– The With Spandex podcast experienced a few technical difficulties over the weekend, but we’re working through it. Expect that as soon as I grow a brain that isn’t 70 years old and figure out how computers work.
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– Gifs contained within are, as always, courtesy of Jerusalem at Punchsport Pagoda.
– Unrelated A.J. gif contributed by @ajB_real.
– Additional reading: UGO’s Raw Report.
– I apologize for the relative lateness of today’s column. I had to change a tire, and things got weird.
Anyway, please to enjoy the Best and Worst of WWE Raw: Halloween H20 Edition for January 9, 2012.
Worst: Okay, Kane, We’re Going To Give You The First 20 Minutes Of The Show With Which To Expound Upon Hate, And The Consequences Of Failing To Embrace Said Hate As It Relates To John Cena
While the exploding glory holes and horror movie car murders might say otherwise, I’m convinced that WWE Creative wrote JOHN CENA VERSE KANE at the top of a dry erase board, wrote “isn’t worried about what the crowd thinks” under Cena and “thinks Cena should be worried about what the crowd thinks” under Kane and thought that would be enough to get them through five weeks of two-hour television programming blocks. There is not even a single other talking point — Kane thinks John Cena should hate, Cena thinks he shouldn’t.
That’s it. That’s the entire thing. Two weeks ago when Kane explained that he’d teach Cena to embrace hate that we were going somewhere, and that maybe Kane would rip off the dog tags Andre style and tombstone John Cena Sr. into fire or whatever, but nope, Kane has gone the Cena route of saying the exact same goddamn thing every week and getting twenty minutes with which to do so. It’s infuriating, and feels like we’re treading the muddiest, sh*ttiest water ever. Imagine how bad the Kane/Shane McMahon story would’ve been if they’d spend six weeks saying “I’m gonna shock you in the balls with a car battery/No don’t shock my balls!” instead of hooking up a battery to Kane’s balls and shocking him.
Kane suggesting that the crowd hates Cena because he represents them and they’re self-loathers is pretty astute, but it doesn’t explain why he wants Cena to understand hate. Kane’s making a lot of assumptions about me (I hate my wife, job and children … I love my girlfriend, my job is to make baseball players pretend curse at each other on the Internet and I have tons of DVD and fun stuff instead of children) and I don’t appreciate it. Get to the burning people with fire part plz.
Best: John Cena Is Here To
And speaking of getting to the point, John Cena gets a bright shiny gold star for just running down to the ring and punching, though I’m pretty sure he yelled eachandeveryoneofyoupaidyourhardearneddollarstoboomenoharmnofoulokaybyeeeee as he was sprinting.
Also, why did he wear his t-shirt out if he was just gonna whip it off on the ramp? Why do wrestlers have to take off their clothes to fight, anyway? I know you need to have optimal body movement when you’re grappling, but if you’re a punching guy chances are you can punch in a shirt, especially in a t-shirt. Miz did the same thing, he jumped R-Truth from behind in a hoodie, then wasted enough time for Truth to come back removing it, unbuttoning his dress shirt and rolling up the sleeves. It’s a f**king layer of low quality cloth, not a straight jacket.
Worst: I Swear I Thought Somebody Was Going Into A Flaming Dumpster
Kane doing the awful pro wrestling “hold your head and walk” thing out into the parking lot made me think three things:
1. WWE guys haven’t done a lot of formal brawling backstage lately, and Cena bumping into a wall and staggering around like a goon is a justification for those WWE ’12 storyline chapters where you have to beat up three guys backstage by slamming their heads in doors or kneeing them into production carts.
2. Any time WWE goes outside and the camera changes, you know for sure that some stupid bullsh*t with vehicles is about to occur (examples: JBL trying to murder John Cena by burning him to death in a car, JBL trying to murder Cena by driving a car into him, Rikishi trying to murder Stone Cold Steve Austin by driving a car into him, Smackdown Vs. Raw 2006 trying to murder Teddy Long by driving a car into him, Stone Cold Steve Austin trying to murder Triple H with a forklift, the nWo trying to murder The Rock by driving a truck into his ambulance, Vince McMahon’s limo exploding … Jesus, how often do they do this?).
3. “Burn in hell … you son of a bitch!”Subscribe to UPROXX
Somehow worse than all other backstage acts of murder is Shane McMahon using a one-legged Eve Torres dropkick to the shin to send Kane falling backwards into a flaming dumpster. It led to nothing (which is fine, considering it is canon that Kane cannot or at least has learned to not feel burns) and ruined Shane McMahon’s occasional coolness forever, wasting away all that goodwill he built up getting great matches out of X-Pac and Test and leading to that horrible thing where he dismantled Legacy one-on-three with phantom little brother punches.
I do not enjoy anything that reminds me of Kane falling in a dumpster. Or Kane emerging from a dumpster. Or Kane! (Or dumpsters.)
Worst: Kane Is The Bat
I don’t want to be that guy, especially when I just mentioned “canon” in regard to somebody having flame retardant powers, but how exactly did Kane “vanish” during his fight with John Cena? He attacks Cena and knocks him into some errant pipes … we know Cena can’t be destroyed with backstage set equipment (Alberto Del Rio and Awesome Truth learned this the hard way), so he comes back with a crowbar (which was being stored amidst the pipes) and hits Kane in the knee. Kane shoves him into some cardboard boxes (possibly full of crowbars) and when Cena turns around, Kane is gone. Of course, Cena didn’t really look for him and just kinda stood there doing a Brian Cox in Troy spin, but the suggestion is that Kane disappeared in the style of Batman.
Am I the only one who wanted Cena to look at the cameraman and say “hey, where did he go”? Even if we are to assume that the camera guy kept looking through the camera at downed Cena the entire time and has that little awareness, he could’ve done an “I DUNNO JERN HE VANISHED!”. It wouldn’t have been any weirder than KANE VANISHING.
