I didn’t do a Best and Worst of Extreme Rules, partially because I spent my Sunday with my parents and an old friend watching the Lynchburg Hillcats playing a loose definition of Minor League Baseball, and partially because I am pretty tired of being Extreme. Maybe it’s the fact that I spend about an hour and a half watching World of Sport on YouTube every day. Maybe it’s the fact that WWE’s definition of “extreme” means “doing things off the top rope.” Maybe I don’t want to see Michael Cole in a “country whipping” anything.
Regardless, it sounded like a pretty good show, and I’m happy that former NWA Heavyweight Champion Christian Cage has finally won a belt that means something. He follows in the footsteps of such legends as Jack Swagger, Sheamus and about 20 seconds of Dolph Ziggler. I SHOULD’VE done a Best and Worst of Extreme Rules, though, because little did I know we’d kill Osama Bin Laden RIGHT before The Rock’s birthday party and Raw would end up a terrifying nexus hoping to plunge me into madness.
Jim Ross was unironically quoting Smackdown vs. Raw 2011 commentary verbatim. This is not going to be good.
[images -> MGFanJay @ DVDR]
Worst: Happy Birthday, Jerk
I guess when he was negotiating his return, the Rock said “okay, I want a ton of money, but also a birthday party, and some cake.” He also wanted to devote 45 minutes to introducing himself, with about twelve of that taken up by standing and staring and walking. I’ve drawn some ire for my opinions on The Rock in the past, so I want to make it clear that none of this has to do with his wrestling ability — it has everything to do with the fact that I watched a 39-year old man jerk himself off for two hours and nineteen minutes of overrun.
The last time Rock had a birthday party on Raw, it was “This Is Your Life,” with Mick Foley being charming and a fat lady clown being inefficient, and it ended up as the highest rated segment in the history of television. And it wasn’t even The Rock’s birthday. I guess that sort of explains how things have changed. Back then, the joke was in character. Mankind wanted Rock to like him, but he was a f**k-up, and the Rock was kind of cold-hearted. Somehow the dynamic meshed, because they’d taken some time to establish it, and even though it had less to do with wrestling than a TNA pay-per-view, it was fun, and we remember it.
Last night was actor Dwayne Johnson in his The Rock Halloween costume, standing in the middle of the ring while people screamed THIS IS THE ROCK’S BIRTHDAY PARTY IT IS THE BEST THING IN THE HISTORY OF TELEVISION, ALL WWE SUPERSTARS WISH THE ROCK HAPPY BIRTHDAY, WE ARE ALL THANKFUL AND GRATEFUL TO HIM
Nothing was happening, and we were just watching a guy be happy for himself. Okay, great, I’m glad the football star who got everything he wanted because he was related to the right people and got into movies because he was handsome finally gets to be happy for himself. Can we have a 40 minute birthday party for Drew McIntyre? He’s gotten really good.
Worst: Celebrities Know The Rock’s Catchphrases And Are Willing To Prove It
The commercial bumpers really showed how stereotypical Hollywood can be. I feel sort of sad that The Rock doesn’t have any real friends, he just has people who have heard of him and got an index card listing his signature sayings before their 60 seconds of networking. Hey, everybody, this is Betty White! I was a thing last year! I just wanted to say Happy Birthday to the Rock, and that I know what the Rock is cookin! /moves eyebrows
They didn’t even get it right, most of the time. LeBron James is all “do you know what the rock is cookin.” It’s like my Dad trying to remember what Baron Von Raschke used to say (he made a “mishtook,” Dad). It’s like when Anne Shelburne called me “Steven” in the 11th grade. I liked that she was talking to me, but Jesus, I’ve been in classes with you for the last five years. I guess Paul Walker likes you, Rock, but how much can Paul Walker like anything?
