– 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.
Best: Jack Swagger, Graduate Of The Matt Morgan School Of Character Development
Jack Swagger’s right eye twitches now, because he lost to a Muppet. It started twitching when he put Santino Marella in the ankle lock, which I guess gave it EXTRA POWER as Santino tapped instantly and kept tapping even when he was on his back and it should’ve stopped hurting. I don’t know if Swagger or Swagger’s wranglers came up with the tic, but it’s easily the best idiosyncrasy-passing-for-character-development since Matt Morgan’s stutter, or at least since that time the Hardyz and Lita did Respek Knuckles.
It was good to see somebody finally just snap and beat the dogsh*t out of Santino, and not just run mindlessly into his hip-toss. There’s something extremely unnerving about natural hair-growth Santino in a blue singlet with a white t-shirt over it that is supposed to look like a gi AND a full-arm snake hand puppet all at once. It’s just too busy, I don’t know. It’s like looking at a Magic Eye. Yeah, I see the schooner and that’s fine, but after a minute I’ve just got to look at something else.
WORST: Did You Just Make A Penn State Joke
Jerry “The King” Lawler, 61-year old pro wrestler and guy who gets paid to talk for a living, thought it would be funny to say it was a good thing that Jack Swagger didn’t go to Penn State, because they were going to end up in the State Pen. To quote Jerusalem, the guy who makes most of the gifs I use in these reports at the Punchsport Pagoda:
If you haven’t followed the news, the Penn State scandal is in regards to a Coach who ran a special charity Gym Project, and raped or sexually molested at least eight young boys – with claims that at least a few of the Higher Ups at the University were aware of this and did nothing about it for at least a decade.
Not bringing Lawler’s own shady-ass past into it, Jesus Christ, guys, what kind of show are you trying to run tonight? Get. A. F**king. Grip.
Best: The Prestigious Maxim Magazine Cover Reveal
Okay, remember how terrible the segments were whenever Candice Michelle or Ashley Massaro or whoever had to reveal their Playboy covers, and it always ended in someone jealous coming out and trying to start a fight, and sometimes ended with Ashley taking off her shirt and revealing that weird muscle-cage and bocce balls thing that was going on with her torso for a while? Yeah. Imagine those segments, but PG’d out the ass so you’re never guaranteed a look at the protagonist’s nipples. That was last night’s Kelly Kelly segment, featuring a two minute OMG YOU GUYS I’VE GROWN UP SO MUCH IT’S BEEN A LIFELONG DREAM I’M SO HONORED TO BE ON THE COVER OF MAXIM alongside such luminaries and important women of our time like Noxema’s Rebecca Gayheart, Paris Hilton’s sister and “The Drop Undead Girls Of Van Helsing“.
For a quick reminder, this is K2’s Maxim cover:
And this is a shot of her normal wrestling gear.
So… what exactly are we getting excited about, again? Besides finding out how to be a Sex Santa, I mean.
Worst: An Additional Reminder
The official end of any hopes we had for the “Divas of Doom” story was Jerry Lawler’s flippant “it’s just about jealousy, it always is” comment at the end of the segment. We assumed that’s what was happening when they did their “you say we’re jealous, but we’re NOT” picture-in-picture a few months ago, but now the cards are just lying around on the table. We’re also left to assume that this is where the Kharma angle was going. “Kelly, you don’t really wrestle well but you’re pretty and people like you, and that makes me mad because I want to be pretty and have people like me. :(”
Come to think of it, that’s kinda how the CM Punk/Triple H angle ended, too. And speaking of that!
Best: Coming Up Next, The Long Awaited POOPIES Of Kevin Nash >=(
IT GIVES NEW MEANING TO THE PHRASE “AFTER THE BREAK”
Worst: Kevin Nash Was Never Good At This
I’ve seen a lot of confusion online as to why Kevin Nash is doing so badly at these in-ring promos, and guess what? He was never very good. When it was 1998 and things like “I should’ve BURIED YOU THEN!” were controversial and didn’t smell so much like TNA, he was fine. He was a new kind of character, nonchalantly slurring his way through drunken statements about fat chicks needing love at Spring Break, but even then he was mixing up verb with adjective and taking way too long to say nothing. Sure, it could be the bad story they’re trying to tell. It could be that he’s used to coming up with stuff to say on the fly and can’t adjust to the heavily-scripted nature of WWE television.
