Best: Random Ultraviolence
I’m starting to feel as though WWE and wrestling fans have become a bit too fixated on the idea that the good guys have to always be in the clear moral right. That any time a guy the crowd cheers for cheats, double-teams or sneak attacks somebody there’s something terribly awry happening on their wrestling television program. That any “good” character who’s overtly demanding, aggressive or violent is an asshole who’s doing things wrong.
Of course good guys eliciting cheers by being socially regressive and/or unprovoked dicks is problematic. Stone Cold stunning Stacy Kiebler or Sheamus filling Alberto Del Rio’s car with diarrhea is f–ked up and shouldn’t be a part of the show. That said, the current mentality leads to characters like Daniel Bryan, a guy who’s screwed with and dumped on constantly but who just shrugs and goes with the program most of the time. Or good ol’ John Cena, a guy who’s so morally pure that he needs to be fighting against the odds 110-percent of the time.
Wrestlers aspire to be action heroes, right? Well, action heroes don’t have to be untarnished saints as long they’re basically decent and have some justification for what they’re doing. Somebody kidnaps Arnold Schwarzenegger’s daughter so he kills an entire island of dudes in increasingly horrifying ways, and we’re fine with that. Well okay, I was fine with that — perhaps Commando was an affront to your scruples, in which case maybe you oughta move along ’cause I don’t think we’re going to see eye to eye on much.
I say all this, because The Shield Commando-ed the shit out of half the locker room on Smackdown, and it was great. They curb-stomped the heck out of 3MB, ragdolled Brad Maddox into a wall in hilarious fashion then moseyed out and triple powerbombed Fandango off the stage. It was intense, it was violent and it was the first time something like this has happened in a long time. Sure, WWE still does these heavily telegraphed beatdown segments where guys get taken out on stretchers while the announcers do Owen voice, but this kind of random, explosive violence is rare. It was this kind of stuff that made the Attitude Era exciting and popular, not the middle fingers and Mae Young sex scenes.
Ever since The Shield turned face I’ve had this little guilty voice gnawing at the back of my mind being all, “ohhhh dear, maybe you shouldn’t enjoy this” whenever they triple powerbomb somebody, but nope, I’ve decided I’m not listening. The Shield are awesome shitkickers who respond to being manipulated by murdering half the roster, and that’s rad. I like Daniel Bryan a lot, but I’d like him twice as much as I already do if he forgot the YESing and earnestly petitioning the authority for opportunities and just ran out and started dragon suplexing Randy Orton through tables more often.
Best: Welp, Roman Reigns Has Teleportation Powers Now
After systematically destroying half the guys in Vickie Guerrero’s proposed 11-on-3 handicap match, The Shield was left with Titus, Damien Sandow, Ryback, Alberto and Bad News Barrett to deal with, and well, they f–king dealt with ’em. The Shield was never really at a disadvantage at any point, they just continued their show-long mauling, which was A-OK with me.
Eventually Alberto and BNB were all like, “Hey, wait, we’re at least upper mid-carders, what they hell are we doing out here?” and hit the bricks, at which point things got really ugly for the bad guys. For starters, Roman Reigns unveiled his new mutant powers, teleporting from the ring to the stage like Nightcrawler to Superman punch Alberto right in his damn face, then it was back down to the ring to hand out spears and powerbombs to his royal heart’s content.
I know a certain Samoan prince who’s going to sleep well tonight.