The Best and Worst of Raw 3/21/11 offers up the best (meaning the highest quality to be found in a given activity or category of things) and worst (most faulty, unsatisfactory, or objectionable) of the March 21 edition of WWE Raw. Brandon Stroud is a syndicated advice columnist whose weekly column, The Best and Worst of Raw 3/21/11, is featured in over 250 newspapers nationwide.
In my continuing efforts to revive the career progress I was making before FanHouse turned itself into a roll-over ad with a 1000 x 1000 image of Tiger Woods on the front and a link to somebody’s Listverse at the bottom, With Leather proudly (cough) welcomes The Best and Worst of Raw to its schedule. For those of you who were familiar with FanHouse Pro Wrestling, you’ll recognize the column as the only sane, literate place to read about fake fighting on the entire Internet. If you weren’t one of our readers, please enjoy this enormous block of non sequitur paragraphs and jokes you will barely understand.
Long story short, I love pro wrestling, and it is a hard, hard thing to love.
Worst: HHH Cerebrally Assassinates Wakefulness
In case you missed it, here is a transcript of Triple H’s promo from Monday night:
“Y’know, Undertaker, nobody has ever beaten you at Wrestlemania. But in two weeks, at Wrestlemania, I will beat you, Undertaker. Undertaker, let’s get one thing straight… you are going to lose. I am going to beat you, Undertaker, at the Wrestlemania event in two weeks. So next week, Undertaker, I want to bring you out here and explain that in two weeks, Undertaker, I will beat you at Wresltemania.”
Who is he wrestling, and when exactly is this “Wrestlemania” you speak of happening?
Copy and paste that like eleven times into Wordpad and throw in some clip art of H sleeping and you’ve got the segment. Seriously, I think he lost track of what he was saying because he was literally boring himself to sleep and/or death mid-ring. I’m not the type to ramble on about backstage politics or get bent out of shape when one of my favorite guys loses a match, but man, wrestling sure is better when Triple H isn’t around.
Props to Ted DiBiase for stepping in and making sure everyone knows HE’S the worst guy on Raw. Seriously, DiBiase has got to clear 200 grand a year and all he does is show up, appear for about 14 seconds, get punched in the face and leave. You guys can’t pay Mike Quackenbush half that to do the same thing? At least he’d use his money to make sure I get to see Big Japan every year.
Best: Dolph Ziggler Is Too Good For This Wrestling
Hey, casual fan, remember that episode of Raw you watched like two years ago? Remember how you didn’t understand why Sheamus was getting shoved down our throats, or why Drew McIntyre was being touted as the “chosen one” despite looking like Lance Hoyt had a baby with Brian Kendrick, or what the deal was with Dolph Ziggler and his stupid “introduce myself and my stupid name” gimmick? Well, it turns out that WWE’s current crop of talent is the best reason ever to keep watching, pay attention and stop fast forwarding through everything you think will be bad on your DVR.
Being stuffed in a crate and shipped back to OVW by DX was the best thing that ever happened to Dolph Ziggler. Somehow the guy weathered an insider gimmick and one of the shoot worst names ever given a wrestler to become the undisputed king of bad ass mainstream pro wrestling. Ziggler is crisp, quick, powerful and working on a completely different level than almost everyone else at his place of employment. Daniel Bryan is as good as him in the ring, but doesn’t have his look or size. Morrison is as fast as him, but nowhere near as good. Cody Rhodes has a better gimmick, but nobody watches Smackdown. Ziggler is the ace of Monday Night Raw, down to looking like the 2011 version of Johnny Ace might’ve looked.
At this point, you should be fast forwarding everything BUT Dolph Ziggler.
Supplementary Best: Vickie Guerrero
I think WWE Creative secretly follows me around the Internet, logging what I have to say and putting together Ziggler, Vickie Guerrero and LayCool in some sort of supergroup of goofy people the casual fan hates and Brandon loves. I don’t know how you could watch Layla scream for Trish’s horrible Bob Ross happy little tree paintbrush chops like she’s being put in a Torture Crab or see Vickie making cougar hands while pinning John Morrison and not support them. Even Michelle McCool earns points for having a hood attached to the smallest shirt ever sewn. They’re great, and they make the entertainment passing for wrestling fun.
And I don’t know, I think Eddie married one of his relatives, because Vickie is a straight up Guerrero by blood.
Worst: Randy Orton’s Big Love
Only two theories seem valid: Randy Orton’s wife is a mutant shapeshifter who takes on the appearance of a local stripper in every town to make sure the Viper’s enemies don’t use her as a pawn in their sinister machinations, or Orton is a polygamist. I will also accept that she is a Changeling, like Odo from Deep Space Nine.
As of now, Randy Orton has had four on-screen wives. The one who was hanging out with him at home the night Triple H broken in, the one from last week, the one from last night who doesn’t know the difference between being scared and turned on, and the real one he doesn’t think is pretty enough to be on television. Can’t you guys at least fly in the same “actress” to portray her when you need her? I know you wrote down her name somewhere. Shelton Benjamin didn’t have fifteen different mamas. Worst case scenario, let someone from developmental be his wife. A.J. needs to be on TV again. Hell, so does Kaitlyn. Can Kaitlyn fake marry Randy Orton?
It’s the same point as the DiBiase/Quackenbush thing. If you’re paying this lady 400 bucks to guest star on Raw, can’t you give Daizee Haze the 400 and let something worth a sh** fill the role? Sure, I mean she’d probably use the money for pot, but worse things could happen. (Editors note: Correspondence from WWE home offices assures With Leather readers that nothing is worse than marijuana.)
