– 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.
– As always, we’d appreciate it if you’d leave a comment on the report. You left almost 700 on the Open Discussion Thread last night, so I can’t bother you about it too much. If you don’t feel like commenting, click the “like” button up there or share us on Facebook or Google Plus or Pinterest or whatever the new thing is. Take a picture of the column and share it on Instagram, I don’t care.
– 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.
Best: Daniel Bryan Championship Squash Matches
When Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston was announced for Raw, the general consensus seemed to be “oh, that should be good, hopefully they give them some time”. So it was weird to see Kofi clapping his hands and yelling boom and going for Trouble In Paradise like a quarter-second into the match, but it was WONDER to see Bryan drag him to the ground out of a cross-body attempt and make him tap out like a chump to the LeBell Lock in MAYBE a minute.
This is how you make Daniel Bryan a legitimate threat against guys like Big Show and Mark Henry — by having every WWE Superstar who ISN’T an A-list heavyweight losing to him by submission out of nowhere whenever he wants. If Mason Ryan screams for his life long enough, people will buy it.
BESTER STILL: The Code Of Honor
Yes, I am the biggest wrestling nerd in the world for making out over a handshake to start a WWE match, but that’s Ring of Honor Heavyweight Champion American Dragon Bryan Danielson sneaking out from within the body of WWE World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan, and he’s starting a match under the Code Of Honor against the closest thing WWE has to a Sonjay Dutt. I love it. We’ve put the Smackdown live-blogs on hiatus temporarily, so I haven’t had a lot of chances to gush over the Daniel Bryan emotional heel turn, but holy sh*t you guys, if you didn’t live through that year of Dragon as ROH Champ you have no idea how awesome this is gonna be. Think “Summer Of Punk”, but a year longer and with airplane spins.
Bryan gets a secondary best for his awesome, disingenuous post-match promo, where he interrupted the Big Show to assure him that he HATED the way the world title match ended, he HATED IT, and that he’d give Show another shot anytime, anyplace. Show called him on his bluff, and instead of pulling a WAIT WAIT WAIT A MINUTE I CAN’T DO IT NEXT WEEK thing like a Miz might, Bryan just kinda bit his lip for a minute and went “yeah all right” and accepted, because he’s just gonna wrap a chain around his arm and MMA elbow Show to death. Wait, that might happen later, I forget the order of things.
Also, if we’re going by how his ROH run ended, Hunico is going to pin him for the title. That’ll be weird, won’t it?
Worst: Miz Tries To Pick Up Some Mexicans For Day Labor
And speaking of Hispanic wrestlers with borderline offensive gimmicks, all this segment needed was Lawler narrating it with “why would the Miz want THESE guys to protect his body? Their bodies aren’t great at all!” to make it worse. I like the idea that The Miz is still that racially inept guy from The Real World who doesn’t know how black people work (“go out and insult R-Truth until he reveals himself”) and thinks the brown guys in the hallway are day laborers.
The segment gets two tiny bests: one for CM Punk eying Rosa’s ass on his way in, and another for, well
Best: Jesus Christ, Rosa Mendes
As friend of the column Tom Holzerman put it on Twitter, “Rosa Mendes has a balcony you can do opera off”. It’s amazing how quickly wrestling fans will take to wrestlers if they aren’t being horrible. At the risk of sounding like a guy who DOESN’T geek out over women’s wrestling on the reg, Rosa should stay out of the ring and stick to speaking Grade 11 Spanish and wearing coral dresses.
Wait, coral dresses, is that why the Miz talked to her?
Best: Kane Haunting Zack Ryder A La The Roommate
Things I like about this segment:
1. The payoff is unbelievably terrible (which we’ll get to), but the tiny horror segments of Kane stalking Ryder are hilarious. I can’t compare this one to Star Trek (thank God), but I can compare it to The Roommate, wherein Leighton Meester jumps Keely from ‘Phil Of The Future’ in the shower and rips out her belly button ring. You know something’s going to happen because they do an extreme close-up on the ring beforehand that might as well have had the direction standing in front of it pointing and whispering “remember this”. The segment should’ve ended with Kane knocking Ryder’s teeth out, or something excessively brutal so Cena has to go “oh sh*t, this is for real” instead of watching his New Best Friend suddenly getting Wrestling Moved on a set piece.
