Best: CM Punk Is Great At Making People Want To Punch Him In the Face
I don’t know if we’ve ever clearly defined a wrestler’s ability to make people who see or hear him want to punch him in his face, but it’s a valuable skill and deserves its own Sabermetrics stat. Does PIF work for everybody? In terms of wrestlers, I think the scale goes from 0.0 PIF (Bobby Heenan during his WWE Hall of Fame induction speech, or, to simplify, “good wrestling happening and making you happy”) to 1.0 PIF (Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole simultaneously chuckling about something neither of them actually thinks is funny). CM Punk is gloriously talented at manipulating the PIF scale, and while he’s most peoples’ favorite guy and an invaluable tool to enjoying Raw, he can get up to at least a 0.8 or even a 0.9 on that scale.
Last night was a solid 0.8. Most of what he’s saying is total horseshit — the Undertaker being at a psychological disadvantage for “the first time in his career” despite people having done the “steal the urn” gag multiple times and BETTER, like when Mankind stole the urn AND Paul Bearer, or the time Kama The Supreme Fighting Machine stole it and smelted it or whatever to make a gold chain — but he means it, and he can express it compellingly. The promo really peaks when he says the urn doesn’t matter to him and throws it down, because yeah, objectively it’s pretty hilarious that 18,000 people went “oooh” because the zombie mortician supernatural guy had one of his props disrespected, but contextually it means the shit is on. I still think Punk has a 0% chance of winning at Mania, but I’ll have a lot of fun hoping I’m wrong.
Note: 0.9 was that time he called John Laurinaitis an “ugly dork.”
Best: Bug-Eyed Undertaker Don’t Play
Speaking of the shit and it being on, this was the Undertaker’s face when he Sabu’d Punk to end the segment:
That’s WONDERFUL. Taker’s always been top-shelf when it comes to extreme facial expressions (the “I can’t believe the Tombstone didn’t get the pin on Shawn Michaels” face is still his best).
I also really loved everyone else at the end of this … Heyman scooping up the urn and hauling ass like he’s recovering a fumble for a touchdown, Taker’s incessant ANGER PUNCHING~ and Punk’s reaction to it, which isn’t the gulpy fear most people get, it’s WOOOO, because Taker was PUNCHING THE MESS OUT OF HIM and THIS IS GONNA BE FUN. That’s the kind of heel I’d like to see in WWE more often. He does dirty things and takes shortcuts, but he’s not a total coward, and he can take a punch without turning into a blubbering mess about it.
I would also like to see the Undertaker make more faces like that. O_O
Worst: Did You Seriously Just Deprive Me Of Fandango, Because I Swear To God
Fandango segments are such an emotional roller-coaster. I like Johnny Curtis a lot. He’s been funny as hell since NXT, he’s pretty good in the ring, and his character is a BALLROOM DANCING GUY WHO IS UPSET THAT PEOPLE AREN’T RESPECTING HIS NAME. As one of the top 10 comments mentioned last week, he’s basically The Boy Marlo from ‘The Wire’ as a ballroom dancing pro wrestler. I also love how “into” Fandango Jerry “The King” Lawler is, for seemingly no reason whatsoever. He just LOVES Fandango. He’s always muttering “wow!” at things, gets upset when Fandango doesn’t wrestle and chastises those who don’t put enough effort into the pronunciation. It’s a weird look back into the glory days of Jerry Lawler, back when he’d occasionally rag on Stu Hart for being a dead skeleton man and it was awesome.
At the same time, a lot of it bothers me. Did you hear Michael Cole doing a forced “LOOK AT THIS! THIS IS COOL!” thing to Fandango’s light show, which … uh, he also saw last week and no-sold? Even Lawler seemed like he was seeing it for the first time.
Best/Worst: The Match Was Fun, But Who Is This Tag Team Wrestler Who Always Loses And Why Is He Carrying Around A Blue Briefcase
I cannot in good faith give a Worst to something that ends in the Liontamer. Not in 2013.
This was a fun match (as I mentioned), but it continues to be sorta depressing to see Dolph Ziggler getting big match opportunities AND a Money in the Bank briefcase he should’ve cashed in like 45 times now AND a cool posse of supporting characters and that ring jacket and STILL not ever get these victories. Why is Kofi Kingston and Daniel Bryan the only dudes he can beat? He loses to literally everybody else. Put him in a match with Brad “Cornbeef” Maddox and he’ll lose clean after trying to cheat and failing half a dozen times. But put him in a triple threat with Kofi and Daniel Bryan and he’ll f**king Ryback them. I don’t get it. Are wins and losses determined like Pokémon types now?
Best: Big E Langston Is My Favorite/Cool Dad Gets His
I love the build of Big E Langston as a man so out-of-control powerful that he barely fits into his clothes. He’s just this massive monster in a Borat swimsuit who is calm and collected and then sometimes just HAS TO CONVOLUTEDLY FLAPJACK YOU. I wouldn’t be surprised if we find out AJ and Dolph made him in a lab. Or he’s like one of the Venture Bros., and they’ve got infinite Big E backups. That could explain the E. Maybe the first four were Big A through Big D Langston.
I still think they should turn the entire faction face. I don’t want to boo these guys, I don’t care how many times Lawler cell-wanks to the notion of AJ being a slut and tosses it in somebody’s face. I want cool sunglasses champion Dolph Ziggler, his sexually-active-and-not-even-slightly-ashamed-of-it girlfriend AJ, and their friend Langston, who keeps screaming about how he wants things “Biggie sized.”