– Comments, shares, likes, and especially Reddit submissions/up votes are appreciated. I need to make dollars to keep this job, and links to my stuff showing up on places not run by me create DOLLARS. Create MILLIONS OF THEM.
– The RSPW Awards are going on right now, and for the first time ever, I’m going to be voting/writing about my votes for it. Go participate/look at it/whatever! It’s one of those longtime things I’ve wanted to do, alongside “bring back DDT Digest” and “have CRZ not be a dickhole to me once.”
– As I mentioned last week, I’m going to be in the house for National Pro Wrestling Day in Philadelphia on February 2. Many of the core Wrestling Bros will be there, including Impact columnist Danielle Matheson, The Wrestling Blog’s Tom Holzerman, site favorite THESTINGER, Jojo motherf**king Bravo and more, so if you’re anywhere near Philadelphia (or if you live in Texas like me and like wrestling more than other stuff) get there and hang out with us. It’s going to be the BEST.
Until then, please click through for the Best And Worst Of WWE Raw for January 21, 2013. The Rock is on this episode!
Worst: The Rock Stands Outside Listing Every Pop Culture Thing He Can Remember As Fast As Possible, Then Convinces Police Officers Who They Should And Should Not Protect Using Buzzwords And Hand Gestures
For f**k’s sakes.
Okay, here are 10 things wrong with last night’s “Rock wants to get into the building” segments:
1. Vickie Guerrero, the lady in charge of a billion-dollar, publicly-traded company’s live performance of their LIVE-ON-TELEVISOIN flagship show, announced (reasonably, in fact) that The Rock wasn’t allowed in the building this week because he spent his time LAST week calling her an ugly bitch. If you went in to work and called your boss an ugly bitch, you probably wouldn’t get to work the next shift, right? How does Rock handle this news? In a lot of ways, but the first thing he tried was STANDING OUTSIDE OF THE BUILDING TELLING EVERYONE THAT VICKIE GUERRERO IS A BITCH. What is wrong with you.
I get that Vickie is “in the wrong” from a viewer’s perspective because they want to see the Rock ELECTRIFY~ or whatever, but “I want to see the Rock” shouldn’t equate to THE ROCK IS ABOVE THE LAW. I am not comfortable with The Rock being pro wrestling’s Roman Polanski.
2. F**king policemen, how do they work? Rock’s explanation about how the police officers don’t work for Vickie, they work for THE PEOPLE is the biggest pile of spat horseshit ever. Last time I checked, police officers work for the government, they are paid to enforce laws based on what a democratically-elected governing body decides is lawful, they cannot (and God, should not) make POLICE DECISIONS based on who the Rock likes and who he thinks is a bitch.
3. On top of that, what kind of police officers would stand backstage for an hour listening to some crazy, jacked-up guy in sunglasses (at night) yell threats about how he’s gonna get into the building against their orders and beat people up and shove stuff up peoples’ asses? Just use the taser on him already. Dude should’ve been handcuffed and dragged away before the hour check-in.
4. Speaking of that, how funny was Rock’s WE’VE ALL BEEN BACK HERE AND HOUR, IT’S BEEN AN HOUR, AN HOUR SINCE THE LAST TIME WE SPOKE exposition? I guess they taped these backstage gags all at once, so three policemen and The Rock didn’t have to stand sideways with their shoulders vaguely pointed at each other by a metal detector for shoot 60 minutes.
5. I wish the “my family had tickets!” conversation with the police officer had gone like this:
“THE PEOPLE WANT TO SEE THE ROCK ELECTRIFY BLEARGHHH”
“I know! I had tickets!”
“Yeah. We bought tickets to see the Rock. It’s our first WWE show in like 10 years. We stopped watching because all the people on now are terrible! It’s all boring and fake. But the Rock is cool! Hey, I have 50 dollars in my wallet, do you want that”
“YES YES I DO”
And then Rock takes the cop’s money, Rock Bottoms him into the freestanding metal detector and just walks into the building.
6. The “buying a ticket” payoff doesn’t work if you’re emerging from the stage with your entrance theme and Titantron music. The idea is that you can’t get a wrestler entrance like normal, so you have to buy a ticket, go in the front door, go to your seat and like, jump the rail. The reason you succeed where a fan who tried this would fail is because you’re a wrestler and you work for the company, and/or security agrees with you, like that time John Cena got shitted on by the Nexus and kept showing up anyway. You can’t get your full entrance, hold up a ticket for a second, then throw it on the ground as you’re walking to the ring.
