– My screencap guy bailed on me (and I’m writing this from Not My Computer, so I don’t have a reliable source for a torrent… AND WWE Fan Nation got turned into the SANTINO MARELLA SAYS FUNNY WORDS TO PEOPLE channel so so much for THOSE clips) so until I get a late-in-the-day e-mail, the pictures and such are courtesy of WWE.com. Sorry about that.
– Comments are loved and appreciated. So are “likes”. Clicking like is even easier than commenting, so hit that like button if you’ve got a second. It makes me look important and well-liked!
– Additional reading: UGO’s Raw Report. I would kill to be able to get up my column as efficiently as Aubrey Sitterson. It takes me four hours just to get through the Jinder Mahal parts.
– A.J. pic featured… within? Wait, what?
Please enjoy the Best And Worst Of WWE Raw for February 2, 2012.
Worst: Y’Know Something Undertaker Dot Dot Dot
Here is Triple H’s entire 14-minute opening speech in a nutshell:
“I respect the Undertaker a lot and he’s one of the greatest wrestlers ever, but after last year’s match he couldn’t leave without somebody driving him away on a little truck. I don’t want to remember Taker like that, and I don’t want to wrestle him again because I might end his career. So, sorry about that.”
That’s it. That’s a really logical, reasonable point that sets up a third Triple H vs. Undertaker Wrestlemania match as something more complex than “I WANNA END YER STREAK”. Reading that paragraph in a calm speaking voice took me 13 seconds.
The problem with this and almost any 20 minute Raw opening monologue is how little they have to say, and how long it takes them to say it. 14 minutes. It took him FOURTEEN F**KING MINUTES to say it, with H.P. Lovecraft quotes, 14,000 uses of the word “Undertaker” and both pro- and con- video packages.
The only upside to the video packages is how funny it is to picture Triple H sitting in front of a Mac all week, finding the perfect clips of him clotheslining Kamala or whatever to splice in, googling “lord of the rings music” to put behind it and running it over to production before the show in a two-pack with the sad version. The upside to the Lovecraft quoting is me picturing John Laurinaitis responding to H telling him the board of directors is about to fire him with “…but more wonderful than the lore of old men and the lore of books is the secret lore of ocean”, giving him a thumbs up and riding away on a surfboard.
Notice how last week’s show was great until Triple H’s music started? Notice how this week was terrible, because it started with Triple H’s music? Not a coincidence, guys. That song is like the Black Racer.
Best: Undertaker’s Throne Room Command Center
While I didn’t enjoy Triple H’s soliloquy being interrupted by the second video package of the segment (much less one they aired twice … not sure if the writers came up with 45 minutes of material and expected random challenges and impromptu tag matches to fill out the show or what), I do enjoy the otherworldly ridiculousness of the Undertaker.
That’s hard for me to say, because I really hate casual ridiculousness. I don’t like Natalya farting in the middle of hindu squats and Santino wandering into the room and flailing around holding his nose like someone tear gassed him. It has to be not ridiculous at all or EXTREMELY ridiculous for me to enjoy it.
I don’t like Kane horror movie hunting Zack Ryder, but I do sorta like him chokeslamming people onto the coffins of their dead parents. I don’t like Undertaker possessing people, but I do like him trying to embalm Steve Austin, walking through walls of fire with declarations of Peace Resting and orchestrating “black weddings”. So I don’t like him showing up and making challenges, but I like the reveal that he lives in some sort of Undertaker bat cave and has an Undercomputer that plays stylized WWE footage on loop to piss him off or make a point.
Yes, I’m aware that this point of view is inconsistent, but f**k you, it’s my brain, I barely keep it working and you don’t have to live in it.
Worst: The Internet Knows You’re Doing Taker Vs. HHH
3 2 At Mania, Quick, Change Your Plans
That’s not going to work, is it?
