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The Best And Worst Of WWE Raw 2/18/13: The One With The New WWE Championship

By 02.21.13

Best: Del Rio vs. Ziggler Is Perfect, Or

Worst: This Should Be A Bigger Deal

Heel Dolph Ziggler with his Team Rocket posse against babyface Alberto Del Rio with Best Friend Ricardo Rodriguez is the most perfect combination of factors, and I more or less want to live in their matches for the entirety of a Raw. Their thing on Main Event was fantastic, and good things that happen on B-shows get the homogenized A-show treatment (to “create moments” or whatever), but the rematch managed to not lose a lot.

My only problem with the pairing is that when you discover how well they work together on Main Event, you’ve got to savor that “nobody watched this” vibe and utilize it in a more important moment than “making Del Rio look good en route to his thing with Jack Swagger.” Del Rio/Ziggler and Friends could be money, one of those things where everyone loves it because everyone involved is great. Del Rio is on fire as a babyface! Ricardo is adorable! AJ is gorgeous and her character has stopped careening down into unbearable madness! Ziggler can make Del Rio’s already pretty-good offense look exceptional! Big E Langston is secretly the best thing on the show! All we need is a high profile backdrop, and maybe for that ONE MORE TIME chant to catch on beyond NXT.

You’re welcome for that at Elimination Chamber, Big E.

Best: Randy Orton Loves Barney The Dinosaur

I’m ready for the Team Hell No angle to formally explode so we can remember it fondly and get Daniel Bryan back into the swing of being an Actual Pro Wrestler. I didn’t love the bickering backstage stuff because we’ve seen it all before, but what I DID love is Randy Orton choosing Barney the Dinosaur as the harmless thing Kane has turned into. He could’ve called him a Boobah or whatever, but he chose Barney because RANDY ORTON LOVES BARNEY.

If you weren’t aware, this is a shoot:

Randy Orton Barney

That’s the kind of character continuity and development I love, like when Kane chose a big plate of spaghetti and meatballs when he and Bryan went out to eat for therapy. Orton as a cold-blooded, snakeman killer who closely follows the careers of Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato because he remembers them from when they were 8. Yes, please.

Worst: This Wade Barrett Segment Might Actually Be The Worst One They’ve Ever Done

There isn’t a clip of this on WWE Fan Nation, and for good reason. There are a lot of bad Raw segments — Rock singing parody Queen lyrics from the TitanTron screen, Trish Stratus being made to strip and crawl around on all fours and bark like a dog, any edition of Miz TV — but Wade Barrett’s introduction of his movie trailer may be the worst, based on how impossibly weird and pointless it was.

If you missed it, here’s what happened: Wade Barrett has a small role in Dead Man Down, a Colin Farrell/Noomi Rapace revenge-and-guns thing. Sorta like when Christian was “guy in the background #2″ in Shoot ‘Em Up. Anyway, Wade intros his trailer, we watch it, and he’s in it for like half of one shot. He gets interrupted by Sheamus FROM BACKSTAGE, because he wanted to bother Wade, but didn’t have the energy to actually wander out and do it for real. Sheamus says the movie looks good. Wade Barrett, unmic’d, starts screaming about how Sheamus ruined his “special moment.” Sheamus announces that we’re out of time (??) and without actually leaving the ring to film something important (like an interview or a match or an announcement or whatever) the camera just pans to the right so Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole can show you those stupid WWE toys that play with themselves. AND THAT’S THE SEGMENT.

What the f**k was that? If you’re gonna start a Sheamus/Barrett feud, at least make Sheamus get off his ass and interrupt the special moment. If you aren’t, just have Michael Cole be all HEY WADE BARRETT’S IN THIS THING WITH SOME FAMOUS PEOPLE, WATCH IT and show the trailer. Who let this first draft shit get on Raw? Jesus.

Special note: Barrett’s character in the movie is named “Kilroy.” Here’s to hoping his next band tattoo is this album cover.

Worst: Fat Guy Colon Cleansing

Actually, a supplemental Best goes to Naomi for being really good at what she does. She could/should be the next Lita — the Diva who can jump and land convincingly without having to go to the hospital with a boobal spine fracture. She’s also got one of the best hurricanranas in wrestling, based solely on the fact that she closes her legs when she flips the guy over, you know, like you’re supposed to. Sin Cara, I’m looking directly at your bowlegged shit.

But yeah, WWE’s tag team division as an actual, functioning tag division is dead, and we’re back to that “this is the team that wins a lot this month” thing. No actual competition, just a line of losers and one team chosen to win as quickly as possible en route to their tag title run. Daniel Bryan and Kane are too busy having friendship problems to defend their belts, Cody Rhodes started getting too over (or whatever goony dirtsheet sounding thing happened), and here are two fat guys who are splashin’ and dancin’ for the enjoyment of the children. All right.

Worst: Thank Goodness This Column Is Late So I Didn’t Have To Write A Big Thing About How Good Jack Swagger’s Been

Jack Swagger has been great. I wrote about it extensively last week and got quoted in The Atlantic Wire, so if you’re interested in how WWE heel dynamics work and/or want to read the guy who got the phrase “fat hooker” onto The Atlantic, check it out.

Two things ruined Swagger’s boss Raw appearance this week:

1. Michael Cole (and WWE) changing the Patriot Act to the “Patriot Lock” to help nerf the angry reaction to Swagger as a Tea Party-style character, because they’re brave enough to send out press statements about how fictional characters are fictional, but not actually brave enough to stick to their guns about shit like this. If #2 hadn’t happened, Zeb would already be writing an “I don’t hate MINORITIES, I just hate YOU, the WWE Universe!” thing for next week.

However, #2 happened.

2. If you haven’t heard — and if we’re going by my Facebook wall and Twitter feed, you’ve heard — Jack Swagger got arrested in Mississippi after this week’s Smackdown tapings for DUI, speeding and possession of marijuana. The guy is off TV for months, comes back to the biggest instapush they’ve given anybody in a long, long time, gets a WrestleMania main-event match and then thinks “I’m drunk. Sure, I’ll drive this car full of marijuana as fast as possible!”

He Rob Van Dam’d himself. I don’t know if they’ll take any action or if they’ll pretend like nothing happened and shit-can him when WrestleMania is over or what, but it’s super disappointing any way you look at it. Don’t drink and drive, you stupid f**king idiots. Don’t do it ever. You are a stupid f**king idiot. And if you’re going to smoke up between shows, get one of the lower totem pole jerks to hang onto it for you until you get to your hotel.

Michael McGillicutty, if you’re reading this because Derrick Bateman or Johnny Curtis forwarded it to you, hold Jack Swagger’s pot for him. Also, challenge John Cena to a “Michael McGillicutty’s friends lumberjack match” as soon as he wins the title.


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