPCOMING MATCH AT THE NEXT PAY-PER-VIEW, WHICH IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN HIS MATCH AT THE LAST PAY-PER-VIEW BECAUSE HE ALREADY GOT YOUR MONEY FOR THAT ONE, SO F**K IT (UNTIL IT’S RELEASED ON DVD EXCLUSIVELY THROUGH WAL-MART,) I get to talk about how legitimately incredible it was to begin Raw with CM Punk, Zack Ryder and HOLY SHIT YOU GUYS, WORLD CHAMPION BRYAN DANIELSON!!1

Say what you will about how stagnant Punk’s character has become since Money in the Bank (ex: “Punk’s character sure has become stagnant since Money in the Bank,”) but last night’s promo did more to solidify both Ryder and Bryan as championship-caliber competitors in literal seconds than the past few months of television, ostensibly scripted by people who get paid in legal tender, to solidify people like Ryder and Bryan as championship-caliber contenders. The whole thing was so gratifying, I’m not even going to bother getting mad about how borderline-embarrassing it is to feel validated by actually hearing the words “professional” and “wrestling” spoken in tandem by a professional wrestler during the professional wrestling television show.

Granted, the pessimist in me is most certainly waiting for the other shoe to drop, on account of the past ten years of WWE, but right now I’m content to allow the phrase “Daniel Bryan: World Heavyweight Champion” to roll around in my brain like that final moment of perfect, drunken lucidity before “one more shot” turns into a “3 AM hospital visit” and an “involuntary psychological evaluation.”

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Best: You Delivered That Promo All By Yourself, John! I’m So Proud Of You!

It’s been said in this column before, but John Laurinaitis is absolutely hysterical. It almost feels like a violation of my Smark Credibility to revile the man as a human being but love him so much as a performer, but there’s just something so funny about the way he mumbles through his segments with absolutely no adherence to any sort of cadence. He just speeds up and slows down his speech patterns with no regard for things like “timing” or “delivery,” and instead of asserting himself as an authority figure, he sounds more like a divorced father trying to discipline his fighting children while not wanting to seem “uncool.”

I don’t know whether it’s natural or if he’s the most brilliant thespian of our generation, but I can’t wrap my mind around how every time he picks up a microphone it’s like he’s just discovering he can do this thing where his vocal chords vibrate and resonate off his tongue, projecting sounds for other people to hear. And every time he manages to prattle off nonsense about “dubduuheee unnivursss” his plastic caricature-of-a-President-mask face lights up like he can’t believe he did it.

His current run as GM in itself was almost enough to make me forgive him for subjecting the world to like a billion straight weeks of watching the lesbian incest twins attempt to bang prestigious celebrity talent like the non-Single Guy guy from Weekend at Bernie’s or whomever, but then he had to go and give me (ME!) a Christmas present in the form of a swank six-man tag. It’s probably the best gift I’ve received since the year my mom got me that box full of non-refundable aluminum cans and liquor store receipts.

Best: Wade Barrett: King Of The Midway Heels

I’ve watched hundreds of desperate indy wrestlers throw themselves through tables, fly off of ladders and get stabbed in the face only to transform magically from robots into blingwads; all in an effort to make names for themselves, and in one fell swoop Wade Barrett plugs Randy Orton in the eye with his thumb, undoes all that and transports me back to a time where I’m marking because George Hackenschmidt is wrestling a bear on the carnival midway. Also, I’m wearing a punched-out top hat and roasting a single bean over a fire in some transient work camp.

It’s such a simple thing, but there’s nothing wrong with going back to the classics. Hell, Wade’s current run works so well specifically because he’s gone back to the drawing board. He’s a heel motivated by a desire to win a championship, because championships equal money, and money equals not subsisting upon cat food once he’s sixty-five years old. Some might call it underhanded, but I call it fiscally responsible.

When did Wade get so good at being an actual wrestler, by the way? He could always talk, obviously, but I’m 100% convinced his in-ring ability holds a direct correlation to how foppish his hair is becoming.

Frankly, I think they should go all-out and fit him for a doublet, frilly shirt and a pair of buckled breeches. Wade could become the 1600′s equivalent to when Brent Albright started wrestling for Ring of Honor and would come out in these ridiculous leather-daddy trench coats. We used to call Brent the “gay basher,” because he looked like an openly homosexual male who wouldn’t tolerate any guff given to him in regard to his sexual proclivities. That’s what wrestling needs if it really wants to get progressive. An openly gay wrestler who doesn’t define himself by his sexuality and will bloody your ignorant nose if you try and start some shit.

Worst: Your Beth Phoenix Match Doesn’t Jive With My Reality

Sorry, but any Beth Phoenix match which doesn’t end in five seconds via Beth employing a Mortal Kombat fatality and ripping her opponent’s vertebrate out through their mouth isn’t a match I’m interested in watching. I don’t think I’m being overly dramatic, either. I understand we’re in the PG era and all, so I wouldn’t be upset if, say, WWE were to pull a Nintendo and only allow Beth to gingerly uppercut Alicia Fox into a pit of Punji sticks covered with diseased animal stool. Sometimes you’ve got to be willing to grant concessions.

Best: Foxy SHAZAM!

I really hope Alicia Fox’s attempt to get “foxy” over as a thematically-appropriate adjective extends beyond the holiday season. I can’t wait until she’s wishing us all a “FOXY Amelia Earhart Day” or whatever.

Best: Jamster

Does anyone think it’s totally hilarious that at this very moment, thousands of parents’ cell phones are being stuffed full of spam texts on account of the Jamster ads they were running last night? Basically, Jamster bought commercial time during Raw and used it to promote their pay-per-text “find out your wrestling name” service. It’s not unlike any of the hundreds of other banal services they offer, but what made this one great was that they went so far as to license the Raw theme and design a partially-obscured knock-off “U Can’t C Me” t-shirt. It was all a thinly-veiled ploy to trick children into charging absurd amounts of money to their parents’ cell phone bills, and they did so knowing full-well that Michelle Tanner wouldn’t be around to educate kids about proper phone etiquette.

Worst: No J.D. Roth, No Dice

Oh, cool! A show on WWE Network called Legends House! I can’t wait to watch J.D. Roth coerce a team of brain-damaged cripples into writhing through a kiddie pool full of cat food where they’ll grope wildly for hidden bottles of Oxycodone! Wait, you mean that’s not the show’s premise? Am I at least going to get to watch Iron Sheik piss himself and threaten to rape the CGI visage of Bruno Sammartino? No?

Yeah, I’ll pass.

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