Pre-show notes, written on my forearm in sharpie to make a point:
– 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.
– 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, especially the one of Dusty Rhodes emptying garbage into a garbage truck. Special thanks to teens on the Internet for that one Hayley gif.
– 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 in the darkness a la The Green Mile and say hi.
Please to enjoy the Best and Worst Of WWE Raw for March 6, 2012.
Worst: “Time To Play The Game” Starting Any Raw, No Matter What
Worst: Two Legendary WWE Champions Are Facing Each Other For The Very Last Time In Undertaker’s Attempt At 20-0 At Wresltemania…
Here are your three major Wrestlemania feuds (not counting Derrick Bateman vs. Heath Slater), presented in clear to understand terms.
1. CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho. Both men claim to be the best wrestler in the world.
2. John Cena vs. The Rock. WWE’s biggest star of the 2000s and one of its biggest stars of the 90s come to blows at last year’s Wrestlemania and, in an unprecedented moment in wrestling history, arrange to have a match a year later.
3. Triple H vs. The Undertaker. The Undertaker’s legendary Wrestlemania streak is about to hit a milestone 20-0, but the 13-time champion and current WWE COO Triple H, the man who came within a breath of ending Taker’s career and streak last year, stands in his way.
This is how they’re playing out on television.
1. CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho. Both men claim to be the best wrestler in the world.
2. John Cena vs. The Rock. Two guys without a lot of valid talking points just kinda slur each other on the Internet for a year, then stand in the ring and call each other a bitch. One is an emotionally unstable frat boy who is really cool except for when he flips out and beats people up, the other a really cool guy from LA who just wants to talk about his dick all the time.
3. Triple H vs. The Undertaker. Triple H has been guilted into a match with The Undertaker through a combination of wanting to officially end the Attitude Era, guilt over whether or not he’s a better wrestler than Shawn Michaels and some confrontational video package hair-cutting. THIS BUSINESS hangs in the balance, though nobody is quite sure why or even which business they’re talking about, and also Hell In A Cell is there.
Seems like “The Undertaker is gonna get to 20-0, Shawn Michaels and Triple H have both lost to him at Wrestlemania twice so they’ve got to figure out a way to beat him or his legacy will overshadow theirs forever” would’ve worked. Or “wow, Undertaker might be 20-0”. Or “IMPORTANT PEOPLE WRESTLING AT WRESTLEMANIA”.Subscribe to UPROXX
Best: Jack Swagger’s Newt Gingrich Hair
It’s amazing how such a tiny thing can make a guy’s character feel complete. Jack Swagger has been rocking that terrible Jericho-esque thin hair blowfish sh*t for so long I forgot he was a collegiate wrestler who looks and sounds like a five-year old with Jack disease who is also a monster. Giving him that Lego Man haircut is perfect, and if anyone should throw on an Express For Men sweater and talk college football backstage with David Otunga, it’s Swagger.
Best: Santino Marella And The Slow, Purposeful Cobra Redirect
While Dolph Ziggler’s incredible sell of a Cobra strike earns a best, my favorite part of the Santino Marella vs. Jack Swagger comedy-and-run-in-athon was Santino taking out Ziggler, almost taking out Vickie, then slowly and dramatically tuuuurning the Cobra’s head around to focus on a downed Swagger.
Say what you will about Santino’s crowd reactions, whether or not he’s a good choice to hold a secondary championship or how stupid it is that people are dying from a hand puppet finger-poke, but this is working. Santino always levels up when he adds unnecessary realism to the Cobra, whether it be holding it back to keep it from striking Vickie or that awesome match on Superstars where he practically broke Zack Ryder’s leg with it. The Worm only had one speed — one-handed bulldog that magically flips you over, frantic dancing and a slow, boring, wormy payoff. The Cobra is dynamic, and that’s … that’s weird.
Best: Okay, Fresh Start! Now Let’s Make The US Championship A Thing
Of all the people on WWE’s Superstars page, taking into consideration that they already tried something nationalistic with Sheamus and didn’t like it, Jack Swagger is the guy who should be United States Champion. His catchphrase says “American” several times and he’s got red white and blue everything. He should be the new Kurt Angle, only a foot taller and with less ostrich jerky. He isn’t, so let’s try again.
