The Best And Worst Of WWE Raw 8/20/12: Tonight's The Night (To Retire Via Tout)

08.22.12 5 years ago 184 Comments
Brock Lesnar King Of Kings WWE

Pre-show notes:

– Before you read the Best And Worst Of WWE Raw column, make sure you check out the Best And Worst Of WWE SummerSlam 2012, my live event recap including exclusive photos, encounters with Sheamus and open, gratuitous mouth-loving for THQ and WWE ’13. It was a great weekend, and I’m pretty happy with how anecdotal the whole thing turned out. Give it a read, a comment, a like and a fourth thing of your choosing.

– When you’re done Social Media Ambassadoring that post, make sure to click the like button and leave a comment on this column. Those things mean a lot to the life of the report, so if you want to keep them going and not devolve into a crummy “ziggler went for a cover, jericho kicked out at 2” thing, show some love.

– Follow us on Twitter @withleather, follow me personally @MrBrandonStroud and like us on Facebook.

– Also, don’t forget, the With Leather Pro Wrestling Community is having its first get-together at Chikara’s King Of Trios 2012 in Easton, Pennsylvania, so if you’re anywhere in the area or are coming in for the show, let us know so we can high-five you. It’s going to be a grand time.

Anyway, please to enjoy the Best And Worst Of WWE Raw for August 20, 2012.

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Best: The Master Of The Brocktagon

I have to preface the report by mentioning how tired I was watching the show. I jumped into a van headed to LAX at 7:15 on Monday morning and didn’t walk through my front door in Austin until about 6:45 that evening, roughly 15 minutes before Raw started. Flying West to East is a drag because you lose hours of your day, and when you factor in the negative 9 minute layover I had in Houston completely eliminating any chance for me to have lunch, I was on 10-ish hour travel schedule with two plastic cups of water in my stomach. It wasn’t fun.

So I blanked out for large parts of this Raw, and if I missed some glorious Heath Slater Intercontinental Championship win or something, don’t tell me. The reason I mention it here is because my favorite segment of the night was the opening, partially because it was the most energy I had all night and mostly because it was 15 minutes of Paul Heyman saying names over and over and making up nicknames as he went. Sample dialogue:


And so on. It was like that time Zack Morris recorded subliminal messages so everyone at Bayside would think he was a 10 and the blonde Tom Cruise. I’m not sure why Heyman had to say Brock’s full name in every sentence, but it worked. I was very clear about this man’s name. He is a variety of things. It was the PERFECT WORD STORM. Brandon Stroud thought it was great. BRANDON STROUD COULD’VE LISTENED TO IT ALL DAY.

Best: And The Academy Award For Besting Acting By A Referee In A Sports-Entertainment Program Goes To … Scott Armstrong!

I don’t think I mentioned it in the SummerSlam report, but I really hated Triple H’s clandestine backstage segment with Scott Armstrong. His whole “bend the rules so we can have a fight to the finish” thing was melodramatic and dumb, and I wanted Armstrong to respond to “the only way this match is gonna end is by pinfall or submission” with “I know how wrestling works. My job is to end matches by pinfall or submission. You guys are the ones who linger around the ring and hit each other with shit, how about you don’t do that and I’ll call the match like a referee”. I also would’ve accepted, “what about a knockout?”

But when Scott Armstrong got called down to the ring, I felt for the guy. I felt TERROR for him. There was something really nightmarish about Lesnar not speaking for himself, and Paul Heyman repeatedly doing that BROCK LESNAR WISHES TO SPEAK WITH YOU thing, like Brock’s f**king Pyramid Head or whatever. I had no idea what Brock was going to do … I thought he was just gonna break another arm, because Lesnar’s only two playable WWE scenarios right now are “quit” and “break somebody’s arm”. Even the smile and “good job” seemed ominous, and I think that speaks to Brock’s credibility — he really does seem like a guy who would bully and hurt you for no reason, because he can. And not pretend hurt you either. Really, really hurt you.

I always thought that referees should be subtle characters with different styles and personalities, because matches (especially WWE matches) could stand to have a few extra variables. Scott Armstrong would be great as the former wrestler who is gunshy and does what wrestlers want because his first two major on-screen interactions as a Ref Of Note were against crazy water-spitting sledgehammer guy and crazy prairie-dog-murdering monster frat boy guy.

