– Last stop on the Road to Wrestlemania! Toot toot, etc.
– Don’t be afraid to leave a comment on this report. We’ve build a great community of intelligent, funny wrestling fans and you should be a part of it, because seriously, you aren’t gonna find it anywhere else. Except on maybe whatever report you’ve just stumbled upon and are super into.
– Big thanks again to Casey/THESTINGER for helping me out with gifs and pictures. Be sure to visit his gifs Tumblr for the stuff I didn’t use.
– If you’re going to be at Wrestlemania this year (or in Miami for Wrestlemania weekend, at least), make sure you let me know so we can find each other and say hi. More on this at the end of the report. If you find me on Sunday and I don’t at least have a mark photo with Stan Hansen, keep me from killing myself.
Please to enjoy the Best and Worst Of WWE Raw for March 26, 2012.
Worst: This Is The Last Raw Before Wrestlemania And The Only Important Thing That Happened Was Drew McIntyre Joining Team Johnny, What Does That Say About Where We’re At
Here’s a quick recap of all the major stories leading into Wrestlemania 28:
CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho
Week 1: Chris Jericho wins a battle royal to get a shot at the WWE Championship.
Week 2: Jericho and Punk argue about which one of them is truly the Best Wrestler In The World.
Week 3: Jericho pins Punk with a small package in a show-opening tag match.
Week 4: Jericho says Punk’s father is an alcoholic. Punk gets mad.
Week 5: Jericho says Punk’s sister is a junkie. Punk gets mad.
Week 6: Jericho says Punk’s parents conceived Punk before they were married. Punk gets mad.
Undertaker vs. Triple H
Week 1: 20 minutes of discussion about This Business.
Week 2: Nothing.
Week 3: 20 minutes of discussion about This Business. Shawn Michaels is named special guest referee.
Week 4: 20 minutes of discussion about This Business.
Week 5: 20 minutes of discussion about This Business.
Week 6: video package
The Rock vs. John Cena
Week 1: Cena calls Eve a diseased bitch-whore, mentions that The Rock isn’t here and that the boys in the back secretly hate him.
Week 2: The Rock says John Cena is like Chinese food, Cena says Rock has written notes on his arm.
Week 3: The Rock throws a John Cena garden gnome into a river, Cena says Rock has written notes on his arm.
Week 4: The Rock plays a 20-minute complimentary guitar parody to Cleveland, says that he’s going to have sex with Cena’s mom. Cena raps for almost two minutes about how Rock has written notes on his arm.
Week 5: The Rock goes to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Cena gets into a car accident in real life, beats Mark Henry anyway. The Rock appears to also beat up Mark Henry, for some reason.
Week 6: The Rock says it is extremely important for him to win. Cena says it is extremely important for HIM to win. They look at each other.
So aside from one f**king small package in one f**king curtain-jerking tag match, the three major pro wrestling storylines heading into Wrestlemania don’t involve fighting. I know you don’t want to injure anybody, but Christ almighty, you wrestle without calamity for the other 46 weeks in the year, if John Cena tears a lat during a pull-apart brawl he’s gonna pull it walking down the stairs. It doesn’t seem too ridiculous to me to request that my pro wrestling characters OCCASIONALLY F**KING PUNCH EACH OTHER.
And yeah, it’s good This Business to make us pay for the punching, but if you aren’t gonna have them get physical you have to have their issues escalate and come up with additional talking points and situations each week so that it seems more and more and more important until the punching. That’s why it’s called a “build”. You’re supposed to build things. Imagine if actual soap operas announced that Adam Chandler was gonna get shot by his twin brother in six weeks, then spent five weeks and six days having the characters talk to each other about how important Adam Chandler getting shot was gonna be. And then Adam doesn’t get shot and neither does Stuart and it’s just a bait-and-switch excuse to make you watch an episode six weeks from THEN.
You would just watch f**king ‘Passions’* instead, right?
*CHIKARA is ‘Passions’ in this analogy.
