Hi, everybody, and welcome to The Best and Worst of WWF Capital Carnage, the UK-only pay-per-view from 1998. The show’s poster depicts The Undertaker wearing a Kane t-shirt and D-Generation X burning down the Palace of Westminster, so you know it’s got to be good! They always save the cool stuff for England, right? Right?
Best: Tiger Ali Singh defeated Edge
…proving that wins and losses in professional wrestling mean absolutely f**king nothing! Unless you’re Chicky Starr or Victor The Bodyguard, losing to Tiger Ali Singh should automatically disqualify you from professional wrestling forever.
Worst: The Headbangers pinning The Legion of Doom in three minutes
Eesh. Okay, they mean something sometimes.
You know what? This show has a Triple H versus Jeff Jarrett match on it near the end, and if I’m going to review that I should just do the Best and Worst of Chugging Drāno. Let’s just cover WWE Capitol Punishment instead.
[pics (mostly) courtesy of MGFanJay @ DVDR]
Best: The Set
Between Cleveland and Austin I spent about five months living in Bethesda, Maryland, which is literally just down the street from Washington, D.C. The Verizon Center is where I got two nonconsecutive pictures taken with Slapshot the Eagle and sat front row to watch the Caps come back from a 4-1 deficit to beat the Habs 6-5 in playoffs overtime. And, uh, as far as I remember, that was the end of the playoffs and nothing happened after it.
Anyway, I think if a pro wrestling company decides they want a themed event (such as Anarchy Championship Wrestling’s prom or CZW’s ‘Family Dollar employees stab each other with bulb shards’) they should go all the way. I appreciate Washington-area iconography, and could just picture Randy Orton forearming Christina in the chest 400 times in a row on the White House front lawn, while tourists in FBI shirts circled by on Segways. And then fell asleep and wrecked their Segways. And then Obama did breakdancing!
Worst: Kofi and Dolph Aren’t Going Anywhere
There was a moment during the show opener when the announcers mentioned how Kofi Kingston is always watching tapes of “the legendary Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels”, and all I could think was “which parts?” He should watch the parts about upward mobility and how to hit your finisher when you’ve come up with a big pre-finisher ritual. Seriously, how many times has Kingston actually hit Trouble in Paradise when he’s been standing in the corner clapping his hands, yelling “boom”? Close the deal, Kofi.
But yeah, Kofi and Dolph have good matches, but they aren’t going anywhere. Keep in mind that this exact same match opened Summerslam 2010 and neither guy has changed or moved on since then. Dolph got a haircut and won a World Championship (apparently), but if you watched this match without watching the ten-month in-between you’d have no idea of either. Kofi has done even less. The last time Kofi grew as a character was when he got outed for being a fake Jamaican. Getting new trunks that look like your old trunks isn’t character development, it’s what baseball teams do when they want to get people to buy their gear without paying good baseball players. YOU ARE THE BALTIMORE ORIOLES, KOFI KINGSTON.
If this match opens a show next year, we might as well put them in a crate and mail them back to OVW.
Worst: Rating Matches
Before I get too deep into this Best and Worst, I have to mention that I am dramatically opposed to Internet interpretation of pro wrestling events. That sounds hypocritical, sure, because I’m interpreting the wrestling on the Internet, but my opinions tend to differ from the coagulated masses and I flake out on most of their conventions. The most obvious is that I don’t give star ratings to matches. I’m not Scott Keith. The closest I ever came was giving an arbitrary number of Hulk Hogan Pastamania images to matches during my fill-ins at DDT Digest. I think match ratings are dumb, especially when they’re done by people like this guy on the right, randomly deciding that Kingston/Ziggler 850 deserved three-and-a-quarter stars like some pro graps celebrity Star Search judge to fill out the description section of his YouTube videos when he should really somewhere washing his f**king face.
If you rate matches on the Internet, I urge you to stop. Yes, I know Christian can “work boaf hull and face” and I understand why that might bump up the rating by half a star, but Jesus, I feel bad saying things are “best” and “worst” sometimes, I don’t know how you can live with yourself if you’ve got a points system with precedent. Unless I start making you pay for a newsletter you won’t read anything more declarative from me than “I liked this” or “this sucked”, because what am I, a gymnastics judge?
Best: Eve Doesn’t Even KNOW You Anymore!
R-Truth’s backstage segments could’ve each been their own little “bests”, but his interaction with his former … girlfriend? Valet? Cheerleader? Eve Torres. His former “Eve Torres”.
Truth approached her innocently enough, figuring it was the right time for him to get crunk, stepping up to knuckle up and blow the roof up. Eve responded with an awesome Lifetime Movie Network-quality I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHO YOU ARE ANYMORE, proving she is the ultimate Little Jimmy, because if Truth isn’t skipping around and rapping for the delight of America’s young whites, who IS he? Certainly not the same guy who had to make an extra lap around the ring to compensate for her iceberg-slow Fly Girl dancing. Certainly not the same guy who wore cargo pants with “WHAT’S UP” written across the ass in chalk.
What’s wrong with you, Eve? He’s exactly the same guy. This is why we’ve been telling you that you suck for the last two years.
Supplementary Best: “Fo’ Shizzle”
I’m not sure what Truth was trying to do by repeatedly saying “fo’ shizzle” at Cap Pun™, but I hope he was trying to get it over as a babyface catchphrase. Some wrestlers can have both. When he’s happy, he says “fo’ shizzle”. When he’s mad, he begins listing off Jimmies. Sort of like how Booker T is all “heh, hey dog, what’s up dog, spinaroonie dog” when he’s happy, then reverts to “tell me he/you didn’t just say that” when he’s challenged backstage by Jack Swagger or watching Vince McMahon break out the n-word for lulz.
Worst: The Actual Wrestling Part of Alex Riley
I keep reading about what an “awesome” job WWE did with the wrestling on this show, and I can’t see it. Maybe it’s because I was watching the show on a pixelated 500-by-400 screen with a huge neon racist chatroom to the right, but most of the show bored me to tears, especially the Miz/Riley match, best encapsulated by my good friend Justin from Progressive Boink:
why the f**k are they presenting this match as a sluggish borefest as opposed to “hey these guys HATE one another.”
That was Riley/Miz for me. The announcers (and most of the people watching at home, apparently) thought watching Riley get calmly beaten up for ten minutes only to break out a Smackdown vs. Raw finisher and get the win meant Riley “showed toughness”. I thought it showed that WWE’s pool of talent is starting to plateau, and unless you get the Rileys in there against someone better than Mike Mizanin you’re gonna get stuck with those Cena type matches everyone hates but only seem to attribute to Cena. Riley worked a totally John Cena match here, getting beaten up, then never giving up against insurmountable odds to hit a finisher on a heel who f**ked up his own cheating and get the win. People cheer him and it works for this audience, but it’s not great.
I feel like you can still do “hate” in a TV PG environment. Wrestling managed to do hate believably for years before Tournaments of Death started popping up, I don’t think you need Miz gushing blood with broken Christmas ornaments sticking out of his face to let Riley punch the ever-loving sh:t out of him. WWE is great at doing “mean” and “mad”, but bad at doing them for a reason.