I’m going to be at Wrestlemania this year (bought my plane ticket yesterday! If you read With Leather and are gonna be there too, make sure to let me know on Twitter or something and find me at the show), so in addition to being the only dude in the building rooting for Cena to Embrace Hate and slaughter Rocky, I’m gonna be the one guy peeing a bored pee for 20 minutes (whether I’m in the bathroom or not) while these jerks trade finishers.
I’ve only been to one other Wrestlemania (24) and was stupid enough to try to find food and pee while Kane vs. Chavo Guerrero was on. I got five steps down the aisle and was all SH*T WHAT IT’S OVER, COME ON and had to run back. Hopefully that happens this year, too. Kick, wham, stunner, it’s over. Or pedigree, whatever.
(note: how awesome would it be if next year they booked Undertaker versus, I don’t know, Mason Ryan or somebody at Mania and Ryan just ran at him and speared him and pinned him like it was nothing? It’d be worth it just to see HBK and HHH make simultaneous exasperated-Sokka faces.)
Best: A.J. Is Actually On Raw For Real
I mean, she’s not wrestling on Raw, but she’s also not just one of the random people in the background, so that’s something!
This column has made me hypersensitive to certain good or bad WWE segments, so much in the way that Triple H opening his mouth is an automatic Worst until he proves me wrong, A.J. showing up and being a person of televised interest is an automatic Best until they decide “foley sharting” should be her sole character trait or Jerry Lawler starts making fun of her for being Mexican. Which he’ll do, because fish gotta swim.
Anyway, she is cute and the best and I hope we can move away from the Big Show soon and get to those vignettes I’ve written in private where A.J. is all “I don’t know, I’m not sure what sunflower sprouts are” and Daniel Bryan is all “IF YOU LOVED ME YOU’D EAT THEM”. She needs to stay with him forever so we can get promos that are both about TVP and Batman.
Best: How Easily Big Show Could Resolve This Angle
Big Show has been in tears and near reitrement for like a month now because he accidentally knocked a lady down and her boyfriend has been a dick about it. I’m not sure why a guy who once tried to MMF rape-kill Hulk Hogan with the help of a giant mummy would get so bent out of shape over this, but I have a few suggestions.
Firstly, instead of saying “it was uh ACCIDENT, but aw I feel so bad!”, try “sorry about that, but you’re being a dick, now I’m gonna punch you in the face”. Or “A.J. is a wrestler, isn’t she? Natalya literally bent her in half like six weeks in a row on Smackdown, I bump into her once and she’s in a neck brace for a month? She needs to retire or get a grip” and then punch him in the face. Regardless, the ending to our first vegan storyline is obviously “vegan gets punched in the face”, so let’s hurry up and get to that so we can stop having Big show matches.
Secondly, Big Show should google “A.J. Lee WWE ethnicity”, find out her last name is “Mendez” and be all “all this time I thought I’d hurt a white lady, but I hurt a PUERTO RICAN! THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING”, chokeslam A.J. and win the World Heavyweight Championship. Actually, no he shouldn’t, but tell me these options don’t have the exact same chance of happening.
Best: I WILL STILL BE A VEGAN!
The best part of CM Punk being a popular Person Of Import in WWE is that he’s there to coach Daniel Bryan in the skill at which he’s the true best in the world: shoehorning a specific lifestyle choice into conversation.
Daniel Bryan saying he’s gonna walk out of Elimination Chamber the World Heavyweight Champion is great, but it’s even GREATER when he feels the need to mention that he will also be VEGAN while doing it. That’s pro wrestling, motherf**kers, you gotta mention that you’re Iranian whether you’re talking about hostage crises or tiddlywinks.
(Plus, it gets “vegan” trending to some degree amongst people who’d never bother to look it up independently of something to respire about in their YouTube reviews every time he says it, which is cool. Haters gonna hate.)Subscribe to UPROXX
Worst: NASCAR Never Helps
“Before we forget, a NASCAR guy showed up last week and drove his car around and now John Cena’s gonna be the honorary Car Hooter at the Cousin F**ker 500! He’s honored!”