2. See, Kane’s lights follow him wherever he goes, even in the shower. Or maybe WWE showers just have those LED showerheads you can get in Skymall.
3. Zack Ryder either brushes his teeth with water or uses less toothpaste than any other man. I especially like him spitting 20 times at the end to make sure we had enough time to see Kane.
Best: They Told Me I Could Be Anything I Wanted, So I Became A Funkasaurus
I, like many of you, wanted Brodus Clay to return and be dominant. I love tough, hard to topple fat guy wrestlers, and with his preview commercials announcing him as the DOWNFALL OF HUMANITY I was expecting something philosophical and full of butt splashes. I, like many of you, assumed he’d show up and squash jobbers for a few weeks like he did during his run on Superstars and have a great showing at the Royal Rumble, eliminating a handful of guys before having one of those Big Guy Vs. Big Guy standoffs WWE loves in battle royales against Big Show or Mark Henry or Kane or maybe Sheamus. I didn’t allow myself to think far outside of that, because why should I?
I’m not sure I’ve got an indepth explanation of how I feel prepared, but I can’t remember a time when I was as hilariously surprised as I was checking my e-mail in the bedroom and hearing Justin Roberts say the word “Funkasaurus”. My brain went “wait, what” and then Ernest “The Cat” Miller’s entrance theme hit and my brain went WAIT, WHAT and I rushed into the living room with visions of Miss Jones and Lamont dancing in my head. At that exact moment, Brodus Clay moonwalked onto the stage dressed like Ari and Uzi in The Royal Tenenbaums and my brain started to smile, which affected my face, which affected my entire body. He had tearaway pants. He did a B-boy stance and FIREWORKS WENT OFF.
I sat though his squash of Curt Hawkins trying to process it, not able to type anything but “hahahahahaha” into Twitter, a reaction very similar to the one I had when Chris Jericho showed up last week in an LED jacket and trolled the audience. He danced through the match, hit a suplex and said “MY BAD”, and … I don’t know, I love it. I love the Funkasaurus. If they bait and switch us here and have him re-repackaged as a guy who we suddenly HAVE TO TAKE SERIOUSLY because HE DOESN’T NEED A GIMMICK BLERGH or whatever I’m going to pissed. Wrestling needs this. It needs a Funkasaurus.
This is a wrestling fan. He doesn’t understand why you f**ked up Brodus Clay. He doesn’t understand why you f**ked up Chris Jericho. He doesn’t consider much outside of what he expects to happen, and how what actually happens differs from what he KNEW would work. I don’t know how to properly explain to this guy how one f**king second of Brodus Clay dancing in a track suit has erased every preexisting thought or memory of Brodus Clay in my mind, and how excited I would be if I went to a show on Sunday and the f**king Funkasaurus showed up. I can’t explain to him the nature of spectacle, and how wrestling fans fall in love with the stupidest entertainment medium known to man and get so into it that they forget why they liked it and want it to stop being stupid. Wrestling is stupid. It always has been. It works best when it is okay being stupid without exacerbating it, or trying hard to be “good” (or “a movie” in Vince McMahon speak) and fails miserably.
The shorter version: a dancing fat guy who can kill you with his body > badly written melodrama. If Brodus shows up as Tough Fat Guy, he’s third place behind Show and Henry. If Brodus shows up as Earl from Toejam and f**king Earl he’s #1 on the list of dudes who are exactly like Earl. It’s a great call, and I want Funky Kong to take the Rumble.
Worst: Great Job With That Wrestling Career, Funkettes
Seeing NXT’s Naomi and “Melina vs. Alicia Fox is the greatest match of all time” Cameron Lynn as dancers for Brodus was a little disheartening, and without going too deeply into it I’ll say 1) it must be weird when you devote your life to pro wrestling and the product of your sacrifice is “we dance with the fat guy and don’t have names”, and 2) it doesn’t do a lot to help that whole “black people in WWE” problem, where you either smile and jump for the enjoyment of the crowd or you’re a robber or a militant or a crazy idiot.
Granted, this could be a way to get Naomi and Cameron into the show as a tag team, and with Eve/Kelly and the Bella Twins and Pin-Up Strong and The Chickbusters you’ve already got a deeper division than the men. This could also be the first step in Cameron Lynn’s meteoric rise to being the first ever female WWE Champion. I think the second option is more believable than the first.