It would’ve been so great if an usher had stopped Rock at the bottom of the ramp and been all, “I need to see your ticket,” and Rock had to walk back up the ramp and try to figure out where he dropped it.
7. At no point did the police officers say, “lower your voice, sir,” which would’ve been the best meta follow-up to the Rock/Vickie story, which, if you’ll remember, started last week when the Rock stood outside of her office screaming affirmations at Mick Foley and wrote an Eric Clapton parody song about how she’s a bitch when she told him to stop yelling.
8. The Rock’s references and jokes are getting worse, somehow. Did you see that person in the crowd with a COOKIE PUSS sign with the Cookie Monster drawn on it? THOSE ARE NOT THE SAME THINGS. That’s the kind of person who think The Rock is funny.
Rock can’t get over Paul Heyman having “tits,” which is the most wank-dismissible thing to worry about ever (especially when you are a gyno surgery veteran) and wasted WWE’s one shot at a Manti Te’o/Little Jimmy joke on a chance to say “nut sack.”
9. Again, here are the three things Rock made clear that he hates: bitches, people with tits, people without nut sacks. What do those three things have in common?
10. And worst of all, to establish that the Rock was stuck outside at all, we had to watch THE ENTIRE ROCK CONCERT again. Both songs in their entirety. Following the previous show-opening recap of Dolph Ziggler and AJ getting pooped dumped on them, you’ve got to wonder how unbelievably proud WWE is of their own asshole-picking.
Keep in mind: The payoff to all of this was The Rock getting into the building and comparing himself to Martin Luther King, Jr. This is a thing that happened.
Best: Antonio Cesaro’s Flag Keeps Getting Bigger
At WrestleMania, Cesaro’s entrance should be the film Patton in its entirety, with Cesaro replacing George C. Scott.
Worst: Going To Commercial Break During Beat The Clock Matches On A Live Show
Predictably, I’m not a fan of (a) Antonio Cesaro losing matches, (b) the United States Champion losing a non-title match to a guy fans see as “better than him,” i.e. “above” the secondary titles, and (c) show-long gimmicks like Beat The Clock, where every match gets the same story and kills the heat until the like, 40 seconds when the WILL HE BEAT THE CLOCK OR WON’T HE thing kicks in. Even great gimmick matches like War Games and the Royal Rumble can fall victim to this, with fans sorta sitting on their hands until it’s time for them to count something down again.
The worst thing about this, though, was the fact that WWE felt the need to go to commercial during almost every Beat The Clock match without so much as a “cameras are rolling, if the match ends during the commercial break we’ll show it to you when we return” thing to make it okay. I know wrestling is fake and you’ve got everything scheduled out to the minute, but come on, when you’ve got one show a year based around the drama of HOW LONG WILL THIS MATCH LAST, save the f**king Dominos commercials for later.
And while we’re talking about this match specifically, I’ll add a (d) to things I didn’t like: Randy Orton not flattening out on the Very European Uppercut. Boo, Randy Orton. Boo.
Best: Best Zack Ryder Match Ever
AAAAAAAAA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA
It wasn’t quite as good as the Show/Kofi Kingston match, but it was glorious. Show is my favorite. And hey, Zack Ryder, go home and write a YouTube song about how “Showskis,” you lame asshole.
Best: Brad Maddox Magically Showing Up For Commentary, Then Wandering Away Like The Incredible Hulk
I guess they gave precedent to The Rock being able to out-fox police officers and do what he wants by having Brad Maddox, Not A WWE Employee, repeatedly get into the building, wandering around backstage with everybody and pop up at the commentary table and just have everybody roll with it. The match being too short for Maddox to say anything was a nice touch, as was him standing up and kinda walking away toward the crowd like he was the f**king Sasquatch.
Worst: Nexus On Nexus Violence
The worst thing about Tensai’s latest WWE run (besides that YouTube video where he was riding in a car with Sakamoto and was all CHINKS CAIN’T DRIVE NO CAR) is that he exposed Ryback’s gimmick of Strong Guy. Without the spectacle of him throwing couches and giving the Shellshocking Finale to two guys at once, Ryback is basically just another muscular dude. His Meathook clothesline used to hilariously murder people, and now it just looks like … I don’t know, Chuck Palumbo’s clothesline? If Chuck Palumbo was trying to stop a fire-up from Carlito or whatever, you could see him throwing a clothesline like that, right? Even Heath Slater’s Eve Torres spear sell of it didn’t make it look good, it just looked like Slater jumped backwards and posed on his head.
I don’t know. I’m just sad whenever I see Nexus guys going at it like this. I don’t even like when Daniel Bryan and Darren Young wrestle, and they were both barely Nexus.
