– Comments, shares, likes, and especially Reddit submissions/up votes are appreciated. The Reddit thing is big. They kinda side-eye me if I ever try to submit the column myself, so if you’re a big wig at the Squared Circle cracker factory, help us out and get the column in front of Redditors.
– GIFS courtesy of Jerusalem at Punchsport Pagoda.
– If you haven’t been reading The Best And Worst Of TNA Impact Wrestling … what’s wrong with you? You can check it out every Friday afternoon at With Leather, courtesy of the lovely and talented Wrestling Bro Danielle Matheson. It features 80% more references to Butt Stuff than the Raw column.
Anyway, welcome back. Please click through for the Best And Worst Of WWE Raw for January 7, 2013.
Worst: Let’s Recap The Poopies, In Case Brandon Was Lucky Enough To Miss It
Before we pick back up with the column, I feel like I should explain my absence of the last two weeks.
The lack of a column two weeks ago is easy enough to explain — WWE aired a pre-taped, Christmas-themed Raw on Christmas Eve, and because nobody at UPROXX updated on Christmas (choosing to be with our families instead of on the Internet, or whatever) we let that Raw go. The next week’s Raw was also pre-taped, and also fell on a holiday: New Year’s Eve. I stayed home to watch that Raw and everything, but it’s impossible for me to avoid spoilers, so I purposefully skipped the show’s ending.
My intention was to write the column as normal. On New Year’s Day, I got a call from my mother informing me that my 53-year old father had just had his second heart attack. Hopefully you can understand why I wouldn’t want to sit in front of a computer making jokes about Kofi Kingston’s hit detection with my dad on the brink of death 10 states away. The good news is that my dad’s condition was downgraded to “heart trauma” and then a “heart episode,” which means he’ll be fine as long as he stops eating flank steak every day and trying to lose weight by doing non-stop jumping jacks to reach his New Year’s resolution on day one. The silver lining is that I didn’t have to write about John Cena literally dropping stage-poop on his ex-girlfriend.
I guess WWE sent out a memo reading, “his dad’s fine, make sure he sees the poop part,” so last night’s Raw, in the first moments of the first segment on my first show back, they recapped the entirety of the slut-shaming poop drop. At least they left out the photoshop jokes, so … Happy New Year?
Best: Big E Langston’s Hilarious Mic Skills
I think my favorite part of Raw was Big E Langston grabbing the microphone, then being openly surprised about the fact that he was able to speak. OH I GOT THE MIC NOW. YO CENA. It was glorious. It was like they’d pulled somebody out of the crowd to do a wrestler impression and challenge John Cena.
It doesn’t make any sense, though. Dolph Ziggler’s standing there shaking his head “no,” so Langston picks up the mic and accepts the challenge. That cues Ziggler’s music, so Dolph just WALKS TO THE RING AND WRESTLES JOHN ANYWAY. How the hell does THAT work? I get that when Teddy Long waddles out and Holler Hollers at you he’s got some modicum of kayfabe power, so you’ve got to do what he says … but Big E is the third most important person in a three-person stable. If Hulk Hogan refused to fight sting, could Horace just show up and be all IT’S AWNNNNN and start the match? Could the nWo angle have been over in five minutes if Horace had just been really into fantasy booking?
Don’t get me wrong, though, I love it. I hope Big E gets to talk more and stays weird about it. With Titus O’Neil becoming suddenly charismatic, we need another musclebound guy who cuts wrestling promos like he’s ordering at a drive-thru.
Worst: John Cena, Overcomin’ Them Odds
I’m not sure why this match happened. WWE’s favorite story to tell now is “heel is an opportunist, achieves small personal victory, loses match to upcoming opponent, loses another match to upcoming opponent, loses another match to upcoming opponent, loses to opponent at PPV, achieves second opportunistic victory in unrelated situation, becomes champion.” They LOVE it. When Daniel Bryan won the World Heavyweight Championship, 99% of commentary was “Daniel Bryan sure is terrible, I bet he’s going to lose here,” and then he’d pretty much lose, but he’d find a way to keep the belt and everybody acted upset. I don’t know why “you have something you don’t DESERVE” is the big WWE selling point, but I guess it always has been.
I feel like Cena could’ve just wrestle and defeat Dolph repeatedly without having to have the odds stacked against him every week. Before TLC, it wasn’t just “Dolph vs. Cena, who is better,” it was “Dolph vs. Cena but Cena’s leg is hurt and he’s worried about his girlfriend and has too much on his mind.” Cena only lost at TLC because of an extraneous, Cena-related happenstance. Dolph didn’t do shit. Now it’s not “Cena vs. Dolph, so Cena can get his revenge,” it’s Cena vs. Dolph and AJ and Big E Langston, and they’re doing ref bumps that don’t effect the end of the match just to do them and on and on. It’s not even like they’re stacking the odds to give John something to slowly overcome. If he had to beat Langston to get to Dolph or whatever that’d be fine. Basic wrestling storytelling. Instead, he’s just beating them all at once immediately, because RESOLVE. And now he’s moving on to the Royal Rumble, which he probably won’t win because of Dolph + X, followed by four consecutive Raws of him beating up Dolph to get revenge.
Just have normal odds, John, it’s fine.
Best: Everything Else About This Match
The match itself was really, really good. It was one of two pay-per-view quality matches on the show, and even though it’s a variation on the same Cena workrate match we’ve been seeing since last Summer, that’s a welcomed reprieve from Cena tagging in to hit his moves and stand tall. I’m also not going to give a Worst to a Raw that gets the wacky talking over by 8:10 and parlays it into a 15-minute one-on-one match. This is how Raws should start. You know, besides Cena doing the wave.
The crowd made the match even better. They were hot the entire time and reacted big for all the near falls (I’m glad Ziggler started using that jumping DDT as his big falsie instead of the Fame-asser, because seriously, he is never going to win a match with the Fame-asser). My favorite part was Cena losing his shoe and exposing his tiny foot, outing himself officially as a Rob Liefeld character. He’s always screaming, he’s got pouches on his ring gear … all we needed was to see his baby feet for confirmation. WWE should figure out a way to make one of his eyes glow.
Best: Fandango’s Videos Are Regressing
I love that the early Fandango(o) hype videos advertised him as ANGELIC and NOBLE and gave him a bunch of catchphrases (“Mind if I cut in?” and “Watch your step!” among them), but now it’s just him turning around and saying “Fandango” with no additional information. Next week’s promo should just be a big letter F, then a close up of Johnny Curtis going “uhhhhhhhhhhh.”
Actually, next week’s video should end with him turning to the camera and saying, “oh, sorry, I’m not a wrestler. I’m just a dance instructor who bought ad time!”