Worst: I Have Seen These Video Packages More Than Once In My Lifetime
In case you missed it, the ‘documentary’ about the Once In A Lifetime match between The Rock and John Cena was just the video packages you’ve already seen strung together one after another with that awful WWE DVD feature art direction thing where they pan over to a still photo and it flashes and then they’ve zoomed in, and at no point was the song ‘Once In A Lifetime’ by Talking Heads played. They missed a great opportunity to show Eve making out with Cena during the “this is not my beautiful wife” part.
Not as bad as that one three-hour Nitro where the first hour was recaps, but not as good as anything involving actual wrestling.Subscribe to UPROXX
Best: Starting Raw With Wrestling
WWE tag matches teaming corresponding pay-per-view opponents with or against each other are so bloated and tired they block the road in Pokémon, but I appreciate any show that begins with a wrestling match instead of general managerial shenanigans or it being Time To Play The Game.
Unfortunately this one involved Kane and the suddenly-vocal-again “my match with Kane is the most important thing happening at Wrestlemania idk” Randy Orton, not to mention Kane delivering maybe the least painful looking chokeslam on record to Sheamus, but I’ll take what I can get.
(Seriously though, watch that chokeslam again. Pretty sure Sheamus gets into a sleeping bag with more impact than that.)
Best: A.J. Is Helpful
I’m sad that it didn’t involve Busting Chicks, but I’m happy that A.J. has hitched a ride to the star and been forever associated with not only the upward mobility of the Actual Best In The World, but with YES! YES! YES!, which is not only the best catchphrase in pro graps but exactly what I’d imagine one says when within 10 feet of A.J.
I’m really enjoying her modern take on Miss Elizabeth. Elizabeth didn’t have the benefit of making her voice heard on Twitter, so we never really knew what she thought about being shoved around and humanely-shielded by Macho Man all the time. With A.J., we know that she’s in love with Bryan, so she’s willing to accept his not-necessarily-constructive-advice and orders as public acknowledgement of their relationship and is just trying to help. It’s the perfect set-up to make us not LIKE A.J. for what she’s doing but not blame her, because if she could Just Get Away From That Guy she’d see the light. I don’t know if WWE is purposefully f**king with our ability to White Knight, but whatever they’re doing, it’s working.
Here’s to hoping Kaitlyn and Derrick Bateman show up on Raw soon to be additional cronies and give a weird sort of closure to the Chicks And America story from NXT season 2.
Worst: That “If They Lose On Raw They Win At The Pay-Per-View” Talking Point
Snopes needs to publish an article about this. It’s the worst thing that’s ever been widely accepted by the wrestling fan community and has been used as evidence in smart guy back-and-forth so much that even I see Daniel Bryan win a match on Raw and go “welp, I guess he’s losing at Wrestlemania” instead of cheering and being happy.
New rule: if they win on the show before the pay-per-view, they should be the favorites to win AT the pay-per-view, because they just won. Right?
Best: David Otunga And The Tiniest Shirt In History
We talked about this at length on the Wear The Cheese podcast, but My Twitter Lawyer David Otunga’s total mangling of the incredible and hopefully available for sale Team Johnny team t-shirt was amazing and the best Best of Raw. Two things:
1. He cut it so small that it looked like a bib.
2. He cut it so small that it wasn’t even clothing anymore, and if he was gonna cut it like that he should’ve just cut out Johnny’s head and taped it to the middle of his chest.
I think my favorite part is that while the shirt was so small, his jacket was still SO BIG. It’s like when people try to be sexy in movies and wear lingerie with a trench coat over it, but with threatening muscularity. Teddy Long should wear that exact same t-shirt to Wrestlemania.
Worst: Flag Fail
Another thing we pointed out was how badly done the “Team” flags were put together … if you want a flag to wave, you have to leave a space open in the middle, you can’t just print it out on banner paper and staple the entire side to a stick. You’d think a company jingoistic enough to do flag matches on the reg for the last 40 years would know how to put one together and not leave Vickie standing there looking like she’s got no hand-eye coordination.
