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The Best And Worst Of WWE Raw 12/2/13: Competitive Guys With Big Attitudes

By / 12.03.13

Best: Bad News Barrett

I’m not sure how “Brandon Stroud” became a character on Raw, but I’m giving him a Best.

I don’t watch the JBL & Cole Show — I don’t care if Renee is on it, NXT was supposed to be my time to get Renee on wrestling without all the stuff I hate — so I had no idea Barrett was in the process of being repackaged. I love that the video is “Bad News Barrett Makes His Debut,” and I hope they treat him like Fandango and pretend we’ve never seen him before, even though he looks and sounds the same, is named “Barrett” and has Wade Barrett’s entrance theme.

I also love that they’ve apparently given up on Barrett, and decided the best gimmick for him would be “guy who does the easiest shit to get heat you can think of.” His material was seriously WE’RE IN THIS TOWN (pause for cheers) I HATE THIS TOWN (pause for boos). In his second appearance of the night, because a guy with a hashtagged lectern DEMANDS two appearances, he upgraded to I DISLIKE THINGS YOU ENJOY (food) with a side of I’M NOT FROM HERE. “Thanksgiving is weird! I have my own customs!”

Next week Raw’s in Seattle. If Barrett doesn’t drop a YOUR LOCAL ECONOMY HAS COLLAPSED MUCH LIKE YOUR KINGDOME, I riot.

Best: The Actual Daniel Bryan/Erick Rowan Match

I’ve got some mean stuff to say here in a minute, but I wanted to say how much I liked this match. It was missing some of the stuff it really, really should’ve involved, but Bryan continues to be one of the most spectacularly competent pro wrestlers of the modern era and can tell a believable underdog story despite clearly being Erick Rowan’s superior. Rowan his been kinda terrible for his entire WWE employment, development and main roster and all, but he looked every bit as good as Harper in the ring with Bryan. That’s a big accomplishment for Rowan, and an expectedly great one from Bryan.

I also liked the amount of time it got. It seemed a little long, but it helped the story. If Bryan’s getting thrown around and beaten up and manages to do something smart and win with a roll-up in three or four minutes, it doesn’t really help anybody. It doesn’t make Bryan smart, because he put almost no effort into it. It mostly just makes Rowan look like he can’t handle his shit. This is what I hate in matches like the Divas match, where a brief distraction or one decent move causes a tough-as-nails star to suddenly just helplessly die. In this match, Rowan REALLY gave Bryan an ass-beating. Bryan looked like he managed to survive, so he gets all the plusses of a win against a guy twice his size, but Rowan ALSO gets to look like a strong opponent who can take it to anybody and whomp the mess out of a beloved main-event player.

There is more value to both winning and losing a hard fought match between equals than in dominating a lesser opponent or winning your match by stupid accident. Whoever knows this should be controlling the rest of the show.

Worst: JBL

At some point during the night I turned my television down do a whisper and explained to Destiny that the commentary team was “probably the worst they’ve ever been.” Her response: “you always say that.”

I guess I do. Last night seemed especially bad, but yeah, just last week JBL was shocked that women knew how to count, so I should probably stop being surprised. Aside from all their horrible Old Manisms about hopscotch and twerking, JBL actively worked to make sure nothing said on the show was positive and everything hurt the product. Even Cole and Lawler, two of the worst ever, seemed bothered by him and tried to just call the matches beneath his ignorant shouting.

All of it was bad. Him doing WAHH WAHH noises over everything for basically no reason. Him responding to Michael Cole’s attempts to get Bray Wyatt over as a scary, intelligent mastermind by saying “THAT’S STUPID” without any real thought or explanation. Him calling William Shakespeare “psychobabble.” WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN. Why are you doing this? What purpose does it serve? Your job is to say words that make us interested in the program, get the wrestlers over or at LEAST be entertaining. You are doing the opposite of all of those things.

JBL hasn’t always been this bad, but he’s living in this weird uptight old rich white guy bubble where nobody’s shaking him by the shoulders and saying STOP IT, DO BETTER. The people in charge of Raw should shit-can him so hard it destroys the can. There is no one thing more detrimental to the success of Raw than Bradshaw’s uneducated, counterproductive hate-yelling. End this. Or just wrap a blanket around his head for three hours so we can’t see or hear how drunk he is.

Best: Bray Wyatt, Regardless

Bray Wyatt’s promo at the end of the Bryan/Rowan match immediately invalidated JBL’s bury-job for anybody with ears and a brain. In just over two minutes he touched on all the important things we needed to know, and helped excuse some of the stuff we didn’t, like why the Wyatts would abduct a dude, claim to be messing with his soul on Friday and then reveal that they just beat him up and left him in a parking lot as soon as they carried him out, changing him 0%.

We got:

- the reiteration that Harper and Rowan only attack on Bray’s command, and serve as sort of his hands and feet in the wrestling ring above simply being his cronies
- the revelation that Bray thought he could abduct Bryan and simply brainwashing, but realized Bryan was already crazy and passionate and beyond control
- the revelation that Bray Wyatt watches Total Divas (which is amazing)
- Bray’s Plan B, which is appealing to Bryan’s problems and inviting him to willingly participate in the Wyatts mission, which is eerily similar … the destruction of an oppressive machine that consistently underestimates them

I am in rapturous love with the idea that Bray Wyatt is secretly the key to the success of WWE’s good guys because he’s the only person in the company crazy enough to not to believe what he sees and hears on TV. If you need a guy to truly bring down the system, Bray’s it.

Okay, allow me to fantasy book for a moment. Right now we’ve got CM Punk vs. The Shield in a 3-on-1 handicap match and Daniel Bryan vs. The Wyatt Family 3-on-1 for TLC, right? There’s no way they’re doing two straight 3-on-1 handicap matches. How great would it be if Punk was getting his ass handed to him by The Shield only to be saved by Bryan AND the Wyatts, because Bryan’s rage-addled brain is ALSO disconnected from the machine and can see that Bray’s right? How great would it be if that accidentally put him in command of these crazy monsters who admire his insanity? The next night Raw starts with everything on fire and The Authority desperately trying to escape the building? And Kane could just stand there and laugh, because he’s Bryan and Wyatt’s man on the inside.

(somebody let me write this show)
(and give me a fire budget)

(and let me set Triple H on fire)

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