I’ve written and rewritten an explanation for it, but all I can come up with is that we like sh*t like real names and “shoot comments” and terms like pop and buried and “this business” when they’re coming from someone we like, or from someone we want to do well. It’s why we go WOOO when somebody at the indy show yells F**K WWE. I don’t want to f**k the WWE, a lot of people I like make a lot of money there, but I like you too, indy guy, and support your spirit. When Punk says “Ring of Honor” on WWE television it feels taboo, because we like him a lot and have convinced ourselves that he’s never going to get to “be himself” and say things we might say when talking wrestling in real life, like “Ring of Honor”.
My problem with Nash is that I f**king hate talking about wrestling like that. Listen to Nash condemn Triple H for wearing slacks. That’s just as stupid and socially backwards as Booker T laughing about how the Miz should’ve had his suit tailored. Motherf**ker, you robbed a Wendy’s. Nash has spent the last 20 years of his life in wolf t-shirts and fannypacks. Why is he on TV talking about dress codes and pops? Why is he saying he’s “still got it”? Why isn’t he talking more about how he hit a guy twice with a sledgehammer, or things we’ve actually seen ourselves and can identify and relate to? I’m not 14 anymore, dude, I’m not going to get excited when you say “cliq”, I’m going to get excited when you SAY something exciting and DO something exciting besides pacing back and forth in a wrestling ring in the middle of a sh*tty Monday trying to remember your lines.
Stuff like this is bad and why I don’t do a Best and Worst of Impact. I can’t justify another speech about how this part is real and this part isn’t. Just wrestle, if that matters.
Worst: No Brodus Clay
Best: An Explanation For The Lack Of Brodus Clay
I was sad to see a Brodus Clay video package in lieu of Brodus Clay fat-f**king Trent Barreta on Raw, but it was fine because in the very next segment they had David Otunga say “hey, isn’t Brodus Clay supposed to be here tonight?” and explained it. This is how awesomely you’ve lowered my expectations — you tie together one loose continuity issue and it makes me feel like I’m watching ‘The Wire’. That makes it sound like I’m complaining, but I’m not. It’s why when the Nexus shows up and destroys the ring or Punk squats and rips apart the company out of the blue it affects me so strongly … I’m DYING for you to make this show good, and it’s so easy for you to make me believe you have.
Also, Brodus as Existential Fat Man is going to be great if they run with it. I want Derrick Bateman to hit Titus O’Neil with his headlock driver and say it was karma, only for Brodus to appear from out of nowhere and scream “karma can only be portioned out by the cosmos” before G-Gripping him into unconsciousness. (Editor’s Note: I have booked six months of philosophical pro wrestling based around Clay and Bateman, if you are a WWE representative please contact me at email@example.com)
Best: David Otunga, Best In The World
One of these mean is a Harvard-educated lawyer who wears a bowtie because it symbolizes fastidiousness. The other is a contentious, pantsless jerk who insults people without warrant and punches people for insulting him, then steps over them and keeps punching them when they’re down. Guess which one I’m cheering for!
Best: John Laurinaitis Tries To Top “Does He Have A Pulse”
Alberto Del Rio attacked CM Punk (from behind) (because he deserved it), and somehow the best part of it all was Mr. John Laurinaitis, Executive Vice President of Talent Relations, chastising him from the background. “Stop this right now!” “I’m not going to tell you again!” And the cherry on top, “AIGHT, DON’T MAKE ME TAKE OFF MY JACKET”. Amazing. I love the idea that Laurinaitis is this backstabbing twerp, but when he takes off his blazer the mullet comes down and he starts dropkicking.
Best: Del Rio’s Little Kicks
I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but one of my favorite things about Alberto Del Rio are his little stutter-kicks when he’s done armbreakering someone and he wants to push them away. He does it sometimes in pull-apart brawls, too, like in this segment. They pull him off Punk but his legs are free, so he just kicks at him until he’s out of reach. The little things, guys. Also, I’m trying to figure out what’s on that catering table before Punk goes through it. So far I can make out cups, a fruit plate, two bins of popcorn (?) and what looks like a tub of icing. No wonder Otunga brings his coffee from home.
Best: POOPIES >=(
Wait, we already did that.
