– Comments, shares, likes, what-have-you are deeply appreciated. I throw a commenting badge on every single one of these, but I’d like to just write to a community that doesn’t mind helping out and clicking a few buttons. Also, I’d run out of badges, and nobody’s going to click like for a ROMAN REIGNS’ COOL JACKET badge.
– GIFs in this week’s report are courtesy of THESTINGER, because he is a gracious and generous Wrestling Bro.
– Chikara’s season finale ‘Under The Hood’ is airing on iPPV this weekend, and if you’re any kind of Wrestling Bro, you’ll order and watch it. It’s only $17 bucks, and you can watch it as much as you want. I guarantee you that ACH vs. Mr. Touchdown will justify a show worth three times as much.
Please click through to enjoy the Best And Worst Of WWE Raw for November 26, 2012.
Worst: Titus O’Neil Singles Matches As A Sobering Reminder That No Amount Of Being Funny On Commentary Will Make Him Good At Wrestling
Titus O’Neil is bad at pro wrestling.
He’s great at casually TALKING about pro wrestling, though. When he was on NXT trying to read clumsy, pre-written sentences about whether or not you should make it a win, he was terrible. Later, when WWE briefly forgot that NXT existed, Titus (and Darren) were allowed to speak as themselves in weird skits about impressing Tamina by buying her flower pots. Darren never really got the hang of it (“nobody’s gonna get any WANG from us!”) but Titus blossomed. Last week the Prime Time Players were f**king HILARIOUS on color commentary, discussing the differences between “wash cloth” and “wash rag” and asking Jerry Lawler if he’d taken his heart medication. It was enough to make you forget that in the ring, Titus is the worst kind of wrestler: the awkward hoss.
The Internet has a thing against “hosses,” bigger, slower wrestlers who mostly just slam and forearm you. In the late 90s, how good you are at wrestling became synonymous with how many crazy moves you can do in a row without screwing up. Hosses aren’t the most reliable sort for shooting star presses and rolling Germans, but the hatred (mostly) leveled out with the rise of guys like Mark Henry and a motivated Big Show. They don’t do a lot of moves, necessarily, but they’re legitimate monsters, and their value lies in freakish strength, intensity and the ability to throw the little move-wielding guys around like dolls. Their style is rough, but smooth, and everything they do looks natural and purposeful.
They are not the “awkward hoss”. An awkward hoss is that big, strong guy who never quite figures out how to look natural in the ring and just kinda wanders around kicking and punching like nobody would ever kick or punch, hoping his look and scary whatevers will get him through. Classic examples of this include Nathan Jones, Great Khali and the Kingshit of Awkward Hoss F**k Mountain, El Gigante/Giant Gonzalez. Nothing they do looks tough or strong, they’re just BIG and THERE and trying desperately to earn a paycheck for SOMETHING. Titus is one of these guys, and as funny as he can be, I guess we can’t afford to forget it.
The only real highlight of this match (and all the stupid commercial break chant-leading Ryback really needs to stop doing) was Darren Young FLEEING IN TERROR when Ryback charged, then lying in the corner in the fetal position, kicking the keep him away. A+.
Worst: Hornswoggle Has No Idea How Jokes Or Women Work
Rosa Mendes approached Hornswoggle backstage. She was mad at him because he came down to the ring to interrupt the Khali vs. Prepico handicap match, offered her flowers and a kiss for no reason, then squirted her in the face with water and ran away when she was polite to him about it. His response was:
1. It was just a joke! Lighten up!
2. Nobody would ever really want to kiss you or give you flowers.
What a creep, right? Addressing number one, jokes aren’t just a thing you do, they have context. Even non-jokes (like when Chavo Guerrero gets hit in the head with a paint can and Macaulay Culkin magically appears) or gags without formal punchlines have a context of absurdity. All you did was interrupt something, pretend to be nice to a person and splash them in the face with water. That’s not a joke. That’s you being an asshole.
Addressing number two … really? Putting aside how UNBELIEVABLY misogynistic and hurtful of an excuse that is, I am pretty sure lots and lots of people would want to kiss Rosa Mendes and give her flowers. Even Jerry Lawler was all, “uhhh hey Hornswoggle that’s pretty stupid” during the follow-up match. WWE, listen, seriously, there has GOT to be a better way to get fictional characters mad at each other than by having them tell each other they’re worthless.
The shorter point here is “f**k you, Hornswoggle”.
