Best: Dolph Ziggler, And Also Probably Randy Orton
I’ve noticed something about Dolph Ziggler matches; with the obvious exception of his matches with Daniel Bryan, a Dolph Ziggler match usually starts off slow and a little disjointed, but builds into something cool and exciting by the end. Last night’s match against Randy Orton was a fantastic example of that. At first I thought Orton’s Dr. Satan act was going to ruin it, but by the time they were trading near falls and Ziggler was doing things to make Orton’s normal assortment of spots look organic and cool.
The superkick counter to the Patented Punt™ that actually looked like it surprised Orton, Orton’s no-frills set-up to the middle-rope DDT that almost always involves a guy wandering out to the apron for no reason … these all made me stop updating Facebook photo albums nobody reads and watch the match. My reward was an exciting ass ending with Dolph looking like a top shelf wrestler and Orton looking like a guy who didn’t have to kill himself to win a match, but considered that he might’ve.
One of Ziggler’s greatest attributes is his ability to set up his opponent’s finisher, which I guess is why they shackled him with Kofi Kingston for two years. Watch his matches with Mysterio, Bryan or Kingston — watch how he finds himself eating their big moves without standing there and just letting them do big moves. Randy Orton has the most malleable (and over) finisher in wrestling, so why not put them together? Good call, Anonymous Raw General Manager Who May Or May Not Still Exist.
Best: Finally, A Little DDP In That Diamond Cutter
I thought for sure when Orton pressed Ziggler into the air he was going to break out the Rikishi Cutter, but he did me one better: he took Dolph Ziggler’s penchant for bouncing and turned it into an RKO set-up I don’t remember seeing. It looked rough, too, like Orton was actually snapping a guy’s head into the ground, not just jumping and landing together. That’s great. Ziggler’s got an amazing sense of urgency when he gets it going, and Orton’s gangly Cloverfield Monster thing works well with a guy so anxious to attack it. Orton should be using RKO variations all the time, especially in Modern WWE where a Sweet Chin Music set-up means a 99% failure rate.
Worst: NO ALBERTO DEL RIO
From PWTorch, a caricature website with excellent tablet shading that sometimes mentions wrestling:
PWTorch has learned that WWE champion Alberto Del Rio is currently dealing with visa issues, which is why he missed Raw’s weekend house show tour and did not appear on Monday’s Raw episode.
The issue is expected to be “resolved soon” after Del Rio sorts through the government process, say WWE sources.
They should’ve put a scarf on Hunico and sent him out to be Alberto Del Rio for the night.
An episode of Raw without Alberto Del Rio for me is like Christmas without the Vince Guaraldi Trio. Vacation, visa issues, whatever, there’s no excuse to run a show without a pre-taped vignette, possibly from a palatial Mexican estate, featuring your WWE Champion running down the guy he couldn’t stop hitting with a belt last week. Running down verbally, not with his car. And I told you Kevin Nash’s TNA theme made me think of Christmas.
Worst: A Special Look At Alex Riley
“How long have I wanted to be a WWE Superstar? Well I remember watching it when I was a kid. And I remember thinking ‘those guys are special’. I wanted to be special.”
Yeah, but you didn’t really answer the question. I guess “when I was 27” isn’t a great answer.