Best: Balancing Out John Cena
Cena and Ryder vs. Awesome Truth was a fine tag match, but like a lot of what happened on the show could be more effectively boiled down to a 2 1/2 minute clip on WWE Fan Nation and not really lose anything from it. There were cute moments — Miz’s “you can’t see me” in the ropes with a cut over to Cena looking upset and back to Miz looking like an asshole, the contagious smile on Ryder’s face during the 10-Knuckle Shuffle — but the best part was how teaming a guy everyone wants to see (Ryder) with a guy everyone wants to see but gets pissed off about (Cena) ends up being brilliant. The LET’S GO CENA CENA SUCKS dueling chant that forgets other wrestlers exist was lessened a bit into WE WANT RYDER, so when Cena was in it seemed like he was serving a purpose instead of just mindlessly being attacked before winning without effort.
Ryder’s offense plays well with Cena’s, too. Last night was the night for two moves: running people shoulder-first through the ropes into the ringpost and the flapjack (I’m guessing because you can do either with anybody in WWE 12), but Ryder’s jumpy-kicky stuff plays well in tags. Maybe that’s why he was paired with Hawkins for so long. Anyway, I liked seeing Cena on the apron waiting for the hot tag, bobbing around and practically turning to the crowd with dimples like THIS IS IT, HERE IT COMES because he’s about to get the hot tag and knows he’s gonna get to do his moves. The ending was a major anticlimax, but I’ll get to that in a second.
Worst: You’re Nerfing ‘Radio’, Guys
Oh man, how much do I hate voice clips before entrance themes? They very, very infrequently work (I like the AWESAHHHHHHHH before Miz’s theme, but that’s about it) with the two indisputable worst ever being
1. Steve Richards’ I’LL SHOW YOU, YOU’LL SEE
2. Bob Holly’s HOW D’YA LIKE ME NOW
…mostly because those weren’t famous Stevie Richards or Bob Holly sayings, but still. Zack Ryder’s theme as that “Ooooooooooooooh, Ray-dee-ohhhhh” thing at the beginning to get the pop, you don’t have to add WOO WOO WOO YOU KNOW IT before it. If you do you’re just killing the song. Have him say WOO WOO WOO YOU KNOW IT and then it kicks into rock music, or have Oooh Radio and roll with it. Better yet, just give him the goddamn “Take Care, Spike Your Hair” song from the end of True Long Island Story and put the flashing word TWITTER on the TitanTron. I don’t know.
P.S. the best line in that song is “I’m gonna drink some BEER tonight YEAH!” That is some Theme From Ass-Man-quality writing.
Worst: But No, Seriously, This Pays Us In Full, Right
Cena + tag partner of his choice had and lost their match to The Miz and R-Truth. That’s the end! Next week we get The Rock’d for 3-hours, so it’s just gonna be him shilling Ground Infantry Joe 2 and cracking wise with Mae Young, right, we’re not going through with the Most Charismatic Tag Team Of All Time Never Before Never Again We Bring It And Don’t Ever Give Up, right? We’re just going to do Survivor Series matches at Survivor Series and Rock will wrestle Cena at Wrestlemania without spitting on his hand and wiping it all over everybody, right?
Worst: Cena Not Giving A Sh*t
And we end one of the most personally-confusing Raws ever with John Cena losing because R-Truth held his foot, then immediately rolling over and not caring. The worst part is the complete no-selling of emotion (the most complex thing I got from him was “oh man, that sucked, how funny is it that those guys beat me, heh”) but the second worst part is John Cena’s anatomy, because apparently someone holding your ankle keeps you from being able to move your arms or shoulders. Watch when Miz covers him… Cena’s entire upper body is uncovered, and he just kinda moves his arms around like he’s helpless. It’s hilarious. Terrible and sad, but hilarious.
Just like the match, this week’s Best and Worst reaches its anti-climax. That’s just sorta how the show ended. Zack Ryder disappeared into the ether and Cena said AW SHUCKS and continued not giving a single f**k about Miz and Truth. The end.
No, seriously, the end.
Post-report notes, because I can’t believe that’s the end:
– Next week’s show is actually three hours dedicated to the Rock, so I’m going to TRY to write about it, but forgive me if I say f**k it and go play Batman.
– For an alternate view of last night’s show, please visit our new friends at UGO and Aubrey Sitterson’s report WWE Raw Nov. 7, 2011 – The Good, The Bad And The Ugly.
– And when you’re done there, be sure to read John Canton’s Raw Deal so he knows I love him and doesn’t pull a “whoops, did I say Wrestlemania, I meant TNA Victory Road” on me.