– Yes, there’s a gif of her doing that inside. If you don’t read the column regularly, now’s a good time to start.
– Thanks to Casey of Hammerlock Dialectic for making that sales pitch a reality.
– After you’re done reading the report, make sure to head over to Progressive Boink and read my wrestling content there. On Friday I did The Top 10 Least-Threatening Looking Pro Wrestlers Named Ricky and you should totally read/comment/like/share it so they’ll be okay with me doing more. The only thing Jon knows about wrestling is Hulk Hogan and body slam. But I guess that’s really all you need to know.
Anyway, please enjoy this week’s Best and Worst of WWE Raw column for June 25, 2012. SID shows up and it rules.
Best: Vickie Guerrero Is An Awesome GM
I fly the Vickie Guerrero flag a lot in the Best And Worst Of WWE Raw column, but she ended up handing in such a good line-up card that even Jerry Lawler had to stop stammering about wandering navels for five seconds and give her credit. It was everything a WWE Board Of Directors could want from a Raw — a spotlight match featuring the WWE Champion to jerk the hell out of a curtain, a number one contenders match, a Divas battle royal and a big 20-minute spot right in the middle for John Cena to ramble about f**king nothing.
By proxy, or by accident depending on how optimistic you are, it also ended up being everything we could want (at least on paper) from a Raw — CM Punk and Daniel Bryan being great at wrestling for 10 minutes, Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio getting to wrestle and become the in-canon Best Uncrowned Guys, we got AJ, Kaitlyn and Maxine in swimsuits and John Cena’s schtick was so memorably bad that Chris Jericho could return looking like the coolest guy ever simply by telling him to shut up and stop being 9. If wrestling is real and “anything can happen in the WWE”, it was a top shelf attempt at quality wrestling TV by a character who everyone expected to put Ziggler and Swagger in an Excuse Me handicap match against Cena for maximum loss embarrassment.
The only major negative with her line-up is that so many of my favorites were missing. Laurinaitis showed up in a cameo on a shirt in a box of donated clothes, so hopefully he’ll be back on TV soon, but where was David Otunga? Or Ryback?
Worst: Destiny Promised To Watch The Entire Show With Me This Week And Offer Running Feedback For The Column But Bailed As Soon As Kane Got Pinned And Went To Bed
Just putting this out there. Destiny’s new routine is as follows:
1. Join me on the couch when Raw starts, instantly start talking about how she wants to see Kane.
2. Hangs around until Kane shows up, gets excited for Kane.
3. When Kane is on-screen, she starts explaining all the things she’d write for Kane if she was in charge of wrestling (i.e. “Kane should have a girlfriend who dresses like Kane”, “Kane should drive a car that looks like Kane”).
4. When Kane gets pinned (or leaves the screen), she gets listless and wanders away, or starts multitasking.
So last night’s show was TERRIBLE for her, because Kane showed up almost immediately, only to quickly lose. No build-up, no time for ideas and no pay-off. She didn’t even stick around long enough to see him break up with a girl he wasn’t dating, like he isn’t a kayfabe f**king rapist murderer.
WWE, if you read this, put all of Kane’s matches in the overrun, and mention that Kane will be appearing later on every 10 minutes throughout the show so my girlfriend will watch Raw in its entirety.
Best: No Inappropriate Ponytail Theater This Week!
It’s always been weird to me that wrestlers can only talk to each other or settle differences on wrestling night, like they don’t have six other days in the week to pick up a phone or send somebody a YouTube link and say “hey, that shit that happened on Raw was an accident. We cool?” Triple H has made that even weirder since the Undertaker feud, because apparently he or the person he’s feuding with need two weeks between everything they do to process it and formulate a response.
Brock Lesnar will have an official answer to Triple H’s challenge next week! I hope it’s just, “this is extremely unprofessional and your business is weird. Why are you challenging people who sued you to a fight? Say that out-loud” and maybe a wank-and-throw motion.
Worst: Who Should Gangbang AJ? Cast Your Votes Now
Oh God, this.
Remember when the WWE roster surrounded the ring on Raw to give Triple H a Vote Of No Confidence, and Beth Phoenix said that really weird stuff about how R-Truth and Miz were so out of control that she and the other Divas didn’t feel safe, and you KNOW they didn’t mean to infer “they might rape us” because it’s a TV-PG show but it totally and completely sounded like she was worried Miz and Truth would show up and start raping ladies on Raw? That’s what this graphic reminded me of.
Because I seriously don’t think they meant “Who do you think AJ should be with?” as “who should AJ have sex with”, they meant “who should AJ align herself with”. Right? The story has been about AJ picking a side and being weird about it. They aren’t going to have an #AJAll option in a poll about who she should blow, right? But at the same time the allegiance thing has been less “who will AJ manage” and more “who will AJ date”, so what DID they mean? The reasonable thing, because they write dumb stories and don’t know how to word shit, or the horrible thing, because they’ve got a history of being awful to women?
I think Lawler mentioned it, but why was there no #AJNoneOfTheAbove option? Jokes about #AJBrandon (or my personal favorite, #AJKaitlyn) aside, is it an impossibility that she could be her own thing and just be an anarchistic character who wants to ruin things for people and watch the world burn? Or just a woman who can exist outside of a relationship?
