Best: I Forgot To Write A Bunch Of Racist Shit Into Jack Swagger Of Mars, I Guess
I really wanted Swagger to return in an astronaut suit and never explain why as a subtle nod to me. Instead, the subtle nod to me is that Swagger has stolen my beard, my bad haircut and my racist relatives.
If you missed the segment, Jack Swagger defeated Zack Ryder (barf) with his amazingly-named-now “Patriot Act” ankle lock submission and introduced his new running buddy Zebekiah Colter. If you’re a longtime WWE fan, you’ll remember Zeb as the manager of Justin “Hawk” Bradshaw or Jacob and Eli Blu. If you’re a longtime Other Wrestling Promotions fan, you’ll know him as DIRTY DUTCH MANTEL, aka one-half of Los Vaqueros Locos, aka “that racist guy who won’t stop punching Jerry Lawler.” Or, I guess, “that racist guy who won’t stop punching the other racist guy.”
Anyway, as part of Swagger’s new Mainstream Republican gimmick, Zeb launched into this long-winded thing about how he doesn’t recognize America anymore because he sees people whose faces “aren’t like” his face, and how people can’t speak English, and how he wishes he could close the borders and send everybody back to preserve “real America.” It was a challenging, divisive character choice for Swagger (who really should’ve been a lovable, lisping astronaut), and one of those things that make readers (and detractors) of The Best And Worst Of Raw column type WOW I BET BRANDON STROUD IS SUPER PISSED ABOUT THIS. You know, because I am the wrestling world’s only notable Not Racist?
But no, this is an important thing I try to explain a lot, and I guess I fail to do it properly — I thought this was GREAT. I think Dutch should be able to go on TV and say all the horrible shit he wants to. I think he should take it farther, and Swagger should start delivering those racist Greg “The Hammer” Valentine promos where he won’t fight people because of they’re a “nasty black person.” Why? How can I be all DON’T CALL WOMEN BITCHES and think it’s okay for Dutch to say that white folks from Texoma are the only “real” America?
Because Dutch is a bad guy. Swagger is a bad guy.
The problem I have with WWE’s treatment of women and minorities is that far too often the negativity, slurs and oppression come from the mouths of people we’re supposed to cheer for. Not people we “decided” to cheer for. People like Cena, Sheamus or The Rock. People with Wrestling Buddies and coloring books and stuff. They show up and call Heath Slater gay, poop in Alberto Del Rio’s car because they ate Mexican food or call Vickie Guerrero a fat hooker and the crowd is DELIGHTED. They love it, repeat it, and maybe Zack Ryder makes an ass-backwards song about it. It’s the perpetuation of ignorance and stupidity, because it’s “just wrestling,” and wrestling only appeals to stupid people, or whatever.
At its best, wrestling can be offensive and racist and horrible and everything else and not be the glorification of those things. If WWE positions Zeb and Swagger as racists and pit them against Hispanic World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio, it’s a clear example of how one side is “wrong.” It’s not an issue for shades of gray. The racists are the bad guys. The homophobes are the bad guys. The cheaters and the liars are the bad guys. The good guys are the ones who say “no, that’s not how you should be” and follow through as a POSITIVE example by (1) not being those things, and (2) winning, however that’s defined, whether they win the match or not. Being the better person.
I understand your trepidation. WWE has a terrible track record with these kinds of things. Hell, wrestling does. Remember when WCW tried to make the West Texas Rednecks heels because they liked country music, and made the birthday present-destroying, animal-noise making weirdo No Limit Soldiers the good guys? Yeah. WWE could very well start playing Swagger and Zeb as heroes, or have them be identifiable enough to certain wrestling audiences that they start getting cheers when they aren’t supposed to, and then we’re in the DANGER ZONE. But for now, I think heels should STOP being likable chums (Rhodes Scholars, pre-face turn Ricardo Rodriguez, John Laurinaitis) and start being total, unforgivable scumbags. At least then maybe a guy like Cena can get it together long enough to say “this is wrong” and be right, for once.
Worst: Fat Intentions
It’s not a popular opinion in my social circle, but I’m not a fan of the Tensai/Brodus Clay pairing. I like Tensai enough as a wrestler, but I don’t think he’s such a valuable pull that you have to keep him “at any cost” and do shit like make him fat-man dance in what looks like edible panties with the Stereotype Dinosaur Guy. If you want to make them a boss, fat guy tag team, go right ahead. I’m down with that. WWE could use a few fat guy tag teams. But if you’re just making him the Hip Hop Hippo again, it was terrible the first time and isn’t going to be any better now. You aren’t even making him wear the tracksuit.
Suggestion: Have them pal around like this for a while until Tensai takes Clay on a trip to Japan. Have Clay fall in love with it, which leads to them both dressing like Tensai used to dress, taking themselves way too seriously as FBI-style Japanese Guys, and have Tensai remember that he possesses poisoned glands and can do the Mountain Dew Spithand Of Doom.
Reposition the Funkadactyls as geisha for extra added offensiveness.
Best: I Am Pretty Sure Cameron/Naomi Is A Better Team Than Brodus/Tensai
Of course, that would lead to the Funkadactyls going, “hey wait a minute, we aren’t OBJECTS” (finally) and breaking free to join the Chickbusters and the Canadian Ninjas or whoever in my fantasy miracle wrestling world’s Divas tag division.
But seriously, check out Naomi breaking out the Misawa feint on the ropes! She’s been WATCHING TAPES~! They also get love for doing the less-athletic version of the Young Bucks “I’m gonna stand here with my legs open so my partner can DIVE THROUGH THEM” thing.
Worst: Can We Please Just Let Dean Ambrose Talk For These Guys, I Mean Seriously
Some improvements on the normal Shield promos:
1. They aren’t finishing each others’ sentences, which is nice.
2. They don’t have to stand in front of a tiny camera cheek-to-cheek, so at least they get to roam around.
3. They are saying something other than “justice.”
After that … yeah, it really makes no sense to me why Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns are getting the same amount of mic time as Dean Ambrose. It seems like a purposeful attempt to get them over as a unit, I guess, instead of making it blatantly obvious that Ambrose is way better at his job than the other two. It would quickly turn into a “Dean Ambrose and his cronies” thing. But that’s why you put them with Punk or Brock Lesnar or Heyman or somebody with a larger presence, to keep them from becoming The Corre.
Roman Reigns needs to stop screaming shit like he’s on The Amanda Show ASAP. Seth Rollins needs to be repackaged as a mentally-unstable Native American and never speak again. I’m on board when Ambrose starts in on his thing, and then Rollins takes over and is all WE HYATE YOU JYAN CENA YER BAAAD and I am tapping the f**k out. You are Austin Aries in the ring, bro, but you are Roderick Strong on the mic.
Best: The Glorious Death Of The Miz
New plan: Watch these GIFs forever. You are Raw’s Big Bad, Cesaro.