The Best and Worst of WWE Raw 6/20: Power to the People

Something great is about to happen on Raw.

Best: Summer of Punk 2

When CM Punk signed his WWE contract back in 2005, I was one of those guys who thought it was a death sentence. I was at the height of a Ring of Honor sugar rush, and I didn’t want my great Punk memories (like sitting on top of a steel cage singing his entrance theme with the entire crowd) to be tarnished by OVW’s Brook Phillips, or Ron Kruk, or whatever they were going to call him. I didn’t have faith that Punk’s indestructible sense of self would pull through unscathed, and I had no idea that straight-edge, puro move-jacking IWA-Mid South star CM Punk would win three World Championships as himself.

Punk won the ROH Championship after he’d signed a WWE developmental deal, and held that belt for 55 glorious days, the “Summer of Punk”. Punk swore he’d take the ROH title with him to Connecticut and used his championship belt as a clipboard to sign his big leagues contract. It was the most wonderful slap in the face in the history of independent wrestling, and one of those moments when everybody else goes “oh, okay, I see why you like this guy so much”. That ebbed and flowed, and eventually came back around when he started being “better than you” in WWE.

Something glorious is about to happen again, and I hope it plays out like its supposed to. Punk announced that he was leaving the company after the Money in the Bank pay-per-view, and promised to take the WWE Championship with him. It would be the same slap in the face to a WWE Universe trained to not expect true surprises — the last one involved John Cena being forced to join the Nexus, and you saw where that ended up — and could be the spark they need to get someone other than Little Jimmy interested in what they’re doing. And maybe he’ll sign his Dragon Gate USA contract on the faceplate of the spinner.

This is what he said on Twitter last night.

And this is what he said just before the Summer of Punk in 2005.

This is going to be good.

Worst: Mark David Chapman Should’ve Done a Run-In

I love John Lennon. For my money, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band is the best album ever made. I did not, however, enjoy hearing “Power to the People” used to advertise text-base pro wrestling stipulation voting (where normal texting rates apply), and I REALLY didn’t enjoying hearing it 400,000 times in three hours. And I’m joking about Mark David Chapman doing a run-in, I don’t want that to happen. I can’t trust him to work, and he’d probably just shoot on Lennon.

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Best: Nobody Likes Eve

There has been no pro wrestler more dedicated to pleasing the WWE Universe with dancing and finger pointing than Eve Torres, the crunk-begotten master of the one-legged wrestling school dropkick. So it made me laugh/warmed my heart to see her only get 11% of the vote in a badly worded “who should Brie Bella defend her title against” Power to the People option. Beth Phoenix, who has done basically nothing since that LayCool tag team tables match, got more votes than her. Of course Kelly Kelly is K2 and Queen of the Diva Deathmatch (because there’s a chance somebody’s going to f**k up and die in every Divas match) got so many votes it destroyed the first hour of the contest. You may be saying, “come on, Brandon, people like Eve, she was an NBA dancer!” and all I can say is “yeah, for the Clippers, nobody likes Eve”.

I don’t know how much Eve makes a year, so let’s assume she makes an annual salary of around $70,000. You already have a spunky babyface girl (K2) and can only manage one good and one bad female performer at a time, so sh*tcan Eve. Now, you’ve got $70,000 to work with. Drop about $40,000 a year on Madison Eagles so she doesn’t have to keep working a day shift at Cinnabon, and you’ve got an attractive, experienced female wrestler who can be a heel and take K2’s Lou Thesz press without having an aneurysm.

Now, with the $30,000 remaining, you can book basically an entire North America’s worth of high-quality independent wrestling heels on a pay-per-appearance basis to show up, threaten K2, eat a K-Driller (or whatever she calls her dumb Fame-Asser) and disappear. You could book talent for like three years with 30 grand. Cleveland All Pro paid Portia Perez for like two years and they never had a dollar. Kelly Kelly looks like Girl Hogan, the women’s wrestling industry gets much needed exposure and freshness, and Eve Torres dances by herself in the living room during period breaks of Clippers games. Problems solved.