Here’s how I’d book it: I’d have CM Punk sit down with her to have a talk about what’s been going on between them, but before he says anything she interrupts with, “by the way, I want you to meet my new steady boyfriend, The Guy Mickie James Kidnapped”. And then that guy and Punk shake hands. Secondary option: Heath Slater gets a second member in his band.
Worst: Big Show Transferred His Knee-Crying Abilities To Brodus Clay
It wasn’t really a “worst”, especially after the Brodus/Curt Hawkins matches or The Big Show’s 180 minute assault on Kofi Kingston in a steel cage a couple of weeks ago, but I wanted so much more out of a formal Brodus/Big Show Raw match. I actually liked this less than Show’s spear -> table thrashing attack from a while back. Show demolished him with extreme prejudice there. Here, he won by falling on him during an interrupted body slam. Really? I get that it’s time for Brodus to lose, but does taking a sudden pin and getting knocked out on the ramp protect him anymore than a hard-fought match that ends in a knockout punch?
I don’t know, it didn’t seem like a big deal either way, but I want my Hoss Fights, and with Lord Tensai getting stuffed into a production crate and shipped back to OVW I only have so many options. Vickie should’ve sent Ryback out in the middle of this and have him god damn demolish show and Brodus and double-Muscle Buster them like he would to Fillmore and Hayes, then have him be all FEED ME MORE and organize a reality show for WWE Network where they have to find some Haystacks Calhoun and Loch Ness Monster looking f**kers to hang with Skip.
(I really missed Ryback this week, I don’t know if you can tell.)
Best: Did You Know?
I’ve got a couple of jokes for this, so choose your favorite:
Did You Know?
This would still seem shorter than a single 3-hour Raw.
Did You Know?
If you were to watch every ‘Necessary Roughness’ commercial during an episode of Raw non-stop for 24 hours a day, it would take you over 75 days to watch them all.
They should bring back Sean O’Haire and have him approach guys backstage and be all, “last Monday, WWE Raw had a higher social media score than Fox News, ESPN or Nickelodeon. But I’m not telling you anything you already Did Not Know”.
Worst: It May Be Time To See What TNA’s Up To, Jack Swagger
Pro-tip for Dolph Ziggler: Remember last week when you had a tough time beating Jack Swagger? Next time you wrestle him, bring a stuffed animal to the ring and hit him with it. If you believe hard enough, he will die.
But yeah, I thought Santino getting his first United States Championship defense in like three months (with the announcers bringing that and his six month title reign up for the first time) meant Swagger was going to squash him, get it back, and get to be a thing again. The loss against Ziggler severed him from Vickie, so to survive he’d need to refocus, go back to the “american american american” well and maybe eventually get another swank ECW-esque series with Christian over which show’s secondary title is the best. I was pretty surprised to see Swagger get suplexed around (!) and lose clean to an Animorph.
WWE loves to tell that story where a guy loses over and over for a year, and we convince ourselves that it’s building to something when the only thing it can “build to” is NOT LOSING ALL THE TIME. You can tell that story more quickly by NOT HAVING A GUY LOSE ALL THE TIME. Ryback’s kids are there to lose all the time. The 6’5 NCAA Champion and former World Heavyweight Champion is not necessarily there to do that.
But whatever, it’s Jack Swagger. He should seriously consider doing the Christian/Matt Morgan tour of TNA thing where he slums it for a few years, learns how to wrestle guys who didn’t come up in WWE developmental and come back with something better than “I’m from America”.
Worst: Send Me Those Clothes, You Assholes
Oh man, how much do I hate John Cena and Zack Ryder for digging a People Power shirt out of the donation bin and tossing it in the garbage as a throwaway reference? Hey Derrick Bateman, I know you read this column and live in the WWE Zone or whatever, go find that bin and ship me its contents. I’ll pay you for the shipping. If his track jacket ends up in the garbage I swear to God
Best: Katy Perry’s Inspirational Movie About Her Struggles Is In 3-D And Can Double As A Pepsi Commercial
People stage-diving to Katy Perry divorce songs with Pepsis in their hands is about living every single moment. I hope somebody makes a biopic about me one day and it’s just footage of me drinking Mountain Dew Throwback and going down waterslides in smell-o-vision.
Worst: John Cena, Aggressive 9-Year Old, Reading Promos Written By Nerds Who’ve Gotten Too Old
And then this happened.
Cena continues to be in a weird dark place since the news of his divorce broke, and this week it took the form of an absolutely out-of-a-bat’s-ass shit promo about Star Wars where Cena makes WWE guys be Star Wars guys and pretends it’s hilarious. You know for a fact that this was scripted out meticulously by some 36-year old Kevin Smith-esque asshole who either
1. Hasn’t updated his pop culture references in 20 years and missed Zack And Miri Make A Porno causing Star Wars references to jump the shark for f**king ever.
