Pre-show notes, largely copy and pasted from last week (just like Raw!):
– Don’t be afraid to leave a comment on this report. We’ve build a great community of intelligent, funny wrestling fans and you should be a part of it, because seriously, you aren’t gonna find it anywhere else.
– Big thanks again to Casey/THESTINGER for helping me out with gifs and pictures. Be sure to visit his gifs Tumblr for the stuff I didn’t use, especially the one of D’Lo Brown beating the crap out of the Undertaker.
– A.J. actually shows up on Raw this week (!!), so if you’re just browsing through for pictures of her, you’ll be pleasantly rewarded. P.S. Don’t do that.
– Don’t forget, I’m going to be at Wrestlemania this year, so if there’s any chance you’ll be there too and want to hang out or say hi (or buy a t-shirt, a la the nWo), just let me know.
Anyway, please enjoy the Best and Worst Of WWE Raw for February 27, 2012.
Best: Jericho Vs. Punk, For Real, Finally
Now this is more like it.
I’ll tell you that David Otunga’s matching sweater/thermos/socks combo is my favorite thing about wrestling lately, but my actual favorite thing is CM Punk’s steady descent back into normalcy. Daniel Bryan is my favorite wrestler, but Punk has long been my favorite wrestling personality, so him logically dissecting sour-faced Chris Jericho’s claims of bestness innovation and making him look like a silly piece of shit in the process was glorious.
I may have figured it out — Punk’s character only works for me when I feel like he’s in the right. When he tells Vince McMahon that he’s out of touch with his audience, I understand and agree. When he’s chastising Jeff The Slack-Jawed Yokel or yelling at Raven for pissing away his opportunities with drugs and alcohol, I’m like “yeah tell ’em Punk you ARE a monster!” When he’s telling John Laurinaitis to take his balls out of his purse or taunting Alberto Del Rio for being Mexican by saying “you’re mexican” over and over, not so much.
But I agree with him here. Jericho’s claims are of the “I’m Glacier and I invented the standing side kick! Nuh uh, I’m Perry Saturn and that’s MY move!” variety and he should be called on it. That can allow Jericho to make Doggy Ate My Owse-Cweam face, and pro wrestling matches can occur. Best in the World vs. Best in the World in a ring at Mania, with their Twitter beef long ago lost in the ether.
A tiny Worst goes to Punk for dissing the LED jacket, though. You wore basketball shorts in the ring for like seven years, Punk, you have never worn something that awesome.
Best: Hey Look, It’s My Four Favorite People On The Show!
Yes, my first thought was, “well here’s the ACTUAL best in the world, if we’re splitting hairs”.
I didn’t think we could get more people I love per capita than the Team Mr. Excitement segment from Elimination Chamber, but the Punk and Jericho staredown ended with Daniel Bryan’s still-bastardized entrance theme happening and Bryan YES YES YESsing to the ring with not only With Leather favorite A.J., but with both John Laurinaitis AND David Otunga.
Counting the guys in the ring, that’s six of my 10 favorite current WWE employees*. That’s the best way to start a show.
(*Cody Rhodes, Derrick Bateman, Alberto Del Rio/Ricardo Rodriguez in tandem and
Camacho Michael McGillicutty lol I can’t even type that with a straight face Dolph Ziggler**)
(**I promise I don’t just like heels, I just like the people who don’t look like they’re trying so hard to make me like them. Alex Riley, I’m looking in your direction***)
(***I am not looking at Alex Riley)
Worst: Two Commercial Breaks And 10 Minutes At The Announce Table
CM Punk and Daniel Bryan can wrestle for however long they want on as many consecutive shows as they want. I don’t care if they have a Best 52 out of 104 series that ends tied and has to start again next year. What I don’t like is any possibility of an epic champion vs. champion series finale being nerfed like a f**king daycare center by two (TWO) commercial breaks and at least 50% of time elapsed spent seeing what everyone’s doing at the announce booth.