Worst: Kelly Kelly is No Longer Choice B, Guys

WWE apologizes to the WWE Universe, Raw’s “Power to the People” voters, and especially Sin Cara and Evan Bourne. The match vote was skewed by a heavy backlog of votes from the Divas Title Match. More details on WWE.com throughout the day.

I love the idea that some Kelly Kelly fan was at home in his WWE DIVAS t-shirt with the big Divas logo in the middle of badly cropped Bella Twins and mirrored Gail Kims around it, furiously texting “b” to 46993 so she’ll get the match, then continuously re-texting “b” so she’ll win. And because of this, Yoshi Tatsu gets stuck in an inferno match against Derrick Bateman. You can stop texting b, Universe Guy, you’re causing too much Mason Ryan!

Best: Winning the Claire’s Title is an Emotional Experience, Guise

Watching Kelly Kelly burst into tears and thank “Power to the People” for her first ever Diva’s Championship win was great, and similar to the response I had the last time I was at Q’doba and realized I had enough points for a free burrito. I wanted her to bust out a AND I JUST WANT TO THANK MY LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST to make it extra awesome.

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Best: Internet Darling Mason Ryan

In case you didn’t read the last page, the Power to the People voting went totally fine with no errors, and the WWE Universe chose Mason Ryan to face Evan Bourne instead of Sin Cara. See, WWE, this is what happens when you try to work the options and don’t just give us three good ones. I texted “D” because I wanted to see Evan Bourne face Delirious. I guess I should’ve specified that when I texted it in. They probably think I’m an idiot. Ah sh*t.

Anyway, this is my tweet from last night:

I stand by that. No amount of compelling flipping can make up for the loss of LULZ watching Mason Ryan try to figure out how to take a dropkick on the fly. He’s never done it. And I’m glad we’re all friends.

Best/Worst: Whut the Hale

This week’s “John Cena wiping Big Jimmy’s tears with his sweatbands” award for Best Best goes to Evan Bourne trying to small package Mason Ryan. Jump to the 1:38 mark in the video to watch it unfold, with Booker T’s amazing call of “WHUT THE HAYAL???” Because seriously, haha, what the hell?

The icing on the Best goes to the match commentary itself, where Booker T will not stop referring to Ryan as a “spectacle” and saying that when you look at Mason Ryan you want to be like him in oh so many ways. Hey, that’s Mason Ryan! Oh sh*t, suddenly I want to shave my entire body and f**k a Bowflex. And the LACTIC ACID~! Booker’s two-night streak of discussing lactic acid is the best. Keep Booker forever, even if Raw sounds like a two-hour long DMX/Nickelback ultimate mash-up.

Worst: 0% of People Want to See Evan Bourne vs. Jack Swagger

I can’t believe a single person voted to see Jack Swagger face Evan Bourne on Raw. Maybe it’s people who were tuning in to Raw for the first time and thought “I don’t know anybody, so I’m going to vote for the first guy”.

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Worst: Vote “D” for “No Match”

The Mark Henry vs. Kane match was supposedly another spill-over from the nonstop rallying cry for K2, so we ended up with an “arm wrestling contest”. You know that joke on the Internet about how if a birthday cake shows up on wrestling, somebody’s going into it? Imagine if the birthday cake cliche had like 10 steps and they were always the same. That’s arm wrestling contests in WWE. They start, and one of the contestants pulls away. Rinse, repeat. Then maybe the face pulls away to “psyche out” his opponent. By now the arm wrestling has been going on for like 40 seconds, which is 41 seconds too long for televised arm wrestling. The arming starts, it looks like the heel is going to win because he’s strong (or whatever), but then the face starts to come back, and the crowd’s all “OOOOHHHHHH” because they want to be excited about SOMETHING, and then the heel just gives up and punches them, or throws salt in their eyes, or knocks over the podium, and it’s like we never had arm wrestling at all.

The shorter version of that is THIS IS THE BIGGEST WASTE OF TIME IN HISTORY, and I would vote for a “twenty minute stand still match!” before I’d vote for arm wrestling.

