Worst: Missed It By That Much
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Best: Alberto Del Rio Skunking Kofi Kingston
Long-time readers may have guessed it while watching, but my favorite moment of the show was Alberto Del Rio doing what a WWE Champion should do for once in his life and beating Kofi Kingston in about two minutes without any trouble. This is what should be happening. Kofi should be able to get competitive matches out of Jack Swagger or whoever, but when he steps into the ring with a guy holding the WWE Championship (that he won in a Hell in a Cell, defeating your two most popular wrestlers) he should go “whoops” and fall down and have his arm broken. I liked a lot of the little things in this match, from Del Rio’s less-than-graceful armbreaker where he had to fall in the wrong direction and his Samoa Joe-style dodge of Kofi’s wacky suicide dive. A guy who spent his life coming up in lucha libre should be able to dodge a Kofi dive whether it’s the Matt Cross Memorial Fake-Out version or not.
It’s weird, though, because my mind says “the only way to legitimize Del Rio in the eyes of fans is to have him cleanly and efficiently beat undercard babyfaces without cheating”, but the mind of the modern fan says “this guy is easily beating all my favorites, that means he’s being shoved down my throat”. I wish I could pull that for real sports. “The Texans beat the Browns! The NFL is pushing the Texans too hard! They should lose the first eight games of the season so the ninth will mean something!” In a Universe where we’re blatantly asked to suspend disbelief (then unsuspend it, then suspend it again) doesn’t what happens determine what exists? If Daniel Bryan is great at wrestling but never wins, isn’t he that dopey white guy with the good fundamentals getting dunked over in college and then ignored forever? The trick is that WWE can change it up and say “no, the dunk gets blocked and the white guy takes it down the court and drains a three”, they just never do.
Best: Giving CM Punk Actual Reasons To Act Like This
For once (and only for this once) I’m happy to see Ricardo Rodriguez get hit with a finishing move. I’m sick to f**k of seeing it, but at least this time he deserved it. CM Punk ran his mouth, but Del Rio started things by attacking Kingston after the match. Punk goaded him on, but Del Rio threw the first punch, and when Punk got the advantage it was Ricardo who jumped on him and started punching. It was the opposite of the show in Austin, where Punk didn’t get what he wanted to he just punched an innocent guy and beat up his friend. That’s a big storytelling step forward, and one that continued (kind of) in the backstage follow-up. Del Rio is taking the cheap shots, not Punk.
I also like that they tried to explain Punk’s actions as a retaliation against Del Rio’s. Del Rio cashed in Money in the Bank to beat Punk the first time and hit him with a pipe the second, so Punk has free reign to f**k with him and hit him with things as a response. Two tiny problems with that, though — my personal issues with “two wrongs make a right” WWE logic causing every good guy to be a personal piece of sh*t, and the forgotten understanding that cashing in Money in the Bank is what you’re supposed to do with it (as Punk explicitly said the night after Del Rio cashed in on him in the first place) and that the “hitting people with pipes” thing took place in Hell In A Cell, where the entire point is cage match and weapon violence. It’s not like Del Rio hit him with a pipe at Night Of Champions or whatever. He lost two matches under the established-as-fair stipulations of both matches.
And there was one other bad thing.
Two Major Worsts: CM Punk Acting Like This
Both of Punk’s Worsts are an extension of his time spent with John Cena, I think … the first being insults to Alberto Del Rio’s fictional character and not to Del Rio “himself”. Maybe this is just Phil talking to Paul again, but instead of saying “you’re arrogant and you take shortcuts to win a match” or whatever, Punk broke out the “you’re one dimensional and these people already know what you’re going to say, because your catchphrase is dumb and you’re a fake person, not real like me, Phil”. It was John Cena accusing Del Rio of not owning his cars. The kind of thing you shouldn’t really be saying if you want people to pretend like your pretend fight is real enough to pay money for. This one wasn’t anything to get upset over, and was mostly a holdover from that sketchy attempt at a “reality era” that latched itself onto Punk’s Jim Rome promo and carried us through the Labor Issues Are For Pussies Walkout.
The other worst was, you guessed it, stupid, stupid racism. Tom Holzerman wrote about it at length earlier today, but here’s the quicker (and eventually way longer) version — Punk made Del Rio punch him by calling him “greasy”. And sure, he called him “weaselly” and “slimy” as well, so maybe “greasy” was just a condemnation of character, but it immediately follows last week where Punk sat by Del Rio’s unconscious body and called him “amigo” and said sh*t like “comprende” at him condescendingly because, well, it sounds like he hates Mexicans. There’s also the ever-present, unspoken hypocrisy of a WWE Superstar forced to ignore what’s actually happened, as 1) CM Punk spent the last three years being the most conniving, self-serving guy on the roster and 2) is way greasier than Del Rio even if he’s got beautiful white people’s hair.
And yeah, this gets even worse when you remember how it follows John Cena Rising Above Hate by calling R-Truth a dumb n*gger in front of everybody.
Best: WWE.Com, For All Your Bleacher Report Article Needs
I hope that when you go to WWE.com and click on the article it’s a 16-part slideshow that reloads the entire page when you click next and each slide is just “GREAT MOVES”, “POPULARITY” and “EXPERIENTS”. And when you click all the way through, the 17th slide takes you to the 100 Sexiest Photoes of Eve Torres.