Worst: The Team Hell No/Rhodes Scholars Feud Is Making Me Like Rhodes Scholars More Than Team Hell No
I have no idea why WWE decided to have two Hell No/Rhodes Scholars matches and a backstage confrontation segment to promote the angle, then had the backstage thing last longer than both matches combined. Kane beat Damien Sandow with a chokeslam in about a minute and a half, and Daniel Bryan beat Cody Rhodes with the No Lock in the time it took me to walk to the bathroom and back.
I liked parts of the anger management follow-up (Bryan and Kane deciding to just lie and get it over with, Daniel Bryan’s reason for liking Kane being “he’s very tall”) and was even fine with the parts I didn’t like (Kane going for the “Daniel Bryan wears women’s underwear” joke, and Daniel just selling it with a “what” face instead of “I DON’T DO THAT YOU TAKE IT BACK”), but it didn’t feel like it was accomplishing anything. It wasn’t even accomplishing jokes, really. That didn’t start until Sandow showed up and started ragging on Dr. Shelby for being bad at his job. I love that Sandow always has to correct people and be the smartest dude in the room, and the subtle touches that reveal to the informed viewer that he’s full of shit. The incorrect Latin for his move names, not really knowing what “systematic desensitization” means, being iffy on his knowledge of Pavlovian theory … it all adds to the tapestry. He’s that friend of yours who thinks he knows everything but pronounces “archetype” as “artch-type.”
Between that and last week’s Backstage Fallout segment where they declared themselves best friends, I’m starting to prefer Rhodes and Sandow to my favorite wrestler in the world. That’s not good. Let’s use the last few shows before the Rumble to give these guys a reason to go into the match with gusto, and not just “the rest of the tag division is hurt or sucks.”
Best: Mick Foley, Hall Of Famer
If we assume that Randy Savage and Bruno Sammartino are never getting in, nobody deserves the WWE Hall Of Fame spot like Mick Foley. He’s a great guy, a great wrestler and a solid-to-great Santa, and when The Union inevitably gets inducted, he’ll be the second two-time HOFer. He deserves whatever accolades you want to make up to give him.
Having said that, we were deprived of two really great moments last night:
Worst: The Potential BEST SEGMENT EVER Goes South, Fast
Mick Foley coming to the ring, being interrupted by The Shield and being saved by Randy Orton, Ryback and Sheamus was the worst non-Rock, non-John part of the show, mostly because it wasn’t one of the two following things.
1. A thorough, heartfelt Mick Foley “thank you” speech. I know he has to save most of that for the Hall Of Fame induction ceremony, but I thought we’d get a little bit of Mick being serious before we devolved into an angle. I’m not a big fan of the RIGHT HERE IN wherever Mick who just puts up his thumb and goes through the motions, but basically ANY OTHER MICK on the microphone is the best possible use of your wrestling television time. He didn’t have to punch himself bloody and scream into the mic or anything, but a sincere guy we love saying a little piece about his career and place in history would’ve been welcomed.
2. The beginning of the long-awaited Mick Foley/Dean Ambrose beef.
During last year’s WrestleMania, Foley and Ambrose filmed a thing in a hotel lobby where Ambrose showed up as an FCW nobody to confront him about how his roof-jumping and thumbtack mongering ruined a generation of wrestlers, and caused a lot of unnecessary pain, injury and agony for everyone.
It was GREAT, and the real-life equivalent of one of those promos where the heel makes a hell of a point, and the face just goes OH YEAH, OH YEAH, WELL SHUT UP and everyone sides with him, because he’s the one they already like. There was some talk online of the bit getting “too personal” or whatever, but I figured that was code for “we aren’t bringing Dean Ambrose up yet, so hold on.” Ambrose is here now, and when The Shield boss f**king entrance theme hit with Mick in the ring, I thought we were FINALLY going to get things going, and finally reveal that The Shield’s big injustice beef is based on them watching their friends go down to the bullshit politics and attitudes of wrestling in a post-hardcore era. What better way to illustrate that than to continually put people through tables?