Best: Hey, Cody Rhodes Is On Raw Again!

Raw’s crummy six man mid-card filler match had two great Bests this week:

1. That clip of Little Jimmy getting a Gatorade bath after R-Truth’s SummerSlam victory, because that is f**king hilarious, and

2. Cody Rhodes!

Cody is a valuable card in WWE’s hand, and I barely ever get to see him anymore because a combination of piped-in crowd noises and Being On On Friday makes me never watch Smackdown. Cody being in a feud with Sin Cara is a great idea, because Cody’s obsession with image and masks works perfectly against a character who says and does nothing, and because Cody can work his ass off and make Sin Cara look as good as he should look.

I’ve also got to give a small Best to Sin Cara for acting excited and making Fire Up hand gestures when he was onscreen instead of just standing still, pointing and spinning to his death like usual. Sin Cara’s going to work, I think. He just needs to stay okay and not screw up anything important until the Internet decides “Sin Cara botches” is an old meme.


David Otunga made his glorious return to Raw last night and accomplished two major goals: looking weird without his goatee and getting everyone in WWE to say “Holly Berry” instead of Halle Berry. Okay, three goals … he continued my slow burn turn on AJ Lee.

Worst: General Manager AJ Is Really Shitting In My Cereal

I’m going to write about this at length later (argh, don’t make me do it) (I am so sick of writing about this) (gonna just start recapping old Chikara tapes), but nothing gets my goat worse in Modern WWE than a heel acting like a completely rational, reasonable person and getting treated like ass by a childish, asinine good guy. Here, David Otunga made his return, offering his legal counsel to AJ (his Harvard EDUCATED legal counsel), saying he’d drop a fast lawsuit on anybody who called AJ crazy. AJ hears the word “crazy” and puts him in a match of her choosing against The Big Show, who murders him. Because she’s upset that he said “crazy”. That he said I DON’T LIKE IT WHEN OTHER PEOPLE CALL YOU CRAZY AND WANT TO HELP YOU. Otunga should’ve said “why don’t you try listening to the OTHER words in the sentence”, shaken his head and sipped his coffee.

This is why I liked John Laurinaitis so much. He’s the only General Manager in recent memory who seemed like he was trying to do his job. He was an asshole, sure, and completely clueless, but a GM who wants to make exciting matches and “please the people” while clearly trying to further his personal success in the background is a clear, identifiable character. The reason Vince was fired (and Triple H was fired … and John Laurinaitis was fired) was because he was so caught up in personal vendettas. AJ has done nothing since becoming GM besides personally vendetta all over everybody and waste time skipping around sticking her fingers in her mouth. It’s agonizing, and she had no reason to be an asshole to Otunga.

But of course, David Otunga has done heel things in the past and is backdoor bragging instead of bragging for cheers, so he “deserves it”, I guess.

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Worst: Jinder, Close The Window, Bro

I still like the basic idea of the Jinder Mahal/The Ryback feud — Ryback shows up and destroys a bunch of nobodies, Jinder takes offense because ANYBODY could destroy those nobodies, and he’s right, but he’s underestimating Ryback’s actual potential — but Jinder committed an unforgivable crime on Raw: not closing the window.

I’m not a pro wrestler but I spent some time in pro wrestling school (because you should always at least attempt to know what the hell you’re writing about), and one of the first goddamn things they taught me was to “close the window” … to bring your arms in close and eliminate those gigantic gaps of space between your arms and the thing you’re supposed to be hurting on the other guy, because it’s not supposed to really hurt them, but it’s supposed to f**king LOOK like it hurts. You’d think “make it look like it hurts” would be the most obvious thing about learning to wrestle, but here’s Jinder Mahal putting on a camel clutch ON RAW by clasping his hands together like 8 inches in front of Ryback’s chin and Chicken Dancing his elbows out as far as he can. Ryback’s grimacing and trying to sell it because that’s his job, but Jinder is not doing him any favors.

Cena does this with the STF all the time, like he’s trying to crush your head with his forearms instead of locking the face (the “F” part). Maybe the announcers could’ve been like “Jinder’s too confident so he’s not locking the hold in tightly enough” instead of LOOK AT THE POWER OF JINDER MAHAL BLERGH so Ryback powering out would’ve had some logic behind it and the ACTUAL camel clutch could still have some worth. Who am I kidding? I’m surprised Cole and Lawler even know who Jinder Mahal is. There’s an 80% chance Lawler thinks he’s Alberto Del Rio in a turban.

