Pre-show live notes:
– Before you read this week’s Best and Worst of WWE Raw, be sure to read the Best And Worst Of WWE Vengeance 2011, the pay-per-view event from Sunday night. Yes, they had another one. No, I’m not sure why. It was pretty good, though.
– If you read the report, we’d appreciate your comments, likes, Facebook shares, Twitter retweet, Googles plus, re-Tumbls and AOL 3.0 Buddy Profile links. We’ve got a cool new commenting system, so try it out. This one’s long as Hell, and could use your voice at the bottom.
– As mentioned in the Vengeance report, nobody won our Vengeance predictions contest (you didn’t have to say “Mark Henry will break the ring”, no contest or a draw or whatever would’ve been fine) so I think we’re going to push it to Survivor Series. Either that or I’m going to give it and award it to Upstate Underdog, because he always leaves us comments.
– If you checked the report earlier and the pages weren’t all here, things should be up in total now. So get in there and refresh, and click on all of our ads, should you be the one weird person who does that. AJ (pictured right) was not on this show, but I’ve included her picture here as a gesture of good faith.
Anyway, enjoy the Best and Worst of me, live at Raw.
Worst: The Frank Erwin Center Is Not Suitable For DiBiase Posse Parties
I’ve only lived in Austin for about a year, and up until now my only experience with the Frank Erwin Center (besides driving past it to do anything downtown) has been sitting at the Mohawk on Red River for Anarchy Championship Wrestling shows and having them mention in an extremely indy wrestling sort of way that the “other guys” being “down the street” there. Now that I’ve been to/inside it, I can confirm: the Frank Erwin Center is the ugliest building the entire world. It was named after University of Texas Board of Regents member Frank Erwin, whose dying wish was to have an enormous f**king tan toothpaste cap on the side of the Interstate named in his honor.
I don’t like Katy Perry and I have only a passing interest in the Harlem Globetrotters so I’ve never had to park here, which is great, because apparently you can’t park here. You have to go two blocks over, park in one of the random city garages and walk to and from your car through these little ominous pitch black parks or drive down and park at “Mike Myers Stadium”, which does not even for a moment conjure up the image of somebody stabbing me to death with a butcher knife.
I wanted to attend my first ever DiBiase Posse Party, the tailgating brainchild of tender tattoo enthusiast and former Actual Wrestler Ted DiBiase, but I couldn’t find one. I guess I don’t know where Longhorn fans line up trucks and get piss drunk before games, I just assumed they used the entire city.
Best/Worst: The Indignity Of The Will Call Window
I was supposed to pick up some will call tickets when I arrived, but the Q-T window (easily the cutest window) told me they weren’t there, but not to worry, because they just didn’t have them all yet. Keep in mind that this is going down at about 7:10 and I am in danger of missing a Michael McGillicutty vs. Sin Cara dark match. They eventually showed up, but not before I got a show unto itself, featuring (but not limited to):
– A guy who bought tickets for his entire family on StubHub, only to be told by the box office lady that he’d been sold a phony duplicate ticket and would have to “bring it up with the person he bought them from” if he wanted to get in.
– A guy who said Santino Marella had put aside a bunch of tickets for him, and when they weren’t there he tried to show them text messages and a picture of him with Santino to “prove [he] won’t bull-sh*ttin'”. He went on to explain that his cousin wrestles (present tense) for OVW, so either he meant to say “FCW” and hasn’t updated his contacts lately or his cousin is Television Champion Rocco Bellagio and he thinks that earns him preferential treatment.
– An Army lady in full uniform standing around sheepishly for several minutes by herself before timidly asking the box office lady if Army people can get in for free. When told they can, she turns around and shouts “FORM A LINE, BOYS” and starts waving her arm in a circle, and like 40 Army guys show up out of nowhere to form a huge single-file line like we’re in a goddamn cartoon.
– A lady trying to buy Taylor Swift tickets and thinking “during Raw” was the best time to do so.
Best: Sign Of The Night
We parked in a garage near the Capitol and walked over through one of those back-alleyway parklets that made me feel like I was a second away from becoming a Political Prisoner in need of saving by the Batman. The closer we got, the more surrounded by kids in Y U NO C ME Cena shirts we became. We also ran into one of the best homemade signs I’ve ever seen.