Worst: Team Teddy Vs. Team Teddy Johnny At Elimination Pay-Per-View
The match itself gets a Best, oddly enough — the rivalry between Executive Vice President Of Talent Relations and Interim General Manager Of Raw Mr. John Laurinaitis and Peanut Head has been consistent and allowed to grow better than any Mania feud not involving Cody Rhodes in the last month. The teams aren’t the greatest (Team Teddy could be defeated in total with one well-timed distraction and looks like that section of guys in Fire Pro you scroll by trying to find Kenta Kobashi), but the story makes sense for both the guys on the teams and their namesakes, and there are actual things at stake.
The worst comes from a flub that even I can’t justify. The Miz saved John Laurinaitis from being Cobra’d, and after weeks of trying to get on one the Wrestlemania card Miz gets greeted with a CONGRATULATIONS YOU’RE THE NEWEST MEMBER OF TEAM TEDDY and has to sell it as exciting even though f**king Johnny doesn’t know if Team Johnny or Team Teddy is the one he’s running. That’s … not good.
Maybe next week he’ll get Otunga to sue WWE for making the team names too confusing, and at Extreme Rules we’ll see Team Me vs. Team Him.
Best: Maria Menounos Being Injured Opens The Door For Wrestlers To Be On The Wrestling Show
From US Weekly:
No amount of pain could stop Maria Menounos from showing off her new moves!
Despite suffering a minor rib injury during rehearsals, the Extra host, 33, and pro partner Derek Hough, 26, wowed judges with their Bonnie and Clyde inspired quickstep on Dancing With the Stars Monday. “Injury or not, I’m going to be a tough Greek and I’m going to kick some [butt]!” Menounos said prior to their performance.
I really hope this injury is a work so we can get 10 minutes of heat out of Menounos with her ribs taped up like Diamond Dallas Page. I also hope that where it says [butt] she said “f**king ass”.
The best case scenario would be a Nathan Jones rewrite where a few segments into Mania we jump backstage to find Maria “unconscious” and Kelly has to go it alone, so Kelly stinkface and K2’s her way through 15 minutes of handicap match beatdown before Menounos reappears like so much Hulk Hogan on her way to bodyslam so much King Kong Bundy and saves the day. Better yet, Kharma replaces her and Maria Menounos dies on the way back to her home planet.
Worst: Madonna? Since When
Madonna’s spoken word (?) effort “Girl Gone Wild” was thanked for being the Official Theme Song of Wrestlemania 28. Did I black out during a ‘Fairly Legal’ commercial and miss six weeks of that being common knowledge?
What’re they even gonna use it for, the graphics bumpers for the Maria Menounos match? Does a 33-year old TV host smiling and saying “heh I’m gonna show you some movez” constitute “going wild”? The last time a girl legitimately “went wild” in WWE, Mickie James was kidnapping people and jamming her fingers into Trish’s vagina to keep from being bulldogged.
They should license out ‘This Used To Be My Playground’ and play it when The Rock loses.
Best: Kelly Kelly’s Orange Level Is Over 9000
Between her yellow hair, pumpkin orange skin and Crayola red-orange gear, Kelly’s starting to look like the ass end of a color wheel. And I know Kelly Kelly gingerly running the ropes has become a stalwart example of why she shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a wrestling ring (not to mention the way she covers up her boobs with her arms during her whirly-doodle, as if centrifugal force is gonna take over and accidentally boob somebody in the face in the front row), but I’ve really grown to love it. She runs those motherf**kers like she’s doing the shuttle run.
Also, Eve may have replaced Alicia Fox losing and remaining motionless for 5 minutes after a kick to the back of the leg as the least believable Divas loss of the year. Come on, that Oklahoma Roll from Kelly was the loosest butthole ever, if you’d moved any part of your body you would’ve escaped. If a stiff breeze had rolled in and mussed your hair Kelly would’ve went flying backwards.