Best: Alberto Del Rio Versus Great Khali (Yes, I’m Giving It A Best)
Last night’s Raw had a lot (A LOT) of really good wrestling on it, so you may be surprised to see me give a Great Khali match that ended with KHALI WOULDA WON BUT DISTRACTION~ and involved Hornswoggle biting Ricardo Rodriguez on the ass, but I liked it a lot. It was the kind of match I like playing in WWE ’13. A smaller guy I like against a big hulking guy I want to see destroyed. It made Del Rio look like serious business again (which is the holding pattern … Del Rio looks great all month, looks like a loser goon on pay-per-view, rinse, repeat) and I thought his offense looked spectacular against a guy that size. The corner enzuigiri to the shoulder was choice, ADR’s ridiculous jumping stomps looked good because the guy he’s stomping is like five feet tall when lying on his side, and I am 99% convinced that normal application of an armbreaker like that on Great Khali would for-real break his arm.
So yeah, this one gets a thumbs up for me. It was the worst match I liked on the show, but Del Rio is better in the ring than Punk, and anybody in the world is better than Zack Ryder right now.
Best: Rosa Mendes Going ‘Full Handy Manny’
Open Discussion Threader ‘shabbydude’ gets credit for articulating it first, but Canadian-ass Rosa Mendes should not attempt on-screen Spanish dialogue with the shoot lucha-dynastic adult from San Luis Potosí. Here’s the transcript of the backstage run-in, more or less:
ADR: “sup rosa”
Rosa: “Gracias — thank you — for POR SALVARME — saving me from EL PEQUENO DUENDE — the tiny leprechaun. Muchas gracias! Thank you very much!”
ADR: “uhhh no problem, your hot, c ya”
Rosa: “Hola! That means goodbye!”
The next scene should’ve been Rosa walking by Mr. Lopart, who is clearly about to f**k up the project he’s working on but refuses to be helped. Jerry Lawler can play Mr. Lopart. Stacy Carter can be Fluffy!
For real though. Rosa, you don’t have to speak Spanish. Both characters can speak English. We’ll still accept that you’re of Costa Rican descent. It’s like Prince Of Egypt. Everybody should be speaking Egyptian or Hebrew or whatever, but the good guys speak American English and the bad guys have British accents so we can tell who’s who and it’s fine. Just … don’t try to speak Spanish anymore. And get somebody to make Alberto Del Rio start referring to himself as “the morning and the eve-a-ning star”.
Best: Fandango, Again, Because Seriously
This guy. This is the wrestler I’ve been waiting for for like 15 years. “I don’t care about ruthless aggression and ‘making an impact’! I’m just here to dance, and wrestle, prob’ly!” Love it.
Before he debuts, I’d like to formally request that Fandango’s debut revolve around him trying to get a spot in Rhodes Scholar. Cody would love him (obviously), but Damien Sandow should NEVER EVER ACCEPT HIM, because he’s smart, sure, but his hobbies are balderdash.
Best/Worst: Letting Seth Rollins And Roman Reigns Talks Defeats The Purpose Of Putting Them In A Thing With Dean Ambrose
I am going to have a terrible relationship with these guys.
Here’s an example of what I’m talking about. I got this tweet last night:
I get a few of those every week now. The thing is, I don’t ride Ambrose’s junk. I never have. I think Mox is a solid wrestler who can do good work, but I was never lit on fire by his stuff on the indies, especially his promo style, which is the easiest to ape promo style ever. That pacing back and forth, running your hands through your hair and occasionally SCREAMING thing only works for me in small doses. Hell, Eddie Kingston does it better than Mox. I’ve never been a Tyler Black fan, either. On the pantheon of how I feel about former ROH guys, he’s closer to Roderick Strong than Bryan Danielson. I have never had a thought about Roman Reigns beyond, “lol, Leakee”.
The problem is that I’m a Guy On The Internet who has made a small name for himself as an opinionated wrestling columnist type, so OF COURSE I worship any wrestler who started off on the indies and wasn’t made in the WWE developmental machine. I understand where they’re coming from. I used to BE that guy. I bought a Jody Fleisch comp tape once. No, seriously. But I grew up, and I decided to go to wrestling school, learn to watch matches more closely and decide what I did or didn’t think about wrestlers (or wrestling) based on my own observations, not what I read somewhere, or on what I was supposed to think. Or what I decided I was supposed to think. So yeah, I’m a super, super mark for independent pro wrestling. I would rather pay money to see Mr. Touchdown, ACH or Veda Scott than I would Ryback, Jeff Hardy or Kelly Kelly. But I don’t automatically want to see a wrestler more because they used to wrestle for 10 bucks down the street from my house. I want to see them because they excel at the parts of wrestling I love the most. That’s all you should ever do. Support the wrestlers who are good at what makes you love wrestling.
