Worst: Dolph Ziggler, Babyface
Buzz, your Dolph Ziggler. Woof.
I know I wrote a short defense of my wrestler hipsterdom and am suddenly writing a paragraph about how I don’t like the guy everybody likes, but bear with me. If you’ve read more than one of these columns, you know I am known to give Dolph Ziggler a Best WITH THE QUICKNESS. I think I Bested his headstand for like three months in a row. I don’t want to start throwing shade at Dolph the PERFORMER necessarily, but at WWE’s tendency to make their bad guys cool, likable personalities, and their good guys asinine, third-grade assholes.
In case you missed it, here’s what went down. Alberto Del Rio and Sin Cara were having a match. This is good, because Del Rio’s one of maybe eight guys on the roster who knows how to deal with Sin Cara and make him look good. Dolph Ziggler shows up out of nowhere and starts cutting a promo as he walks to the ring. Del Rio gets momentarily distracted, but kicks out of Sin Cara’s roll-up and the match continues. Ziggler starts doing the laziest, least creative parody of Ricardo Rodriguez’s intro EVER (dick jokes, y’all) and just KEEPS GOING despite Del Rio clearly not giving a shit and trying to win his match. Eventually it becomes too much. ADR charges Ziggler on the outside, BEATS HIM UP, and Ziggler gets saved by Sin Cara. Then Ziggler walks away like he’s accomplished something awesome, and not just given Alberto Del Rio a No Contest, or whatever.
To recap, the good guy (the same guy who interrupted the bad guy’s celebration on Smackdown and attacked/injured everybody with weapons) interrupts a scheduled match for no reason, tries to trick the bad guy into losing, fails, and keeps yammering until he gets beaten up. Somebody saves him, and he struts away confidently. The bad guy, whom the good guy has called a “coward” for beating him fairly in a wrestling match during a rematch for a title he lost to the good guy via post-match briefcase contract cash-in because his ankle was basically broken, tries to ignore the good guy and just win his match. He gets fed up and shuts the good guy up, only to lose a 2-on-1 fight.
You can do a second draft of these things.
Worst: Gut Check Contestant Vickie Guerrero
Hey, check it out: three people with only a passing interest in the success of their wrestling company have come to the ring to spend 20 MINUTES arbitrarily judging somebody they barely care about. They argue with each other, make funny jokez and eventually tell the person they aren’t good enough to be on the same show as the ARBITRARY 20 MINUTE PANEL JUDGING SEGMENTS. Oh, and they change how the judging works at the very end, leaving decision-making up to fans on the Internet. If Stephanie McMahon reveals herself as the vice president of a biker gang, I swear to God.
This was exactly as bad as you thought it’d be. Honestly, it seems worse the next day. Watching the show live, I was high from the first hour of wrestling (Daniel Bryan pinning Sheamus with a small package!) and the anticipation of the Wyatt Family in hour 3, so the super, super shitty hour 2 just kinda went by in a blur. If you need a clear example of how excruciating this was, though, WWE Fan Nation turns 20 minute matches into 3 minute clip videos, and the shortest edit they could make of this one is almost eleven minutes long.
Stephanie McMahon has got to be the most unlikable character they’ve ever come up with, and that includes escaped prison inmates, evil clowns, a guy who broke a one-legged guy’s one leg and shoved him down a flight of steps in a wheelchair AND Buff Bagwell. It’s a shame that she gets the Wayne’s World bow from fans by proxy of being around Vince and Triple H, when the legit highlight of her career was her beloved teddy bear being offered as a sacrifice to the Undertaker. I don’t care how many sassy rap songs you have about how awesome you are.
Triple H was Triple H. Too cool for the room, exhausted by having to go through segments he (in theory) green-lit, ready to say LOOK AT HOW GREAT I AM from one side of his mouth and LOOK AT HOW BAD THIS PERSON IS from the other. The man who defined getting cheers because WE TOLD YOU to give him cheers, getting cheered for who he is and nothing he says or does. Any attempt by Triple H to be funny results in a sort-of nuclear winter in my brain, and I was wishing so hard for a Wyatt run-in, or maybe a vintage SIERRA HOTEL INDIA ECHO LIMA DELTA. Anything to stop the agony. Kevin Nash showing up and hitting him with a sledgehammer, even. I AM WISHING FOR KEVIN NASH, THIS IS BAD.
