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Please click through to enjoy the Best and Worst of WWE Raw for March 25, 2013.
Best: CM Punk Is Great At Making People Want To Punch Him In the Face
I don’t know if we’ve ever clearly defined a wrestler’s ability to make people who see or hear him want to punch him in his face, but it’s a valuable skill and deserves its own Sabermetrics stat. Does PIF work for everybody? In terms of wrestlers, I think the scale goes from 0.0 PIF (Bobby Heenan during his WWE Hall of Fame induction speech, or, to simplify, “good wrestling happening and making you happy”) to 1.0 PIF (Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole simultaneously chuckling about something neither of them actually thinks is funny). CM Punk is gloriously talented at manipulating the PIF scale, and while he’s most peoples’ favorite guy and an invaluable tool to enjoying Raw, he can get up to at least a 0.8 or even a 0.9 on that scale.
Last night was a solid 0.8. Most of what he’s saying is total horseshit — the Undertaker being at a psychological disadvantage for “the first time in his career” despite people having done the “steal the urn” gag multiple times and BETTER, like when Mankind stole the urn AND Paul Bearer, or the time Kama The Supreme Fighting Machine stole it and smelted it or whatever to make a gold chain — but he means it, and he can express it compellingly. The promo really peaks when he says the urn doesn’t matter to him and throws it down, because yeah, objectively it’s pretty hilarious that 18,000 people went “oooh” because the zombie mortician supernatural guy had one of his props disrespected, but contextually it means the shit is on. I still think Punk has a 0% chance of winning at Mania, but I’ll have a lot of fun hoping I’m wrong.
Note: 0.9 was that time he called John Laurinaitis an “ugly dork.”
Best: Bug-Eyed Undertaker Don’t Play
Speaking of the shit and it being on, this was the Undertaker’s face when he Sabu’d Punk to end the segment:
That’s WONDERFUL. Taker’s always been top-shelf when it comes to extreme facial expressions (the “I can’t believe the Tombstone didn’t get the pin on Shawn Michaels” face is still his best).
I also really loved everyone else at the end of this … Heyman scooping up the urn and hauling ass like he’s recovering a fumble for a touchdown, Taker’s incessant ANGER PUNCHING~ and Punk’s reaction to it, which isn’t the gulpy fear most people get, it’s WOOOO, because Taker was PUNCHING THE MESS OUT OF HIM and THIS IS GONNA BE FUN. That’s the kind of heel I’d like to see in WWE more often. He does dirty things and takes shortcuts, but he’s not a total coward, and he can take a punch without turning into a blubbering mess about it.
I would also like to see the Undertaker make more faces like that. O_O
Worst: Did You Seriously Just Deprive Me Of Fandango, Because I Swear To God
Fandango segments are such an emotional roller-coaster. I like Johnny Curtis a lot. He’s been funny as hell since NXT, he’s pretty good in the ring, and his character is a BALLROOM DANCING GUY WHO IS UPSET THAT PEOPLE AREN’T RESPECTING HIS NAME. As one of the top 10 comments mentioned last week, he’s basically The Boy Marlo from ‘The Wire’ as a ballroom dancing pro wrestler. I also love how “into” Fandango Jerry “The King” Lawler is, for seemingly no reason whatsoever. He just LOVES Fandango. He’s always muttering “wow!” at things, gets upset when Fandango doesn’t wrestle and chastises those who don’t put enough effort into the pronunciation. It’s a weird look back into the glory days of Jerry Lawler, back when he’d occasionally rag on Stu Hart for being a dead skeleton man and it was awesome.
At the same time, a lot of it bothers me. Did you hear Michael Cole doing a forced “LOOK AT THIS! THIS IS COOL!” thing to Fandango’s light show, which … uh, he also saw last week and no-sold? Even Lawler seemed like he was seeing it for the first time.
Best/Worst: The Match Was Fun, But Who Is This Tag Team Wrestler Who Always Loses And Why Is He Carrying Around A Blue Briefcase
I cannot in good faith give a Worst to something that ends in the Liontamer. Not in 2013.
This was a fun match (as I mentioned), but it continues to be sorta depressing to see Dolph Ziggler getting big match opportunities AND a Money in the Bank briefcase he should’ve cashed in like 45 times now AND a cool posse of supporting characters and that ring jacket and STILL not ever get these victories. Why is Kofi Kingston and Daniel Bryan the only dudes he can beat? He loses to literally everybody else. Put him in a match with Brad “Cornbeef” Maddox and he’ll lose clean after trying to cheat and failing half a dozen times. But put him in a triple threat with Kofi and Daniel Bryan and he’ll f**king Ryback them. I don’t get it. Are wins and losses determined like Pokémon types now?
Best: Big E Langston Is My Favorite/Cool Dad Gets His
I love the build of Big E Langston as a man so out-of-control powerful that he barely fits into his clothes. He’s just this massive monster in a Borat swimsuit who is calm and collected and then sometimes just HAS TO CONVOLUTEDLY FLAPJACK YOU. I wouldn’t be surprised if we find out AJ and Dolph made him in a lab. Or he’s like one of the Venture Bros., and they’ve got infinite Big E backups. That could explain the E. Maybe the first four were Big A through Big D Langston.
