/play Nickelback instrumental here
Did You Know? WWE has over 5,000,000 Facebook Fans, more than the NFL, ESPN, Major League Baseball, NASCAR, hamburgers, the sneezing panda, the What What In the Butt guy, Stove Top Stuffing, handlebar mustaches and the word “sports” COMBINED. 
Did You Know? WWE’s next pay-per-view event, Over The Limit, takes place in two weeks!
Did You Know? “Over The Limit” is a WWE pay-per-view? I think it’s the one where Raw faces Smackdown in a car race and the winner gets the prestigious “Over The Limit” trophy. I also think it’s the PPV where The Big Show is always turning on people. They should at least call it “In Your House: Over The Limit.”
Worst: Are We Sure This Wasn’t Taped Four Months Ago
Maybe I shouldn’t have tried to soldier through Raw immediately after the gym and only a few hours of sleep the previous night, but what happened, did I fall asleep in the afternoon and travel time? This Raw looked like a “WWE BEST OF 2010-2011” DVD, with Cena beating up Alex Riley to antagonize the Miz, Michael Cole making Jerry Lawler mad by insulting his dead mother, and a spotlight on the Mysterio/Del Rio, Swagger/Kingston and Punk/Big Show feuds. All we needed was for the That’s What I Am commercials to be The Chaperone (tagline: “I’m the chaperone!”) and we’d have been set.
Speaking of living in the past…
Worst: Either Have Michael Cole Skullf**k Jerry Lawler’s Mother on TV or Move On
I championed the Cole/Lawler angle for a few months, then spent about four years wishing it would stop. They had a match at Wrestlemania that was supposed to end in blood and piledrivers, but it couldn’t, and didn’t. So they had another match with less heat at the artist formerly known as Backlash, complete with straps for the lashing of backs, that should’ve ended with Cole being held down and beaten with a belt until he apologized. It didn’t end that way, so now we have to have a rushed little two week Lawler vs. Cole re-rematch for stipulations nobody outside of Lawler and Cole care about, and guess what? It isn’t going to end like it’s supposed to. It’s going to end with Cole winning Lawler’s Hall of Fame ring, getting inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame (by Lawler? Can Lawler do that?) and spending the NEXT pay-per-view cycle calling himself WWE Hall of Famer Sir Michael Cole.
Then, at Fatal 4-way we have to watch Michael Cole vs. Jerry Lawler vs. Jim Ross vs. Jack Swagger, with maybe Lawler’s crown and JR’s hat on the line, and Cole wins that with a roll-up after getting punched maybe once, and he can call himself WWE Hall of Famer Good Ol’ Sir Michael Cole. After that, Cole wins Money in the Bank (Mr. Money in the Bank, WWE Hall of Famer Good Ol’ Sir Michael Cole) and cashes in, somehow winning the WWE Championship with a roll-up on Jerry Lawler, and then we build to the big blow-off at Night of Champions where Lawler gets his “one last shot” at the WWE Championship, and nobody watches it.
And also Michael Cole wins that.
Best: Ricardo Rodriguez and Alberto Del Rio’s Reaction To Him
Raw’s opening segment (once again reinforcing the kayfabe idea that the Raw general manager doesn’t make any matches before the show and just waits for a bunch of guys to walk out when it starts and throw out some challenges … there’s like a huge single-file line of guys waiting to start off the show, but Ryder and Kaitlyn always show up late and never get on the show … also, if nobody starts off the show with a challenge, the Raw GM sends Michael Cole an e-mail that says RAW ROULETTE or BATTLE ROYAL FOR NOTHING) was fun. Alberto Del Rio and his personal ring announcer Ricardo Rodriguez continue to be a wonderful part of my wrestling program, especially now that their dynamic is evolving past “rich guy and his employee employed for arrogant purposes.”
Del Rio is easily the best addition to WWE programming in the last few years, and he’d win that if he never wrestled and just stood in the ring winking and making faces at people. Watching him get surprised, then turn and start clapping his hands with a big smile on his face when Ricardo interrupted the Miz with ALBERTOOOO DEEEEEEL RRRRRRIOOOO was tops. I love that Del Rio really seems to like Ricardo, and claps for him like he’s a disaffected parent with a talented child. It’s sort of like Lisa Simpson telling Snowball to “be the baby” for Nelson Muntz. And then he did this!
Ricardo Rodriguez is money, and until Archibald Peck ends up WWE Champion (and it will happen) he’s my favorite CHIKARA-alumni success story.
