TWO MAJOR THINGS
Major Thing #1: I finally have a wrestling podcast! I promised it for months, but now it’s finally here, and if you didn’t listen to episode 1 of With Spandex featuring special bloody guest Rachel Summerlyn, please do that now. We’ll be up on iTunes as soon as we have a second episode.
Major Thing #2: Unbelievably, next Monday night I will be making my live comedy debut as comedian Chris Trew and I tackle the Monday Night Raw Watch Party, which is more or less THE BEST AND WORST OF WWE RAW LIVE. We’re gonna play the show on the big screen, mute it, make a few jokes and have some local improv groups handle the commercials. It’s going to be a blast and it’s free, so if you live anywhere near Austin or have a disposable income that lets you fly around on a whim, come hang out with us and support our braver efforts. I’ll give you a hug upon request. I’m also gonna be appearing at The New Movement’s show on the following Wednesday night, so be there too.
– 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.
– Biggest 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.
Please to enjoy the Best and Worst Of WWE Raw for April 16, 2012. We’re gonna have fun with it this week.
Best: Meeting People Who Read My Column (And I Swear This Has A Point)
I don’t think I’ll ever get used to people knowing who I am.
I spent Sunday afternoon at the Mohawk on Red River for Anarchy Championship Wrestling’s “Peace, Love & Anarchy 2012” (highlighted by psychological balcony dives, a leprechaun being accidentally beheaded and this spectacular photo of Rachel Summerlyn in a With Leather t-shirt), and as we were getting ready to leave I was stopped by a guy who reads the column. “You’re Brandon, right?”
yes i am that ugly nerd who writes on the internet how are you
His name was Jeff, and both he and his friend Jeff (two Jeffs) are fans of The Best And Worst Of Raw. They were nice guys, but the reason I’m including a mention of the meeting here is because of the advice he gave me — to try to love what I’m watching, because constant negativity isn’t fun to read. “Six straight weeks of Triple H sucks” was what he mentioned.
It’s great advice, and not something I haven’t heard before. The column was started as sort of a reprieve from the stuff you can read everywhere else, and as true as my “the writing can only be as positive as the show is good” counterpoint may be, I’m going to try harder to approach the shows with positivity, lest I lower myself to discussing who is or isn’t being pushed and who’s in “the doghouse”.
And before I do that, here is a completely unsubstantiated piece of newz I’d like for you to tell your friends and get reposted on every dirt sheet you can find: NXT Diva Maxine is in the doghouse because Kelly Kelly thinks she’s too pretty and doesn’t want to lose her spot. COPY PASTE.Subscribe to UPROXX
Best: The Easy Positivity Of CM Punk Vs. Mark Henry
Anyway, it’s not hard to be positive when Raw features a couple of great matches, including one right at the stop of the show between CM Punk and Mark Henry. Minor complaints include:
1. WWE Championship matches should probably go at the end of the show, especially if your announced main-event is John Cena vs. Alex Riley’s silhouette for no raisin
2. If you introduce the “the WWE Championship hasn’t changed hands on Raw in over a year!” fact, you’ve got to follow through with the WWE Championship changing hands on Raw
3. Mark Henry should have a 0% chance of losing matches that involve him not only being Mark Henry, but being able to use weapons. He should just launch cars at dudes until they’re dead.
But on the bright side, the no disqualification/no count-out stipulation adds a much more realistic way than normal for CM Punk to get a pinfall on Mark Henry. If Mark Henry accidentally runs face first into metal and then has a 200 pound guy jump from a high place and land on him with that same piece of metal, sure, as much as I’d like for Henry to stand up and wrap the metal around the 200 pound guy’s head and fat-slam him into the Earth, I can buy that keeping him down for three. Punk grazing his head with one of those LOOK HOW HIGH I CAN KICK shots and Henry selling it like he’s Frankenstein falling backwads, not so much.
I also like that there was actually some terror in this match … Punk seemed like he was fighting from his knees even when he wasn’t, and it was a nice contrast from those Viscera-style matches Raw loves to do where they bring out the big fat monster guy and he loses in like two minutes to Jeff Hardy, and next week we’re supposed to be scared again. Keep Mark Henry scary, and keep him only losing due to prop malfunction.
