Best: The Best Segment In The World
I’m not even sure I can explain how good this segment was.
People like to call CM Punk the best talker in WWE, but it isn’t true. Paul Heyman is the best talker in WWE. Here, Paul Heyman delivers a speech that explains absolutely everything we need to know for a Punk/Lesnar feud — an explanation of Heyman’s perceived symbiotic relationship with Punk, his constant assurance that the “Best In The World” moniker belonged to two people working in tandem, references to past promos (“am I lying,” Paul Heyman’s children), the very very true idea that CM Punk cannot possibly defeat Brock Lesnar, Punk’s straight-edgedness (always welcomed), Punk’s absence from WWE after the Taker match changing him and so much more — and he does it without losing a word. He plays to the crowd’s boos. He doesn’t get any “what” chants, because his words command respect. He’s telling the truth, even when he’s lying. He is the undisputed king, in my mind, of people talking on wrestling television.
And to Punk’s credit, he’s good enough to hang with Heyman. Punk’s rage here is a little melodramatic, but Punk’s a melodramatic guy. Heyman’s betrayal hit him personally because not only was Paul his best friend, he was stupid enough to ignore the obvious and trust Paul anyway. He saw the world collapsing around him with Lesnar’s return and the rise of Curtis Axel, but he assumed that the same disreputable businessman who brought in The Shield and paid them to beat people up was gonna back him up without a misstep. It was a foolish decision, because sometimes good guys make foolish decisions. It’s what makes them more like us. How many times did Sting trust his tag team partners only to get shat on in return?
I’m not sure whether or not Punk was straight-up threatening to murder Paul Heyman on live television (the stuff about “leaving him alive” was a little much), but Heyman DESERVES to get his ass kicked for what he’s done, and he’s the most impossible guy to get to … because standing between Wolverine and his prey is the Incredible f**king Hulk.
Best: Brock Lesnar Is Summoned, Destroys Everything (Like Brock Lesnar Should)
As regular readers know, there are few things I enjoy more in pro wrestling than Brock Lesnar showing up to absolutely wreck everything in sight.
There should never be a moment where Brock Lesnar acts or reacts like a human being. No contract signings where he talks about his feels. No weird jock kisses with Kurt Angle. Just a massive, brutal beast appearing with screeching music and a sleeveless sandwich shop t-shirt who is going to KILL YOU for no particular reason besides the fact that he was born, bred and instructed to KILL YOU DEAD.
The fight between Punk and Lesnar was pitch-perfect. Lesnar did not have to try very hard to decimate Punk, dragging him around by his hoodie and launching him over the announce table twice. At the same time, Punk didn’t just lie around selling the beating … he took the fight to Lesnar, a guy with whom he has no hope of survival, because he’s relentless and consumed by a confidence that has carried him over OTHER guys with the same slim chances. He looked like a guy pissed beyond belief and ready to brawl. Lesnar looked like he barely cared, but is genetically impossible to overcome, even in apathy.
It’s perfect. The good guy is fighting a fight he can’t win. The bad guy knows the good guy can’t win, and that lack of respect is exactly what’ll catch him in the end. It’s a beautiful end to one of the best Raw segments of the year, and the official start of a match I can’t wait to see.
Best/Worst: Accepting When A Match Is Not Intended For Me
speaking of matches I can or cannot wait to see
Okay, so here’s the truth. If you ask 9 out of 10 people what they thought of the 20-or-so minutes of Rob Van Dam and Chris Jericho in Raw’s main event, they’ll tell you they loved it. I, as much as I want to just tell you I loved it so you won’t call me names on the Internet, am the 10th guy.
I get it, though. It’s two guys the crowd loves having a lengthy, easy-to-understand match the crowd can get behind. It’s full of signature spots and moves people love to recognize. “I remember that” or “I recognize that” motivates most wrestling crowds into hysteria. They want to see what they know and are comfortable with. That’s fine. It works. It worked last night. The wrestlers seemed to love the match, the crowd loved it more, and the announcers would not stop talking about how great it was. Every moment of silence or inaction in the match was filled with Lawler, Cole and JBL saying “wow, this is so great” on loop until the next thing happened. The tweets at the bottom of the screen were engineered to say THIS MATCH IS GREAT, HASHTAG RAW.
Sometimes I am not the target audience of a wrestling match. That is also fine. Last night’s show featured a ton of young talent. Fandango got a big match at the top of the show, the Wyatt Family continued to be wonderful, the Usos got a win, Punk and Lesnar got into it all crazy and the show ended with everybody in the building losing their mind over Daniel Bryan. If I complain about THAT show, I am a Top Asshole.
If you want my honest opinion, I’m not big on wrestling nostalgia when it’s at the top of the card. If the Barbarian is at my local armory or whatever, then hell yeah, let’s go see the Barbarian. But when The Rock is main-eventing WrestleMania? Not so much. When Rob Van Dam and Chris Jericho are main-eventing Raw? With Van Dam doing not even a single thing he didn’t do back in 2000? With babyface Cool Dad Chris Jericho? It’s more or less everything I dislike about wrestling, packaged into a match that should represent everything I LIKE about wrestling. It’s hard to explain. I know you guys come here (inexplicably) for objective wrestling opinions, but sometimes I just don’t like the wrestlers in the match.
So the best decision I can make is to give the match a Worst from my perspective, because it’s my least favorite wrestler wrestling my least favorite wrestling character, and also give it a Best, because everybody in the world enjoyed it. Wrestling cannot always cater to my needs, and I’m fine with that. At least they were wrestling, and not making photoshop jokes and weed puns at each other.