Best: The Intercontinental Championship
I think the only unanimous “best” I’ve read for last night’s pay-per-view is the return of the classic Intercontinental Championship, and by God, it deserves it. When Cody Rhodes stood in the ring delivering his super villain/physics teacher speech about how the belt was ugly and worthless I thought for sure we were gonna toss that belt’s legacy (cough) in with the European Championship and the Cruiserweight Championship and the Women’s Championship and the ECW Championship and this huge list of belts I can name when I wanted to keep the examples to two. He dumped it in a bag (which hopefully Randy Orton didn’t get to first), and when he slurred out HAHND ME THE VELVET BAHG I got excited. New championship belt! Will it be orange, or covered in holograms? Will it be made out of plastic that hurts more when you hold it than when you’re wearing it on your head? And then he pulled this out of the bag.
The classic WWF doesn’t do it for me like most people, but that Intercontinental Championship with the ill-colored strap reminds me of all the guys who WERE in the classic WWF that I loved. Ricky Steamboat, Bret Hart, Mr. Perfect, hell, even the Ultimate Warrior. Guys I learned to love as I got older like Randy Savage and Rick Rude. I think you mature as a pro wrestler the day you realize how awesome Rick Rude was. The WWE Championship has a big POLITICS and ARE YOU READY FOR THIS SPOT and all this other ulterior bullsh*t stamped on the front, but the IC title has been a big shiny happy spot for guys who knew they were good and could show it off. What does Cody’s previous belt represent? Jeff Hardy, Shelton Benjamin and Carlito. Carlito? #areyouseriousbro
Now Cody gets to be those guys instead of those guys. Give him a series of competent challengers (which you have, I’ve seen them) and preserve your most precious mid-card title, should Dolph Ziggler’s United States Championship get lost in the garbage and found a few years from now by Hacksaw Jim Duggan.
Also Best: Figurative Euthanizing
I’m still trying to figure out the logistics of how to figuratively euthanize somebody. I love how complex of a concept it is, and if you’re the kind of person who gets a front row seat at a WWE live event and doesn’t accept a Cody Rhodes brown bag, you couldn’t hope to understand and deserve whatever it constitutes.
Worst: I’d Be Upset If Somebody In My Employ Kept Making John Morrison Matches, Too
You know what doesn’t work about the power struggle between Triple H and John Laurinaitis? The fact that Laurinaitis was around for like a week and a half before Triple H took over. If they were doing this with Pat Patterson or somebody you could say, “okay, this guy’s been one of Vince’s stooges for years and he’s got a position high up in the company, so he’s making decisions based on x and y and gay”. Johnny Ace showed up just as Vince was being ousted, and the general public had no idea who he was until like four weeks after that. It’s hard to buy him as a power-hungry antagonist who’ll go behind Triple H’s back to make common decisions like a John Morrison match that shouldn’t be a big deal but are because of MOTIVES when he seems like he was only introduced to be that guy. He doesn’t exist outside of this storyline. Punk does, Triple H does, Miz and Truth do. Kevin Nash does. Why does Triple H care that this guy “went behind his back” and made a Cody Rhodes/John Morrison match to fill ten minutes of their pay-per-view, especially when H has already clearly given other people (Teddy Long) permission to do the same thing? Because there’s a power struggle, or whatever, but there should be a reason why in addition to that.
Also, I need a character to stand on my television and explain to me why he’s giving John Morrison a title shot out of nowhere when Morrison hasn’t won a match without the aid of an Office Max chair in the last four months.
Worst: Michael Cole, In And Around This Match
Michael Cole has been … okay recently. He hasn’t been great, and he’s still trying too hard to make us think he doesn’t like Jim Ross, but he’s been manageable, a fact made clear by his commentary during the Rhodes/Morrison match where he could not handle or move beyond an extremely basic pro wrestling trope. The GM guy (or whoever) gave a title match to a do-gooder at the don’t-gooder’s expense, and from an antagonist’s point of view, that is extremely unfair. Bobby Heenan would’ve ranted about it for a little bit, then added a “this isn’t fair! This isn’t fair!” when the bad guy was about to lose. Michael Cole started raising his voice in both tone and volume and WOULD NOT STOP SCREAMING ABOUT THE UNFAIRNESS OF EVERYTHING. He just wouldn’t stop. Booker and Jim Ross would be like “armdrag takedown” and Cole would just shout over them with THIS IS JUST LIKE THE WWE ALWAYS RUINING EVERYTHING WHAT A WORTHLESS COMPANY WHO WOULD PAY 50 DOLLARS TO WATCH THIS CODY COULDN’T EVEN CHANGE HIS PANTS EVERYBODY AND EVERYTHING IS STUPID.
And again, there’s a place for this, and that place is not “from the throat of a hyperventilating child”. I switched over to the Spanish feed after this, which cost me a lot of valuable Booker T awwwwwwwwwws and Fave Fives, which I don’t appreciate. WWE, please take note: I want to watch your product, but the only way I can get through it sometimes is to watch it in a language I barely understand. Cole carried on into the beginning of the Divas match, when they finally shut him up with “you’re going to get fired” (from Booker T) and “I don’t hear any fans complaining” (from Ross) and a moment of silence which I hope was everybody taking off their headsets and hitting him in the face.