Worst: Pyro for Arm Wrestling

How funny is it that Kane had a wall of fire entrance to walk down to the ring and arm wrestle? YEAH I’M THE BROTHER OF DESTRUCTION I’M GONNA F**K YOU UP WITH FIRE AND BRIMSTONE, HOLD ON LET ME GET MY ELBOW SITUATED. Kane should’ve just wandered out in sweatpants and a Mitt Romney t-shirt. At least he wasn’t wearing a pair of suspendered underwears with “world’s strongest man” written down the spine.

Best: Mark Henry is The Best

I had a lengthy rant about the best way to use Mark Henry in the Best and Worst of WWE Capitol Punishment, so I don’t want to rehash that here, but everything after the bullsh** arm wrestling was fantastic. This is what Mark Henry should be doing – Worlds Strongestly Slamming people through furniture because he’s fed up with getting no respect. He should also be screaming about how NOBODY’S GETTING PEACE as long as he’s doing this, and how his HEART DON’T PUMP KOOL-AID, which I guess was a response to how he dressed like the f**king Kool-Aid man for a year and a half carrying Black Teammate #8 to innumerable tag title challenge losses.

Kane being punched in the snoot and brute forced through some arranged wood is the best use of Kane since he stopped wearing a towel on his head. Mark Henry needs to keep ENDING people, inside the ring and out of it, because in a company full of Luckys Cannon, isn’t Mark Henry the one you should be MOST terrified of?

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The Very Best: Okeydoked by Little Jimmy

R-Truth is too funny. From now on I’m going to work being “okey-doked” by people into regular conversation. I don’t if that makes me sound like Stymie from Our Gang, I knows it. Truth is so funny, in fact, that his magnificent little heel run is going to get subverted and turned into something awful and Santino-like if he doesn’t tone it down. The only person with as many signs as Zack Ryder in the crowd is Little Jimmy, and being the “hold on!” part of a punchline segment with Christian and the Miz is just going to make it worse.

I think we’re understating some of the nuances of Truth’s character. “Little Jimmy” gets a ton of play, but so should “fo’ shizzle”, and so should the explanation that to be a Little Jimmy you have to want R-Truth to be a “goooood R-Truth”. Also, “you gon get got” has more ways to connect than the goddamn Diamond Cutter. That’s what makes Truth so great right now – he doesn’t seem like a guy who came up with a catchphrase that caught on, or an Alex Riley type who just ended up in the right place at the right time, he seems like a legitimately crazy, dangerous lunatic. He just needs to start hurting people more, and making me laugh a little less.

But just a little.

Worst: Wait, is Christian Lisping On Purpose

Has Christian always lisped like that? I never noticed it before last night, and I’ve been watching him talk for like 15 years. He sounded like Cindy Brady at points, like maybe he forgot his retainer. Is he Lisping Lisa from Josie and the Pussycats? Is Randy Orton going to wipe off his orange ooze and reveal himself as a fat albino?

Best: Sing Along with The Miz

Speaking of guys who could accidentally become good guys, The Miz is like two more Summerslam commercials from halting his downward momentum and becoming the new Rock. Okay, that’s overstating it, Miz is never going to be the Rock. But he could be the next Road Dogg!

Miz’s “really”, followed by the crowd chanting “really”, is the first step. I feel like Miz wants them to keep saying “really” when he pauses, like his personalized version of “what”, because he always asks questions after he does them. He’s like, “Really? [really] Really? [really] Really? [really] You think you should be the number one contender?” And then he pauses, but nobody says “really”. You should be saying “really” right there. It will get the Miz going. It’ll be like people finally chanting SPEAR, SPEAR, SPEAR at Edge when he failed to get them to do it for like two years.

Worst: Teddy Long

As a supporter of the Steiner Brothers, I have a long-standing grudge against Peanuthead Theodore R. Long. I don’t believe he is the good guy they want us to think he is, I think he’s just being a heel for the babyfaces. It’s why special guest referees get to keep causing people like Miz and CM Punk from winning matches. We’ve gone through the looking glass, and now we’re supposed to cheer for the guys who cheat for themselves, and boo the people having others cheat for them. I remember when you hated white people, Teddy Long, it was like 15 years of sustained racism, from Doom to Rodney Mack. I’m on to you. And I really hate the way you say “Randy Orton”.

