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The Best And Worst Of WWE Raw 1/13/14: Chekhov’s Johnny Fabulous

By 01.14.14

Best: Zeb Colter Is Unconscious (And Having Flashbacks) But Can Still Recognize Renee

Backstage Fallout this week starts with two horrible things:

1. The New Age Outlaws
2. Big Show nonchalantly explaining how he wasn’t sending Brock Lesnar a message, he was just ENTERTAININ’ THE FANS

… but it was all salvaged by the final segment, wherein The Real Americans and Renee Young attempt to revive Zeb Colter from unconsciousness as he has war flashbacks. He doesn’t know how many fingers Swagger’s holding up but he recognizes Renee, because … well, he’s only human, right? I would actually be really into Renee joining The Real Americans, because the 50/50 ratio of Americans to non-Americans in the team has always kept it from going in one direction or the other, and also because I want Renee to have a monogrammed track jacket.

(It can say “Nay Nay.”)

Best: Even Sting Is Shaking His Head At You Right Now, Punk

From last week’s column, in response to the New Age Outlaws being CM Punk’s enforcers against The Shield:

Anyway, I’m not too hung up on the New Age Outlaws helping Piper, but I’m a little bothered by them being announced as CM Punk’s “equalizers” against The Shield. These are guys who are answers #1 and #2 when you ask, “who are Triple H and Shawn Michaels’ friends?” You’d probably say the f*cking Road Dogg before Stephanie McMahon. They are A and B classic butt-lickers, and here they are showing up to help the Voice of the Voiceless, the guy who just a few weeks ago throwing hands at the Authority? The guy who EXISTS to defy authority? Road Dogg was just on a show alongside Josh Mathews where they retcon old WCW clips as “embarrassing” because WWE won and said they have to be. They are THE WORST.

Of course, if this turns out to be a plot point, I’ll forgive it. I’m afraid it’s just an example of WWE going “fans like this guy, fans like these guys, they’re on a team together!” without any considerations made toward characterization or history or story significance. Punk was shaking hands with Rey Mysterio and doing fist-bumpies with John Cena, maybe the big reveal is that Punk’s a colossal f*cking sell-out.

This week, it becomes a plot point. As promised, all is forgiven.

I go back and forth on whether or not CM Punk is a face or a heel, but oh boy, nothing screams “face” louder than putting yourself into a situation that is obviously a trap and cheerily hoping for the best. CM Punk seriously thought, “how should I overcome this 3-on-1 disadvantage against The Shield? Oh, how about teaming up with the BEST FRIENDS OF THE GUY I SAY I HATE ALL THE TIME.” A lot of people are wondering why the Outlaws would team with Punk or help him out just to ditch him, and to that I say fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly and evil wrestling dudes have got to do evil for the sake of doing it.

I think this may’ve been the only time I’ve ever yelled F*CKING THANK YOU at my television screen over a heel turn. Maybe I AM the Internet.

Two Worsts, though:

Worst 1: “The Fox”

Michael Cole was working overtime trying to give The Shield nicknames last night. Roman Reigns was “the powerhouse” of the Shield, which is fine because he IS, and because they’ve been saying that for a while. Seth Rollins was “the architect,” which doesn’t make a lot of sense but I’ll let it slide, because “the smart one” never ends well. The one that bugged me, though, was Dean Ambrose. He is THE FOX. Because he’s UNPREDICTABLE, you see, like a FOX. Also because girls like him?

Stop trying to make The Fox happen. Immediately. I want this to be the “Dolph Ziggler with brown hair” of nicknames. We think it happened one week, but we just imagined it.

Worst 2: “You Can’t Wrestle”

The crowd chanted “you can’t wrestle” at Seth Rollins. What are they, new?


Best Ever: #EMMAtaining

If you’re a regular reader of the Best and Worst of NXT (and you should be, because it’s the happiest regular column I’m ever gonna write), you’re aware of my undying love for EMMA. If you know of Emma, you don’t need a paragraph explaining how hard I popped when I saw her in the crowd with a big #EMMATAINING sign, wearing that t-shirt they refuse to sell me.

If you don’t know Emma, here’s everything you need to know: she’s a beautiful Australian lady who is really good at submission-style wrestling but also has less rhythm than anyone ever born, so much so that when she dances (poorly) (extremely poorly) it warms the hearts of those who see it. People try to make fun of her for it all the time but have too much coordination to do it properly. Anyway, there’s this big ritual before each of her matches where she walks through/attacks a wall of bubbles with her dancing arms (seriously) and then tries to “skin the cat” to get into the ring, which used to work less frequently than it does now. She’s so oblivious and vain it borders on stupidity, and she is the greatest.

I am 100% excited for her to show up on Raw, but only if she gets to finish her NXT beef with Paige while she does it. I’m not looking forward to the announcers burying the shit out of her instead of letting us develop a natural love for her ridiculousness, but whatever, Emma rules and I will hashtag anything she asks me to.

Best: AJ Lee vs. Naomi

The actual match was kinda bad for a variety of reasons — the announcers refusing to let the “you’re jealous of ‘Tole’ Divas” talking point go, Cameron’s wrestling not being the bomb.com, Naomi’s lipstick that made her look like she’d been caught frenching Goldust — but the prospect of an AJ Lee vs. Naomi Divas Championship program is exciting.

Firstly, it’s new. Secondly, it’s a change of pace from the “AJ vs. larger, stronger Diva” story they’ve done with Kaitlyn (a few times), Tamina, Natalya and so on. Thirdly, Naomi is ridiculously athletic and deserves a chance to work hard and earn something more meaningful than “dancing girl #2” in her wrestling career. If you want to prove that the women of Total Divas are legit, the best way to do it is to take one of the ones nobody thinks IS and show that they’re something special. The Bellas are a hard sell thanks to their half a dozen years in WWE as starf*cking girlfriends (this is kayfabe, mind you, I’m not calling them out in real life) and people who like wrestling already think Natalya’s good, so this is the story to go for.

Also, gimme some of that NXT season 3 love. Oh, and before I move on, I have one additional complaint: Aksana did not show up and Ryback anybody. How am I supposed to keep my Aksana fires burning if she’s not around?

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