The easiest way to do this is to have Santino get some low-level wins on NXT or Superstars against guys who can give him fun but not necessarily emotionally taxing matches (like Tyson Kidd or Camacho) (lol, Camacho) and build up to a “real” defense against someone of the Dolph Ziggler variety on Raw. Santino is popular right now and has your Raw undercard belt. If you don’t do this, do something.
Worst: He’s Still Not Saying Anything
He’s a pretty funny guy when he’s pre-taped and can wear his sunglasses so you can’t see him reading cue cards, isn’t he?
I feel like I should be more upset about Rock once again breaking out “transvestite” as an insult (or the suggestion that wristbands make you a “transvestite Wonder Woman, fightin’ crime” … are you saying that Cena is a woman in drag, which is why he’s wearing shorts and a t-shirt instead of a corset and U.S. flag panties? Has he ever tried to deflect something with his wristbands or has he just used them to 1) sell merch and 2) catch sweat? Remember when you wore a full track suit for like three months to cover the scars from your boob job? Has John Cena ever tried to fight crime? At least make a joke about how his flying shoulderblocks look like that and hurt you so much because he’s piloting an invisible jet into you), but whatever.
I’m more worried about the people they keep cutting to in the audience, slapping their thighs and laughing like they just saw a baby hit somebody in the nuts with a plastic bat on America’s Funniest Home Videos because the Rock said “transvestite”. You are why we can’t have nice things.
For the first and only time on the night, Rock’s got a good point … a lot of Cena’s merchandise is worthless and stupid, but there’s gotta be a better way than picking up a John Cena toothbrush, shouting FAGGOT PISS at your camera crew and throwing a bunch of sh*t into a lake. And to quote Johnny Gargano, how do you turn a ball sideways?
Best: Garden Gnomes Are For Virgins, Right
The best part of this Rock promo (besides how it made me yell WHERE’S MY SUPER SUIT WHERE’S MY SUPER SUIT NYAH HEE HEE and run around my living room clapping my hands) is the garden gnome. Rock picked up the John Cena “you can’t see me” brand garden gnome, asked which “fourth dimension of Hell” (assumedly “blue Hell”) it came from, announced that its owner is a virgin and tossed it in the water.
Two things he doesn’t realize:
1. how useful that thing would be as Rock-It Launcher ammunition
2. It comes from the same dimension of Hell as this one:
So is John Cena still to blame for his crappy merchandise, or are you both transvestites?
Worst: I Missed This Entire Segment
I went upstairs near the end of the commercial break to check on the Open Discussion Thread. The show came back on and I heard Eve’s music, so I closed the browser, sighed deeply and walked back down the stairs. By the time I turned to look at the television, Eve was pinning Alicia Fox and it was over. 33 seconds bell to bell. that’s it. Either Eve needs an instant Diva’s Championship shot for being the Goldberg of the division or Alicia Fox is a turtle with 1 HP, is destined for death and should consider a job where she won’t get knocked down once and lose her will to live. At least pretend you bumped your head on the way down or something. Jesus Christ.
The quick version: there are only three female WWE characters. The bitch, the ugly fat one or the pointing happy one who loves to entertain you the fans and is happy to take off her clothes at any time or kiss Lillian Garcia on the mouth to do so. None of those are empowered women. I will never expect WWE to understand, and will continue to be shocked when they don’t.
Best: Kelly Kelly Is Actually The Best Option For This Award
If you go to Nick.com you can vote for the various Kids Choice Awards 2012 categories, including a Favorite TV Actor where Ty Burrell from ‘Modern Family’ is seriously pitted against the red Power Ranger Samurai and Favorite Buttkicker, featuring Kelly Kelly.
What’s weird is that despite Kelly spending the last year screaming in submission holds and then victory rolling folks out of nowhere, she’s the best choice to win. She’s up against f**king Jessica Alba of all people and Tom Cruise, who is the type to show up and smile all disingenuously when Moose tricked him into saying “I don’t know”. Also in the category is Twilight star/shaved llama Taylor Lautner, whose time spent in Robert Rodriguez’s chasmic shaft of no ideas puts us one step closer to the WWE vs. TNA fan fic I wish the Kids Choice Awards was.