I want to find out what’s happening in the John Laurinaitis/Teddy Long storyline. I like exaggerated interofficeplay from guys who could be running @DadBoner on my wrestling show, and when they devote too much time to backstage I know it’s philosophically lessening the amount of time I can spend watching wrestlers wrestle, but I don’t want them to cut and paste that shit over the wrestling for real.
Let me put it another way: if I gave star ratings to matches, I’d have to give this one **3/4, and do you understand how f**king pissed that makes me
Best: AJ In Jeans, Because Seriously
So what if she got them from the Band Of Outsiders boys department, she looks great in them. The best part of being action-figured-sized must be how easy it is to look in clothes. The worst part must be getting caught in a mousetrap.
I don’t have anything to say, she looks great in jeans.
Worst: Jericho Needs To Make A Concerted Effort To Look Less Like Test
And because this is turning into a fashion blog so gradually you aren’t even noticing, here’s where I point out that the only thing keeping me from feeling weird about Chris Jericho’s rippling old-man stomach is how closes he’s getting to looking exactly like pre-Crisis Test. A quick checklist on how to look like test:
1. Wear leather pants ✔
2. Be extremely tan in an unrealistic way ✔
3. Have tons of muscles, but not really look like you’re in good shape ✔
4. spend a lot of time standing on the Raw stage, scowling and breathing out heavily ✔
5. Have long blonde hair
The only thing keeping him from being pre-Crisis Test is that he’s got post-Crisis Test’s haircut. And like a foot of height, but I digress. He should start adding a pump-handle to everything he does.
Best: Josh Mathews Makes An Ass Out Of You And Me
I love how tightly booked the opening half hour was. We started with Jericho and Punk feud, transitioned into simultaneous Punk/Bryan, Laurinaitis/Long and Otunga/Santino feuds, transitioned from THERE into Laurinaitis/Punk, then smoothly back into Punk and Jericho for the finish. That’s beautifully put together, and even if certain feuds encroached onto ones I’d like to see more, it was still a great example of how wrestling shows can happen.
The next hour is … not that.
It is, however, extremely hilarious to see Cole and Lawler send it back for a medical update only to have Josh Mathews standing in a hallway talking about how Punk is madder than he is injured. Do we have any sort of verification on that? Did he just make it up, because it sounded right? Are we left to assume that they had one of those “CM PUNK, I JUST WANTED TO GET YOUR THOUGHTS ON WHAT WENT DOWN EARLIER TONIGHT WITH CHRIS JERICHO” things where Punk yelled “I’M NOT HURT, I’M MAD” and then rolled away on the operating table while Josh stood there trying to lower his head down inbetween his shoulderblades, remaining silent?
I wanted Josh to be all, “It looks like CM Punk is madder than he is hurt. Just kidding, his back is broken. Back to you, Michael”.
Best: The Right Way To Do Recap Videos
One of the best ways to know the emotional story a wrestler is trying to tell in the ring is to have the people commentating it steer you in the same direction. That’s why wrestling announcers are so important, and why Michael Cole’s infuriating insult-train and independent wrestling’s penchant for guys who scream and make Fun Jokez are so equally awful: if Jim Ross says Mick Foley is dead and he sounds like he means it enough, I’m gonna go “oh god, is he dead?”
That’s what I liked about last night’s revisiting of the Triple H vs. Undertaker match from WrestleMania XXVII. I’m not a huge fan of the match itself — I’ve never been a fan of Triple H’s interpretation of a Big Match Story being “we hit each other with stuff and lie around, and then at the end we make so many faces” — but showing the major moments and having popular wrestlers tell the story again made it seem like the most important thing that has ever happened, and that’s great.
Exposition works really well when you’re looking back on things … VH1 got like five years or programming out of Donal Logue or whoever saying “Glow Worm is a worm that lights up when you hug it”. Exposition while something is happening is the WORST, but if Edge says “Undertaker was starting to show weakness and humanity and Triple H knew he had to kill him to finish him off”, that’s an important thing for us to know, and a great way to tell us without spittle-screaming it like Stimpy for 20 minutes on Raw.
