Best: The Justin Gabriel/Wade Barrett Match Is Really Fun, But
Worst: Oh God, Michael Cole Leaving Means The Announce Team Is Now Josh Mathews And MATT STRIKER
First things first, it’s not a “roaring elbow.” You know when a guy spins in place and throws an elbow? Not “roaring,” it’s rolling. I don’t care what Joey Styles says. Joey Styles apparently doesn’t realize that when he’s watching puro tapes in Paul Heyman’s mom’s basement, the Japanese announcers are saying “rolling” with an affected accent. So when you’re saying “roaring elbow,” you’re speaking in Engrish. This is okay if you don’t know any better. It is less okay when you are a guy paid to talk about wrestling on a wrestling show. KNOW THINGS, HIGHLY PAID ANNOUNCE TYPES WHO ARE SUPPOSED TO REPRESENT THE NERD VOICE.
Second things first, holy shit do not let Matt Striker near an announce table. The guy will not stop talking NO MATTER WHAT, and poor Josh doesn’t know what to say when he’s not calling moves, so you get exchanges like this:
Striker: “What would Justin Gabriel be like as WWE’s next breakout star, Josh?”
Josh: “Justin Gabriel reminds me of a pop culture icon like Zack Morris, Dylan Mckay or Jacob Black.”
Ohhhhhh honey no.
Justin Gabriel reminds you of all three of those guys. At once. Really? What part reminds you of Zack Morris, his ability to stop time? His blonde Vanilla Ice hair? What part reminds you of f*cking Luke Perry from 90210? Did Justin Gabriel’s girlfriend get shot through the windshield of a car and we just don’t know about it? JACOB BLACK? Josh is responsible for that “Capetown Werewolf” stuff that failed harder than Abduction, isn’t he?
Striker earns points for asking “Zack Morris?” in an incredulous tone, and Josh loses infinity points forever for responding with, “Zack Morris is loved all over the world.” I think you’re thinking about Santa Claus, Josh.
Best: Chris Jericho, Though
I think Jericho knows this show’s days are numbered, so he goes into OVERDRIVE with his ringside-ringisde commentary-commentary by shouting hilariously throughout the match. At times you can just hear him yelling RAG DOLL, and my favorite moment is loosely transcribed as:
“(something something) ABDOMINAL AREA! are you talking about barret?? Well you should be! Talk more! Now!”
Oh, and he yells STAY DOWN HAMBONE. HAMBONE. That’s where Justin Gabriel’s gimmick should’ve gone. Anyway, I love you forever, Suited Misanthrope Chris Jericho, especially when you’re getting mad at Matt Hardy for cheering.
Best: Heath Slater Has Some Really Good Points
Heath Slater gets eliminated — he lost a match, you see — and after listening to some hastily prepared speeches from WWE pros, gets a moment to speak for himself. He uses that moment better than I could’ve ever imagined.
Instead of trying to get his character over with some last-ditch effort to make WWE notice him, he simply and confidently states how, objectively, he’s easily the best rookie in this competition. He was the first rookie to beat a pro. He was the first rookie to win a challenge. He fought Kane, and it took KANE to end his undefeated streak. He pinned Chris Jericho, a guy who beat The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin in the same night. It was basically Heath saying, “yo, this competition is stupid and I did the best I could so nuts to this,” and it was GREAT.
The good news is that all of these guys would be caving in Ricky Steamboat’s gizzard over the next month, so good for Heath. Sorry you guys had to be on the weird game show version of “wanting to have a job.”