An extra Worst goes to Beth Phoenix for “trying to get” Kelly by rolling into the ring as Kelly rolled out beside her.
Worst: Jerry Lawler Is Right
“Maria wasn’t even here tonight, and Kelly Kelly victorious!”
Worst: And Also, CM Punk’s Sister-In-Law Is A Kleptomaniac!
I’ve justified Chris Jericho’s attempts to get under CM Punk’s skin as the beginning of a rehashed (but great) Ring Of Honor angle and as an extension of his January trolling gimmick, but after last night, yeah, I’m just ready for them to be done. Getting to Coolest Guy In The Room CM Punk by ragging on his family is a great idea, but Jericho may be going about it in the worst way possible … by setting up and assumedly play for a satellite broadcast crew to air one arbitrary-ass thing he’s made up about someone on a video screen each week. The hell is that?
“Your father is an alcoholic” was a great way to stab the confidence of a Straight Edge guy, even if said Straight Edge guy would’ve assumedly had a response to that, having heard it at least one other time in his life. “Your sister does drugs” was fine but more of the same, made worse by Punk just saying “it’s a lie, she’s fine” later in the show. This week’s chestnut, “your parents got married but they weren’t married when they conceived you, so you’re a bastard” is the stupidest, most 1955 Controversial sh*t ever, and there is literally no reason why Punk shouldn’t have responded with “so? Who cares if my parents are even married? Are you serious? This is stupid.”
I know a wrestling audience can be a little “middle America” when it comes to values (booing a guy for wearing a turban, cheering when R-Truth tells Alberto Del Rio to “go back to Mexico”, booing gay people, laughing at homophobia, cheering when Austin stunners Stacy for politely turning down his beer offer, cheering when Austin holds a gun to a guy’s head and makes him beg for his life), but God, is there one person who went GASP OH MY GOD NO, NO PUNK SAY IT AIN’T TRUE when they found out his parents had premarital sex?
At Wrestlemania Jericho should ask for a microphone before the match and reveal that Punk once let his Negro maid use the white people toilet. And Punk should get SO PISSED.
Worst: CM Punk Vs. Christian Not Happening
For the first time in a few weeks, Raw announced a match that got me excited. “Oh, CM Punk vs. Christian!” I thought. I haven’t seen that a million times, and I like them both! Christian’s matches are always good, and I’m happy he’s back in time for Wrestlemania! Hooray let me finish these dishes and actually go back in the living room because I won’t black out from shock boredom between ‘White Collar’ commercials!
At no point did my analytical wrestling brain think, “Christian is still injured and this is gonna be a quick storyline thing to write him out”. It’s one of those times where I’m super disappointed and kinda sad, but not in the way I can write paragraphs about. I just wish the match had happened, and that it hadn’t been replaced by Chris Jericho saying “Wally Weaver died from CANCER, Punk, and it was all your fault!” and having Punk teleport to Mars.
Best: Christian’s Hair
Regardless of how little he wrestled, Christian gets a pat-on-the-back Best for me for showing up to wrestle on Raw looking like the f**king Sherminator. He must be going to that same 1950s barber Jack Swagger uses, the one who says “shame about all the hoo-ers these days!” when he’s shaving them and gives them bright ideas.
Best And Worst: Funk Is Still On That Same Roll
Things I really enjoy:
– The Funkasaurus
– NXT guys showing up on Raw to do things
– Funkette butts
Things I really hate:
– Re-run segments on Raw, assuming they aren’t sponsored by Lugz or the JVC Kaboom Box
So while I instinctively have to give a Best to any and all Funkasaurus appearances, I can’t in good conscience give it a flawless Best because f**k, how many times do I need to see this fat jiggly dude jump on Curt(is) Hawkins? Brodus Clay REALLY needs to start doing something on the show, because wrestling isn’t territorial anymore and I’m not paying to see the bearded lady, I’m paying to see the bearded lady doing something interesting.
