– 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.
Best: Chris Jericho Explains It All
Chris Jericho is a heel again, and the world is right.
Obviously the true joy of Jericho as a bad guy isn’t that he’s bad, but where he goes with it. I’m giving this a best because we skipped that Save Us Dot Y2J Dad Haircut And A Glittery Vest thing from 2007 completely and went straight to what he’s good at — being a colossal True Life prick who makes every show he’s on a fun one to watch.
Now that that’s out of the way …
Worst: Tighten Up Those Examples, Chris
I was … okay, how do I put this … less than impressed (?) by Jericho’s reasons for the onset of the end of the world. He ran down the current crop of WWE Superstars for being “wannabes”, poorly emulating the things he’d pioneered and perfected before them. While this is situationally true, he had to stick to the people he’s scheduled to face at the Elimination pay-per-view, so some of them worked and some were John Cena-grade Cheapsauce.
CM Punk – This is the important one, because Punk calls himself “Best In The World” and Jericho called/calls himself “The Best In The World At What I Do”, with neither one being brave enough to admit they lifted it from Bryan Danielson and Wolverine respectively.
The Miz – This is the truest one, because yeah, when Jericho left they gave the suits and slow talking and dour arrogance thing to Mizanin, although saying it on WWE television is throwing Miz under an entire fleet of buses and rendering him even later of an afterthought from now until possibly forever. And while we’re at it, Alberto Del Rio probably doesn’t even OWN those cars!
but then, uh
Kofi Kingston – As if anyone could beef with a cardboard cut out, Jericho claims Kofi Kingston does exciting moves in the ring because he once also did exciting moves, and sure, if Kofi had started doing a boston crab and a quebrada between Jericho leaving and Jericho’s return I’d say he had a point (a Kurt Angle point, but a point). But nope, he’s complaining about dropkicks, I guess.
Dolph Ziggler – He walks to the ring with Vickie Guerrero because one time in his 21-f**king-year career Jericho walked to the ring with a woman. Miss Elizabeth doesn’t exist, I guess, and neither do Baby Doll, Sunny, any number of Steve Austin’s ex-wives and Woman. Well, I’ll give you the last one.
R-Truth – … says “what’s up”, Jericho used to say “shut the hell up”. Because “up”. Because they had to include R-Truth.
Best: TAKE YOUR BALLS OUT OF YOUR FLASHING LED PURSE Did Not Happen
Here’s the one time since August CM Punk has had a ton of material to work with to deconstruct and destroy another wrestler’s point, and hell, he could’ve even added a YOUR NAME ISN’T EVEN CHRIS JERICHO, IT’S CHRIS IRVINE!!! to the end of it, but nope, he just walked to the ring, didn’t say a word, held his title over his head, showed Jericho the back of his shirt, said “f**k the lemons” and bailed.
That’s good. It works. He made Jericho look stupid in a good way — the way that would get people behind Punk and against Jericho without really making Jericho look worthless. I want to see their matches, both because of this and because are you kidding me, Jericho vs. Punk is gonna be rad as hell.
Jericho, you didn’t even MAKE that jacket… you bought it! etc.
Worst: Does Anybody Care Whether Or Not Randy Orton And The Great Khali Can Get Along
Worst: “Aggressive Tagging” Is The New “Distraction Into Roll-Up Loss”
Every few months, the WWE writing team looks up “wrestling” on TV Tropes and picks something, and they like it so much they write it in to happen in every third match no matter what. The most recent plague was the thing where someone wrestling would get distracted by an involved rival (or that rival’s music) long enough for the person they’re wrestling to roll them up from behind and pin them, no matter how fresh they were before it happened they just kinda had to lie there like a newborn baby until it was over.
The new “that wordy sh*t I just typed” is aggressive tagging, where someone tags in or out by slapping their partner as hard as they can. It happened here, to show that Randy Orton and The Great Khali couldn’t get along. It happened again in the next match, when Beth Phoenix tagged in one of the Bella Twins to “show dominance”. Somewhere a writer is on the bus to work, headphones on, writing “aggressive tag, singles match, ???” onto a yellow notepad and grimacing.
Worst: So Are We Just Not Going To Talk About Kharma Or What
WWE loves their WAIT A MINUTE I KNOW WHO THAT IS musical cues, and they’ve been a little too daring about milking the same cues twice. I’m guessing Kharma hasn’t been mentioned in two weeks so they can have Beth dismantled Tamina or whoever at Elimination Pay-Per-View and be all I’M DOMINANT YOU GUYS before NYAH HAHAHAHAHAAAA hits and Kharma picks up business.
The problem is that as great as that is, they already used NYAH HA HA etc. at the Royal Rumble for a surprise return. That means she’s f**king returned already and you can use her on your shows. Instead of having an eight Diva tag match that runs 65 seconds on back-to-back weeks you can start telling the story you wanted to tell with her again, and as a bonus we get women wrestling well in a semi-important spot on the show. That’s win-win. Win.
Also I’d like Kane to try his SCURR YOU WITH MUH WORDS thing on Kharma and get Implant Busted. Knock his spooky contact right out.
Best: Natalya On Raw Without Farting Or Taking A Pinfall
As you may know if you follow me on Twitter, despite a vegan World Heavyweight Champion in the throes of character development, an increased percentage of Chickbusting available and the Living Best of Cody Rhodes, I have boycotted Smackdown. Why? Because at no point in my life do I want “farting Natalya” to be a thing I watch.
If you haven’t been following it, somebody (Vince McMahon) thought it would be awesome to have a talented, passionate and good-looking wrestler with a rich heritage add depth to her character by having fart sound effects play when she’s backstage. They have a FARTING LADY character. THE FARTING LADY.