Worst: Hey Curt Hawkins, You’re Doing It Wrong
As far as I can tell, Curt Hawkins’ gimmick consists of three things:
1. Not being Zack Ryder
2. Making awful cartoons on the Internet in an attempt to be Zack Ryder and have them taken down
3. Carrying a staff
I might’ve missed the episode where they establish whether it’s a staff or a walking stick, but he carries a stick to the ring and doesn’t hit anybody with it. His WWE resume currently reads “teamed up with pre-Crisis Zack Ryder, Vance Archer and Tyler Reks”, which is reaching Marcus Alexander Bagwell levels of awful tag team partners. I’m just gonna go ahead and say I don’t like Curt Hawkins the wrestler, have no emotional attachment to him (even though I have a deep love for a lot of lowercard WWE performers) and wish, I don’t know, Sugar Dunkerton had his job. At least Sugar wouldn’t record his mark Internet cartoon dialogue over the phone.
Best: But No, Seriously, The Funkasaurus
I love you, Funkasaurus, don’t ever leave me.
Worst: Don’t Be Afraid, Zack, The Internet Will Protect You
See No Evil 2: The Heretic went from enjoyably bad to bad-bad around this point, when Zack Ryder and John Cena had another buddy-buddy discussion about how great they are to each other backstage. It gets a small best, however, for the ridiculously non sequitur aspects of their conversation. I’m paraphrasing here:
Ryder: “Last week Kane tried to drag me to Hell and you saved me, bro! You saved me! You saved me from traveling what I an only assume is some sort of astral plane and discovering that the theological idea of a Christian Hell full of fire and dead people and The Devil is real, and being trapped there and being burned to death for an eternity, you saved me from that by grabbing my wrist and dragging me across a wrestling ring, bro! I was going to literally die, substantiating 4,000 years of religious unrest and I didn’t all thanks to you.”
Cena: “that’s fine, but did you see you have a bunch of twitter followers now”
THIS would’ve been the time for Ryder to go “are you serious, bro?” and just stare at Cena until he walked away, then never talk to him again.
Best: CM Punk, Slowly Wrestling Away My Anger
CM Punk is pulling a Randy Orton, making me forget about the problems I have with his character and execution by being in the ring and having solid-to-good-to-great wrestling matches week in and week out. That’s the secret. You don’t have to turn your personality up to 11, you don’t have to “convince these people” of anything. If you have good matches, we shut up about most of the other stuff.
Punk’s match against Jack Swagger, interrupted almost immediately by John Laurinaitis with some unnecessary stipulations that would normally make a crowd pop but are just so ridiculously shoehorned in that “VICKIE WILL BE BANNED FROM RINGSIDE, OKAY” seems heelish, was a perfectly cromulent TV wrestling match highlighted by Dolph Ziggler serving as male cheerleader at ringside in the only Jack Swagger t-shirt ever sold and Punk’s supreme overness making even his most basic stuff cheerworthy. He hits the knee and stalls, people cheer. He stands up for the Macho Man elbow drop, people cheer. He HITS a flying elbow drop that sincerely looks worse than Ashley Massaro’s Starstruck and people cheer. They just want to see him doing stuff, and so do I. I will take 10 of those piss-poor elbow drops over another “I’M GONNA BEAT YOU LIKE A BITCH, AND HERE’S WHY, PLEASE FOLLOW ALONG” pipe bomb wankfest.
I would also like to see him do the Anaconda Vice, but,
Worst: Referee Botches
Jack Doan “doan” messed up by counting Swagger down when his shoulder was up, and nobody seemed happy. At first you were like, “okay, maybe this is to set up John Laurinaitis as referee, and to say that ANYBODY can mess up a count, so when Big Johnny messes up and gives Ziggler the belt on a fast count it’ll seem legitimate”, but unless Punk has been studying Shawn Michaels temper tantrum workrate tapes, I think Doan just Maffew’d it.
And I’d like to take a moment to say that a referee f**king up a three count near the end of a match is the very, very worst thing that can happen in a wrestling match. It’s the worst. It murders almost everything you’ve built up in the match, and the audience gets taken out and has to make a conscious effort to say “oh, okay, wooo” and move past it. It’s hard. It’s like when you’re playing Skyrim and you’ve got on headphones and the volume turned up so you can hear footsteps and breathing and you’re Nord-deep in a mine or something and it’s SO EXCITING and you’re ALMOST TO THE DRAGON MASK or whatever and the Draugr you’re trying to kill with arrows just kinda stops on a rock and starts vibrating up and down, and your brain goes “ah sh*t this is a video game, way to go” and you kill him and suddenly nothing matters.