Racing is always trying to overlap with pro wrestling and it never, ever works. Examples include: Kyle Petty as a member of the nWo, Hermie Sadler powerbombing guys in TNA, Eve Torres showing interest in the Texas Motor Speedway and 10 years of Hardcore Holly
(and yes, I am a pro wrestling fan who condescends on NASCAR. I am silver and exact, I have no preconceptions.)
Worst: Beard Baby Can Go Straight To Hell
Is this the movie about babies that are geniuses?
Worst: So How Are You Guys Liking These Video Packages
Eventually we’re gonna come back around to closed circuit television, and 14,000 people will buy tickets to Raw to sit in stadium seating and watch videos about how cool WWE Superstars are on the big screen. WWE’s new YouTube channel is evidence of that, and I’m not just bitching about it because they took all the clips off WWE Fan Nation to have Dolph Ziggler read Bob Saget’s jokes over skateboard fails. People come to shows not to see wrestling but to see wrestlers, and if they can ever get away with it, WWE will start giving us what we want.
Granted, I love this Cena video. It’s not quite as good as his DMX gospel entrance from Wrestlemania last year, but it gets across the same idea — that John Cena is a caring, loyal guy who loves you and you hate him because you’re jaded and helping nobody and can’t think outside the 20 x 20 box they’ve given you.
It’s important to compare and contrast this video to The Rock’s, which is mostly about how he does nothing to help (he flies around filming movies, shooting guns, smiling on talk shows and waving from plane decks) and is beloved for it, because he did what Cena did when wrestling was popular. Wrestling fans can’t let go of the past, and they’d rather live in the movie reality of a thing they remember than the living reality of a thing they can’t accept. It’s interesting and socially compelling, at least moreso than Rock saying “Cena sucks dick” on Twitter every two weeks.
That being said, they should stop cramming these things into the shows. Seriously, save them for just before the match is happening on pay-per-view, then make a VH1-esque block of them every morning between 6 AM and 8 AM on WWE Network. That Shawn Michaels/Undertaker Placebo video is your “Thriller”, start there.
Best: Tebowing Is Now Officially Otunga-ing
David Otunga asked us to pray for Executive Vice President Of Talent Relations and Interim General Manager of Raw John Laurinaitis, and his prayer took the form of Tim Tebow’s pre-everything “Tebowing” pose. I’m not sure if I’m shocked by how funny it was, or how WWE was only a few months behind on a culture trend instead of a flat decade.
Regardless, this is officially the moment when you say, “David Otunga is awesome” to your friends. He’s still a thick slice of moldy ass in the ring, but he’s no worse than the Masons Ryan or Jinders Mahal, and that A-list “Google Me” personality he showed in the first episode of NXT and forgot for a year and a half is officially back.
Right now, the only two people on the official David Otunga bandwagon are myself and the proprietress of #otungaswag, Anarchy Championship Wrestling’s queen of argyle and thumbtacked Gory Bombs, Rachel Summerlyn:
So are you gonna be one of the cool kids, or what?
Worst: Does Sheamus Ever Show Up With Something Scheduled
This was discussed a bit in the comments section of last night’s open thread, but does Sheamus ever show up to Raw with a match scheduled anymore? Dude is like an Indiana Jones booby trap, you make one false move and the room starts shaking and Sheamus rolls down the ramp to crush you. I sincerely hope that he fails to schedule a championship match at Wrestlemania because he assumed Daniel Bryan would get intentionally counted out or whatever and Teddy Long would HOLD ON A MINNET PLAYA him into it.
Also, doesn’t it defeat the purpose of all those contract signings they have when an authority figure who got relieved of his duties as general manager of Raw can still make matches on the fly for Raw and you’re forced to be in them?
Worst: Chris Jericho’s Mirror Chest
Forget the bulbs on his jacket, the greatest source of light emanating from Jericho’s body is the reflection from the half-barrel of f**king baby oil he soaked himself in before his nightly hallway-walk. If you look at his chest long enough you get transported to the Light World. After he’s done beating CM Punk for infringing on “Best In The World” he should start some sh*t with Michael Nakazawa.