– As always, and yes, I’m begging, make sure to drop us a comment when you’re done reading the report. It can be about the report, what you thought of the show, who your five favorite people are in that banner image, whatever. We just want to hear from you. Also, we’re following up our botched WWE Vengeance predictions contest with a Survivor Series version (with the same $250 Amazon gift card at stake), so get in the hang of commenting and interacting now. And no, I’m not going to make you pick who you think will be the sole survivor, I want to actually give this away at some point in my life.
– This show was live (on tape) from England, and if you’ve been watching wrestling for more than a month you know how bad taped shows tend to be. Nothing really happens and they just tread water until they’re back in the States. That means the show isn’t very good, so if I come across as wholly negative, I apologize. Worst case scenario, you got to look at Kaitlyn and AJ for a minute.
– The brand new With Leather pro wrestling podcast, With Spandex is tentatively (TENTATIVELY) scheduled to start up next week. I still don’t know what I’m doing, but dammit, I’ve got to start doing it badly soon.
Please click through to enjoy the Best and Worst of WWE Raw, innit. (British)
Worst: Holy Sh*t Cena Just Made Fun Of Rape And Black People At The Same Time
About eight minutes into the show, John Cena, the Muscle Milk Juicebox That Walks Like A Man, responds to R-Truth’s threats of violence by putting on his best “maid from Tom & Jerry” voice to scream “OoohOOoh NO hide ya kids, hide ya wife, R-Troofus has done lost his mind again”. And here I thought I was going to have to write three paragraphs about Mammy Two-Piece from the Popeye’s commercials again. I know they’ve been calmly edging their way back into out-and-out racism as of late, but holy f**k, Cena did everything short of putting on a pair of clown shoes and shellacking his face with f**king shoe polish to work shoulderblock-shoulderblock-protobomb-you-can’t-see-me into an ol’ Bojangles routine and cram R-Truth into crate bound for Africa.
I don’t have another way to put it. What the f**k, WWE? Whether or not the Internet glorification of Antoine Dodson’s goofy response to someone trying to rape his sister makes inadvertent fun of rape victims is a debatable point (I guess) and the year and a half between when it was uploaded and when WWE finally found out about it seems appropriate, but dude, in a company where the four black guys on your show are either crazy, scheming, smilin’ or a wearing differently-lengthened pant legs because they’re a thug stereotype you can NOT have the popular white champion one ill-placed pause from saying “oh lawdy”. You can’t.
And that doesn’t even scratch the f**king surface of “R-Troofus” or “done lost his mind”. I really hope this was scripted out by out-of-touch 60-year-olds and not improv from Make-A-Wish Foundation-loving, hip-hop-wit-Da-Trademarc-ass John Cena. And without getting too far into it right now, I wish this had been the only moment of out-and-out racist slurs on the two hours of taped wrestling. Suddenly watching Jaykus Plisken call a black guy “chocolate man” at Anarchy in Austin doesn’t seem so bad, because we’re all hipster adults who can boo him for it and not a bunch of underclass eight-year-olds in Rise Above Hate shirts who are gonna go to school on Tuesday with black kids they’re never allowed to understand.
I’m a blogger. It’s not my job to tell a publicly-traded, International corporation that they’re awful people. But you know what? I’m sorry. You’re awful people and you shouldn’t be doing this. This is subversively worse and more damaging than the corpse-f**king.
Worst: The Logistics Of This Whole Tagging Thing
The stipulation John Laurinaitis arranged two weeks ago was that John Cena and a parter of his choice would face R-Truth and The Miz in a tag team match. Cena picked Zack Ryder, but Miz and Truth jumped him backstage and Cena had to go it alone. Cena won by disqualification, but Miz and Truth took it too far and Laurinaitis rebooted the idea with the same announcement — Cena would face Truth and Miz in a tag team match with a partner of his choice. Cena chooses the Rock, and the match is made for Survivor Series.
