– Before you read this week’s report, make sure to stop over and read The Best And Worst Of WWE No Mercy 2012. You guys are always bugging me to do pay-per-view reports, so get over there and comment/like/share and what have you. If you don’t read that, you won’t know what’s going on on Raw! Haha yes you will
– Thanks to Casey of Hammerlock Dialectic for maximum Gif-age.
– If you just tune in to With Leather for the wrestling reports, make sure not to miss With Spandex episode 6, where I talk to WWE Superstar Derrick Bateman. I’m trying to get the podcast over as a thing, so help me out.
Because I promised you two columns this week, enjoy the Best And Worst Of WWE Raw for June 18, 2012. A single tear.
Worst: Mick Foley Is Great, But Not Interesting
… with a smaller, less professional Worst for that angle they shot from as he was walking to the ring. I thought, “Jesus, what happened to Mick?” and then they moved the camera up and stopped framing him to look like Mark Henry’s back.
I think I wrote about this at length the last time Mick was on Raw, but he just doesn’t seem special anymore. He’s a legitimately awesome guy, one of my favorite wrestlers ever, the sport’s greatest feminist and a welcomed addition to any pro wrestling show, but at some point his legendary status as “cool guy who did dangerous shit back in the day” morphed into “one of the old guys from TNA” so he’s actually got to be doing something special for me to see him that way. Rowdy Roddy Piper is very similar. These guys can still really contribute to your show, you don’t need to cart them out every four months for a “heh, remember this guy” Sgt. Slaughter thing.
It also doesn’t help that Commissioner Foley was the worst ever version of Mick, and that includes the Abyss Disappointing TNA Mick and the Lost In Cleveland amnesia version “Swampy” sees. If we’re bringing back past GMs, bring back William Regal next and let him stay forever.
Worst: Tonight On Raw, A Main Eventers Tag Match And A Handicap John Cena Thing!
Raw had a lost of Bests, so I feel bad starting it off with two straight Worsts, but building the show around four unrelated main eventers tagging against each other, booking multiple “wrestler wanders away from the ring” endings and main-eventing a John Cena handicap match that ends with him winning and humiliating an old non-wrestler is the most obvious, predictable, lazy Raw outline ever. It’s what I’d write if I was making a joke about the obvious things I’d see on Raw. That’s a first draft, not what should end up on screen. Wrestling has hundreds and hundreds of predictable stories and moments that work, you don’t always have to go for the same five.
Kayfabe suggestion for WWE: Instead of bringing back all the old authority figures, bring in somebody new who thinks impromptu tag matches and battles royal for title shots are dumb and see what they come up with. CM Punk likes to complain about John Laurinaitis not being creative, let’s see what he’d do with a Raw. Worst case scenario, we get one of those Randy Orton lingerie fashion shows. Best case scenario, we get to see Ryback ryback Colt Cabana and Ace Steel.
Best: Blockbuster Tag Matches Are Great, But Not Interesting
So like I said, the concept is tired, but it’s hard to not enjoy a tag team match involving Best In The World CM Punk, Actual Best In The World Daniel Bryan, Worker Boots Kane and perfectly acceptable World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus. Tag team matches are an easy way to build momentum, and when you put a bunch of guys who can go into them, they can really get going.
I’ve watched so many Raws now and written about them so much that sometimes I start to drift away in the middle of these. I think I played a round of Scramble With Friends for absolutely no reason about three minutes in. That’s my fault, though, because I am a Stupid Dummy with capital letters for not celebrating the first 30 minutes of Raw having 15-ish minutes of Daniel Bryan chinlocks and superplexes in it. This was good, and the kind of thing I’ll find tape of on Thursday afternoon or whatever and really love. More wrestling, please!
Best: “AJ Is Just Like Harley Quinn!” – Everybody
Near the end of the match, AJ skips down the ramp in a f**king Kane mask and some red and black yoga pants and the UPROXX commenting system explodes because that is the exact thing we joked about happening. “AJ should come out dressed like Kane!” we’d say, holding in a deep laugh and downing a 32-ounce Mountain Dew in a Miz 7-11 cup. “We know how to run the wrestling!” And then it happens, and we’re all OH GOD and start frantically digging through our air vents like Jesse Bradford in Hackers.
But yeah, this happened. This really happened. Maybe next we can get a backstage segment where AJ announces she’s vegan, then bites into the face of a living goat.
I don’t know if AJ’s yearly bonus is going to be a card with “several years of employment” written on it, but she’s knocking this story out of the park and leaving everything she’s got in the ring, or in a weird path around it. I’ve never been able to settle on whether or not I like where she’s gone, and I think that inability to focus on a judgment is the biggest compliment I can give her. She’s making something interesting, when by all accounts it should’ve been dismissively wanked away as a worst last month.
If only we could get her in matches against other Divas and remember that Crazy Chick™ is a wrestler description and not a category on OK Cupid, we’d be set.
Best: Combo Finishers
Combo finishes are great, and the kind of thing you try to do with guys in video games before you realize the hit detection is wonky and interrupting the final 0.5 seconds of the Go To Sleep animation with a Brogue Kick just registers as “breaking it up”. WWE Super Tag Teams in main event impromptu tags should be built around how cool their finishes would look together.
The Go To Sleep into the Brogue Kick was great, and convinced even the biggest Daniel Bryan fan (me) that he was dunzo. I want to see more of this. I want to see Daniel Bryan put a guy into the YES Lock only for Ryback to pick them both up and Muscle Bust them. I want to see The Rock and R-Truth do their finishers to a guy at the same time, leading to a triple knockout.