Best: Thank God CM Punk Had The Simple Excuse For Jericho’s Dumb Thing
WWE.com put up an announcement early in the day about how Chris Jericho had surveillance footage or hired dick info or whatever about CM Punk leaving an England-area pub. I was worried that they were gonna have Punk do that thing he did when Jericho revealed that Punk’s parents weren’t married when they gave birth to him where he got SUPER PISSED ABOUT IT even though most people would’ve just said “So? Who cares?” and moved on. I was worried that Punk was going to get indignant about having NOT been at a bar and then the footage is shown and he’s HUMILIATED~.
The route they went was much better: CM Punk astutely noting that walking into a place that serves alcohol doesn’t contractually obligate you to drink alcohol. Hell, I don’t drink and I spent five hours at a bar on Sunday. That’s how friendship and activities and f**king commerce work, Jericho.
Next week Jericho should show up with convenience store footage of Punk accidentally opening the cooler door with the beer in it, seeing that it’s beer instead of Pepsi and calmly closing it. YOU SHOP HERE BECAUSE IT’S CLOSE TO YOUR HOUSE AND YOUR DAD USED TO BUY GAS, DIDN’T HE PUNK
Worst: This Is Not My Beautiful R-Truth
Positives about R-Truth being Sherlock Holmes because “England” and trying to find Teddy Long a new job: it had a satisfying ending (Teddy Long does not get a new job) and I hope the weird spy music they played in the background while R-Truth was looking at sh*t through a magnifying glass is the same one that plays when Aksana investigates.
That being said … yeah, this isn’t the R-Truth I like. The R-Truth I like is kind of harmful in his insanity, the kind of guy who doesn’t dress up like a detective to make the kids laugh but desperately fears that the briefcase he’s trying to grab may be full of spiders. The guy who has brain damage because his grandmother made stew out of household pests and forced it on him. The kind of guy who thought Road Dogg was cool for like six whole months. That guy would only appear from behind a briefcase to confuse Hornswoggle if he was gonna follow it up by spinning a dozen times and kicking him in the face.
Worst: Jerry Lawler Is Suddenly A Soccer Expert
Not to put too many bad things in a row into the positivity column, but the very very worst part of Raw (and, in a way, the very best part) was Jerry “The King” Lawler suddenly becoming a walking soccer encyclopedia when Santino Marella came out to do his soccer jersey gag. In my brain, it was the opposite of Michael Cole knowing how many dinosaurs were discovered in England and comparing Brodus Clay to an Iguanodon.
“Chelsea? Come on, Santino, that’s not going to work here! In London! That’s not the team they like from sports! Oh no, Manchester United?? You’re in London! London England! They don’t like midfielder Luis Antonio Valencia here at all!”
Although Lawler does get a tiny best for saying “lon-don” like Paul Rudd in Forgetting Sarah Marshall.
Best: David Otunga’s Reinvention Of The Lateral Press
What Happened: David Otunga was going to cover Santino, and Santino would avoid the three count by putting his foot on the ropes. Otunga dropped down and realized he was gonna be in the way of Santino’s leg, so as to not f**k up the finish he moved to the other side.
What We Saw: hup, hold on, whoops, wait, no, I got it, hold on
hup, hold on
Alternate Theory: He had so much baby oil on his chest he couldn’t make a cover without slipping around like that. Seriously, look at this:
The inside of that cape has got to be the grossest thing ever. When it hits the stage it should slither away like a snake.
And Speaking Of Snakes: Understanding The Physics Of The Cobra
This has been bugging me for a while. The obvious talking point is that Santino’s putting a sock on his hand and jabbing you with it, so it’s dumb that it incapacitates you completely and you have to lose if it touches you. It’s very similar to Scotty 2 Hotty’s The Worm (which is a one-handed bulldog that keeps you down for a minute and a half until he can chop you somewhere on your torso and you’re dead) or The Rock’s People’s Elbow (a spinebuster keeps you down for a 200-count, but Rock only covers you when he’s danced around a little and dropped an elbow to your lovehandles with every ounce of force going into making his back hit the mat as hard as possible), but even those have MOVES before them. Scotty bulldogs and chops you, Rock spinebusters you and elbows you. Santino is literally just putting a sock on his hand and poking you with it.