Best: Michael Cole On Turbans, Et. Al
Unfortunately WWE Fan Nation (where I normally get the clips I share in these reports) is either slow on the upload or making a conscious effort to upload less (and maybe they found out how many people were skipping the shows and just finding out which parts to watch here) so you’ll have to trust me when I say first match Michael Cole was really good. Instead of spending the entirety of the Sheamus/Santino vs. Jinder Mahal/Wade Barrett match going LOOK AT THIS GOOF, WHAT A WORTHLESS GOOF he made an attempt to recap what’d been going on with Sheamus and Barrett, briefly put over Santino’s performance in last year’s Royal Rumble and even made an attempt to explain why Jinder Mahal was important and suddenly wearing a turban. And yeah, WWE explaining a turban is basically Racism Ground Zero, especially with Jerry Lawler instantly defense-mechanizing with a NOBODY CARES WHAT’S YOUR POINT, but Cole pointing out that Jinder doesn’t just buy and wear a turban but carefully wraps his head with strips of cloth as a personal expression of whatever was good. I’m giving him a best for it, because he deserved it. This is what WWE announcing should be, at least in the short term to allow us to recover from the last year of bullsh*t, minus Lawler’s weird, ever-present xenophobia.
When Sheamus and Santino were doing victory poses at the end of the match, Santino’s trombone dance seemed to break Cole, and he went LOOK AT THIS IDIOT DOING A TROMBONE DANCE and never fully recovered. But hey, baby steps.
Worst: The Cobra, Because Seriously
I initially liked the Cobra, because 1) it’s a fun taunt to do in real life, especially when people know what you’re doing and groan and roll their eyes before you’ve even slapped your wrist, and 2) he was using it creatively for a while, be it in his team with Tamina (Teamina) or in his Superstars matches against Zack Ryder, Cobra’ing him in the leg and setting up weird, contextually-realistic selling of interest.
Now he’s in full Worm territory, showing up at the end of the match no matter what happened and yelling COBRAAAA and wearing a goddamn snake sock on his hand while Jinder Whoever has to stumble up to their feet and take it. And he doesn’t even Cobra them in the face with it, he hits them in the shoulder, but somehow that causes SUDDEN UNCONSCIOUSNESS and the guy collapses and Santino gets the win with what is, let’s face it, the f**king Fingerpoke of Doom. Note: Santino can and should do the move in matches, because the crowd loves it, but it does not have to Critical people and can be worked in organically with even the tiniest bit of thinking. Just… even a little. Not “Sheamus does move, Santino does move, pyro and ballyhoo”.
Best: Big Johnny
I’ll give you Otunga, because I like him almost entirely on a coffee and sweaters platform, but if you aren’t on the John Laurinaitis bandwagon yet, something’s wrong with you. His interactions with Raw’s characters are the best because they’re seemingly random, but consistent — he openly supports CM Punk and treats him fairly, but accidentally causes him to fail on purpose; he hated John Morrison’s guts for almost no reason and shoehorned him off the show completely; he reacts to most midcarders by making them shut up so he can wistfully stare off into the distance and announce matches, and every time he deals with the Miz he wordplays him and basically says “I don’t give a f**k about you, Miz, you’re barely a wrestler, you’re five feet tall and I could just fire you and hire Austin Aries if I wanted a pissed off midget to bother me about bullsh*t” with a smile on his face. It’s the best. Christening himself “Big Johnny” is just the latest in a string of moments that make me shake you by the shoulders and say come on, stupid.
Best, I Guess: Edge Getting Immediately Honored
Edge getting a Hall Of Fame nod surprised me, not because I didn’t think he’d get in or didn’t deserve it, but because I’m used to how actual Halls Of Fame work and assumed they’d give him a year or two to get his body together and make sure he’s gone.
Of course, this is the same Hall Of Fame that has Drew Carey and Vince McMahon’s limo driver in it, not to mention f**king Nikolai Volkoff, and it’s just a big list of names so whatever and who cares. I was expecting a Mil Mascaras or Carlos Colon video package announcement, but I guess they need to sell tickets to the event, and Mil Mascaras probably couldn’t get the modern WWE Universe fan to stand up when he needed to squeeze by to get to his seat, much less drop a hundred bucks to sit beside Lucky Cannon in a suit and pretend to cry about sh*tty planchas.
I wonder which bust of Edge they’ll put into the Hall… sunglasses vampire Edge, hay-hat and buckteeth skit Edge, Live Sex boner-in-boxer-briefs Edge or Scud The Disposable Assassin tiny arms and macaroni body Edge?
Worst: Jerry Lawler Loves Mason Ryan’s Body
Jerry Lawler adding title cards to Miz’s backstage interaction was maybe the worst thing ever.
“Hey wait a minute, check this out, it looks like… heh, it looks like The Miz is trying to get himself a bodyguard! Well he’s gone to somebody with a great body, but I don’t think Mason… Mason Ryan is inner-rested! Ha ha ha! Miz looks a little frustrated!”
I am a little frustrated that you are such a creep. Next week they should film a segment where Ted DiBiase is all, “wow Mason your body is so great” and Mason just kinda lowers his head and shuffles his feet and says “dawww, I know”.
Best: Kane Comes Out Of The Closet
I couldn’t put my finger on what Kane stalking Zack Ryder clandestinely from behind a door reminded me of, but Something Awful goon Wise Fwom Yo Gwave nailed it: Worf leaning into Deanna Troi’s room in the “Parallels” episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Look:
How can Kane even stalk you in secret? Just look for the bright red lights, they follow him everywhere. No, those are the blue ones, that’s just Sin Cara. He can’t hurt you, he can only hurt himself.