Worst: “Happy Birthday, Jerk”
The Happy Birthday messages started to get really sad there near the end, when it was clear that they ran out of celebrities after Steve Carrell and the Miami Heat, and just filmed messages from all the talk show hosts who don’t want to lose their jobs. Am I to believe that The Rock is close friends with George Lopez, Jimmy Kimmel, Craig Ferguson, Regis and Kelly, AND Ellen? Or am I to believe that those people want to have Rocky’s smiling asshole on their show when Fast Six gets filmed?
This isn’t really turning out to be a funny Best and Worst, because I just couldn’t understand what was happening. I’d blink my eyes, and there would be Adam Carolla or whoever, poking up his eyebrow with his finger to be all cute, caterwauling about how he hears what the Rock is cooking.
Best: R-Truth is Deuces
I don’t know what “Deuces” means (I know it means “twos” and “poops,” but I think it’s supposed to mean something exclamatory as well), but R-Truth has been them lately. There’s a downside to the first wrestling match ending in zero seconds because of a pre-match attack, but Truth is justified here: he’s lost a connection with his friends and fans, and is so unbelievably pissed off because he’s SURE he’s in the right, and nobody will understand it. They just keep booing him and cheering what, and it’s driving him mad. I like that. I also like it when somebody shows up out of nowhere and murders John Morrison, especially when that goes on for more than several minutes.
And look at his face. R-Truth’s face is awesome. JR’s understated “R-Truth looks possessed!” was amazing, as were his desperate attempts to get the Paydirt over as a violent move. People shat on Paul Burchill’s C4 because the guy holding him had to back flip to make the move work, but Truth doesn’t hook a leg or anything, he just holds them there and jumps to the side, and the guy collapses onto his face helplessly as if guided by supernatural forces. And then sometimes they forget that it was supposed to hurt, as in the case of…
Worst: John Morrison Forgets How Necks Work
Morrison had me for a moment. He was lying on the ground with his arm python’d around his neck, trying to get up without the help of the trainers, EMTs, referees down. I was buying that Truth’s attack had severely hurt his neck, and the screaming kids in the first few rows agreed with me. Then, as if he was giving me the middle finger through my television set, Morrison flipped his hair back to get it out of his face, using only his neck. I felt like the manager from Slap Shot when this happened. “WHAT’RE YA DOOOOIN’?!”
So, to recap, here is a list of things John Morrison doesn’t understand:
1. How friends work
2. How girlfriends work
3. How pro wrestling works
4. How to speak without sounding like a fat 11-year old
5. How necks work
Worst: Oh Lord, Here Comes Comedy
oh lord, here it comes
I applaud the Rock’s ability to act somewhat natural (or at least act like The Rock) during wacky backstage segments. It’s what made his interaction with The Hurricane, and to a lesser extent Rosey, so memorable. So when he was approached by Vladimir Kozlov and humored him for a few seconds before asking him if he was crazy, I enjoyed it. Then, Santino showed up in costume that the Rock had to clarify for those of us at home, and I knew I was on a Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride toward a Toad Hall-sized facepalm. Hornswoggle showed up as the Scorpion King and The Great Khali showed up as the Tooth Fairy, and a fun time was had by all (no one).
They should’ve taken the joke to its logical conclusion and brought in Orlando Jordan as The Rock from Be Cool, and then had everybody confusingly jump cut for four hours to homage Southland Tales.
Worst: Hey Rock, I Don’t Want To Go To Your Square Middle School Party
The Rock is a huge movie star and a legendary WWE Champion who is fairly open about the measurements of his dong and the frequency with which he wolfs pussy. So why does The Rock’s birthday party look like something from the beginning of a “Full House” episode? You know, they go to a party and Stephanie (or whoever) is nervous about talking to boys, and then Uncle Jesse (or whoever) sings a Beach Boys song (or whatever) and dances all stupid, and everybody lightens up and starts TV dancing together? The boys and the girls were on opposite sides of the room, and poor Daniel Bryan spent more time talking to Evan Bourne than Gail Kim. Although that might be Evan Bourne’s fault.