Best: CM Punk Is Attempting To Save This
Watching Punk wave around his arms and more or less scream “whore” in the face of Orton’s “Small Potatoes” wife almost saved the segment, but really, Punk’s whole Wrestlemania program has been disappointing. After weeks of cutting the exact same promo over and over and having the impossibly useless members of the New Nexus dispatched by kicking, WWE goes back to the tried and true “your treasured vehicle that we were just introduced to is in danger” story. Remember Randy Orton’s race car? Remember the DX Express? Or Vince McMahon’s treasured Corvette? All introduced and destroyed in some way within the hour. At least show us Randy driving up to the arena in his radical flame bus a few months before somebody gets raped in it.
Speaking of the New Nexus storyline, man, If Cena had kicked them instead of punching them he would’ve saved himself a lot of trouble.
Worst: The Corre vs. Big Show, Kane, Laurel, Hardy
Poor Internet. For weeks they’ve been like “Big Show’s fighting The Corre at Wrestlemania! And he’s teaming with Kane! They’re gonna add Diesel to the team, and Brock Lesnar, and Matt Morgan and NATHAN JONES! ADD GREAT KHALI TO THE TEAM, ADD RAJA LION, WHAT’S GIANT SILVA UP TO” etc. And then time comes to reveal who they’re teaming with, and it’s these f**king guys. Santino Marella and the new version of Vladimir Kozlov, where the guy running him in EWR edited the stats to make his stamina a colossal f**king zero so he gets pinned if he’s hit once. If you give Kelly Kelly a drop toehold and tell somebody it’s her finisher, she could use it on Kozlov and get the duke in one move.
I thought Santino was going to go somewhere when he got Tamina over and had his big tease moment at the end of the Royal Rumble, but I guess continuing to make him compelling is way harder than handing him a script that says “DO THE COBRA” and shoving him through the curtain.
Additional joke: The Corres have not exactly left me breathless.
Worst: Lawler V Cole Must End In Blood
“Bloodlust” is a hard thing to explain. I pride myself on being an intelligent person and a fan of professional wrestling, and those conflict enough without me having to justify to some girl I know why someone must bleed to near death to justify months of being bad at his job. But really, there’s no other way this will feel right. Michael Cole needs to get beaten within an inch of his life, literally (and I’m using literally correctly here, as I want him to be within centimeters of the grave), and to express that he must be bleeding profusely and piledriven repeatedly. Lawler can make this happen, I know he can, but show limitations and future Senatoral runs might make it an impossibility.
A fist drop is not enough. If you drop a fist on him and pin him, you’ve proven nothing. Jack Swagger falling off the apron through a table because J.R. gamengiri’d him in the mouth is not enough. There must be blood, sobbing, begging, and piledrivers. End of story.
Best: Sheamus Is The Champion Of These Specific Continental United States Of America, and Furthermore
Sheamus is another great example of why you should continually evolve your opinions about wrestlers, because they are not always the same. Sheamus was the bomb when he started in ECW, having those great matches with Goldust. Then came the period of forced hairlessness, where a muscly guy in tiny underwear shows up out of nowhere and wins the WWE Championship and you’re supposed to buy him as a threat, even though the only possible threats he poses are the ones against heterosexuality. Then he starts flying under the radar again and gets awesome, but then someone starts disliking him, and he has to eat Triple H’s thighs and lose to DJ Pauly D in 20 seconds somewhere in the vast middle of Raw.
But Sheamus has persevered, and (at least for now) he is great again. Sheamus sort of lives and dies by how much offense he gets to show. It’s not incredibly realistic to watch him show ass to John Morrison’s crapoeira, but it’s perfectly wonderful to watch him kick Evan Bourne in the side of the head so hard he spins. That’s what your Sheamus is for: killing dudes who can make it look good. Abdullah the Butcher’s in the WWE Hall of Fame and guess what, 149,997 of his 150,000 career matches are just showing up and killing losers. Dude had three important matches in his 90 year career, and one of them involved a sombrero on a pole.
Worst: Evan Bourne Is A Bad Wrestler
No, really. He’s a nice guy and he does cool things, but man, taking the pro wrestling we watch as a real thing happening in real time, Evan Bourne is the worst. He got in one kick and thought “hey, this should be enough to keep Sheamus down, let me jump up top and throw myself to my own death.” He’s John Morrison on a much less exposed plane – nothing he does really makes sense, or looks like it hurts, or looks like it should be the logical offensive attack of a human being. At least give us the Rey Mysterio “thigh kick” pleasantries before going for the Dragons Ray, dude.
Best: Daniel Bryan Is Going To Wrestlemania
And speaking of nerds, The American Dragon has a match at Wrestlemania! I don’t care if it only last fives minutes and involves him springboarding into a Brogue Kick (note: both of those things will happen), and hell, I don’t care if he trips on his cape on the way down and slips on the ropes trying to pose. Bryan Danielson gets a championship match payday at the grandest stage of them all while Homicide gets to job to Eddie Edwards in a Masonic Hall somewhere in New Hampshire. That’s what you get for ending the greatest ROH Championship reign of all time, you jerk.
Sorry, old grudges die hard. I’m still mad at Nikita Koloff for ruining that Steiners vs. Sting and Lex Luger match from when I was like eleven.