The Best And Worst Of WWE Raw 1/23/12: Don’t Break My Back, Bro

By: 01.24.12  •  107 Comments

Best: As God As My Witness, He’s Fallen Almost Two Feet

I’m giving Zack Ryder’s Chokeslam ALL THE WAY T’HELL a Best because the smarkier gent inside of me loves it when they do prop falls, then immediately discredit them with too many camera angles. See also: WWF’s late-90s obsession with dumpsters full of packing peanuts, various stage and Titantron bumps onto carefully arranged cardboard boxes, Triple H being chokeslammed from a scaffold onto comfy mattresses at Wrestlemania X-7, etc.

At first, the image is that Zack Ryder has been chokeslammed onto the stage so hard that he’s broken it and gone through it, presumably to the floor (and/or production equipment) below. That’s the image you should stay with, and if they’d kept the cameras at stage level and shown people reacting to Zack’s presumably mangled body it could’ve been really effective. Unfortunately they did that thing they always do where they can’t resist rubbernecking, so they zoom in to him sprawled out on the ground with EMTs stretching him up, and the one EMT is bent over and his ass is higher than the stage. So basically Ryder got chokeslammed onto a surface that gave way, causing him to fall another… what, foot and a half? To the floor with stuff under him.

What we develop in our imagination is sometimes better than the payoff. It’s why The Blair Witch Project worked and those Sarah Michelle Gellar/Kristen Bell horror movies where blue monster babies crawl out of the walls or whatever don’t. Although the same people who were yelling THEY AIN’T EVEN SHOW THE WITCH would’ve probably jumped on WWE Social to post THEY AIN’T EVEN SHOW HIS BODY, so whatever, he’s dead and we can move on.

Best? Worst?: Cena’s Reaction To Ryder

I thought this was the peak of Cena’s acting, but then they took a commercial break and let him prep for the Josh Mathews interview. Anyway, the upside of Cena’s shock and awe is that I couldn’t decide whether he was:

1. Selling the severity of Zack Ryder’s injury, i.e. “oh no how could a man do this to another man”, or

2. Going “oh my God, this is exactly like what I did to Batista, I’m a f**king monster”

Number one would be sh*tty and give us “Cena embraces hate because he hates Kane so much”. That’s the easy out, and probably what they’re doing. The second one is incredible and gives us “Cena embraces hate because he hates himself”. It builds on the stuff CM Punk was accusing him of when he was cool a year and a half ago circa the New Nexus (“you beat Batista but it wasn’t enough, you had to go too far and put him through the stage”). Cena is an unstoppable monster incapable of showing human emotion or knowing when he turn it off. This could be why he reacts to Zack Ryder the way he does… like the T-800 trying to say “no problemo” to John Conner because that’s what a 90s teen’s idea of cool sounds like.

Cena could effectively turn heel without changing at all. He just keeps coming out in bright shirts with dumb slogans, throwing his hat, breaking people in half effortlessly and crushing their heads with 10,000 pound ring steps because he hates himself, but can’t escape that hate because all he knows how to be is himself. Do it. Do iiiiiiit.



You aren’t going to do it, are you.

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