– Make sure you read the Best And Worst Of WWE Hell In A Cell 2012 before reading about Raw, or you won’t know who everyone is or what’s happened so far! (I wish wrestling worked like actual stories.)
– Comments, shares, likes, what-have-you are greatly appreciated. Be a wrestling bro!
– Halloween costumes are at the very end, make sure you don’t miss them.
And now, please click through and enjoy the Best And Worst Of WWE Raw for October 29, 2012.
Worst: Ryback’s Caste Jumping
For a while, I didn’t buy the comparisons between Ryback and Goldberg. “One condescending crowd chanted Goldberg at the strong guy who wins a lot,” I thought. “Other crowds saw it on television and thought it was a new wrestler cue. Kinda like how people chanted LET’S GO ZIGGLER for a few weeks. They didn’t want Ziggler to go, they just heard it on Raw and thought it was what they were supposed to say.” Being in a Raw crowd is a lot like being in a flash mob. You just show up and do what everyone else is doing.
But yeah, no, I get it now. He’s a big, muscular guy who shows up and beats people in 2 minutes. He hits them with a running strike, then picks them up over his head in a spectacular-ish feat of strength to finish them off. It’s exactly like Goldberg. Also like Goldberg is WWE’s booking of Ryback, where they start him off wrestling guys like Stan Stansky and have him trouncing the champion in Atlanta by the end of the year. They even gave him the “Raven tries to escape, gets thrown back into the ring” thing last week.
I don’t mind Ryback being Goldberg. The only problem I have with it is that he’s truncated Goldberg, forced to jump from jobbers to JTG to the WWE Championship picture without the luxury of Goldberg’s slow, epic ramp-up. One of the best parts about watching Goldberg in his initial run was whenever he’d get bumped up to the next class of wrestlers. He’d wrestle Jerry Flynn or Hardbody Harrison or whoever, then after a while he’d get in the ring with Mongo. Then, Perry Saturn. Then guys like Raven or Curt Hennig, guys with a legitimate shot to beat him who just DON’T and die like everyone else. THAT’s when he gets Hogan, and when he f**ks up Hogan’s Christmas and becomes the biggest thing in wrestling, he gets to have great matches with former champs like Diamond Dallas Page. Eventually he ends up wrestling Kronik or whoever again, but he never goes back to Hardbody Harrison.
JTG is, hilariously, 2012’s Hardbody Harrison. Ryback starts off wrestling him, then gets put into a WWE Championship match against Punk. They try to build Ryback quickly for a cycle by having him beat Dolph Ziggler, but it doesn’t work because they haven’t DONE the work. They just said it and expected it to be so. They give Ryback his Raven moment against Hogan, which is a terrible idea, then don’t even let him f**k up Punk’s Christmas (as it were) at Hell In A Cell. They go straight for the wind-out-of-your-sails Starrcade 98 ending with Scott Hall and a taser. Now Ryback is instantly back to wrestling the Hardbodies Harrison, without so much as a Kronik between the top and bottom of the rosters.
It’s not the worst thing ever and it’s certainly not irreversible, but it’s a sad waste of a great, great storytelling opportunity. If you’re gonna do Goldberg, guys, do Goldberg.
Best: Maybe Now Wade Barrett Will Stop Using The Souvenir
I’m a big fan of Wade Barrett, but man, until he starts using the Overdrive and the Reverse STO in his one and two slots he’s got the worst finishing moves in the world. Wasteland was bad enough. You pick a guy up on your shoulders and then put them down (we normally call that a body slam), but you grab their wrist and yell first so at least there’s the illusion of intensity. With The Souvenir, he’s combined the two worst things you can do with a WWE finish: give it a convoluted setup and make it look like it doesn’t hurt.
Some moves have a convoluted setup but look like they hurt, like the Razors Edge or the Doomsday Device. Some moves have a simple set up so you can do them from anywhere, but don’t really look like they’d hurt, like the Stone Cold Stunner. Wade is getting into serious 6-1-9 territory with the souvenir, having to set up the spin, then actually DOING the spin and connecting with a shitty Lex Luger-style elbow grazing to the top of the head instead of a straight shot to the jaw. He needs to either just run at people and Luger them in the side of the head and demand dramatic, life-ending selling or he needs to Barrage Up and lay in that twisty-ass nonsense for real.
Supplementary best for Randy Orton’s continued attempts to recreate last summer’s “shut up and wrestle better” initiative.