Hopefully WWE can buy her a “Favorite Person Who Rubs Their Asshole In Your Face On Television” blimp and skips the formalities.
Worst: Has Zack Ryder Ever KNOWN A Handicapped Person?
I don’t know if Zack Ryder is trying to get on Botchamania or if he’s just never seen or known a person with an injury, but dude, take 20 seconds and observe an old person. That’s not how you walk with a cane. That’s how you walk with a cane if you’re the guy from Boyz II Men.
And you know, I don’t want to be a reality buzzkill (especially since “broken back” was downgraded to “herniated disc”, which was downgraded to “wearing a neckbrace but it’s okay to shove me down, bro”), but at least give me some footage of Ryder going through rigorous physical therapy to drum up some sympathy before he shows up good as new with a f**king Ma$e limp and a band-aid on his forehead.
Worst: John Cena’s E-Fed Promo
No matter what “side” you’re on in the Cena/Rock deal, you can’t be a stan, and you have to say “okay, that wasn’t great” when their thing wasn’t great.
I am firmly on Team Poopy (or the CeNation, or whatever he’s calling it), but the melodramatic empty arena promo from Cena last night was not only agony, it was the most e-fed promo in WWE history. A guy sitting by himself in his merch in an empty arena with a 2,000 word pre-written statement about how important the upcoming match is to him, and it’s full of references to actual sports? All he needed to do was run into a celebrity by accident and put some strangers through a table with his finisher to show how tough he is and it would’ve been every bad e-thing I’ve ever read. Maybe he should’ve included a midget dressed as The Rock.
I don’t know. It just didn’t work. It didn’t sparkle with Cena’s actual on-screen approach, which was dynamite (which I’ll talk about later). It was full of doubt, full of that same insincere undercurrent as Rock’s “I’m gonna cause an anti-Cena revolution” thing where a loss to Rock at Wrestlemania changes EVERYTHING~, and ten years get erased and nobody remembers second place and Rock will reign as Benevolent Dictator for Life and Cena will either disappear from the timeline or get shoveled back into his previous life as a ditch digger.
You know what happens if you lose to Rock, John? It sucks, but he goes off to make movies and you keep being WWE’s Top Guy. That’s it. I think that’s what Actual John knows, which is why he shows up so confidently when he and Rock are face-to-face. Like TV John has to act one way, and Actual John says f**k the lemons and bails.
Best: The Teddy Long Tag Team Extravaganza
Wrestling show analysis you don’t need: Daniel Bryan and Chris Jericho teaming against CM Punk and Sheamus was a good TV tag match. It wasn’t anything special, really, and when I got to this section where I was supposed to write about it I couldn’t remember a lot, but at the risk of evoking the Net Cop it was Perfectly Acceptable Wrestling. Great, now I’m gonna turn around and find 10 John Cena Garden Gnomes in my garden.
Anyway, a few things stood out, including …
Right, but besides that.
Worst: Robbing Me Of Match History
… the fact that on a Teddy Long-hosted episode of Raw, a tag team match was made featuring four big stars and I didn’t get even so much as a WWE.com Exclusive about WHY.
I complain a lot about Peanut Head’s tropes, but I feel badly when he acts outside of them. How easy would it’ve been to start with another CM Punk and Jericho confrontation about being the Best In The World, only for them to be interrupted by Daniel Bryan, who claims HE’s the Best In The World (and he is right). Things almost come to blows, so Teddy Long thugs and bugs out and says HOLE ON A MINNENT PLAYA and tells the Double-dublya-ee universe that it’s gonna be a tag TEAM match with Daniel Bryan (dramatic pause) teaming up with Chris Jericho (dramatic pause) to face (hurry up and say it, we know you’re gonna say CM Punk and another guy) CM Punk and … THIS MAN, and then we’ve hit all the major points, including
1. Impromptu tag match
2. Teddy’s weird stroke-speak
3. Sheamus as Teddy’s new go-to impromptu match punishment guy
AND we get the match. Come on, guys, you’ve conditioned me to expect certain things from your writing, don’t make me write them myself.