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Worst: No More Sympathy Bests

The ship has officially sailed on Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler. Ziggler won the United States Championship at Capitol Punishment, then defended it in a 2 Out of 3 Falls match on Raw. I assume these guys will be wrestling for the title on this week’s Smackdown, on Superstars, on internet-only NXT, and then again on Monday. I don’t ever want to see it again. Ever. I would rather have my home invaded than watch Kingston wrestle Ziggler again. I don’t care if they’ve worked out a logical sequel to Steamboat/Savage and want to work it for half an hour in the main event of Wrestlemania. I will text “b” for Kelly Kelly until you make it stop.

You are both solid in the ring and I like watching you take rag doll video game bumps on everything (I especially love Dolph’s Heath Slater-tinged sell of the Trouble in Paradise, where he spins in place and dies), I want you both to have constructive, happy wrestling careers, I just want you to have them the hell away from each other.

I’m not kidding. If they wrestle again, an entire page of Best and Worst is just going to be curse words and a picture of me taking a sh:t on my television.

Best: 2 Out of 3 Falls is Pretty Cool, Though

I think 2 Out of 3 Falls is the only good stipulation on the night. “Power to the People” turned out to be an American Idol affair, where sure, we get to vote on who we like best, but it’s between a secretly-35 year old rocker belting out a Lit cover and a teenager with a poodle’s haircut covering “Black Velvet”. If power was really to the people, “body slam match” would never be an option. Give me Kelly Kelly vs. Brie Bella in a Cole Miner’s Glove match, I’m begging you.

Worst: Learn From Tony Schiavone

Oh, God, they did a 2 Out of 3 Falls match and had one of the falls take place during the commercial break. Remember that week when the production team went to commercial during the entrances instead of in the middle of the match? Yeah, they don’t. The Internet loves to revisionist-piss on Tony Schiavone for the “asses in seats” comments and for calling everything a modified side slam, but Tony was always gracious enough to say “we’ve got to go to commercial break, fans, but the cameras are rolling, so if anything happens during the break we’ll show you when we return”. Then, of course, nothing ever happened during the commercial break, but it always, always made me think “man, I hope nothing happens during the commercial break!” and I’d stay tuned.

They just don’t give a rip anymore. They come back to a people-chosen TITLE MATCH on Raw with a “welp, Kofi lost this first part to a dropkick”.

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Worst: The Nature of Disqualification

Who the hell thought it would be a good idea to end the 2 Out of 3 Falls match with a DQ, and why does Ziggler get to keep the title on it? Kofi pinned him for one of the falls in the match. What happens if Ziggler loses the first fall by DQ? Does Kofi have to keep wrestling for up to two more falls knowing he’s got a snowball’s chance of winning the belt? The wrestling equivalent of “don’t start no sh:t won’t be no sh:t” should be “if the plot hole f**ks up your match, don’t f**king book it”.

And then “NO DISQUALIFICATION MATCH” was a powered to the people option for the triple threat number one contenders match. Triple threats are no DQ by definition, guys, why didn’t you make the other two options “TORNADO RULES” and “WINNER GETS A TITLE SHOT”?

Worst: Rey Mysterio’s Splash

He needs to stop doing it immediately.

Best: Punkkkkk

See page 1. He will become a monster to defeat the monsters of the world!

Best: I Am So F**king Psyched For This No Countout Match

I’m interested in this Daniel Bryan and Cody Rhodes feud, but I’m sick of all the count-out finishes they’ve been doing! I’m going to text COUNT OUT MATCH to 46993 with all of the letters in those words so I can finally see Bryan take on Rhodes without the FEAR OF A COUNTOUT.

Here are your options for their rematch on Friday: (a) No Fire Extinguishers Match, where neither wrestler will be able to use the cloudy spray of a fire extinguisher, (b) Ted DiBiase Interferes Match, or (c) Mason Ryan.

/texts “b” to 46993

Supplementary Best: You can’t small package Mr. Small Package

Even basic homework from Cody Rhodes would’ve taught him that Daniel Bryan has a +10 in small packages, and that using a small package on him is like headbutting a Samoan or punching Hulk Hogan when he’s having an epileptic block-fit. I once saw Bryan Danielson defeat Nigel McGuinness with a small package, and Cody, you’re great, but you’re a patriotic iron and several rumored blood diseases away from being Nigel McGuinness.