Worst: Sheamus Is The Worst Person In The World

Ah crap, here’s one of those places where I have to write about WWE babyfaces being a dog’s asshole. Nope, not gonna do it.

To briefly recap what happened at SummerSlam, Sheamus (the good guy, because he’s great and white) hit Alberto Del Rio (the bad guy, because he’s great and not) with a shoe and covered him for a pin. Del Rio brought Ricardo into the ring and introduced the shoe, so that’s not the bad part. The bad part is that Del Rio got his foot on the rope before the three count and Sheamus got away with it anyway, even after everyone saw the replay. Sheamus posed and cheered as Del Rio “whined” in the ring, because someone wronging you is only valid if you’re likable.

On Raw, Ricardo tried to distract the referee in the ADR/Randy Orton match and Sheamus ran him off, which is perfectly cromulent. Del Rio runs up and Carlitos Orton, covers him for the pin, Orton gets his foot on the rope. The referee is out of position and doesn’t see it, so Sheamus REACHES INTO THE RING TO GRAB THE REFEREE and direct him to the foot on the rope. The referee thinks it’s PERFECTLY FINE to be GRABBED BY A WRESTLER FROM OUTSIDE THE RING AND TOLD WHAT TO DO. Del Rio is rightfully enraged, which leaves him open for an Ace Crusher, and he loses. Jerry Lawler’s call: “Good job!” Sheamus is all AW SHUCKS about it and Del Rio gets what he deserves.

You know, for being cheated at SummerSlam. Draw your own conclusions. There’s nothing else on Raw that will make me write about how these guys are awful babies, I’m sure of it.

Best: Antonio Cesaro’s Celebratory SummerSlam Tout

Antonio Cesaro is right behind Derrick Bateman as my favorite WWE Touter. I want him and Aksana to do their Foreign Language Bit about it.

Cesaro: “Tout!”

Aksana: “In Russian!”

Cesaro: “Tout!”

Aksana: “In Chinese!”

Cesaro: “Tout!”

Aksana: “In Polish!”

Cesaro: “Tout!”

Aksana: “In French!”

Cesaro: “le tout”

Alternate punchline –

Aksana: “In German!”

Cesaro: “Touterschaftverhütungsmittel!”

Best: Damien Sandow Beat You In Less Than Three Minutes, Fat Man

Come on, at least let me get off the page before I have to write about this again.

Damien Sandow, my intellectual savior and martyr, has sneak-attacked Brodus Clay over the last few weeks. Brodus wanted a straight-up one-on-one match to destroy Sandow, even mentioning during the WWE ’13 panel how he was excited to have Sandow in the game so he could slap him around any time he wanted. Brodus finally gets that match on Raw and Sandow pins him in less than three minutes with a roll-up. In response to the loss, Brodus attacks Sandow, splashes him and dances with a bunch of kids.

I don’t understand any of this. They’re f**king with me at this point. Sandow is clearly the bad guy here, but instead of getting another match to even the score of a Night Of Champions thing when his leg is totally healed, Brodus just Pearl Harbors Sandow for no reason other than poor-ass sportsmanship and then INVITES CHILDREN INTO THE RING TO DANCE WITH HIM LIKE HE’D WON. And the kids dance, because they’re stupid kids and weren’t paying attention anyway. I would’ve killed for one kid, just ONE KID to wander away from the dance party to check on Sandow.

Worst: “The Tights”

damien_sandow_tightsThe justification for Brodus’ attack, of course, is that Sandow “cheated” to win by “grabbing the tights”.

I want you to look at that picture on the right. The idea behind “pulling the tights” is to get unfair leverage on a guy so he can’t kick out. How much leverage does it look like Damien Sandow has here, and how much MORE leverage do you think he got closing his hand with 1/1000th of Clay’s singlet in it? Brodus outweighs him by like 200 pounds. If that minuscule amount of leverage (“leverage”) kept Brodus from kicking out, that’s on him. It’s certainly not a crime warranting a sneak attack and a bunch of children dancing on your grave.

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Worst: Shawn Michaels Looks In Triple H’s Closet, Finds His Old Shirt, Clutches It, Bursts Into Tears

Okay, I gave this video a Worst, but it’s also an ironic Best for being the funniest moment of Raw.

