Best: Dean Ambrose Annihilates Kofi Kingston
Dean Ambrose might be the perfect opponent for Kofi Kingston, because he is everything Kofi is not. He’s a team player. Kofi trades in and exchanges tag team partners like they’re nothing. His moves are realistic and efficient. Kofi yammers around the ring like Tatanka and takes way too long to set up every single one of his moves. The headlock driver goes “grab the guy’s head, plant him.” The boom drop goes “position the guy, dance around a little bit, hit the ropes, stop to eliminate any momentum you got from hitting the ropes, dance more, jump straight up and do a leg drop.” Ambrose sees Kofi’s offense and just moves out of the way of it — watch how he simply backs his way out of a Trouble in Paradise at Extreme Rules, or rolls out of the way of the boom drop on Raw. Kofi helpfully walks/jumps into anything you’re doing, because he’s a WWE Superstar! It’s like the Goofus and Gallant of pro wrestling, and I love it.
The finish of this match was so great. Kofi’s jumping around like he does, so Ambrose just kinda goes where there’s something flat and metal and possibly sharp and waits for Kofi to wander over. Kofi does, so Ambrose gives Kofi’s leg a good pull and sends him crashing face-first onto said metal. He gives himself an adorable little pep talk (that was probably my favorite single moment on Raw, period … skip to the 1:29 mark to see what I’m talking about), then simply rolls Kofi into the ring, quickly hits his finish (which, conveniently enough, is another thing that hurts the head and face) and holds the pin for as long as he can because he is radder than hell. I love the entire thing.
Advice for Kofi Kingston:
1. Do not walk into everybody’s moves
2. Sometimes you can throw a clothesline or chop, they are not always helped by jumping
3. Just do a leg drop quickly when you are trying to win a title
Best: Daniel Bryan’s Face
During a backstage segment, the Ghost Of Bret Hart showed up to tell Daniel Bryan he’s one of the best and toughest WWE Superstars he’s ever seen. Daniel Bryan makes this face:
He gets a second Best for “You’re just Kane,” which is sad for Kane but absolutely true.
Best: Let’s Just Swap The NXT And WWE Rosters And Be Done With It
As I’ve mentioned a few times now, The Shield is the best thing to happen to Raw, because when The Shield is on TV, fighting is happening. That’s it. The Shield very rarely does “here are our intentions!” promos, and when they do, they’re minute-long backstage things that wrap up quickly. Otherwise their appearances are of the “have a great match” or “attack somebody, because YOLO” persuasions, and that is exactly what I am looking for in my wrestling program. Wrestlers who wrestle or punch guys instead of modeling t-shirts and riding in cars to organize future match stipulations. Guys who ride in on helicopters and win title belts instead of making fun of peoples’ names and pretending to be snakes. It is easy to understand.
This was maybe the best Team Hello No/Shield-related match yet. Two big reasons:
Best: Tag Team Stories That Are Actual Stories, Or
Best: Daniel Bryan Motivated And Doing Things
You know how WWE excuses the bad wrestling sometimes by saying they “tell stories?” Yeah, usually they don’t. The story is usually “one guy is getting beaten up, then he does his moves, and now he wins.” That’s not “telling stories.” That’s having bad wrestling matches. The way I see it, you can integrate stories into wrestling matches in two very easy ways: having the match tell a story, or having the characters involved in a pre-existing story that is progressed/changed/exacerbated BY the match. The Team Hell No/The Shield tag titles match from Raw had BOTH of those things.
The story of characters was the most important. Daniel Bryan feels like he’s the weak link of the team, even though he’s not, and despite everybody from his tag team partner to Bret Hart telling him he’s not. He tries his hardest during the match and he’s SUPER EFFECTIVE, but he doesn’t know when to pull back, and his overzealousness gets him taken out of the match at a crucial team and leaves Kane to deal with the DAMNED NUMBERS GAME of one against one. The Shield is WE ARE ONE, Nexus style, and wins matches because they do not fall victim to WWE melodrama and personal squabbling and are f**king great.
On top of that, Daniel Bryan is on a GODDAMN ROLL. The performer, I mean. Danielson is KILLING it recently, both figuratively and literally. He’s having great matches, but more importantly he is bringing back some of that good old American Dragon-style ass kicking, hitting The Shield harder than anybody in WWE hits ANYBODY. The clothesline on Seth Rollins last week wasn’t an anomaly … this week he broke out a Dr. Death-looking German suplex and delivered one of the hardest dropkicks we’ve seen in ages. This is the guy I call my favorite wrestler. If Bryan wants to do comedy segments and he still kicks and suplexes people like this, I will be 100% on board. Beats the hell out of his old gig of slumming it with Alex Riley, right?
Worst: Where Can I Vote For The Miz To Be Special Guest Not On The Show
SPEAKING OF SLUMMING IT WITH ALEX RILEY, The Miz got to be a part of one of those hilarious Taboo Tuesday WWE FanActive polls where the C option is the only one you could possibly pick. What do you want Miz to be? A. ring announcer B. commentary C. SPECIAL GUEST REFEREE. And then we’re all WHOA-HO’d when special guest referee gets 85% of the vote. Hey kids, which food would you like to eat most? A. cardboard box B. a length of rope C. CUPCAKE COOKIES
I wish they’d kept The Miz in the ring a little longer just to see how many more “vote on the Internet” gestures he could come up with.
Worst: Everybody Loses
Wade Barrett and Fandango have a match, wherein The Miz has been voted/shoehorned in as special guest referee. Miz obnoxiously interjects in the match, getting in the way of a Wade Barrett signature move he KNOWS is coming to get Barrett to f**k with him. Barrett throws him out of the way and hits his move. So Miz attacks Barrett from behind, hitting him with a move and laying him out. Fandango crawls in and pins the Intercontinental Champion in the champ’s 2000th non-title loss of 2013. He tries to celebrate his victory with Summer Rae, but Miz attacks them BOTH, unprovoked (and despite Fandango technically helping him win a tag match last week). Miz celebrates by duckwalking backwards up the ramp as his music plays.
So, let’s break this down.
Wade Barrett – tries to wrestle his normal wrestling match, gets screwed by the referee, loses another non-title match to a guy he isn’t even feuding with.
Fandango – only gets the pin because the babyface referee won the match for him, gets attacked for no reason after the match, is “pinned” by his own valet.
Miz – jumps TWO heels from behind, one of them unprovoked, after winning an obvious poll