Best: IT’S RIC FLAIRRRRR
I’m guessing you don’t need me to tell you how great the 1992 Royal Rumble is, how bulletproof Ric Flair was from 1984-1994 or how Bobby Heenan’s YES, YES, YES, YES is one of the greatest calls in wrestling history. You also don’t need me to point out the disturbing number of dead people who show up in Rumbles when you go back and watch them. The 1995 Rumble is just Shawn Michaels sitting in the corner for an hour while they drag out dead guys and roll them into the ring. It’s weird.
But yeah, Rumble match video retrospectives are the best, and make them look like the most epic matches ever even though the bulk of any Rumble match is guys doing that awful hold-you-by-the-legs-and-stand-still corner fighting/lifting thing and countdowns that get you excited and ultimately reveal Ted DiBiase.
Best: Wade Barrett And R-Truth As Henry Fonda And Lee J. Cobb
I could spend two hours listening to the smartest guy on the WWE roster verbally spar with its stupidest. Hearing Barrett call R-Truth a “delusional, physically-volatile lunatic” only for Truth to come back with HERE’S SOME PICS I TOOK AT DISNEYLAND WADE is amazing. It would’ve been better if he’d actually just shown candid slides of him at Disneyland and made no attempt to tie them back to Barrett, but I’ll take what I can get. “I MISS YOUR SMILE, WADE” is good enough for a month of bests. The segment should’ve ended with Truth’s wallet falling out and him bursting into tears.
Because I’m me, I have one major complaint:
Best, But Worst: R-Truth As Brandon Stroud
R-Truth taking pictures with mascots is basically the greatest thing ever, and the most Brandon thing on WWE television this year. Yes, that includes the With Leather shirt. Proof:
My only problem is that they were across the street from Disneyland (and made a point to say that out-loud) but photoshopped Truth into photos instead of just dropping a hundred bucks to send him into the park at some point in the afternoon to take an actual picture. WWE Photoshop gags always come across as inauthentic ideas from writers who know a little bit more about how computers work than wrestlers but are afraid to admit it. I can’t quite articulate it, but an actual picture of him acting stupid with Pinocchio would’ve gone a long way to legitimizing Truth’s adorable craziness instead of making him seem like a guy who came up with a joke.
Also it would’ve been my wallpaper.
Worst: Teddy Long And The Nature Of Impromptu Battles Royal
HOLE ON A MINNET, PLAYA
Yes, my first thought was LET ME GUESS, SHEAMUS AND R-TRUTH TEAMING UP AGAINST THE MIZ AND WADE BARRETT, RIGHT, TEDDY, GOOD IDEA, GREAT IDEA THAT NOBODY SAW COMING, GET THE F**K OFF THE STAGE IN YOUR F**KING FROSTED MINI WHEATS SUIT. Teddy show us and throws us a peanut-headed curveball by making it an Over The Top Rope Challenge, cementing that 1) he saw that Teddy Long General Manager flow chart that’s been floating around and 2) he is less creative (“Royal Rumble’s coming up, so we’re gonna have a battle royal!”) and therefore more deserving of CM Punk’s scorn than John Laurinaitis.
Over The Top Rope Challenges are sorta like Body Slam Challenges, where they take a match you like (a battle royal or Royal Rumble, and in the case of a Body Slam Challenge a “normal match”) and skip to one part of it instead of taking a couple of minutes to set up a happening, let you consider it, then execute it. A four guy battle royal sucks because it eliminates a lot of the fun discussion you have wondering who’s gonna win, who’s gonna eliminate who, and so on. With a Body Slam Challenge you’re sorta building suspense for a really basic thing you see all the time, and then for a second you’re all excited because HERE COMES THE FINISH but then nope, it’s just a body slam. You’re taking things that work on a really easy-to-understand level and convoluting them in a way they’ve never needed. Over The Top Rope Challenges are dumb, people get thrown out of the ring all the time.
What I’m getting at is that you should be putting these f**kers in Inferno matches every time they ruin your scheduled programming until they get the hint.
Worst: Come On, He Hit One Brogue Kick, Don’t Play His Music
Worst: Zack Ryder’s Dad Sure Seems Pissed About What Happened
I don’t know if John Cena is necessarily “embracing hate”, but he’s embracing being a Weird Overprotective Dad, and his ruthlessly aggressive serious voice about how unfair it is for Zack Ryder to be in matches he agreed to and lose them to fair, normal wrestling moves is confusing and borderline bizarre. CM Punk briefly touched on this and completely abandoned it during the New Nexus storyline, but Cena is absolutely the most psychotic dude on the WWE roster and will both take physical violence too far to make a point he doesn’t have to make and misdirect his anger so hardcore that a guy like Rock can say YOU ARE A PATHETIC PIECE OF SH*T AND EVERYONE HATES YOU to his face and he’ll brush it off, but David Otunga can be one of 9 guys who attacked him the previous week and he’ll bloody him and try to crush his head with steps. Much like how Hulk Hogan’s character evolution was logically “egotistical bad guy”, Cena’s should be Unrepentant Killing Machine Who Doesn’t Know How To Feel Emotions And Can’t Stop Freaking Out And Breaking You. That’s it. F**k being a heel, Cena needs to be a Godless mechanism of destruction. He feels no pain because he causes all of it.
And seriously, at some point Zack Ryder needs to break out an “I appreciate your concern and all that, but get off my jock, bro”.