Best: John Morrison is Dead, So Let’s Forget About Him Forever
The best wrestling news of the week is that John Morrison was parkouring across the street and got murdered by an oncoming bus, simultaneously ending his life and disproving his parkour “overcome any obstacle in front of you” philosophy. Then I checked my facts (thanks a lot, Bleacher Report) and found out he was having neck surgery and would be out for a long time, which is also okay. I’m not happy that a human being is going through so much pain, but I am extremely happy that fictional character John Morrison assumedly broke his own neck a la the Joker in The Dark Knight Returns by flipping his hair out of the way after the attack on last week’s Raw. Maybe Morrison can learn to squirm around through some handrails while he’s in a wheelchair.
I’m hoping the rehabilitation process involves Morrison telling Melina that it’s okay if she wants to have sex with Mason Ryan, he understands, because he can’t really move. And then she looks up from Mason Ryan’s lap and is all “I’m sorry honey did you say something.”
Best: R-Truth Hates Hospital Food, Loves Animal Violence Relativism
I don’t know how they turned R-Truth from the worst guy on the show into the best with nothing more than their tried and true “you people are the cause!” heel turn, but they did, and I’m happy to have him. He’s absolutely on fire, in the best and worst possible ways. The show opens with Del Rio, who is great, and Mysterio, who is great but still sort of sounds like a animated sidekick dog when he talks. Then the Miz comes out and does his Miz thing, which I enjoy, and boom, R-Truth shows up with no music (but with a Stevie Richards-style music introduction quote) and starts rambling in this weird, condescending Mammy voice about hospital food and liver lips. “You kick my dog, Imma kick your cat” might replace “you come at the king you bess not miss” on my list of appropriated threats.
Also great about R-Truth this week: His facial expressions (especially when Rey Mysterio told him what was up, and he looked like he was going to explode into yellow and turn Super Saiyan), his new ring jacket that has information about R-Truth written all over it, his advice to John Morrison regarding constipation, and the fact that he did not wrestle.
Worst Part of R-Truth This Week: He Still Hates Mexicans
Oh, yeah. I remember you in Arizona, Truth, and I still don’t like this part. Also, the Miz is from Cleveland, jerk.
Best: Mason Ryan Running
I love watching him run. He just can’t seem to do it. He looks like he’s a fat kid running toward the edge of a swimming pool for a cannonball. I also like to hear him talk. He sounds like he’s speaking in tongues. Basically what I’m trying to say is that Mason Ryan terrible at everything except wearing tanktops and passing wellness inspections. I love it. Sure, he’s Batis-2, but he doesn’t have Big Dave’s early “so bad I’m F**KING BAD” period.
Best: John Cena Likes Zack Ryder
I like him, too! Zack Ryder has become the first New Media WWE Superstar, and if he’s popular enough to stay employed and keep getting paid but unpopular enough to never be on television, I say good for him. He gets the Beth Phoenix job coast, where he doesn’t have to do anything and still gets ten years of groupies and huge houses. Not that Beth Phoenix gets groupies. That world would be too beautiful to live in.
As for now, he gets a bunch of front row fan signs, he gets to pump his fist in onscreen cameos because people like Cena (but not The Rock) like him, and he occasionally gets to kick ass against somebody like Yoshi Tatsu (or whoever) on Superstars. That’s a good life. You know it.
Worst: Santino Has Three Moves, Total
When Santino first got the Cobra over as a thing and was the 39th person eliminated from the Royal Rumble, I convinced myself that he was going somewhere, and that he was living up to that impossible precedent he set for himself as a low-level comedy creep. The Cobra started showing up in every match — even Tamina was doing it — and I laughed. Then he stopped wrestling (almost entirely) so he could just stomp into the ring and do the Cobra, and I made an unpleasant face and realized the Creative Monster that we’d helped create by enjoying him. Dolph Ziggler had the easiest job of the night: take Santino’s hip toss (one move), try to hit him and miss because of a James Brown split (two moves), and try to avoid move three, a poke to the head with fingers. He did that, and was able to win in about a minute forty.
Santino Marella is now Bachman Turner Overdrive, and the WWE Universe is Homer Simpson, yelling “GET TO THE WORKING OVERTIME PART.”
Worst: Why is Everybody So Orange
I guess there’s one day every few months when the ol’ Tanning Spray Truck backs up to a WWE Arena, and Vince McMahon opens it up and starts windmilling his arm, yelling COME AND GET IT, BOYS. Mason Ryan breaks a bottle of it over his head, and Dolph Ziggler starts swimming around in it like he’s some sort of perverse Jersey Shore Scrooge McDuck. I made a joke about Ziggler looking like Evan Bourne with his new haircut, but no, last night he looked like f**king Tigger. All he needed to do was hit the Zig Zag on Santino and yell THAT’S WHAT ZIGGLERS DO BEST!