In case U NO read that, it says “John Morrison #1
Of“. I don’t know what John Morrison was originally going to be the number one of, but it should be noted that the kid holding this sign was at LEAST ten years old. How much time did you spend making this sign, kid? When I was little I put work into that sh*t. You’re gonna block somebody’s view for something you yourself scribbled out? I guess at least your lack of effort and inability to understand basic artistic concepts explains why you think John Morrison #1.
Worst: Priority Tarp Seating
During my stay at the will call window I heard it explained that 1) they didn’t have enough free seats for the army people to sit together, and 2) there was a service charge required to reserve your seat in the building. Of course when we went in, we saw that 3/4 of the upper deck (where they were sitting everybody anyway) was tarped off and that almost an entire row on the floor, about ten feet from the security barrier, was empty. I hope that OVW guy’s two extra dollars helped your sh*tty vendors who made me walk all the way around the building because the eight feet between my seat and where I came in was “closed” feel more rewarded for their work.
I was pretty pissed that NXT was being filmed before Smackdown in Houston tonight, rendering my Bate-Max signage useless (and yes, I missed the entirety of Sin Cara vs. Michael McGillicutty Negro), but at least I got to see a couple of tag team matches filmed for Superstars. The first pitted Air Boom against JTG and Primo (or, as I like to call them, Black Colon) and the second highlighting Brie and Nikki Bella as 2011’s answer to Doug Furnas and Danny Kroffat against Kelly Kelly as Kenta Kobashi and Eve Torres as Tsuyoshi Kikuchi. They were fine, and random people who have no idea ACW runs a great show on the same street every month love Kelly Kelly about as much as you’d imagine.
In retrospect I should’ve enjoyed these matches more, as they were the last time I’d get to see wrestling for about an hour.
Worst: I Love You, Grand-Pop
You’d better watch your ass, Bryan Cranston, because Triple H is acting and he’s going to mount your Emmy awards on his mantle alongside the European title and Katie Vick’s brain virginity. Very, very long story short, Triple H says that for his entire career he’s believed the advice (given to him by a guy named “Killer”) that in This Business you can either make friends or you can make money, then gets emotional about how his heart has been broken by his friend. I’ve sat here for forty minutes trying to think of something to say about it. What do you say? The crowd was enraptured by Triple H no matter what he said, because they weren’t listening to him, they were just waiting for him to stop talking so they could cheer. They do that. They wait until the guy they’ve decided to like stops talking to cheer and for the guy they’ve decided not to like to stop talking so they can yell “what” or “you suck”. That’s it. That’s what this was. It could’ve been Charlie Brown’s teacher talking, and if she was in a pair of jeans and a skull t-shirt with approximated Latin across the front they would’ve cheered the sh*t out of her.
I know some of you are into leaving comments or sending me halfhearted tweets about how you’re “digging Triple H” or whatever, but if one person reading this who actually sat through this segment and isn’t five years old came out the other side of it thinking Triple H, Kevin Nash, John Laurinaitis or WWE itself looked better for it, you’re completely full of the most rancid kind of stupid sh*t and you should stop watching television. Not just wrestling, television. Go to the library and sit still until you asphyxiate. I’ve optimistically reported enough pro wrestling to you by now that you should be open to accepting some negative truths, and this is a big one — Triple H is not helping this show be better.
H pretending he’s in the middle of The Godfather Part II when he’s actually in the middle of Inside Out Part II is sad. Remember when he tried to use that line from Gran Torino, except he couldn’t say f**k so it sounded corny? Now he’s trying to get Kevin Nash over as Fredo, except Fredo had a movie and a half of impeccably written, amazingly directly, perfectly acted Best Picture-quality film with a consistency of character necessary to create drama, not 50 years of mailing it in and some trash bag pants. Although this does start to explain Nash’s weird mustache.
I like to think Triple H was watching Vengeance on the monitors backstage last night, saw Mark Henry getting up despite being hurt to yell I’M THE CHAMPION I DON’T NEED HELP and though “oh man, I’m gonna do that exact same thing tomorrow night“. The cherry on H’s acting performance, the clip they’ll show when he’s affably nodding his head while Jon Hamm claps for him at the awards ceremony, is when he’s backstage refusing help, takes a few steps, then FAINTS like he’s in the goddamn Pickwick Papers. This is when the show goes from being melodrama to an exercise in the absurd, and when I start feeling like Bruce Springsteen trying to explain “The Rising”.
