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The Best And Worst Of WWE Raw 1/21/13: Royal Rumble Is Going To Be A Slobberknocker

By 01.22.13

Worst: Brogue Kick > Dog Boner

This match was fine, but the video is a great example of what bugs me about Beat The Clock. The idea is that if you win in the fastest amount of time, you get to pick your spot for the Royal Rumble. If you’re a WWE guy, that’s right behind “Money in the Bank Briefcase” and “a night with Marlena” or whatever on the list of desirable prizes. You WANT it. Orton and Cesaro showed a sense of urgency at the beginning of their match with repeated pinfalls and stuff, but watch this clip, seriously. Wade gets Sheamus up for Wasteland, walks to the middle of the ring and just kinda stands there until Sheamus gets out of it. Sheamus gets Wade into White Noise, and instead of just dropping down and immediately going for the pin, he goes through the motions of the animation, carrying Wade around in a semi-circle, facing the hard camera, then slooowly dropping down as the announcers go IS HE GONNA CONNECT, IS HE GONNA CONNECT.

I feel like sometimes wrestlers need to understand that they are not the only possible intangible. If a match stipulation requires you to wrestle a certain way, you should try to wrestle like that. If you’ve got to hurry up, at least PRETEND like you’re hurrying up. Don’t stand in the corner going BROGUE, BROGUE, BROGUE or whatever, just run up and try to kick the dude. It’s not what you usually do, sure, and what you usually do works for your audience, but a different approach would validate these stip shows, and would give us something different to remember.

Poor Dog Boner. I bet you were gonna look good that time, too.

Ziggler AJ Langston

Best: Big E Langston Is Extremely Happy About This Beat The Clock Thing

I’m really starting to warm up to this stable, and if the rumors of a Ziggler face turn are (finally) true, it’d be nice to have them stick together and all just sorta turn face by proxy. I don’t want their story to end with Ziggler being all “AJ, you’re a BADONKASLUT” or whatever and feuding with Big E. I want them to be the shitty Miami Vice version of the Straight Edge Society and stay friends.

I also really need a name for them. I’m usually good at this, but I can’t settle on one. “LeeLer” is a funny couples name, as is “Leegler,” but both of those leave out Big E. They’re like a damn McDonald’s commercial, where three kids are friends and one of them is white, one is black and one is Hispanic (or Asian). Help me out. If you have a great name for them, post it in our comments section below, and I’ll adopt the best one and claim it as my own because YOU PEOPLE DON’T MATTER, I BLOG FOR ME.

If you don’t, I’m going to just start calling them “Big Leeg.”

Worst: Stipulation Bait-And-Switches

Okay, so I like that Ziggler and Vickie are both heels, so they did really unnecessarily mean stuff to each other (Ziggler making out with AJ in front of her and singing Shoot Clapton, Vickie giving Dolph a stip retcon to get back at him) without either being the “good guy.” That’s something I can’t emphasize enough … if a bad guy does reprehensible things, even offensive, awful things like demeaning women or minorities or whatever, it’s fair play. Bad guys are BAD GUYS, and they’re supposed to be booed. If a guy like Cena or Sheamus calls Heath Slater a fag or poops in a Mexican guy’s car because he ate too many burritos and they get MAX LAFFS from the crowd for it, that’s awful. It’s all about intent, and what WWE wants the audience to do in response to the action.

What I didn’t necessarily like is Vickie suddenly being able to limit Dolph’s Beat The Clock victory — assumedly sanctioned by Vince, who was there — to spots 1 or 2. It retroactively killed the drama of the show. Maybe if they’d filmed a backstage thing with Orton finding out and being all, “shit, okay, glad I lost, then,” that might’ve been okay. But no, it’s just a person in charge somewhere on WWE’s mystical hierarchy of In Charge Persons deciding something on the fly for PERSONAL REASONS~, the thing that got John Laurinaitis and AJ and … uh, Vince McMahon fired.

What I would’ve done, especially if you want to have Ziggler stay in character and turn face, is have him win Beat The Clock and CHOOSE number one, probably against the wishes of AJ and Big E. That way the story he could tell the fans is that he wanted to “show off,” but he’d actually be trying to prove his greatness to himself, and see if he can be as good as Shawn Michaels and Ric Flair and Rey Mysterio and Benoit like he thinks he is. If he doesn’t win but makes it to the end, that’s an even better story.

Best: Dos Caras Jr. Lives

Alberto Del Rio: HERO OF MEXIO continues to be the best. And now, because I guess if Miz is in the business of disappointing me somebody has to actively be trying to make me happy, he’s breaking out the moveset of El Hijo del Hércules Potosino (second rope moonsault!). If he beats somebody with a military press into a German suplex soon, I’m going to lose it.

Oh, and before I forget, RICARDO RODRIGUEZ HAS A MEXICAN BOWTIE. Are you kidding me? They’re counting in Spanish! I AM HAPPY THAT WE LIKE CULTURES ALL OF A SUDDEN.

Best Best: Bob Backlund Is Finally A Hall Of Famer

I don’t know what took them so long, but the list of bullshit exclusions from the WWE Hall Of Fame has looked like this for a long time:

1. Bruno Sammartino

2. Randy Savage

3. Bob Backlund

The first two might not ever happen, but at least we knocked out number three. Very few people deserve to be in a wrestling hall of fame more than Bob Backlund, a guy who pretty much invented pro wrestling reinvention by shifting from Whitebread Opie Champion to MURDEROUS MAN IN MIDDLE AGE CRISIS and getting two WWE Championship reigns ten years apart. That’s awesome.

If you aren’t sold on Backlund, look at his Wikipedia picture. Find me somebody with a better wiki picture than that, I dare you.

Two humble requests:

1. let him wrestle Daniel Bryan once on Raw

2. get Jonathan Taylor Thomas to induct him

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