The Best And Worst Of WWE Raw 3/19/12: Little Mac Versus Bald Bull

Cody_Rhodes_Boxing_Big_Show_WWE_Raw

Pre-show notes:

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Please to enjoy the Best and Worst Of WWE Raw for March 19, 2012.

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Best: Chris Jericho, Ultimate Self-Confidence Troll

A few weeks ago, I complained that despite advertising a completely new character, Chris Jericho had returned as the dour, suit-wearing Best In The World At What He Does Chris Jericho in 2007 Y2J’s clothes. Granted, I love Parasites And Sycophants Chris Jericho, but I’d been hoping for something we hadn’t seen a thousand times before.

I think I may’ve been mistaken. The early, wonderful trolling of Jericho’s return hasn’t gone away, he’s just morphed it INTO the meanfaced guy. Because he can’t just run up to CM Punk in a flashing jacket and point at him for a reaction, he’s got to troll Punk with the only thing that CAN troll Punk — family issues and substance abuse discussions.

That’s brilliant. Punk’s been smirking his way through the main-event since the Summer, because sure, he likes wrestling and he wants the championship, but he doesn’t really care about that, at least in the way he cares about being Straight Edge and better than everyone else. So Jericho wisely decides to poke him in that soft spot, and in the way a guy on a forum might bait you into getting really pissed off about stuff and say he’s “just kidding” or “doesn’t care”, Jericho says “hey Punk your dad’s an alcoholic and your sister is Wendy from Breaking Bad” and Punk can’t keep on the facade, he gets all BLAGHHH I HAVE DARED TO RESIST DRUGS AND ALCOHOL LET ME EXPLAIN THIS TO YOU EXTENSIVELY I WILL BECOME A MONSTER et al. and Jericho just trollfaces and types “u mad” with his mouth.

He’s just kidding. He doesn’t care if Punk drinks or not, he just wants to mess with him. I don’t think he even wants to win the match. He knows what he’s saying is bullsh*t, and that the stuff he said about people ripping him off was bullsh*t, he’s just On The Internet In Real Life.

Worst: Censoring The Curse Words

Why would WWE censor CM Punk for saying “you’re bullsh*t”? Either say the word or don’t, censoring makes it sound like you’re writing on a 13-year old’s Livejournal. People who censor curse words to not offend their sponsors are f**king a$$h0les*.

*If I could type “Everlast ‘What It’s Like’ radio edit animal noises” here and have it read properly, I would. They call her a sinner, and they call her a HEE HAWWW

Best: Kane Getting Jobber Intro’d

I hope you enjoyed entering the ring during the commercial, 20-year veteran with a high profile match at Wrestlemania! We needed extra time for the Cody Rhodes boink noises and “pushing a rock pushing a rock pushing a rock” video package.

Best: No Chain Wrestling, But At Least It Was Quick

Advice for anyone else wrestling The Big Show: if you’d like to beat him in less than a minute, wait for a minor distraction.

I want to say Big Show vs. Kane “wasn’t bad”, but it was only 80 seconds long, and even Aksana would have to start throwin’ bows right away to f**k up something in 80 seconds. I think Big Show and Kane have the most forgettable matches of all time. In fact, I can only remember three out of the assumed 14,000 they’ve had:

1. The terrible PPV one where they were on the ground choking each other, and someone was supposed to run in or whatever and missed their cue, so they just stayed there holding the choke forever.

2. The funny TV one where they start off doing catch-as-catch-can stuff and everyone forgets the rest.

3. The one from last night.

…and unless they show a video package from Raw on Friday, I’ll have forgotten this one happened by Monday. Maybe they should just combine these kinds of matches with the Bella Twins Diva tag ones and have Kane and Big Show use Twin Magic to get roll-up victories on folks and I’ll only have to spend 80 seconds of my life watching one of them.

Best: +Rhodes

Cody Rhodes is doing something very important: showing ass, and making you want to see him lose. I love Cody, and after the last month of him being an impossible dickbag to Big Show, even I want to see him get his ass kicked*.