And I know I’ve made the “Ryback looks like those guys Ren & Stimpy wrestled” joke before, but seriously, listen to Ryback’s promo, then listen to this:
Yo Lout Brothers, Rock stole your “tear your face off” line.
Worst: Raw Roulette
Remember on the last page, when I mentioned how I don’t like show-long gimmicks? Next week is RAW ROULETTE, which (with the exception of 2011) is right behind The Slammy Awards on my list of least favorite shows of the year. I except 2011, because THAT Raw Roulette was the one that ended with CM Punk going criss-cross applesauce on the stage and briefly changing the direction of pro wrestling FOREVER~.
I never thought I’d type this sentence, but the fulfill your fantasy Pillow Fight is pro wrestling’s Chekhov’s gun. You don’t introduce it on the wheel and talk about how much you want to see it if you aren’t going to land on it later. Raw Roulette always does this — there are few things that would get me more excited than a night of matches with legitimately random stipulations decided by chance, but with the exception of the tornado rules in the tag team match, the stips all seemed like unnecessary tack-ons to normal matches or excuses for wrestlers to be beaten without losing their heat. If Del Rio beat Big Show in a cage match it might be a big deal, but not so much when the cage is just there for some low impact/high give No Mercy strong grapple cage smashes and a prop finish. If R-Truth pinned John Cena it would matter, but if he just pushed him through a table unfairly, nobody really cares.
You’re not only sacrificing my perverse need to see Kelly Kelly vs. Nikki Bella in a barbed wire match and Sin Cara vs. Evan Bourne in a lucha libre pillow fight, you’re making your bad guys look like Miz-level wieners who can’t get it done without a bunch of “buts”. And if there’s one thing wrestling should never put together, it’s wieners and buts.
Also, as a reminder, that “wieners and buts” sentence was just there to set up a Jeff Jarrett buttf**king joke in the next Best.
Best: The Miz Has No Idea How To Do A Figure-Four
The Miz wrestled Dolph Ziggler in a Beat The Clock Challenge, and
what are you doing
no seriously, WHAT ARE YOU DOING
OH MY GOD ARE YOU F**KING UP THE FIGURE FOUR AS SOON AS RIC FLAIR GAVE IT TO YOU
NO, STOP SELLING IT, HE’S NOT DOING ANYTHING TO YOUR LEGS
The Miz is in the business of making me look like an idiot, I guess. First I say that turning him face would be a great idea, and he turns into the worst face of all time. Then I’m like, “oh cool, Ric Flair passed down the figure four to him, that’ll be great” and he breaks out what I am not afraid to call THE WORST GODDAMN FIGURE-FOUR IN HISTORY. I have seen Jack Evans do a better figure-four than this. I have seen guys in Ric Flair Halloween costumes, drunk off their asses, put people in better figure-four leglocks than this.
Here’s my new plan for Miz: He should be a heel, and his finish should be the Overdrive. Also, he should never be allowed to wrestle again.
Best: Daniel Bryan’s Hair
So yeah, Daniel Bryan is probably the best wrestler in history at turning lead into gold. I’ve seen him turn just the worst shit into enjoyable wrestling … therapy sketches, abusive relationship angles, 18-second losses at WrestleMania, Sonjay Dutt matches … and last night, in addition to turning a hug-themed graduation skit into memorable TV, he made the worst hair-styling in history look amazing. Seriously, if I can make a reference only for Jon Bois for a second, dude looked like Bonnie Prince Billy.
Best: The Hugging Was Great! Now Let’s Let Them Do Something Else
This was cute. Dr. Shelby’s name being revealed as “Marion” was pretty funny, Daniel’s “…EVERYone?” response to the “how would you feel if everyone hugged” question was top-shelf adorable, and the specificity of people they pointed out and made hug was great.
That said, this needs to be the end of the hugging. I love Team Hell No and I don’t love to fantasy book in this column, but they need to drop the tag straps to Rhodes Scholars at Royal Rumble, have them snap on each other, run a feud through WrestleMania, let Kane retire and let Daniel Bryan go back to being a submission wrestling master who taps out jerks like Sheamus on the reg. That NEEDS to happen. Kane’s career isn’t long for the world, and as funny as Daniel Bryan is, he is too good at Actual Wrestling to permanently steal Santino’s spot.
If you want to have Bryan tap out Kane to end a blood feud at Mania and have them hug on the way out, that would be pretty nice.
