Best: Hollywood Mike Mizanin
How to make me like the Miz again in two lines: “Do you have any idea how important I am? I’M THE MARINE, DAMMIT.”
I’m happy to have Miz back. More specifically, I’m happy to have Miz back DOING something. Revisiting the early seasons of NXT has reminded me how good this guy was when he had momentum in a dream in his heart, before he got a concussion and his idol showed up to take a festering dump on his chest. Back in the days before Miz was a lost lower-midcarder who couldn’t do a figure four.
I’m a big fan of “Hollywood” characters anyway. Hulk Hogan coming back from “Hollywood” with his greatest successes being a bunch of awful movies and a TV show about a boat with guns on it was full of top notch delusion and exactly what he needed to reinvent himself in the 90s. The Rock did the same thing. The best-ever incarnation of The Rock is the one who came back from MILD Hollywood success with a Willie Nelson guitar to play condescending songs about your hometown. Miz’s greatest pop culture success was before he was even a wrestler, so now that he’s got direct-to-DVD AND TV movies under his belt, he can be the most egotistical guy in the world. I WAS IN SCOOBY-DOO WRESTLEMANIA MYSTERY, SHOW ME A LITTLE RESPECT.
Best: Chris Jericho’s Back! AND NOW HE’S BEING MURDERED BY HILLBILLIES SOMEBODY HELP
Welcome back, Cool Dad.
This was so well done. They tease you with this limousine all night and make you think Jericho’s returning, but it turns out to be the Miz, calling himself a “cross-branded multimedia superstar.” Miz starts Mizzing it up and you’re like “okay, fine, this is what it is,” and then POOF, COOL DAD’S FIREWORKS go off and it is him. That’s good enough on its own. Then they put these two returning characters who can talk in the ring together, and you’re like, “oh man, is Jericho gonna verbally garrote The Miz? Is 2010 Miz gonna rise from his grave and call out Jericho for that horrible last run?” And then BLEARP, NOPE, HERE IS SOME DEADLY HILLFOLK.
Here’s a trick I’ve learned from writing so many of these columns: if a moment is truly exciting, I’m gonna stop wondering so much about it and let it take me away. I did that with Swagger/Rusev, oddly enough, and then again with Miz/Jericho. Miz and Jericho aren’t guys I’m normally gonna get all bonkers for, but the timing was perfect, the mood was right and there was enough insanity and Wyatt teleportation to not only make me think about it fondly the next day, but still want to see where it goes. WWE angles don’t accomplish that as often as they should.
Jericho vs. the Wyatts could be really, really good. Here’s to hoping Cena photoshopping Bray’s face onto Hattie McDaniel a while back filled WWE’s quota of wanky baby jokes and we can count on good Jericho showing up.
Worst: The Dolph/Summer Rae Thing, But
Best: Where The Dolph/Summer Rae Thing Could Be Going
I think the best part about this episode is how STUFF HAPPENS. That’s really all I want. Even if I don’t like it, I’ll be forgiving if stuff’s actually happening. Raw’s usually such a stagnant collection of non-finishes, nonstop repeats and water-treading 50/50 booking that even a small amount of moving forward and seeming purposeful goes a long way. Here, EVERYTHING was moving forward. It felt like an entirely new creative direction.
Speaking of nonstop repeats, though, Dolph Ziggler won his match when UNACCEPTABLE EX-GIRLFRIEND Summer Rae wandered into the ring in the middle of his match with Fandango and started making out with him. This distracted Fandango, allowing Dolph to sneak attack him and get the win. Distraction finishes are the worst. That said, Summer appeared to have been moved by the muse or whatever and is now into Dolph, meaning we can finally move away from Summer/Layla and get back to what made Dolph great.
If you’ll recall the last time Dolph was relevant, he was accompanied to the ring by Big E and AJ Lee. He’s a superstar, no doubt, but he’s also a guy who works better as the leader of a team. A squad, if you will. A spirited squad. But seriously, when he’s the “cool guy” of a team and the focus of a collective effort, he’s AWESOME. He gets to do stuff and win matches and not have to carry them by himself with big, walky babyface promos and the bland asexuality of a WWE main-eventer. The guy’s all about motion and charisma. If you make him Sheamus he’s gonna sink to the bottom of the f*cking ocean.
Putting him with Summer will give him someone to play off of, and might give Summer a chance to actually work matches instead of being a Catty Little Cat. Pairing the NXT version of Summer with the two years ago version of Dolph is an A+ decision, and I’m excited to see them become WWE’s badass Ken and Barbie.
Worst: I Love You Guys, But Stop Doing This
oh look, a fresh matchup
WWE’s even so tired of watching Rybaxel wrestle the Rhodes brothers that they didn’t put up a clip on WWE Fan Nation. I like all four of these guys (and I’m proud of Curtis Axel for ditching his Fire Pro singlet), but man, enough is enough. How many times can you blow off a rivalry? Stardust is one of the most shockingly compelling things you’ve done with stagnating talent in YEARS. Why are you working so hard to stagnate him?