Worst: Wait And See Where It Goes
Okay, so about that “wait and see where it goes” thing. Stop doing it.
If WWE has proven one thing in its 50 years of existence, it’s that you can never, ever wait and see where it goes. It doesn’t go anywhere good. Ever. The goodness of WWE is in the journey, not the destination. Every good story you can think of has a bad ending, partially because WWE doesn’t have seasons so you can’t cleanly separate a plot point from an “ending,” and the stories just go on and on forever until they get retconned or rewritten or forgotten.
Take the Summer of Punk for example. That was cool, right? Money in the Bank was amazing and ended with Punk leaving WWE with the WWE Championship, blowing a kiss to Vince McMahon. If that’d been the end of a season of television or the end of a story, it would’ve been great. We could start fresh with the next thing, and where it goes wouldn’t change the goodness of what happened. But it doesn’t work that way and we’re stuck in this static purgatory of always waiting and being in the middle, so “where it went” was:
1. CM Punk winning the title in a match special guest refereed by Triple H
2. a pinfall loss to Triple H thanks to interference from Kevin Nash
3. Punk never getting revenge on Nash, then teaming with Triple H
4. Punk and Triple H losing to R-Truth and The Miz, then Triple H shuffling himself in a feud with Nash
5. Punk hanging out in the mid-card for the rest of the year (whether he was champion or not)
If you want to really get into it, Punk held the title for 434 days in a reign that would’ve been important if we still lived in a time when title reigns were important until it was time to lose to the more important wrestlers, i.e. The Rock and The Undertaker. Of course these were high profile matches and wrestling is fake so it’s not like Punk was getting “buried” or anything hyperbolically stupid like that, but he did go from the Most Important Thing to a thing that loses to the More Important Things.
Now, let’s look at how Daniel Bryan. “Where it went” was:
1. Daniel Bryan winning the title in a match special guest refereed by Triple H
2. an immediate pinfall loss to Randy Orton thanks to interference from Triple H
3. Bryan never getting revenge on Triple H, followed by three consecutive bullshit PPV finishes
4. Triple H shuffling himself and Orton into a feud with The Big Show and eventually John Cena
5. Bryan hanging out in the mid-card for the rest of the year. With CM Punk.
Again, Bryan’s not being “buried” or anything ridiculous like that because he’s a popular guy who has great, often high-profile matches on every show, but he’s gone from the Most Important Thing to a guy who gets all his heat and moments and catchphrases usurped by the More Important Things. Cena, Orton and Triple H are all in the ring while the crowd chants DAN-IEL BRY-AN. Cena pipes in to say “want to know why these people are chanting Daniel Bryan?” The only acceptable answer should’ve been “because they love Daniel Bryan and would rather see him out here right now instead of all this bullshit,” but nope, it was “because they’re tired of the AUTHORITY~!” Cena co-opts the crowd’s support of Daniel Bryan to justify a John Cena vs. Randy Orton match for BOTH TITLE BELTS under the supervision of Triple H.
So, without sounding melodramatic, “where it goes,” based on everything that has ever happened in WWE ever, is to the people WWE sees as its biggest stars. That’s it. If WCW invades, it leads to a “Winner Take All” Survivor Series match featuring 9 WWE guys and 1 guy from WCW. If the Nexus invades and instantly builds 8 new stars, it leads to John Cena and Bret Hart beating them to death until they’re worthless. If Punk catches fire, it leads to Triple H vs. Kevin Nash. If Bryan catches fire, it leads to Cena vs. Orton. I’m sorry, but it’s how wrestling works on this level, and no amount of you clapping your hands and wishing will change it.
Learn to love the journey and forget the destination, guys. I’m going to try to take that advice myself.
Best: WWE Remembers That The Other Members Of The Shield Are Important, Too
Roman Reigns going nuclear at Survivor Series and spearing four guys was fun, but it did sorta make Roman look like the best and most important member of the team. One of the cool things about The Shield is how they’ve always been portrayed as equals, so it was nice to see the focus get shifted back to a guy like Ambrose, who lately has been all “the Internet says they love him” without a lot of justification. He’s been the hapless one who takes pinfalls and loses non-title matches. Here, he gets to be the Ambrose we love: a guy who will save his teammate instead waiting for him to take a finisher, plant your face into the ground with a headlock driver and then do a weird little mini-worm before he pins you.
The opening match was a lot of fun, but like every match involving these guys I wish it had been longer. We didn’t forget about Roman being on fire, either, and got an awesome little sequence where he out rope-bounces Goldust and reminds Rey Mysterio that 619s do not exist in this dojo. Good stuff.
Positive complaint: they should stop doing the best stuff on the show first, so I have something to look forward to. The two hours between this match and the Punk/Bryan/Wyatts thing seemed like a decade.
Worst: Rey Mysterio’s Shirt
Okay, this is bugging me. This is the back of Rey Mysterio’s new t-shirt:
Firstly, the Spanish word for mask isn’t “máskara,” it’s “máscara.” You know, like Mil Máscaras, a guy in your Hall of Fame. There is a 100% chance that WWE didn’t want to write “máscara” on the back of a t-shirt because they thought wrestling fans would see a shirt with pink writing and the word “mascara” on it and think it was gay.
Secondly, even if you pretend they’re the same word, “la máskara del 619” is gibberish. The mask of 619? That has got to be the laziest combination of Rey Mysterio identifiers ever. You could say it means “the mask of San Diego,” but you’re missing a bunch of words to establish that context, and WWE hasn’t bothered explaining what “619” means beyond “DIALIN’ IT UP, MAGGLE” in years.
F*ck it, let’s try to get Mysterio’s next shirt to say 6 MASK 9.
Worst: WRESTLING IS FAKE, EVERYBODY, LOOK, LOOK AT HOW FAKE IT IS, LOL
On this week’s episode of MizTV, the Miz and Titus O’Neil (?) team up to mock Michael Strahan, which brings out Strahan himself and leads to an impromptu wrestling exhibition where Strahan shows he’s a better wrestler than the two wrestlers and then everybody dances. Oh, and in the middle of it Miz explains that he’s a bad guy, which is why he’s doing these things.
Look, I know I’m barely in the wrestling business. Running a blog that some wrestlers read and doing a little ring announcing officially makes me the least important person in the history of wrestling, but at some point even I, a guy with no credibility to make this point whatsoever, need to stand up and yell STOP EXPOSING THE BUSINESS in these guys’ faces.
Celebrity guests are important. I get that. You became a nationally-known product thanks to Cyndi Lauper and Mr. T. It gets you on SportsCenter and raises casual fan buyrates for WrestleMania. That’s all fine. But just like how Flo Rida should’ve have shoved Heath Slater on his ass, Strahan should not (and most, importantly, does not need to) get a physical advantage over the guys whose physical prowess we have to buy in a fake world on a weekly basis. At least Mark Cuban is cool enough to get has ass kicked every time he comes on the show.
Strahan spent the rest of the night systematically destroying the WWE Universe so I’ll move on with a simple, “we should never do MizTV again.”
Best: Poor Titus O’Neil Tried His Best To Save That
The best part of the show for me was Destiny looking up from her work, seeing Titus O’Neil playing Michael Strahan, having no idea who either of them are and saying, “did you see that? The gap in his teeth is fake.”
Titus deserves a bonus for trying his best to keep the segment afloat, stopping Strahan and Miz to be all, HOLD ON LET’S GET THE CROWD HYPED UP FIRST. At least one of these guys has been to wrestling school.