Best: Paul Heyman/Phone – Keepin’ It Canon
And now, a special Guest Best from Best And Worst Of TNA Impact Wrestling columnist Danielle Matheson:
THAT’S RIGHT. BRANDON IS RUNNING AN INVASION ANGLE IN 2013. LET THAT SINK INTO YOUR BRAIN BITS, RASSLESFANS.
For those who don’t read the Best and Worst of TNA Impact, first let me say that you should. Second, I should tell you that there are a few things that I really, truly love about Hulk Hogan: 1) The Real American music video, because it is amazing, 2) his disapproving angry face, which I hope one day will be etched into my tombstone under the words “That Burrito Was Totally Worth It”, and 3) how absolutely impossible it is for him to use a phone like anyone who has ever used a phone before in their lives. This week, one of these great loves crosses over the big leagues, because WWE is always stealin’ TNA’s great ideas. Note: Dixie Carter paid me to write that sentence.
Were I the shipping sort, I would be writing wrestling fanfiction about a few OTPs: CM Punk/DOC (Luke Gallows) and their cross-brand competition to see who can look more like Grumpy Cat each week, Paul Heyman/Vickie Guerrero (seriously, does no one see this still? THEY ARE SPINNING THE BALL OF ROMANCE ON THEIR FINGERTIPS JUST TAKE IT FROM THEM), and, at long last, the return of Paul E/Phone.
One of the most iconic things about Paul E. Dangerously, besides the fact that the most dangerous thing about him was his skill at financial planning, was his phone. Taking calls, barking orders – an Owner/Executive Producer was near impotent without the most awkward/bulky means of communication this side of Zack Morris’s Klingon War Bird cloaking-equipped cell phone. There is clear precedent for Paul using a phone on television, and given the fact that it is 2013, one would assume he has used one in real life.
When the dauntless Brad Mad-Ox (obviously in his functional resting state outside of BEEF MODE), approaches, dear old Paul is on his phone, presumably calling the WCW hotline for some hot scoops before the big pay-per-view. He tells Mean Gene he’ll have to call him back, which is super weird because those were all pre-recorded, and hangs up. OR DOES HE? Spoiler alert: he does not. I have an iPhone. I know how one works. I know how most phones work. Saying “I’ll call you back” and moving the phone away from your face does not end a call. Sure, you could argue that he’s just waiting for the person on the other end to hang up as well, but we know WCW is gonna bilk you for all you’re worth, and Gene is gonna hint at something tangentially related to Sting until your phone bill is $200 and you’re grounded from watching wrestling for the rest of the month.
A bunch of stuff happens with Brad that I’m sure will lead to other stuff down the road, but that is not the stuff I care about right now – even the part where I’m pretty sure Maddox offered to have sex with Paul Heyman, possibly hinting at the true meaning of BEEF MODE. No no. What I care about is what happens afterwards, which is Paul Heyman calling Gene back.
You know how I just said I have an iPhone, and know how to use one? I am 100% sure that Paul does not. There’s a lock screen to swipe. You have to tap the Phone icon, or at least make sure you are on the keypad screen. You have to press the button with at least some amount of precision. Instead, he wildly taps on the screen eight times, then mumble-mouths some words into it. Seriously, it is the child (or possibly drunk Adult Danielle) equivalent of grabbing a banana, mashing your fingers into it a bunch of times shouting BLEEP BLOOP BEEP BLORP then pretending to have a conversation and it is AMAZING. It is a careless moment of forgetful acting and it was the best part of Raw that didn’t include hugs or Paul eye-banging Eddie’s widow.
Please never stop having a phone on my television again, Paul E, because now that it’s back, I will go down with this ship.
Worst: I Miss You Already, Eve Torres
Fun fact: Alicia Fox still exists.
I’m not in panic mode about the “new” Divas division yet, but Kaitlyn going back to Diva basics with Alicia Fox while Tamina sets up a feud by LOOKING ON~ was … not a step forward. If Tamina wins a #1 contenders battle royal for a shot at Kaitlyn at the Royal Rumble, we know we’re in for six more weeks of Diva winter.
I’m so mad at Eve. I mentioned her “pulling a Batista” last week (sucking forever, then leaving as soon as she got good), but it’s more than that. It wasn’t that she was getting good, it’s that she was getting SO good that she was starting to elevate the division itself. She was making the matches interesting, even when the wrestling was bad. Now that she’s gone, the other girls are just kinda doing jumping clotheslines at each other, and they lost the one lady who had a legitimate character going for her as their hook. Paige, Sara Del Rey and anybody else in FCW/NXT who is better than Aksana need to show up ASAP and get something going. Here’s an idea: put them all in one bad girl stable and call them the SEXUS. Slogan: YOU EITHER WANT TO HAVE SEX WITH US, OR YOU’RE AGAINST US. It’s shitty to women, sure, but at least you’d have a bunch of good wrestlers up, and also THE NEXUS.
