Best/Worst: Actual Warrior
The Best goes to Warrior for getting into the Hall of Fame. In a world where Koko B. Ware made it in, it’s pretty ridiculous not to have Warrior in there.
The Worst goes to … engh, this is the part of the column where you’re gonna get mad and disagree with me, but I really don’t like the Warrior. Remember that time you found out I hate Demolition and got SO MAD about it? (This could be happening RIGHT NOW.) It’s the same thing. I grew up an NWA/WCW kid, and WWF would occasionally come out with these new wrestlers who were supposed to be cool and revolutionary, but they were just shittier versions of guys I liked. Demolition were the ersatz Road Warriors, no matter how much you like them. Similarly, The Ultimate Warrior was just a worse Sting, with the good wrestling turned down and the insane rambling turned way, way, way up. As an adult I’ve been able to go back and enjoy the Warrior as a weird novelty thing, and sure, I have done my fair share of saying “Ho Kogan” and looking at my hands in disbelief, but I think Iron Sheik said it best when he said “f*ck the Ultimate Warrior.” Remember when he said queering don’t make the world work? “I remember your funny wrestling” is not always an excuse to be cool with that.
I know I’m not alone. The same company putting him into the Hall of Fame put out a feature-length documentary DVD about how Warrior was a ridiculous asshole who sucked at everything and had his head up his butt. He’s being nice to them now and they can make money off of him and that’s fine, but give me Randy f*cking Savage or give me death.
Hulk Hogan’s gonna get into the Hall of Fame five different times before they put in Savage. He’s gonna go in as Mr. America. If Warrior’s at Mania getting inducted and Hogan’s there wrestling (as Cena’s briefs have foretold), the crowd’s gonna start in with that ONE MORE MATCH shit as if Hogan/Warrior II at Halloween Havoc wasn’t the worst match in history.
Worst: Finally, A Fresh Match-Up
Alberto Del Rio took on Rey Mysterio, because in 20 years when they induct Alberto Del Rio into the Hall of Fame his intro video’s gonna be nothing but him beating Mysterio and Sin Cara, losing to John Cena and holding on to the armbar too long. That’s it. WWE’s reaching “ROH to black people” levels of ridiculousness putting the hispanic guys on their roster against one another every week.
In an unexpected turn of events, Del Rio beat Mysterio and held on to the armbar for too long, making him scream like a weirdo and (I’m assuming) putting him on the shelf for another 9-54 months with an injury. He then threatened that PERRO~ Batista, who has been fighting one of those weird online Twitter wars wrestlers fight where they say something in character, read your in-character tweet back to them and then condescend on you for not being able to tell they were in character. This is bad enough when you’re a fan, imagine how stupid it seems when both of you are fictional characters. Now imagine how stupid it is that WWE is using this to hype the return of a guy who’s in one of next summer’s Marvel movies.
Worst: Rey Mysterio’s Zombie Finger
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Best: The Point Of A Wrestling Match Is Not Always ‘Have A Good Match’
Your opinion matters. Everybody’s does. I’ve long been a believer that you don’t need a journalism degree to be a good writer or an expert at physically doing something to be an expert at understanding it. I think a fresh set of eyes and a new approach could help out a lot of things, including the wrestling industry.
At the same time, I’ve sorta wedged myself into the wrestling business enough to know that if you ever truly want to know what you’re talking about or understand how wrestling works and why, you have to be a part of making it exist in real life. I am currently the least important person in the history of wrestling. I did a little training and got a position as the ring announcer for Inspire Pro wrestling in Austin. I tossed a few creative ideas their way that they liked, so they let me put together some stuff for the shows. I’ve been watching wrestling since birth and the training gave me a better understanding of how things happen, but it wasn’t until I was actually helping put events together and plan out matches that I really understood the why.
A lot of wrestling fans think the measure of a match’s success is whether or not it was good. I’ve always thought that. If I liked it for whatever reason, it was good. If I didn’t, it was bad. That’s the basis of this entire column, right? How I think something did or didn’t work. The hook though is that that’s part of the illusion … sometimes a match exists as a cog in something greater, even when it’s not obvious. Something designed to make you feel a certain way about a wrestler, something that presents or refreshens an idea you need to know for later. Something that requires deeper connected thought than whether or not you liked it. I guess that’s not a super rare thing for people to know, but I didn’t get the severity of it. Art is a lie, right? Even the bad art.
The opening match of the show was less about putting on a good match and more about setting the stage for later. Watching it live, I didn’t get why the Usos were able to so thoroughly whomp the shit out of the “new Undertaker” and a guy who was kneeing John Cena to death six months ago. I didn’t understand why Bryan’s story of joining the Wyatts was continuing to get him nothing but these undercard tag matches when the announced point of him joining was that he had to defeat a system that refused to let him win. He was going backwards, right? The Wyatts lose the match, and Bray hits Bryan with another Sister Abigail. It felt stunted and short and kinda like they were treading water. I didn’t like it.
Backstage, Kane and Brad Maddox decided (somewhat randomly) to make a rematch for the same night with not only a steel cage stipulation, but a “chain the door shut” gimmick. My brain goes, “why are they doing that?” because that’s what my brain is SUPPOSED to be doing when I watch the show.
You know where this goes, but I wanted to give a specific Best to the show putting together an purposeful, intentional story built from its own history and character motivations and not only sticking to it, but executing it beautifully. More on that on the next page.