And yeah, I know I get heated about racism and misogyny and all kinds of preachy stuff here, but no, I’m not doing that. I just don’t want to know about a farting wrestler. I think that’s a point of view we can all share.
Best: Kelly Kelly, The Watcher
WWE only has two female speaking roles (“all fired up and ready to entertain ya” and “bitch”), and every now and then they go OKAY SWITCH and Kelly Kelly, who has been pointing and screaming and victory rolling her little heart out for nearly a year, has to go stand in the background while Eve emotes and tries to do a backflip without landing on her face.
I got attached to Kelly, having written so much in justification of her existence, so I like to watch her and see what she’s doing in that background role. So far all I can piece together is “standing still” and “looking at Eve”. Where the hell is Kelly when Eve is getting Fire Raped backstage or whatever? Eve ran out to make the save on at least 60 of Kelly Kelly’s encounters with Bitch, you’d think Kelly could at least keep an eye out and alert some security guards.
Worst: The Rock And John Cena Hate Each Others’ Videos On Twitter
@JohnCena – Watched the Rock’s video on Raw. Kewl vid! Rock should make a movie about losing at Wrestlemania!
@TheRock – @JohnCena HELLO JOHN CENA YOU TRANSVESTITE THE ROCK WILL SUCK YOUR HOO HAH AND END YOUR LIFE. MY BOOT. YOUR ASS. ONE LOVE. #inspireeveryday
@JohnCena – Read your tweet @TheRock. Whoa nelly! Why don’t you show up @ Raw in rural Maine and face me like a man, whatev i don’t even care
@TheRock – STICK YOUR DICK IN A LIGHT FIXTURE @JohnCena OR THE ROCK WILL F**K YOUR ASS WHERE THE GREEN GRASS GROWS, PLEASE GO SEE JOURNEY 2: THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND #theaterstoasses
@everyone else in the world – stop it nobody cares
Do this in the ring or at least on a television show happening near a ring and stop being weird babies on the Internet.
Worst: I Do Not Want To Hear About The Rock’s Dick Falling Out
The clip of Masters Of Style Shaver The Rock on The Tonight Show talking about how one time his brahma balls slipped out did not make me want to 1) watch The Tonight Show, 2) put myself in a position where I may accidentally see Rock’s balls again or 3) go see Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. I did, however, want Sid to get booked on the Tonight Show and tell Jay Leno’s audience about that time he sh*t his pants.
Sad fact: Both The Rock and Jay Leno have main-evented at least one more wrestling pay-per-view than William Regal.
Best: John Laurinaitis Explaining Shawn Michaels
Triple H couldn’t decide if he wanted to be SERIOUS BUSINESS or funny (so he was both), but John Laurinaitis showing up was a happy moment, especially when he decided to explain in great detail who Shawn Michaels was to Triple H. You have to wonder whether or not Laurinaitis KNOWS he’s as good as he is, or if he’s doing it by accident and we’re all stuck in some complex pro wres version of Being There.
If Wrestlemania ends with Laurinaitis walking on water I will send them my life savings.
Best: Justin Roberts May Or May Not Be Sure How The Six Pack Challenge Works
“Ladies and gentlemen, tonight’s main-event is a Six Pack Challenge Match!”
say the first person who gets a pinfall or submission wins and enters last in the elimination chamber, say the first person who gets a pinfall or submission wins and enters last in the elimination chamber
“Now, all six superstars will compete in the ring … at the same time.”
you got it, you got itttt
“The first superstar to caw … tuh …”
He should’ve went with Lillian’s old standby of “this match is scheduled for ONE FALLLLL” and then remaining silent while the music plays. Justin Roberts: born to entertain the fans.
Worst: The Miz
Holy sh*t did the Miz blow last night. I don’t know if it was a bad day at the office or if he was shaken from getting run over by all those buses, but watching him stop short on a kick to Jericho, take a double clothesline bump before the double clothesline (only to take it again) and catch R-Truth on a dive by lightly wiggling his fingers in that direction was the worst. It felt like I was watching one of those training matches on Tough Enough.
Miz’s badness was especially highlighted when Truth got injured and taken out of the match, leaving him in there with Chris Jericho, Dolph Ziggler, CM Punk and a guy who is f**king great at jumping. Miz would benefit from a territorial approach to wrestling, where he takes three months or whatever and wrestles somewhere else, so he could come back with a fresh perspective. I don’t want you to think I’m “that guy” when I say Japan, but Miz getting Gone To Sleep by the pissed-off little dude that innovated it would probably keep him from stopping short.
Best: Dolph Ziggler Makes Everything Better
I found myself especially enjoying the Zigglic portions of the match, particularly the brief sequence between him and Punk near the end. I don’t want to textually jack Ziggler off all the time, but I keep reading stuff like “his offense sucks” on wrestling message boards and I’m all THIS ISN’T OTUNGA I’M TALKING ABOUT HERE, LOOK AT THE WRESTLING HAPPENING, LOOK AT IT.
I want a compilation video of Ziggler taking the Go To Sleep like he’s getting Joey Mercury’d. It’s the best regular sell of a move that doesn’t hurt since Rock was turning backflips off the Stunner. Or at least since Scott Hall took the Stunner by jumping straight f**king up.
Best: Chris Jericho As Best In The World
Worst: These Screaming Ladies Sure Are Enjoying The Show
I was surprised when the camera didn’t fade out on Jericho and Punk, and I hope I’m not alone in assuming the weird lady screaming was some fans who’d gotten too close to the cameraman and were hilariously losing their minds.
That would’ve been a fun thing to remember. What it turned out to be is … not.