Worst: Remember That Thing I Wrote About Piper Being Either Really Great Or Really Disconcerting?
Piper is telling the truth (and the truth will set you free) when he says there will never be another Rowdy Roddy Piper. Especially not Miz, who I enjoy, but cannot see getting punched in the ear with a chain by Greg Valentine. Piper himself is a mixed bag; he’s undeniably one of the most important, talented and memorable wrestlers in the history of the industry, but he’s not perfect. Early Piper is choice, as is that Wrestlemania-era Piper where we love what he did on the big shows and don’t really remember what he did in-between. The Piper shortly thereafter is terrible, painting himself half black to make a statement on racism and stripping Goldust to his ladies underwear to make a statement on pervert homosexuals. As a WCW loyalist, don’t get me started on I.C.O.N. Piper, who was sleeper holding every imaginable member of the nWo when I just wanted to see more La f**king Parka.
Modern Piper is an encapsulation of that theme. When he shows up he’s either great, or sort of ominously bad. Remember when he showed up at Madison Square Garden and kept rambling and saying goodbye, and we all thought he was going to go back to the hotel and be found dead? Last night’s Piper was a mix, with his awesome “GOD??” reaction to Stone Cold on the TitanTron and his less than awesome “uhhh Alex Riley is TOUGH you know, uhhhh” stuff. Also, as a wrestling writer on the Internet I’m not allowed to tell you what I thought of Piper pinning Miz in 2011 on WWE television. I mean, I have an opinion about it, it just sounds really, really bad.
Last night was the ominously bad Piper. It was … not good. I can only talk so much shit about one of the greatest talkers in the history of This Business, but man, when Piper shows up to do your show and the best thing he’s got is an iron-on T-shirt his grandkids made him with a slogan across it that belongs on one of those BIG DAWG ON THE PROWL XXXL t-shirts (“Real Deal”! “REALITY CHECK”!), just let him wave at the crowd during a commercial break and put Jericho on The Peep Show or Carlito’s Cabana or whatever.
Worst: WWE’s Good Guy Vs. Bad Guy Argument Template
I am so f**king sick of the good guys on this show.
At some point, WWE taught us to cheer for the bully. I tried to explain it to Destiny using Toy Story. Remember when Toy Story was released, and it was really great and creative and didn’t look like anything else in theaters? And now every year we get 30,000 Hotels Transylvania and ParaNormans and Hoodwinked The Third: Tonight’s Gonna Be A Hood Night or whatever? Stone Cold Steve Austin was Toy Story.
Dolph Ziggler comes to the ring with a point, and it’s a good one — wrestlers don’t know when to hang it up, and Jericho’s gonna end up just like Roddy Piper, showing up every six months for a paycheck to be kinda sad and start lonely ass chants when someone should be turning off his microphone. Ziggler’s comments have merit, but they aren’t right… he’s being a dick about it, and that’s why we should boo him and cheer for Jericho. We want Jericho to prove he’s still got it, and that he’s not going to fart on his legacy and namedrop his equivalent to Mr. T on a Raw 20 years from now. We want him to stick up for Piper and tell Ziggler he’s full of shit, because he’s going to prove himself at SummerSlam.
What we get instead is Jericho responding to merited comments with insults about how Ziggler’s hair is ugly (Jericho’s the one with a balding faux-hawk) and how Ziggler’s shirt is pink (Jericho is wearing a sparkling jacket with a popped collar and no pants). A bad guy says something reasonable, so the good guy acts like a child and calls him names. Where have I seen that before?
It’s just agony for me. We need to reboot and restore some moral balance to what’s going on. I can’t keep justifying cheering for the guy who makes sense if the arena and announcers (and fans, and fans on the Internet) think I’m a contrarian for doing so. It just doesn’t feel right. The talking point about wrestling being one of the most pure artistic expressions of simplified good versus evil got washed away with those stupid Vince Russo shades of grey, and now nobody knows how to write a shade of grey, so we’re left with a big blob of shitty grey and nothing to feel or cheer for. It’s why we get on the Internet and yell at each other about wrestling. If the wrestling was good, we’d be okay just getting together and yelling at THEM.
Best: At Least The Match Was Pretty Good
Triple threat matches sorta live and die by WWE’s love of putting three guys into a match, then having one of them lay around outside while two guys fight, so the Miz/Ziggler/Jericho triple threat on Raw wasn’t the greatest thing I’ve ever seen, but it was a 15-minute match with wrestlers I’d like to see do well in it, and that’s something. Miz gets double XP for hitting a Skull-crushing Finale without turning it toward the hard cam, and watching Dolph Ziggler try to properly sell a shot from the cardboard announce table cover was pretty hilarious:
He should’ve gotten up, ran to the security railing and thrown himself over it into the crowd.
Worst: DJ Pauly D’s Tweets
Oh man, if you thought Charlie Sheen’s Tout updates about how he can’t wait for THE ROCK to face WRESTLER NAME HERE at UPCOMING EVENT were bad, you were probably put into epileptic f**king shock by ‘Jersey Shore’ star DJ Pauly D and Michael Cole’s incessant need to fill us in on what Pauly thought of Raw as it happened. The idea of a social ambassador is that we follow him on the social media sites, right? We don’t need the social media sites on Raw, too. Twitter is not more important than the show you’re putting on. The cast of Les Misérables should not have to perform in front of a giant backdrop with #ONEDAYMORE written across it.
Anyway, Pauly’s tweets were the logical extension of Sheen’s passing interest in Raw, and every single one of them was like a TV-ready Tout from the WWE Universe. Seriously, here are five DJ Pauly D tweets about Raw. Try to find the real one.
Spoiler: THEY ARE ALL REAL
Man, how epic did a 4-minute Divas match feel? I felt like I was in minute 22 of Misawa/Kawada.
In all seriousness, a Divas tag match with a little time featuring Layla and Kaitlyn (featured AJ friends) is exactly the kind of thing AJ should be doing as General Managress. WWE’s Divas aren’t the strongest thing in the ring, but maybe if they worked more than 70 seconds a week they could develop a more natural in-ring thing and more convincingly look like wrestlers of import. This wasn’t bad at all. We got Kaitlyn being a face in peril (important, if we want WWE crowds to recognize or get behind her when Chickbusters Armageddon eventually happens), we got Beth being able to go for a few seconds without losing impossibly to a Kelly Kelly forward roll, and we had time to shine a spotlight on one of the best things in WWE today: Layla El’s stupid, stupid dancing/gentle ass attacks:
A really simple truth about the current WWE roster is that you’ve got enough colorful characters and wacky situations to coast for like 15 years on nothing but “heh, I like this wrestler” and you’re stuck in year 7 of coasting on that weird post-Attutide Era thing when everyone was f**ked up and bland and kinda sad.