I’m happy that these guys are being brought up, because WWE could use some fresh blood to go along with those beautiful doses of Damien Sandow and Antonio Cesaro. I like that the segment gave the troupe a name, gave them a motivation (vague though it may be) and let them each say a little to establish their personalities. But to get to that emboldened “best,” Dean Ambrose sounds like a person when he talks and the other two don’t. Ambrose should talk for them, Reigns should be the strong, silent type and Seth Rollins should have at least half a roll of duct tape wrapped around his head until he learns to stop e-fed promo’ing every time he opens his mouth.
Dean Ambrose, am I right, you guys.
Worst: THE SHIELD~
I was going to call them ’24,’ but this is the less enjoyable, cable television equivalent.
Alternate joke: I hope this angle ends with Dean Ambrose murdering Seth Rollins with a grenade.
Alternate alternate joke: I would’ve called them ‘Sons Of Bossman’.
Best: UNF, Picture-In-Picture Tamina
Get it, girl.
This match wasn’t much more than Tamina trouncing Cobra Kai Alicia Fox and had its definite downsides — Tamina still can’t do the Superfly Splash to save her life, she’s still dressed like the Hulk Hogan Anthology and the announcers can’t decide whether it’s pronounced “Snucka” or “Snooka” — but BUSINESS NOT CASUAL Tamina is my favorite person on the show right now. I love that AJ is afraid of her. Tamina jumps her, AJ does nothing. AJ goes to the back to confront Vickie, Tamina puts her arm up between them, AJ does nothing. Then AJ’s all, “well, I COULD do a thing with Tamina, but, uh, OH HEY ROMANCE LET’S DO THAT OVER HERE INSTEAD” and Tamina’s just standing here waiting.
Worst: Vickie Guerrero’s Further Evidence Is Shut Up And She Hates You
I didn’t think these segments could get any worse, but somehow, every week, they find a way.
Cena selling a slap to the ass by dropping his microphone and all the rehashed “you’re just JEALOUS!” stuff was bad enough, but man, is there anybody left out there who still likes AJ as a character? She’s the most vile, bratty person on the show, and she’s on a show with SHEAMUS. I mean, yeah, if you’re thinking with your genitals (and they aren’t all over Dean Ambrose), AJ is still pretty spectacular, but … wow, just listen to the stuff that comes out of her mouth. It’s unfortunate that Vickie Guerrero made it a rule that GMs couldn’t sleep with talent, because her being the boss is the oooonly way she’s EVER GONNA GET A MAN! You know, except for her 15-year marriage to one of the greatest pro wrestlers of all time when she was just a lady from El Paso. Also, guess what AJ? When you’re the boss, “getting a man” isn’t the only thing of value in your life. Dolph Ziggler was absolutely right about you.
And speaking of poor Dolph Ziggler,
Worst: John Cena, In Total
he really looks like he’s enjoying that, doesn’t he
Tonight was the Greatest Hits Collection of reasons why people hate John Cena. On this exclusive, three-hour set!
1. Facetious promos! He doesn’t know where your gift of a bath robe has been, Vickie Guerrero! It was probably in your BUTT!
2. Seeing something somebody did well a few months ago (the AJ/Punk/Daniel Bryan love triangle) and deciding he’d like it for himself, then doing it as badly as possible!
3. Getting a clean win with his finish over an assumed pay-per-view opponent three weeks before the pay-per-view to “build drama”
4. Doing an injury angle to give him an excuse to look weak in said match, then winning the match anyway
5. Selectively selling the injury. Your knee hurts too much to jog when you need to be out of the ring, but it’s okay when you’re jumping and landing all weird and dropping down to your knees for the Attitude Adjustment or, you know, locking up a guy’s leg in the STF. Or CLIMBING THE ROPES AFTER THE MATCH. But it’s okay, because you made “whew” face and smiled about your knee!
6. Gross kissing (pictured)
7. The non-title angle finishing up way too early, so you just KNOW he’ll end up in that Punk/Ryback title match at TLC
And so on, and so on. Sometimes you aren’t as bad as people say you are, John, but right now you are absolutely it.
Best: This Guy Who Got Front Row Seats To Raw And Used His Prime Sign Real Estate To Make A Corny Bible Joke