Best: Chris Jericho Being A Heel By Actually Being A Heel
One of the most flattering opportunities I’ve had since I started writing the Best and Worst of Raw column two Novembers ago at AOL FanHouse is having independent wrestlers approach me for advice on what they could be doing better. Before I continue, let me reiterate: pro wrestlers are basically the coolest people in the world to me and I respect what they do immensely, so despite a little bit of training and a popular column about it I am NOT in the wrestling business and make no claims deeper than being a total mark. I’m okay being that, because if you aren’t in the industry, you’re a mark. There’s no such thing as a “smart” anything.
So yeah, I’ve had the humbling opportunity to throw some advice that way, and the thing I’ve always said is that heel and face don’t really exist on the independent circuit. I mean, they do, but you don’t “get over as a heel” on the indies. The only way you can really find success is being liked by the fans, be it for being a great good guy or a great bad guy. You can make those fat ladies who think it’s real curse at you or whatever, but that’s not getting you a job on TV anywhere. You have to get people on board with what you’re doing, do it well, do it constantly and have enough people say “hey, you should see this wrestler” for someone with a serious bank account to see you.
Wrestling fans who consider themselves smart tend to do this in the big leagues, too, myself totally included. I see a guy like Cody Rhodes and I don’t boo him for the bad things he’s done to Big Show, I cheer him because he’s awesome and the Big Show sucks. Heel and face have very little to do with it, despite how much I can appreciate the learned execution of either of those roles.
That all being said, I LOVE what Chris Jericho is doing with CM Punk lately, partially because of how true to the idea of a “heel” he’s being, and because of how by being an actual f**king heel about things he can alienate the fans who want him to be the bad guy but want to still cheer him for being cool. He’s not cool — he’s reprehensible, doing something you can’t justify even with a laugh, and he’s being SUCH a prick and SUCH a troll and SUCH an unbelievable piece of crap about it that some of the smarter fans don’t know what to do, and they go to the catch-all “X-Pac heat” to find a jargon definition for what they’re feeling.
It’s not X-Pac heat you’re feeling. It’s heat.
In better days, you wouldn’t say “lol how awesome are the horsemen for jumping dusty in the parking lot and breaking his hand, that was great”, you’d say F**K YOU YOU HORSEMEN MOTHERF**KERS DUSTY’S GONNA KICK YOUR ASS. The way this is going, even Chris Jericho’s fans are gonna be yelling CM PUNK’S GONNA F**K YOU UP FOR POURING BEERS ON HIM because it is f**king VILE and unforgivable and it F**KING WORKS.
What wouldn’t work is if, say, they had their most popular good guy wrestler pouring beer on people and the crowd loved it. It’d be even worse if he did his finisher to women for not wanting to drink a beer with him.
Best: This CM Punk Is A Thousand Times Better Than Cool Disinterested Comic-Con Guest CM Punk
I like this guy.
One of the reasons I got on the CM Punk bandwagon so early in his career is because for all his faults, he was an identifiable human being … a pissed off, principled but in-it-for-himself type who tried to be a good person and got overwhelmed to the point of righteous anger at the people who disappointed him. That’s a very human characteristic, and one I’ll buy over “he tells jokes and remembers WWF ice cream bars” any day of the week.
I’m happy that Punk has a story to tell, because that’s when he’s at his best. He’s not “the new Shawn Michaels”, but he’s got Shawn’s ability to get across a pro wrestling story, and Shawn’s ability to turn overacted melodrama into something’s conclusion you wouldn’t mind paying to see.
Jericho trying to force alcohol on Punk to shake him is exactly the same as another storyline that bothered everyone, “Piggy James”. LayCool made fun of Mickie James for gaining a bunch of weight (which she didn’t) (at least not really), mocked her, beat her up, threw food on her. The problem is that LayCool “won” the feud and Mickie James got fired, and there was never a moment when Mickie really got to go off on them and beat the dog mess out of them for the bad things they’d done. If this feud ends with Punk deciding it’s okay to have a drink or two and Jericho being celebrated as the great social mediator, then yeah, it’ll be Piggy James again.
I’ve got a pretty good feeling that’s not where it’ll go.
Worst: Speaking Of The Best In The World, Where The Hell Is Daniel Bryan
They hand out YES! signs in the crowd and make YES! YES! YES! shirts available for sale and they don’t even have him on the show? I know he’s technically a Smackdown guy and they’re telling his story over there, but come on, if I have to see Big Show and Teddy Long on Raw you can at least give me the vegan.
I want to see him make more Hybrid Dolphin faces because he can’t believe how much everyone loves him.
Best: Mark Henry Arbitrarily Beating People Up And Vanishing
Actually forget Jericho, Punk AND Daniel Bryan. Just give me Mark Henry shrugging off monitor shots to pull people around by the leg and World’s Strongestly Slam them to death for the benefit of approaching heels. Mark Henry should never be pinned, and should only lose for stupid reasons like counts-out or ring collapses.
Worst: So What, Is Abraham Washington Just Gone Now
The only problem I had with last week’s Best and Worst of Raw fill-in column from Chris Trew is that Abraham Washington reappeared on Raw and Chris didn’t know who he was.
Just so I can type the paragraph again, I may be the biggest Abraham Washington fan in the world. I thought his run on WWECW as a purposefully awkward talk show host with a Bryant Gumbel voice who would occasionally morph into an angry black man before collecting himself and continuing to soldier through his terrible material was inspired. It’s one of the funniest things the WWE ever did (alongside Derrick Bateman’s double date with the Bella Twins and Gene Snitsky’s wedding poem).
So hopefully you can see how excited I was to write a bunch about Abraham Washington this week, and then Mark Henry comes out by himself and he is never mentioned. Henry sets up a title match for next week, and Abraham Washington never shows up.
What noise does Tony Atlas make when he’s frowning?