Worst: The Rock Is Exactly Like Martin Luther King, Jr.
First thing: Notice how quickly The Rock showed up to interrupt when Paul Heyman mentioned that he’s stupid. That was pretty much the “Alberto Del Rio rents the cars he drives” statement of The Rock’s character arc. A MAGICIAN NEVER REVEALS HIS SECRETS, PAUL.
Second thing: The Rock is a pretty terrible guy if he cost that police officer his job AND his ticket to Raw. God, there’s so much about that backstage stuff I didn’t even mention, like why the police officer who bought tickets to Raw would be the one brought in to police Raw, instead of, I don’t know, being off to go to Raw with his family. Does the San Jose Police Department only have three cops? In the WWE Universe is every police officer in America an independent wrestler hoping to make it in WWE, which is why they’re always so quick to show up and do whatever anybody says? And while I’m thinking about it, how bad was it that Vickie Guerrero had to build tension with the cops by saying she’d “talked to their supervisor” and that they’d be in big trouble if they didn’t listen to her? How horrible are WWE’s writers if they think being the managing supervisor of Raw also gives you POWER OVER POLICEMEN WHO HAPPEN TO BE AT RAW.
Third thing: Rock seriously, seriously compared himself to Martin Luther King, Jr. I can’t. I just can’t with this guy. All I can think of now is yesterday’s Daily Show segment where Larry Wilmore explained why people should stop using MLK to further their dumb agendas, be it gun control or SHOWING UP FROM YOUR MOVIE SHOOT TO DEMAND A TITLE SHOT.
Rock name-checking Dr. King is so ridiculously f**king stupid that I’m not even going to complain about it. You are the worst, and if I was writing Raw, Punk’s response would’ve been, “I’m just like Mahatma Gandhi, I’m gonna KICK YOUR ASS!”
Best: The Shield Rights The Injustice Of Rocky Being A Delusional Butthole
I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this before, but The Shield works for me. Have they mentioned that on TV yet? Yeah, I’ve got this weird anger meter, and when it fills all the way up, The Shield shows up and beats up whatever was making me mad. I can choose between that, or firing a laser.
Anyway, yes, my favorite moment on Raw was The Rock going I’M JUST LIKE THAT BITCH ROSA PARKS, SHE WAS A TITS-HAVING BITCH BUT SHE DID A GOOD THING, AND I’M GONNA DO A GOOD THING AT ROYAL RUMBLE AND WHIP THAT CANDY ASS or whatever and just getting taken to the woodshed by The Shield. A supplementary Best goes to Rock for bringing The Attitude Era back with a little Ken Shamrock-style “internal bleeding.” I just wish Jerry Lawler had started crying, and said “If Martin Luther King Jr. was alive today, he would NOT cheer for The Shield!”
Worst: If Vince Can Personally Strip CM Punk At The Royal Rumble Via Un-agreed-upon Stipulations, Why Can’t He Just Strip Him Now (Or At Money In The Bank 2 Years Ago) And Do Whatever He Wants?
I mean, honestly. When Vince was feuding with Austin, the idea was that Austin was this huge moneymaking, popular guy, and that even though Vince hated his guts and wanted him gone, he couldn’t afford to just fire him or making him quit, so he f**ked with him and made him miserable. What’s the hook if Vince is doing that to a heel? If Punk isn’t popular, is bogarting the company’s top prize with cheap tactics and attacks and is jeopardizing the success of your show by indirectly keeping guys like The Rock away from your show, why not just strip him and fire him? If you think he’s a 200 pound fry cook, fire him and replace him with Chuck Palumbo. That guy’s tall, has muscles AND throws a great clothesline.
If you’re going to play fair, play fair and don’t add stipulations to everything to passive-aggressively get what you want. If you believe that RAW SHOULD BE UNPREDICTABLE, LET’S SHAKE THINGS UP shit you say every few years (and said when you made AJ general manager), what’s your problem with this ONE GUY doing it? Are you a good guy, or a bad guy, or a write-yourself-out-of-a-corner/create-phony-tension-at-the-last-minute Deus Ex Machina or what?