WWE visits Shawn Michaels in his home in San Antonio, because having your arm broken means you can’t leave your house. Shawn mournfully recounts the “end of an amazing career” for Triple H, a guy who is in control of the company, beat the WWE Champion less than a year ago, came closer than anyone ever has to beating the Undertaker at WrestleMania less than six months ago and went 30 minutes with an unstoppable MMA monster and sent him stumbling away with vomit in his mouth LAST NIGHT. The coolest, toughest, smartest person in the room loses one match and gets hurt and suddenly we’ve got to set him adrift on a wooden raft and burn his body?

This is what I was talking about in the SummerSlam report. Triple H wants these special moments of reflection, but he’s never been vulnerable enough to deserve them. You were clotheslining Brock Lesnar out of the ring like it was nothing what, two weeks ago? And now you’re sad about losing so we cry littering Indian tears for you? Get over yourself. You and your water body and fat-looking suit and Inappropriate Ponytail will be back and down our throats before they can design you another shitty Latin t-shirt.

You’re too good for this, Shawn. You don’t need to be your pal’s frail conscience.

Best: A Still Frame Of Triple H Being Valiant Because LOL, They Can’t Show The Video

You know the white board for Raw said “show footage of Triple H’s emotional farewell, talk about it with Owen Voices” on Sunday morning. On Sunday night, Jeff the Production Guy (or whoever) is nervously asking, “so uh, do you still want us to show it” as Vince wipes it away with the crotch of his pants.

It would’ve been pretty cool of them to show Triple H making I Love You I’m Sorry face at us while we scream YOU TAPPED OUT at him, or at least attribute that lazy “Bizarro Land” tag to it. I spent three hours waiting for my Tout to show up, too, but I guess they were too busy wedging Khloe Kardashian’s Snuffleupagus-looking ass between me and The Game’s ego.


Worst: Welp, Welcome Back, Dave

I didn’t expect a lot from David Otunga vs. The Big Show, but after that surprisingly good match Otunga had with Sheamus a while back (and his upcoming role alongside Oscar Winner Holly Barry) you’d think they would’ve at least given him some kicks to the knee or something. Otunga got squashed, and the words “REAL MOVIE STARRING BLACK PEOPLE < FAKE WRESTLING WAR MOVIE STARRING RANDY ORTON" flashed on my screen. Maybe they should bring in the cast of The Day to beat Big Show now. I don’t remember who said it, but I love that The Day’s plot is seriously, “the lights go out, so now everybody has crossbows”.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Wade Barrett’s return will get the Nexus back together, since all the Nexus guys are awesome now. A Wade/Justin Gabriel/Heath Slater/David Otunga/Darren Young/The Ryback/Daniel Bryan group looks pretty f**king sweet in 2012, doesn’t it?

Worst: Parejas Increibles

AJ continued her sassy skip into Teddy Long Land by making a tag team match between rivals to “teach them about anger management” or something, and it ended up being a five-ish minute mailbox with about a minute of Daniel Bryan being awesome and roughly four of Zack Ryder being the least important Important person on the WWE roster.

Worst: Michael Cole Namedropping “That Old Show” NXT


Worst: But No, Seriously, Zack Ryder

I can’t remember the last time Zack Ryder has a showcase match on Raw (or a match on Raw), and at least back in December you could be all, “heh, Zack got beat quick but he’s MAKING IT” about it. Now he shows up looking dumb in a graphic and Cole is all, “REMEMBER WHAT HAPPENED BETWEEN ZACK RYDER AND KANE??”, and Lawler goes “heh, I sure do!” and maybe mentions the wheelchair sport and completely glosses over the fact that Kane systematically manipulated John Cena’s hatred by using Ryder and the girl Ryder was crushing on against him, tried to kidnap his would-be girlfriend, BROKE HIS BACK and F**KING TRIED TO LITERALLY MURDER HIM WITH FIRE. The wheelchair is a great thing to remember, yeah, but if John Cena hadn’t pumped iron that day Zack Ryder would be IN HELL burning in F**KING FIRE.

Also, Miz and Daniel Bryan can’t STAND each other!