Worst: Pretty Soon The Divas Matches Are Just Gonna Be Amoeba Slides
Things I observed during the Divas match
1. Someone needs to tell Kelly Kelly that a bridge isn’t “impressive” if you fall all the way back and then bridge. You have to bridge back. Post-move bridges are for the birds, you might as well be doing the Super Delfin taunt at the end.
2. The match should’ve ended in silence and we should’ve watched Kelly pose for a minute and head to the back, and then like 70 seconds later Cole should’ve screamed WAIT A MINUTE, TWIN MAGIC! to no one in particular, then just sorta looked around like he had no idea where he was.
3. I observed no other things during this Divas match.
Best/Worst: Cena Getting Main Eventer Clean Wins/Miz Being Completely Irrelevant
The Best: John Cena is going into a match with The Rock at Wrestlemania that is being called the “biggest match in wrestling history”. The only thing he’s done since, like, June of last year has been beating R-Truth on a pay-per-view with the help of a child, literally losing the title to CM Punk, beating Alberto Del Rio for the championship in apathetic fashion on what seemed like six straight pay-per-views and having an ambulance three-way with Kane and a guy in a wheelchair.
If we’re to buy that Cena is the Best and Most Important guy of this generation, he’s got to have matches like this where he just shows up and smokes a guy. It’s unfortunate that Miz has to be a victim of that, but at this point Miz shouldn’t have any chance against him — if Miz couldn’t win HANDICAP matches against Cena, he shouldn’t be able to stop John’s basic chain of monster dog-jumping offense one-on-one. He shouldn’t muster more than an “WAIT, WAIT… ah shit /taps out” when he’s in the STF. Cena should be the f**king Terminator heading into Mania, and Rock should be the legendary champion who nobody expects to lose. Hogan, Andre.
The Worst: The “HEY MIZ, REMEMBER WHEN YOU MATTERED?” sign was less of an ice burn and more of a teeth-gritting “eesh, you’re right”. Miz lost Alex Riley like Samson lost his f**king hair. At this point all he can do is go back to bed with not much hair left on his head. Eat a slice of wonderbread and go right back to bed.
Worst: Jerry Lawler Is Masturbating Under The Table Right Now
We get it, Jerry, you like The Rock. You don’t have to sound like you’re blushing and shuffling your feet every time he’s mentioned. Lawler’s nervous, “heh, wow, there’s only one The Rock. The ROCK! Later tonight! Oh I can’t wait!” made him sound like Butters from South Park.
I would not be surprised to open Lawler’s cartoon portfolio and find a bunch of intense pencil sketches of him nude, riding the assy-CGI Rock Scorpion from the end of The Mummy 2.
Best: This Triple Threat Match Is Daisy-f**king Fresh
I’m giving it a best, but I guess it doesn’t say a lot for the current state of wrestling when the words “triple threat match for the WWE Tag Team Championships” seems like the coolest and freshest thing to happen on Raw in months.
We’ve eased into this comfort zone of squash matches, one-on-one matches ending in interference from whomever one of the guys is wrestling at the pay-per-view and brawl-ending impromptu tag matches that a simple stip that was used to death 10 years ago and only exists now as a fun thing to do in the video games seems revolutionary. I want them to do more of this. I want Primo and Epico to earn their tag titles run in reverse, make us care at least a little about what’s happening with them by letting us see them do things (anything) on the reg.
I’ve got to say it was a little weird how segregated the teams were (Puerto Ricans versus black guys versus white guys), but that’s not as much of a complaint as an observation. I don’t care if they go back to the MILITANT BLACK ARMY VERSUS WHITE BIKERS VERSUS HISPANIC DRUG GUYS (?) IN WHITE PANTS faction warz thing from the Attitude Era if it leads to actual matches between actual guys.
Best: The Rosa Mendes Ring Entrance Is PG-Melina
The Best And Worst Of WWE No Way Out 2007 retro report features maybe half a page about how much I miss Melina Perez’s pre-PG, pre-pants vag-out splits entrance. Rosa Mendes standing on the ropes and corkscrewing her ass to the ground is no splits, but in a PG world, I’ll take it.
