Worst: So, Uh, About That Contract Signing
Pointing out logic loopholes on televised pro wrestling is sorta like pointing out handicapped people at the Special Olympics, but last night featured a big one — after firing Kevin Nash, Triple H decides to change his match with CM Punk at Night Of Champions and make it no disqualification, anything goes. The big question is this: If you can just say “oh yeah, I’ve also just decided that I can hit you with weapons”, what was the point of the contract signing last week? Was there a “we can add or take away any part of this match as long as we say it in public” clause? If so, why the hell would CM Punk sign it? See, this is how Stone Cold Steve Austin kept getting into matches where Vince and the Stooges would add stips and falls on the fly. I guess WWE contracts are like Apple service agreements, and wrestlers just sign them to keep the square from popping up.
This is great proof that WWE writes their stories as they go. We wouldn’t have to have Jeff Katz organizing “revolutionary three-act storytelling” in his arthouse independent promotion if WWE creative said “this is the beginning, this is the middle, this is the end” before putting it on live television and paying people to act it out. I don’t want to be that guy who harps on wrestling’s equivalent to “those clowns in congress”, but Jesus Christ, what exactly is your job, WWE Creative? Is it to come up with first and last names for people and that’s it? Does everybody just show up and wing it? Is pro wrestling seriously just an improv comedy group with issues, because I’ve been trying to justify it as a sports-themed televisions how for like the last 30 years. If I knew I could show up to a wrestling event and shout “HOSPITAL” and you’d have to stage the next segment in a hospital I would’ve bought a ticket to Wrestlemania negative one and shouted GOOD WRESTLING AND THINGS I CAN UNDERSTAND in 1980 f**king four.
Worst: WWE Stimulus Response
WWE has trained us to expect certain outcomes when we hear certain words. For example, when you hear “non-title match” and it isn’t a Main Event Guy against Heath Slater, you think “okay, the champions are going to lose because it’s non-title and that’ll set up a thing”. The 19th CM Punk and Triple H conversation of the month featured two big ones:
1. NO DISQUALIFICATION
Which has two responses, one being “one of the wrestlers is old and can’t do a lot, so they’re making it no DQ so it’ll be exciting and nobody will really have to bump” and the other being “people are going to interfere in the match”. The first one is a continuation of the No Holds Barred match between Triple H and the Undertaker at Wrestlemania, where if you take away the chair and the sledgehammer and the tables it’s just two guys sitting still for forty minutes. The second one, when coupled with footage of a fired Kevin Nash leaving the arena with John Laurinaitis, conjures up images of the nWo music and Buff Bagwell’s strut-to-kneeling-pose and all sorts of terrible schmozzy sh*t that at best can be aluminum trash can spots and at worst can be you never ever watching again ever.
2. IF YOU LOSE, YOU HAVE TO QUIT
I was okay with Triple H making his match with Punk no disqualification, because why not? Add in some table stuff, give Punk a trash can lid so Triple H can get hit and feel justified in falling down, that sort of thing. Then, Punk did two huge no-nos: he brought up the fact that Triple H has hit people with sledgehammers for years and not killed anyone (wrestling is fake wrestling is fake wrestling is fake) and he said that he’d agree to the stipulation Triple H assumedly has the power to just decide if H agreed to his: that if he won at Night Of Champions, Triple H has to resign as COO.
“You lose, you quit” stipulations are like deaths in comic books. Sure, it’s pretty sad when Colossus died, but guess what? He died like four times before you started reading, and he’s going to die two or three more times when you stop. John Cena got fired twice in a calendar year. Mick Foley lost a retirement match to Triple H over ten years ago … two years ago I saw him wrestle Sting in the main event of a pay-per-view in Philadelphia, and now there are rumors about how he wants to come back. Now CM Punk is either a lock to lose, or the no disqualification suggestions of Vicious and Delicious are dangerously close to coming true, and Night Of Champions is going to be one of those “game changing moments” they keep having that don’t really change the game but book two months of primetime television around backstage quarrels and 50-year olds we’ve chosen not to watch every Thursday for the past five years.
Just… have a good match, okay? Have fun with it and give us something to cheer for besides the talking points we make up.
Best: Zack Ryder Has Sort Of Arrived
I don’t know if a tag team victory on Raw against Medium Dave and M-Dogg 19 alongside an announcer constitutes “arriving”, but you can’t help but feel good seeing Zack Ryder get a video package and a duke on the A-show. Ryder is proof that not everybody who works hard to get better and get themselves over on Superstars for a year gets fired for their efforts, and even though it might’ve been nice for them not to reinforce their “personality is the only thing that matters” talking point to do it, I’m glad they’re giving Ryder a shot.
With the new focus on tag team wrestling, I’d love to see Ryder and Lawler get stuck together as a tag team. Lawler is still a solid hand in the ring, and a is a hell of a lot better and more bearable throwing punches at McGoobersnatch than he is bickering with Michael Cole. Ryder might not have what it takes to be a huge singles star, but he’s definitely good enough of a Santino to make crowds happy when he tags in a hits a few moves. Tag team wrestlers can make a lot of money and have a lot of success without ever really doing anything, and if you don’t know what I mean, ask Robert Gibson, Marty Jannetty or Mustafa. Hell, the fact that I can remember Mustafa existing is a testament to tag team wrestling’s worth. Use Lawler’s history with The Miz to get Truth and Miz a victory on their way to the titles. Give Trouble In Star Press a fun defense on Raw. This is good for everybody.
Best: Best Moment On The Show
The Alberto Del Rio Best Of This Page actually goes to Ricardo Rodriguez. Watch the segment where ADR approaches Dolph Ziggler about helping him take out John Cena. The Bella Twins show up out of nowhere to flirt with Del Rio and he doesn’t care, because he’s got a 10,000 acre estate and rents girls like the Bellas every week (even if he doesn’t know their name) — but Ricardo watches them with subdued glee, then watches them leave, because he’s Alberto Del Rio’s best employee and good friend and you KNOW Del Rio is sophisticated enough to pick the hot Bella (Nikki) and slide the rest (Brie) to his staff.
The wink to Ziggler at the end of the segment said it all. Ricardo gets to hold the WWE Championship while they walk around. Ricardo gets to hook up with extraneous Bella Twins. All he’s got to do is open Alberto’s door when they stop and occasionally manslaughter people with his car. He’s got it made, damas y caballeros.