Best: Chris Jericho’s Dickslap Hot Tag
I think Bryan’s expression says it all. That’s taking the Midnight Express “crawl over on your knees and hug your partner around the waist” thing to dangerous new places.
Worst: Time Travelin’ Rock
I keep trying to convince myself otherwise, but maybe I’m just a hater.
The question I have to ask myself is, “how much would you enjoy this exact same bit if it was delivered by a wrestler you like?” More specifically, “delivered by a wrestler you like who isn’t shouting”.
It’s something to think about. The gist of the promo is that if John Cena had been a part of the American Revolution we wouldn’t have won, and we’d all be British. However, if The Rock had been a part of the American Revolution, we not only would’ve won, The Rock would have slept with a lot of period-specific women, been credited with the invention of electricity and would’ve shoved a bunch of feathers up John Cena’s asshole. It was a lot like when Michelle’s friend Derrick sang Yankee Doodle on ‘Full House’ in both execution and intent.
So, let’s fantasy book backwards to when David Otunga mentioned his plan to make John Laurinaitis the permanent general manager of both Raw and Smackdown. Imagine that instead of sipping his coffee and star-wiping to Zack Ryder or whatever, Otunga expounded, mentioning that he’d used his Harvard education and connections to help create a time machine. He says that if he and Laurinaitis go back to the American Revolution they could bring excitement to the colonies, give Benedict Arnold an Ace Crusher and establish the Laurinaitis name as synonymous with cultural growth. So then, he says, they pop back into 2012 (where the Laurinaitis family is now Full Alternate 1985 Biff Tannen) and not only will John be the GM of Raw and Smackdown, he’ll own the WWE and be President Of The United States And Its Colonies. Then either Laurinaitis scrunches up his face, says “that’s a stupid idea, David” and leaves, or they do it and we get a month and a half of Otunga and Laurinaitis on Peabody and Shermanic voyages throughout history, learning about what makes our country great and giving The Verdict to its enemies.
Either way, wouldn’t that be amazing? So why does it bother me when The Rock puts on a tri-corner hat and is all I’M GONNA F**K BETSY ROSS IN HER ASS IF YA SUH-MELLLLLALALALALALALLOWWW?
Best: These Guys Watching The Rock’s Jokez
I’m right there with you, guys.
Worst: DANGER, Watch For Falling Careers
This match was half the length of the Eve/Alicia Fox match. Other than “frowny face emoticon”, I can’t think of a lot to say about it.
I think Miz would benefit most by being the Lex Luger of his time and jumping to TNA before his contract is up. He can convince Panda Express or Sugarbaker Designs or whoever’s in charge of the Impact checkbook to drop a ton of money on him and make him the most important person in company history, then spend three or four years there in the style of Christian Cage, getting super good in the ring and surrounding himself with enough ignorant, forgettable stories that he can waltz back into the E as a bad-ass 34-year old and average 3-6 aborted championship runs a year. Bonus points if he stops by WWFX briefly and Skull-crushingly Finales John Morrison into something solid.
Alternate plan: Freshen up, stupid.
Best: Cody Rhodes Is Killing It
If you didn’t laugh at Cody Rhodes’ embarrassing Big Show Wrestlemania moment being footage of him wandering around WWF New York like an unenthusiastic and nigh-abandoned idiot, you’re watching wrestling wrong.
AJ was so cute back then, wasn’t she?
Worst: This One Is Exclusively About Dick Jokes, I’m Fast Forwarding
Rock’s third (third!) video promo of the night pretty much begins and ends with him suggesting that John Hancock had a big dick because he had “cock” in his name, and if that isn’t reason enough for you to say “okay, maybe this is sh*tty and for babies” I don’t know what to tell you. He said he had a cock like John Hancock. He said he had a cock like John Hancock.
That’s somehow worse than when he mentioned he was 25% black, 25% Samoan and 50% “Clydesdale” because his dick is horse-sized. At least that was saved by the suggestion that Rock’s horse dick is more important to him than his racial heritage. This is just the word “cock”.
