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The Best And Worst Of WWE Raw 9/23/13: A Cul-de-sac Of Disappointment

By 09.24.13

Worst: Any Time Stephanie McMahon Or Triple H Talk To Heels They Defeat Their Own Purpose

Triple H and Stephanie have been EXCEPTIONAL in their roles post-SummerSlam, but the most dangerous thing they can do is fall back into that vibe where they feel less like purposeful heels, and more like two people in charge in real life who have built the show around how awesome they think they are. One equals success and a bunch of fun shows. The other one equals every bad thing you’ve read on the Internet ever.

They only seem to do it now when they interact with heels, and it’s the worst. When Triple H gets in Paul Heyman’s face there’s legitimacy to his condescension and power trip, because Heyman spent the last year trying to end his career/life and wrecking his office and REFERENCING HIS CHILDREN IN PASSING which is the worst thing you could ever do to a man. But sometimes he’ll run into an undercard heel (or heels, like 3MB) and just run them through the mud for no reason. It becomes less “I don’t like these people trying to do WHAT THE FANS WANT instead of WHAT I WANT” and becomes more, “everyone, look how much cooler I am than these people who are trying to get over in the same way, but can’t because I control everything they do in real life and in fiction.”

Stephanie had that horrible segment a while back where she interrupted the Divas for no reason, asserted her dominance over the heels, then insulted all the faces on her way out. That continues here with her interaction with AJ, which seems to serve no purpose but to further neuter AJ and make her jealous and helpless, and to make Stephanie look like THE COOLEST AND THE BEST. It’s built around getting Steph a face pop for being “in charge.” She gets all the cool lines about how REAL weddings look or whatever, and then there’s never comeuppance or danger for her because, as I mentioned, she’s in charge on TV and in real life. She’s also NOT INVOLVED IN ANY OF THESE MATCHES, but she’s still gotta be “better” than them. It sucks a lot, and I wish she’d just stick to emasculating good guys and stay the hell away from the people who might wanna try BEING her someday.

Worst: Santino Is Here, Where The F*ck Is Antonio Cesaro

RANDY SAVAGE clap clap clapclapclap

As I’ve expressed in the past, I’m starting to really lose faith in Fandango. Maybe I was wrong this whole time. Maybe Johnny Curtis just doesn’t have the ability to put on what we’d consider a “good match.” Maybe I was fooled by some combination of his bubble, my love of the absurd awfulness of NXT Redemption and a ridiculous gimmick from out of nowhere. He’s a good looking guy who has tons of wrestling ability who got the exact kind of stupid character I go crazy for, and … then that’s it. That’s just it. He’s just going to be this forever. He’s not going to get better, he’s not going to suddenly get good storylines .. he’s a wrestling Dancing With The Stars pro, for God’s sake. Why am I just now realizing this? What have I been doing with my life? WHERE IS MAXINE, WHERE IS BATEMAN, SOMEBODY HELP ME

The match with Santino was fine, but it was Literally Nothing (capital letters), and it just reminded me of that cool little match Santino had with Antonio Cesaro two weeks ago, and THAT made me wonder where in the Swiss hell Antonio Cesaro was. Or Swagger, for that matter. Or Christian. Is he selling that Shield beatdown still? Did he get injured trying to take Astro for a walk? There are so many guys on Raw who can wrestle their ass off and make us CARE about it, and they’re sitting at home (or at a Bulgarian house show, or whatever happened) because that ONE New Jersey crowd went da da da da during Fandango’s music and made him seem like an indispensable part of the show.

Long story short, I need Fandango to do something that is not total horse-shit, stat.

Worst: Michael Cole Does Not Remember WrestleMania

Speaking of the stuff that comes out of a horse’s ass, Michael Cole was tasked to improv a little speech about WWE 2K14′s 30 Years Of WrestleMania mode and failed miserably. All he had to do … all he had to do was name TWO WrestleMania matches. TWO OF THEM. He’s been at like 15 of them, hasn’t he? But nope, he goes “you can relive Hogan and Andre … how about STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN VS. MR. MCMAHON??”

