Best: Michael Cole On Turbans, Et. Al
Unfortunately WWE Fan Nation (where I normally get the clips I share in these reports) is either slow on the upload or making a conscious effort to upload less (and maybe they found out how many people were skipping the shows and just finding out which parts to watch here) so you’ll have to trust me when I say first match Michael Cole was really good. Instead of spending the entirety of the Sheamus/Santino vs. Jinder Mahal/Wade Barrett match going LOOK AT THIS GOOF, WHAT A WORTHLESS GOOF he made an attempt to recap what’d been going on with Sheamus and Barrett, briefly put over Santino’s performance in last year’s Royal Rumble and even made an attempt to explain why Jinder Mahal was important and suddenly wearing a turban. And yeah, WWE explaining a turban is basically Racism Ground Zero, especially with Jerry Lawler instantly defense-mechanizing with a NOBODY CARES WHAT’S YOUR POINT, but Cole pointing out that Jinder doesn’t just buy and wear a turban but carefully wraps his head with strips of cloth as a personal expression of whatever was good. I’m giving him a best for it, because he deserved it. This is what WWE announcing should be, at least in the short term to allow us to recover from the last year of bullsh*t, minus Lawler’s weird, ever-present xenophobia.
When Sheamus and Santino were doing victory poses at the end of the match, Santino’s trombone dance seemed to break Cole, and he went LOOK AT THIS IDIOT DOING A TROMBONE DANCE and never fully recovered. But hey, baby steps.
Worst: The Cobra, Because Seriously
I initially liked the Cobra, because 1) it’s a fun taunt to do in real life, especially when people know what you’re doing and groan and roll their eyes before you’ve even slapped your wrist, and 2) he was using it creatively for a while, be it in his team with Tamina (Teamina) or in his Superstars matches against Zack Ryder, Cobra’ing him in the leg and setting up weird, contextually-realistic selling of interest.
Now he’s in full Worm territory, showing up at the end of the match no matter what happened and yelling COBRAAAA and wearing a goddamn snake sock on his hand while Jinder Whoever has to stumble up to their feet and take it. And he doesn’t even Cobra them in the face with it, he hits them in the shoulder, but somehow that causes SUDDEN UNCONSCIOUSNESS and the guy collapses and Santino gets the win with what is, let’s face it, the f**king Fingerpoke of Doom. Note: Santino can and should do the move in matches, because the crowd loves it, but it does not have to Critical people and can be worked in organically with even the tiniest bit of thinking. Just… even a little. Not “Sheamus does move, Santino does move, pyro and ballyhoo”.
Best: Big Johnny
I’ll give you Otunga, because I like him almost entirely on a coffee and sweaters platform, but if you aren’t on the John Laurinaitis bandwagon yet, something’s wrong with you. His interactions with Raw’s characters are the best because they’re seemingly random, but consistent — he openly supports CM Punk and treats him fairly, but accidentally causes him to fail on purpose; he hated John Morrison’s guts for almost no reason and shoehorned him off the show completely; he reacts to most midcarders by making them shut up so he can wistfully stare off into the distance and announce matches, and every time he deals with the Miz he wordplays him and basically says “I don’t give a f**k about you, Miz, you’re barely a wrestler, you’re five feet tall and I could just fire you and hire Austin Aries if I wanted a pissed off midget to bother me about bullsh*t” with a smile on his face. It’s the best. Christening himself “Big Johnny” is just the latest in a string of moments that make me shake you by the shoulders and say come on, stupid.
Best, I Guess: Edge Getting Immediately Honored
Edge getting a Hall Of Fame nod surprised me, not because I didn’t think he’d get in or didn’t deserve it, but because I’m used to how actual Halls Of Fame work and assumed they’d give him a year or two to get his body together and make sure he’s gone.
Of course, this is the same Hall Of Fame that has Drew Carey and Vince McMahon’s limo driver in it, not to mention f**king Nikolai Volkoff, and it’s just a big list of names so whatever and who cares. I was expecting a Mil Mascaras or Carlos Colon video package announcement, but I guess they need to sell tickets to the event, and Mil Mascaras probably couldn’t get the modern WWE Universe fan to stand up when he needed to squeeze by to get to his seat, much less drop a hundred bucks to sit beside Lucky Cannon in a suit and pretend to cry about sh*tty planchas.
I wonder which bust of Edge they’ll put into the Hall… sunglasses vampire Edge, hay-hat and buckteeth skit Edge, Live Sex boner-in-boxer-briefs Edge or Scud The Disposable Assassin tiny arms and macaroni body Edge?
Worst: Jerry Lawler Loves Mason Ryan’s Body
Jerry Lawler adding title cards to Miz’s backstage interaction was maybe the worst thing ever.
“Hey wait a minute, check this out, it looks like… heh, it looks like The Miz is trying to get himself a bodyguard! Well he’s gone to somebody with a great body, but I don’t think Mason… Mason Ryan is inner-rested! Ha ha ha! Miz looks a little frustrated!”
I am a little frustrated that you are such a creep. Next week they should film a segment where Ted DiBiase is all, “wow Mason your body is so great” and Mason just kinda lowers his head and shuffles his feet and says “dawww, I know”.
Best: Kane Comes Out Of The Closet
I couldn’t put my finger on what Kane stalking Zack Ryder clandestinely from behind a door reminded me of, but Something Awful goon Wise Fwom Yo Gwave nailed it: Worf leaning into Deanna Troi’s room in the “Parallels” episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Look:
How can Kane even stalk you in secret? Just look for the bright red lights, they follow him everywhere. No, those are the blue ones, that’s just Sin Cara. He can’t hurt you, he can only hurt himself.