That’s a ref botch in the most verbose way I can put it. It stabs the reality of wrestling in the heart and makes it bleed “oh man what was SUPPOSED to happen?” instead of YEAH WOO or BOO.
Best: Ricardo Rodriguez Flying Up From Mexico For A Booty Call
Another great moment for someone to address the cameraman would’ve been Ricardo Rodriguez approaching the Bella Twins (who were being filmed arguing for no apparent reason, because “bitches” is a WWE Character) about the proposed hook-up he drove up from Mexico for. I can’t really blame him, I guess, because seriously, why the hell haven’t the Bella Twins heard of a telephone or a text message or goddamn e-mail, but I feel like the segment would’ve been even better if they’d been in Minnesota or something, and Ricardo had to sneak out and steal the Del Rio estates private jet and fly it cross country all nervous for dual tail.
Basically Ricardo is great at his job, both fictional and in real life, and I feel badly that he had to do the rest of it.
Worst: So I Hear You’re A Mexican, Is That Correct
It started off badly enough, with Miz saying “ándale” to get Ricardo to go to the ring and call out R-Truth, but I know a lot of wrestling fans (and even readers of these reports) get upset when I point out how not every Mexican dude is Slow Poke Rodriguez or you shouldn’t treat black people like replaceable garbage when you’re a white millionaire (or anyone), so I was going to let it slide. But then I thought about Miz trying to hire the Mexican tag team as his cronies, which added a weird slant (not a slur) to THIS, and then R-Truth made Ricardo sing “La Cucaracha” for his life and I said f**k it, hate me if you want, but JESUS F**KING CHRIST WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU CRAZY RACISTS.
The shorter, less confrontational sounding explanation is that Ricardo Rodriguez had to say “the most offensive thing he could think of” to R-Truth to get him to come to the ring, because I guess saying “hey R-Truth, come out here” wouldn’t work, and as casually racist as you are you can’t ACTUALLY say the most offensive stuff you can think of to R-Truth, so you have to say WWE things like “your breath is real bad”. Truth came to the ring and engaged Ricardo in a bloody duel of who could be the most condescending to their race, with Ricardo shaking his hips to mariachi music and Truth screaming things like ONE MO’ GEEYIN!
And hey, I’m sorry I have to point this sh*t out. After Hornswoggle in an afro wig this is honestly pretty tame, and in a company that once made its Mexican wrestlers ride to the ring on lawnmowers and had Vince McMahon call somebody his nigga it is the 40 Degree Day of racism, but still. Don’t do this stuff, jerks.
Best: Okay, The La Cucaracha Remix Is Pretty Awesome
Ricardo got cheers and deserved them for rocking his way through an impromptu remix of La Cucaracha. When life gives you racist lemons, make racist lemonade.
Best: Chris Jericho, Brought To Approximate Tears
If you weren’t around for the show or the Open Discussion Thread we had, Chris Jericho did exactly the same thing this week as he did in his re-redebut, except this time he got choked up and faked crying for a minute before wandering to the back. Somehow the addition of being moved to tears without actually crying tears has made his trolling of the WWE Universe even more epic, and I hope they do this exact same gag in front of every single live crowd until the cheers stop.
There’s been a lot of “but next week he’s got to talk or it’s ruined!” talk, but no, he doesn’t. He just needs to keep that jacket on and sparkle it long enough for us to forget wrestling isn’t happening and be okay with it. I think I’m already there.
Best: Barry Windham > Ole Anderson
“The Four Horsemen” are the second (or fourth, if you’re counting) Hall Of Fame inductee for 2012, and while I would’ve preferred an individual induction for Arn Anderson (and Tully Blanchard, and Barry Windham) I like it. It gets a bunch of guys into legends contracts (or however it works), gets Barry Windham at least a little bit of the recognition he deserves and never gets and gives J.J. Dillion and Ric Flair (especially Flair) a chance to stop slumming it for five minutes and wear a tuxedo to a thing.