I’m not a big fan of wrestlers having video game style entrances that are exactly the same no matter what’s happening (for example, I don’t need to see Beth Phoenix pose at the top of the ramp, then sit backwards on the top rope and tumble backwards as if that requires any athletic ability whatsoever ((all it requires is your legs being the proper length))), but if we’re gonna be all “Divas” about the Divas, I will appreciate a good Divas ring thing. Melina is the obvious all-time champ, but Ariel from WWECW’s “hanging bat” is a close second.
Worst: Kane As Scott Steiner
Kane didn’t “bury” anybody (thank Christ he at least waited until someone got the pinfall before he wandered out and chokeslammed people), but unless he’s decided to Embrace The Hate for Carlito’s relatives, I don’t see a good reason for him to interrupt the post-tag stuff. It felt a little too much like an exclamation point on how little the audience is expected to care about the division. Yeah, I’m stretching on that one, but Kane is more or less the f**king Grim Reaper for wrestling situations and I don’t want to see the first triple threat tag match in ages dragged to Hell.
Of course, if it turns out Kane’s going back into that holding pattern where his main event push is over and he’s winning the tag belts with whoever constitutes 2012’s The Hurricane (Santino, maybe?), then whatever, I’m happy he’s not ghost riding the whip on a stunt ambulance anymore.
Worst: Did Otunga and Laurinaitis Just Throw Shade At The Artist?
Otunga: “Yes, I watched that boring show. I mean, the only good thing was Octavia Spencer winning.”
Laurinaitis: “I got a question: How does a guy not say one word in a movie and win best actor?”
Otunga: “Ohhhh, The Artist? Tell me about it.”
Laurinaitis: “I don’t get it.”
Somewhere, Marlee Matlin is gesturing angrily at her television. (Yes, I am assuming that Marlee Matlin watches Raw) (she probably enjoys it more than the rest of us)
Every segment on Raw should’ve started backstage with furrowed-brow Laurinaitis and condescending head-shake Otunga trying to talk about what happened at the Academy Awards and getting interrupted.
Laurinaitis: “And what was the deal with The Tree Of Life?”
Otunga: “A dinosaur … stepping on another dinosaur’s head?” /shakes head, sips coffee
Long: “HOLE ON A MINNET PLAYA”
(In addition to pretending Marlee Matlin watches Raw, I like to think that Teddy Long is deeply understanding of the films of Terrence Malick and that’s why he interrupted that conversation I just made up. “The movie has not only admirers but partisans—it can only be truly loved by attacking those too blind to see the truth. Now holla!”
UP NEXT: KELLY KELLY MAEKS POOPIES >=( 8
Also: Is Alicia Fox Standing On A Stepladder Or Something
Worst: Eve Is Not Good Enough At This To Justify Eve
Critically-acclaimed wordsmith Kelly Kelly on the unbearable lightness of being Eve Torres, via Twitter:
I’ve seen what u guys have been saying about @EveMarieTorres And you know what I agree she is a sipping on that skankjuice. I mean who hooks up with her guy’s best friend and uses everyone of the people she works..well Ive seen the real her and she’s no friend of mine.
Just when you think you know someone…YOU DON’T.
On Raw, Eve Torres walked to the ring in a more revealing than usual dress, completely with new “whore” mannerisms or whatever, and delivered a promo about how she’s one of the most beautiful women in the world. She ran into former Best Friend Forever Kelly and laughed at her concerns, filling out the heel turn so many people said justified last week’s still jarring slut-shaming thing. The video package with all the name-calling accentuated with gunshot sound effects or whatever doesn’t help.