Last night is a great example of how WWE bad guys should act. If you’re feuding with somebody, you don’t handcuff them to the ring, beat up their wife and make out with her unconscious body … you handcuff them to the ring, pull out a pair of bright red boxing gloves and punch them in the face a bunch. For wrestling “humiliation violence” to really work, it has to be something you wouldn’t just go to the cops about. If Triple H breaks into my house and throws me through my front window, I’m making sure he gets fired and thrown into prison. But if he hit me with novelty boxing gloves? Oh man, I’d kill him.

*On a serious note, if Cody retains at Wrestlemania I will start mailing out smiley face cookies.

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Worst: LOL Shane Douglas

For those of you who might not’ve heard, former MLW World Heavyweight Champion and current Target assistant manager “The Franchise” Shane Douglas made a surprise appearance at Raw, “unmasking” in the crowd and trying to get an “E-C-Dub” chant going before he was escorted out, where he assumedly sat down criss-cross-applesauce and ate the pimento cheese sandwich he’d packed away in his cargo pants.

A few hard truths for Shane Douglas:

1. In 2012, nobody in a WWE crowd is going to recognize Shane Douglas. I’ve been watching wrestling my entire life, 15 years or so of it involving Shane Douglas, and if Shane Douglas helped me get a copy of Kirby’s Epic Yarn out of the case at Target I wouldn’t notice him or give a sh*t. I guess that’s why he was wearing a The Franchise t-shirt, but even then you’ve got to stop and read the bright yellow letters and process whether or not that’s Shane Douglas or just some sad guy in Philadelphia who can’t let go.

2. ECW has been dead longer than it was alive. Additionally, WWE owns ECW. Additionally, if you can’t get an E-C-Dub chant going in Philadelphia, it may be time for you to give up.

3. Those ECW reunion shows are a nice way for the Randies The Ram of the independent scene to get a paycheck (and there’s still value in seeing a guy like Sabu, which is why he gets NON-ECW reunion show work), but by running them constantly, especially in Philadelphia, you’re going against what the original ECW said so proudly — that great wrestling existed under the foam of the mainstream, and to find it sometimes you had to sacrifice your darlings by wrapping barbed wire around a thing and smashing those darlings to death.

When ECW came around, independent wrestling was awful. For a huge chunk of the 90s, North American independent wrestling had exactly three guys of note: Christopher Daniels, Reckless Youth and Mike Quackenbush. Four if you count Super Mario, but I don’t know if he actually existed, he was just always in my PWI. Anyway, thanks to the success of ECW and the onset of the Internet, independently run wrestling promotions have become a real, viable thing, and you can see good-to-great wrestling all across the country … and if you’re paying attention, Philadelphia is still where most of it calls home. The ECW Arena Shane Douglas treats like Jerusalem has been reset and redefined by promotions like CHIKARA. Hell, Combat Zone wrestles there 18 times a week and they named themselves “CZW” because “CZ” sounds like “EC”.

Shane Douglas, you are that guy who goes to war to fight for our freedoms, then comes home, gets older and gets upset that the people you fought for are using their freedom. Instead of trying to promote your dumb bullsh*t, use your knowledge and resources and Target discount to help a Sami Callihan or a Fire Ant or any number of guys who are doing a way better job at the job you used to do.

4. Literally the only good thing that could come out of Shane Douglas On Raw is a Dynamic Dudes reunion.

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Best: Santino Marella As Cyber Kong

Drawn on abs? I’m not buying it unless you’re half cyborg man, half colossal ape.

Best: David Otunga’s Jacket

David_Otunga_Cape_Flex_John_Laurinaitis_Clap_WWE_RawI like that David Otunga added an oversized jacket to his entrance gear, not only because he joins that weird group of wrestlers who wear clothes out and somehow leave them on the ramp, but because it continues his subtle psychological warfare with Wade Barrett.

Yes, I’m pretending the Nexus/New Nexus/Corre storyline is still happening. You just have to look for the clues. I want Skip Sheffield to show back up with the cowboy hat on Friday and be all, “yip yip yip, where’d everybody go?”