Best: Team Hell No Getting Straight-Up Tag Team Victories
After the disappointing, totally unnecessary DQ finish at Hell In A Cell, it was nice to see Daniel Bryan and Kane win a tag team match on Raw. I don’t know why it still seems so weird to me when a match ends cleanly. Why can’t I watch Daniel Bryan and Kane, two former World Heavyweight Champions and the current Tag Team Champions, wrestle two guys who were on NXT at the beginning of the year and just assume they’ll win? Why do I have to cycle through a bunch of scenarios where Sandow and Rhodes show up to cost them the titles, or Kane chokeslams Bryan and lets Darren Young pin him, or Triple H shows up and pedigrees everybody, takes the tag titles and melts them down so he can have a copper hammer? The last 15 years of watching wrestling have really turned me into a dumb jerk.
Anyway, it was good to see Daniel Bryan get a clean submission win on Raw. It always feels good. The sorta-badness of them continuing the “Bryan and Kane stealing pins from each other” thing nearly 3 months from the formation of their team is balanced out by the awesomeness of Michael Cole and Jim Ross openly stating that you are stupid if you think Daniel Bryan is the weak link of the team. One of these days, a Punk/Bryan feud will be less about girlfriends and more about being The Best In The World. Bryan could even demand vegan ice cream bars.
Oh, and before I forget, my favorite part of this video is where it starts. You know they wanted to show more of the match in the clip, but J.R. called Darren Young “Darren O’Neil” (like they the Prime Time Players had gotten married) and “Mr. Nose Day Off”.
Worst: Are They Seriously Spending More Time Discussing John Cena’s Business Dinner Than Brad Maddox Low-Blowing A WWE Championship Challenger To End A Hell In A Cell Pay-Per-View Main-Event?
I don’t want to devote too much time to this because I don’t write the shows and promised you in the Best And Worst Of Hell In A Cell that I’d Wait And See Where It Goes™, but here’s a recap of pay-per-view storylines and how they were follow-up upon on the post-PPV Raw:
The John Cena/AJ Affair That Was The Most Boring Part Of The Pre-Show And Made You Desperate To Watch Video Packages
Top of the show announcements, followed by several backstage segments with Vickie Guerrero trying to get AJ to admit her wrong-doings and beg for her job, followed by an in-ring segment with Vickie and John Cena where she shows him top secret video surveillance footage from multiple locations, followed by a John Cena/Dolph Ziggler confrontation to build to a Survivor Series match, followed by TWO AJ Lee matches including General Manager interference, followed by an additional backstage segment where Vickie fires the lady who beat AJ.
A WWE Official Low-Blowing A WWE Championship Challenger In Hell In A Cell In Main-Event Of A Hell In A Cell Pay-Per-View
CM Punk says “I DIDN’T DO IT, BYEEE” and bails, and the only person who cares is one retired guy.
Best: John Cena Doesn’t Dress For The Job He Has, He Dresses For The Job He Wants
Nothing I can type here tops the gentle hilarity of John Cena wearing his “Rise Above Cancer” shirt on a date. It’s great continuity. As we’ve seen, John Cena only has three sets of clothing: a suit for formal events, a t-shirt and jorts for everything else and a basketball jersey with backwards hat in case somebody challenges him to a rap battle. That’s it. Every week we see him come to the ring in a shirt, take it off and throw it into the crowd, so it’s easy to believe he owns one John Cena t-shirt at a time and goes through them like paper towels. At least he took off his 8 wristbands.
I don’t know exactly what went on at that dinner, but I hope I started with John tipping the host and asking for a “nice table, preferably something near the fuse box”.
Worst: John Cena Can Wrestle Guys Without 1) The WWE Championship, 2) Backstage Romance Stories
All right, all right.
Look. You’re John Cena, right? You’re a 10-time WWE Champion or whatever. You’ve held every belt and done everything. You’re the only guy WWE employs who shows up to every show and puts butts in seats. You can do anything you want with your time as long as you show up, lead the fight against The Nexus and/or Breast Cancer and smile for photos near Kelly Ripa. You are a world-traveled millionaire, your body hasn’t completely fallen apart and you told Howard Stern that you once hooked up with six girls at once. You are living at least a portion of every person on Earth’s dream.
You are free to experiment artistically, you know that? Your dad’s a wrestling promoter and you’ve been doing this for a long time. You know how Triple H does those 30 minute epic cage matches where he bleeds everywhere and dresses like Conan the Barbarian and fights zombie gods with hammers? You know how The Rock only shows up to be the coolest and most popular person in the room and makes everybody else look like shit, because he’s the only one handsome and lucky and well-connected enough to get out of your business alive? Those guys got to the top and realized they had pull, so they pulled and pulled until they got what they want.
