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– Continued thanks to Casey/THESTINGER for helping me out with gifs and pictures. Be sure to visit his gifs Tumblr.
– Don’t forget to check out the Raw Deal at TJR Wrestling. John’s perspective is easier to enjoy than mine, and contains 100% fewer Excel Saga references.
– That’s right! We didn’t do a bad enough job the first time to get kicked out of The ND in Austin, TX, forever, so we’re doing it again … the Monday Night Raw Watch Party returns on the 21st of May with two (hopefully only two) hours of jokes, wrestling, wrestlers and dumb bullsh*t. It’s free, and attending instantly makes you one of my best friends. If you can get there, get there. RSVP now, so you can be cool enough to be on a page by yourself with me!
Until then, please enjoy the Best and Worst of Raw for May 7, 2012.
Best: Information Adding Depth To Characters And Situations
A lot of people have conflicting ideas about how they’d write a weekly, episodic pro wrestling show for a publicly-traded international corporation, and while it’s fun to write paragraphs about who you’d fire (Kofi Kingston) and who you’d push (Tyson Kidd) and who you’d put into an old-timey circus cannon and fire at a brick wall (also Kofi Kingston), it’s important to remember that TV wrestling (and basically everything else on TV) can be made better in a few simple ways:
1. Pay attention to continuity. It is your friend and helps you build a universe without just saying things are a “universe”.
2. Have everything happen for a reason, and have it make sense.
3. Maintain character integrity. Steps 1 and 2 are instrumental in this.
4. Don’t feel the need to over-explain things, but don’t be afraid to explain it if it benefits steps 1-3.
5. Fire Kofi Kingston
Or make him work out his chest, I don’t know. Anyway, what I’m getting at is that WWE doesn’t do any of these things (especially step 5) on the reg and it leaves us grasping at straws, desperately attempting to explain ourselves and our favorite characters until one of those glorious tentpoles of fandom happen (CM Punk’s first “pipebomb”, matches like Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus from Extreme Rules) to replenish our faith in the inevitability of the steps happening and making things better.
This is the most verbose possible way for me to explain why I loved John Laurinaitis explaining his Super Dave Osborne voice. People are making fun of him for not being able to speak properly every week, and finally he explains that he hasn’t always spoken this way, he was injured in a match in Japan with Dr. Death Steve Williams because he was once a tough and successful professional wrestler who wrestled Dr. Death. That’s it. That is exactly it. It succinctly explains why he sounds like such a weirdo, excuses a lot of his speaking mistakes AND justifies his position of power in a pro wrestling company. How easy is that? How great would it be if sh*t made sense?
Best: I Don’t Care How Predictable A Best It Is, Jun Akiyama Is On Raw
One of the fun things about doing this column is that some of you think of me when you’re watching the shows and instantly recognize stuff to which I’ll give a Best or Worst. As you may have recognized, there is not a conceivable f**king Earth-2 in existence wherein I fail to give a Best to John Laurinaitis explaining his pro wrestling prowess with a 1990s All Japan Pro Wrestling slideshow full of pictures of him doing the least impressive sh*t ever to guys like Giant Baba and Jun Akiyama. Imagine if Billy Kidman went to Mexico City and showed the audience a bunch of pictures of him headlocking Hulk Hogan at Slamboree 2000 he’s been carrying around in his wallet for the last 12 years.
Instead of showing him chinlocking the guy who gets lumped in with the four pillars of puroresu because “Akiyama” is easier to pronounce than “Taue”, I’d like to suggest a photo of Johnny Ace doing something that (to my knowledge) no other human has accomplished: RKO’ing Mitsuharu Misawa off of Kenta Kobashi’s shoulders.
Worst: What Is CM Punk’s Point Exactly
Despite the shifty nature of the Chris Jericho storyline, I’ve warmed back up to CM Punk over the last few months. Why? Because he’d finally gotten himself out of the John Laurinaitis “I hate my stooge boss and can’t stop telling you about it” angle. Sadly, last night’s episode of Raw plunged Punk back into his role as El Hijo del Triple H and had him confront a guy who barely affected him at WrestleMania and hasn’t talked to him for a month to break out those same tired third-grader insults about how he’s stupid and ugly and doesn’t have any friends.
Like before, I get WHY they’re doing it — they want the crowd to boo Laurinaitis, so they have a guy the crowd likes a lot say BOO THIS GUY over and over until they do it — but I don’t understand what Punk’s point is. I don’t think I’ll ever understand it. The escapism of McMahon/Austin was supposed to give the blue collar people at home a fantasy scenario wherein they’d drive a truck full of beer into their boss’s office and beat the sh*t out of him, and that worked because in no reasonable real-life situation would you think to hold a prop gun with a BANG flag in it to your boss’s head until he pissed himself unless you were an unrepentant psychopath. And maybe that’s the difference between 10 years ago and now. 10 years ago your fantasy was to fill a Corvette with cement until it was destroyed and save an innocent lady from an occult zombie’s Satanic wedding. Now you wish you could call your boss “ugly”.
I really wish Laurinaitis had responded to Punk’s “you’re stupid, you’re ugly and you don’t have any friends” with “I have a great job, I’m happily married and David Otunga is my friend”.
“Pipebomb” as a noun to describe “something CM Punk says” is the worst Worst.
Originally the idea was that the microphone ITSELF was the pipe bomb, because in CM Punk’s hands it could explode and kill you by accident at an arms dump or whatever. That worked because Punk had said unprecedented things about WWE and pro wrestling on WWE television and followed it up with that amazing moment where he got Vince McMahon to scream I DON’T GIVE A DAMN WHAT YOU WANT to a crowd of wrestling fans. The words were not the pipe bomb; the opportunity to speak was.
Long story short, CM Punk talks all the goddamn time now, and calling John Laurinaitis is not a “pipe bomb” no matter how hard Jerry Lawler ‘heh’s his way through it.
Best: Big Show, Get Your Stupid Fat Ass Out Of My Way
I’m not sure I’m fully onboard with the increasingly villainous John Laurinaitis character (in a perfect world he’d stay a thumbs-up slinging, ineffectual boss with a slurpy lawyer friend), but I loved him running into The Big Show backstage and just screaming at him for being in the way. Part of it is because of how deeply I want John Laurinaitis to snap on somebody and Ace Crusher them on Raw, and part of it is because the Big Show is a colossal pile of dogsh*t in an ill-fitting Halloween costume and should feel bad about himself.
The new “make fun of my voice and pay the price” initiative needs to be played hard and fast, and Big Show needs to either be future endeavored or shipped off to NXT to slum it with JTG for the next six months as punishment. There needs to be more payoff than “Eve overheard what you said and is making a mean face at you”.