Worst: Contract Signings, Or
Best: Contract Signings Suck, But At Least This One Was Logical And Constructive
I have been conditioned to accept CONTRACT SIGNING as the worst possible WWE scenario. It’s worse than “celebrity guest gets over on wrestler,” worse than in-ring weddings or birthday parties, hell, it’s even worse than when people put photoshop jokes on the TitanTron. Part of the problem is in how frequently WWE does them. On Monday’s episode of Raw, Chris Jericho had a contract signing with a wrestler who hasn’t been on the show in almost two months and it ended with him stuffing a piece of paper down Paul Heyman’s pants and patting him in the dick. Back in March, Triple H had a contract signing (again, with a wrestler who wasn’t on the show) that ended with him holding Paul Heyman down and molesting him. Every other contract signing ends in violence with flipped over tables, hidden weapons and all the other melodramatic bullshit that makes wrestling difficult to watch in front of strangers.
So no, I don’t enjoy contract signings. That said, NXT worked its “good wrestling show” magic by making its championship contract signing bearable,, and that’s probably worth a Best. It all made sense. Big E signed the contract without saying a word, because he’s not afraid of anybody and barely cares. Bo Dallas hesitates and launches into a big speech about how he “needs” the NXT title, and it wasn’t GOOD, but it was exactly what you’d expect Bo Dallas to say. Langston counters by calling Dallas a nerd who lives with his parents, and while I’d normally complain about that, Bo Dallas f**king sucks so f**k Bo Dallas. The signing ends with Dallas sorta standing up to Big E but not really doing anything, then bailing. No over the top violence, no sledgehammer holders under the table … just an opportunity for two wrestlers to explain their motivations before a big match. That’s not bad.
Also, Jim Ross, for some reason!
Worst: Tamina Snuka
I was all ready to march into this week’s Best and Worst of NXT column and hand out Bests to everything, because it’s the start of the NXT Women’s Championship tournament, and if there are two things I am a dork for, it’s (1) women’s wrestling and (2) tournaments.
But man, Tamina Snuka … woof. She drew a first round match with Paige, which (on paper) is the best match in the tournament. Sadly, the reality of Tamina Snuka is that she’s not very good at pro wrestling, and that she’s currently the valedictorian of the Beth Phoenix School Of Everybody Assuming You’re Good At Wrestling Because You’re Muscular And Not As Pretty As Everyone Else. WWE fans are conditioned to believe that if a Diva isn’t lithe and always fluffing her hair she’s “good,” whether she is or not. There’s a similar thing on the independent circuit, where female wrestlers are immediately lumped into “you are great always” or “you’re a worthless sideshow act,” depending on the fan. There’s really no in-between.
Tamina spends most of the match walking around slowly, putting Paige into arm bars and chinlocks. Imagine a Randy Orton match without the powerslam or the shoehorned-in DDTs. And real talk, girl’s been in the WWE since 2009 and hasn’t figured out how to do the one move she was literally born to do without looking like a baby falling off a roof:
One last Worst, while I’m piling it on: during the match, the commentary team talks about how focused and motivated Tamina is, and how she believes it’s time for a Snuka to “once again be a champion in WWE.” It is in times like this that I must remind the several people working for WWE that Jimmy Snuka didn’t hold shit in WWE, unless Vince owning the Mid-Atlantic tape library counts as “in WWE.” Tamina hasn’t won anything either. In fact, the only Snuka to hold a championship in WWE is f**king SIM Snuka, and that was when he was still calling himself “Deuce.” So … there you go.
Best: Paige, Though, Usually
Hopefully Paige will stick around in NXT long enough for me to write some positive stuff about her, because I like her a lot. She and Bray Wyatt are the “can’t miss” WWE types in NXT right now, and if WWE needs any one thing desperately it’s a Diva who isn’t straight from a Hawaiian Tropic catalog. I get wanting to have Divas around to appeal to male wrestling fans, but you’ve got to appeal to more than ONE male wrestling fan, right? I personally love pale women, and if a Sheamus-pale lady shows up on Raw I am going to watch closely.
On top of that, she’s a great wrestler. You might remember her as Brittani Knight in SHIMMER, Pro Wrestling EVE and wherever else. She’s had a lot of great matches since she showed up to NXT, and I’m sad that my first chance to write about her on With Leather is just her spending five minutes in a shitty Tamina armbar. Get you next time, Paige.
Best: Kassius Ohno’s Misawa Shirt
Worst: Welp, Sami Zayn Is Officially A WWE Babyface
The segment starts off well … the delightful Renee “My last name isn’t French-Canadian, I swear” Young interviewing Sami Zayn, aka the equally delightful El Generico. I gave him a lot of praise in his WWE debut because he represented something that’d been missing for a long time — a good guy who actually ACTED like a good guy. He fought fair, fought hard, shook a little girl’s hand after his match and responded to Antonio Cesaro’s boastfulness by one-upping him in the “speaking multiple languages” department and challenging him to a match without ever resorting to the assy bully stuff guys like Sheamus pull on the reg. It was nice.
Antonio Cesaro shows up in a beret and sunglasses to challenge Zayn to a rematch, and in my head I’m doing that Enchanted GIF again. Then, almost out of nowhere, Zayn asks Cesaro where he “got that sweet man-purse.” So instead of that, I get this one:
I shouldn’t be surprised when every single “good guy” in WWE goes for the “lol ur gay” joke, but yeah, here I am. It was nice to have a babyface to cheer for for two weeks, Sami.
I want more like this!
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