John, your only two stories are “I must win/keep the WWE Championship” or “STUPID AS F**KING BALLS NON-CHAMPIONSHIP STORY”. When you have the belt, YOU WILL DEFEND IT AT ANY COST. When you don’t, YOU MUST WIN IT AT ANY COST AND YOU WILL FIGHT RIGHT HERE TONIGHT. Neither of those is great, but they beat the hell out of any story you get into unrelated to the belt. It usually involves you being “fired” (which nobody believes ever) (ever), being the only one who can face a returning legend (Rock, Lesnar, Bull Buchanan) or getting into weird romances. Who told you that these are your only options? You could be emulating and redefining the moments that made you a wrestling fan. Did Ric Flair claiming he slept with Elizabeth and providing archaic ’90s photoshops make you want to be a wrestler? What about that story TNA just did about the lady who claimed she slept with AJ Styles? Is that what you want to see whenever belts aren’t on the line?
The last time you kissed somebody you weren’t supposed to we got six weeks of Zack Ryder having his back broken, Kane waiting patiently for cues by an ambulance and Eve Torres being brought to the ring and forced to bark like a dog. There are easier ways to get into pay-per-view matches with Dolph Ziggler. Here’s an easy one: Everyone says that beating John Cena is how you prove you’re the best, and people think Ziggler’s a coward for not cashing in Money In The Bank already and wants to prove he’s the best. Here’s another one: “We are having a wrestling match and the popular guy is in it.”
Best: Antonio Cesaro Hates Fat Power Rangers
He’s right. Halloween is gross and America is terrible. Is is terrible of me to recognize someone as my intellectual and physical superior and think, “hey, I should probably listen to this guy” instead of, “I HATE HIM FOR THINKING HE’S BETTER THAN ME”? I don’t like heels more because I’m a contrarian wrestling fan, I like them because they seem like dynamic, interesting people. I’d rather be Ric Flair than Ron Garvin, that’s all I’m saying.
Regardless, I hope WWE’s upcoming Scooby-Doo WrestleMania movie (which is real, I didn’t just make that up) is a huge success and lets WWE Superstars show up in other kids’ shows, because holy crap, how great would it be if Antonio Cesaro showed up in Angel Grove? He would give Bulk and Skull such a f**king browbeating. Also, I want to see if he can deadlift and Neutralizer the Dragonzord.
Worst: Middling 2-1/2 Minute Champion Vs. Champion Non-Title Things
I’m not going to hate on Kofi again, because Kofi had nothing to do with WWE’s tendency to put champions against champions in two-minute Raw things with terrible non-finishes that go nowhere, accomplish nothing and make everybody look worse, but I’ll say this: Antonio Cesaro had a great match with Brodus Clay, Tyson Kidd and Justin Gabriel, and this is the first time he’s looked assy on Raw. Just saying.
I’m very proud of Vickie Guerrero for not wandering out to a Vickie Guerrero rap song* and making it a TAG TEAM MATCH, though. Maybe she was the right choice for GM after all.
* ♪ “My name’s Vickie G and I’m here to say/Ex-cuse me in a major way!” ♪ etc.
Real Talk Worst: Jerry Lawler Returns In 2 Weeks
Truth: It is awesome that Jerry Lawler is okay, and I’m happy that he’s made such a quick recovery. I hope six months from now he’s totally fine, and it’s like he never had a heart attack.
Additional truth: The worst complaint I’ve had about the Raw announce team since Lawler left was Jim Ross getting Darren Young’s last name wrong and Cole saying “kiliman-jair-o”. Neither of them have made dirty Mexican jokes about Alberto Del Rio, condescended on the female wrestlers for being sex objects (aside from JBL’s weirdness at Hell In A Cell) or gotten into the ring to punch out champions despite being 60. The commentary team is better without him. A lot better.
I apologize in advance for two weeks from now, should I lose perspective.
Lee, WWE Diva
It cost her her last name, but at least AJ is wrestling again. That’s a good decision. Now if we can just let her patch things up with Kaitlyn, get into a pro graps vs. MMA thing with Eve over the Divas Championship and get the goddamn f**king bastard hell away from John Cena romance storylines, we’ll be where we need to be.
