This week’s edition of The Best and Worst of Raw is a little longer than normal, because sometimes the people in charge of pro wrestling decide they want to spend three hours doing what normally takes them two and what they could accomplish in one. WWE says the difference between a three-hour All-Star Raw and a normal episode is that superstars from the Raw and Smackdown brands come together for an exciting night of sports entertainment action! The actual difference is that during a three-hour Raw, you look at the clock and say, “Jesus, this is only halfway over?”
Next week is a three hour Raw as well, where fans get to vote on the matches and stipulations, because even WWE doesn’t want people paying money to see Capitol Punishment. Please enjoy 700 pages of The Best and Worst of Raw. At least it isn’t a slideshow!
Worst: Oh God, John Morrison is Back
I feel like I should explain myself before we begin. I want The Best and Worst of Raw to be an overwhelmingly positive column to contrast the “meh I’ll give this match a C-minus” Internet status quo. I WANT this to be good. I want it all to good. I want to sit down on Tuesday morning with a Five Star notebook and an oversized novelty pencil and have nothing bad to say. The best things you can do as a wrestling fan are to watch and be able to change your mind. So when John Morrison makes his triumphant return to Raw, I want his day-off comedy boot camp to have paid off, I want him to have actual wrestling gear, and I want him to know how to do a headlock without having to study Raja Lion tapes.
But yeah, when Stone Cold started getting all WHAT, DRANK BEERS, SUMBITCH on R-Truth about competing on Raw, I could smell John Morrison beside him. The R-Truth parts of my life started flashing before my eyes. I put a picture of Truth in my dead Mother’s locket, in case Starship Pain made me get all obviously symbolic.
Best: Wait, This is Actually the Best John Morrison Segment Ever
I proudly present to you the upside of not fast forwarding things you think you’ll hate. Morrison’s music played, and I sighed. He didn’t come out, and it played again. That’s wrestling TV code for “something unexpected is happening backstage”. Truth left the ring and started walking up the ramp, and I swear I pictured at least 45 variations of John Morrison jumping off of something onto him as he walked. When he went backstage, I thought Morrison was gonna swing by on the ceiling and Resident Evil 2 his ass. And then, nope, it was awesome!
When Truth looked at the camera and said “SHAZAM” I could feel okay again. Not as okay as if he’d gotten struck by lightning when he said it, but still, I was happy. Morrison was down, and Truth got to kneel over him and gloat for a little while before smashing him into the wall with a production cart. I looked down at my hands and realized I WAS WRITING THIS SEGMENT IN REAL TIME. Truth mugged for the camera like Daffy Duck and ran away, and we sent it back to the ring for a 15-minute Canadian Ninjas vs. Hiroyo Matsumoto/Misaki Ohata tag team match.
Well, at least most of that actually happened.
Best: Raw is Fire Pro Wrestling Returns
Ezekiel Jackson, Bryan Danielson and Mistico is the most FPR trios team of all time, and I love it. Everyone got to shine; Danielson is the best pro wrestler in the world, Jackson knows how to do at least three bodyslams, and Mistico got to do a couple of cool things on live TV without Gail Kimming it and probably looked better than he has since he debuted. Sin Cara should be a HUGE DEAL~, and honestly all he needs to do is be crazy and stop screwing up his finishes for about six months and everyone will forgive and love him. Those kids go crazy for John Cena’s apeish shoulderblocking, they should be losing their little goddamn minds over El Príncipe de Oro y Plata.
Also, I love that Cody Rhodes’ “new image” for Ted DiBiase boils down to “regular Ted DiBiase, but with new wristbands”. I’m sad that nobody in the Raw audience cares about Smackdown, and that the Barrett vs. Jackson Intercontinental Championship match at Capitol Punishment is that match you LOL at when you’re in the used DVD store and pick up a five-year old pay-per-view. I bought a WWE pay-per-view off the $1 clearance rack at Half Price Books the other day that has a Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Masters match on it. Hahahaha, what the hell, when did this happen, and why did it happen alongside so much Bobby Lashley?
Worst: Can We Not Even Keep Up Kayfabe on the Price is Right
I’ll give the Be A Star commercials a break (because “bullies”), but Kelly Kelly and the Bella Twins should not be co-existing on a game show no matter how many times Michael Cole says they’ve “put their differences aside”. Aren’t their “differences” an almost non-stop six month span of mental and physical abuse? Kelly should’ve gone on the show with with Gail Kim and some imaginary African-American babyface Diva, or the Price is Right should end with the Bellas hitting Kelly from behind with the Showcase and doing that derisive Stacy Keibler bent-over taunt-point at her.
Are the Bella Twins the worst developed characters in the history of WWE? They went from incestuous starf**kers to heel bullies who actually hate bullies and get along with everyone, but we’re supposed to pretend they don’t. The hell is that?
Also, HAS there ever been a black woman portrayed as a decent person by WWE? Alicia Fox is a heel, Jazz was a heel, Jacqueline was a heel, Kharma was a savage beast, Linda Miles was a transvestite dominatrix. Every black girl in Tough Enough or on NXT gets the “I’m a BITCH and I KNOW IT” gimmick. Even Shelton Benjamin’s Mama was a bad guy. Get a grip, guys, black women don’t like me either, but I’m not going around telling people how awful they are.
Best/Worst: Rowdy Roddy Piper
Piper is telling the truth (and the truth will set you free) when he says there will never be another Rowdy Roddy Piper. Especially not Miz, who I enjoy, but cannot see getting punched in the ear with a chain by Greg Valentine. Piper himself is a mixed bag; he’s undeniably one of the most important, talented and memorable wrestlers in the history of the industry, but he’s not perfect. Early Piper is choice, as is that Wrestlemania-era Piper where we love what he did on the big shows and don’t really remember what he did in-between. The Piper shortly thereafter is terrible, painting himself half black to make a statement on racism and stripping Goldust to his ladies underwear to make a statement on pervert homosexuals. As a WCW loyalist, don’t get me started on I.C.O.N. Piper, who was sleeper holding every imaginable member of the nWo when I just wanted to see more La f**king Parka.
Modern Piper is an encapsulation of that theme. When he shows up he’s either great, or sort of ominously bad. Remember when he showed up at Madison Square Garden and kept rambling and saying goodbye, and we all thought he was going to go back to the hotel and be found dead? Last night’s Piper was a mix, with his awesome “GOD??” reaction to Stone Cold on the TitanTron and his less than awesome “uhhh Alex Riley is TOUGH you know, uhhhh” stuff. Also, as a wrestling writer on the Internet I’m not allowed to tell you what I thought of Piper pinning Miz in 2011 on WWE television. I mean, I have an opinion about it, it just sounds really, really bad.
At least he didn’t mention the coconut again. Oh, and also:
Question: Andre the Giant, King Kong Bundy, Mean Gene are all in the bottom of a well. So who do you save first?
Piper “changed the question” to this, and I think it has a simple answer. Obviously you’ll want to save Mean Gene first, because he’s the smallest, and if he’s stuck in a well with those two big fat guys he’s in the most need. Then I’d save Andre, who could use King Kong Bundy as a stepping stone to safety. Then I’d probably just leave King Kong Bundy in the well.
Actually, the more I think about it, Andre the Giant is already dead, so he can’t be saved, can he? Is the question “would you save Andre’s corpse from a watery grave?” Isn’t the question “what the f**k are Mean Gene and King Kong Bundy doing with Andre the Giant’s dead body at the bottom of a well?” Is this a Goonies thing? Are they going to send Mean Gene’s blazer up on a bucket?