On Sunday night, I attended my first ever Major League Soccer game. FC Dallas took on Real Salt Lake (pronounced “ree-al” and not “real,” because Europe?). After 80 minutes the score was 0-0 and the match was called for rain. It took me almost four hours to drive home. What I’m trying to say is that 80 purposeless minutes of a sport I barely understand followed by a lightning storm and four hours in a car in the dark listening to my girlfriend’s iPod of Saves the Day songs was better than the match I’m going to write about.
In case you missed it, WWE presents Over The Limit, a great pay-per-view to have on the weekend when one of your all-time greatest stars drives his car into a tree and dies.
Worst: The Best of I Quit Matches Mix Tape
The only thing that separates these columns from the riff-raff of the Internet is positivity. You read something on 411 Mania and it’s just forty paragraphs of “this sucks, this sucks, this sucks” and one of “this was f**king awesome,” they give the show a 9 out of 10, and that’s it. I like to think the reason you enjoy reading me is because I can find something joyful in even the worst episodes of Raw, because the reason we’re still wrestling fans in 2011 is because of how much those little flashes of light mean to us. Wrestling now, as it has always been, is 2% fantastic and 98% unbearable crap.
That being said, Holy Mary Mother’a God, the I Quit main event between John Cena, The Miz and Alex Riley’s continuing sense of impropriety is one of the worst things I’ve ever seen in my life. Okay, so you know how John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band is a masterpiece, and how easy it is for some teenage girl with no life’s context to sandwich “Working Class Hero” between two My Chemical Romance songs because that’s her idea of how music works? That was Miz/Cena. They performed the Randy Orton “Passion of the Cena” I Quit match from Breaking Point in 2009 and tried to work in the finish to the Rock/Mankind I Quit from Royal Rumble 99. The problem is that wrestling matches should have a logical beginning, middle and end, and you can’t just collage them together and expect them to work.
And on top of THAT, you have to actually DO THE WRESTLING MATCH for it to work. To quote Progressive Boink’s Justin, Cena/Miz was like the wrestling version of real media player in 1995.
*one second of wrestling*
DO YOU WANT TO QUIT?
*one second of wrestling*
DO YOU WANT TO QUIT?
*one second of wrestling*
I don’t even really know where to go with this, as we haven’t even gotten to the fact that Cena got double-team tortured with sticks and belts for twenty minutes only to pop up, land about one-and-a-half belt shots of his own and toss on his finisher for the easy, flawless victory. It’s like WWE got tired of reading about Cena on the Internet two weeks ago and decided to make him actually do what you think he does. At least Hogan looked sweaty and frowned when he’d been beaten up for twenty minutes.
It’s just… my criticism doesn’t mean anything, because I’m using entire warehouses full of logic WWE never intended to consider. The bottom line is that the match was positively God-awful, and at least four-out-of-five single-celled organisms could respond to the stimulus in such a way to agree. Everyone involved can do better. Should do better.
Worst: I Do Not Ever Want to See This Again
And I really don’t ever want to see this again. I don’t know if Miz has a problem performing in clutch situations or if Cena hates him in real life or something, but no amount of good TV matches is going to translate to a watchable Cena/Miz pay-per-view match. I don’t care if we fast forward ten years and Cena has gone to Japan and become Jumbo Tsuruta, and Miz has gained forty pounds and started brainbustering people like Tenryu. Don’t put them in another PPV match. Ever. Book Cena against David Flair, put the Miz in a handicap match against a Bella Twin and Jumpin’ Jeff Farmer. I don’t care. If you book Cena vs. Miz on another pay-per-view I am taking at least four weeks away from your product to avoid radiation poisoning.
Best: Cole vs. Lawler Actually Ends
Jerry Lawler beat the sh:t out of Michael Cole in two minutes, gave him the second rope fist drop (aka the piledriver’s well-meaning substitute teacher) and humiliated him in the middle of the ring with a bunch of guys Cole had wronged, because Cole is a sniveling chump who talks a big game but gets murdered when he goes too far.
“That should’ve happened at Wrestlemania,” says everyone who has ever watched wrestling. Lawler’s victory puts him 1-400 lifetime against Cole, who still has every right to say he won the series, and now he’s got extra ammo to say Lawler only beat him with help from Eve and Jim Ross and everybody else, and by SummerSlam I expect Lawler to be 1-470 or 80 against him. If Cole doesn’t show up on Raw tonight with amnesia, God is dead. And hey, check out that Jack Swagger turn from Raw paying dividends here. Lawler organized a daisy-chain of WWE finisher revenge and Swagger just hung around in the back with no desire to Doctor Bomb anybody.