So I’ve decided to figure it out, and here’s my theory. It’s been established in the past that by creating (or “conjuring”) The Cobra with his hand jive, Santino’s arm, sock or no sock, becomes akin to a living cobra. It can threaten people or, as we’ve seen several times in the past, attack people on its own.
Now, if a snake hits you as hard as it can with its nose in a jabbing motion, it’s not going to hurt you very much. A snake weighs like four pounds or something and can’t get any real momentum going. It CAN bite you and poison you with a similar motion, so instead of the Cobra hurting you like a martial arts strike, the Cobra strike (as a magical conjuration) takes on properties that deliver instant poison damage and paralysis. That’s why guys don’t sell the Cobra by jumping backwards and flipping, they just go stiff and fall backwards. Right? That has to be right.
If it isn’t, I will consult my “how does this snake arm work” book of notes and we’ll reconvene next week.
Best: Densetsu No Lord Tensai
Wait, is it Ten-SAY? My Japanese is terrible, I learned everything I can say from ‘Excel Saga’. I can say “yes” and “no”, “where are the bathrooms” and “hail Il Palazzo”.
Anyway, Lord Tensai having Josh Mathews interrupted instantly by his follower so he can talk about fear and speak Japanese like Mola Ram is amazing. He should spit on his hand and use it to rip out Josh’s heart.
Worst: I Think These Prototype Commercials May Have Misinterpreted ‘Hurt’
I’m guessing Trent Reznor didn’t write this melancholy song about the differences between society and self-harm with an image in mind of racially non-specific dudes attacking each other with sword hands. I wish game companies cared more about making games that work and are fun and less on booth babez and epic commercials.
Ah well, it’s still better than that creepy ass baby telling me I’ve always wanted the biggest, baddest beard. You don’t know me, sexually-active baby with a driver’s license.
Best: Brock Lesnar Is My Favorite Wrestler
I’m loving the return of Brock Lesnar for two major reasons:
1. Brock Lesnar is (or at least seems like) a shoot awful person, so when he shows up on Raw and chooses to kick John Cena in the gonads from behind when he’s bigger and stronger than Cena and could beat him up straight up, that is pro wrestling sh*thead excellence.
2. Brock Lesnar’s return is just like the Rock’s, but the way I want it to happen. The Rock showed back up after a long hiatus to “host” WrestleMania, taking 20 minutes to do his catchphrases and effectively bumping a Daniel Bryan/Sheamus match off the card. That led to a year of Rock and John Cena slyly insulting each other on Twitter like they were flirting third graders, which culminated in five weeks of musical performances and name-calling. It was all very juvenile, and the most violent thing that happened was Miz being Rock Bottomed into that hole Ozzie Smith died in on The Simpsons and never being heard from again.
In contrast, Brock Lesnar’s return has been nothing but violent attacks and out-and-out threats. The reason I didn’t like The Rock’s staredowns is because I wanted him to respond to Cena by busting his lip. The reason I didn’t like The Rock calling Cena a “kung pao bitch” (besides the fact that it was f**king babytalk and didn’t make sense) is because I wanted him to say “I’M GOING TO HURT YOU” and mean it, and possibly to add “you have piss running down your leg” and “you sh*t in your pants” as chasers.
The Brock Lesnar video package above is glorious, because it shows you all the ways Brock can kill a man (other than “giving him diverticulitis”), shows Brock BEING legitimate instead of telling you how legitimate he is and allowing Brock a taped, MMA-style interview segment where he can say his farmboy Satan sh*t without having to stumble over a live microphone. Just a huge win all the way around. I want to see Brock kill everyone, and at least one more instance of him F-5ing a shark.
(Look for Little Jimmy at the 0:10 mark.)