But seriously, Zack Ryder’s only purpose in this match was to get beaten up a little, then get beaten up a LOT when his team won (?) the match. I can’t think of someone who is passed off as an important person in the company, someone who gets their own DVD (Kurt Angle never got a DVD), who has 15 different t-shirts and headbands for sale at 10 merch tables at 300 shows a year and serves ZERO purpose on Raw. He’s the living version of the Anonymous Raw General Manager’s podium. Dude should’ve just pulled a Gail Kim, rolled out of the ring, walked to the back and quit so he could make a monster truck full of money in Japan or a Sedan full of money in TNA (or a large envelope full of money in ROH) and tell WWE to go f**k themselves with their warehouse of Broski glasses.

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Best: Kaitlyn, Destroyer Of Divas

As far as former NXT winners go, she’s doing better than Kaval and Johnny Curtis.

I love (love love) that Kaitlyn won the first match in the only Divas storyline (Number One Contender Battle Royal). With my love for AJ getting dimmer and dimmer, my love for Kaitlyn gets brighter, because I need to cheer for at least ONE of the Chickbusters, god dammit, that’s my thing! I think she’s great, and the only way she could be better is if 1) she got to wrestle long enough and thoroughly enough on a regular basis to learn how to be really good at, and 2) she got a last name. Just give her a random WWE guy last name. Call her Kaitlyn Stasiak. Everyone, call her Kaitlyn Stasiak from now on.

What I did not enjoy so much was the rest of the Divas Battle Royal, because WOOF.

Worst: The Rest Of The Divas Battle Royal (Woof)

Here’s a quick checklist of everything terrible about this mess:

– Michael Cole. I don’t know if they were trying to get in-show sympathy for Jerry Lawler leading up to his thing at the end of the show, but Cole was right back in his niche as Worst Announcer Ever during this show, especially during the battle royal. Dude would not shut up about how worthless and boring everyone in the ring was. They didn’t even let Layla on commentary, probably because they didn’t want her to hear Cole call her a shitty slut to her face.

– Rosa Mendes and Aksana doing the “we don’t know how to wrestle, luh-luh-luh-LET’S GET OUT OF HERE” catfight where they calmly roll out of the ring and disappear forever. I know Rosa’s had a tough month and Aksana’s got the wrestling ability of stuffed animal, but come on.

– Kelly Kelly and Beth Phoenix being announced for the match via graphic, then not being in it. I know it can’t take more than 2 minutes to whip up one of these form graphics. Maybe at the last minute someone walked up to them and said, “Beth, you’re out of the match because we can’t think of a way to eliminate you. Kelly, you’re out of the match because you’re Kelly Kelly”.

– Eve Torres being Eve Torres and not going over the top rope on the first try. Let’s read another blog post about how she’s a great wrestler and it’s Kelly’s fault!

– This is another g.d. Divas Number One Contender Battle Royal. Chance somebody at WWE said “wait, we have to defend ALL the championships at Night Of Champions? What about the Divas Title?” three minutes before the show went on the air: 100%.

Let’s hope KAYLA EXPLODES~ is as good as it could be. Let’s hope Kaitlyn does a Freaky Friday thing with Kana between now and September 16.

Worst: Brock Lesnar Announces Retirement Via Relaxed Tout

So hey Brock, hey man, you’re the new King Of Kings. What’s next?

oh, uh

Why is “I AM QUITTING AND LEAVING FOR NO RAISIN” Brock Lensar’s only buffer between storylines? Can’t he just not show up again until he needs to show up again? We don’t see Jack Swagger on every show, we don’t need him in an astronaut suit saying WELL I’M OFF ON MY EXPEDITION TO MARS to explain it.

I hate using that Poochie reference so much, but Lesnar’s speech here sounded exactly like Poochie’s dubbed over goodbye. I CAME HERE AND ACCOMPLISHED EVERYTHING. I AM LEAVING THE WWE. MY PLANET NEEDS ME.

Worst: Chris Jericho Almost Dies

This less said about this thing the better, I think. I’ve been very complimentary of Ziggler’s wrestling over the last couple of years, but man, ever since that Jumping Asshole To Nowhere on Raw a few weeks ago the guy’s just been off. I’m wondering if he got one of those Miz brain contusions falling on his head and we just don’t know about it.