I thought for sure Miz being left off the Wrestlemania card was going to lead to him squaring off with a wild F-saurus at Mania, but it wasn’t to be. Then I thought maybe Miz was gonna join Team
Teddy Johnny and Teddy would counter with Brodus, and THAT didn’t happen. So what now? We keep Funkasaurus splashing these guys until Lord Tensai shows up and Baldo Bombs him through the ring? Are we seriously doing a Kuja/Necron thing with them?
Maybe he’ll win a pre-Mania handicap match against The Colons, because that’ll happen. I mark for the first person to choke him with his own breakaway pants.
Worst: Oh God, The Tag Champs
There’s no greater indicator of the importance of the WWE Tag Team Championships than Primo walking down to the ring, pointing up a storm while Big Show dagger-eyes him. If you don’t want to do anything with these guys (or Otunga/McGillicutty, or “tag teams” in general) you don’t have to give them titles and put them on your show. You can give those to someone you do want to use, like Swagger and Ziggler, guys who are in tag matches all the damn time. Use it as a storytelling prop, I don’t know, but don’t hit the samba demo on your Casio keyboard from 1992, parade out an old wrestler’s kids and have them hold plate-sized penny belts that used to sorta mean something.
I can’t believe I’m saying it, but I’d rather Primo and Epico get into one of those YOU’RE OVERSHADOWING ME, I’M THE ONE CARRYING THE TEAM break-up angles than what they’re doing now. The Colon kids (well, most of them) are good at what they do, I feel like you could get SOMETHING constructive out of them if you wrote a broader outline than (a) point at Rosa while she does things, (b) wait for further instructions.
Best: Rosa Mendes In A Corset
Ay dios mio (spanish)!
Best: Cody Rhodes Is Spinning Turds Into Gold
Cody’s “keep my Intercontinental Championship” gameplan is as follows:
1. Produce a series of YouTube clips to insult the Big Show
2. handcuff him to the ropes once and punch him with Street Fighter boxing gloves
3. call him names
In the hands of anybody else, that three-step plan would’ve been straight-up Wrestlepoopies, but Cody has managed to deliver it with enough panache and Roman philosophical paraphrasing to elevate it to something grand, something indicative of what mid-card pro wrestling heels could accomplish when they looked like they were having fun and meant what they said.
Cody’s going to get destroyed at Wrestlemania, and that’s good. He deserves it, and stuff like “I have to take a Big Show” is why. Usually that kind of material is reserved for popular babyfaces to get the crowd laughing with them. Cody understands that that’s the kind of sh*t you say when you want to look like a f**king dickbag, because only a bag of dicks would say it. You beat someone up for photoshopping Heath Slater’s head onto Wendy, it shouldn’t make you want to see Heath Slater GET beaten up.
Best: Drew McIntyre Gets A Wrestlemania Payday
Good for him and his crazy vegan ex-wife. Drew should’ve been on Team Johnny all along, as Johnny gave him back his job and Teddy Long’s been jerking him around since they met. For true poetic justice, McIntyre should get the deciding pinfall for Team Johnny while Teddy watches. If I get put in charge of WWE Creative, the fourth or fifth thing I’ll do is slowly turn McIntyre face and feud him against Daniel Bryan, just to bring back Tiffany. And then I’ll use Tiffany’s “drinking is about having fun with friends” bullsh*t to feud them both with Punk.
Then maybe we can move forward into that DrewMac/Sheamus/Wade Barrett/William Regal stable from WWE 12 that was way better than anything happening in real life.
Worst: Do Not Cheer For Zack Ryder
Remember when CM Punk spent like three months telling Triple H and John Laurinaitis to take their balls out of someone’s purse and “be a man” or whatever, and it was weird because Stephanie doesn’t really do anything but orchestrate Be A Star assemblies and Laurinaitis’ wife has never been on TV or done anything? Remember how the crowd booed them so much because their BALLS were in a LADY PURSE?
Why are you still cheering for Zack Ryder?
