Best: The Miz Brings His Worker Boots
If God exists, he’ll give Miz one of those six-week vacations where everything clicks. The last time he was gone, he recovered from his weird Howard the Duckness and became an adult. He got leaner, he got a haircut that made him look less like an 8th-grader and he grew a little facial hair. Being a fake marine will do that to you. He shattered the perception that Miz was always just gonna look like that.
Now, he needs to do it with his in-ring and mic work. Miz showed us a massive upside when he was the Shawn to John Morrison’s Marty, but he plateaued. He grew very quickly in every aspect of his game and leveled out, and a year or so of wrestling Daniel Bryan tricked us into thinking he could evolve into a top shelf worker. Sorry, I don’t like typing “worker,” but I don’t know how else to say it. Sometimes people go to wrestling school and suck, so they take a few weeks off and come back to it without the pressure, and it just clicks. I’m hoping that’ll happen with Miz one day. He’ll figure out some really basic stuff, like “don’t repeat spots” or “don’t tense up so obviously when somebody’s about to land on you” or “don’t add a full turn to face the hard camera if your move is about catching dudes by surprise”. Because you know what? Last night he looked a little better than normal, and dammit, I want him to Iron Man land on his plateau and shatter it.
The same goes for his mic work. WWE, if you’re reading this (and I know you are), don’t get comfortable with Mizanin being “good” on the microphone. Set him up with Foley and Terry Funk and Flair or whoever and teach him how to sound like a real dude when he speaks, because all the reality TV handsomeness and voice projection in the world won’t help you if you sound like you’re reading fan fic.
Worst: Do Not Let Kofi Kingston Speak Into A Microphone Again Ever
THEY’RE GOING TO CALL HIM “THE WILDCAT” KOFI KINGSTON, AREN’T THEY.
Speaking of somebody who needs to sound like he didn’t just waltz out of Liquid Colors, Best And Worst Of Raw favorite Kofi Kingston got on the microphone, thanked The Miz for bringing out “the wildcat” in him, dropped a little third person on us and low-rent YES’d his way to the back. I’m the last wrestling columnist who’s gonna raise his eyebrows at stuff like this, but I sincerely do not need to know about someone bringing the wildcat out in Kofi Kingston.
Kofi was fine in the match, I’ll give credit where credit’s due (even though his S.O.S. is the most ridiculous-to-set-up move ever because he takes 20 minutes to get his arm around their waist and the guy taking it shouldn’t have to just stand there like he doesn’t know what’s going on) (and even though he did Trouble In Paradise “with the good leg,” because I guess you don’t need two legs to do that and/or it hurts more to kick a guy with an injured leg than it does to put your entire body weight on it, pivot and jump around on it) (even though his shirt said “I CAN FLY” instead of my suggestion, “I CAN JUMP”) (and he goddamn said Miz brought out the wildcat in him) … wait, where was I again?
The only upside to this is that if Kofi becomes The Wildcat we can throw some jaguars on his trunks and get rid of the smiling black gyy caricature. Although now that I think of it, it’s a pretty terrible way for WWE to say “we think the black guy is from the jungle”. Who knows where it’ll go? Maybe they’ll bring back Chris Harris. I’d be down for hearing another knock-knock joke.
Worst: OH MY GOD CHEER FOR THE GOOD THINGS THAT ARE HAPPENING
Antonio Cesaro had his United States Championship rubber match with Justin Gabriel and it was predictably good, but Atlanta was on their hands. Theories include:
1. Neither guy was from the United States (although that didn’t stop them from chanting U.S.A. on Raw)
2. WWE audiences pay to see wrestlers, not to see wrestling, so even if the wrestling’s good, they don’t care about it unless it’s being performed by guys they wanted to look at.
3. WWE audiences have been conditioned to not care about an undercard guy until the announce team and/or The Internet trick them into it with a fun hook or catchphrase (see also, “yes”).
4. That Georgia Dome match between Hogan and Goldberg happened 200 years ago and everyone who loved wrestling and watched it then is dead.
5. John Cena hyped them up by talking about Twitter and scandals for half an hour.
Actually, that’s just one big theory. All of those are correct.
Best: R.I.P. Justin Gabriel
When I was a young wrestling fan, I loved the top guys. I was a little Stinger. But at the same time, one of my favorite things to do was discover new, cool wrestlers and cheer for them. I did it with 2 Cold Scorpio. I did it for Jushin Thunder Liger when he first showed up. I did it with The Juicer, but I guess that’s not something I should be explainabragging about.
There have got to be kids like me out there today. Some random WWE kid who likes John Cena and buys the Sheamus Wrestling Buddy and laughs because it says fella, but who also goes “whoa” when Justin Gabriel does a top rope Lionsault or springboards into a European uppercut from Cesaro on the outside. A kid who thinks Tyson Kidd is really good and wonders why he isn’t on Raw. Who liked Daniel Bryan before he was a goat-faced comedy master because he was a little blandish guy who was really good at wrestling. I make a terrible habit of underestimating the WWE Universe, but damn, how great would it be if we saw more fans like that, and fewer shirtless dudes crotch-chopping on Tout?
Maybe my parents were just good at teaching me how to love and be interesting. I don’t know.
Worst: WWE’s Interpretation Of Halloween
As anyone who read last week’s Best And Worst Of WWE Raw report will know, Destiny and I had a WWE-themed couples costume for Halloween. She dressed up as Kane, and I dressed up as THE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS. On top of that, Anarchy Championship Wrestling’s Halloween show was last Sunday, with most of the roster dressing up/wrestling in costume. It was fun, but the costumes never came at the expense of the action or drama. It was just a happy thing to do, because wrestling is usually pretty sad, and happiness makes it way better.
So when Raw started last night, Destiny asked me, “do you think the wrestlers will dress up in costumes?” My response, as jaded as it sounds, was: “No. They don’t ever have fun like that. If anybody’s in costume, it’ll be a backstage comedy thing with Santino and a bunch of Divas in costumes”. Then, because sometimes the jaded wrestling fan is correct, the only people who showed up in costume were Zack Ryder and Santino in a backstage comedy thing with Eve.
I can’t really articulate what I want to say about the segment, other than Zack Ryder should go f**k himself and Eve shouldn’t feel bad, because Ryder, Santino and Teddy Long are the three shoot stupidest people in WWE. Ryder being a “witch” because he was dressing up as Eve was terrible. The dialogue with Eve being a witch “but with a letter changed” or whatever was misogynistic, backwards-ass slut-shaming WWE horseshit. Do any of the breast cancer research and awareness organizations know how WWE actually treats women? And on top of it all we had Santino in a not-exactly-topical Lady Gaga costume singing ‘Born This Way’ (subtle) and Ron Simmons doing one of those stupid, extended delay “damns”. Just show up and look at them and say “damn,” dude, that’s your thing, the anticipation doesn’t make it any better. Is there anybody at home watching, rubbing their hands together going “AW MAN I CAN’T WAIT UNTIL HE SAYS DAMN”?
The next time Ryder shows up and says “EVE YOU’RE A PUNT BUT WITH A C INSTEAD OF A P IF YOU GET IT, WOO WOO WOO YOU KNOW IT” she should kick him so hard in the balls he vomits sunglasses and choke him out.