Best: R-Truth Notices The Fourth Wall
Sadly it didn’t make the cut in the WWE Fan Nation video, but R-Truth doing a picture-in-picture interview and having to stop in the middle because he realized he didn’t know who he was talking to was great. This is the kind of comedy WWE should be doing more of … character based stuff that is aware of its environment and embraces it instead of picking it apart.
Even more sadly, that was followed by a Kane vs. R-Truth match, which was more than four times the length of Miz vs. Big Show and exactly as bad as you’d imagine.
Worst: Randy Orton Is The Least Appropriate Person To Feud With Kane Now
Since his return, Kane has:
1. Forgotten about Mark Henry breaking his ankle in favor of bothering John Cena about his t-shirts
2. Spent two months trying to literally murder Zack Ryder and force Cena into accusatory love triangles in an effort to make John “embrace hate”, because he’ll need to be really hateful (?) if he stands a chance against the Rock, who Kane I guess hates for some unspecified reason, but probably for that time Rock said he had a burned-up John Hancock.
So what’s he doing now that Cena is directly involved with the Rock storyline and people who aren’t in feuds with each other can’t interact? Why, trying to force Randy Orton to … be welcomed back, or embrace hate or wear t-shirts or … something. It’s not really clear.
If he’s trying the same act with Orton that he did with Cena he’s an idiot, because Orton’s whole deal is that he hates EVERYTHING, including his Mormon stable of wives, and is willing to RKO Stacy Keibler or kick John Cena’s dad in the head to prove a point. Contextually, Randy Orton is WAY more evil than Kane. It’s the difference between Walter White and Tuco. Tuco might flip out over nothing and punch you to death, sure, but at least he’s got the decency to be forthright and crazy about it. Walter White is a f**king monster.
Recommendation: Make Kane’s reason for beating up Randy Orton be “Christian needs one more title shot”.
Best: The Rock Being Shook Is Canon
I can’t tell you how happy it made me to have Cena start his main-event segment by making surprised face at the camera and announcing that The Rock was SHOOK UP~. He was, he totally was, and it’s not normally the kind of thing that gets talked about. In the “reality era” people are quick to jump on “worked shoots” or indy wrestler namedropping (hi, Colt Cabana) or whatever, but the real Reality we should be working with is calling out the dumb sh*t that happens on TV and building from it.
That’s why I was so disappointed in where the Rock took things.
Best: Rock’s Got Nothing
Cena made it very clear that he didn’t want stammerin’ Dwayne at Wrestlemania, he wanted The Rock, the WWF ideal of THE ROCK with the eyebrow and the pineapple hair and the 500-dollar shirts who calls Jennifer Flowers “honey” and beats everybody. What he got was more Dwayne.
Here’s the problem: for the longest time, Cena’s only talking point was “The Rock isn’t here”. That’s all he said for like six months. It’s what he used as the backbone of his speech a few weeks ago, too … that he’s here every week Entertaining You, The Fans and Rock is off somewhere drinking Mais Tai and getting blown by Vanessa Hudgens. Or Luiz Guzman, knowing Cena.
Anyway, Rock showed up and explained that by “I’ll never leave” he didn’t mean he’d never leave, he meant he’d leave SOMETIMES, and whatever, that’s fine, he’s a movie star and he’d be stupid to show up on Raw every time they need a fourth. Somewhere around then Cena decided to change up his talking points, and the Rock hasn’t recovered. Now Cena has all sorts of material — you’re never here PLUS you’re an out of touch movie star, plus you’re underestimating me, plus you speak in babytalk and you’re pretending to be the dude you were, because now you’re soft. Rock’s entire comeback, every single time, is “you look stupid and are gay”.
That’s it. That’s all he’s got. Rock “stripped away” all the catchphrases and the glamor and the fame at Cena’s request, and what was left? “Here are my measurements and you’re a bitch”. That’s what he had before he stripped that sh*t away. So what does that mean? Besides “Dwayne Johnson The Rock, The Rock Dwayne Johnson”, it means Cena is right. This week Rock tried to do to Cena what Cena did to him seven days prior — interrupt his grand speech, make a quick, impactful point about how he was gonna beat him up, then leave. Instead of stammering on about nothing, Cena dismissed him with a wank and celebrated with the fans.
