Best: Foreshadowing, And Batista Totally Not Getting It
Last night’s Raw was an emotional ordeal. I considered pushing the column back to Wednesday to deal with it (especially after writing up that Best and Worst of Payback report) or just finding a way to wank my way through it without analysis. HERE IS FAN FICTION ABOUT BATISTA BECOMING A SUBSTITUTE TEACHER AT AN INNER-CITY HIGH SCHOOL. It was gonna be great, and then the announce team started making Welcome Back Kotter references and ruined even that.
The end of the night was … something, and really all I’ve been asking for is SOMETHING, so I went back and tried to enjoy the show on an objective level. And I mean yeah, objectively this episode still ate a buffet of dog shit, but some stuff was retroactively great. The big example? The opening segment, wherein Triple H foreshadows the events of the night and tries to get Batista on board with it, winking so hard he almost dislocated his eyeballs, and Dave just absolutely whiffs it.
Knowing how the show ends, go back and watch the opening. Triple H is all HEH, THIS DOESN’T END UNTIL THE SHIELD IS NO MORE. Batista interrupts, wondering why he hasn’t gotten a title shot and why everybody’s dragging ass, and H responds with “we’ve got a plan. A plan is what we’ve got. We are in possession of a plan! A PLAN, DAVE, A PLAN THAT WILL HAPPEN.” And Dave’s like “HEY RANDY I THINK HE’S TALKING TO YOU.” It’s great. Triple H could’ve pulled out his phone and texted SETH ROLLINS IS GONNA TURN AND THE SHIELD IS ‘NO MORE’ IN LIKE THREE HOURS JUST SHUT UP AND HOLD TIGHT and Batista wouldn’t have gotten it. Dude has a flip phone and it takes texts half a day to get to him. He likes his phone and he doesn’t play games on it so he doesn’t see why he’s gotta switch!
But seriously, it’s wonderful. How many Raw segments actually foreshadow an important plot point without being stupid obvious about it? The closest WWE usually gets to foreshadowing is a tag team partner being mad and storming away, then later being like “it’s all right” when we know it isn’t. This is actual literary device used on the wrestling show. That’s big, right?
Best: Big Dave Pageant Wave
Fantastic. “About To Quit” Dave is the best Dave. Have fun promoting your hit movie/teaching those kids to read, Mr. Batista! Don’t let their tough exteriors fool you. Deep down they just want to be loved and accepted like everyone else! Call them smarks, that’ll help!
Best: A Hot Tag Team Match, Or
Worst: A Hot Tag Team Match With That Finish
This is sorta the running theme of today’s report: I found something to enjoy, but the part of it I couldn’t beat me into submission.
The opening tag was a great example of this. You’ve got two guys I love (Cesaro and Bad News Barrett) going up against a guy I think is mostly great in the ring (Sheamus) and Bobby Dammit. Bobby’s the drizzling shits but he’s been working hard lately, so I’m trying to give him a pass. Effort goes a long way in my brain. If you’re a garbage wrestler but you’re trying really hard, I’ll usually try to find a way to like you for it.
The match was good, too. They got the crowd rocking, everything was connecting … and then Cesaro decided to abandon his tag team partner, giving us one of those “intentional loss” moments I hate compounded by one of those “the bad guy gets beaten up by two good guys and we’re cheering it because they DESERVE IT FOR BEING BAD” moments I hate even more. I think I stopped loving those moments when I was like, six. Heels choosing to lose a match because they’re afraid of babyfaces even though they’ve JUST proven that they can hang/defeat those same babyfaces will never make sense, and Sheamus is still a butthole for cheating to win a 2-on-1 match. YOU WEREN’T LEGAL, SHEAMUS, STOP BROGUE KICKING PEOPLE.
That’s mostly me complaining about arbitrary ethics shit, but Cesaro bailing on a match is goofy. Cesaro shouldn’t be bailing on anything. Worst case, he should’ve teased bailing and ran back in to European somebody in the back of their head.
Best: Big Show Dunking For No Reason
Man, WWE went all-in on the Pacers hate, didn’t they? First Damien Sandow comes out in a Lance Stephenson jersey to rag on the team and announce LeBron James as the best basketball player ever, then Bo Dallas shows up to rag on the team and announce LeBron James as the best basketball player ever. It’s like the white board in creative read HOPELESS DOPE SAYS LOCAL TEAM SUCKS and Bo and Sandow just assumed it was for them.
This was one of the segments I didn’t enjoy when it happened (mostly because DAMIEN SAD NOW feels directly antagonistic at this point), but revisited and liked a lot. I mean, come on, Damien Sandow is doing an exhibition of basketball skills in a situation where he can’t even dribble a basketball. How great is that? I love that he “took a shot” but had to airball it super badly to make sure the ball didn’t roll out of the ring and mess up his bit. I kinda wish he’d just started East Bay Funk dunking or whatever and gotten himself over.
Show shows up and beats him up, then dunks for emphasis. Pro wrestling needs more dunking for emphasis. The Backstage Fallout bit about this helped put it into perspective for me, with Show saying, “yeah I had to punch Sandow for being an idiot but he’s funny.” My only real complaint (besides Damien Sandow’s life or whatever) is that JBL started screaming HE’S GONNA BLOW IN HIS EAR MAGGLE the second Show and Sandow started playing, ruining the big joke.