– As some of you may know, yesterday was my birthday, and at some point I got caught up doing whatever the hell it is you do on birthdays and couldn’t get up a Raw Open Discussion thread. Don’t worry, we’re going to pick that back up next week and chances are I’ll pop one up for Smackdown this week to compensate. Also, happy birthday to me! For anyone wondering, I spent Sunday night watching Matthew Palmer get stabbed in the mouth with kabob skewers and thrown off a scaffold at ACW’s Guilty By Association 6 and spent Monday eating veggie burgers.
– Also for anyone wondering, I am now 85 years old.
– Comments are appreciated. Clicking “like” is appreciated, tweets and retweets are appreciated, showing and sharing this to and with the people you know are appreciated. Google + shares aren’t really appreciated, because stop trying to make fetch happen.
– Gifs contained within are, as always, courtesy of Jerusalem at Punchsport Pagoda.
– Additional reading: UGO’s Raw Report.
Click through to enjoy the Best And Worst Of WWE Raw for January 16, 2012.
Best: Mick Foley, Hopefully Getting A Nostalgia Run Better Than Lockdown 2009 (or Anything He’s Done Since Tossing Randy Orton Onto Thumbtacks)
I’ve talked about it at length before, though I can’t remember exactly when, so here’s the recap: I grew up in southern Virginia, where we had a crappy WWF house show once every six years and like sixty awesome NWA/WCW shows a month, and when I was 12, Sting and Cactus Jack were my favorite wrestlers. I liked Cactus Jack because he was crazy and could take an ungodly amount of punishment. I liked Sting because I liked wrestling and was a human being. Fast forward 17 years and I’m in the nearly-empty upper deck of the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, watching Sting and Cactus Jack hit each other with prop weapons and lie around like tired old men in the ninth cage match of the night. It wasn’t the worst match, but what it made me feel could’ve been done by just having Matt Morgan or whoever standing silently in the middle of a ring with a “YOU ARE OLD AND ONE DAY YOU WILL DIE” sign.
What I’m getting at is that I spent almost 20 years of my life cheering for Mick Foley in some capacity and don’t want him to have Ric Flair’s waning “oh man, remember when he was great, now he’s a worthless f**king Draugr” legacy. I want him to have a purposeful, important role in professional wrestling that doesn’t necessarily involve him shoving socks in peoples’ mouths or bleeding profusely for the enjoyment of 30 guys at an amusement park who’d be marking out just as hard for Matt Bentley. He doesn’t work as an authority figure, he doesn’t work as a color commentator, he doesn’t work as a guy I can still believe capable of pinning or submitting even a guy like David Otunga… but I love him and want him around, and I know he’s important to have around somewhere.
Anyway, it’s hilarious to have him around getting legend pops while Chris Jericho is somewhere on the other end of the show negating them forever.
Best: Dolph Ziggler Has A Good Point
He does. I like when heels (even the ones who are completely wrong) have thoughts that make sense … it’s what I liked so much about that Barrett/Ziggler/Rhodes/Otunga/
McGillicutty/Swagger group from last year. Even if you’re a bastard, you should be doing things that make sense.
It is ridiculous of Mick Foley to wander back into WWE having Mehrunes’ Razor’d the animatronic monster Universal Studios is trying to pass off as Ric Flair and expect a spot in the Royal Rumble over 30 dudes who have been there for a year and busted ass. There are logical reasons why Ziggler could be wrong — Foley is a multiple time WWE Champion and standing still doing nothing he’s more qualified for a shot at the Wrestlemania main event than, say, Hunico — but it makes these dramatic issues WWE loves to shoehorn in during the first 35 minutes of every show more bearable when there’s something more complex to think about than “John Cena wants to fight right now“. Ziggler SHOULD have a point, and he should be at least a little wrong, and we should be able to know that.
Worst: CM Punk, Still Hung Up On 20 Years Ago’s Gender Issues
And speaking of
1. Guys I love who are doing it wrong
2. People who should have a better point
CM Punk, everybody!
I’m not sure when WWE management sat down with Punk and said “okay, everything you’ve spent the last decade establishing about yourself needs to go, please replace it by saying I AM THE MOST MASCULINE MAN over and over”, but I hate them for doing it and at the risk of ranting about bullsh*t you couldn’t care less about it is grating and stupid for Punk’s biggest complaints against people to STILL be that they don’t follow middle America’s standards of masculinity. I feel like there should be a heavier emphasis on “I am the best wrestler in the world” (and even “I’m better than you”, because sh*t, he does that better than anyone) and less of an emphasis on “you are wearing pink, you are a gay”. Fake eyelashes? Spray tan? Who appointed you the f**king fashion police, dude? You haven’t changed your shirt in six months.
More importantly, who gives a sh*t if Dolph Ziggler is wearing a pink shirt? Honestly. That Golden Age of WWF would’ve blown f**king donkeys if Savage had spent two years going “hey Hogan, your tan isn’t real and you’re bald and nobody takes you seriously and you wear yellow underpants” instead of punching people in the face and crushing their throats with ring bells. Go back and watch this sh*t you namedrop, Punk. At no point does Jun Akiyama get in the Widow Baba’s face and yell “I know what’s REALLY going on!”
