Best: I Appreciate How Violent The Swagger/Del Rio Feud Has Become
I didn’t like Dutch Mantell having to stand around pretending to be a non-wrestler (because honestly, even if I thought this guy was just somebody’s racist uncle, he still seems like he could throw a punch), but I appreciate how unusually violent the Del Rio/Jack Swagger beef has become, and am happy that it has evolved beyond the “let’s tell each other how we feel about immigration” story. We got that Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter were jerks about Hispanic people about four seconds into the feud, and put together that the Hispanic World Heavyweight Champion would have a problem with that in three or less. Now we get to see Swagger breaking folks’ ankles and shots like this, courtesy of a post-crutches-attack Alberto Del Rio:
Dude looks like Batman. I got worried when Zeb’s crutch broke in half and he just kept swinging with it, because he was basically slicing up ADR’s back with a two-pronged shard of jagged metal. Regardless, this brings a much-needed dose of reality to the feud, and is so much better than Del Rio and Ricardo dressing up as people and calling them “Jumangi guy.”
The only things left to remove are:
1. Any and all references to “freedom of speech,” because I do not trust a wrestling promotion to understand what “freedom of speech” is actually supposed to mean, and
Worst: Do Not Let JBL Say Things He Actually Believes
This is a change from my normal M.O., which is “make me believe what you’re saying.” I think Zeb and Swagger do a good enough job communicating the “we’re the persecuted rich white minority” thing without having to have the richest, whitest guy in the company yelling over them about LIBERALS or whatever. Pro wrestling is about as traditional and conservative an entertainment medium as you can get (we’re still booing the dude in the pink trunks, after all), but … yeah, that hyper-aggressive NO YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND POLITICS thing makes me want to turn off the television so fast I can’t even put it into words. JBL on the border kicking Mexican guys in the butt with his foot I can handle, because it’s hyperbolic and ridiculous. The “you like freedom of speech until somebody FREEDOM OF SPEECHES YOU” thing? I don’t know. It’s the uncanny valley. JBL’s voice becomes one of those creepy faces from The Polar Express and I can’t handle it.
Best: Compared To John Cena, The Rock’s Promo Sounds Like Ric Flair At The Horsemen Ceremony
Whenever the Best and Worst of Raw column gets a new batch of readers, I have to go over the same old talking points and refresh people. The biggest one is that this column isn’t and has never been an attempt at objectively reviewing an episode of Raw and telling you what you should and shouldn’t like. It’s MY perspective on the show, featuring giant paragraph sprints about what I think about whatever, and that’s it. I am not right, and I don’t expect you to kiss my ass and tell me I am. I just want you to be entertained, and to tell me what you thought of the show, and we can be Wrestling Bros.
That said, I didn’t like The Rock’s promo last night. I don’t like any of The Rock’s promos. After some of the horrible shit he’s done and said since his return at WrestleMania 27 (including that horrible 20 minute introduction delay thing, followed by the LITERAL EVISCERATION of Awesome Truth and on through the Cena garden gnomes and Kung Pao Bitches and Queen parody songs and Fat Hooker Eric Clapton jokes), I can’t put myself in an objective pair of shoes and give him Bests because he’s “entertaining.”
THAT said, John Cena shit the bed so thoroughly last night that when The Rock came on and did his normal “I love this town, you guys love me, right? I’m the best at being loved!” act, I was just like, “fine, I’m on your side this year. Please beat John Cena. I will go see G.I. Joe 2, I don’t care, just don’t let the horrible yellow man talk again.” I don’t even remember what Rocky said. In my head, the promo is this:
Ric Flair returns to Nitro Pt.2 by Stinger1981
If you haven’t watched that speech in the last 15 minutes, watch it again. Thank you for delivering the best promo ever, Rocky! See you on Sunday! I’ll be the one sitting behind an enormous skyscraper prop.
Worst: Hey Look How Good Antonio Cesaro Could’ve Looked If You’d … Nevermind
My only hope is that since this is the last episode of Raw before WrestleMania, the post-Mania Cesaro will not have to lose like this anymore, and can go back to being that super sweet superhuman who counters your moves into Karelin Lifts like you’re a baby and gets to win and be happy as champion. Wade Barrett got to beat Zack Ryder last night, why couldn’t Cesaro have dispatched Curt Hawkins or whoever? The guy has been the United States Champion since SummerSlam, and while I get that YOU SERIOUSLY DO NOT CARE WHO IS THE UNITED STATES CHAMPION, it SEEMS like something we should care about. The fact that Cesaro is shoot better at wrestling than anybody else on this show not named Daniel Bryan makes it worse. Couldn’t Fandango have run in and broken up the Walls of Jericho BEFORE the US Champion tapped out clean?
Ah well, at least he got to do some cool stuff before he lost. The lament of an Antonio Cesaro fan.
Best: The Guillotine Leg Drop As A Tool To Shut Up The Stupid “You Can’t Wrestle” Chants
“You Can’t Wrestle” is the new “Goldberg” for Ryback, or the new “Albert” for Tensai. People are just chanting it because they think they’re supposed to. They heard it on TV once and people on the Internet seemed to go for it, so why not? Ryback is kinda Goldbergian and Tensai was Albert, sure, but Johnny Curtis can so absolutely wrestle. I’m reading a lot of stuff online today about how Fandango seems over, and how they “hope he can deliver in the ring.” It’s almost like these people didn’t watch season 4 of NXT, or … season 5 of NXT.
Spoiler alert: If all you watch is Raw, you are not a reliable source of information on who can and can’t wrestle.