I sent WWE an e-mail asking where he was, and they wrote me back with “who the f**k is jack swagger”
Best: Hey, Bret Hart! For Some Reason
Bret Hart showed up at Over the Limit to put Michael Cole in the sharpshooter, because Cole mentioning him positively on television once is worse than Jerry Lawler graphically insulting his family and dead parents for nearly a decade. Bret still gets a “best” because he’s Bret Hart, even if his Sharpshooter is like fourth best and he sorta looks like somebody’s concussed Greek grandma.
Worst: I Do Not Ever Want to See This Again
Let’s put this Lawler vs. Cole issue in a manilla file folder, place it deep into a file cabinet, dig an immense hole in our Earth and throw it into the planet’s f**king molten core.
Best: One of the Reasons We Like CM Punk
Punk broke out the Macho Man’s flying elbow in one of the only really fitting tributes we’ve seen so far, and hopefully those haters from five years ago can see why we Gen-1 ROHbots loved CM Punk so much, and know it had nothing to do with his bleached hair or basketball shorts. Tonight’s Raw should just be every good Randy Savage match from Saturday Night’s Main Event, and it should be about eight hours long.
In a related note, the worst part of Savage’s death hasn’t been the loss of childhood, it’s having to read those hacky obits where people say “he was really good, but now wrestling is terrible!” Update: During the greatest match of all time, Randy Savage sold George “The Animal” Steele biting him in the ankle even though he was wearing a thick-ass rubber boot. You were a dumb adult when you were a kid, too, you just didn’t realize it.
Worst: Mason Ryan’s Designer Ass Logo
“Okay, we need something on Mason Ryan’s ass.”
“What’s his character? What does he do?”
“Uh, his name is Mason Ryan? He looks sorta stupid, I don’t know what else he does.”
“Let’s put M and R on his butt and make it look sorta stupid.”
Seriously, that high school art assignment on his butt needs to go. I think I heard it best described as “what Eugene would come up with if he had to create Maven’s logo.” My idea is that if he’s Welsh, they should put like 40 consonants across the back.
Worst: Is R-Truth’s Finisher Seriously Called “Shut Up”
I’m happy that Truth got a pay-per-view victory over an established star, because he needs a legitimate sense of threat to go along with his crazy new Madea/Jay-Z ultimate mash-up character. I’m not happy to finally realize his reverse STO thing is called the “Shut Up,” which now gives us TWO finishing moves on Raw with “shut up” in the name (the STFU is the other one, even if they don’t call the U anymore … I hope it still stands for “shut the f**k”).
If Truth is coming up with the names for these moves himself, he is worse at naming finishers than anyone has ever been at anything. Remember the “Lie Detector?” Truth or Consequences? The Hat Rack Crack? He should do an inverted DDT and call it the DON’T TELL LIES TO R-TRUTH THE BLACK WRESTLER.
Best?: The Divas Title Match Was Better than the WWE Title Match
This isn’t a fantastic compliment, but the three-ish minutes of Kelly Kelly and Bella Bella was more accomplished and dynamic than Cena/Miz. Kelly took a pretty good bump off the apron, Extra Bella got in on a little Twin Magic (did Colin and Jimmy Olsen ever try this?), a finish happened. It was an average-to-poor wrestling match, which put it about third best on this card. Kelly’s got a little babyface fire in her, I’m telling you. She just needs to open her eyes all the way.
Worst: Where the Hell is Kong
I like the Kharma hides in the back on every episode of Raw, waiting for Divas to do something so she can take two steps, take off her extraneous cape thing, walk to the ring and kill folks. I don’t like that she takes the pay-per-views off. Where in God’s green name was Kharma, guys? You can’t antagonize Kelly Kelly for weeks on end, have Kelly compete at a pay-per-view (where people are paying to see what happens, nudge nudge) and not have some sort of advancement of or resolution to the story. Kharma comes out and beats up a Bella. She beats up Kelly. She beats them both up. Kelly breaks out a cell phone and tries to convince people that Kharma quit. I don’t know, something. Kelly gets in a dune buggy and drives around the arena while Kharma chases her. F**king ANYTHING.
Best: Ezekiel Jackson With 400 Straight Scoop Slams
This is the only way I’m ever going to enjoy Ezekiel Jackson. He needs to walk to the center of the ring, lift guys no matter what they try to do, and body slam them. They get up, try to punch him or whip him into the ropes, he no-sells it and body slams them. He should stand still and just scoop and slam until the guy’s back breaks or they have a seizure. Then, he pins them and his weird music with all the mumbly talking plays. Ezekiel Jackson!
Either that, or invest in some red tights and about sixty-five pairs of elbow pads for him to wear at once and call him El Hijo de Ahmed Johnson. I’m not kidding, Ahmed Johnson wore more pads than anyone in history. You could drop him from an airplane and he’d be fine. Which is funny, because they also caused him to tear eight muscles if he moved his arm.