Best: John Laurinaitis Celebrates

John_Laurinaitis_Trombone_Dance_WWE_RawThe only way it could’ve been better is if he’d done it when Shane Douglas got ejected.

No, I’ll talk about this more as the report goes on, but despite Executive Vice President Of Talent Relations And Interim Raw General Manager John Laurinaitis being more obviously “heel” than before, I’m still on his side in this debate, from both a professional and fan point of view. As a fan, he’s funny and I like when he’s on TV, and he’s usually there with Otunga so bonus points. Professionally, he never smacked Teddy Long in the face and ran away. Teddy Long sucks, is a coward and unless you want upcoming PPV opponents tagging up every goddamn week on Raw you’ll support Team Johnny.

Best: Giant Lord Bernard

YESSSSS.

At first I saw Japanese characters and a sword with some “oriental” music, so I thought great, WWE’s bringing in another ching chong Asian gimmick and Tajiri’s coming back as JAPAN-SAN or something. Best case scenario, someone who “hails from the land of the rising sun”, because Japan doesn’t have f**king cities.

Thankfully this is instead the return of GIANT BERNARD to a WWE ring, the man you may know best from his WWE run as an extremely hair gentleman named after dick piercing. Prince Albert, Albert, A-Train, whatever you wanna call him. He’s back and ready to kick some ass and appropriate Ultimo Dragon’s Godzilla music! Hopefully this’ll lead to a T-n-A reunion with Chris Jericho on stilts filling in for Test.

Best, I Guess: The Rock Hits His Usual Points And Gets Out

Rock_Warrior_Rocky_Statue_WWE_RawHere’s a link to the sh*t Rock says this week. I’m going to give him a best for delivering one of the most straightforward promos he’s managed since returning, with a dozen or so supplementary worsts for nitpicky reasons (quoting Rocky II instead of Rocky, for example, which shows EXACTLY THE KIND OF PERSON HE IS), personal grudges and the fact that if I transcribed things it’d read like this:

The Rock: “FINALLY the Rock HAS COME BACK to PHILADELPHIA! PHILADELPHIA! THE ROCK! ROCKY! JOHN CENA! ROCKY! PHILADELPHIA AGAIN! THINGS FROM PHILADELPHIA! A LIST OF INGREDIENTS! ROLL PHILADELPHIA SIDEWAYS STICK IT STRAIGHT UP YOUR CANDY ASS IF YA SMELL LALALALALOWWW WHAT THE ROCK IS COOKIN!”

I just gave you all the major talking points. He could’ve just listed off his catchphrases while wearing a Phillies t-shirt and accomplished the same thing. And yeah, pictures of him as a kid are cute, but the idea that he has to beat John Cena to be the best ever is dumb. If “I beat all the other wrestlers” is criteria for being the best ever, EVERY WRESTLER FROM THE ATTITUDE ERA IS THE BEST WRESTLER EVER. Seriously, the Hurricane has a pin on Rock. Does the Hurricane have to pin John Cena now? Are you better than Stone Cold Steve Austin because you beat him at Wrestlemania, even if he beat you two other times? If you beat John Cena, don’t you have to also beat Randy Orton, because they’re basically the same modern Championship Guy. Don’t you have to beat Brock Lesnar? Didn’t he F5 you to death and put you out of wrestling nigh-forever?

Also, how many times do I have to type “stop shouting at me” before this guy stops shouting at me? Did the Rock always anxiously shout like he does now?

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Worst: Uh Oh, Ted DiBiase, Zack Ryder Just Stole Your Posse

Remember when WCW did that angle where Glacier had to sell off his gimmick, and Kaz Hayashi bought his Cold Blood Run armor and snow-spotlight to Kaz Hayashi and Ernest Miller? I think that’s what happened with Ted DiBiase, except replace “armor” with “DiBiase Posse”, replace Kaz Hayashi with Zack Ryder and replace “snow-spotlight” and Ernest Miller with “boring irish whips and clothesline horsesh*t” and Jinder Mahal respectively.