Best: Vickie Guerrero neé Muntz
And speaking of
1. Awesome wrestling
Vickie Guerrero! She hasn’t done anything especially despicable in years, but she’s maintained a healthy temperature by just kinda being around and laughing in peoples’ faces. I was in another room when she started laughing in Foley’s face and it made me smile without even seeing it. I know Vickie only has two speeds (“happy about her guy winning” and “excuse me”), but when Punk started in with YOU’RE THE LAST PERSON WHO SHOULD BE TALKING ABOUT EATING DISORDERS VICKIE I wanted her to respond with “f**k you, I’m an adult”. I also would’ve accepted “f**k you, I have a gym membership”, or “f**k you, I have a gym membership and you stay in shape by downing fish oil and blowing loads onto your own 8 x 10s”.
Best: When Did Mike Quackenbush Win The WWE Tag Team Titles?
Sh*t, wait, is that the referee?
Best: The Now-Standard Rosa Mendes Outfit Best
Again with the Rosa Mendes.
I feel like I need to clarify this. Rosa Mendes has made a GREAT decision to wear hot pants and hang out at ringside instead of wrestling. This is not a catch-all for women in wrestling, as I am a huge fan and supporter of women who want to wrestle professionally and be taken seriously, but some women who end up with this job are just f**king terrible at it, and Rosa was dangerously close to reaching a Jackie Gayda critical mass with her inability to feed, take, execute or understand an Irish whip. Kelly Kelly can’t run the ropes for sh*t, but at least she can do it without falling backwards with her eyes crossed.
Also needing clarification: Rosa Mendes isn’t someone I’d bring up HD pictures of on my computer and wistfully think “wow, she’s so beautiful”, but if I was at a strip club and she was wearing what she wore last night, I would think “holy sh*t that stripper is beautiful”. Does that make sense?
Best: Title Changes When They Don’t Have To Happen
When I was younger, I was obsessed with wondering what would happen when wrestling’s most obvious tropes were broken … for example, having grown up watching a lot of NWA I KNEW that the tape machines were rolling and that if the match ended during the commercial break David Crockett or whoever would show me what happened, but the match was always still going on when they got back. That part of my brain LOVES house show title changes, because no amount of them happening can make me think they’d actually happen. They turn my brain into MC Escher’s Relativity.
And reasonably wouldn’t titles change hands all the time at non-televised events? These guys are wrestling all the time. In the long long ago (before the darkness came) they could travel from town to town doing the same finishes wherever and get away with it, because only those 1-900-909-9900 motherf**kers are traveling around watching Flair beat Magnum with his feet on the ropes in every Carolina, but now when there are four different live reports for what happened on Superstars with varying levels of appropriateness (“I started a chant! My section LOVED it!” etc.) you kinda have to write those shows into the story, right? I’d love for a guy to show up on Raw and say “Dolph Ziggler, I wrestled you last Wednesday or whatever on the WWE live tour and you cheated to beat me, I want a rematch” or something. Just be okay that they exist and use them.
Worst: Kofi Kingston Should Kick Evan Bourne’s Ass
From WWE Corporate:
STAMFORD, Conn., January 17, 2012 – In accordance with its Talent Wellness Program, WWE (NYSE:WWE) has suspended Matthew Korklan (Evan Bourne®) for 60 days effective Tuesday, January 17 for his second violation of the company’s policy.
…so that explains your title change.
As a guy who stands by the D.A.R.E. pledge to resist drugs and alcohol he signed in the fourth grade, I don’t have a lot of tolerance for people who get high profile, high paying jobs and f**k them up by smoking pot. Whether or not it should be legalized or whether it’s “good” or “bad” is irrelevant — if the company that pays you 400K to do what you love to do for a living says “hey, you can keep doing this for a living, just don’t do these drugs” I have absolutely no f**king sympathy for you when you get caught. I don’t care that you get suspended and R-Truth gets to stick around and finish his story. I don’t! You’re stupid. You’re stupid, and you should be replaced by one of the 50 or so guys I can think of off the top of my head who can sell convincingly and do a nice shooting star press.
And seriously, Kofi Kingston should pull Evan Bourne aside backstage and kick him in the balls for pissing away any relevancy the tag titles were going to have and literally throwing a baby of an idea into the behind-the-prom dumpster of what actually happens.
Best: Chris Jericho Literally Communicating Via Jacket
Baby, when the lights, go out. He’ll show you what it’s all, about.
Like most of you, I’m still not 100% sure where Chris Jericho is going with this Boxxy gimmick, but I sure am enjoying watching him get there. And also like most of you, I’m left to assume that Jericho was paralyzed by delta radiation while trying to save the cast of NXT from a baffle plate rupture on their J-class wrestling show and has to flash his jacket once for “yes” and twice for “no”.
I think my favorite part of Jericho’s backstage interactions this week wasn’t that he induced darkness to make his jacket look cool, but that John Laurinaitis apparently knew he was going to do it and remained silent while this psycho in a wearable Lite-Brite wandered into his office and turned off the lights.