Worst: Get Barrett Out of Here
Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that Ezekiel Jackson has some cool looking scoop slams, and that Wade Barrett and The Corre need to back the hell away from him. Barrett has gone from being a main event splash to jerking the second match on a B-side pay-per-view against his own teammates. If I’m allowed to fantasy book for a minute, he and Slabriel need to reenlist Daniel Bryan and Skip Sheffield into the group and be a thing again. If I’m not allowed to fantasy book, the Corre should get shirts that don’t make them look like Hostess Cakes.
Worst: Welp, Sin Cara
They signed Mistico hoping he’d be the new Rey Mysterio, and he’s ended up the new Gail Kim. Remember how excited we were when Gail showed up on Raw with sunglasses and Matrix clothes the first time? And then the ropes got wiped down with Crisco and she couldn’t hit anything grander than a forearm? That’s poor Sin Cara. He just can’t seem to do anything. I know he can, I’ve seen him do things, I’ve seen him walk straight without falling over. I haven’t seen Gail do that, so maybe he’ll be fine.
I can think of two explanations.
1. Mistico is Mexico’s YOSHIHIKO, and Ultimo Guerrero and Negro Casas and Averno are just super workers who can make a blow up doll in a Mil Mascaras mask look like a million dollars.
2. He can’t see sh:t
Think about it, he started tripping and collapsing on the reg when he put on that blue mask. Maybe it’s a Jack Evans thing, where he can 630 splash reliably as long as he isn’t wearing a doo-rag. Rey Mysterio has big eye holes. Sin Cara has to see where he’s diving through the freshness lid on a can of nuts.
Also Worst: Stop Saying Chavo Guerrero Is Good
Eddie Guerrero was good. Vickie Guerrero is good. Chavo Sr., Mando, Hector, Gory, all good. I think we need to come to terms with the fact that Chavo Guerrero is not a great pro wrestler and move on with our lives. I miss Eddie, too, but either put Chavo back in the Swagger Soaring Eagle or sh:t-can him. End of story.
I’ve always supported Chavo. I bought a hobby horse when I was a teenager because of him. “Chavo” was my name in Spanish class (partially because they wouldn’t let me be Dr. Wagner, but still) and Chavo was in half of my old screen names. But yeah, he’s just not good. His frog splash looks terrible, he can’t engage anyone in the story he’s trying to tell, he’s a terrible base for flying wrestlers and has no formal lucha libre training, the only time he gets a pop is when he does the Eddie shoulder shake, he’s bald and/or has fake hair, and honestly, how many great Chavo Guerrero matches can you name? Okay, now remove Eddie. How many are left?
Chavo sucks, and we have to agree on it. His job could be better served by anyone on the IWRG roster in a We Remember Eddie Guerrero t-shirt.
Best: Orton vs. Christian
I don’t like that the story is “Christian just isn’t good enough to be champion, guys, we told you,” but I forgive them if they keep letting him have 15 minutes a show to wrestle. Christian and Orton always connect in the ring, and I’ve thought so all the way back to their match on Raw, where Orton played leap frog into an RKO. Christian is without a doubt Orton’s best opponent, and chances are if he was given 15 minutes against anyone else, he’d be their best opponent too. I liked the psychology (which doesn’t have to be any deeper than “he learned to avoid this because he got caught with it in the last match”), I liked the wrestling (and that there WAS wrestling), and I loved the finish.
I think Orton has really missed the boat by not capitalizing on Diamond Dallas Page’s interpretation of a cutter. If WWE wants to put an emphasis on the RKO being able to come out of nowhere and end the match at any moment, they should really have it come out of nowhere. Far too often Orton just lies there playing O-possum, then pops up and hits it. The only real variant on that is in matches like this, where he reverses a couple of things and does it. DDP was always flapjacking guys into it, or doing it off the ropes, or whipping out Yokosuka Cutters. Orton should do that sometimes, and not just wrestle guys who springboard a lot.
Worst: I Smell a “You People” Coming On
…and that Christian tease at the end has me worried. I fell in love with the guy as a heel lo so many years ago, when he stopped being a vampire and became a sunglasses-collecting surfer, but I’m hoping Smackdown isn’t littered with “I’m acting mean to people you like and it is YOUR fault” promos. WWE loves those things, and I’ve got to wonder why every bad guy has to blame the fans, as though they have anything to do with the matches whatsoever. You can engage the audience without having them be the cause of things, can’t you? Couldn’t Christian be pissed at Orton instead of me? I didn’t do anything. I like Christian. I cheered for him. Even a selfish jerk WWE bad guy can’t rationalize that into me causing him to springboard toward f**king springboard-eating Orton. I own like ten DVDs where he does that, dude, if you came over to my house and watched some tapes you wouldn’t keep losing. This is on you, I had nothing to do with it.
So yeah, please let me get through the next cycle without a “you people” or an “each and every one of you.” And if you really want my money, keep devoting 15 minutes to your wrestling. That is pretty cool.