Seriously, how bad must DiBiase feel about this? The only thing of social worth he’s done since driving drunk and it gets co-opted by the only guy allowed to think outside the box. DiBiase’s gonna come back in a few months and not be able to get his Regular Joe pick up truck into the lot because the Ryder Rally is too large. And he’ll park on the street, wander into the crowd and be all “hey, where’s the POSSE?” He’ll look around and there’ll be one fat guy wearing a DiBiase Posse shirt he hasn’t washed in four months flanked by two other fat guys in Statue Of LiBROty visors sheepishly trying to hide foam fists behind their backs.

Then the stage is set for MAHAL MADNESS.

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Best: Daniel Bryan Is The Best Heel

In case you missed it, via Daniel Bryan’s Facebook page:

I wanted to publicly share some things that AJ can do to make herself a better Diva:

1. Be taller. Not sure how? How about trading in those Chuck Taylors for a nice pair of heels?

2. Adopt a strict vegan lifestyle to stay mentally and physically fit. Maybe if you stop eating eggs, you’ll stop walking on eggshells all the time.

3. Highlight your beauty through silence. Be seen but not heard.

4. Focus on inspiring others as a role model, exhibiting real beauty on the inside and outside … like me.

5. How about trading in those skulls you wear on your clothes for the butterfly of the Divas Title?

6. Remember that “gamer” really means “loser couch potato”.

7. Only champions have enough discipline to not get fat from eating vegan animal crackers. Please stop asking me to share and buy a second box.

8. Just consider that Pokemon is a silly children’s game and will prevent people from taking you seriously.

9. To create a constant glow, fill yourself with the blissful reality that you are dating the World Heavyweight Champion!

D.B.

Just when I thought Daniel Bryan couldn’t get any more amazing, he calls out his girlfriend on things that are physically impossible to change (like height) and throws shade at Pokémon. Maybe if A.J. listens to these tips she’ll be the very best, like no one ever was.

Bryan is the perfect insulting boyfriend. This is what Macho Man did so effectively in the 80s … I remember watching and thinking “he’s BAD to Elizabeth!” when he wouldn’t really do anything but not let her talk and use her as a human shield. I didn’t even know what you had to do to be “bad” to someone.

Best: Bringing Back The Benoit Submission Counters

Daniel Bryan vs. Zack Ryder went exactly like it should’ve … about a minute and a half in, Ryder hits one of the two moves in his arsenal and sets up to hit the other one. He goes for it, so Bryan reverses it into the LeBell Lock and made him tap. YES! YES! YES! was had.

One of the things I miss the most about Chris Benoit matches are his counters into the crossface. It got a little hacky when Kurt Angle started playing along and everything started with rolling forward to send Kurt haplessly bumping into the turnbuckles, but the brighter days are still choice — remember how he had three variations in the old AKI video games? Remember when Matt Hardy would try a tornado DDT and end up Cripplered Crossface? That was the best, and WWE needs a guy like that. My Boy D-Bry Right Here should systematically work his way through all the finishes (I want to see what he does with the Codebreaker) until he’s starting matches by reversing handshakes and tie-ups into tap-out wins.

Worst: Jerry Lawler’s Taste In Rap Music

At some point during the night, Jerry “The King” Lawler called Flo-Rida “the biggest star in the world of hip-hop”. I know you’ve got to make your theme song guy sound important, but to put it in wrestling terms, it’s more or less like Michael Cole announcing that Camacho is the biggest star in WWE and having everyone around him nod with smiles on their faces, being all “yeah, Camacho!” I’m not gonna pull the Wade Keller “I’ve never HEARD of him!” journalist card because I’m not 65 years old and have heard of him, but he’s not great, and not much more prestigious to have around than Machine Gun Kelly. That’s a rapper as well, Wade, not a funny name I’m calling Kelly Kelly.

Anyway, what I’m getting at is that Jerry Lawler may not know a lot about hip-hop. Exhibit A:

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Best: Mark Henry Getting To Dominate

It was another example of a match gutted by commercial break, but what we saw of it ruled hard — if we’re allowed to be cynical about it, John Cena was strong-armed into “selling” by an In Real Life car accident, and Mark Henry was happy enough to make it easy for him by throwing him around and running into him at every opportunity. Until it devolved into another pointless pissing contest between Tweeting beefers, it was a pleasant reminder of how good Mizark has gotten, and how easily he can be utilized as the toughest and most insurmountable six-foot-by-15-foot object on the planet.

