Worst: Next Week, It’s Back To Reality
If you love me, you won’t read the Smackdown spoilers. You’ll stay as far away from them as possible. You won’t watch Smackdown, and if you want to watch wrestling on Friday night you’ll just rewatch this episode of Raw. WWE comes crashing back to Earth, and we are depressingly welcomed back into the 51 other weeks of television programming.
I mentioned this in the WrestleMania report, but seriously WWE, you can have a GREAT SHOW if you just put this much effort into it every week. Allow the crowd to be itself, don’t try to control everything so much, let the talented wrestlers break through, and keep John Cena to a minimum. Let us see the old guys from time to time, but don’t make them seem like the only important people on the show. And, most importantly, write every episode of Raw like it’s following WrestleMania. How good could WWE be if they did that?
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Night
HHH just tweeted that he “loved every minute” of his match last night. At least someone did.
Can we put Brandon on an airplane every Monday?
Man Of 1004 Holds
Zeb Coulter takes his conservatism seriously, which is why he didn’t break up the arm breaker. He believed it was Swagger’s personal responsibility to get out of that hold.
A demon an undertaker and thier sacrificial goat
Kane – “We need to run out and help my brother!”
Bryan – “Goddammit, I don’t even know that guy…”
Randy Orton has the look in his eyes Ron Artest had in the palace
New theory: this crowd doesn’t actually exist, and we’ve just gone to that place where Randy Orton hears voices.
This just in, Cena vs Henry has been cancelled. The last 20 minutes of Raw have been dedicated to Fandango dancing in the ring whilst the crowd sings to him.
Ryback is the personification of this Crowd. Huge, Insane, yelling random stuff, and burying Cena.
Mantis Toboggan MD
I like to imagine that Ryback thinks that hitting his finishing move means that he automatically wins no matter what the situation.
In his mind, he beat Mark Henry yesterday and is now the WWE Champion.
Best: And Now, Because That Crowd Was So Great, A Couple Of Live Show Reports
The New Jersey crowd did a better job of enjoying Raw than anyone, so here are a pair of live reports from Best and Worst readers who were in attendance. The first one comes from Best and Worst of Impact columnist and my WrestleMania company Danielle Matheson, who stuck around for Raw while I was riding a plane back to Texas.
Best: Daniel Bryan, Brother of Destruction
For those of you who don’t know my original WrestleMania fantasy booking, without going into too many details, it involved Daniel Bryan, Kane, and Undertaker in the ring, and the streak being broken by Daniel Bryan because friendship and also because I am crazypants crazy. WrestleMania was incredibly disappointing, and at times downright miserable for me for a few reasons, but oh, did it warm my heart to see little Daniel Bryan chasing after his friend Kane to help defend the Undertaker. Of course, the best part was unfortunately not on television. I like to think that this is a further reminder that Brandon should come to the post-mania Raws. Last year, Daniel Bryan had his career-defining moment post-Raw. This year, he got to stand at the top of the ramp and do this. I can only assume that if Brandon goes home early again next year, Daniel Bryan and Kenta Kobashi will have a 45 minute dark match that ends with Hayley Williams offering to kiss the first popular internet blogger who can name five people on the June 1992 WCW roster.
Worst: Dolph Ziggler, World Heavyweight Champion
NOT MY CAMPEONE :(
Best (for the most part): The Crowd that Gave No F-cks
For a lot of WrestleMania, I felt like the world’s biggest asshole wrestling fan. Saturday was so full of joy and fun and hugs and Chikara that it literally exhausted me. Sunday was….not really fun. I thought Punk-Unide (Pundie?) was horrifically boring live, I had to watch Jericho lose at WrestleMania for a second year in a row, and the whole thing was rushed and problematic. The only genuine emotional response I had was listening to a crowd of 80,000 people announce Del Rio along with Ricardo, which made my heart soar. While I enjoyed the first four matches, anything after that….nothing. I spent the entirety of the Rock-Cena match watching the monitor and making snarky comments because good god I just did not care. All I wanted was to be back in that crowd of 1000 people, cheering on FIST with Lobster Mobster, or watching Jushin Thunder Liger wrestle while sitting with Mr. Touchdown and Kobald. I had no connection to what was going on in front of me, and it felt like the biggest waste of time and money.
