I feel kinda bad having “America” as my first worst, but watching “legendary guitarist from the rock band Tool” Adam Jones play a sub-Hendrix version of the Star-Spangled Banner to the WWE Universe while eagles and giant U.S. flags fly proudly in the background was one “compromised to a permanent end” away from being nationalistic Armageddon. And when I say “sub-Hendrix” I mean Dok Hendrix, because I Jimi would be spinning in his grave if I thought he was the kind of dead person who watched wrestling. And when I say “Armageddon” I don’t mean the pay-per-view, I mean Jesus was going to ride into the Staples Center on a sky horse and rapture Tool to Heaven. Actually, that might’ve happened, I didn’t see any of the other guys. It’s so bad I can’t even make jokes, I just have to tell you what happened. “One of the guys plays Stinkfist in front of Mt. Rushmore and I think I might die for my country.”
Oh well, I can only complain so much. He played the song and got out of there, and at no point danced with Alicia Fox or wore a sparkling wizard’s cape. I don’t know if you’ve seen the show yet or are reading this blind, but in case you don’t know what I’m talking about, stick around. Big Show has a baby with Rerun from “What’s Happening?” and he sings two songs for forty minutes.
Best: The Best And Worst Of Raw Memorial Six-Man Tag
The unscheduled opening match was Trios Action (© Mike Quackenbush) with Rey Mysterio, Kofi Kingston and John Morrison on one side, The Miz, R-Truth and Alberto Del Rio on the other. If you read my weekly Best And Worst Of Raw column you’ll know that I could fill eight pages of a multi-pager with asides from this match alone, so here is a quick lightning round Best and Worst recap of the bullsh** I say every week.
1. Rey Mysterio is great, but he never loses and you shouldn’t fall into position for a 619 because he walked near you
2. Kofi Kingston is great at jumping, really great at jumping, not really good at anything else
3. John Morrison thinks he’s great at jumping, but isn’t
4. The Miz is a personal favorite, but always seems like he’s pretending to be a wrestler rather than being a wrestler
5. R-Truth is Ernie Ladd outside the ring, Hardbody Harrison inside of it
6. Alberto Del Rio is wonderful, but he’s got New WWE smell on him so all he’s ever going to do is win championships and seem like a chump
This match didn’t do much to change those declarative numbers, but it was fine. It would’ve been a solid way to spend ten minutes of Raw, if it didn’t leave us with an hour and fifty minutes of Evan Bourne and Alex Riley doing a round robin with Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler. I really need to start doing a Best and Worst of Smackdown, don’t I? It would give me an entirely new set of talking points. Are you aware that Ezekiel Jackson does bodyslams? Did you know that AJ’s hips are the width of my fist? Did you know that is SUPER GREAT?
Best: Alex Riley Is Less Important Than What Wasn’t Scheduled
I will be okay reading one of two headlines today explaining why the Dolph Ziggler vs. Alex Riley United States Championship match happened before the show instead of on it in place of the six-man tag or Cee Lo Green’s mumbly jamboree or the fifteen Twix commercials. The first headline is “Alex Riley fails Wellness Test”. Or, I guess “WHICH WWE STAR FAILS BRUTAL WELLNESS TEST” and it turns out to be Alex Riley. I’m not saying I want the guy to be on drugs or anything, I would just be okay with that headline, especially if they made Hunico cut his hair like Butthead and pretend to be Alex Riley. The second headline I’d accept is something about how the guy playing as Alex Riley decided he wanted to do season mode with Undertaker instead of his create-a-wrestler and deleted him. Maybe Riley can return as a satanic clown or a “merc for hire” character when the guy finds his Raw disc two years from now and decides to play through it again. Best case scenario.
In all seriousness, I hope somebody took Alex Riley aside after Raw last week and said “hey kid, if you’re going to say somebody sh** in the widow’s mouth, you’ve got to be really good and popular so people excuse it.” And Riley’s all “but I’m good and popular” and Road Agent Billy Kidman (or whoever) goes “lol you couldn’t good and popular a flea market”.
Worst: Oh God, Stephanie McMahon
I got an unusual amount of negative feedback for last week’s Best and Worst Of Raw column because of how angry and pessimistic it was. It’s an honest assessment. I’m a longtime wrestling fan who started watching shortly after birth, and I’ve witnessed and lived through everything that’s happened since, including that Wrestlecrap you read about and can’t believe existed. I watched the Black Scorpion pay-per-view live in my cousin’s living room. I laughed with my Dad when the Shockmaster fell through the wall. I have a lot of happy memories of wrestling, especially for the bad stuff (my new goal is to collect every pay-per-view Ashley Massaro wrestled on … we miss you, you crazy punk rocker), but the column’s debut on With Leather coincided with Wrestlemania and the Summer of Punk, so I’ve gotten kinda pigeonholed as the “positive show reviewer guy”. I had somebody tell me I jumped the shark because I didn’t like an episode of Raw. How weird is that? I’ve watched 60,000 episodes of Raw and liked about 14 of them. I love wrestling and can put a positive spin on things, but Jesus, I’m a human being.
Anyway, what I’m getting at is that I’m going to try not to be so overwhelmingly negative, and that when Stephanie McMahon showed up to confront CM Punk my life started flashing before my eyes. I went into a sort of Internet epileptic shock. I can accept Triple H as a pro wrestler, and when he returns I don’t like it, but I understand it. If Hulk Hogan saunters in and starts cupping his ear to a naked picture of his daughter and “YOU!”-ing every 25-year old on the roster, I don’t like it, but I understand it. When Stephanie McMahon shows up my eyes roll back in my head and my brain shuts down. It’s the only defense I’ve got left. Love her or hate her, she’s got what WWE considers the “It Factor” — when she shows up, everything immediately becomes about her. That’s their definition. Think about everything she’s ever done, from getting engaged to Test to being pretend drugged and pretend raped by De-Corporation X to getting her dog run over by Chris Jericho to making out with Kurt Angle. Think about how every single one of those things ended. Think about how anything she’s doing now can possibly in, no matter how long you wait and no matter how much you see.
Argh, wait a minute, my hands are cramping up. blergh can’t type