Fast forward two weeks and our main-event is John Cena and Zack Ryder in a tag team match against The Miz and R-Truth. Shouldn’t this … I don’t know, shouldn’t this be the match? Cena and his partner he chose are wrestling these guys. That’s the end, right? It fulfills Laurinaitis’ stipulation. If Cena’s building to a big tag match at the pay-per-view against guys he wants to get his hands on, why does he keep easily getting his hands on them every week, including more than once in tag matches?
They should’ve held a battle royal to find Cena’s partner and had Eve win it. F**k it, why not? Cena and Eve could beat The Awesome Truth, because one member of the team is John Cena.
Best: Zack Ryder, The Worst Macho Man Ever
As a wrestling nerd who obsesses over moments and mannerisms from 30 years ago, I loved Cena and Zack Ryder breaking out the Mega Powers handshake to formally announce their team for the night’s main event. It lacked the cocaine-fueled madness of Hulk Hogan saying the shake might “blow the whole planet up” or the suggestion that Hulkamania and Macho Madness are competing universes, but it was good. Cena is obviously the 1980s Hogan here — the brightly-colored, musclebound perennial champion with a limited set of moves who cannot be hurt or stopped by anything ever — so that makes The Internet’s Zack Ryder the Macho Man. As much as I appreciate Ryder’s charisma and ability, yeah, that’s a pretty huge gap.
I think they should’ve saved the big handshake for Cena/Rock, because The Rock comes a lot closer to being Savage … he hates women, wears sunglasses at all times, and if you remember his tweaked-out pacing interview from Wrestlemania 20 you’re aware he’s on enough drugs to start thinking of himself as a solar system.
Best: Kevin Nash MAEKS POOPIES TONIGHT >=(
Best: WWE Live-tweeting John Morrison’s Passive-Aggressive Twitter
They should do this for everybody. In the middle of the match just have Melina’s Twitter pop up and say “@RealMelina: Eating some Skittles, thinking about how Kelly Kelly is a stupid whore! LOL! j/k thanks for all the love please RT if you agree”. And then a graphic pops up of Michael Cole or whoever retweeting it. That’d be awesome. Just fill the screen with infographics like we’re watching ‘Pardon The Interruption’. After 60 seconds John Morrison has to stop wrestling and we move on to the backstage segment.
Also, I totally just realized that Teddy Long looks like the bastard lovechild of Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon.
Worst: John Morrison Is Officially Carlito
You can’t really tell from the three minutes WWE Fan Nation chose to showcase, but John Morrison versus Dolph Ziggler for Not the United States Championship was so boring it made last week’s Alberto Del Rio/Big Show match look like a Dragon Gate finisher sprint. I don’t know if Morrison’s spirit is crushed or what, but even when he’s ridiculously and illogically winning matches he’s mailing it in. I guess I can’t blame him after three straight months of losing, but damn, there’s nothing sadder than Sad Parkour. Watch him early-on in the match when he escapes Ziggler by twisting out through the ropes, only he gets caught about halfway through with zero sense of urgency and just kinda pulls himself down while Ziggler pretends like he isn’t standing there waiting. Ziggler tried his best, and there’s still a legitimate athleticism to what Morrison does in the ring, but it’d be nice if we could pair Dolph with someone who isn’t a Muppet, dead in the water or flipping pointlessly into a brick wall.
WWE’s got this thing about losing streaks where the guy starts winning the second they acknowledge it, and it works as sort-of a backhanded explanation for why the guy’s been losing. “John Morrison hasn’t won a match since August, guys, and we haven’t said anything about it until now, but he’s PROBABLY GOING TO WIN TONIGHT” and he wins. They’ve conditioned us with this sh*t so that when Bryan Danielson spends four months losing to FCW we spend three and a half months justifying it as a losing streak that is “probably leading to a push”. It’s probably just a guy constantly losing, everybody.
