– 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
Worst: Finally, The 47% Comment
We’ve been waiting all month for Vince McMahon’s blatant response to the 2012 Presidential Election, and there it is. Kane should’ve just said “RED RULES! POLLING DATA IS MEANINGLESS! TRADITIONAL AMERICA IS DEAD, I’M MITT ROMNEY, BLEARGHHHH” as he walked off screen.
Of course, the segment gets a sentimental best for Daniel Bryan having “empirical polling data,” having accurate Bryan vs. Kane likability stats for every nation on Earth (not to mention an infographic set-up hooked to the backstage monitor) and saying that Kane would’ve polled well IN HELL~. He’s right: Hell is the WWE Universe, and Kane is extremely popular there.
Although … something seems a little fishy …
Something tells me this “wrestling” thing isn’t on the level. (via WWEDanielBryan)
Best: Daniel Bryan Versus Rey Mysterio
I have been waiting a long time for this match to happen. I wrote about it a little when Team Hell No took on Car Stereo, but Daniel “Bryan Danielson” Bryan has been my favorite wrestler for the past decade, and Rey Mysterio is on my shortlist for the objective greatest pro wrestler of all time. They need to have as long as they want to wrestle on a stage grand enough to appreciate them, but not so grand that they aren’t the most important people on the show. I’m thinking a really packed PWG show. Also, it would have to be 1998 Mysterio against 2005 Danielson. Or, I don’t know, current Daniel Bryan against any version of Mysterio that doesn’t wrestle in a shirt and have Sheamus’ pubes on his chin.
I’m giving it a “Best” because reasons, and a secondary Best? for being Daniel Bryan versus Rey Mysterio, yet being like the third best match on the show. How does that happen?
Oh, this could have something to do with it.
Worst: DO NOT CUT TO COMMERCIAL DURING THIS ARGH I SWEAR TO GOD
The two problems I could find with this match (besides the obvious, third problem of Daniel Bryan losing cleanly to a momentum-free kick around the ring post and a splash from a 170 pound guy) are:
1. Daniel Bryan setting up to do the Romero Special, then I guess remembering that Mysterio’s knees are made out of cardboard and scotch tape and doing something else.
2. The gigantic commercial break, right in the middle.
Cutting away from matches, especially in the modern era, can be a good thing. Modern audiences don’t necessarily want to watch the heat, which, if we’re being honest, is mostly for the people in the live crowd. If you can cut away right when the “boring” stuff starts happening and gets the crowd stomping and clapping and cheering for something exciting to happen, you can cut back right when the exciting stuff STARTS happening, and it’s instant at-home heat. The crowd’s going and people are running around and you’re all, “oh, I should pay attention to this”. Right?
The problem is that the best part of a Daniel Bryan match is the boring stuff. It always has been. He’s great in finishing sprints or whatever, but he’s top shelf when he’s just working an armbar or a wristlock, meticulously destroying it, simultaneously enrapturing and pissing off a crowd. He’s the guy who can respond to boring chants with an abdominal stretch, turn an airplane spin or a small package into a marketable, must-see moves in a promotion full of head-dropping or build insane heat for a guy based on a worked cut on the hand. That’s a spectacular, rare talent for a current WWE Superstar, and if I want to see ANY part of a Daniel Bryan match, it’s that part.
I guess the easier point to make here is, “I guess you guys couldn’t have cut away for commercial when AJ and Vickie were yelling at each other about who can get what man, huh?”
Worst: Tensai Stiffing The Shit Out Of Kofi Kingston, Then Losing To A Jumping Lay-Down
Check out where that kick landed, by the way.
I liked parts of this — Tensai seemed to have a sense of urgency going and looked like he actually bothered to scout Kofi’s moves before the match started — but yeah, I think Wade Barrett’s ugly jeans were the best part of the match. You know you’re in a bad place when a guy’s transitional moves are beating you outside of elimination tags.
Jack Swagger Of Mars
Hellas stretched out for miles beneath Jack Swagger’s feet. The arrival platform for the Descent Shaft transport appeared to be made of a thick, translucent, green glass. Jack could make out the shapes of spires and buildings below. Above him stretched the towering structure that had brought him him, coated in the same thick glass, branching out into a spider’s web of tunnels and structures. He took a step forward, and felt as though he were walking up a hill. Hellas was the most fantastic place he’d ever seen, and remember, he’s probably seen Melina’s bikini line.
“Stay close to me,” urged Kaa’orri, sliding a heavy bag up onto her shoulder for stability. “We make the delivery, we get supplies, we get back up. And keep your feet on the ground.”
“Ith that like a metaphoooor, or…”
Kaa’orri rolled her eyes and turned away, stomping across the reflective floor to some unknown destination. Thinking to himself, Jack Swagger shrugged and took a small leap … and became stuck. He slowly began to rise into the air. His eyes bugged out, his mouth opened, his heart began to race. Just as quickly as she’d turned away, Kaa’orri turned back, grabbed him by the wrist and pulled him back to the surface. When Jack’s feet touched the glass, he felt gravity return to him.
“We’re in the center of the planet. Gravity works differently here. If you stay on the floor, you’ll stay on the floor. That’s just how it works. See those huts up there?” She pointed upward, and Jack arched his back to see what appeared to be a thousand little enclaves, built in all directions along the endless walls of the city. “The floor keeps us anchored, no matter which way the world turns.”
“Thath pretty weird, Kaa’ORRI.”
“You’re in the center of Mars,” she barked dismissively. “Get used to the weird stuff.”
As she walked away, Jack Swagger admired her, totally misinterpreting “the weird stuff”. “Ith that where you live,” Jack asked, hurrying along behind her.
“No, that’s where the … how would you put it … fortunate people live. The … the delegates,” she gestured. “The royal family. People of import.”
“Oh,” Jack said, only half listening. “You live down THERE?”
Kaa’orri stopped suddenly, causing Jack to bump into her. She turned and addressed him firmly.
“Do you really need me to explain how the city of Hellas works? Why do you need to know? You’re going to be here for two hours, tops. Rich people up, poor people down.” She turned away and groaned, continuing her purposeful stomp. “It’s like you’ve never seen science fiction before. Don’t you have … classes, on Earth? Castes?”
Jack thought to himself for a moment.
“Tho… up ith John Cena, an’ down ith … Lord Tenthai.”
“I don’t know what any of those words mean.”
“Wull where are YOU from?”
Kaa’orri stopped again, letting the heavy bag drop to the glass surface with an echoing thud.
“I don’t live here. I’m from a surface settlement called Hale Crate. It’s … not much, but it’s where we all live. My family. My brother. It’s a mining town. See this?” She tapped her toe to the great surface platform of Hellas. “It starts off as this.” Kaa’orri reached into her delivery bag and pulled out a handful of small, red beads.
“The process turns it green. I don’t know. We can only mine a bag full of this at a time, so when we fill one up, I bring it down. I’m delivering this one to the King’s engineer. He’ll do whatever with it,” she said, dropping the beads back into the bag. “I really don’t know how it works, but without these, Hellas couldn’t exist. We’ve been doing it for …” she drifted off in thought. “Ten thousand years?”
“Thounds about right. I have no idea EITHER!” Jack smiled. Kaa’orri stared at him for a moment, then once again rolled her eyes, scooped up her bag and moved forward.
The twosome walked quietly through what appeared to be empty streets until they reached the front gates of a magnificent glass palace. It reached as high up as Jack could see, lit from the inside by an unknown source, revealing the fuzzy shapes of a thousand bodies within.
“You stand right here,” Kaa’orri ordered. “And don’t get into any trouble.”