From a kayfabe point of view, Ryder has his balls in Eve’s purse. He was lovesick over her for a month until she did one bad thing to him, so he called her a whore on television and on the Internet and made the crowd chant “hoeski” at her the next time he saw her. So then she pulls her tits out and is all “hey Zack” and he INSTANTLY is lovesick over her again, being dragged around by his dick for no real reason, because “using Zack Ryder” accomplishes what for you exactly, getting leverage for US title shots? He’s a wiener who stopped winning matches because he’s Adam from that one episode of ‘Workaholics’ where he ditches The Wizards to become a bodybuilder.
From an objective point of view, what’s there to cheer? He does two moves with a hopping taunt between them, and his finish is jumping purple balls to the face. He says catchphrases without setting them up. He’s a perfectly cromulent pro wrestler, but the natural enthusiasm and sense of urgency that made us wish he was on TV is gone, and his self-aware mockery of the terms and conventions of pro wrestling have been replaced by t-shirts and commemorative sock bracelets or whatever. He’s the Waldo Geraldo Faldo of Raw, and not the funny WHAT YOU GON DO NOW WILLIE one, not even the Eddie Winslow’s friend one, the one from the later seasons who becomes a chef and gets into all sorts of f**king drama about how he’s stupid.
Best: Mark Henry Beating Khali Slightly More Easily Than Big Zeke
Here’s the entire match:
1. Great Khali attacks Mark Henry
2. Great Khali chops Mark Henry in the head with his big open monster hand
3. Mark Henry says nuts to this and just World’s Strongestly Slams Khali like it was nothing and wins.
I’m not going to complain about the shortness of a match when it plays out so perfectly. This is how a Great Khali/Mark Henry match SHOULD play out. It’s how almost EVERY Mark Henry match should play out, and if we’re gonna job out Khali to every Tom, Dick and Big Show in the world we might as well let the Strongest Man in it scoop him up like a big ugly baby and smear him on the canvas.
Mark Henry’s mean faced yelling is the most serious thing in wrestling, and I love it. I will buy any pay-per-view event partially promoted by having Mark Henry yell imprecise threats to people at ringside. WHO’S NEXT?
Best: R-Truth Being Helpful
Here is R-Truth’s attempt to break through Team Johnny’s defenses and save Peanut Head from being turned into Peanut Butter:
That’s right, he ran to the ring, jumped into the once place where there were still partially standing people, rolled off of them harmlessly, held David Otunga’s butt for a moment and then rolled over onto the ground. Nobody touched him, nobody hurt him, nobody prevented him from running like a foot to the left or right and helping … he just jumped once and laid his ass down.
Worst: Don’t Just Stand There Threatening Him All Day, Jesus
Teddy Long could’ve been shoot murdered at least 100 times between Mark Henry cornering him and Booker T showing up to save the day. I hope there was at least a conversation going on we couldn’t hear to explain why Henry was taking so long, like maybe Teddy was offering to put him in tag team matches are something and Henry needed clarification on when Long would pay his air bill. I don’t know. They should’ve gone the Pat Patterson route and had Teddy stall by offering Mark a condom. We know he’s got a history of sexual addiction.
Basically I just want this to end with Teddy Long getting mauled, and if Wrestlemania’s gotta have 30 minutes of Rock-speak and victories for Sheamus, Big Show and CM Punk, the least they can do is give Peanut Head the Verdict and stand over him triumphantly for a few seconds
Best: Booker T Is A Better Choice Than Mick Foley
He is. I’m not gonna link to the podcast again (sike), but I explained my point of view there … not only is Booker in better physical shape than Foley (and a better wrestler at this point), but he’s not a celebrity wrestler popping in to get a big paycheck, he’s a guy who’s been there every week in some capacity contributing to the show. THAT’S the guy who deserves the spot on the show.
Plus, Foley is dangerously close to Flair levels of indifference for his appearances. All he’s got left is the sock thing, and Santino can cover that. Booker can at least fall down without pulling a lung.