Best: Kevin Nash’s Guttural Queefing
Kevin Nash didn’t want the ambulance to take Triple H to a Local Medical Facility™ because he wasn’t done hitting him with a sledgehammer. He scares the trainers, EMTs, referees down but they don’t have H all the way in yet, and he just kinda slides into the floor. What does Kevin Nash do? He puts down his sledgehammer and works extremely hard to deadlift Triple H up, drag him across the room and prop him up against some cardboard boxes so he can hit him in the face with a sledgehammer. Here’s my biggest question: why go through all that trouble to prop him up? If you want to hit him in the face with a hammer, he’s tied up on the ground and you’re right there, just grab the thing by the handle and whip it down like you’re trying to win a Pikachu at the Texas State Fair. You can crush his head, nobody’s around.
I guess when you have to give him the “back of your hand to the face” sledgehammer shot it’d be hard to do that downward, but still. You could’ve saved us having to listen to you go ENGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH, HEEEEENGGGGHHHHHHH, ENGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH for a minute and a half.
Best: Somebody Grab A Mirror!
The only thing better than Triple H’s Margaret Dumont faint was the EMT’s amazing line “Does he have a pulse??” No, he’s dead. Kevin Nash hit him with the back of his hand while he was holding a hammer and he DIED. You’re rolling a man’s corpse onto the gurney. The ambulance should’ve randomly exploded as they were driving it out.
LOL Worst: Get Him To The Hospital After This Twix Commercial
Triple H was so badly injured that the paramedic put his hand over Triple H’s nose to make sure he was still breathing, but they waited through a four minute commercial break before driving him to the hospital. Good job, everybody. You couldn’t have put a “during the break” graphic on this?
Worst: Honestly I’m Starting To Miss The Twix Guys
Fun fact: People who pay for tickets to go see Raw in 2011 have never been to a Raw before. You know how I can tell? They get confused and restless when the arena goes pitch-black for five minutes at a time for commercial breaks and nothing happens. By the time Triple H’s ambulance was pulling away we’d been shown the “Moments Ago” footage of Nash’s attack FOUR DIFFERENT TIMES. You’d think they’d bring out, I don’t know, Kaitlyn and AJ with a t-shirt gun or had Maxine or whoever orchestrate an impromptu Kiss Cam to keep us busy, but nothing. We sat on our hands in dead silence, save for the kid who’d yell JOHN CENA matter of factly every two or three minutes no matter what was happening.
I’m well trained in this kind of boredom. The last Raw I’d attended before this one was the one where Shane McMahon beat up Legacy by himself through sheer power of will and little brother punches. That show had about fourteen seconds of wrestling and 45 minutes of Randy Orton slowly explaining psychological disease.
Worst: So Apparently I Missed Something About Twitter
When I hopped online this morning to read what people thought of the TV version of the show, I ran into a landslide of JESUS CHRIST HOW MANY TIMES ARE YOU GUYS GONNA MENTION TWITTER. Skimming through the torrent I see that the terrible TRENDING NOW graphic is back, and they’ve added in a tweet from most of the wrestlers during their entrance. I know this is sorta how the world works now and you’re living and dying by your social media presence (and not your ratings, thankfully), so allow me to reiterate what I mentioned in the Best And Worst Of WWE Vengeance 2011 report.
“Kevin Nash” is trending now. Okay, good. First of all, ask TNA how helpful trending topics have been. Second of all, do you really understand WHY Kevin Nash is trending? A lot of people use Twitter, and a lot of people are disinterested enough in your show to want to watch it, but have to multitask with something else to KEEP watching it. Getting something to trend is cool, I guess, I’ve never done it, but it doesn’t DO anything. You know what else is trending? “Happy birthday to the third most popular Jonas Brother, at least two years after their last adolescent pelvis thrust of relevancy”. Movie titles with the word “bacon” in them where other words should go. Jurassic Bacon! Jurassic Park with “bacon” instead of “park” is trending. Things that don’t exist. #puertoricanproblems. This is what you’re trending alongside.