I still think they should turn the entire faction face. I don’t want to boo these guys, I don’t care how many times Lawler cell-wanks to the notion of AJ being a slut and tosses it in somebody’s face. I want cool sunglasses champion Dolph Ziggler, his sexually-active-and-not-even-slightly-ashamed-of-it girlfriend AJ, and their friend Langston, who keeps screaming about how he wants things “Biggie sized.”
Worst: Yeah Right, Randy Orton Doesn’t Have Friends
I refuse to believe that The Big Show is the problem in a team with Randy Orton AND Sheamus in it.
What’s Big Show’s big issue? He’s a guy who got made fun of a lot in his career, so he’s this gigantic killer in the ring, but he’s also very, very susceptible to being shamed. This causes him to freak out emotionally sometimes and punch folks, but ultimately he’s a good guy … he’s just been hurt too many times to let it show. Boom, clear character development.
What about Sheamus and Orton? The wee baby Sheamus is a sassy, crybaby five-year old who got his start attacking people from behind with a lead pipe. At the height of his popularity, his most noble act was to steal a Mexican guy’s car, take it for a joyride, eat Mexican food and shit specifically-Mexican food INTO the Mexican guy’s car as a racist joke. Orton’s even worse. Orton pretends to be a snake, poops in peoples’ gym bags, went AWOL from the military and then got all the way to the “I’m supposed to be starring in this army movie” announcement stage of starring in a military movie because he assumed nobody would care, because he is more important than the Army. He also once handcuffed a guy to the ring ropes, assaulted that guy’s wife in front of him, then made out with that guy’s knocked out, assaulted wife.
So THESE guys are the chummy everymen, and BIG SHOW is the one who is a loose cannon we might not be able to trust? What’s the worst thing Big Show’s ever done? Say he hates the fans? Hug Hulk Hogan too hard with the help of a tall mummy? Come on.
Best: THAT’S WHAT HE CONTINUES TO DO
Mark Henry squashed both Uso brothers, including the one who got a D-U (SO!)-I, in about a minute. They got in some offense on him, including a few superkicks a la The Young Bucks and a splash a la Tamina Snuka for a nearfall. Mark got back into it by grabbing one of them on the ring apron and throwing him into the guardrail like a sack of laundry. He got the pin with a Worlds Strongest Slam, then kept doing it and splashing them while yelling hateful things.
I loved it so much, you guys.
This is all I ask for in my Mark Henry segment … that someone thinks they are good enough to wrestle Mark Henry, finds out they aren’t, then get slammed/splashed repeatedly while Mark yells funny stuff I try to remember. HE DOESN’T GET SPLASHED, USO BROTHER. THIS IS WHAT HE DOES.
Worst: I Am Probably Not Linking To Another Team Hell No/Primetime Players Match
Two horrible things here:
1. Team Hell No wrestling the Primetime Players has become the “Dolph Ziggler vs. Kofi Kingston” of tag team matches. Originally it was fine, but now they ONLY do this, and I’m super, super tired of it. And I like all these guys, that’s the worst part.
2. Cole and Lawler spent the early portion of the match talking about how Rufus ‘Pancake’ Patterson was here last week, but that we should try hard to forget him. Lawler even called him “the forgettable Pancake Patterson.” This is 1.0 PIF. Obviously Jerry did not listen closely when Mr. Patterson explained how he got the nickname Pancake*.
*IT’S BECAUSE HE FLATTENS FOOLS
Best: Cesaro Wins A Match! Cesaro Wins A Match!
When they announced another Champion vs. Champion match, my heart sank. Surely, this was an another excuse for a “top” guy to soundly defeat a secondary guy with a championship belt, because there is no war but WWE class war. Then, I thought maybe they’d do a thing where Jack Swagger jogged out and cost Del Rio the victory, and Cesaro would get to Neutralize the World Champ and put him away, getting Cesaro back on track AND setting up a Cesaro/Del Rio match for WWE Payback or WWE Conspiracy Theory or whatever they’re calling that post-Mania pay-per-view. WWE Lethal Weapon 3. Anyway, that’s what they did! Sort of!
Cesaro didn’t get a definitive win by any means, but he did take the match via count-out, which allowed him to do an hilarious soccer celebration that not even one WWE cameraman cared about.
A win’s a win, though, and now Cesaro gets to look strong the next time he … oh, wait, what? What do you mean the segment isn’t over?
Worst: Alberto Del Rio Is Officially A WWE Main-Eventer, I Guess :(
Aaaaand then the other foot came down.
Del Rio responded to Jack Swagger’s interference and beating-up of his pal Ricardo by using what he learned in WWE Babyface 101 — he went back into the ring, attacked the guy who beat him in the match and put him in a submission to try to break his arm. For no reason, other than that he was mad. You know, the kind of reaction HORRIBLE PEOPLE HAVE. It was totally unnecessary, and I can totally picture one of the WWE Creative guys going “aw man, Del Rio’s gonna look like a PUSSY if he helps his friend! How ’bout when he helps his friend, he goes back into the ring and shows that dirty foreigner that he’s tough and cool!”
Note: That sentence was probably followed up with, “Del Rio’s supposed to be a white guy now, right?”