He made the same AFHV audience who cackled at “transvestite” chant “Tooth Fairy” at their idol. That’s saying something. Rock needs to actually say something before April 1. 20 minutes of research and he could MANGLE Cena on the microphone, but he’s not gonna do it.
And while I’m at it, yes, I still want Austin to show up on his ATV and just beat them both up.
Worst: Delusions And Justifications
I’ve gotten into a lot of arguments with Rock fans lately, and I need to make something clear. I get pretty close to insulting wrestling fans en masse in this column, and while a lot of that is deserved, it’s not my thing to do. I AM a wrestling fan, and when I say “people are stupid for watching this” I’m including myself in “people”.
The issue I have with the Cena/Rock dynamic is how differently people approach things. When I’m saying “Cena’s getting the better of this feud”, I’m saying it based solely, solely on what happens on television. People who back the Rock seem to be approaching it from EVERYWHERE … what they see on TV, what happens backstage, dirt sheets, what they remember from 15 years ago, fantasy booking, everything. So when The Rock runs down Cena, they say it’s funny. When Cena runs down the Rock, they think Rock has been sabotaged and Cena is shooting (or whatever) and it’s all part of the script … WWE wants a divided crowd, so they’re writing Rock to look bad to get it. But when the Rock says something to make them laugh, ROCK did it, not the writers. The writers didn’t write Rock to look cool because they want you to think The Rock is cool.
I don’t get that disconnect. Everything that happens on TV is Pro Wrestling TV. One guy isn’t real and the other kayfabe … they’re two wrestling characters interacting on wrestling. What’s good for the goose is good for the other, horse-dicked goose.
Best: A Big Johnny Smackdown!
I’m lifting my Natalya Farting ban for John Laurinaitis as general manager of Smackdown this week. I will do a Best and Worst column for Monday if at any point during the show he hears Natalya fart, then offers her some Beano or a Tums and is all, “that’s embarrassing, but it’s just farting, don’t worry about it. If it persists, see a doctor”.
And then he and Otunga get in their time machine and visit Ancient Egypt.
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Week
Someone should probably tell Cena that it’s not okay to call a black person “Boy” (even if they’re half-black). Then again, when in Boston…
Rock fans sure do have a hard time coordinating their chants, which makes sense, because the last time they saw him in the ring, they were the age of the Cena fans they mock
24/7 365 says the back of The Rock’s shirt that he’s wearing during a leap year.
Stone Cold Jane Austen:
Boots to Aspergers
R-Truth Turning Raw into The Truman Show might be the greatest thing ever.
Oops Pow Surprise:
Who wants to tell the Rock that the founding fathers would have probably had him shot?
I’m all for these empty arena pre-recorded promos, so long as it leads to R-Truth doing one Gollum-style.
M4G3RK, explaining the whereabouts of column comment regular THESTINGER:
I think he is busy studying his Rosetta Stone “Indian Edition” for his eventual trip to go see Ring Ka King live.
“I’m Josh Mathews and I’m here with Eve…Eve, how does it feel to know that Zach Ryder has most definitely thought about you while masturbating?”
This is an excellent edition of Inappropriate Ponytail Theatre.
And my new favorite comment of all time, from Jo3yHuds:
Heard joke once: Man goes into doctor. Says he’s depressed. Says life seems harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in a threatening world where what lies ahead is vague and uncertain. Doctor says “Treatment is simple. WWE Raw Supershow is in town tonight. Go and see it. That should pick you up.” Man bursts into tears. Says “But, Doctor…I’m Santino Marella.”
Roll on snare drum.
Edit: Additional Best: @MrBrandonStroud Signs At Raw Whether They Get On Camera Or Not
And if it did, somebody needs to get me a screenshot ASAP. Huge, huge thank you to reader Mike Germano. (Also, real talk: ACH would make Kofi Kingston look like Great Khali)
See you guys next week. Don’t forget, tweet and like and SOCIALLY NETWORK this column. Help me make it a real thing.