Worry less about how many more Facebook likes you have than Apple, and worry more about how and why they’ve got so much more loyalty and money.
Worst: Yeah We’re Like An Hour In At This Point
Nothing is happening. In the middle of the third silent commercial break I decide to wander around to try to find some food and a bathroom, in no particular order. I’m a sucker for souvenir cups (I’ve got one from Yankee Stadium, Dodger Stadium, Kauffman Stadium and like fifteen faded ones from Progressive Field in my cabinet) but the ones at the Frank Erwin Center are just flimsy plastic Big Gulp cups with the Longhorns logo on the side and aren’t worth the extra 50 cents. Thank goodness the Super Pretzel is vegan, and that it can still be sold for six dollars when ice cold.
Worst: At Least The Guy In Front Of Me Is Enjoying The Show
He filmed the entire show on one device while recording segments to (I’m guessing) send to people with the other. It reminded me of when I was in the second row for Regina Spektor in Cleveland, and the only thing between me and her was the digital camera of the lady in front of me, taping the song, looking up at the screen. I don’t want to live on this planet anymore.
Best: Wrestling! YAY!
Wait, is there supposed to be wrestling on this show?
One of Destiny’s first observations on the night was how hot the crowd was for every single hot tag. It’s true, they were — it didn’t matter what was happening in the ring, when a tag team partner (it doesn’t matter if it was Sheamus or Eve Torres) started crawling over with their hand outstretched, people would flip the hell out. A few years of going to independent wrestling shows has trained her well at noticing the sport’s tropes, especially considering that the last Raw SHE attended she got in trouble with her Mom for buying a YOUR ASS IS GRASS AND I’M GONNA SMOKE IT X-Pac shirt because she was like twelve.
But yeah, once the actual wrestling started, the commercial breaks became an aid. They added three or four minutes to every match and made Raw seem like it was suddenly filled to the brim with what I’ve been begging them for. Of course, when you realize the commercial break is happening because Christian is applying one too many armbars in a row, it takes a little of the fun out of it, but still, the opening tag match helped soothe the burn of the Michael Haneke-directed episode of f**king American Gladiators that started us off.
Worst: The Great White
They put it in his TitanTron video now, so I guess there’s no escaping it.
I feel like WWE could just add “shark” to the end of it and do a “viper” thing and avoid me feeling like every wrestling fan in the Bible Belt is simultaneously misunderstanding its intent. I also feel like they should feud him with the fake Sin Cara just so we can have Negro lose to a Great White, and Gatsby can stand on one side of the arena staring at a flashing green light on the other.
Best: Accidental Ring Psychology
Push play on the following video but pause it and let it load. Turn the volume all the way down.
Now load this in another tab and press play. Easier to reproduce than one of Bebe’s Kid’s, it’s Botchamania 190!
But yeah, the announcer’s played this up properly: obviously Sheamus was supposed to catch him in the chin for the finish, but he ended up countering a Beautiful Disaster kick with a Brogue Kick to the KNEE, and that is accidentally awesome. The only way it would’ve been better is if he’d grabbed a single-leg crab on the limb he kicked and got the submission win.
Worst: What’s The Matter, Sid, Forget Your Skateboard
You know, if somebody approached COO Triple H and was all “what do you need, Hunter, need me to put on a surplus helmet and ride in here on a USMC jeep and pretend like I did something cool”, at least there’d be modern WWE precedent. It’d be up to us to remember that, because we’re cool if we watched the last 15 years of WWE Universality. John Cena bringing up John Laurinaitis’ skateboard all the time is stupid, because f**k, the kids watching this show don’t remember Bret Hart, much less the worse half of a tag team from a competing company from 25 f**king years ago. At first, sure, I thought it was funny, because I was a kid who grew up watching the stupid Dynamic Dudes and cheered when Jim Cornette lit them up with a tennis racket, but eventually even I came around to the reality that unless we Jeritron 5000 the sh*t out of some Halloween Havoc ’89 it’s just pointless.
Besides, the Dynamic Dudes is a Wrestlecrap-level reference. Punk should be namedropping Motoko Baba on the reg, or at least trying to hit him with a Coconut Crush.
