Worst: Alex Riley Has Gone From CAW To E-Fed
Every week I’ve got a joke ready to go about Alex Riley being the wrestler you create when you first get the video game and you don’t want to make anyone too outlandish, so you make a buffed up version of yourself with knee and elbow pads and maybe a big cross tattoo on your back, and you play a few matches as him in season mode but you’re not good at the game yet, so you keep accidentally jumping out of the ring or messing up your finisher and having to set it up all over again. That’s been accurate since his face turn (he even has the tough guy music you’d choose), but if you watch the above clip, Riley has evolved past that notion and moved straight into Terrible E-Fedding.
If you’ve never been in an “e-fed” before, it’s a lot like a pro wrestling version of “Dungeon and Dragons” only the monsters are all slight variations on the Undertaker and the Dungeon Master has to win all the time. More importantly, the generic e-fed wrestler has to be sorta big and ripped, be able to reverse anything anybody else tries and have nothing but finishers in his moveset. Riley comes into the ring and does or tries to do the following moves:
1. A running attack you can’t block
4. Implant DDT
And when he’s not doing moves, he’s effortlessly stopping double-team attacks and reversing everybody’s finisher. Not a headlock or an International in the bunch. All he needed to do was a goddamn Fisherman Buster and he’d be the first draft of every e-fed character I’ve ever seen. And the TKO? Seriously? “I want to do a move that’s just like the Stunner or the RKO, except I have to struggle and hold the guy up on my shoulders and spin in place first. Also, the only person who has ever been cheered for doing this ever is Sable, and that was just the once.” Everybody who sucks thinks the TKO is awesome, and if right now you’re sorta mumbling “wull I like the TKO”, get your head out of 1998’s asshole. Teddy Hart called, he wants his taste in wrestling back.
Best/Worst: This Is The Best Episode Of “The West Wing” Ever
Part of what makes Miz and R-Truth such a successful duo is the understanding that everything they do is pre-planned. I’ve mentioned before that The Miz seems less like a wrestler and more like a guy pretending to be a wrestler (an observation that got me quoted by Grantland.com’s The Masked Man in a Fair to Flair podcast), and the Miz/Truth partnership takes that one step further — Miz has roped Truth into his “must see” segments, and now we get situations where they come to the ring doing Vaudeville wordplay or a backstage segment where they take the microphone away from Josh and walk to the ring, communicating and passing off the microphone without even having to look at each other. Truth wears a big jacket (for some reason, which is hilarious to me) and tries to work in a new catchphrase, “ninja please!”, complete with Miz doing a Blazing Saddles-quality “WHAT did you just say?” like any of us though he said nigga.
They go to the ring and do each others’ catchphrases, and there’s just something wonderful about two guys who can’t find someone to listen finding best friends. Miz and Morrison never had that. Watch any old episode of the Dirt Sheet, Miz does his thing, Morrison say something weird about the Palace of Wisdom and Miz just rolls his eyes like Morrison is an idiot (he is) and moves on. Miz couldn’t break up with Morrison fast enough, he got crammed together with Daniel Bryan and Alex Riley, two guys he eventually drove away with hateful demands, but he seems comfortable with Truth, and the demands all seem like a group effort, and Truth could really be his Cowboy Bob Orton. Just a guy with a similar outlook on life who hangs out with him, and even when they screw up they never really come to blows, because who else are they gonna hang out with?
Neither: Miz Vs. Kofi Kingston
This isn’t really meant as an insult to Kofi Kingston, whose offense is limited to donkey punching and jumping, but Miz and Kingston had an exciting enough and perfectly acceptable mid-card match that I’d forgotten happened about twenty seconds after it was over. This sort of proves how bad of an idea pairing Kofi against the same guy every week for months at a time is — there was a streak a while back where Miz wrestled Kofi every Monday, so now, months removed, their match still seems like a tired repeat. If Miz and Kingston don’t wrestle one-on-one again until Wrestlemania 35 it won’t matter, because as soon as they start going through the motions it’s going to feel exactly like this. “Exciting enough” and “perfectly acceptable” weren’t in that sentence to make the juxtaposition with indifference funny, it was actually a completely fine match, and it gets two major bests for me:
Best: Miz’s Appeal Actually Works
I don’t know if they’re prepping for WWE 12 and its Wake Up animations or not, but for the first time I can remember, Miz did the claw-X above his head and did his “Batman running and holding his cape” pose before the Skull-crushing Finale, and it actually led to a Skull-crushing finale. Maybe next week Kofi will stand in the corner clapping his hands and yelling “boom” and actually connect with the Trouble In Paradise.
Best: “I Wish You Would”
Miz and Kofi exchanged some heated hip-toss attempts that sent them both tumbling to the outside, so the production guy stopped eating a sandwich mid-bite to yell GO TO COMMERCIAL BREAK with ham and sh*t falling out of his mouth. Before they could fade to Twix, we got an awesome moment where Evan Bourne and R-Truth came around opposite sides of the ring to check on their partners, and Bourne acted like he was going to start something … so Truth just stares him down and says “I wish you would.” It was the greatest.