Best: Kharma’s Implant Buster ’91
Every move performed on Eve from now on needs to involve her being pushed a little higher into the air, then dropped directly on her face. If I didn’t have tons of reasons to love the Awesome Kong (her run in HUSTLE, being best friends with Cheerleader Melissa, making ten minutes of TNA fun to watch for about a year and a half) this would be near the top. Look at this thing. She should start trying to legitimately hurt these girls* so the Divas division can be her, Melissa, Miyako Matsumoto and, I don’t know, Portia Perez? Ah screw this report, I’m gonna go play Fire Pro.
*I do not endorse anyone other than John Morrison being hurt on purpose.
Worst: Kharma Needs To Do Something Now
While I do enjoy her slowly walking to the ring and staring people into submission while Divas scatter, we’re a few weeks into Kharma now and should probably start establishing who she is and why she’s doing what she’s doing. We don’t need a novella detailing her backstory or anything, but a quick piece where Scott F’n Stanford asks her why she’s stalking Kelly Kelly (of all people) and gets scared away would go a long way. I really don’t want her to fall into WWE’s very real trap of thinking “mean person!” is a legitimate television character.
Worst: Stop Letting Kane Wrestle
Kane, in some form or another, has been around since 1992. He had one okay match with Bret Hart and one okay match with Chris Benoit, and that’s it. He’s tired, lost any sort of gravitas when X-Pac and Tori made jokes about his “burnt wiener,” and is starting to look like Baron Von Raschke. You guys are all into retirement matches now, have Triple H and the Undertaker in a Career vs. Streak match at next year’s Wrestlemania, with the added stipulation that Kane must retire no matter what happens.
Best: Rey Mysterio
I fell asleep as last night’s main event started (I can only watch Kane wrestle so much before I black out), but upon watching it this morning (via completely legal means) I was reminded of how Rey Mysterio might just be the best pro wrestler of all time. I’m enough of an esoteric nerd to know he can’t make wrestling real like Jumbo Tsuruta did, and he doesn’t perform on the “grandest stage” like Shawn Michaels did, and he couldn’t put on a four star match with a broom like pre-Undead Nightmare Ric Flair could. He sounds like he should be living in a pineapple under the sea when he speaks. But as far as “pro wrestling” is concerned, is there anybody else who can do what Mysterio does?
The guy has been a fantastic in-ring performer since he was 14-years old. He revolutionized the state of junior heavyweight wrestling in the United States, and (no matter what the Internet says) was a big reason why WCW and Nitro were so popular in the 90s. He showed up in WWE seemingly at the twilight of his career, then made an entirely NEW career for himself, adapting to WWE style better than the Bryan Danielsons of the world could ever hope to, getting swoll (twice, if you count that thing with the No Limit Soldiers) and winning a World Heavyweight Championship. He’s won nearly every accolade you can win in wrestling, and at 36 he’s still bumping like a freak and putting on exciting matches, all within the boundaries of the WWE’s Made Movie. He’s just great at pro wrestling, and outside of Jushin Thunder Liger I can’t think of a person who has done more in as many places for this long.
Also Best: Alberto Del Rio
But you already know that.
Worst: I Don’t Write Best and Worst of Smackdown, So Here’s Where I Complain About Christian
What am I supposed to say? The video package where they faded into Optimus Prime grey every time Christian was about to get pinned was great. I think if they’re going to smoosh the brands back together, putting the title on Orton for an iconic Cena vs. Orton title unification match at SummerSlam (or whenever) is the right move. I’m not the Internet, you know? I don’t really know how to say what I’m feeling. A wrestling title change hasn’t made me mad since Homicide took the ROH title off of American Dragon, and I find it hard after all the David Arquettes and hastily-pushed mid-carders with consequence-less title runs to get as upset as most. Do I think Christian shoud’ve lost on Smackdown? No, of course not. I don’t even think Edge should’ve helped him win it.
Chris Jericho tweeted about how people are overreacting, because this is probably just the first part of a bigger storyline. First of all, I’m disappointed in Chris Jericho for saying “storyline.” Second of all, yeah, I would believe this was the first chapter in a longer story if WWE Creative could write a pamphlet to completion without accidentally setting their offices on fire. So this is where I’m at: I’m willing to see where this goes, and hopefully Christian will get something positive out of it. At least now he can show up at indies when he’s 50 as “former World Heavyweight Champion Christian.” If he doesn’t? I’m going to write about how mad I am, a lot.
I’m willing to go to the papers if I have to.