Worst: We’re Like Four Hours From Mexico And Still No Alberto Del Rio Shirts
I got a Daniel Bryan “Submission Wrestling” shirt for a Christmas a while back, but the last WWE shirt I physically paid for was a bad one — I bought the “Age Of Orton” gas mask shirt at the Shane-O-Mac-O-Rama Cleveland Raw because he’d kicked Vince in the skull the week before and it was awesome and we thought it was going to go somewhere. I haven’t really been able to outlive that shame, but I came to this merch stand flush and prepared to buy the Alberto Del Rio shirt, or at least one of those leftover Vengeance ones with Mark Henry screaming on the front. My weekend of ADR disappointment continued. Look at this stand.
From left to right we’ve got the out-of-date Zack Ryder shirt, Big Show’s sexy Halloween costume, Kofi Kingston’s racist caricature, a Randy Orton shirt I’m pretty sure is supposed to be packaged with his DVD, two progressively worse John Cena options, an “I paid money to go to a WWE show, remember” K-mart special, a CM Punk shirt that makes me super sad now and the ice cream one that never should’ve been made, a Miz shirt without contractions that makes me wonder if they spelled out “you are” because they weren’t sure how to do it, Rocky, Triple H and a guy who isn’t there. Above them, a row of John Cena “okay” foam hands that I’m pretty sure I get punched in the balls if I look at. No Del Rio shirt, no Ziggler shirt, not even Sin Cara. Not even John Morrison’s “TOOK OUT YA TRASH, BYOTCH” tee for maximum irony. Nothing.
I saved my money and am gonna donate it to the Send ACH To The East Coast fund, because that guy should already be a millionaire.
Worst: Heel Interference In Squash Matches
I missed the entirety of this match milling around at the merch table, so can somebody please explain to me why Dolph Ziggler needs Jack Swagger interference to beat Santino Marella and why he didn’t just f**king murder him? Ziggler should’ve showed up, kicked the hell out of him, sold like a champ for that dumb Ernest The Cat Miller hiptoss thing, ducked the Fingerpoke Of Ethnic Doom and Zig Zagged him into god-for-f**king-saken dust.
Imagine if Ring of Honor had run Samoa Joe vs. Ebessan, but had Ebessan kick Joe’s ass for a while and Jay Lethal had to run out and distract him so Joe could win. How weird would that’ve been? You don’t need to 50-50 book the best wrestler in your company with the guy who gets cheered because he talks funny.
Best: The Bella Twins Are Being A Star
Oddly enough I enjoyed the Bella Twins pulling a 180 and being happy that Zack Ryder gets to team with John Cena in the main event. I don’t know why this happened, or if the Bellas got the Ted DiBiase “you’re in the room, be in this segment okay GO” moment of the night, but I guess if you have to set them up as likable girls so people will woo instead of boo next week when they make Miss Piggy jealous of Kermit this is the way to do it. I want this Raw on DVD with a deleted scene depicting the Bellas continuing to talk about how excited Zack Ryder must be for his match for the remaining sixty minutes.
Speaking of Zack Ryder,
Worst: What The Hell Are You Nodding At
Somewhere in the Vengeance report I mentioned how I wasn’t enjoying the major label version of Zack Ryder and was called a hipster, but I’m going to stand by it. What is he looking at? Why is he nodding? Is he daydreaming about Rosa Mendes again, except this time we can’t see it? He’s doing the wrestler version of the “stare off pensively into the distance until we cut” thing from the end of Josh Mathews interviews. I screamed YEAHHH KILL HIM when Miz and Truth attacked, and even that got ruined when Miz missed his kick and easily destroyed the set piece Alberto Del Rio spent two minutes getting over as super heavy and devastating at Vengeance. Oh well.
And speaking of Miss Piggy,
Best: Next Week’s Muppet Raw
Kermit the Frog as John Cena is better than actual John Cena. And honestly Miss Piggy DOES look like Kelly Kelly. That’s not a fat joke or anything, she actually physically looks like Kelly Kelly. I think it’s the hair, or the angle of her eyeballs. Miss Piggy has more believable offense, though, and I want to see a puppeteer with half his body under the ring do a better job of running the ropes.