Worst: Brogue Kick > Dog Boner
This match was fine, but the video is a great example of what bugs me about Beat The Clock. The idea is that if you win in the fastest amount of time, you get to pick your spot for the Royal Rumble. If you’re a WWE guy, that’s right behind “Money in the Bank Briefcase” and “a night with Marlena” or whatever on the list of desirable prizes. You WANT it. Orton and Cesaro showed a sense of urgency at the beginning of their match with repeated pinfalls and stuff, but watch this clip, seriously. Wade gets Sheamus up for Wasteland, walks to the middle of the ring and just kinda stands there until Sheamus gets out of it. Sheamus gets Wade into White Noise, and instead of just dropping down and immediately going for the pin, he goes through the motions of the animation, carrying Wade around in a semi-circle, facing the hard camera, then slooowly dropping down as the announcers go IS HE GONNA CONNECT, IS HE GONNA CONNECT.
I feel like sometimes wrestlers need to understand that they are not the only possible intangible. If a match stipulation requires you to wrestle a certain way, you should try to wrestle like that. If you’ve got to hurry up, at least PRETEND like you’re hurrying up. Don’t stand in the corner going BROGUE, BROGUE, BROGUE or whatever, just run up and try to kick the dude. It’s not what you usually do, sure, and what you usually do works for your audience, but a different approach would validate these stip shows, and would give us something different to remember.
Poor Dog Boner. I bet you were gonna look good that time, too.
Best: Big E Langston Is Extremely Happy About This Beat The Clock Thing
I’m really starting to warm up to this stable, and if the rumors of a Ziggler face turn are (finally) true, it’d be nice to have them stick together and all just sorta turn face by proxy. I don’t want their story to end with Ziggler being all “AJ, you’re a BADONKASLUT” or whatever and feuding with Big E. I want them to be the shitty Miami Vice version of the Straight Edge Society and stay friends.
I also really need a name for them. I’m usually good at this, but I can’t settle on one. “LeeLer” is a funny couples name, as is “Leegler,” but both of those leave out Big E. They’re like a damn McDonald’s commercial, where three kids are friends and one of them is white, one is black and one is Hispanic (or Asian). Help me out. If you have a great name for them, post it in our comments section below, and I’ll adopt the best one and claim it as my own because YOU PEOPLE DON’T MATTER, I BLOG FOR ME.
If you don’t, I’m going to just start calling them “Big Leeg.”
Worst: Stipulation Bait-And-Switches
Okay, so I like that Ziggler and Vickie are both heels, so they did really unnecessarily mean stuff to each other (Ziggler making out with AJ in front of her and singing Shoot Clapton, Vickie giving Dolph a stip retcon to get back at him) without either being the “good guy.” That’s something I can’t emphasize enough … if a bad guy does reprehensible things, even offensive, awful things like demeaning women or minorities or whatever, it’s fair play. Bad guys are BAD GUYS, and they’re supposed to be booed. If a guy like Cena or Sheamus calls Heath Slater a fag or poops in a Mexican guy’s car because he ate too many burritos and they get MAX LAFFS from the crowd for it, that’s awful. It’s all about intent, and what WWE wants the audience to do in response to the action.
What I didn’t necessarily like is Vickie suddenly being able to limit Dolph’s Beat The Clock victory — assumedly sanctioned by Vince, who was there — to spots 1 or 2. It retroactively killed the drama of the show. Maybe if they’d filmed a backstage thing with Orton finding out and being all, “shit, okay, glad I lost, then,” that might’ve been okay. But no, it’s just a person in charge somewhere on WWE’s mystical hierarchy of In Charge Persons deciding something on the fly for PERSONAL REASONS~, the thing that got John Laurinaitis and AJ and … uh, Vince McMahon fired.
What I would’ve done, especially if you want to have Ziggler stay in character and turn face, is have him win Beat The Clock and CHOOSE number one, probably against the wishes of AJ and Big E. That way the story he could tell the fans is that he wanted to “show off,” but he’d actually be trying to prove his greatness to himself, and see if he can be as good as Shawn Michaels and Ric Flair and Rey Mysterio
and Benoit like he thinks he is. If he doesn’t win but makes it to the end, that’s an even better story.
Best: Dos Caras Jr. Lives
Alberto Del Rio: HERO OF MEXIO continues to be the best. And now, because I guess if Miz is in the business of disappointing me somebody has to actively be trying to make me happy, he’s breaking out the moveset of El Hijo del Hércules Potosino (second rope moonsault!). If he beats somebody with a military press into a German suplex soon, I’m going to lose it.
Oh, and before I forget, RICARDO RODRIGUEZ HAS A MEXICAN BOWTIE. Are you kidding me? They’re counting in Spanish! I AM HAPPY THAT WE LIKE CULTURES ALL OF A SUDDEN.