I half expected to see Yoshi Tatsu playing Pin the Tail On The Racist Donkey off in the background somewhere.
Best: KAITLYN SIGHTING
Hey, you beautiful little muscley thing, where have you been? I’ve missed you.
Worst: Nation of Do What Now
The Rock and Ron Simmons should not be standing next to each other peacefully, much less in a situation where Rock is using Simmons as a comedy capper. Simmons needs to don the blue gladiator helmet and start Dominating folks, or somebody needed to invite D’Lo Brown and the Godfather to the party and make the reunion official.
Of course, The Rock’s miliant black background has been washed away in that storm that took Triple H vs. Undertaker at Wrestlemania 17 and the explanation of who raised the briefcase on Stone Cold Steve Austin. (editor’s note: It was the Big Bossman, know your history).
Worst: Randy Orton Will Go To The Papers If He Has To
It’s true, I’ve heard him say it several times.
About six and a half hours in we get our first professional wrestling match, and Maryse is the first one out of the curtain. I haven’t been writing here long enough for you guys to learn of my love for Maryse, but it is special and pure, and I think pro graps needs more people willing to make a camel clutch insulting and a lateral press sexy. Maryse is one of the truly underutilized talents on the WWE roster, be it in the ring or out, and whether she’s performing well or badly she always adds to the experience. I loved her as Divas Champion, and I loved her even more selling a slap from Cherry like she was dying from a brain clot.
Like always, our time with Maryse is too short. I just didn’t anticipate how short it was going to be.
Worst: Twelve Seconds of Maryse
Maryse vs. former IWGP Champion K2 lasted for twelve seconds, and it was the only twelve seconds of wrestling in Raw’s first hour. I’m not one to split hairs about the wrestling-to-skits ratio, as match times rarely matter and I’ve seen enough great five minute and horrible 40-minute matches to know what I’m talking about. This one led to something great, just like the zero seconds of attempted wrestling by John Morrison, but it’s still a sad statistic to think about. It makes me long for the days when Jack Swagger and Evan Bourne would get a full 90 seconds on Raw. You don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone.
Best: Kharma’s Gonna Get You
I’m glad my regular “Awesome Kong is so great, everybody” best category can finally reflect something happening in a wrestling ring. Kharma’s slasher movie debut at Extreme Rules continued onto Raw, where Kelly Kelly reached higher than the Maria-levels of acting we know her for and portrayed real, actual fear while watching this monstrous (but very sweet) lady mess up another pretty. I’m not sure if Kong is saving Kelly for later or if K2 is the virtuous virgin who makes it to the end and stages a big babyface comeback, but we’re past the doldrums of Eve and well into a Divas story I can enjoy.
Maybe they’re doing a thing where Kelly was the only person who was nice to her in High School, or Kharma’s secretly a babyface and that’s why she’s only targeting the heel Divas. Either way, she’s got the best entrance theme since the original Age of the Fall, and I want to see her every week.
Supplementary Best: Kelly Kelly Opened Her Eyes
Hey Kelly, you’re actually really pretty when you aren’t squinting your eyes like Brock from “Pokémon.” It’s sorta sad that it took a near death experience for that to happen, but you take what you’re given.
Best: Miz Vs. Cena When Cena Isn’t Nigh-Unconscious
Cena continues to be better than The Rock (and you should still deal with it) by putting on an entertaining 15-or-so minutes of wrestling match instead of setting Diddy Dirty Money to clips of Rocky Johnson and playing it for himself. Cena vs. Miz II was a welcomed addition to the show, and was way better than their match at Wrestlemania, which was overshadowed by the whole Mizless build-up and the concussions, and also the stupid f**king nonsensical Salvador Dali ending. I love that Miz is adding more and more theatrics to his signature moves so they’ll make it into the video games, and I love that he has Cena scouted well enough to kick him in the face when he goes for the Attitude Adjustment. Still not sure why he’s taking that big swing when Cena shoulderblocks him a couple of times, but what can you do.
