Best: The Divas Division Is Seriously Just Three People, But It’s Getting Better
I’ve talked a lot about how much Eve Torres has improved, but not enough about Kaitlyn.
Watch this clip from last night. In a very short time, Kaitlyn has gone from one of the worst wrestlers ever to being really pretty good in-ring. Watch how much impact her offense has. When she lifts Eve up for the side slam, she doesn’t just awkwardly fall down like Aksana might, she dives to the side and plants Eve into the mat. Watch that shoulderblock. She’s not just Ghostbuster Dog jumping like Cena and hoping for the best, she’s really throwing her weight into it, and Eve’s able to make it look spectacular because it’s spectacular already. The counter into the reverse DDT is smooth, something Divas rarely are, and she makes it look like she’s actually DOING something when she connects, instead of falling backwards. Reverse DDTs NEVER look like they hurt. So yeah, Kaitlyn is gorgeous, but she’s also kinda kicking ass, and we should pay attention to that.
I didn’t like Eve bailing on the match, mostly because they have somebody bail on a match five times per episode (WWE ’14 should let you take your championship and walk out by hitting triangle, square, circle or X at any time during a match), but at least she looked like she was bailing on a beating, and not just taking a couple of signature moves and calling it quits. She didn’t take the easy way out on the bail, either, she hopped the rails and fled. That made it look more like an act of cowardice, and less like a shitty booking decision.
Good stuff all around. Let’s keep this going, and maybe add, I don’t know, other people to the division so we can let the Divas be a thing.
Best: Wade Barrett Versus Ricky Steamboat Now, Please
As longtime readers of The Best And Worst of Raw know, I love the Nexus and consider myself a bit of a Nexus historian. If Ken Burns ever gets brought in to film a documentary for the NEXUS: WWE’s BEST IDEA DVD, I’ll be its Buck O’Neil. Just wistfully smiling and saying “WRESTLING” with emphasis. Worst case scenario, I’ll be its Doris Kearns Goodwin, telling good-hearted stories about how wrestling always makes me sad.
Anyway, Wade Barrett approaching Santino’s “I like a yous matches against a Machoes Mans a Randys Savashes” shit with Ricky Steamboat made me happier than most, because it reminded me of that time the Nexus jacked him so bad he got shoot body failure. That clip is AWESOME. When those guys get together again, it’s going to be epic. It will also be because I finally got that WWE Creative job, because nobody else gives a f**k.
This is how continuity should work, though. You shouldn’t write it expecting your audience to remember what happened 2 1/2 years ago, but it should be there (and right) for the people who know.
Worst: The Tag Team Division Is Too Good To Do Champion Non-Title Losses And Repeated Championship Shots For The Same Team
I hate to give a Team Hell No/Rhodes Scholars match a Worst — especially seeing as how I bookended it with Bests for a Divas match and a Randy Orton squash — but I didn’t really enjoy it. It was fine, and moments of it were great (like the small package, or Cody sniping the leg to hit the Cross Rhodes), but it seemed … I don’t know, counter-productive? Like more of the same?
Tom Holzerman at The Wrestling Blog has a good piece up about how WWE seemingly forgot the progress they’d made with Daniel Bryan and Kane for the sake of encapsulating the story for casual viewers who’d tuned in for the first time in months to see The Rock, and I can see where he’s coming from. I popped for Dr. Shelby, but I don’t think he’s necessary … the team has sorta moved on to their own thing with The Shield and Rhodes Scholars and don’t need to go back to the skit well in 2013. They can succeed as a team on their own and have stories that reference their past, but don’t dwell on it so much it sacrifices what they’ve become.
I’m also not (ever) a fan of champions losing non-title matches to set up a title match, especially against a team that has gotten multiple title matches. If they’re wrestling the Usos non-title to set up a title challenge, sure, but Rhodes Scholars shouldn’t be stuck in WWE’s “these are the two people in the division, when one of them loses we just make them wrestle again, make up a reason why” schtick. You built a division, guys. It’s good, and it makes sense. Now you have to remember that it exists.
Supplementary Best for this uneasy Worst goes for Sandow and Rhodes proclaiming that they’ll beat Team Hell No because they are BEST FRIENDS in Backstage Fallout, which continues to be the best thing WWE does.
Best: I Will Watch Heath Slater Wrestle Anybody
I think I figured it out: I don’t like any of Heath Slater’s matches, I just love watching him wrestle.
Is that weird? I seriously can’t think of a time when I said, “wow, that was a GREAT Heath Slater match,” but every time he wrestles I’m glued to the television. I like watching him ply his craft. The end results aren’t always great, but he’s great at his job. It’s like a late-era Radiohead album. I think they’re geniuses and love listening to hear what they’re doing, even if the songs are mostly terrible.
Radiohead can turn an award show performance into a complex musical spectacle, and Heath Slater can make Randy Orton’s offense look like it might hurt somebody. Dude should get an award for achievement in the field of Throwing Yourself Over For A Powerslam.
Worst: Randy Orton Should Be Different
This isn’t so much a “Worst” as it is a suggestion. Last night we had two dueling backstage segments wherein a top-shelf WWE babyface ran down 3MB and ended up in a match with them. One was Orton, and one was Sheamus. They were basically the same.
That’s kinda the problem I have with Orton. He’s a character, but he never fully commits to it. When Sheamus sees TREE EMBEE, he’s like “HEY TREE EMBEE OR TREE EMBIEBER AS YA LOIKE TA BE CALLED” … yeah, I can’t do this whole thing in his accent. But he’s like YOU’RE LIKE JUSTIN BIEBER YOUR BAND STINKS YOU SMELL LIKE POOPY I’M BETTER THAN YOU YOU’RE ALL GAY BABIES FACE ME NOW, and that’s that. Sheamus The Character is a dipshit 5-year old and I think we’ve all accepted it.
Orton’s threats should never be like that. They shouldn’t even be the subdued “we’re gonna have a match, TONIGHT” stuff he pulled with them. When 3MB saunters up to Orton and goes WOO 3MB BAYBAYYY, Orton should respond with “I am going to slit your throats, get the f**k away from me” and then just CRAZY VIOLENCE. Like, people should be afraid to approach him backstage. Hornswoggle should run up to him all LOOK AT M’BALLS HEH-HEH and get brained with a tire iron. That’s the Orton I want to write. A guy we love and want to see because ho-ho-hooooly shit you shouldn’t have messed with him.