Worst: These Two Are Not My Favorite Wrestlers
I don’t have a lot of positive things to say about Kane or Zack Ryder. Kane’s motivations have never made sense, and Zack Ryder, from that one show where he tagged with Punk and Bryan until now, has been the worst and most pathetic character in modern WWE history.
I’m happy they kept it short, and crammed everything into one two minute segment. Bob Orton had the hardest time ever with f**king Mr. T, he should consider staying the hell away from 7-foot guys with supernatural powers.
Best: Daniel Bryan Responds To Cockblocking With Literal Blocking
I don’t write about Smackdown for a variety of reasons, but you would’ve thought a Piper’s Pit segment featuring three of my favorite people (Daniel Bryan, A.J. and Rowdy Roddy Piper) would’ve been a can’t-miss Best. Well, without getting too far into it it was my least favorite segment in a while, mostly because of how A.J. was treated like a disobedient puppy (by both guys) and because of how Piper called her “little lady” so many times I started picturing him as John Wayne in The Searchers. Maybe A.J. doesn’t want to be saved, old man.
Anyway, they made that up quickly with Monday’s backstage segment, wherein Kofi Kingston remembers that A.J. hooked up with Jay Lethal for a while so he figures he’s got a shot until Daniel Bryan swoops in with his Pizza Hut font YES~ shirt and screams YES in his face until he leaves. I don’t know what I like more, the fact that Bryan stepped back and forth mid-Yesses to keep Kofi from leaving the hall or the fact that when Kofi left, Bryan turned in the general direction of the camera and kept going for nobody.
Best: The YES! Lock
The LeBell Lock being officially renamed “THE YES LOCK” is a fantastic call, in that it helps reign in the random YES! chants, gives everyone who wants to chant it a great moment to wait for and because I’m tired of remembering how to spell and properly capitalize Gene LeBell’s name.
Kofi should follow Bryan’s example and change the name of the Trouble In Paradise he sets up by standing in the corner clapping his hands and making us chant boom to the “I’m Never Going To Hit This Kick”. Or the “no” kick, whatever.
Worst: I Was Really Looking Forward To Ziggler Vs. Funkasaurus
You know a match is going to be disappointing when the YouTube upload is under two minutes and starts before the bell rings.
I am an unapologetic Dolph Ziggler fanboy and despite all the Stepping and Fetching Of It that happened at WrestleMania I can still appreciate a Funkasaurus, so I was looking forward to this match happening, and appropriately disappointed when it turned into Kane/Ryder II. I like that they’re giving Brodus Clay a chance to wrestle guys who can give him a good fight, but they’ve got to be brave enough to actually let it happen.
Also, Jack Swagger needs to be a little more trusting with his interference attempts. Ziggler was near the ropes and had been hit with one move, he’s a championship-level performer, there’s a good chance he’ll move out of the way or at least put his f**king foot on the rope. Funkasaurus isn’t a ring general, he’s not gonna drag Ziggler back to the middle and lock on a Stretch Plum, he’s the f**king Funkasaurus, he’s going to try a splash and hit his face on the ropes. Let it happen.
Best: Cameron No-Selling Injury Because It’s Time To Dance
I’m pretty tired of the Funkasaurus dance routine happening before AND after the match, especially when he just won a 40 second match by DQ and one of his Funkettes was just slaughtered on the arena floor, but whatever, here we are.
The Best comes from two places:
1. Vickie Guerrero avoiding an attack from the Funkettes by putting her foot in Cameron’s face and just shoving her funky ass to the ground. The instantly cut back to Vickie, who laughs her ass off. Vickie’s maniacal laugh is one of my favorite under-appreciated catchphrases, right behind Johnny Curtis getting weird. I guess nothing that dangerous happened during Melina versus Alicia Fox, huh Cameron?
2. Funkasaurus wins the match and Naomi just goes into the ring like nothing happened, so they start dancing and they kinda look over to where Cameron’s supposed to be. So Cameron, who I remind you just got kicked to the ground, struts into the ring like she’s been checking her e-mail for the last ten minutes and does a bunch of splits like nothing happened. Teach these guys how to call an audible, coach.