I had a brief discussion about this last night, but I’m happier with the Barry Windham version going in than the Ole Anderson version. Sure, Ole was first, and yeah, Ole’s issues with WWE contributed more to the Barry version going in than Barry himself, but as the Best explains, Barry Windham is better than Ole Anderson. Like, in a walk. In fact, here’s a quick list from an educated child of the NWA on how good the Horsemen were and where they objectively rank. Official Horsemen, at least.
1. Ric Flair, obviously
2. Barry Windham, because I didn’t see Arn and Tully holding the NWA World Heavyweight Championship
3. Arn Anderson
4. Tully Blanchard, but just barely below Arn, because Tully had “tully” embroidered on his cuffs
5. [name omitted]
6. Sid, because f**k you Sid Vicious rules the world
Good, But Not Great For Specific Reasons
7. Lex Luger
8. Brian Pillman, who was great but less so as a Horseman
9. Ole Anderson, who basically served to stomp a lot in gang attacks and was 400 years old when the Horsemen became a thing
10. Dean Malenko
11. Stupid Sting being stupid
12. Curt Hennig for like a week
Dear God No
13. Jeff Jarrett
14. Paul Roma
15. J.J. Dillion in matches where he’d get his clothes ripped off and be wearing women’s underwear for some reason
16. (nevermind all that sh*t, here comes) Steve “Mongo” McMichael
I would show you my nWo list, but I think my hand would break.
Worst: Eve Torres Suddenly Forgetting How Ropes Work
Anyway, this is where the show goes from “pretty bad but entertaining in a confusing way” to “actually really bad”. I’m giving it a worst, but one of my favorite moments of the night was when Eve came to the ring to wrestle Beth Phoenix (the Divas Champion) for a shot at the Divas Championship (ugh) only to be interrupted by Kane. Well, Kane’s music and Red Light Special. Eve gets so scared by this that she cannot figure out how to escape the ring and drops to her knees, sorta scooting around reaching for the ropes. Eve literally cannot figure out how to escape an enclosed space with NO WALLS. Eventually an errant leg or whatever goes under the rope and she escapes, but for 15 or so blissful seconds she was rendered incompetent by a Jim Johnston melody. That sh*t is like ‘Gloomy Sunday’.
A small supplementary best goes to that kid on the end of the aisle who reached out his hand to try to get a high-five from Eve as she was fleeing for her life.
Worst: You Have Put On A Kane Mask And Climbed Into The Casket To F**k The Brains Out Of My Suspension Of Disbelief
Zack Ryder leads Eve out to the parking lot, to the exact spot where Kane had fought with Cena earlier in the night, and finds the tires of his car slashed. Well, one of them, I think. So Eve gets into the car and Zack starts trying to remove lugnuts by just sorta willing a wrench in their direction, jacking the car up with Eve in it screaming C’MON ZACK COME ONNNNN instead of, I don’t know, getting out and helping for fear that KANE could be nearby and murder her or realsies because his music played in the arena and that exclusively means murder.
Important: you cannot use horror movie rules in non-horror movie situations.
Case in point, there is NO F**KING REASON for Zack Ryder and Eve to spend a commercial break and the entirety of a Dolph Ziggler/John Cena match sitting in the parking lot repeatedly yelling THE CAR WON’T START to each other while Jacob Evil crouches on their roof like the goddamn Jeepers Creeper, waiting for them to slip up. A few ideas, just off the top of my head:
1. Go back into the arena, call a cab, wait for it near security or the other wrestlers. John Cena is not the only other person in WWE, guys, I’m sure Evan Bourne would have a smoke with you or whatever while you waited.
2. Run somewhere. Two trained athletes can run at least a mile or two in the time it took Ryder to change a tire.
3. Go stand in the crowd. “Monster From Hell” or not, wrestling bad guys can’t do sh*t to you in the crowd, because hurting more than one fan gets them in actual trouble. This is why so many babyfaces throughout the years have won their matches and sauntered out into the crowd to celebrate — the bad guy can only hold his jaw and think “grrr I’m gonna get you” from the ring.
4. BUY A GUN, SHOOT KANE, HE TRIED TO LITERALLY DRAG YOU TO HELL, USE A KNIFE AND STAB HIM IN HIS FACE
Best: Dolph Ziggler Is Trying To Make This Something
Poor guy. Raw had fallen off the deep end with Zack Ryder’s adventures in the Auto Club, and Dolph Ziggler had no choice but to wrestle admirably until John Cena was drawn into things and chose to ignore him in favor of hacky stunt violence. Ziggler did his best, even trying to keep Cena in the ring when he started to bail, but it didn’t work — he was such an afterthought to the main storyline that cameras didn’t even stay on him to see if he’d gotten back into the ring for a count-out win. They just cut away, and I guess somebody’s gonna tell me the bell never rang so there was never officially a match underway during that five minutes wherein they wrestled.