Best Best: Bob Backlund Is Finally A Hall Of Famer
I don’t know what took them so long, but the list of bullshit exclusions from the WWE Hall Of Fame has looked like this for a long time:
1. Bruno Sammartino
2. Randy Savage
3. Bob Backlund
The first two might not ever happen, but at least we knocked out number three. Very few people deserve to be in a wrestling hall of fame more than Bob Backlund, a guy who pretty much invented pro wrestling reinvention by shifting from Whitebread Opie Champion to MURDEROUS MAN IN MIDDLE AGE CRISIS and getting two WWE Championship reigns ten years apart. That’s awesome.
If you aren’t sold on Backlund, look at his Wikipedia picture. Find me somebody with a better wiki picture than that, I dare you.
Two humble requests:
1. let him wrestle Daniel Bryan once on Raw
2. get Jonathan Taylor Thomas to induct him
Jack Swagger Of Mars
The speeder bike ride back to the U.S.S. Rhadamanthus was long and treacherous, fraught with peril. From the back of the swiftly skipping vessel, Jack Swagger of Earth saw many things his eyes had never dreamed of … the dark edges of the Martian forest giving way to spectacular plains of pink, the nests and caves of unimaginable creatures, the hovering, blue orb of a distant Earth seeming as insignificant to him now as the farthest, dimmest star. He also saw a part of Kaa’orri’s butt crack, because when you ride on a speeder bike your pants kinda ride down, and he was right there.
For two days they rode, stopping only to fill their stomachs to empty. When the gas tank of the bike did the same, Jack Swagger and Kaa’orri found themselves puttering to a halt at the bottom of a large hill.
“So … that’s it, I guess,” Kaa’orri grumbled, easing the bike onto its side.
“Thath okay,” Jack smiled.
“What’re you so happy about?” the beautiful Martian asked.
Jack Swagger held his arms out to his side and ran around Kaa’orri in circles before racing up the hill, leaving deep footprints in the pink expanse. Reluctantly Kaa’orri followed him up. When she reached to top of the hill, the sight of the Rhadamanthus shocked her. It was a real space ship, commandeered by this strange Earthling, strong enough to make a trip that so few could make. And here he was, Frankenstein walking toward it like a child. She smiled a small smile, against her will.
“How do you HAVE this?” she shouted down to Jack.
“Oh I work for dub-dub-ee,” he answered. “WE got all KINDS a thtuff in our prop department. I think this was thapposed to be Max MOON’s for a WrestleMania entranth, but that never happened. Or wath it the Tekno Team 2000? Nah, they were time travelers. I mean, I don’t THINK the ship travelth time…”
Jack was rambling, lost in the moment, excited to not only be alive, but to be back in the place he’d called home since his Extended Time Off from work. Kaa’orri turned her feet and slid down to the base of the hill, in the shadow of the starman’s steel machine. She began to walk forward, but Jack stopped her with a hand.
With that, Jack jogged into the ship, disappearing. Kaa’orri sat down in “Indian style,” which the people of Mars referred to as “criss-cross MarsApplesauce,” and waited. For 20 minutes she waited, staring up at the odd, flat, grey, rectangular panel on the front of the ship. Exhausted and starved from the journey, she laid back in the sands, resting her hands behind her head.
Without warning, she saw a pristine, brown and white speeder bike zip over head, missing the tip of her nose by inches.
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING,” she said, jumping to her feet, pulling her blaster from her hip. Her anger was quickly replaced by surprise as she turned to see Jack Swagger of Earth piloting the most beautiful device she’d ever seen.
“Ith the THWAGGER SOARING EAGLE!” Jack said, smiling a toothy smile.
“What in …” Kaa’orri stumbled over her words. “Why didn’t you take this out to begin with?”
“I juth went out exthploring,” Jack assured her. “I didn’t think I’d be out for long. I got lotht!”
Jack stepped off of the bike and allowed her a moment to check it out. There was so much about the technology she couldn’t understand. “It must be from the future,” she thought. “From the year 2000, maybe.” It is important to note that Martian calendars are way different from ours. The two shared a glance and a smile, but it was quickly interrupted by the sound of a stone clanging against the side of the Rhadamanthus. Jack and Kaa’orri turned to see two hulking Martians wearing black masks and monochrome striped shirts.
“Mars bandits!” Kaa’orri screamed.
Before they knew what had hit them, the Mars bandits attacked. The smaller bandit tackled Kaa’orri to the ground, knocking her blaster into the sand. The larger man took on Jack, who quickly countered by moving out of the way and slamming the bandit’s head into the side of the Swagger Soaring Eagle ten times, counting in his head.
