Best: A Tag Team Match! With People I Like!
Confession time: I am getting a little tired of tag team matches. Something about WWE title feuds always being advanced with randomly paired tag team matches where the result barely matters and the actual tag team title division being a clown’s asshole, I don’t know. At the same time, what kind of clown’s asshole would I be if I complained too hard about Daniel Bryan, CM Punk and Cody Rhodes being in the same match?
This was, predictably enough, the best match on the show. I didn’t have a crazy reaction for it when it was happening, but in retrospect (after 14 minutes of open, 22 minutes of crying in the middle and almost 20 of Ace Ventura jokes at the end) it turned into this beautiful Dreamslam 2 epic of pro wrestling joy. I want to go back and watch it five more times to help me remember that wrestling happened on Raw.
So, some good things:
Best: The Reaction Daniel Bryan Should’ve Been Getting Since WrestleMania
Not every crowd can be Miami, but I loved Pittsburgh (ugh, did I just type that) giving Bryan the proper YES! chants and reactions he should’ve gotten from North Carolina and Chicago and everywhere else. In most places he almost has to remind the crowd to YES! Here, they’re YESSING! when he’s on the apron or whenever he throws a kick. That’s the infectious YES! chant my melodramatic WrestleMania sadness helped birth, and I want to see it nurtured.
And hey, the best side effect of WWE herding all the YES! chants into one segment is that Daniel Bryan has to be in that segment by default.
Best: “Millions Of Dollars” Is The New YES!
As great and fun as YES! YES! YES! still is, it has been usurped by the new catchphrase hotness (not ARRUHARRUHARRUH):
Get on that bandwagon now, folks. You know what the difference is between “Millions of Dollars” and “Woo woo woo you know it”? I don’t think you know the difference, but we know. Millions of dollars. MILLIONS OF DOLLARS, MILLIONS OF DOLLARS, MILLIONS OF DOLLARS, MILLIONS OF DOLLARS, MILLIONS OF DOLLARS, MILLIONS AND MILLIONS AND MILLIONS AND MILLIONS
Best: Santino Gets Some New(er) Material
Comedy wrestling — when it works — is the best.
That’s why I’m always willing to give Santino a pass. The birth of The Cobra was fun, and no matter how dumb it is to see guys like Dolph Ziggler get hit with it and collapse into nothingness, it’s still fun to stick your arm out and make a snake of it. Other parts of his act (the trombone dance, the sassy powerwalk) have needed a shellacking for at least a year, so I was very excited to see him
1. Break out some new material, or
2. Pretend he was at a house show and do some of the stuff we don’t see all the time
on Raw. House shows should seriously be like the open-mic night for pro wrestlers. That’s where you should be trying ANYTHING to see if it works, and when you’ve got a solid 10 minutes you bring it on wrestling’s Leno (WWE TV). The diving hot tag to nobody was great, as was his failure to dive through the ropes, even though part of me wanted to see him do the gentle winking Ebessan version where he just sticks his arms through the ropes and yells WHOOSH and not hit them with his stomach and flop around like he hurt himself. I guess that’s just the difference in audience, and why updated Simpsons opening has Homer being hit by the family car and knocked through a Homer-shaped hole in the wall.
Yes, I am pretentious enough to request my pro wrestling comedy be peaceful and subtle. MILLIONS OF DOLLARS, MILLIONS OF DOLLARS
Worst: Let’s Focus On At Least One Of These Belts, Okay Guys
The only Worst for the tag team match is that it features the United States Champion, the Intercontinental Champion and the WWE Champion and none of those belts is the focus or the important part of the story. These guys just seem to be teaming with and against each other because they were told to. There was a brief thing about how Cody thinks the IC title is more important than the US title (it is) and Bryan and Punk are facing off at Over The Limit (on f**king SUNDAY) but the worst thing they did was glare at each other. It seemed like a way to hotshot a champion vs. champion match onto a card with four matches (five if you count the Raw tag team placeholder match) and a way to kill time in a feud between two guys with ten years of history and huge fanbases.
The show was pretty boring, so these Bests and Worsts occasionally lose focus. What I’m getting at is that a tag team match featuring three champions and a guy challenging for the top brass in six days probably shouldn’t be your Raw curtain jerker, and if it is, there should be a reason why. Bryan/Punk and Santino/Cody have nearly the same build right now, and that’s not great.
Worst: Alicia Libre
The less said about the Divas match the better, but Layla looked nice standing at the top of the ramp and Alicia Fox trying to leapfrogs and Mascara Dorada monkey flips made me say, “Oh, honey” outloud. The gif doesn’t make it look as bad as it was because the framerate necessitates it being sped up, but she barely cleared Beth on the leapfrog and then stumbled back into a roll, and Beth just had to kinda stand there and look at her legs for a second before grabbing them and rolling her up to her feet. It was like somebody drugged Ciclope’s drink, and Ciclope ain’t great to begin with.
Oh, and just to say it again, Layla’s music makes me laugh every time. She runs to the ring to protect Alicia and hits Beth with a spinning hairmare facebuster thing (that looked like it hurt her worse than it hurt Beth), and all of a sudden YOU’RE NOT ENOUGH FOR ME/JUST ANOTHER MAN IN LOVE WITH ME blares and Beth grabs her head a bunch because “emotions” and Layla stands there with her hands on her hips nodding and mouthing “that’s right”. That’s right, Beth, you’re not enough of a man for her and also you love her.
Come to think of it, that was the same story she just did with Kelly Kelly, wasn’t it? Hey Layla, here’s some free advice: if you wanna beat Beth Phoenix, just keep rolling her up. You probably won’t have to do it more than once.