Aside from a nasty panic attack during the beginning of the show last year, I had a lot of fun at the post-Mania Raw in Miami. I had a wee bit of hope that this could be fun, but ‘Mania really tamped that down. Thankfully, between rad Wrestling Bros THESTINGER and the Mrs and a crowd that wanted to have fun no matter what, it ended up being the best WWE experience I’ve had thus far. There were a few chants I didn’t agree with, and Ziggler broke my heart, but forcing a crowd to make it’s own fun because Randy Orton is so godawful boring turned out to be the best. A rundown of the chants, in no particular order, because it seems that a lot of them didn’t make it to TV:
Jerry Lawler (who got two)
Justin Roberts (this really should have been the cue to send Big Show out early)
HBK (who also got two)
After remarking that I felt like I was at an ROH show, Chris Benoit (an actual chant heard previously at Friday’s ROH show)
We want tables
We want puppies (…f-ck off)
We are awesome (obviously no Wrestling Bros participated in such self-congratulatory nonsense)
Cotton Candy (man, those cotton candy guys were so over)
This is a lot of chanting. And this one during one. match. One. The sheer absurdity of a crowd being bored enough to keep this up after they’ve already sung OLE OLE OLE OLE, then break into the wave is really a worst on WWE’s part. I’m not sure if there was a gas leak in gorilla and everyone was passed out, or if Big Show was on the can and they couldn’t do anything to send him out faster, but good lord WWE, that was a bad match you should have pulled the plug on sooner. The good news, however, is that this infectious chanting completely renewed my spirit, and more than made up for the dull death march that was WrestleMania. When I watch wrestling, I want to have an emotional connection. I want to have fun. You will never see me happier than when at a Chikara show for this reason. This crazy crowd made me forget about Sunday, got me into the show, and I never looked back.
Best: DooDO! Doo doo dodododo doDOO!
Last year it was the YES chants that extended long into the night, to the parking lots, and were still going when we left the restaurant close to 2am. This year, it was all about Fandango’s theme. I readily admit that I was not big on Fandango, and Johnny Curtis really lost me when he stopped the puns and started with the elderly abuse, but how could you not love him after this? John Cena stayed out after Raw (because, as Mrs.THESTINGER speculated, Vince must have had Curtis handcuffed to a chair in the back), spewed a bunch of fan service to the crowd, and said that normally they would play us out of the arena to someone’s music, but this time, they decided to let us do it instead. I don’t much care for forced reactions (see: Ryback), but the crowd finishing the show with Fandango’s music was glorious. It took us to the concourse. It took us through the parking lot, with every car blasting the hastily downloaded Fandango theme while people danced in front. I was informed on Twitter that it lasted all the way to Penn Station. I couldn’t stop tapping my fork to the melody at the diner afterwards, and I know neither Matthew nor I went to bed without it stuck in our heads. Heck, it is STILL stuck in my head. Thanks, Fandango. DooDO! Doo doo dodododo doDOO!
And another from Jeremy Rothschild:
Best: This show, top to bottom.
By now everyone’s seen Raw and talked about the amazing crowd, the awesome chants during Orton/Sheamus, the Fandango singing, etc. It’s the best crowd I’ve ever been a part of, the best show I’ve ever been to, and one I’ll never forget. But the one thing I noticed from being in the crowd that probably wasn’t caught on TV was the total shift in the crowd’s mood after Ziggler won the title. The crowd was loud from the start, but it was mostly an Angry Loud. People were there to boo Cena, and to make it known that they were pissed over how the last few months have gone. But once Dolph cashed in, the mood completely changed from Angry Loud to Happy Loud. Ziggy’s win was such a joyous moment for everyone in the building that the next 90 minutes felt like a drunken after-party with 20,000 people at the bar (loud singing included; everyone sang Fandango’s music through every commercial from 10:15 on). All of the pent-up irritation from the last three months went away, and everyone basked in the glory together.
The pops when Ziggler came out and won the title were two of the loudest noises I’ve ever heard in my life, and his win was one of the greatest moments I’ve ever had at a sporting event. If the plan all along was to wait until he could do it in front of the smartest, loudest crowd of the year (which they knew they’d get after last year’s YES-a-thon), then hats off to them. Well played. Maybe this company is smarter than we realize. Oh, right, Antonio Cesaro didn’t have a match all weekend. Scratch that.
I expected a bigger reaction when the Rhodes Scholars came out, but the cheers were a little muted. I would’ve thought that Sandow would get a bigger ovation, considering how great his character is and how hard he’s worked all year, but by 10:40 the crowd had settled on singing Fandango’s music for the rest of the night.
Leaving the arena was absolute bedlam:
And it kept going for at least 20 minutes. As I waited to drive out of the arena, everyone walking around kept singing the theme, and at least a dozen cars blasted the music. Never before has a 3 hour Raw flown by so quickly, and I’ve never enjoyed being in standstill traffic more.
One final note: In a crazy, anything-goes environment like this, the true stars shine. And as much as I and most of us hate to admit it, Cena was a superstar last night, and not just in the “WWE Superstar” way. As the Sheamus/Orton match kept getting increasingly out of hand, neither of them had the wherewithal to take a look at their surroundings, see what was happening, and react to it. With all of the crazy chants going on around them, how could neither of these two established main-eventers think to actually listen and react to what was going on? While Cena has his litany of problems, his self-awareness and understanding of “The Moment” sets him apart from some of the other guys. He was the one person last night that understood how to deal with that type of situation. By actually listening to the crowd and recognizing what this was, he managed to turn as loud boos as I’ve ever heard (borderline riotous) at 8:00 into loud cheers at 11:15. Maybe he truly can Overcome The Odds ™.
Biggest pops/chants of the night:
3. Everything in the Sheamus/Orton match
4. Cena during the post-show
This was one to remember. I hope we get back to this place again. Soon.
Thanks, everybody. See you next week, when things are normal.