Worst: This Is The Last Raw Before Wrestlemania And The Only Important Thing That Happened Was Drew McIntyre Joining Team Johnny, What Does That Say About Where We’re At
Here’s a quick recap of all the major stories leading into Wrestlemania 28:
CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho
Week 1: Chris Jericho wins a battle royal to get a shot at the WWE Championship.
Week 2: Jericho and Punk argue about which one of them is truly the Best Wrestler In The World.
Week 3: Jericho pins Punk with a small package in a show-opening tag match.
Week 4: Jericho says Punk’s father is an alcoholic. Punk gets mad.
Week 5: Jericho says Punk’s sister is a junkie. Punk gets mad.
Week 6: Jericho says Punk’s parents conceived Punk before they were married. Punk gets mad.
Undertaker vs. Triple H
Week 1: 20 minutes of discussion about This Business.
Week 2: Nothing.
Week 3: 20 minutes of discussion about This Business. Shawn Michaels is named special guest referee.
Week 4: 20 minutes of discussion about This Business.
Week 5: 20 minutes of discussion about This Business.
Week 6: video package
The Rock vs. John Cena
Week 1: Cena calls Eve a diseased bitch-whore, mentions that The Rock isn’t here and that the boys in the back secretly hate him.
Week 2: The Rock says John Cena is like Chinese food, Cena says Rock has written notes on his arm.
Week 3: The Rock throws a John Cena garden gnome into a river, Cena says Rock has written notes on his arm.
Week 4: The Rock plays a 20-minute complimentary guitar parody to Cleveland, says that he’s going to have sex with Cena’s mom. Cena raps for almost two minutes about how Rock has written notes on his arm.
Week 5: The Rock goes to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Cena gets into a car accident in real life, beats Mark Henry anyway. The Rock appears to also beat up Mark Henry, for some reason.
Week 6: The Rock says it is extremely important for him to win. Cena says it is extremely important for HIM to win. They look at each other.
So aside from one f**king small package in one f**king curtain-jerking tag match, the three major pro wrestling storylines heading into Wrestlemania don’t involve fighting. I know you don’t want to injure anybody, but Christ almighty, you wrestle without calamity for the other 46 weeks in the year, if John Cena tears a lat during a pull-apart brawl he’s gonna pull it walking down the stairs. It doesn’t seem too ridiculous to me to request that my pro wrestling characters OCCASIONALLY F**KING PUNCH EACH OTHER.
And yeah, it’s good This Business to make us pay for the punching, but if you aren’t gonna have them get physical you have to have their issues escalate and come up with additional talking points and situations each week so that it seems more and more and more important until the punching. That’s why it’s called a “build”. You’re supposed to build things. Imagine if actual soap operas announced that Adam Chandler was gonna get shot by his twin brother in six weeks, then spent five weeks and six days having the characters talk to each other about how important Adam Chandler getting shot was gonna be. And then Adam doesn’t get shot and neither does Stuart and it’s just a bait-and-switch excuse to make you watch an episode six weeks from THEN.
You would just watch f**king ‘Passions’* instead, right?
*CHIKARA is ‘Passions’ in this analogy.
Worst: I Have Seen These Video Packages More Than Once In My Lifetime
In case you missed it, the ‘documentary’ about the Once In A Lifetime match between The Rock and John Cena was just the video packages you’ve already seen strung together one after another with that awful WWE DVD feature art direction thing where they pan over to a still photo and it flashes and then they’ve zoomed in, and at no point was the song ‘Once In A Lifetime’ by Talking Heads played. They missed a great opportunity to show Eve making out with Cena during the “this is not my beautiful wife” part.
Not as bad as that one three-hour Nitro where the first hour was recaps, but not as good as anything involving actual wrestling.
Best: Starting Raw With Wrestling
WWE tag matches teaming corresponding pay-per-view opponents with or against each other are so bloated and tired they block the road in Pokémon, but I appreciate any show that begins with a wrestling match instead of general managerial shenanigans or it being Time To Play The Game.
Unfortunately this one involved Kane and the suddenly-vocal-again “my match with Kane is the most important thing happening at Wrestlemania idk” Randy Orton, not to mention Kane delivering maybe the least painful looking chokeslam on record to Sheamus, but I’ll take what I can get.
(Seriously though, watch that chokeslam again. Pretty sure Sheamus gets into a sleeping bag with more impact than that.)
Best: A.J. Is Helpful
I’m sad that it didn’t involve Busting Chicks, but I’m happy that A.J. has hitched a ride to the star and been forever associated with not only the upward mobility of the Actual Best In The World, but with YES! YES! YES!, which is not only the best catchphrase in pro graps but exactly what I’d imagine one says when within 10 feet of A.J.
I’m really enjoying her modern take on Miss Elizabeth. Elizabeth didn’t have the benefit of making her voice heard on Twitter, so we never really knew what she thought about being shoved around and humanely-shielded by Macho Man all the time. With A.J., we know that she’s in love with Bryan, so she’s willing to accept his not-necessarily-constructive-advice and orders as public acknowledgement of their relationship and is just trying to help. It’s the perfect set-up to make us not LIKE A.J. for what she’s doing but not blame her, because if she could Just Get Away From That Guy she’d see the light. I don’t know if WWE is purposefully f**king with our ability to White Knight, but whatever they’re doing, it’s working.
Here’s to hoping Kaitlyn and Derrick Bateman show up on Raw soon to be additional cronies and give a weird sort of closure to the Chicks And America story from NXT season 2.
Worst: That “If They Lose On Raw They Win At The Pay-Per-View” Talking Point
Snopes needs to publish an article about this. It’s the worst thing that’s ever been widely accepted by the wrestling fan community and has been used as evidence in smart guy back-and-forth so much that even I see Daniel Bryan win a match on Raw and go “welp, I guess he’s losing at Wrestlemania” instead of cheering and being happy.
New rule: if they win on the show before the pay-per-view, they should be the favorites to win AT the pay-per-view, because they just won. Right?