Best: Lawler And Cole Are Never Allowed To Talk About The Beatles Again
One of the worst but most memorable aspects of last night’s commentary was the five hundred minutes or so Michael Cole spent trying to get Vickie Guerrero’s sex schoolgirl outfit over as “Beatles-esque” with Lawler going “LOL WTF” about it. They talked about it the entire match, possibly because the match itself was as boring as the goddamn Great Saiyaman Saga, and the closet Cole got to justifying his claim was that the Beatles used to wear black suits with white shirts and black ties, and Vickie had a white shirt and was kinda wearing a tie. Lawler even shut that down by pointing out the Beatles never wore booty shorts.
It was proof that if Vince wasn’t in the back somewhere yelling SAY WHAT A MANEUVER DAMMIT into microphone, even Cole and Lawler would naturally deteriorate into bored insanity like the guys pretending to be excited about Malachi Jackson matches in PWG. Ever wonder why indy wrestling announcers never get the wrestlers over and just curse and make jokes? It’s because we have eyeballs and this isn’t on the radio and their job is pointless. Live wrestling is always better than wrestling with someone talking over it, no matter how many times you reference Rob Naylor.
Worst: Michael Cole Is Never Allowed to Talk About The Cleveland Indians EVER AGAIN
Michael Cole compared Zack Ryder to the Cleveland Indians, saying he beat Dolph Ziggler in a non-title match-up last week because it was “preseason”, saying the Indians win everything in the preseason but can’t win anything in the regular season. First of all, Lawler rightfully pointed out that “preseason” is football and baseball doesn’t have preseason, it has Spring Training. Second of all, The Tribe finished in second place this year and have only been really bad for about five seasons of the last twenty. Three of those came in a row, but still. What I’m trying to say is f**k you, Michael Cole, and if the year-long sprint of you being MadTV’s interpretation of Andy Kaufman on my wrestling program hasn’t done it, your ill-informed opinions on professional baseball may cause me to infiltrate my next DiBiase Posse Party incognito and garrote you to f**king death in the Gorilla’s Refuse Position.
Also, speaking of racism, my favorite baseball team’s logo is a bright red man’s face with Louis Armstrong teeth named “Chief Wahoo”.
One More Worst For JoMosapiens: JoMosapiens
I’ve talked at length about the ridiculous “WE’RE GONNA EAT YOUR LUNCH” across the back of John Morrison’s shirt (sample joke: “WWE Shopzone should sell a Curt Hawkins trucker hat with I’M GON LICK YER STAMPZ across the front”) but I’ve never taken the time to point out the graffiti monkeys in sunglasses on the front. What does this have to do with my lunch? Am I going to leave my lunch at an urban zoo? When’s the monolith gonna show up and give John Morrison the ability to wrestle?
I don’t know what kind of JoMosexual would be caught wearing this, but if we’re going to have Pleistocene specimen jokes on our wrestling shirts why not give Zack Ryder a “BRO-MAGNON” headband? Make D-X shirts with “Suck Mladeč” across the front.
Best: Survivor Series Is Actually Survivor Series
It took me a minute to remember that wasn’t Chavo Guerrero, but I’m really happy to see a traditional Survivor Series match made for the pay-per-view. My only problems with the match are that the good guy team is completely random (and I’m not happy with Sin Cara teaming with Sheamus like he never got powerbombed through a ladder and literally split in two) and neither team has a funny theme-name. At least give the Barrett/Rhodes group an official non-“Agents Of Change” stable name, or have the good guys line up Sheamus -> Orton -> Sin Cara -> Ryan -> Kingston and call them “Color Wheel”.
Worst: Wooo Someone’s From Wales Oh Wait It’s This Guy
One of the easiest WWE talking points right now is “I don’t care about Mason Ryan and he’s terrible at wrestling”. I think WWE needs a GRONDA-looking motherf**ker like Ryan from time to time, and I always enjoy the “Ba-tis-ta” chants from the crowd, but yeah, you can only cart this guy out and have him do some mild lifting to silence so many times before you have to abandon him or give him something to do. Batista didn’t just show up and be muscular, he started off as a sea monster, grew into an indentured alter boy and was quickly adopted into Evolution, where he learned to be an awesome dickface in sunglasses. Now he weighs 160 pounds and shoots guys with 2004 rap hits in direct-to-DVD action movies with titles like “A RIGHT TO’VE KILLED”.
