Best: Scott Stanford, Voice Of The WWE
WWE YouTube channel pre-shows are a great idea, even if the feed I was watching was choppier than a f**king Kobashi/Kenskee match. The highlight for me here, as it always is when he’s around, was the inclusion of Mr. Scott Stanford on play-by-play. I don’t think I can come up with a hyperbole big enough to explain how much better the Stanford/anybody team is than Lawler/Cole. I’m the guy who has on multiple occasions referred to Disney’s The Country Bears as the “greatest movie ever” and I can’t exaggerate hard enough to put it into words.
Stanford sounds like a real sports announcer (because he is), and I could never picture him in his underwear getting barbecue sauce poured on him as a gag or imagine hearing him shout over a match to get himself over because Gordon Solie wouldn’t do those things god dammit and in kayfabe, an announcer should be worrying about how well he’s announcing and literally nothing f**king else. Stanford’s so good he makes me curse more. I don’t find anything to get upset or indignant about … I don’t care if Matt Striker is taking 8 minutes of a 6 minute match to explain the specifics of a ligament tear, all Stanford’s got to do is say “Regal counters, looking to cover” and I’m at peace.
Hey WWE, you want legitimacy? Let a guy who talks about sports talk about sports. Your dumb thing is supposed to be a sport.
Worst: Brodus/Otunga Was Pretty Okay Until They Raw’d The Hell Out Of It
It may’ve been the fact that I was watching a pixelated slideshow of recap images, but I thought Brodus Clay versus David Otunga was pretty solid while it lasted, considering that “Brodus Clay” and “David Otunga” have historically been the two worst wrestlers on the roster since developmental. I remember watching Brodus botch lateral presses as the G-Rilla. Now they’ve both amassed enough personality to go through the motions and still come out with something enjoyable.
Unfortunately, the ending they went with was the “THE HEEL HAS HAD ENOUGH, HE’S LEAVING” thing that mid-80s NWA taught me is supposed to lead directly to the babyface chasing the heel down the ramp, grabbing him by the head and tossing him back in the ring. Now it’s just the end of the match. I don’t know why they had to protect Mr. Impromptu Pinfall David Otunga from a Funkasaurus squash, but hey, maybe they’re planning to do something deeper with him than “travel thermos” in the post People Power WWE.
This was not the last instance of No Way Out looking like an okay episode of Raw.
Best: LET’S GO ZIGGLER
One of two things is happening here:
1. Dolph Ziggler has been great in the ring long enough that crowds have picked up on it and want to cheer him
2. Sheamus is such a limpdick Heavyweight Champion that WWE crowds will turn anyone who wrestles him into a mega babyface (see also: Daniel Bryan)
Either way, the New Jersey crowd doing a REEEARGHHH cheer of approval for Dolph Ziggler’s entrance and chanting LET’S GO ZIGGLER pretty consistently throughout the match warmed my heart. It’s the gripe I’ve been sharing for years now — if a guy is good at wrestling, all you really have to do is put him out there and let him be good at wrestling. Eventually the crowds will notice and WANT to see him be good at wrestling, and if he isn’t a complete block of wood he’ll find his place. It helps that Ziggler’s exactly the Badly Named FCW Male Model WWE has tried to make a gross of in the past. It also helps that he’s made of Flubber.
Worst: Let’s Not Go, Jerry Lawler
Jerry Lawler heard the crowd chanting “LET’S GO ZIGGLER” and quipped about how the crowd was going crazy with “let’s go Sheamus” chants. Nobody is chanting for Sheamus. At some point you’ve got to stop saying what’s coming in through your headset and observe what’s actually happening. If you aren’t, take it in the other direction. When the crowd’s chanting “GOLDBERG” during Ryback’s match, laugh about how this crowd really thinks Dawn Marie’s got herpes. You were friends with Kaufman, right? Make an Alzheimer’s patient’s understanding of wrestling chants your roaming booger.
Best: I Don’t Like That Result, But Zig Zag Man Right There Is The Real Deal
Main-event style WWE matches in the modern era sorta live and die by the success of their nearfalls, and Ziggler/Sheamus had a few great ones. I don’t think anyone watching though Ziggler was leaving as Heavyweight Champion, but the facebuster off the top and that DASTARDLY callback to WrestleMania and the worst on-screen moment in the history of my fandom were off the charts. Seriously, when Vickie got up on the apron for a good luck kiss my heart started beating faster and my head started sweating and time slowed down and I almost Somewhere In Time time traveled, but then the Brogue Kick didn’t connect and I didn’t have to go to the mental institution. Unfortunately the very first thing that happened at No Way Out was the most exciting.
If the crowds are really coming around to Ziggler, don’t wait. Pull the trigger on him. If he stays the cool heel guy who bumps crazy and makes everyone look good and you don’t push him up to the next level, he’s going to FOR REAL be your new Mr. Perfect. Or your new Billy Gunn. You’re gonna be filming a 2-disc Dolph Ziggler DVD 20 years from now and everybody’s gonna be all maudlin in it, shaking their heads and wondering how a guy this good had one 11-minute technicality title run.
Put the guys who are good at this on top. Use the ones who aren’t as townspeople.