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But first, please click through and enjoy the Best and Worst of WWE Raw for December 5.
Worst: I Love Your Energy! What You Think Doesn’t Matter, Love, John Cena
There are two stages to every show-opening (or closing) John Cena promotional:
1. Rising Action: Cena reiterates a few points that he’s been making on-and-off for the last seven years, such as “I like the fans” and “I am often here wrestling”, sometimes doing what he did last night and using really abstract things like the crowd chanting “Fruity Pebbles” at him because someone instructed them to as an example of the freewheelin’ WWE Universe, a crazy bunch’a guys and gals just hangin’ out and havin’ a good ol’ time. You can’t find a crowd like that anywhere else in entertainment, except at other wrestling shows (literally any other wrestling show … we started contextual, non-consecutive “bottom rope” and “middle rope” chants at CHIKARA in Kingsport). Cena never takes the time to point out that pro wrestling is the only place in the world you can get up in an athlete’s face, flip them off with both hands and yell F**K YOU F**K YOU F**K YOU without consequence. Well, pro wrestling and X-Box Live.
2. Falling Action: Cena, having established that WWE crowd reactions are the only things that matter in life, clarifies that what the crowd says or does doesn’t matter, because he’s just gonna come out here and wrestle and they can do what they want.
There isn’t enough exposition to explain what he’s saying in any kind of real context and there’s NEVER a denouement, so most of the time the climax is just him pointing a microphone at the crowd. Remember that horrible segment where Triple H tried to convince CM Punk that getting the fans behind him was the only thing that mattered, and CM Punk was like YEAH I KNOW LISTEN TO THEM and the crowd is all C-M-PUNK, C-M-PUNK and Triple H just says “uh uh, this isn’t important, what’s important is what THESE PEOPLE THINK” and you’re like WHAT THE F**K IS GOING ON, WHY IS THIS HAPPENING, OH GOD MY BRAIN? Cena’s solo promos and declarations are One Man Show versions of that. All he needs to do is a add in some stereotypical Mexican voices and he’s doing John Leguizamo’s “Freak”.
Best: Caddyshack References On Raw
I don’t like it when wrestlers in power get to bring up the past gimmicks of people below them, and all the guy getting bagged on for being Mantaur The Wrestling Dumpster Clown or whatever can do is nod his head and be all “yeah right whatever” instead of “HEY JOHN CENA REMEMBER WHEN YOU WERE A LITERAL F**KING ROBOT, STOP BREAKING KAYFABE”, but I enjoyed Cena equating Dolph Ziggler’s time as Kerwin White’s caddy to being Chevy Chase’s roommate Mitch Comstein from Caddyshack. Not only because of how temporarily great/frighteningly awful the existence of Kerwin White was, but because it allowed John Cena to say “cum stain” on TV. I’m still waiting for somebody to call him “Golf Ziggler”. I mean, it’s right there.
And on the Literal Robot tip, the next time somebody calls Dolph out for being a male cheerleader he should respond with, “I won the tag team championship as a male cheerleader and we main-evented pay-per-views against DX, enjoy wrestling Alberto Del Rio tonight for the 50th thousand time, dick”.
The best part is that this opens the door for a Chevy Chase-hosted Raw, and better yet, a Raw hosted by the entire cast of Community. I want Britta’s opinion of the Divas division and/or Leonard reviewing frozen pizzas with Ryder. “The cheese is good, are you SERIOUS bro?”
The Best Best What Ever Bested: An @MrBrandonStroud Sign
Excuse me while I whip this out.
(picture courtesy of DesignFault)
Believe it or not, that’s not me driving to Tampa from Austin and holding up that sign, that’s complete stranger and my new best friend Daniel Feingold writing “@MrBrandonStroud” on the back of his MARRY ME VICKIE sign and holding it up at various points during Raw. As a lifelong wrestling fan it’s always been an impossibility to imagine my name showing up on a sign in a Raw crowd without me orchestrating it, so this is one of the very coolest moments in the history of Me Watching Raw. Thanks for being a true dude, Daniel.
Also, now that I’m as sign-famous as Dave Lagana and the Botchamania guy I can start Big Timing people. Good luck getting me on your podcasts now, chumps!
And Just For The Record:
I am not big time, and am not above putting every single appearance of me anywhere in this column with a paragraph about how great you are under it, so if you’re the type who brings a sign to a wrestling show and know a type with a camera or a television, do so and send it to me, I’ll toss it up here. I don’t care if you bring it to Wrestlemania front row center or take it to your local Firestorm Pro show and wave it around in Marion Fontaine’s face. It makes you my close friend forever, and I know I’ll appreciate it more than, say, John Morrison.
Not Either, Really: Randy Orton Vs. The Miz
Wait, sorry, wrong video.
Not Either, Really: Randy Orton Vs. The Miz
If you watch the video of the match, it’ll only take a few seconds to see what I’m talking about. WWE hanging on to that “stars vs. stars all the time” crash TV thing without any direct competition has worn me down to the point that sometimes I just sincerely cannot give a sh*t about a match like this. Another crash TV hanger-on is the “moments ago” video package, which is the “sitcom characters asking each other why they’re doing this again” of wrestling programming. How often do those things work? Is somebody watching Monday Night Football gonna flip over during commercials and see a Moments Ago about Triple H getting hit with a sledgehammer and say “well f**k this football sh*t I need to find out whether or not the Game will get vengeance for this heinous attack”? When I was flipping over from Nitro and wishing it was better, a good Moments Ago from Raw would make me stick around. Because I already decided to watch wrestling.