What I’m saying is that Mason Ryan has the muscles and the size XS panties necessary to make him a huge deal in WWE, but he’s got to be something or do things. Otherwise he’s just a living action figure, sitting criss-cross applesauce on a dining room table in silence while the K-Mart guy’s wife is off somewhere cramming her son’s Randy Orton up her stuff.
Best: Wrestlemania Tickets
Thanks in part to Mr. John Canton of The John Report, I’ll be attending my second-ever Wrestlemania in March. Because of this, the hype videos about how excited Latino Pedestrians and Slightly Overgrown Children are to have Wrestlemania tickets make me really happy. Here’s a quick checklist of things I’m expecting to enjoy over Wrestlemania weekend, in order of how much I actually expect them to happen.
1. Meeting other people from the Internet who like wrestling, but not enough to always be mad about it
2. Seeing Akira Tozawa and/or the Bravado Brothers at the weekend’s independent wrestling shows
3. Hugging Stan Hansen and crying about it because it’s f**king Stan Hansen at WrestleReunion
4. Mark photo with The Chickbusters at AXXESS
5. The Chickbusters still being employed by Wrestlemania
8. Mark Henry ending Undertaker’s streak
9. Antonio Cesaro showing up and ending Undertaker’s streak
10. Archibald Peck showing up and ending Undertaker’s streak
(list subject to change)
Worst: We Know Your Catchphrases, Zack, Now Talk Like A Human Being
This is Zack Ryder.
This is Zack Ryder’s segment being one dimensional.
(You’d think this segment would get a Worst because of how the Bellas say “Strawberry Filled”, but no.) (Also, why do you want them to call you? You just walked up to them and hugged them and made them say your catchphrase. Just walk to where they are, they are always there.)
Best: Kevin Nash is still MAEKING THE POOPIES TONIGHT >=(
HE IS, WE PROMISES, STICK AROUND
Worst: Missed It By That Much
Hey fans, be sure to check out WWE’s new social media experience, launched on Google Plus f**king yesterday and not six months ago or whatever when people thought Google Plus was going to be a thing. When you’re done doing what you’d do on our Facebook but with fewer people and more math, be sure to check out wwe.xanga.com and our DeviantART page for all your fic and “Wade Barrett as an anthropomorphic fox” colored-pencil drawing needs.
Best: Alberto Del Rio Skunking Kofi Kingston
Long-time readers may have guessed it while watching, but my favorite moment of the show was Alberto Del Rio doing what a WWE Champion should do for once in his life and beating Kofi Kingston in about two minutes without any trouble. This is what should be happening. Kofi should be able to get competitive matches out of Jack Swagger or whoever, but when he steps into the ring with a guy holding the WWE Championship (that he won in a Hell in a Cell, defeating your two most popular wrestlers) he should go “whoops” and fall down and have his arm broken. I liked a lot of the little things in this match, from Del Rio’s less-than-graceful armbreaker where he had to fall in the wrong direction and his Samoa Joe-style dodge of Kofi’s wacky suicide dive. A guy who spent his life coming up in lucha libre should be able to dodge a Kofi dive whether it’s the Matt Cross Memorial Fake-Out version or not.
It’s weird, though, because my mind says “the only way to legitimize Del Rio in the eyes of fans is to have him cleanly and efficiently beat undercard babyfaces without cheating”, but the mind of the modern fan says “this guy is easily beating all my favorites, that means he’s being shoved down my throat”. I wish I could pull that for real sports. “The Texans beat the Browns! The NFL is pushing the Texans too hard! They should lose the first eight games of the season so the ninth will mean something!” In a Universe where we’re blatantly asked to suspend disbelief (then unsuspend it, then suspend it again) doesn’t what happens determine what exists? If Daniel Bryan is great at wrestling but never wins, isn’t he that dopey white guy with the good fundamentals getting dunked over in college and then ignored forever? The trick is that WWE can change it up and say “no, the dunk gets blocked and the white guy takes it down the court and drains a three”, they just never do.