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Worst: A Dance Contest

Vickie Guerrero announced that she used to be a stripper, then did about four seconds of lackluster booty dancing before sexually assaulting homosexual emcee Matt Striker, practically spilling the water he’s spent so long packing into different parts of his body. Fans got to vote on this. “Stop trying to humiliate this widow” was not one of the options.

Even Worse: A Dance Contest Narrated by Jerry Lawler

Jerry Lawler was absolutely unforgivable with the fat jokes on Vickie last night, and the only upside is that most of his quips got neutered before the punchline, because even the announcers (who can’t pick up on anything ever) know how pointless and destructive they are. “Jesus Christ, Jerry,” Booker might say. “This is a 43-year old woman you work with. Maybe this is why you can’t land a girlfriend over the age of 14.” And then Jerry would go “woo hoo” under his breath, and we could watch the sh:tty dance contest without distraction.

Even Worse Than That: Matt Striker is Not Helping

Why are you even here? Todd Grisham gave you your Samson powers, without him you should just go back to teaching and filming CFNM videos on the side.

The Very Worst: Come On, Bro

They couldn’t have let Zack Ryder stand in the ring and fist pump while Vickie did her booty dance? Not even that?

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Worst: I Am So F**king Psyched For This 20 Minute Time Limit Match

6% of the WWE Universe voted for a “20 Minute Time Limit Match”. 6% of the WWE Universe is hilarious. This was the ultimate Taboo Tuesday poll, where only one choice was a stipulation. Like WHO DO YOU WANT TO BE THE GUEST REFEREE IN TONIGHT’S CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH, and option B is Stone Cold Steve Austin, but A is Charles Robinson and C is Mike Chioda.

I want to interview every single person who voted for this, just to see if the reason is always “I wanted to watch them wrestle for up to 20 minutes, but not a second longer”.

Best: Haha the Match was 20 Minutes Long

The best part of that horrible option is that the actual main event went almost exactly 20 minutes, as if they’d planned it out all along. They had a meeting before the match, and the only note was “if they vote A, don’t pin anybody until the end” with a little footnote that said “or do elimination anyway, nobody cares”.

Worst: The Most Predictable Pinfall in History

The bad guy team was Black Manta (R-Truth), Captain Cold (Christian) and The Riddler (The Miz). The good guy team was Superman, Batman and let’s say Agent Liberty. Which one of those good guys is going to get the “oh no, they killed one of our friends” spot? If you said Superman, you have never watched pro wrestling or read a comic book in your life, and you are too cool to be reading a wrestling post on a sports comedy blog.

The Superfriends triumphed, and in the next episode Agent Liberty will be alive, he’ll just be standing around in the background while Superman and Batman figure out how to stop the lava menace (Mark Henry?).

Best: Okay, So I Still Love the RKO

Here are five bad things about Randy Orton

1. He is Hulk Hogan orange on the outside, possibly on the inside
2. His beard grows in like El Gigante’s
3. He “goes to a place where he hears voices” when it’s time to hit his signature moves, not taking into consideration that “outdoors” and “anywhere in public” are solid places to hear voices
4. His Lou Thesz Press is more literally a Jumping Dick Attack than most’s
5. He said he would go to the papers if he had to, but to my knowledge he has yet to go to the papers (does he actually go to the papers? Has anyone seen that movie?)

But here’s one great thing about Randy Orton

1. The RKO

The RKO works because he can hit it out of nowhere, which is Christian’s major problem, and one of the reasons he’s using a spear now. Christian has to spend ten seconds painfully turning around for the Killswitch, whereas Orton just jumps and you’re dead. And you’ll rarely see the same complaints about the RKO that Cena’s Attitude Adjustment gets (“it’s just a SLAM!” etc.) despite it being the exact same thing, a move no more painful than a Flair Flop that hurts more because they say it does. I spent a paragraph talking up the small package because a wrestling company taught me that it was awesome.

Next Week on Raw: Raw Roulette

because nobody is actually booking these shows

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