Best: Now THAT’S How You Get People Excited About Pro Wrestling
I don’t know how many times I formally begged for any of the WrestleMania 28 stories to erupt into a thing where the wrestlers just have to punch each other, because there’s no sense of urgency to tersely worded in-ring business discussions and try as I might to be an intellectual I’m paying you monies to see guys pretend to murder each other. Triple H/Undertaker didn’t get going until the match, Punk/Jericho didn’t get going until the week AFTER the match and Cena/Rock is scheduled to get going sometime in November.
John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar, at least so far, is the opposite of that. Last week’s return was quick and purposeful — without a lot of exposition, dickhead Brock Lesnar showed back up out of the blue and trounced John Cena mopey Ron Washington-esque acceptance of failure with a finisher he’s had stored for like six years. This week, instead of yammering on about how he’s not gonna get mad at Brock and how SOMMA THESE FANS LIKE MEH SOMMUVUM DON’T THAT’S AIGHT he just slapped Brock in the face and they punched each other.
Not enough to ruin a formal match between them or anything, but enough to let me know these guys are mad enough at each other to punch and are trying hard enough to be top shelf pro wrestlers that they’re willing to move beyond the derpy name-calling.
Interest in Brock Lesnar calling John Cena a “beantown bitch” or whatever: 0%
Interest in watching Brock Lesnar put John Cena’s blood on John Cena’s face: 100%
Best: You Made Me Bleed My Own Blood!
The lack of bleeding in WWE is a blow to wrestling storytelling, but it has one major upside: if it never happens, it means a whole f**king lot when it does.
For example, Cena started getting big during JBL’s title reign and they had a great I Quit match for the WWE Championship at Judgment Day 2005. Cena bled buckets in the match, but you don’t remember it because everybody was bleeding buckets around that time, and any and all JBL + championship + blood thoughts go directly to Eddie Guerrero, as they should.
Now nobody bleeds, because Mattel or Kenner or whoever’s in charge of making the HOOK THROWIN’ EVAN BOURNE doll this year is okay with violence as long as there are no realistic outcomes or consequences. If Joey Mercury had gotten his face split open by an errant ladder edge in 2011 the rest of Armageddon would’ve been far away shots of doctors scooping brain matter off the ground while Michael Cole talked solemnly and Dave Taylor stood around with his hands in his pants.
What I’m getting at is that unexpected blood (especially in the contest of a pull-apart brawl, where things are so hectic you can’t send in a medic to slow things to a crawl) can be a big moment. The only real downside to it is that ever-present wrestling plot hole where they show Brock throwing an accidental punch and being all LOOK HOW HARD IT CONNECTED with slow motion replays, then follow it up with 10 minutes of Santino getting punched flush in the face and being fine. And then everyone else in the history of wrestling being punched in the face and being fine.
Thank God we can write it off as “Brock Lesnar’s punches are super powerful because he did UFC!” and we don’t get any Attitude Era moments where Cena says BROCK YOU PUNCHED ME FOR REAL, NOW THIS IS NOT STORIES IT IS REAL LIFE.
Best: Oh Hey Look, It’s The Guy Who Taught Brock Lesnar How To Shooting Star Press
Every time WWE road agent Billy Kidman is on television, WWE road agent Juventud Guerrera needs to run out and hurricanrana him. I know this would involve 1) finding Juventud Guerrera, 2) giving Juventud Guerrera a job, 3) putting Juventud Guerrera in charge of people, but I stand by my statement.
How much better would Raw be if they sent out Dean Malenko to cloverleaf people who’ve gotten out of control? Jack Swagger gets rough with a referee and Malenko just appears and Ciclopes the shit out of him.
Best: John Laurinaitis Owns Teddy Long, Displays His WrestleMania Brother Love Suit
John Laurinaitis outfitted his Executive Vice President Of Talent Relations And Permanent General Manager Of Both Raw And Smackdown office with those pay-per-view and WWE films posters they put in your contract you can’t control, but he made sure to hang up his WrestleMania 28 victory jacket (the one that made him look like The Apostle) and included an engraved date plaque to mark the occasion.
I’m considering doing the same thing to my Team Johnny shirt.