Best: Giving CM Punk Actual Reasons To Act Like This
For once (and only for this once) I’m happy to see Ricardo Rodriguez get hit with a finishing move. I’m sick to f**k of seeing it, but at least this time he deserved it. CM Punk ran his mouth, but Del Rio started things by attacking Kingston after the match. Punk goaded him on, but Del Rio threw the first punch, and when Punk got the advantage it was Ricardo who jumped on him and started punching. It was the opposite of the show in Austin, where Punk didn’t get what he wanted to he just punched an innocent guy and beat up his friend. That’s a big storytelling step forward, and one that continued (kind of) in the backstage follow-up. Del Rio is taking the cheap shots, not Punk.
I also like that they tried to explain Punk’s actions as a retaliation against Del Rio’s. Del Rio cashed in Money in the Bank to beat Punk the first time and hit him with a pipe the second, so Punk has free reign to f**k with him and hit him with things as a response. Two tiny problems with that, though — my personal issues with “two wrongs make a right” WWE logic causing every good guy to be a personal piece of sh*t, and the forgotten understanding that cashing in Money in the Bank is what you’re supposed to do with it (as Punk explicitly said the night after Del Rio cashed in on him in the first place) and that the “hitting people with pipes” thing took place in Hell In A Cell, where the entire point is cage match and weapon violence. It’s not like Del Rio hit him with a pipe at Night Of Champions or whatever. He lost two matches under the established-as-fair stipulations of both matches.
And there was one other bad thing.
Two Major Worsts: CM Punk Acting Like This
Both of Punk’s Worsts are an extension of his time spent with John Cena, I think … the first being insults to Alberto Del Rio’s fictional character and not to Del Rio “himself”. Maybe this is just Phil talking to Paul again, but instead of saying “you’re arrogant and you take shortcuts to win a match” or whatever, Punk broke out the “you’re one dimensional and these people already know what you’re going to say, because your catchphrase is dumb and you’re a fake person, not real like me, Phil”. It was John Cena accusing Del Rio of not owning his cars. The kind of thing you shouldn’t really be saying if you want people to pretend like your pretend fight is real enough to pay money for. This one wasn’t anything to get upset over, and was mostly a holdover from that sketchy attempt at a “reality era” that latched itself onto Punk’s Jim Rome promo and carried us through the Labor Issues Are For Pussies Walkout.
The other worst was, you guessed it, stupid, stupid racism. Tom Holzerman wrote about it at length earlier today, but here’s the quicker (and eventually way longer) version — Punk made Del Rio punch him by calling him “greasy”. And sure, he called him “weaselly” and “slimy” as well, so maybe “greasy” was just a condemnation of character, but it immediately follows last week where Punk sat by Del Rio’s unconscious body and called him “amigo” and said sh*t like “comprende” at him condescendingly because, well, it sounds like he hates Mexicans. There’s also the ever-present, unspoken hypocrisy of a WWE Superstar forced to ignore what’s actually happened, as 1) CM Punk spent the last three years being the most conniving, self-serving guy on the roster and 2) is way greasier than Del Rio even if he’s got beautiful white people’s hair.
And yeah, this gets even worse when you remember how it follows John Cena Rising Above Hate by calling R-Truth a dumb n*gger in front of everybody.
Best: WWE.Com, For All Your Bleacher Report Article Needs
I hope that when you go to WWE.com and click on the article it’s a 16-part slideshow that reloads the entire page when you click next and each slide is just “GREAT MOVES”, “POPULARITY” and “EXPERIENTS”. And when you click all the way through, the 17th slide takes you to the 100 Sexiest Photoes of Eve Torres.