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Now, please click through to enjoy the Best And Worst Of WWE Raw for December 11, 2012. The title to a Best And Worst column has never been more appropriate.
Best: Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah
Last night’s Raw started with Dolph Ziggler standing on a ladder, talking about how he was going to win his match against John Cena and go on to be the World Heavyweight Champion, and it was only the second or third most e-fed thing on the show. Ziggler’s got a lot of charisma and knows how to talk, but he’s never quite figured out how to talk compellingly on a microphone in front of people. He rushes through what he’s saying and spends too much time when he gets where he’s going, and … I don’t know, it doesn’t work. He’s pretending his 2010 Miz promos are 1984 Ric Flair, and the disconnect between what he’s saying and how he expects us to react is too much to handle sometimes.
So add that in with another Sheamus promo about how OIM GANNA BE THE WORLT HEAVYWEIGHT SHAMPION and it feels like two people auditioning for the same part. It’s like they’re doing an improv exercise. The back and forth reminded me too much of Fred Williard and Catherine O’Hara doing ‘Midnight At The Oasis’ in Waiting For Guffman. “Who’s gonna be the next World Heavyweight Champion?” “YOU DON’T HAVE TO AAAANSWEEERRRRR.”
Big Show stepping out and just kinda Spider-Manning them with a “blah blah blah blah blah” was perfect. Show’s the best current example of how a guy can take the horrible things WWE has him do and turn it into a realistic character. He’s a huge guy who was made to be a joke for the longest time, had to deal with direct, public humiliation to keep his job and spent a few months being pissed about it. Now he’s settled in to a comfortable spot where he’s accepted that life is the way it is, and he’s confident enough to say he’ll knock everybody out, but still self-loathing enough to think the world’s going to collapse beneath him. And it might, because wrestling is weird and everybody at work is crazy. That’s awesome.
And while we’re making Guffman references, the rest of the show made me feel like this.
Worst: The Wade Barrett/R-Truth Match Was The Tree Falling In The Woods With Nobody Around To Hear It
I tried really hard to remember something that happened during the Wade Barrett/R-Truth match, and this is what I came up with:
1. Another goddamn “Vince goads Vickie into making decisions” segment, because Vince thought that was funny when he did it the first time and now just shows up to shows and saunters in like, “SO, WHEN ARE WE DOING THE ME AND VICKIE THING AGAIN, RIGHT NOW, DURING THE MATCH ENTRANCES, OKAY”
2. Kofi Kingston trying to make fun of Antonio Cesaro for “carrying a purse” and getting shut down with “you couldn’t pull it off,” although I wish he would’ve went with “the only thing I’ve ever seen you wear is Jamaican-themed underwear and bright yellow breakaway pants, shut the f**k up.”
3. The ending, where Kofi runs into the ring, attacks a tired, unsuspecting Wade Barrett, then hops away in celebration like Daffy Duck. Because he is the good guy.
4. The entire thing being rendered pointless by the later, much-more-effective Kofi/Cesaro one-on-one match.
So, did Barrett and Truth actually wrestle? Does it matter? What is the sound of one hand clapping?
Worst, Or Possibly Best: How Sorry John Cena Is About AJ Seeing Justin Gabriel’s Dong
AJ finds out she’s got a match with Vickie Guerrero, so she skips around backstage excitedly telling everyone about it. She even hugs Kaitlyn, who proves that she’s the most underrated actor in the company by selling it with the appropriate babyface response of “okay, you used to be my friend and this is nice, but you’ve been a b-hole to me recently … still nice though, and kinda weird.” I think they had AJ greet Aksana first so we wouldn’t think the Chickbusters were getting back together. “We” meaning “Brandon.”
So then AJ goes into the men’s locker room, where John Cena is huddled up (?) with a bunch of guys including Justin Gabriel in a towel, and Cena kinda nervously holds a shirt in front of her (?) until he can usher her out, apologizing profusely to the others. A few questions here. Firstly, what the hell were they doing? Did AJ interrupt a circle jerk? And if she did, why did Cena hold up a towel in front of her body? He wasn’t trying to shield her from seeing naked guys, right? He was shielding the naked guys from seeing her, because they’d … I don’t know, get boners? Is John Cena the boner police? Does he just not want HER to be the one giving them boners? And why make a bunch of exaggerated I’M SOARRRYYY faces at them the entire time? One of the people they work with came into the wrong locker room, and all they were doing was sitting in a circle near the door. It’s not like she walked in on Ezekiel Jackson shaving his nuts, or whatever. It seemed like a thing where a normal person would just be like, “hey, let’s talk about this outside, you probably shouldn’t be in here,” then return with a “heh, sorry guys, m’beautiful girlfriend” when they’re done. Is Justin Gabriel gonna spend the next 40 minutes lecturing Cena on how THIS IS HIS PRIVATE TIME or whatever?
That would’ve been pretty funny, actually. And this segment should’ve ended with Stan Hansen emerging from the showers to whip her in the ass with his cowboy hat until she fled the room.
Best: ‘Staching Cody Rhodes
+Rhodes all around! The Cody Rhodes Mustache accomplished three amazing things:
a) It made him less beautiful, which is important if he wants to be “delusional WWE heel #4,000” like they want, and not an actual beautiful guy who is right about it and makes us feel bad,
b) It gave him a hook to get over, which he’s never had despite several years of being great at his job, and
c) As has been said on Twitter, it turned a Raw crowd into a Chikara crowd for five minutes and had them chanting “CO-DY’S MUS-TACHE” clap clap clapclapclap.
That’s spectacular. The mustache being really, really ugly helps. I feel his pain, though, the only way I could grow a full mustache is if I started right now, and kept growing until I was dead. Even then, it’d just be the same amount of mustache, just grown over in a weird arch over my lip. I guess now we know why Dusty and Dustin have been clean-shaven forever.
Best: The Crowd Cheering For The Usos
The actual tag team match itself was really good, if you ignore Awful Jerry Lawler’s Awful Jerry Lawler Commentary about how he wants to give Rosa his dick as a Christmas present. It was four tag teams that could use television exposure — the woefully stereotyped-into-a-corner Prepico, the enjoyable-but-only-outside-of-the-ring Primetime Players, the popular-with-jerks-like-me Rhodes Scholars and the we’d-be-huge-if-the-WWE-Universe-watched-the-B-shows Usos — getting a purposeful 10-minute slot to show their stuff. They were wrestling for a reason, everybody got to look good, and they even had stuff happen during the commercial break to push that WWE App. That’s all very good.
The most heartening thing was the crowd responding well to the Usos, who have been around for three years (!) with one of the best entrances ever, accompanied by a championship pedigree and absolutely nothing else. If you want diversity on your show, you’ve got this stellar Samoan tag team languishing in the minor minor leagues, one bad Creative meeting away from being the Dark City Fight Club, ready to go. They yell OOOO and the crowd yells SOOOO. It’s easy. People want to do it. I want to do it right now. I want to run out onto my balcony and yell OOO and have the mailman or whoever yell back SOOO like I’m Pee-wee Herman on the payphone in Texas.
The TLC pre-show should be the Usos and somebody doing something, instead of “please tune in to see Alicia Fox wear the same amount of clothes she always does, but Santa-themed.”