Worst: Having To Explain This AJ Thing To Everybody
and now for the super preachy part of our program,
One of the downsides of writing a column where you aren’t afraid to say “hey, it’s 2012, you should probably stop stereotyping ethnic groups and treating women like possessions” is that people who aren’t ready to make that evolutionary step get increasingly into shutting you up. Usually it’s denial (“it’s wrestling!”) or passive aggression (“oh great, guess I’m gonna have to read about women’s rights again! /dismissive wank”). The truth is that people who’ve already made up their minds that bad life decisions are normal or okay aren’t in the position to be swayed toward the light by a f**king wrestling column, and I’m okay with that.
Here’s where I stand on the AJ story. Officially. I like that AJ has managed to become the most fully-formed character on the show, good or bad, and that she’s allowed a more complex emotion than “bitch” or “pointing”. There’s a real story going on … AJ seems “crazy”, but we can’t yet pinpoint if she’s shoot bonkers or using it to her advantage, misleading people in one direction so she can herd them in another. She’s a woman in a main-event storyline involving three important male WWE Superstars and she’s getting main-ish event TV time. She’ll get action figures and 8s-by-10 on Shopzone and she’ll probably be in the next video game. That’s awesome for her. She’s a good wrestler, a beautiful woman and a pretty solid soap opera actress. She deserves success.
It’s also not a bad thing to have a female character be evil or crazy. A woman, real or fictional, can be evil, crazy, a bad role model or an objectively awful person.
My major problem is as follows: the evil or crazy or bad role model or objectively awful person can’t come from the fact that she’s a woman, or constantly reference it. That’s part of the problem with AJ. She’s crazy, sure, but that forks into Michael Cole going “ughhh, PSYCHO ALERT” whenever she appears and CM Punk wearing “I DIG CRAZY CHICKS” t-shirts. One is upset not because she’s crazy, but because she’s a crazy woman (see Cole’s “have you ever been able to figure out what a woman is thinking” conversation with Jerry f**king Lawler). The other doesn’t like that she’s crazy (see the constant eye rolls and heavy sighs) but likes that she’s hot, so he’ll live with the crazy. Much like the Eve “scandalous bitch” stuff, it’d be nice if a woman could have character traits, good or bad, or have her flaws or bad decisions pointed out or used for stories without them all boiling down to “she’s a woman”.
WWE audiences are conditioned to do what WWE wants, and right now they don’t want you to see AJ as a crazy person, they want you to see her as a crazy chick. That’s why she has to kiss Kane instead of just weirding him out. It’s disappointing.
also, stop saying “indian style”
Best: Jerry Lawler, Pizza Hero
On the flipside, how f**king hilarious was it to see Jerry Lawler going “oh wow that looks like a fun idea” to the Domino’s Pizza commercial, ordering a pizza online during the show, getting really excited about it and then waiting like an hour and a half for a pizza that never arrived? At least when they sponsored Subway they put Jared in the front row and had a delicious Subway sandwich wrapped up with a 77-ounce soda on the announce table.
They should replace Lawler, and have the excuse be that he was so good at Pizza Hero that Domino’s hired him away. Replace him with Scott Stanford, and have a segment where Stanford drags his finger across the back of an iPad and mumbles “is this where you put the hot dog”.
Best: Ziggler/Christian Is What Ziggler/Kofi Pretends To Be
It helps that Christian is a thousand times better than Kofi Kingston (Rutherford PS Hayes is a thousand times better than Kofi Kingston), but the last couple of minutes of the fatal fourway for a shot at the World Heavyweight Championship were awesome. It had everything I want in a Raw match — selling on offense (the spear sequence beginning with Christian pulling up out of a run because his ankle hurt was wonder), Vickie Guerrero as a useful part of the match (distracting people, instead of blatantly climbing up on the apron and point-shoving the referee), Dolph Ziggler getting a relatively clean win with his finish — and I couldn’t have asked for more.
The early parts of the match had a lot of important stuff too, like Jack Swagger losing (I don’t like it, but I’m used to it) and Great Khali no-selling kicks to the leg only to be felled by an attack to the leg, then losing straight up to Christian’s terrible f**king frog splash. If CM Punk’s Macho Man elbow wasn’t in direct contrast to Macho Man’s elbow, Christian’s frog splash would be the worst looking thing in WWE. Either move your body naturally a la a frog or just stay still and splash the guy, don’t jump off with your body at a 45 degree angle and expect me to consider it grace.
Worst: Great Khali Is The Weakest Giant Ever
Maybe this should be a best. I have strong memories of seeing El Gigante when I was a kid (remember, I was an NWA/WCW kid) and thinking WHOA THIS IS THE BIGGEST DUDE EVER NOBODY CAN BEAT HIM, then seeing a few Gigante matches and thinking “oh, anybody with forward momentum or ability to bench the bar could just grab him by the foot, tip him over and pin him while he helplessly flails on the ground with his eyes bugged out and his mouth open”. Khali manages to look even worse than that, like when he grabs Jack Swagger by the head to repeatedly ram him into Ziggler in the corner, only it’s obviously Swagger running back and forth and trying to keep Khali’s fat dumb hand from slipping off.
Khali is so big and weak he can’t make living look realistic. He looks like the fake octopus Bela Lugosi wrestled. When he falls down, it looks like somebody toppled over the World’s Tallest Man wax statue at Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.
Worst: Stop Walking Up The Ramp Backwards
I love Ziggler getting the win and am excited to see him challenge for the strap at No Way Out (even if Sheamus only has good matches with other hosses) (and Daniel Bryan), but I swear to God if WWE made me the general manager of Raw the first thing I’d do is whip up a power point and have a companywide webinar about not walking up the f**king ramp backwards. 90% of WWE problems begin when a Superstar backs up the ramp without looking. I don’t know why they keep doing it. If you want to look at the ring, do it from closer to the ring.
It’s especially bad when heels do it and babyfaces rush out and attack them, because WWE has built up this weird anti-hero thing where every good guy has to be stupid and aggressive. So I’m pretty happy that Sheamus just walked out and talked some trash to Ziggler, but I’m inclined to believe he’d PLANNED to run out and attack him, but couldn’t get over the sh*tkicking Tensai gave him.