The ending was straight out of Dusty Rhodes’ most passionate fan fiction, and Miz getting (and losing) his championship rematch the night after he lost the belt doesn’t bode well for his immediate future, but he had Cena beaten, and he looks like a legitimate main event player. Well, sort of.
Worst: Referee Logic
I don’t know when the referees became Batman, but if I saw Alex Riley in the ring celebrating with Miz and the WWE Championship, I would assume that Riley brought the belt into the ring because Miz just won the match. The referee pieced together the story via some sort of sixth sense, changing his decision on the fly despite no evidence greater than “the belt is here now.” If these guys had been around when Eddie Guerrero was cheating to win, he would’ve never stopped taking his GED with Chyna.
Best: Hour 2 is Getting Pretty Good I Guess
They followed Cena/Miz with a lengthy-ish tag team match, and ridiculously placed commercial breaks aside, hour two started getting pretty good. Everybody in the tag match (Mysterio, Kingston, Swagger, and McIntyre) can handle themselves, and while it didn’t break any AJPW star records it was what I want to see when I change over to USA. The only downside is that Drew Mac didn’t get his own entrance, and got stuck posing like a gay Steiner Brother over Swagger while he did lispy push-ups. I can’t confirm that, but I’m going to go ahead and guess that those push-ups were lispy as f**k.
Best: Alberto Del Rio
Del Rio is really coming into his own, dressing as Don Johnson and running down Mysterio in a casual way that seems like it’s coming from an actual for real Mexican Aristocrat. Del Rio didn’t scream or shoehorn in a bunch of catchphrases, he watched the match and talked to King and JR when they asked him questions. He was killer, and I don’t even mind them regurgitating the Rey/ADR Smackdown thing if it means we get more of Del Rio calling him a “little chee-wha-wha.”
The best was JR asking Del Rio what he thought of Mysterio’s offensive flurry, and ADR responded with “He looks like a little dog, running around all over the place!”
Worst: Goodbye CM Punk, Hello Dave Batista Jr.
Is anybody up for a Mason Ryan superpush? No? How about a Nexus breakup angle? Where we get to hear Mason Ryan be Welsh? No, you don’t want that either? Hm. Well, at least we got to see him totally nerf Kane’s stupid offense, which I’ve been dying for somebody to do for years. “RAHH I’m gonna choke you!” “NO YOU AREN’T, YOU’RE KANE, EVERYTHING YOU DO IS STUPID, HERE HAVE A SH:TTY WELSH SIDE EFFECT, BOOM ROASTED.”
Worst: Is It Still This Guy’s F**king Birthday?
The main event speech of the night was just like the first 40 minutes, only with an added “welp, I hope you guys enjoyed some of that” feel. I guess I don’t need to keep harping on this, but I just wanted SOMETHING to happen. I wanted Stone Cold Steve Austin to come out and drink beers with him. I wanted Happy Birthday interrupted by AHHHHSAHHHHHHHHM and a Miz spaz-attack to redeem himself after losing to Cena. I wanted an Altered Beast Big Bossman to rise from his grave and drag away the Rock’s mom in the Blues Brothers car. Just something, anything other than Rocky standing there smiling and clapping about how much we all love him.
Mr. McMahon’s music hit and I thought something HAD to go down, but it turned into the MLB Playoffs and a teary-eyed exchange of admiration. Then Mya (who is somebody else that hasn’t been relevant since the Attitude Era) showed up out of the ether and asked us all to sing Happy Birthday, then sang it in a way where nobody could possibly sing along. Happy burrrr-hurr-hurr-hurrrthday THE ….. ro-haooo-haoo-haooo-haoooock…. At this point I’m even begging for Jillian. JILLIAN. I’m begging for f**king Jillian Hall. What are you doing to me?
Best: It is Not the Rock’s Birthday for Another 364 Days
…and it happens after Wrestlemania 28, which means he won’t be around to celebrate it with us.