Vince was … well, Vince was pretty good here, actually. He seemed to understand the basic idea of “we hired the heel lady who gets tons of heat to be our show’s GM, so let’s not fire her for being a heel lady who gets tons of heat” the others couldn’t grasp. He thought it was stupid as f**k to leave a person’s job up to a fan popularity vote, consoled Vickie backstage without being too sincere or making out with her (I TOTALLY thought they were gonna make out), chided the crowd for being … well, a WWE crowd, and made a guy I love the new GM.
And speaking of GMs I love, THIS is the guy who signed Brock Lesnar. Recognize.
Vickie was good here, because Vickie is usually good, but man, I am pretty tired of seeing her get humiliated. I hope the Ryback scene a little later can work her back onto the show as a screeching manager, and I hope the next time they try to run her through an impromptu circle-jerk evaluation she drops the “you already lost ONE Guerrero on your watch, don’t lose another” on them for maximum KO.
(Also, supplemental Best for Vickie on a ladder at the top of the show making me yell WHERE THE F**K WAS VICKIEEEE at my television.)
Best: You Know Nothing, GM Jon Snow
I am so f**king down for GM Brad Maddox. We’ve already seen how good he is at performance reviews. Don’t make him read pre-written dialogue by your shitty writers. Let him improv everything he says and be the silly, stupid-funny Beef Mode we all know and love.
My only complaint, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, is that Matt Striker isn’t around to be the new Assistant To The General Manager.
Best: Ryback Is A Decent Person
Vickie Guerrero is wandering around backstage with her box of belongings, which are just animal print pillows and BRICKIE sings. Basically the saddest thing you could imagine Vickie Guerrero carrying. Ryback shows up, calmly takes her box away, places it on the ground, hugs her, tells her everything will be okay. He hands her the box again, and leaves.
I don’t know anymore. For the longest time, even earlier in this column, I’ve done the indignant WHY DO THE HEELS ACT THIS WAY AND THE FACES ACT ANOTHER, but this has to be purposeful. WWE has to be purposefully catering to a crowd that believes intelligence, kindness, friendship, love and respect are all signs of weakness, because what self-centered, media-fed child in 2013 wants to grow up to be a decent person? They want to grow up to be JUST LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE except COOL AND FUNNY and EVERYONE LIKES THEM. They want to be the center of attention, not the kind of guy who’d tell a clearly sorrowful woman that things will get better. Clear lines have been drawn in the Us vs. Them scenario of Wrestling Fans and Decent People Who Happen To Watch Wrestling.
That’s melodramatic, I know, but not a single person should boo Ryback for this segment. I get the 75% of people who think Vickie did a “bad job” because they don’t like her and how popularity is the only thing that matters in wrestling, but if you watched Ryback hug Vickie here and thought a single bad thing about him, go f**k yourself.
Worst: The Bella Twins Are Officially The Worst Part Of Raw
Meanwhile, here are the Bella Twins doing EVERYTHING THEY CAN to keep ANYBODY from enjoying the show.
Without the Bella Twins, Kaitlyn and Layla teamed up to take on AJ Lee and “Chaotic Neutral” Alicia Fox. They had a nice, if not super short little match. I read somebody on Twitter joke that WWE should start having Divas matches on Vine. Alicia and Layla had some nice exchanges to open the match, AJ and Kaitlyn’s beef continued due to AJ’s general cowardice, and the match ended (in a no contest, I guess?) with Kaitlyn getting a running start from the moon and plowing through AJ with a spear on the outside.
WITH the Bella Twins, Kaitlyn is fat, everybody sucks, the Kaitlyn/AJ storyline is a joke and nobody cares. That is literally everything the Bella Twins said on color commentary. They are beautiful women but they do not understand the difference between “being a heel” and “not helping.” If I can’t stomach two-ish minutes of the Bellas talking on Raw, why am I going to tune into 22-ish minutes of them talking on E? If the Divas division is a joke, why do I care enough about Divas to watch the Divas reality show? When Michael Cole is more or less telling you to cool it during a Divas match, you are doing a really, really bad job.
If WWE watched Raw (and I’m not convinced they ever do), their first topic of conversation today should be “never let the Bella Twins near a live microphone again, ever.” Point two should probably be “you can’t blow out an electric lantern,” but I’ll get to that.