Also included in this Best:
Worst: So Long, Beth Phoenix, And Thanks For Having A Dope Entrance Theme
Look at that acting. Look at it.
I’m not happy that Beth Phoenix is gone, because she’s a powerful woman with a great look who at least represented some vague idea of “actual wrestling” in the Divas Division. As many readers know, I’m not the world’s biggest Beth Phoenix fan. I think she’s insanely overrated by wrestling fans who don’t know or see the fantastic professional wrestling being performed by woman around the world on a weekly basis and think “not doing stinkfaces” means “good female wrestler”. Doing stinkfaces and allowing stinkfaces to be done to you are similar kinds of bad. She’s not the worst wrestler ever, but she’s certainly not the best.
The good news is that if she loves wrestling, maybe she’ll show up on the independent circuit to wrestle her ass off with Jazz, or show up at a SHIMMER taping somewhere to Glamorously Slam Veda Scott or get her head kicked off by Ayako Hamada. Regardless, she’s now officially a draw for women’s wrestling, and I hope she uses that to further herself, her passion and her sport. I also hope she doesn’t try to take me for 20 bucks when I ask her for a mark photo.
Best: More Sheamus Versus Big Show (Yes Please)
One great thing that came from Hell In A Cell was the transformation of Big Show versus Sheamus from “fat, kinda sad and mad guy wants the smarmy racist guy’s belt” to “A GIANT IS GOING TO KILL YOU AND THE ONLY PERSON WHO CAN STOP HIM IS THIS ONE SUPER TOUGH GUY WHO LOVES FIGHTING”. That’s a Chyna-to-Stephanie level upgrade.
I still don’t love it when Sheamus talks and think he should be repackaged as a guy who loses his voice box in a war, goes colorblind and gets amnesia and forgets what Ireland is, but if he’s saying things about how he loves to fight and wants to keep kicking at Big Show until he’s dead, I’m all for it. WWE needs more wrestlers who are concerned with being the best at fighting. How weird is that to say? They’ve got like 80 people on the roster, and I can name maybe 5 who have clearly said that they are in WWE because they like to fight or wrestle and want to be the best at it. Dolph Ziggler’s all, “I LIKE TO SHOW OFF!” You could do that with YouTube and a Razor scooter. Alberto Del Rio is super rich and runs a plantation in Mexico. WHY IS WRESTLING YOUR JOB? WHY DON’T YOU DO YOUR OTHER JOB, WHICH YOU ARE CLEARLY REALLY GREAT AT? People like Kofi Kingston are here to “entertain you, the fans”.
CM Punk says he’s trying to prove he’s the best RESSALLER in WWE, Sheamus likes to fight people and the Prime Time Players know that wins = money. Is that it?
Best: Big Show Holding On For Dear Life In White Noise
A few of you mentioned it during Hell In A Cell, but one of my favorite things from the last few days is how easily Sheamus can lift Big Show up for the White Noise and how CLEARLY TERRIFIED Show is taking it. There is a good chance he’s going to fall on his head and get paralyzed again (Kevin Nash powerbomb, I’m looking in YOUR direction) so he’s just bear-hugging the shit out of Sheamus, trying to hang on. Somebody should photoshop Show in White Noise with HANG IN THERE at the bottom.
At some point, Show should turn that into his White Noise counter. Just squeeze Sheamus from that position until his torso bursts. Or hell, just roll backwards and try to pin him. You weight 500 pounds, if you move your free leg slightly he’s going to topple the hell over.
Best: Mick Foley Explaining Video Games To Kaitlyn
This is honestly a worst, but one of my favorite moments from Raw was the backstage shill of WWE 13. Poor old Mick Foley’s standing there gesturing emptily at a TV screen playing prerecorded clips of character he used to be 10 years ago, telling 26-year old fitness model Kaitlyn about how cool video games are. It was like that scene in The Wrestler where Randy The Ram thinks the neighbor kid wants to play “Call It Duty”.
And there’s Kaitlyn, looking at the back of the box like a young person who might buy a video game, not getting all bent out of shape about it (like a young person who might buy a video game), trying to get basic information about when it comes out. She’s not in it, so I’ll let that slide. Foley’s all, “THREE FACES OF FOLEY, YOU CAN BE ALL THREE FACES OF FOLEY, THE FACES OF FOLEY KAITLYN, BEAT UP PUNK WITH MY FACES OF FOLEY,” doing the Mick Foley bent-up hand point until someone interrupts. Notice how when they finally are interrupted, Kaitlyn BOLTS. We’ve all been there, haven’t we?
