Best: The Three Megabytes
Truth #1: I hope that Zack Ryder and Santino Marella calling their team “CoBro” is just an excuse for an awesome comedy segment circa Royal Rumble where the Rock shows up as his guy from G.I. Joe and explodes them with lasers. Also, jeeps.
WWE should turn them heel, give Santino a new black mamba hand-puppet and design a Cloverfield-esque shirt for Ryder where the Statue Of Li-BRO-ty is missing its head.
Truth #2: Heath Slater’s posse has found the sweet spot between Three Count and 3 Live Kru, dressed up like they just left Guns N’ Roses Fantasy Camp and gave themselves a Horseman-like hand gesture. This is all amazing. Do not underestimate the power of a signature hand gesture. Wrestling doesn’t have enough of them these days. Cena kids are doing the “okay” hands and have no idea why.
As you might’ve guessed, my favorite part of last night’s show was 3MB invading/usurping a local bar to stand on stage and repeatedly count themselves in without playing (or even attempting to play) music. The guy who tries to bro-shake Jinder Mahal and turns it into a point a la Buck Showalter was also pretty outstanding. WWE needs to come back to Austin immediately and let 3MB run wild on 6th street. They are legitimately as musically talented as most of the people performing on 6th street already.
If WWE doesn’t have a 3MB shirt that looks like the 3M logo by this time next week, I am disappoint.
Worst: AJ Makes The Most Predictable Match Of All Time, But At Least Her Outfit Is Cute
I’m so mad about AJ’s character most of the time that I forget she’s hot fire, so allow me to take a moment to commend her on her Hot Topic chic (which I love, I’m not gonna front) before deriding her aggressively in 13 straight paragraphs for making a David Otunga-centric handicap match.
I was a little under the weather during last night’s show, and we’d gotten bored enough that Destiny was doing French homework during the Ryback match set-up. When Otunga walked out talking about Ryback, I leaned over without looking up from my phone and had the following conversation:
“You want to know what’s about to happen?”
“Ryback versus Ziggler and Otunga handicap match. Ziggler walks out in the middle of it, leaves Otunga to lose to Ryback.”
I’d love to brag about my psychic vegan powers and everything, but seriously, if you didn’t process this thought the second Otunga walked out, you haven’t watched enough wrestling. AJ made the most obvious thing in the entire world happen because that’s what she does, and WWE has such a clearly-defined hierarchy that Otunga’s entrance video could’ve been a flashing arrow pointing at him with TAKING THE PINFALL over it.
I would honestly prefer it if they didn’t set matches like this up. That’s why I love the Ryback jobber squashes so much. They’re telegraphed in a fun way, not in that terrible Raw way where you know the next five minutes are going to be terrible.
Best: Antonio Cesaro, King Of The 5-Minute Raw Match
For information on how to PROPERLY use five minutes of Raw, please consult United States Champion Antonio Cesaro. Cesaro is absolutely KILLING it with these semi-defenses against guys like Tyson Kidd and Justin Gabriel, making use of his TV time by constructing something memorable without it seeming forced or ridiculous.
Wrestling fans are like that, sometimes. Promotions focus on “big moments” and storyline swerves, but they’re rarely the parts you remember fondly. For example, when I met Stone Cold Steve Austin back in August, I didn’t say anything to him about shoving Mike Tyson and winning the title at WrestleMania XIV, driving a beer truck into the arena or Stone Coldly Stunnering Brock Lesnar and Goldberg at Madison Square Garden. I told him about the time during a random match in WCW where he clotheslined Dustin Rhodes so hard (and so many times) that my dad stood up, laughed and cheered. Little stuff like that. It stays with you.
That’s what Cesaro’s doing. I find myself vaguely following main-event storylines (mostly out of necessity, because I’ve got to write about them here), but when I think of Cesaro deadlifting Brodus Clay or catching Justin Gabriel out of a springboard with Swiss Death (or hell, rolling to the side to block the 450 splash by driving his shoulder into Gabriel’s stomach), I smile. He’s building a foundation. He’s not just dancing and making us clap our hands. When he faces guys like Daniel Bryan or Punk, it’ll be something, because we’ll be excited to see what he does next.
Also, do not ever let Antonio Cesaro stop recording pre-match speeches and vignettes.
Worst: God Forbid Matt Striker Attempt To Be Civil
Here’s a loosely paraphrased transcript of the conversation between AJ and Matt Striker.
Striker: “Hey AJ, I tried to interview two of the wrestlers you’re partially in charge of because that’s my job, and they took turns beating the shit out of me. I know Josh Mathews got weird about being assaulted on the job, and I don’t want to be an asshole, I just think you should probably get them to apologize because in literally any other job this would get them fired and sent to jail.”
AJ: “DID YOU CALL ME CRAZY”
AJ: “MATCH WITH KANE, BYE”
I feel like Striker should have done something other than get a “heh, we don’t respect you” response from his bosses before getting repeatedly beaten on their two major televised wrestling shows. If this was “building to something,” then sure, go for it, but it isn’t. Are Josh and Striker going to become a tag team? Why are the most popular wrestlers the ones who have gotten in best with management? That’s the most bizarre thing ever, especially in a company where “you wish you could punch your boss, too!” was the tagline for 12 years.
Best: It’s Gotta Be Kane
I didn’t enjoy the segment (or the match, really), but Kane deserves a best for being some magical new kind of Kane I love. I hope Kane sat down with WWE creative earlier this year and was all, “so hey, I’ve been this super boring murderer fire guy for a while and you really wrote me into some dog shit with this Cena/Eve/Zack Ryder stuff, so if it’s okay with y’all I’m gonna hang out with the best wrestler on the show and just f**k around and have fun and be good at wrestling until I’m ready to retire. Anyone who has a problem with this can talk to my FIRE HAND,” and then he did his arms up and down and everyone caught on fire.
It’s really interesting that Michael Cole and JR took the “Matt Striker should watch this when he wakes up, he might LEARN SOMETHING” instead of the more reasonable, “why are the wrestlers beating us up indiscriminately, somebody should stop this”.