That was last year’s game, dude. Michael Cole thinks Stone Cold Steve Austin wrestled Vince McMahon at WrestleMania. Motherf*cker couldn’t say “Austin vs. The Rock,” or “Flair vs. Savage,” or Jake the Snake vs. George Wells. They put George Wells in the game, right? You hold down L3 and it makes him throw up white stuff. Cole’s second attempt at naming one of the 300+ WrestleMania matches was wrong. THANK GOODNESS HE’S ONLY THE GUY YOU PAY TO TALK ABOUT WRESTLING ON TELEVISION.

CM Punk hockey

Best: CM Punk’s Entire Promo Was Just I AM EXACTLY LIKE THE BLACKHAWKS

If you missed it, CM Punk’s return to Chicago involved him wearing a Chicago Blackhawks jersey, recapping the entire Chicago Blackhawks 2012-13 season and then repeatedly comparing himself to the Chicago Blackhawks. It was passionate and beautifully expressed, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that Punk would just rather be at a hockey game. It’s sorta like when I watch a bunch of ‘Attack On Titan’ and then write a Raw report. I’m into the show, sure, but I can’t stop comparing everything to ‘Attack On Titan.’ Earlier in this report I almost compared Randy Orton to Captain Levi. Not being able to separate the thing you currently love from the thing you’re currently doing is probably the truest confirmation of CM Punk’s real-life uncoolness we’ll ever have.

Best: PEOPLE POWER

Of course, Punk promo be damned, because the highlight of the night for me was Paul Heyman scootin’ out in THE JOHN LAURINAITIS PEOPLE POWER SCOOTER, singin’ a song. The People Power plate is missing, but I’d recognize that scooter anywhere. I’m glad somebody salvaged it when it was destroyed by a horrible person.

2w21oon.jpgI also love how much CM Punk has become Sting, and how he can never see Paul Heyman’s super obvious traps. Sting’s the kind of guy who’d put his foot in the f*cking lasso loop on the ground if Lex Luger told him to, and Punk will see Paul Heyman act like his scooter won’t move and think he’s “got him,” even though it’s clear to every man, woman and child in the world that Heyman is fine, faking it and isn’t even pretending to drive the scooter correctly. Plus, somebody probably could’ve given him the heads up that Ryback was standing back there somewhere.

In all seriousness, though, I loved this fight. I believe Punk vs. Axel and Ryback so much more than I believe Punk/Lesnar, because Brock Lesnar is a legitimate freak of deadly nature and Axelback are just a couple of weird wrestling dudes. Punk did his best to separate them and take them out individually, but he dramatically overestimated how much it hurts to get irish whipped into the stage walls from three feet away and paid the price. I wish Ryback had gotten 118-pound Punk up over his head for real and hadn’t done one of those wimpy Mason Ryan “I’m not really strong” military presses onto the table, but the table bump was suitably gnarly, so I’ll take it. I’ll also take Curtis Axel shuffling in between Heyman and Ryback at the end, holding the back of his head all, “DID WE GET’IM?”

Worst: A 10-Diva Tag Where Only Like Three Of Them Get Into The Ring

This was more or less the All-Star Game of things I hate about wrestling matches, featuring

1. a champion losing a non-title match to set up a title match
2. a champion suddenly being critical’d be a challenger’s weak offense in an attempt to convince us that the challenger has a chance (which she doesn’t)
3. multiple-person tag matches on Raw that last about two minutes and only involve 3 or 4 of the competitors getting in and doing anything, which I guess is to disguise the fact that it’s just another goddamn non-title one-on-one match
4. those kinds of matches ending with the entire team posing like they helped. You didn’t even convincingly stand on the apron Cameron, put your f*cking hands down
5. Natalya

This is one of those matches you show people when you want to explain how WWE’s women’s division is just a Hawaiian Tropic catalog in 3-D, and I’m sorry for AJ that she can’t conceivably wrestle Kaitlyn at 15 more pay-per-views and pretend everyone else WWE employs to be her peers on Raw don’t exist. They should just send AJ and Kaitlyn back down to NXT to hang out with Sara Del Rey and all the cool girls and wait until everyone else collectively turns 31.

Mickie James isn’t doing anything, is she? AJ should bring in Lita and Mickie James and be all, “okay, here are those ‘actual Divas’ I was talking about, prepare to get awkwardly hurricanrana’d.”


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