Instead, Ryback, Orton and their racist friend showed up to … I don’t know, I guess make it a preview for the Royal Rumble? It wasn’t either of the things I wanted to see, and if I can go the rest of the year without seeing Ryback make a hero save against The Shield, I’ll be happy.
Best: Kaitlyn And Eve Torres, One More Time
This was the match of the show for me. I love when WWE actually decides to follow their mission statement and tell a story, instead of just saying they do and replacing good wrestling with boring stomping.
I can’t even explain how much I liked this match’s finish. It was the proper end of the story, even if it had gotten stretched out too long and procrasti-rushed because of Eve’s contract. Kaitlyn had what, like 30 title shots in a row? But none of them were really on the level. She worked hard for a year and a half to get on the show and earn a Divas title shot, and when she got her first real go at it, Eve and the Boob Zipper Brigade attacked her backstage and injured her. In subsequent matches, Eve has always taken shortcuts, win or lose … ducking out of the ring, taking count-out losses to keep her belt, the works.
Here, in front of Kaitlyn’s hometown, Eve is finally backed into a corner. She tries to put Kaitlyn away on the level and almost does, but Kaitlyn kicks out … so Eve tries to find a loophole in her stipulation and get KAITLYN counted-out, the logical inversion of her title match eject button. Kaitlyn sees this coming, sneaks around the ring (and Eve’s horrible peripheral vision, I guess) to wait in the corner and plow through her with everything she’s got in one big, final shot:
It works, Eve sells it like death, and Kaitlyn avenges six months of bullshit and a ripped Don’t Mess With Texas shirt to win the strap in front of her friends and family. That’s good stuff. If Eve really has to go, let’s keep Kaitlyn moving forward, and allow the rest of the division to rise up to meet her.
Worst: Eve Pulling A Batista
I mentioned this in the notes of the open discussion thread, but I’m pretty upset at Eve Torres for pulling a Batista: sticking around, sucking, wasting everybody’s time and bogarting a spot on the card they don’t deserve for YEARS, then quitting as soon as they get good. Batista in sunglasses, telling John Cena to shut up because he’s here to make money was THE BEST, and it was over as soon as it started. Eve Torres starts posing over her opponents’ dead bodies after victories, does it twice, makes me love her with my entire heart for doing so and then goes WELP, SORRY, SEE YOU NEVER.
I wish her the best in her future endeavors or whatever, but man. Why couldn’t Aksana be the one who decided she wanted to be an actress?
Best: But No, Kaitlyn
In the current TV wrestling landscape, accepting the product WWE and TNA give us, knowing the way they treat women and portray them to the audience, this is the woman you want representing the Divas division. Pushing aside the fact that I think she’s super hot (because it’s the least important part about this, and anybody can be hot), Kaitlyn is something so desperately needed by little girls watching the show — the actual manifestation of their “smart, sexy and powerful” talking point.
When you listen to her talk, she’s a person. Even when she’s doing “promos” or whatever, she sounds like herself. She’s always been good at that. It’s the reason we liked her on NXT when she couldn’t wrestle. She’s beautiful, but in an unconventional way … she’s physically fit, she wears clothes (the pants and shirt is a big upgrade from her weird gold corset and hot pants thing), she has a haircut that makes her look like she’s wearing a wig on the top of her hair. She’s flawed. At the same time, she’s working hard to improve and getting back on the horse whenever she gets knocked off, and now she’s rewarded for it, even if it’s because Eve’s bailing and she’s the only one who seems committed to sticking around.
Listen to her here. They ask her about Eve, and her response is “I’ve grown into a better person because of what I’ve done with Eve, and I hope she’s happy.” Compare and contrast that to Zack Ryder, who jumped on Twitter to type “Bye Bye Hoeski!” Sheamus or John Cena or The Rock would’ve just called her names or joked about how they’d banged her. One of those responses is from a decent human being who deserves to be cheered. More of her, and real human beings, and less exaggerated jack-off third graders, please.