Dolph Ziggler is good at this. Two examples:
Best Best: The Headstand Chinlock
Additional Best Best: Crunches Mid-Elbows
Wrestlers doing a bunch of moves in a row, then stopping to taunt in a ridiculous fashion before continuing is a time honored tradition. Ziggler’s American Psycho elbow drops are my new favorite non-headstand-centric wrestling move.
p.s. Vickie’s face
Worst: Okay, Are We Just Gonna Forget About That Sleeper, Because … Okay, Well, Bye
And yeah, John Cena doesn’t always consider how wrestling is supposed to work outside of the parts when he’s getting hurt. I sh*t on him (and others) a lot for purposefully not selling on offense, but there’s a huge difference in a guy working your leg until you build up the adrenaline and courage to fight back on the leg no matter what and THIS honky nonsense with Cena being in a sleeper for like two minutes because he had to run to the back and fight Kane.
Like… I’m not asking for much here, can’t you just hold your head or something when you run? Wait, what’re you… what’re you doing?
Best: John Cena As Scott Evil
Nobody as fit as John Cena should run like that. Although it does help explain why he jumps like a dog.
Worst: You Brought Him All The Way Out Here To Glovemouth Him Again?
I thought it was dumb the first time he did it, but I’m getting pretty sick and f**king tired of Kane smothering people with his hand. If you can incapacitate the strongest guy on the roster by covering his mouth for a few seconds, why don’t you do it to everyone? Why doesn’t EVERYONE do it to everyone? Is the glove dipped in ether? Is he stinkpalming him in the mouth? What’s going on?
Furthermore, why did Kane have to lure John Cena into the parking lot to glovemouth him? Did he expect Cena to not SEE him chokeslam Ryder onto the unforgiving wooden concrete and just stumble upon him later, and then Cena showed up and he had to improvise? There are pipes and machinery and cars and wooden shards and sh*t everywhere, dude, you don’t have to pinch his nostrils together like you’re bro-pranking him awake from a nap every single time.
Best: So Is Eve Dead Or What
The follow-up to Eve being trapped in a ring that is 80% empty space has to be Eve getting put into the car by Ryder and staying there until the end of the show without reference. I know Eve is a lady, and that WWE ladies are afraid of being hurt (© Beth Phoenix), but couldn’t she have gotten out and ran, or thrown some of her sh*tty kicks? Pick up that crowbar, Cena didn’t bring it in with him. She just sat there ineffectually until everyone (including Kane) forgot her, and the only proper follow-up can be three weeks from now when Kelly Kelly’s scheduled for a tag match and looks around for Eve all show, and we jump cut back to the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi and Ryder’s rental car is still there with a skeleton in the passenger’s seat.
Anyway, that was our show, and hopefully the lateness of this column will clue you in to how I felt about it. In conclusion, here’s what you thought: my ten favorite comments from last night’s WWE Raw open discussion thread:
Heel Kane = Rapings and attempted murder
Heel Daniel Bryan = Being really excited
I really liked the Brodus Clay debut because I always wondered what happened to Noticeably F.A.T. after “The Luck of the Fryish”
seancollierpgh, who had no idea how correct he was:
Brodus Clay debuts now.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have arrived at the fireworks factory.
so basically the writers room in WWE is 4chan now?
Somewhere 2 Cold Scorpio is 450ing in his grave.
Robert Denby with Too Many Simpsons References:
“R Truth, I mock your value system. You also appear foolish to the eyes of others.”
Lester, pointing out an awesome thing about Chris Jericho I forgot to Best:
His titantron video is literally ONLY clips from last week!
My theory is Jericho is having mini-strokes every time he gets a “Y2J” chant, and is trying desperately to relearn language on the spot.
seancollierpgh and mike_a making me laugh out loud:
Dude Ryder just call a cab. It is your first date, and also someone is trying to killrape you. CALL A CAB.
Kane is driving the cab!!!!!
I always wondered what WCW would look like in 2012.
See you guys next week. Or will I.