Let me put it to you this way — that clip from a decade-old episode of Buffy was more entertaining, mostly because Spike didn’t jog into the cemetery and distract her long enough for one of the generic goon vampires to get the win.
Worst: Hey, It’s THAT Guy! /immediately loses
And speaking of that goddamn trope, here comes Wade Barrett and Wade Barrett’s Music to make Randy Orton temporarily forget how count-outs work. There has never been a good explanation of why this happens so often and so flawlessly. If I’m Randy Orton and I’m supposed to be winning wrestling matches for a limit, shouldn’t I be able to continue my match despite music playing and hope that either security or the people in charge of my welfare can handle the interference? What’s the worst thing that’ll happen if you don’t run after Wade Barrett here? He’ll punch you? Okay, because he’s gonna punch you anyway, and at least if you let him initiate the sh*t you’ll get a disqualification win. That’s still a “win”, right, and in the Pro Wrestling Land Of Make Believe that still gets you more money than a loss.
Although you know, as I’m typing this, I think the worst thing to happen to kayfabe in the modern era was Internet contract news. When I was younger I thought the Pay Windah was how wrestling worked… champions made more money, and the way to get a shot at that was to win a bunch of matches. It was a life or death sink or swim kinda thing. Knowing that these guys work on salary explains a lot of the bullsh*t, and really takes the sense of urgency out of winning. Dusty Rhodes can’t tell Bob Caudle about how beating Tully Blanchard will help put food on his family’s table if he’s getting a Smackdown match out of the way so he can fly to Japan.
Quicker Worst: stop doing this f**king run-in
Best: LOL, Chris Perez, Really?
I don’t remember where exactly on the show it happened, but Jerry Lawler tried to explain John Cena’s shifty crowd responses by saying his good friend Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Chris Perez gets good reactions in Cleveland, but gets booed when he comes to Tampa.
Okay, so, I can’t really devote the next week and a half of my life to explaining what’s wrong with this, so I’ll try to knock it out in a two-part run-on. Hey Jerry Lawler, if you can stop trying to figure out how adding two people to the WWE title match at TLC gives CM Punk a 66 2/3 percent chance of losing for a second, Chris Perez plays baseball, and baseball has different teams in different towns so obviously when you’re in your home town the crowd will like you more than you’re away, unless you’re a Phillies player playing an away game in Washington in front of 14,000 Phillies fans and 10 guys who like the Nats (or a Yankees player anywhere) so this has nothing to do with John Cena being socially divisive everywhere and getting booed in his hometown because his character is a lethargic, screaming dickhead who always wins; and furthermore, are you seriously namedropping Chris Perez, because that’s awesome to me and probably Travis Hafner, but seriously, that is the biggest stretch since I tried to explain what Ken Kennedy’s doing on Impact with an Excel Saga story-arc.
Best: This Dubstep Will Make You Love WWE Network
WWE going from 15 years solid of Nu Metal and Nickelback to DUBSTEP without anything in-between is an awesome, jarring transition and I wish WWE Network was going to be something cool and not just 30 minutes of ESPN 2 quality AWA episodes and 23 1/2 hours of Iron Shiek having his pointy boots made fun of on some also-ran ‘What Not To Wear’. WWE starts a wrestling network and it’s nothing but reality shows. Sh*t, at least G4 gave me a few years of Morgan Webb and Starcade before it devolved into COPS: The Channel.
Best: Kevin Nash And Triple H In A Ladder Match
I’m reading a lot of
ughhh kevin nash and triple h in a ladder match WHO ARE THE AD WIZARDS WHO CAME UP WITH THAT ONE
i would rather watch kelly kelly train a wrestling class/see hulk hogan raping and murdering my family/watch mr. anderson get dropped into a pit by lord il palazzo than watch kevin nash and cripple h in a ladder match
but you know, I’m actually sorta excited for it, and not just because of the hilariously laid-back David Otunga/Kevin Nash news-sharing dynamic. There isn’t a way for this to end badly for us. Seriously, these are our only options:
1. They surprise us, and have one of those super entertaining WWE garbage brawls like X Wrestler vs. Vince McMahon at X Wrestlemania that is full of dumb plunder spots and maybe somebody bleeding
2. The “injury joke” way, with Triple H crawling around on the ground for twenty minutes and Kevin Nash blowing out all nine of his quads trying to take an upward step
3. The “this is really bad” way where the crowd turns on it, and Triple H is shamed back into hiding like Punxsutawney Phil or at least moves on to something not involving Kevin Nash
4. Some storyline way where someone doesn’t show up or the match is only a few minutes long to set up something dumb for the Royal Rumble
There’s no physical way they can do one of those Christian vs. Shelton Benjamin boring ladder matches and Paul London and Brian Kendrick aren’t around to run out and get beaten up to convince Nash and H that they should be Palz Forever, so what’s the worst thing that could happen? They do something short to set up something dumb later. It’s like what they do with the Divas. Don’t stress about it.