Best: More Daniel Bryan Matches Please
Kofi Kingston versus Daniel Bryan was as good as a Kofi Kingston match can be, I think. Bryan is a better opponent for Kofi than his blood rival Dolph Ziggler because Dolph, despite being #heel, is a largely defensive wrestler. He shines when he’s countering something or being forced into perpetual motion by a suplex or whatever. Kofi’s offense is terrible, so when he does the Steamboat chop and Ziggler sells it by falling down and rolling around, it’s hard to buy. Conversely, Daniel Bryan shines offensively, so he allows Kofi to relax with the bullsh*t dropkicks and leapfrogs and concentrate on huddling in the corner with his arm across his chest making sad faces. When Kofi gets in a few moves, Bryan makes them look like they might hurt, and that works for Kofi in tiny, tiny doses.
Of course, Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler make better opponents for each other because their styles overlap perfectly with one another and neither of the is Kofi Kingston.
Worst: F**k Sheamus
Sheamus is the worst. If I was in charge, here’s how I’d book him: Sheamus would run out with his big necklace on and try to Brogue Kick the invisible guy sitting on the bridge railing and end up tumbling down into the water, where he is washed away by the sea and we never have to see him again. F**k Sheamus.
I get that we’re in Europe and everything, but there’s no reason for Sheamus to be on my show when William Regal and Alberto Del Rio aren’t. If Daniel Bryan beats Sheamus in two straight falls at Extreme Rules, it will earn Sheamus back 1% of the love I had for him 19 seconds before WrestleMania started.
This is my positive commentary about Sheamus. I urge you to keep me positive so I don’t have to copy and paste in those 15 paragraphs I wrote about me spitting on my hand and trying to rip out his heart.
Best/Worst: Jerry Lawler And Michael Cole Are The Same Guy
The Best here comes from Jerry Lawler’s response to Daniel Bryan’s catchphrase, which almost always sets him up for a lay-up statutory rape joke. “I normally like to HEAR yes!” when I pick her up from school, etc.
The Worst comes from Michael Cole blindly supporting Daniel Bryan while Jerry Lawler dismisses every one of his accomplishments with “he’s an idiot!”, as if they don’t remember the last 6-18 months of having that argument in reverse. If they want to go that way with it, why not have Cole be all “sorry Jerry, I see what you’ve been saying about Bryan” and have King respond with “no no no, YOU were right, he’s a jerk!” and then argue about it, or better yet be best friends who will never end up wrestling each other again.
Best: Did John Laurinaitis And David Otunga Just Tag Team Eve?
I don’t want to be that guy, especially in the wake of HoeskiGate, but I’ve got to be honest — when John Laurinaitis ushered Eve into his office with a “great idea” and sorta nod-nudged Otunga to join them, my first thought was … well, let me put it this way. If I was fantasy booking it, a year or two from now Zack Ryder would be nervously questioning her about it at a hockey game and she’d just blurt it out.
And then he’d approach John Cena about it later, and Cena would respond with “Holy f**king sh*t! Finger Cuffs? You’re dating Finger Cuffs, you silly son of a bitch?” and then Kane would show up and the whole thing would get really juvenile and wordy.
Additional Best, Just Because: John Laurinaitis’ New Theme Music
F**k. Yes. It sounds like it should be in the trailer for Dinosaur.
Worst: All The Stuff You’d Expect Me To Say About This Tag Team Champions Segment
In the interest of positivity, here’s everything awful about the tag team match that gave us a breather between Daniel Bryan and The Mighty Spit Hand:
1. The tag team champions looked like Benny Camer and his tag team partner Other Benny Camer against two big guys because WWE has never learned how to 1a) run a tag team division, 1b) make the guys who hold their championships look good, 1c) operate a minority tag team without having them eventually devolve into gangbangers who can’t win, 1d) present smaller guys as reasonable threats to larger ones without the smaller guys becoming unexpectedly popular.
2. The Big Show and The Great Khali were a tag team.
3. The Big Show didn’t even get into the ring, so it was just two-ish minutes of The Great Khali punch-chopping people.
4. Lawler and Cole made sure to mention how Rosa was saying the tag team champions aren’t on TV enough, and used that as the reason why the tag team champions are just whiny losers who don’t deserve to be on TV.