Anyway, both the Eve promo from last night and Kelly’s tweets are examples of how WWE gave Eve a heel reaction, then worked to justify it. Cena says Eve used people and lied to them. Kelly says Eve hooked up with her guy’s best friend. The truth of the matter is that Zack Ryder was never “her guy” and the closest she came to “hooking up” with Cena was kissing him in a heated moment, unless we’re to understand that Cena banged her on top of the ambulance or something after the show. Cena’s claims are just as bad, because the only thing Eve ever did heelish happened in the first minute of that show, where she TELLS the Bella Twins that she used Zack (for what is still not explained) and wanted to use Cena, and Cena overheard it. That’s it. But from the mouths of babe-faces comes this story about how Eve’s always been a gold-digging bitch, and now Eve gets to act that out so they’re right.
It’s fine, and if Eve had Lita’s shoot gusto about it maybe it’d work, but … well, I guess it works, the crowd really loves writing hoeski on signs and yelling at her, so
Best: Cody Rhodes Presents
Anyway, back to people who are great at their jobs.
The freshness of Nataly’s farts have seemingly started to subside, so I’m watching enough of Smackdown to see two-defenses-in-200-days Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes’ ongoing series of embarrassing Big Show Wrestlemania moments, and lord, there is no better way to casually reference your company’s history than this.
Cody should keep the entire WWE tape library on file and taunt every single person he wrestles with footage like this. It doesn’t have to be Wrestlemania moments … every WWE Superstar (Cody included) has lived through a mass of humiliating bullsh*t. So if he’s facing, say, Goldust, he can show footage of him being stripped to women’s underpants by Roddy Piper at Wrestlemania, being pulled around in a ball gag by Luna Vachon or getting curse-Tourette’s from an electric shock. If he’s wrestling Wade Barrett he can show a bunch of NXT challenges and that time Wade pretending like John Cena seriously injured him when all he did was drop a bunch of chairs onto a wooden pallet Wade was under. Even guys like Heath Slater and JTG have footage of them losing in moments to a fat dancing dinosaur who is never appearing again.
Additionally, how great is it that Big Show’s assumed answer to Cody’s Wrestlemania humiliation videos is to team up with Shaq in a tag team match? You deserve to be treated like this, Big Show.
Best: Sheamus, The Concerned Tag Team Partner
The most adorable moment of Raw goes to Sheamus, who stood quietly while the Big Show stared down Cody Rhodes, but started tapping him on the arm like a little kid and going HEY, HEY LOOK, HEY LOOK MARK HENRY’S GETTIN’ UP FELLA YOU SHOULD DO SOMETHIN’ when Mark Henry started getting up. Eventually he realized Show wasn’t going to listen to him, so he calmly tagged himself in and eliminated the threat.
Worst: R.I.P., Good Mark Henry
The only real downside is that the “threat” he eliminated was Mark Henry, the guy who three months ago was the Baddest Motherf**king On The Planet, a 450+ pound freight train who snapped the legs of the toughest guys around and just lifted and dropped you to death if you looked at him wrong. This is Mark Henry, the most dominant champ in years, the guy who flattened Randy Orton and pinned him clean. The Hall Of Pain. HIS BLOOD DON’T PUMP KOOL-AID.
Well, last night Sheamus busted him open and I swear to Christ I saw Purplesaurus Rex dripping down his face. Mark Henry looked like an asshole trying to get in the ring, was immediately knocked down, and as soon as he managed to get up he was helplessly kicked to f**k and pinned. How did this happen? He lost last week in a few minutes, and last night he looked like someone had Space Jammed him and stolen his wrestling ability. I don’t like this. I don’t like this at all.
Worst: Wait A Minute, Where Are Triple H And The Undertaker?
Last week I declared that any and all Triple H and Undertaker tough guy back-and-forth would be replaced by kitten pictures and Hayley Williams from Paramore gifs. This week, neither Triple H nor the Undertaker make an appearance. I don’t know if it’s because they’d feel overshadowed by The Rock, or if WWE sincerely reads my columns and responds to my criticisms by making me as unhappy as possible.
Next week I expect one of two things:
1. The show to begin with at least 50 minutes of Triple H and Undertaker saying “this business”.
2. Me starting a Hayley Williams Tumblr.