Jericho went for a super rana like the one he hit at SummerSlam (the show you might’ve paid $65 to see to NOT get the feud’s blow-off match), and instead of catching Jericho’s legs on his shoulders, Ziggler caught them under his arms and Jericho just kinda-sorta Ganso Bombed his faux-hawk into the ring. It’s probably pointless to say after Jericho lost a LOSER HAS TO GO BACK AND PERFORM WITH FOZZY match, but these guys should never wrestle each other again.

Worst: Everyone Is A Terrible Sport

argh again with this

Dolph Ziggler and Chris Jericho engage in a brutal Touting about Ziggler wanting a SummerSlam rematch. Ziggler confronts Jericho about it on Raw, so General Manager Skippy pops in and proposes a set of stipulations around Dolph’s Money In The Bank briefcase (because, you know, she can’t control the World Heavyweight Title scene, that’s Booker T’s decision). If Jericho loses, his contract is terminated. If Ziggler loses, Jericho gets his briefcase. Both men agree on the stips without prodding, and they have the match. Jericho loses the match, the match he agreed to with a smile on his face, clean.

In response, he rips the Money In The Bank briefcase out of Ziggler’s hands, hits him in the stomach with it and Codebreakers him. At least in this situation you could say that maybe Jericho is looking like a sore sport to put Ziggler’s win over more, but that’s probably stretching it considering the last month has been about Dolph being a sneaky cheater butthole in a pink shirt like a WOMAN~. So I don’t know. It’s either a story where we have to Wait And See What Happens™ or another example of the five or six things on Raw where the good guy acted like a wormy brat.

I have got to stop complaining about this.

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Best: John Cena Is Pretty Awesome When He’s Allowed To Be A Confident, Declarative Dickface

He is. It’s one of the things I liked about him in the Rock feud (at least in parts of it) and during the early days of the Summer Of Punk … Cena as a dynastic monster who can’t imagine losing is a compelling character. John Cena the Underdog who NEEDS THE HELP OF YOU THE FANS isn’t. That’s what he usually is. Here, he’s like a modern Diesel, a guy who is basically a heel but he represents admirable shit like THE TROOPS and FRIENDSHIP so kids and ladies love him. He’s Diesel for kids and ladies.

When he’s like this, he’s able to spit truth. Maybe not truth I agree with 100%, but something that SOUNDS like truth, and a wrestler sounding like they mean what they say is the most important thing in the world. Cena’s explanation for his merp-face when he loses matches is believable … he never once considers that he’ll lose, because he ALWAYS WINS, so when that Hustle Loyalty and Respect don’t come out on top it’s just mind-boggling to him. And he hears a guy like Punk demanding respect, and he thinks that’s terrible because respect is EARNED, and HE earned respect of the kids and ladies by NEVER LOSING. He’s wrong, in a way, but he’s also completely right. If you’re gonna do shades of gray, do shades of gray that make sense.

Also, I’m kinda jonesing for Punk to show some vulnerability on the mic and get shut down by somebody. He’s WWE without a WCW. He needs someone to go at it with him on his level to push him to be smarter and funnier and more truthful and better. That’s why his stuff with Laurinaitis missed the mark so often. Laurinaitis isn’t trying to outspeak him. Punk needs a guy like Dean Ambrose or a motivated, purposeful and not-recently-divorced Cena to counter his first draft and make him revise. That’s good for business.

Best: Any Excuse To Kick Jerry Lawler In The Head

I liked this. Jerry Lawler deserves to be kicked in the head all the time, for everything.

Worst: The Hilarious “WATCH ROCK VS. CENA ON SATURDAY” Graphic Over Punk’s Show-Ending Moment

If they did this on purpose, it’s the best moment of the show.

Lawler refuses to call Punk the Best In The World (after calling him Best In The World a billion times on commentary over the last year … sorta how he said Punk couldn’t electrify anybody moments after mentioning how Punk had changed the direction of WWE with a promo) and gets kicked in the head, which to the WWE Universe is another betrayal or whatever. Punk squats next to him and puts on a mean face, and in a perfect world that’s where the show ends. Punk does something dastardly (but justified), show ends on the WWE Champion like he wants it.

Then suddenly a big WATCH OUR WRESTLEMANIA SPECIAL THIS SATURDAY FEATURING JOHN CENA AND THE ROCK THE ONLY TWO IMPORTANT PEOPLE IN THE WORLD YOU GUYS graphic splashes across the bottom of the screen. So unbelievably perfect, and if they don’t notice it and do something about it I’ll throw my TV through the window.

Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Week


Sheamus would immediately be my favorite wrestler if he just called ADR a member of the hateful bourgeois class, and that he will gladly join the heroic proletariat and peasant revolt against those that seek to expropriate their labor! No war but class war!


I hope CM Punk names KENTA as the #1 Contender and we just get 30 minutes of someone doing CM Punk’s offense the way it’s supposed to be done


CM Punk names Doink #1 contender so he can say clownshoes a few more times.

Tobogganing Bear

The YouTube pre-show really was a lot better than the end of PPV RedTube post-show.


Shawn is actually holding up those stills from Summerslam and slowly moving them in front of the camera.


The North Koreans think the HHH treatment tonight is “a bit much.”

DavidDTSS ☆

Science shows that if you throw a Diva out of the ring against her will she’s immune from being eliminated.


I bet Tout is helping authorities solve a lot of Juggalo-related crimes.


John Cena is starting to sound a lot like a WCW Thunder select screen.


[JTG sprints out]


Bonus: Live SummerSlam/Raw Report

As an added bonus, the last page of this week’s report features a live report from SummerSlam, SummerSlam Axxess and Raw from Best And Worst reader Christian Lukens. Check it out and show him some love, because his stories about Damien Sandow are so unbelievably great. Plus, he got to stand next to Vickie Guerrero. If you like it, follow him on Twitter.

No, the fact that he made this and brought it to Raw had no bearing on my decision to include his report. Cough.


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Best: William Regal and Damien Sandow hunt in the deserts of Africa

I waited for a solid 45-50 minutes in line at Axxess for a chance to meet Regal and Sandow and get a couple signatures. This tandem was amazing, but Sandow really sent it flying over the top. Every 10 minutes or so, the wrestlers would head off stage to take pictures with and sign autographs for folks who were handicapped. Class all around. Sandow however took leaving the stage as a good opportunity to remind those waiting in line that we should be hydrating ourselves regularly as the sun was bearing down on us. Damien also paused from one autograph to stand up and take a look at the Rise Above Hate rock climbing wall (…supplemental worst?) to ask one of the climbers, “Young man! Where are your parents? Get down from there! You’re going to hurt yourself!”

Far and away the greatest moment of Axxess for me though was finally meeting the two and before I could approach the table, Regal held up one finger and says, “Ah this, is quite a momentous occasion. Look at this.” He was holding a bit of a feather that broke away from Sandow’s quill pen, as Damien steps in… “These feathers are plucked from the extremely rare albino ostrich, which can only be found on the most remote parts of certain African deserts.” Quite literally dumbstruck I asked if the pen would still work if it was missing a part of the feather, and all I got back was a scowl and a “Yes, it’s a pen, not a Harry Potter wand.”

Best/Worst: Don’t follow friends who say they “know someone” at live shows

SummerSlam ended and a friend I went with told me he “knew a guy” who could get us backstage. Sounded like a fun idea, but I don’t know if this guy is credible. We end up on an elevator leaving Staples Center and I go to get off on the main floor only to be told we’re not there yet. Doors close, re-open and all I see is a concrete wall ahead of me and all sorts of staff walking around. Three steps into this area and I knew we were not supposed to be there. A quintuple take to realize Eve was about 3 feet to my left. Tensai walking down the tunnel. Vickie. Kofi. Rosa. Yeah, I’m not supposed to be here. And who sticks out more than a guy wearing the bright pink Dolph Ziggler shirt? No one, that’s who. Best for being a weird fun experience. Worst because we came off like the worst fanboys in that moment.

Best: Dolph/Vickie are awesome in real life

Got to help out in interviewing Dolph and Vickie for New Rock 104.1 in Fresno. Nothing to add here. They couldn’t have been nicer, and Ziggler/Guerrero discussed boobs, mood lighting and Archer with us. Wins all around.

Worst: Save Mart Center in Fresno

I was 12 years old all day Monday starting with the interview. Met the guy who won the other ticket to sit with me and we made our signs during the day. Picked up a few more friends to go to RAW. Get to RAW. The signs (including one for @MrBrandonStroud #RTSMF) were allowed through. “Tonight is the night” indeed. Then security tells us we can’t have the signs. We’re sitting on the camera side and we can’t put them up so they don’t block the camera view. You know what? That’s fine. I understand the necessity for that. Then as we sit, we find out “No cell phones.” I’m sorry, what? This isn’t Russia. Is this Russia? This isn’t Russia. We live in a day and age where our phones have cameras on them and allow us to interact with others via social media and get our multimedia done on one device. But we can’t have those. Section 6 got discriminated against. Hard.