5. The tag team champions fleeing, then failing to flee.
6. Tandem chokeslams, which would be fine if you were 6a) winning the tag team championships from the tag team champions you just squashed or 6b) wrestling two Bennies Camer.
7. The Big Show and The Great Khali stuck around after the match to hip-hop dance.
Okay, now that I’ve gotten that horrible bullsh*t off my chest, here are the good things:
2. These two gifs of Rosa Mendes.
Best: Rosa Mendes, Always Great In Gif Form
Best: Lord Tensai Beating John Cena And Not Really Having To Cheat That Much To Do It
So hey, breath of fresh air, nice to breathe you!
Prince Albert has the benefit of being a former WWE Intercontinental Champion, so as badly as some people would like to dismiss him with a wank, it’s easy to say “he’s Albert, but he got WAY BETTER” and buy him as a main event threat. I’m sure some of you are typing “meh, I still don’t buy him”, and that’s fine, but whether or not you buy him he’s pinning John Cena on Raw and that’s something f**king Wade Barrett and his glorious ass couldn’t do effectively with all the charisma in the world and a posse.
I like the story they’re telling with Cena. He’s never had a “losing streak” of any imaginable sort during the last decade, so having him get shaken by his loss to the Rock and be unable to hang with these impossible new guys and the big evil dude from his past is great. Cena’s still Cena, but he’s lost the ability to believe in his t-shirts, and without that he’s nothing. He’s Jumbo Tsuruta, and he’s getting that look on his face when he realizes mid-match that Misawa’s gonna take his spot.
This also gives legitimacy to Ten-say’s mid-card dominance, because for every jaded guy in the audience who goes ALBERT like we don’t know that’s Albert, there’s a little kid explaining how Lord Tensai is hard to beat because one time he pinned John Cena. That kind of sh*t matters to kids, at least in the short term. It matters to me, too, as long as six months from now he’s not losing to Randy Orton in five minutes on Smackdown and the most memorable thing in his video package is that time Cena made him lie under a moving dollie and dropped a bunch of prop chairs on him.
Best: ASIAN MIST, Or “Spit Hand, Now in Beautiful Technicolor”
Whether you like Lord Tensai or you think he’s a Racist Albert, the better parts of your heart should be able to enjoy this gif of John Cena pouring a tiny bottle of water on his face because I guess he’s never flushed out his eyes and doesn’t know how a neck or water work.
I’m very happy to see the formal return of Green Mist to WWE programming. Tajiri, The Great Muta and The Great Kabuki have all made the mysterious Asian Mist an important cog in the machine “things from Japan in wrestling you don’t think are racist but think about it, we’re saying Japanese dudes have poisoned glands”. Seriously though, mist is great. It incapacitated Sting AND John Cena, it impregnated Yinling The Erotic Terrorist and it blinded poor Nidia and inadvertently gave her female empowerment. Asian mist can do anything.
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Week
Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer and JKoebs
I feel like I’m the only person on the planet that’s Anti-Funkasurus.
Perfectly understandable, he’s the natural predator of Caveman Lawyers.
rock n rye
If Alberto Del Rio makes an appearance, does his car come out on the opposite side of the stage?
Brock Lesnar’s dumb ass sword tattoo will never stop being funny you guys. NEVER.
When Daniel Bryan comes out, will the crowd chant “Indubitably! Indubitably! Indubitably!” ?
Chekhov’s steel chair!!!
Fairly Legal: The new show starring Jerry Lawler’s mistresses.
Apparently John Cena has a dream.
Yeah it’s a different island but I’m pretty sure the Irish and the English have had a very long term friendship. Those two countries just love each other!
Fake Injury Guy
Shot of AJ smiling while watching Daniel Bryan on the monitor will be the lead photo for tomorrow’s “Best and Worst”. That’s my guess.
[ ] Not Called
[X ] Called
See you guys next week. And hopefully live in Austin next Monday and Wednesday!