“You tricked me!” Kaa’orri shouted. “I trusted you, and you almost got me killed, and now you brought me here to rob me!”
“I didn’t do ANYthing!” Jack demanded. “I don’t know who these guyth ARE! Or… WHAT they are!”
He didn’t know who they were, but he was determined to stop them. He ran at the larger bandit as fast as he could and dove in for a shoulderblock to the stomach. Unfortunately for Jack, the bandit moved, and Jack went shoulder-first into the post. Uh, of the Swagger Soaring Eagle. He was hurting, but he saw the bandit’s clothesline attempt coming, ducking it expertly. From there, he transitioned into the Swagger Bomb, leaving a giant Mars Bandit-shaped angel in the Martian sands on impact. At the same time, Kaa’orri tossed the smaller bandit over the speeder bike with a clothesline of her own. In a quick motion, she kicked the blaster up from the ground, caught it, and spun to place it barrel-first in the chest of Jack Swagger.
Just then, the grey, rectangular display on the front of Jack’s ship came to life.
“NOW HOLE ON A MINNET, PLAYA,” the figure on the screen announced.
“What is that??” Kaa’orri’s voice trembled. “Is he some kind of … peanut monster?”
“Ugh,” Swagger said, his head in his palm. “You don’t wanna know.”
Worst: John Cena Is SAYIN’ THANGS
If you’re watching this promo for the first time, you’ll notice that WWE Fan Nation has expertly condensed it into the only 24 seconds of information needed: the Royal Rumble happens on Sunday, and John Cena thinks he will win it.
If you watched it last night on Raw, holy shit what was this dude talking about.
It was like Cena went to management and was like, “yeah, I need to tell people I’m gonna win the Rumble, give me 25 minutes at the end of the show,” and management was all, “oh wow John needs 25 minutes in the main event, he must be saying something important.” And then John shows up and literally all he has to say is “the Royal Rumble is Sunday and I think I’ll win it,” but he’s got 24:30 or whatever to fill so he just starts pointing at imaginary people in the audience and listing all the pop culture things he can remember. He references an XBOX Live user who actually exists, pretty much pulls up Gamefaqs and reads from it for a few minutes, then finds a woman (a WOMAN!) and goes on and on about how she likes to drink and have sex with blow-up dolls, but then loses them, and …? Dude, f**k if I know. Cena’s gone from “I’m clearly sad about my divorce” to I AM A NIGHTMARE TO ANYONE OLDER THAN FIVE.
So … yeah, what on Earth was that? Somebody needs to pull Cena aside backstage and give him a talking to. Rock’s thing about how he’s Martin Luther King was “Cane Dewey” compared to this.
Worst: THIS IS JUST LIKE THE RUMBLE YOU GUYS GOOD NIGHT
How many microphones do you guys own
WWE loves its “the last moment before the Royal Rumble should be everybody fighting like they will in the Royal Rumble” trope more than anything in the world, and it doesn’t matter how they get there, they’re gonna do it. There were 27 guys in the ring, so if we assume those are the Rumble entrants (and that JTG, Hawkins and Michael McGillicutty are seriously in the Royal Rumble) that leaves three surprises. I’m an insider, so you heard it here first: Road Dogg, Billy Gunn, and … let’s say Mordecai.
Honestly, this could’ve been better served as a series of green screen vignettes.
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Night
Poor divas division. Every match for the past 5 years would have beat the clock.
Go home Dwayne, you’re drunk.
It’d be pretty awesome if Rock bought that one cop’s ticket, and then the other two cops arrested them both for scalping.
“In a way, we’re both champions. But in another, more accurate way, I am champion.”
There’s something about RAW that is just bad for your soul. Evil is justifiable, rational, logical, identifiable, and genuine. Good is cruel, petty, offensive, absurd, distorted, and hollow.
It’s as if the devil on your one shoulder calmly asked you some rhetorical questions germane to the decision you’re trying to make, and the angel on your other shoulder gave you a wet willy and made fart noises.
Ric Flair gave Miz the Figure Four so his wife couldn’t take it in the divorce.
Sin Cara thought The Miz nailed the Figure Four.
Shelby is the Dr. of Huganomics.
Sheamus: Stop her, Ref!
Referee: I would, but she has a ticket.
Teddy Long is being forcibly restrained backstage.
See you guys on Sunday for the Royal Rumble live thread, then on Monday for the Best and Worst of Rumble, Monday night for the Raw open thread and on Tuesday for the Best and Worst of Raw. And on Wednesday when I chop off my hands to prevent this from happening again.