Worst: Doesn’t The Nation Of Domination Mean ANYTHING To You

Much like the singing promos and the catchphrase-a-thons that get huge reactions, I don’t understand anything The Rock says or does. That’s where my biggest problems with him lie. I just don’t know why a 3-D adventure for kidz movie star who was literally born into a job that he didn’t want until his football career petered out and has wrestled exactly once in the last eight years is suddenly so life or death about a match with a guy who wrestles to the exact same reaction every goddamn day. All I can tell is that he doesn’t like John Cena’s clothes and wants to make him a bitch. And then … ?

Beating up Mark Henry was, I guess, supposed to “send a message” to John Cena that he could easily do what Cena struggled to, and he could dispatch a monster like Mark Henry with one move. What we got was a match between Mark Henry and a guy who was in a car accident, the car accident guy fought him for several minutes and eventually powered through and won, so The Rock came out fresh as a daisy and hit a move on a guy who’d just spent 10 minutes wrestling with whom he has absolutely no issue whatsoever. Like when Rock showed up to team with Cena because he hated The Miz and R-Truth so much, expecting us to just imagine all those times when he’d mentioned it before.

I don’t know. He’s important to wrestling and is apparently still good at it, and he sells tickets and pays-per-view so I guess they know what they’re doing, but Jesus, I wish I could follow it from week to week without a troglodyte decoder ring.

Worst: ATTN WWE, Re: Maria Menounos

Oh God.

Okay, the worst Worst of the show goes to the Divas Championship developments for Wrestlemania. A week after teasing an interpersonal issue with Eve Torres, Beth Phoenix ends up on EXTRA getting the “heh, maybe I’ll SHOW YOU SOME MOVES” average-person-pretending-to-be-wrestling treatment from host Maria Menounos to set up Beth TEAMING with Eve to face Kelly Kelly and a Hot Goss celebrity Kardashian-jockey.

Imagine if that Vader interview from Good Morning Kuwait had ended with Vader and Undertaker teaming up to face Bassam al Othman and the Road Dogg at SummerSlam.

The_Miz_Wrestlemania_Mizmania_WWE_Raw

Worst: I Really Don’t Care What They’re Doing With The Miz

I’m starting to just tune out anything involving Sheamus or The Miz on these March Raws. They’ve been in such a crazy, noticeable holding pattern that I feel like I’m watching torrents of old shows. They established that Sheamus had a title shot back in January, and they’re doing an okay job of progressing that on Smackdown, but on Raw he just appears and smiles and holds out his arms and kicks and vanishes. They established that The Miz wanted a spot on the Wrestlemania card at LEAST several weeks ago, and they’ve done nothing but have him reiterate that and fail ever since.

If it leads to him getting a sympathy Skull-crushing Finale on Hornswoggle and joining Team Johnny, that’s fine, just hurry up and do it. If Sheamus is really in the sh*t with Daniel Bryan, let’s see them interact on Raw. Don’t just show me wrestlers and expect me to know wrestling’s happening. Write words for them to say and actions for them to perform. I feel like I’m watching ‘The Walking Dead’ with all this hopeful inactivity.

Worst: Tornadoes Are Keeping Me From Enjoying This Wrestling

I try not to overload these reports with personal asides too often (I have a girlfriend! I’m vegan! Did you know these things!), but last night Monday night saw one of the worst storms to hit central Texas in ages. I spent a lot of Raw meandering out onto my balcony to listen to sirens, watch spotlights and get bothered by swirling clouds. We were on a severe tornado watch for most of Raw, so Miz vs. Sheamus was more about me finding socks and putting on shoes.

So yeah, pretend like Sheamus/Miz led to something crazy happening and I just missed it. They were both attacked by MAD BLANKEY from Dragon Gate and Cyber Kong spray painted some abs on Mizanin. Something like that.

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