Best: David Otunga, Master Of Tropes
Otunga’s last month of televised wrestling matches saw him get pelted in the head with Christmas presents by Randy Orton and be outfoxed™ by a one-armed giant. He’s like the most esoteric death match worker ever, except instead of “let’s build a log cabin out of light tubes” his bosses say “lift weights for a year so we can have someone choke you briefly with a wreath”.
I don’t understand it, but he should only compete in sketchy stipulation matches he assumes he can win. Like, put him in a scaffold match against Hornswoggle and you assume he’s just gonna walk up and use his giant body to shove Swoggle’s little Perry the Platypus-shaped ass to his death but OH NO KING LOOK SHEAMUS HAS SOMEHOW GOTTEN ON TOP OF THE SCAFFOLD and then boom Brogue Kick and a coffee and shredded tweed stain on the ring.
Worst: OH NO KING NOT ANOTHER BRIEF DISTRACTION
WWE’s penchant for ending everything with a distraction reached critical mass here as now wrestlers are using it as a defense against itself — Mark Henry interrupted Show and Otunga’s Dreamslam classic to help Otunga get the win, but then Daniel Bryan showed up with his own musical interlude to distract HENRY, allowing Big Show to chokeslam Otunga (?). I don’t want to keep griping about this every goddamn week, but guys, as much worth as a distraction or a count-out or a disqualification finish has, you kill it by doing it non-stop, over and over in nearly every match on nearly every show. Nobody cares when it happens now because it always happens. If wrestling was nothing but snakes biting guys on the arm nobody would give a shit about that time Jake the Snake attacked Macho Man. Make me think “wow, that’s not something he should be doing” instead of “why are they still being distracted, this happens all the f**king time”.
In fact, just last week on NXT I assumed we’d seen the meta end to the trope. Kaitlyn (who never had her heel turn aired and showed up slappin’ handz like nothing happened, so I guess we’re still Busting Chicks) wrestled Maxine, and without explaining the Scrooge McDuck’s Family Tree that is NXT romance, Derrick Bateman showed up to sing The Righteous Brothers to Maxine and inadvertently cost her the match. And he made this face.
That’s the end of it, right? Sorta like how Bateman perfected and killed off the backstage date segment with the Bella Twins. He crossed “interrupt the match for a stupid reason and cause someone to lose” off the list and now it’s too ridiculously self-aware for anyone to use with sincerity. WHY IS IT STILL SHOWING UP. WATCH YOUR SHOWS, WWE.
Anyway, here’s that full segment in case you want to see what I’m talking about/stare at Kaitlyn’s quads.
Best?: Speaking Of NXT, Whatever Happened To Daniel Bryan And A.J.
I guess the upside of taped programming (and the downside of leaked spoilers) is that you can sorta rewrite history, so if Kaitlyn never turned on A.J. to join Pin-Up Strong, does that mean the A.J./Daniel Bryan nerdmance has been retroactively erased from WWE history
like in Back to the Future? Not that I want Daniel Bryan stealing my sassy dream bride, but still, bottom-of-the-totem-pole characters were having on-screen stories told and I’d rather see her standing around for 30-40 seconds of television and going “nah you did great!” than nothing.
Worst: Speaking Of NXT, Whatever Happened To Kaval
Best: Alberto Del Rio In A Wheelchair And Everything That Comes With It
If you read this column you knew this Best was coming, and in spite of the racist commenters who won’t agree, gimpy Alberto Del Rio grimacing at a crowd who doesn’t respect his torn groin while Ricardo Rodriguez wears a neckbrace and pushes him around in a gold leopard-print wheelchair is the greatest thing. I don’t care if you think Del Rio is “overpushed” or whatever, if you can’t laugh at an aristocrat lowered to holding his dick for the enjoyment of a gaggle of trashy assholes I don’t know what to tell you. Even Lawler got in an amazing burn, listing off the specs of Del Rio’s chair like it was one of his luxury cars.
It was character-driven comedy on a pro wrestling show. That’s awesome. I’m surprised they didn’t bring out Mae Young and have her go ALBERTAAA and accidentally sit on his lap.