Best: Who Cares About Anything Else That Happened On This Show, The Wyatt Family Is Coming To Raw (Intact!)
The highlight of the night — and of the year, possibly — was the video package announcing that THE WYATT FAMILY would be coming to Raw. And not only are they coming to Raw, they’re all coming to Raw, gimmicks and names and entrance theme intact. I mean, they didn’t say their names in the video and Bray could show up as third generation star “Blackjack Schyster” out of nowhere (credit Josh Rothman), but for now, everything seems safe. Did I type “safe?” I meant F**KING WONDERFUL.
If you missed it last Friday, I did my first Best and Worst of WWE NXT column for With Leather, so the timing couldn’t be better. If you don’t watch NXT, you’re missing the best wrestling show WWE’s produced in years, at least since that glorious, nebulous WWE ECW period when Christian was the champion and Mark Henry and Sheamus and Goldust and Jack Swagger were all around being awesome. If you don’t know anything about Bray, here’s what you need to know: when Randy Orton punted Husky Harris in the head, it acted as a sort of ersatz Siege Perilous, eliminating Husky’s fat, greasy ass from the timeline and replacing him with BRAY WYATT, a charismatic Bayou cult leader and/or Cape Fear character who is incapable of cutting a bad promo and is quite possibly the best wrestler in the world in terms of wrestling as a character. He IS Bray Wyatt. That makes him special.
The Wyatt Family is Erick Rowan and Luke Harper. Rowan is gigantic and was doing a Scandinavian wanderer thing before Wyatt went “nope” and turned him into a big creepy Bioshock NPC. You may know Harper best as Brodie Lee, former Chikara, Ring of Honor and Dragon Gate notable who once literally kicked off Tim Donst’s face. Literally. He is gigantic and pretty great.
This is their entrance theme. If you have not heard it (other than in the background of the vignette from Raw), listen to it and love it forever. Demand that they keep it in the transition. Also, if you hear it at a live show, hold up your arms and start swaying back and forth. It’s a thing you should do.
I am so excited for this, you guys.
Worst: Three Stages Of Hell Matches Are Better In The Video Games
John Cena made his short-awaited return to Raw to answer Ryback’s challenge, turning the challenge of “ambulance match” into a Three Stages Of Hell match. If you aren’t familiar with that stipulation, it’s a two-out-of-three falls match where the first fall is a gimmick match, the second fall is the easiest to predict fall ever because they aren’t going to NOT do the announced third gimmick match, and the third fall is limp because the crowd has just sat through two gimmick matches between these same wrestlers and you’ve gotta be Steve Austin to keep them interested.
In video games, Three Stages of Hell matches are great. You get to settle scores with a ridiculous series of match stipulations (first fall: iron man match! second fall: last man standing! third fall: jump off a helicopter in Times Square as many times as possible before you get bored and make a guy tap to a chinlock by accident!). The wrestlers can go through it because they’re video game characters and not human beings. The crowd doesn’t get tired of it because the crowd is you, and you can just stop whenever you want. The third fall might not happen, because you don’t have to fulfill advertised promises or whatever.
I wish Ryback had responded with “why are we having two matches before the one I suggested, let’s just do that one,” but I will give a supplementary Best to his obvious, hilariously uninspired “you want a Three Stages of Hell match, good, because I am The Devil” thing.
Worst: Shawn Michaels, Professional Bracelet Collector, Homeless Man, Wet Blanket
Seriously, what is WWE’s obsession with bringing out retired wrestlers to tell active wrestlers what they should or shouldn’t do? It’s so bossy. Mick Foley shows up to tell CM Punk he’s not the REAL Best in the World if he doesn’t beat John Cena in a JOHN CENA MATCH, then shows up half a year later to tell Ryback he doesn’t have any respect, on account of how rude he’s being to John Cena. Shawn Michaels has shown up in every Triple H feud since his retirement to lend a nagging opinion about how Triple H maybe might kinda-sorta lose, and now here he is popping in for absolutely no reason to tell John Cena not to wrestle.
It might be interesting of Shawn showed up and was like “Hey John, I just got a CAT Scan done on my brain and it looks and performs like a turd, like a for-real turd, turns out I’m lucky to be walking upright and speaking, you should probably retire now and go buy a gross of pillows and just rest your head on them until dementia takes you,” but that’s not gonna happen. I would also accept a “psst, Christopher Nowinski was right, let’s talk about this off camera.” But nope, it’s just old people showing up to go EENNNHHH I DON’T KNOW and then Superstars DOIN’ IT ANYWAY because TAKING ADVICE and MAKING GOOD DECISIONS is for PANTY-WASTES and SISSIES.
Worst: Under No Circumstances Will I Accept An AJ/Big E Langston Breakup
The Alberto Del Rio/Big E Langston rematch was fine (if totally unnecessary, and counterproductive to Big E’s rub from winning the first one … I hate you so much, 50/50 booking), but as the Worst clearly states, I will under no circumstances allow for dissension in the Team Rocket ranks. AJ Lee, Big E Langston and Dolph Ziggler must remain best friends/secret lovers for the entirety of their WWE careers, and the dissolution of their friendship would cause me great stress. This match ended with AJ and Big E getting all gruff with each other about match stuffs, and I can only hope that this happened so Dolph can show up next week and be all, “get along, bros.”
Do not break up this team, WWE. I am serious here. I am pointing my finger at my computer screen. Listen to me.