Best: Antonio Cesaro, True International Superpower
Look at that GIF. LOOK AT IT. Pretty soon these Antonio Cesaro blurbs are just gonna be MIDIs of ‘Ode To Joy.’ The guy’s so good, he almost made me like an R-Truth match.
I like what’s going on with Cesaro, and it’s difficult to explain why. As a wrestling fan on the Internet, I’m conditioned to expect the guys I like to be treated badly. I don’t know why that’s the case, but it is. When Daniel Bryan shows up, he’s eventually fine (because he is great), but first he’s got to spend a year losing to David Otunga and Alex Riley and being called a nerd every time he’s on screen. When CM Punk shows up, he’s eventually fine (because he’s very good), but even when he’s winning championships there’s always the chance that Orton will show up and punt him in the head, and he’ll be an afterthought in his own title loss.
Cesaro’s not doing that. They keep putting him in championship matches with guys like Santino and R-Truth, guys who are clearly not in his league, but because he’s new and I’ve enjoyed him in other promotions, I trick myself into thinking he’s going to lose to them. They’re going to job him out to one of the show’s jokes, and the guy I like and the championship that so badly needs to be relevant will keep spinning in the hamster wheel. But he keeps WINNING. Not only that, he’s DESTROYING these guys. I’m starting to get confident about it, and when he gets put into an impromptu championship match on Raw in three weeks against a returning John Morrison or whatever and loses, I’ll have been completely and totally hooked, and the cycle will repeat itself.
The shorter version is this: I love you, Antonio Cesaro, and I hope that you never lose.
Worst: R-Truth’s Post-Match Leg Wound
For those of you who don’t skim, I’m going to include an extremely graphic picture of R-Truth below this paragraph. At some point during the match his leg decided to split in half, and now his knee is missing a huge rectangle of skin and looks like a f**king Vortigaunt from Half-Life. I recommend closing your eyes, scrolling all the way to the bottom, then opening them and scrolling up until you see 3MB. STOP THERE.
For those who DO skim, stop skimming, and enjoy seeing how R-Truth got Chong’d Li without warning.
Best/Worst: Oh No, Did You Find A Way To Make Me Dislike 3MB?
The Worst here comes from an incredibly enjoyable 3MB segment (featuring their outstanding “Jump over Heath’s arms, then hold out ours so he can snake under them” entrance and Slater’s hilarious “YES. YES MIZ, YES REALLY. YES” response) into a thing I had to think about constructively and complainasplain on the Internet.
I’m giving it a Best for two reasons: one, it gave 3MB something to do on a pay-per-view and moved them forward as characters, for better or worse, and two, for once it’s the HEELS who are doing the awful nationalistic thing. That’s progress, right? The guys being racist d-bags here are the bad guys, and we’re supposed to hate them and want to see them get beaten up. Usually it’s John Cena or Sheamus or whoever, and we’re supposed to think they’re cool and right.
The Worst also happens for two reasons: one (and it’s the big one), it didn’t make any sense. It was effective heel heat, but completely out of nowhere. 3MB haven’t really done anything like this before, and they weren’t goaded into it by Miz. How does Miz saying “you aren’t a band and you all suck” translate into “let’s all go outside and harass the Spanish announce team for speaking Spanish”? It’s jumping from point A to point L without the ridiculous amount of letters it’d take to connect the two in-between. Furthermore, 3MB’s never really done anything like this before, and two of its members are international. Sure, Heath Slater can morph into Wes Virginia and throw shade at you for “not speaking American,” but Drew McIntyre is from Scotland and Jinder Mahal is from
Canada India. Wasn’t Jinder yelling at us for being American like, a year ago? You’d think those guys wouldn’t go along so quickly with the “only America is great” talking point.
If I had to pick one over the other, I’d give the overall segment a Best, because it led to the best part of the show, and maybe my favorite thing to happen in the WWE all year:
Best: Alberto Del Rio, Best Friend!
Alberto Del Rio. Face. Turn. YES PLEASE.
My heart has become weirdly attached to the interpersonal relationships of fictional wrestlers, and I may care about how ADR and Ricardo get along most of all. It’s one of the most unique relationships in wrestling history … employer and employee, the employee dedicated to doing anything his boss says because he’s more or less helpless without him, the employer prone to berating and assaulting the employee because he’s a bad person with power issues, but they are basically the other’s only friend and they kinda know it and they’re just gonna get sushi after the show and deal their f**ked-up lives. That’s AWESOME. They’ve got each others’ backs, even when it doesn’t make sense, and Ricardo has finally taken enough bullets that when he sticks up for Spanish culture and gets harassed by bullies, ADR will stomp his privileged ass out of the back and start throwing superkicks because REASONS.
I loved it all so much. The segment was also a great example of how bad babyface Miz is when he talks, but how good he can be when he climbs up off his couch and starts throwing hands. If he could be less funny and more fired-up babyface, he’d be the best. ADR can be however he wants, he just has to never stop being friends with Ricardo.
Best: It Is Time To Do Yes Chants Again
Speaking of friends and people whose relationship I am invested in, Kane and Daniel Bryan have settled into a nice thing where they aren’t necessarily BsFF, but they’re in it together, and here they are. Kane improved Jerry Lawler’s “DID CODY RHODES JUST SAY SOMEBODY HAS DUMB FACIAL HAIR, LOOK AT HIS CATERPILLAR MUSTACHE, DUR HUR” joke by calmly playing off My Boy D-Bry’s “I hate people who repeat themselves” gag with just enough acknowledgement to make it work.
And yeah, if my heart wasn’t warm enough from the ADR save, Kane gets Daniel Bryan into chanting YES again. It is seriously time to move on from No and go back to Yes. Yes is what we WANT to chant. It feels good. I’ve never been able to join in on the No chants because I want to support Daniel Bryan, and the No chants seem to hurt his feelings. It’s the only Daniel Bryan shirt I’ve never bought. I want him to walk into WrestleMania this year for a match for real, and to stick around with a smile on his face while we Yes him to death. That’s what we were trying to do last year.