I’ve decided to put all the Bests I could find on the first page, so you wouldn’t read things chronologically and assume I enjoyed any of it. I apologize in advance for this week’s overwhelming negativity, but it was either format it like this or repost that video of the monkey pissing into his own mouth for five straight pages.
Best: Marking Out For The Anonymous GM Noise, Before, Well, You Know
I was completely zoning out about 18 minutes into the 22 minutes it took AJ to say a sentence, so when the lights flashed and the Anonymous Raw General Manager noise sounded I put my hands over my head and did the ‘Regular Show’ ooooooooooh noise. Wrestling mysteries having a payoff or getting even a basic structure of continuity make me excited, like that time Test showed up to get back at Triple H for stealing his fiancée after everyone assumed he was just off-screen chill about it.
The Anonymous Raw GM has always been a unique storytelling opportunity — this is someone Vince McMahon specifically put in charge of running his flagship show, but chose to keep anonymous to avoid the pitfalls of authority figure/wrestler relations. It worked, too, and for the longest time I justified the anonymous GM as pre-television John Laurinaitis, a boring inner-office suit type who’d just do whatever Vince wanted and not ruffle feathers. But it couldn’t been anybody, you know? Someone from the past with a history of running a wrestling show (Eric Bischoff, Paul Heyman … Jeff Jarrett? Hell, J.J. Dillon?). Someone we’ve never met, who can do a Wink Vavasseur in Chikara thing and bring a new character type to a tired position. Every choice you make in fiction is a chance to go somewhere and do something, and everything can happen for a reason.
If you watched the show you know I could’ve smeared pig shit on my computer monitor and said the same thing, but I was excited. For a moment. Then he started making impromptu tag matches and all I could think was, “Teddy Long is the anonymous GM?” Even that would’ve been better.
Best: Heath Slater’s Sell Of La Mistica
The Heath Slater/Sin Cara qualifying match for the 200-person World Heayvweight Championship Money In The Bank Ladder Match at WWE Money In The Bank Brand Pay-Per-View wasn’t great (or good), but Heath’s sell of La Mistica was a thing of beauty, and an example of how high-flyers work best when they’ve got a good base. Proof:
That extra half turn where he goes flat and spins parallel to the ground before hitting the canvas is what makes it. It seems more like a comic book super hero guy doing a magical thing than a guy who keeps f**king up holding on until his opponent falls down. More of the former, less of the latter, fellas. Sin Cara can do it, he just can’t do it against Mr. Kennedy types, and he can’t keep doing it with Hunico.
Best: Bob By God Backlund
The high point of last night’s Raw — and probably any wrestling show on which it happens — was the return of Mr. Bob Backlund, a 62-year old borderline-insane Opie Taylor who means well and will feel remorse for accidentally killing a mother bird with a slingshot before chickenwinging all three of her babies to death.
Backlund’s entire appearance was wonder, from the way he stood on the ramp flabbergasted like he was getting Rock/Hogan WrestleMania applause (when people were just kinda politely clapping) to the way he got a “you still got it” chant from people who have never seen him FOR DOING NOTHING to him responding to people in the front row like he was working Hooligan’s in Live Oak. The man is the unintentional Tim and Eric of pro wrestling, a guy who succeeds because he’s so ill-prepared to succeed, whose unbearable badness is occasionally overcome by a supernatural charisma and/or an ability to rip out a young guy’s shoulder socket for kicks. It’s surprising to say (especially following appearances from Vader, Sid and Diamond Dallas Page) but Mr. Backlund is my favorite of the Old Timey Raw Guest Stars so far, even if he isn’t the version of Bob Backlund that stands up from a chess match and screams at Jonathan Taylor Thomas about exacerbating him.
In a better world, Santino would’ve discovered Bob Backlund as the Anonymous Raw General Manager, Backlund would’ve gotten into a match with The Ryback (that went 10 minutes and mirrored that awesome Steven Regal/Goldberg European uppercut-fest from years ago) or Backlund would’ve wedged himself into the Punk/Bryan storyline and ended up married to AJ.
A 62-year old man was the best part of the show. When did Raw become Impact/Pro Wrestling NOAH/NWA Smoky Mountain/[reference you won't get mad about]?
Best: Eve Has A Really Good Point, Actually
CM Punk calling out Eve on her spray tan (on a show full of people covered in make-up and spray tans) was pretty lame, but Eve (yes, Eve Torres) managed to salvage the segment by doing what effective heels always do best: saying something true in a way that makes you hate them for saying it.
For the first time possibly ever, TV Character Eve Torres reasoned out a legit talking point — that CM Punk’s WWE title reign had been overshadowed by The Rock, John Cena, Big Show and Brock Lesnar, and now it was taking a backseat to a weird romance storyline involving a girl who didn’t even win the season of NXT she competed on. She dunked it home by mentioning how it must be emasculating, causing CM Punk to look for his balls, realize he’s misplaced them, then suddenly remember AJ’s carrying them around in her purse. In his mind, John Laurinaitis drives by on the still-working People Power Hoveround and does the Nelson Muntz “haw haw”. Punk shakes out the cobwebs only to realize he’s still wearing Triple H’s jacket and has become everything he hates, which drives him to becoming an alcoholic just like his father and we reveal that Chris Jericho has been right all along and AJ was the girl in the videos and this is the end of the world as we know it. Okay, most of that was conjecture, but you see what I’m getting at.
I really want Punk to revert back to Last July Punk and start SERIOUSLY pipebombing people. I don’t want him to say “Come onnnnn” when Daniel Bryan tries to propose marriage to his abused ex-girlfriend, I want him to point out how stupid everybody’s acting, kick Daniel Bryan in the head for being such a skeevy douchebag and tell AJ that he “digs crazy chicks” on a t-shirt, but digs women with self respect in real life. When Eve Torres can take you down, it’s time for a change. I want him to respond with “That’s a great point, Eve. Hey, remember when people started calling you a whore for no reason, so you put on fake glasses and started acting like a character from GLOW? You don’t know how to throw a moonsault, get lost”.
Best: Top 10 Comments of The Week
And now we’ve reached the end of our column. Here are my favorite comments from the open discussion thread.
Lawler actually said “That’s Kim Possible!” while looking at the wallpaper on his desktop.
I like how WWE doesn’t have enough power to run the lights AND receive e-mails.
I know it seems weird that Cole said that episode 1000 comes 2 episodes after 999, but remember that The Ryback has already proved to us that 2 is not in fact greater than 1, so the math here may be non-Euclidean.
Cena is just a grown-up version of Roger Klotz.
Here’s my number. Khali maybe.
“It was Hornswoggle” is the new “a wizard did it.”
Wait, that still doesn’t answer how Hornswoggle became GM. Do you just need the WWE WiFi password to control the company?
I voted yes because I want to see if Cole has finished that dreamcatcher piece.
Show concept: The Great Khali tries to explain what is happening on Game of Thrones.
AND THE CROWD GOES HOME