Worst: Fresno Has Absolutely Zero Moral Compass

– A young child yelled at Alberto Del Rio “Where’s your papers?”

– During the SummerSlam video package, a fan behind me saw Terry Crews and asked, “Is that the one guy from the Primetime Players?” because black people.

– Primetime Players did their entrance ramp dance and another fan said, “Ha, they’re swinging their arms. Like monkeys would do.” because … well, you know.

Best: Sheamus – Disproportionately Powerful High Fives

Seriously, he walked past, high fived me, and my hand stung for about 4 minutes. That’s all I have here.

Best: Daniel Bryan

The 4:10 mark of the video is our front row ticket winner Justin (SCSA shirt) having the YES NO shouting match on RAW and me (Dolph shirt) desperately trying to get involved with it. Voice status: gone.

Worst: Stop Feeding Us Inappropriate Ponytail Theater

The last time Fresno got Monday Night RAW, Taker made his “return” and was promptly challenged by HHH to their first (second) Wrestlemania fight. The crowd went absolutely nutso for him. Last night was nearly a polar opposite, mostly because about 45 minutes in people started to realize that there would be no Trips but that we would hear infinitely about him. There was a poorly executed “YOU TAPPED OUT” chant that got going, and I can’t be too sure that the applause for the end of Shawn’s answer to Cole’s question was actually appreciative of Triple H or if they were just glad Shawn was done. I’m not really sure the WWE understands the concept of interviewing. Something always seems to be off. Either people get punched after one question, or people aren’t wearing pants, or neither of those is happening and only one question is asked for a 10 minute response.

Worst: Somehow, the front row can’t hear you

I did not realize this while watching at home every week, but those speakers they prop up in the ring, they’re not very good at projecting backwards. I was in the front row right behind the speakers and if ANYONE was talking in ring (Heyman, Punk, Cena) I had to hope that no one around me was talking in order to really make it out.

Best: Wait what?

I told the guy sitting next to me that I really wanted Kaitlyn to win the Divas’ “Fall Out Of The Ring In Any Awful Fashion” Invitational and found myself pleasantly surprised to see her win. I don’t remember ever leaping out of my seat over the ending of a Divas match. But yes for Kaitlyn.

Worst: John Cena has NO idea how Fresno feels about our sports teams

Oh Cena. I’m not going to sit here and preach about Fresno and all our sports teams, but just know that pretty much everything Cena said about Fresno is wrong. The people in this city are the hands-down worst frontrunners you can possibly find. I saw a photo of Pat Hill in the comments last night. Pat Hill is gone as of the end of last season, but people had been asking for him to be gone for the last 7 years. Fresno State football games are an absolute joke from a fan standpoint. “If they don’t win the National Championship, these fans aren’t going to turn their back on their team.” Uh, yeah John, we will. Fresno State routinely does not sell out games — in fact, once there’s even a single loss in the books, attendance drops by about 10-15% for the next game. Then again, why would you stay when Boise State is up 35-0 in the second quarter? I worked for a sports talk station for 5 years and here’s a small number of reasons we got from fans as to why they weren’t going to games.

– The schedule is always too hard and we can’t win them all

– Parking costs too much

– The schedule is too weak and I’m not putting down money to see Louisiana Tech

– I don’t like our offense

– The drive to the stadium is too long

– Our defense is no good

So, we won’t turn on them if there’s no national championship? Erroneous. We turn on them LONG before that. My only wish at that moment was for Punk to cut him off and say “You’re talking about these people? They care about their entertainment?” and then make some crack about the visibly empty spots in the arena.

Best: This kid had no idea that was an insult

Our dark match was Big Show v Cena and a kid seated directly next to me was covered head to toe in Cena gear. Shirt, hat, headbands, spinner necklace, the works. This same kid also started a “FRUITY PEBBLES” chant, phrasing it as a compliment.

Best: I know what the WithLeather ladies like. “You’re Welcome.”

Tip of the hat to BookSavvy for the header, but here you are: Dolph Ziggler, in all his glory.

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