Best: Mil Mascaras
As I might’ve mentioned before, Dusty Rhodes is my Dad’s favorite wrestler of all time. When he was a kid, his favorite was Mil Mascaras … and indirectly I’m guessing the gene that mutated when my Dad saw Mil Mascaras take off his mask and have another, different mask on under it is what was transferred to me at conception and made me get into tape trading so I could see Tiger Mask matches when I was 13.
Mil Mascaras isn’t the greatest luchador of all time (he’s not as important as Santo or as good as Blue Demon … or Blue Panther, for that matter) but he’s certainly one of the coolest, at least when you’re little (he has SO MANY MASKS you guys), and he’s an awesome fit for the WWE Hall Of Fame. If you aren’t convinced — or are too swayed by Mick Foley’s writing — watch any old movie where luchadors fight robots (or vampires, or midgets, or whatever) and see Mil do that thing where he takes off a mask and puts on a different one in one little f**king wrist snap. Brodus Clay can’t smoothly take off breakaway pants with two hands and two assistants.
Best: Welcome Back, Mark Henry
Here’s the unofficial Mark Henry timeline:
Unimportant strong guy -> unimportant black militant -> unimportant pervert -> near unemployment -> unimportant friend to other, also unimportant black wrestler -> unimportant heavyweight champion -> unimportant general friend -> ???? -> UNSTOPPABLE MONSTER HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION WHO PINS RANDY ORTON CLEANLY LIKE A BOSS AND CHARGES YOU FOR AIR SO WHEN HE SENDS YOU THE BILL YOU MUST PAY IT QUICKLY -> injury -> ???? -> unimportant strong guy
… but his performance as David Otunga’s ridiculously powered-up surprise tag team partner (and announced anchor for Team Executive Vice President Of Talent Relations And Interim General Manager Of Raw John Laurinaitis at Wrestlemania) was a nice step away from “unimportant black militant” and a hopeful step back toward “awesome champion”. Mark Henry was built up SO WELL and SO CONSISTENTLY last year that no amount of injuries should curb that, and he should have instant cred when he shows up and World’s Strongestly Slams people.
He earns a supplemental Best for pulling off Santino’s cobra sleeve and throwing it into the crowd. He earns two supplemental Worsts for 1) switching back to a primary color singlet instead of remaining as dark as possible, and 2) landing on his knees about 15 feet away from Santino on that splash.
Worst: Six-On-Six At Wrestlemania
Multi-man matches can be great, but as Bragging Rights taught us, they aren’t unless they’re the main event angle. If Shawn Michaels has to fight against the odds to comeback and win for his team, that’s gonna be good. If it’s a “Great Khali wins battle royal” excuse to get a bunch of guys you didn’t bother to write into the show spots on the Wrestlemania card, it’s not. It’s not gonna be good. I don’t care if they put my 12 favorite wrestlers in the world in there. I don’t care if Vince McMahon goes on a Vision Quest and puts Brock Lesnar and ACH on Team Teddy Long, it’s going to blow.
There’s something to be said for going through the motions, but “important angle heading into Wrestlemania” isn’t the place to do it. Maybe if the match was made an elimination thing it’d be better, but even that would just fall into the tropes of middle relief (guys getting pinned with secondary moves nobody ever gets pinned with, two or three guys getting eliminated right in a row, “fighting to the back” for a double countout).
You should just have it be Santino and Long vs. Otunga and Laurinaitis, let Santino pop the crowd with his illustrated hand jive, feed Peanut Head into an Ace Crusher and call it a five star day.
Worst: The Bellas Have A Weird Idea Of What “Wrestling” Is
“Hopefully it’ll be a bunch of girls just getting nasty in the ring.”
That’s not Wrestlemania, ladies, that’s the Royal Rumble. And not the one you’re thinking of.
An extra Best goes out to Alicia Fox for this amazingly honest exchange:
Maria Menounos: “Are you training?”
Alicia: “No, I’m just wearing clothes.”
Best: The Funkasaurus Is In The House
I’d started to give up hope. When the music started and the disco ball graphic popped up on my screen I gasped, threw my arms up over my head and yelled “YES!” Planet Funk is back in orbit, fat guy crossbodies are in the seventh house and Jinder Mahal is aligned with Mars.