Worst: The Worst 40 Minutes In Years
It’s important when watching professional wrestling to stay positive, especially if you happened to bring your column over from FanHouse just before CM Punk’s criss-cross applesauce manifesto when everything was great, and it got popular and you’re stuck doing it for life.
It’s also important to remain tactful and careful with your opinions, and not fly off the handle with hyperbole every time something bad happens. “Wait and see where it goes”, despite being 2011’s equivalent to “get in the ring and let me show you how fake it is“, is sometimes true — sometimes you go online and scream Rabble Rabble and the thing you’re rabbling ends up okay. So it is in that spirit of positivity and calm rationale that I say last night’s Raw was one of the least personally-enjoyable two hours of wrestling I’ve watched in years, and that by the 45 minute mark I wanted to hammerblow my computer desk into shards and stab myself with the pieces until I bled to death and didn’t have to watch anymore. We waited, we saw where it went, and now we’re here.
Let’s go through the opening moments step by step:
- Triple H, as we expected him to after 20 years of Bill Clinton impersonators and “heh, nice job Obama” jokes, announces that people who unionize and/or protest and/or want basic human rights are selfish crybabies who can’t take the room temperature heat of the kitchen and are only doing this because they don’t want to entertain the WWE Universe. He reassures everyone that he is the toughest and smartest and best character on the show, and in the process executes a masterstroke of stereotypical-on-the-Internet Triple H by blatantly saying a broomstick would give him a better fight than 95% of the guys in the parking lot, which is all but like six wrestlers in the company. Tell me I’m “trying to not like it” if you want, and sure, last week when he stood by himself in the middle of the ring and got the crowd to cheer him and boo everyone else that could’ve been a more broadly suggested thing, but here is is clearly and blatantly saying that 95% of WWE’s roster is worse than an inanimate object including every current champion.
Keep in mind that this was the part I was expecting.
- A wild John Cena appears, and as bad as this was, it was keeping in the spirit of John Cena — he speaks in a solemn voice about how conflicted he was about his decision, then peps up and announces that he’ll Never Give Up and that he supports Triple H. Cena is Dwight Schrute already, so him selling out his co-workers to get in with the boss he thinks is super cool makes sense. Two issues here, though:
1. Cena says that for some WWE Superstars, Triple H is their first boss. Triple H has been the boss for two months. Who’s he talking about here, the evil Sin Cara?
2. Cena namedrops all the former General Manager types he’s worked for, saying Mike Adamle was the worst. Triple H allowed his friends to ruin multiple pay-per-view main events, he beat up two guys in handcuffs, he stubbornly forced nearly every person on the roster to choose joblessness over working with him, told them they were all bad at their jobs and did everything short of call them “fags” on national television. One time Mike Adamle said “Jeff Harvey” instead of “Jeff Hardy”. He’s history’s greatest monster.
- In the most disappointing moment to happen until the next thing happened, Sheamus, the IRISH GUY, does not understand the plight of the working man and sides with Triple H after apologizing to him, telling him he’s the coolest and strongest and best character on the show, then saying he’s trying to live his life by Triple H’s example. This sorta makes me feel like an asshole for thinking “smiling too much” was the worst thing they could do to him. Sheamus could’ve come to the ring with a pair of scissors, snipped off his testicles mid-ring and given them to Triple H in a jar marked “LOVE SHEAMUS” with a backwards E and it wouldn’t have been worse. He f**king thanked him for beating him up. I swear to God I thought he was going to break out “OY LOVE YA, ALWAYS ‘AVE”.
- Then, in what is unbelievably NOT the worst moment of the night, CM Punk, the Voice of the Voiceless, ran the voiceless up a goddamn rail to say that HIM walking out was okay and cool, but anybody ELSE doing it is wrong, because this is Monday Night Raw and they have cage matches and that THE STATUS QUO IS WHAT EVERYONE SHOULD BE HAPPY WITH. I AM PUTTING THIS IN BOLDFACE. THE GUY WHO IS ALWAYS SAYING “I WANT CHANGE” SUGGESTED THAT THE ROSTER IS LAME FOR WANTING THINGS TO BE DIFFERENT, then gets super happy when Triple H asks him to do ringside commentary and GETS EVEN HAPPIER WHEN HE IS ALLOWED TO WEAR SOME OF TRIPLE H’S CLOTHES. Are you reading this? HE WAS HAPPY TO WEAR DADDY’S CLOTHES.
So, as a f**king half-time recap, Triple H is great, WWE sucks, John Cena has no spine, Sheamus had his life turned around by a really tough guy who kicked his ass and CM Punk is willing to forget the last two-plus months of character development because he thinks wearing a jacket when you do commentary is funny.
- A match starts, and the moment wrestling starts we go to commercial. Then, as soon as we come BACK from commercial, Vince McMahon’s music starts up and he walks to the ring and orders the wrestling to stop because he wants to talk.
And the wrestlers, including CM Punk, the guy who bitched out McMahon for not caring about the fans wanting wrestling, calmly leave without incident so Vince can talk instead of show wrestling.
- That leads to a flat segment that maybe-sorta-coulda been saved for Vengeance (which I admit is a total nitpick) wherein Vince, representing the same Board of Directors that fired him two months ago and without even so much as an “I love you, Step-Pop”, announces that Triple H is relieved from his day-to-day duties on Raw and will be replaced by John Laurinaitis, but is still the C.O.O.. Triple H gets upset to the point of violent threats DESPITE THE FACT THAT HE IS STILL JOHNNY ACE’S BOSS. Please read what I’m typing here. Triple H gets FIRED FROM NOTHING and suddenly has no power and has to go back to being a wrestler. Johnny Ace is free to fire Jim Ross, rehire The Miz and R-Truth and make all the matches for Raw and Triple H, the chief operating officer, is helpless to stop him. Does “Raw GM” rank higher than “MAIN WWE GUY”? Could the Michael Cole laptop veto Mr. McMahon’s decisions? And what about Teddy Long, who has general manager powers on both shows? Shouldn’t HE be the boss? Did Mick Foley return to WWE and bring the convoluted f**king TNA Impact hierarchy of confusing bullsh*t bosses with him?
I don’t know what to tell you.
I don’t. I want to be able to say “WWE did something shameless and unforgivably terrible” without it meaning “I hate WWE” or “everything WWE does is bad”. That’s not my intent. As you’ve hopefully picked up from past columns, I really, really want this to be good. I love a lot of the wrestlers and I’ve always had respect for WWE’s ability to give me small things to cling to even on the worst shows.
I can’t tell you this was the worst episode of Raw I’ve ever seen (and I can’t even tell you what happened in the opening segment is worse than Beth Phoenix’s “but we’re GIRLS and we’re afraid we’re going to get HURT!” act from just last week), but Jesus, it was close. How does this happen? How does nobody say “telling us what you think of Occupy Wall Street isn’t worth making everyone in the company look like sh*t”? I almost said f**k it and put up “The Best And Worst Of A Love Song For Bobby Long On HD-Net” today.
I want you to keep watching, but if you stop here, I’d understand.