Jack Swagger Of Mars
Hale Crate stood in flames. General Ryan stood atop his mighty warship (brought to you by WWE ’13, available now) and bellowed into the night.
“Jack Swagger … OF MARS!”
Below, lost in some shadowed crater on the planet’s surface, Jack Swagger clutched Kaa’orri close to him and listened, for it was a message sent across the hate and stars for him.
“Coman face meh!”
Ryan dropped the microphone and raised his arms into the air as his entrance theme blared from the ship’s speakers. The light from the burning surface village flickered high into the sky, and General Ryan could smell the smoke against the back of his eyes.
“What are we going to do, Jack?” Kaa’orri’s voice showed fear to Jack for the first time. It hit him like a Brodus Clay splash. He had brought this to them, to her, and he alone was the reason Hale Crate burned. They were dead because of him. He’d left the blue planet for shame, and had brought it with him to the red. He could never escape it.
“Jack, he’s up there, and-”
“Justh lemme thank,” he interrupted. His eyes darted. He pulled away from Kaa’orri and ran his hands through his hair, imagining every scenario he could. He could fly the Soaring Eagle to the wreckage of the Rhadamanthus and use the parts to … no, that wouldn’t work, the Rhadamanthus was beyond repair, and even if the Soaring Eagle could escape unharmed, there’s no way he could get across the planet unscathed. He thought about flying, flapping his arms until they rose him into the sky to meet his destiny. Both plans stood the same chance.
“Lemme thank…” His voice lost all hope, and drifted off into the shadows.
“Sachie’s still up there on the catapult!” Kaa’orri gleamed with hope. “Maybe if I can get to him, we can use it to-”
“ENOUGH!” Jack’s voice echoed in their burial chamber. Kaa’orri’s hope drained from her face. The hero of Mars was giving up.
“You need ta get UP ta Sachie and get tha hail OUT of here! You hear me!!” Jack’s voice trembled as he shouted. “Heth gonna destroy EVERYthang with thosth bombs, an if he gets to Hellath next you’re ALL dead. THAVE YOURSELF!”
“What good is saving myself?” Kaa’orri asked.
“Whatta you wanna DIE??” Jack answered.
“What good is saving myself if my family burns? If my … if my brother dies on that catapult, waiting for us? If love dies. If hope dies. If … you die?”
Jack couldn’t believe what he heard. Well, what little he could hear over Jim Johnston’s anthem blaring through outer space.
“I don’t want you to die. We can do this.”
“No,” Jack answered. “I can’t.”
Kaa’orri closed her eyes and turned away.
“Get Sachie an get the hail outta here. I’ll dithract ‘um with the Soaring Eagle an fine a place ta hide. The thwamps, maybe. Thomewhere they don’t know about.”
“Jack,” she said. “Don’t.”
“I’m not main-event material, Kaa’orri. I’m just the bottom of the card. Thave Hellath.”
And with that, Jack Swagger Of Earth stomped out of the room and into the smoldering blaze of Hale Crate.
Jack Swagger piloted the Swagger Soaring Eagle through the collapsing city of fire and into the Martian wasteland. The great warship wasted a few rounds trying to stop him, but the small vessel carried him too quickly for lock-on. General Ryan called off the attack, telling his soldiers to let Swagger go. He did not need to die … he was already dead. They would salvage him when the planet’s core was obliterated and return him to Vince McMahon and whoever was in charge of booking when they got back on a silver platter.
Jack pulled the Eagle to a stop in the center of a terrible swamp. There, he found the old hut and collapsed to its floor, the smell of flesh still singed in his nose. He cried, there alone, where no one could see.
Kaa’orri and Sachie arrived at the Descent Shaft and lowered themselves into the darkness. They would hide here, because there is no other way. Kaa’orri stopped and looked back across the forest, hoping to see a red, white, blue and for some reason black singlet approaching from the distance. She looked a little too long, then closed the opening behind her. Darkness, and the inevitable wait.
Mason Ryan smiled as his ship landed at the top of Ceraunius Tholus. From here, he could look down upon a mighty Martian forest where the opening to the final Descent Shaft had to lie. He would burn it all to the ground. With the other shafts around their world destroyed, the citizens of Hellas had no escape. They could either rise up from the depths and face their doom, or wait as the General and his troops descended upon them, backing them against the very walls they called home and took their lives.
In the distance, Jack Swagger of Earth cried.