2. Wanted that promo to be Cena comparing wrestlers to ‘Babylon 5’ or ‘Lexx’ characters but nobody got his “John Cena’s a Cylon” Prototype gag and couldn’t get anybody to laugh at anything but ‘Lexx Luger’, so he dumbed it down and made it about Star Wars so people who watch wrestling and have the pop culture scope of a Ziggy comic could enjoy it.
Either way, it was a nearly-lethal dose of secondhand embarrassment, and as Totes Adorbs as Cena was laughing at his own Yoda impression it only succeeded in making me forget about Cyndi Lauper and Wendi Richter’s forceable nostalgia entry from last week. If you want to be nerdy on wrestling you have to be SINCERELY nerdy on wrestling, like when AJ dressed up as Kitana from Mortal Kombat. It worked because you knew she knew who that was, and because she tried to do the fan lift. If Cena’s seen an entire Star War for real I’ll eat my shoe.
If you guys are just hiring nerds to make pop culture jokes on Raw, I am a pretty desperate blogger with mild wrestling business connections and I could write the hell out of a “Kane and Undertaker are Fire Benders” gag. It ends with Kofi Kingston throwing a boomerang at Kane and f**king up his third eye.
Best Best Best: Chris Jericho Is Tired Of Your Shit
This Raw was full of great moments, but I think my favorite was Chris Jericho remembering that he’s CHRIS JERICHO and not that stammering weird guy from the last four months, wandering out in the Million Dollar Man’s jacket and asking John Cena to cut another Star Wars promo like a 9-year old (complete with GLORIOUS EYE-ROLL):
The video package of Fozzy preforming in front of a bigger-than-Raw audience made Jericho look like a huge star, and despite sorta looking like Dana Carvey he made more of an impression on me last night than he has since January. Seriously, the guy looks like he’s aged 15 years in the last month. Kicking a Brazilian flag is basically the worst thing you can do. Regardless, Cena desperately needed someone to shut him up, and all Jericho had to do was be a normal person who isn’t an invalid 5-year old to do it.
No offense, Make-A-Wish kids.
Best: Money In The Bank Matches With Actual Guys In Them
WWE looks like they want to keep the good will from last year’s Money In The Bank going, so the announced matches so far include a straight-up CM Punk versus Daniel Bryan WWE Championship match and a pair of Money In The Bank ladder matches, with at least one of the two featuring actual WWE Superstars. Usually those things are full of guys who can jump off a ladder or hold a ladder to be jumped from, so you end up with Kofi Kingston and Evan Bourne and R-Truth and like Kane in there, when you’d assume guys like Show and John Cena and The Rock (cough) who always want the WWE Championship would WANT to be in there and get an easy-as-shit opportunity. If Jack Swagger can cash in on a guy and become champion, how easy would it be for Cena?
The thing about Cena being in the match “to stop the Big Show” is pretty funny, since literally two months ago he was a fat guy who lost his month-long Intercontinental Championship by accidentally stepping through a table. Gravity and a ladder rung not built to support a f**king moose would probably stop Show without Cena having to be around, but I guess Jumping Dog Shoulderblocks From The Ladder~ are a solid insurance policy.
Cena winning the match could work, too, especially if you have him be the guy who fails on his cash-in. They’ve got to have someone fail soon, and Cena’s got enough credibility and enough title wins under his belt to not look like such a goober about it. Have him nobly challenge Punk to a match at SummerSlam and lose. Gimmick integrity preserved, Cena gets another good match without having to resort to props and Punk’s title reign gets closer to the full year. A win all around.
Best: SID, MOTHERF**KERS
Okay, I was lying about the Jericho eye roll. The best part of this show was SID, because SID RULES THE WORLD. That’s my analysis. Through boots and powerbombs he has been PUT IN CHARGE OF OUR WORLD.
I was talking about this earlier today … the coolest thing about WWE’s legends build for Raw 1000 is that they’ve forgone their usual “let’s bring out whoever’s already in the back” thing with Sgt. Slaughter and IRS and are actually bringing in cool guys we haven’t seen for a while. And Sarge and IRS are GREAT, don’t get me wrong, but they are WWE Legends, not VADER and SID. If Stan Hansen shows up next week to break Heath Slater’s neck with a Western Lariat I’ll forgive another year of sports entertainment.
Sid is awesome, but you don’t need me to tell you that. I wish he’d gotten a backstage segment with Teddy Long, though.
Worst: Wait, Is This Pole Match Actually Happening
I got really excited when Vickie Guerrero said “IT’LL BE DOLPH ZIGGALLER GOING ONE ON ONE WITH ALBERTO DEL RIO”, then really NOT excited when she continued with, “IN A whatever she said ON A POLE MATCH”. Wrestling fans have been taught that Something On A Pole matches are The Devil’s work, a classic concept ruined by Vince Russo ejaculate that cannot occur without images of Judy Bagwell dancing in our heads. They could’ve put blindfolds and tuxedos on the guys and I wouldn’t have felt worse.
Best: I Actually Liked It When The Pole Match Got Worse
It was still Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio, as short as it was, and there were two major upsides:
1. The “Let’s Go Ziggler” chants are still here, which means they’re following him around and can become the thing we chant when he’s wrestling.
2. The post-grab stuff with the number-one contender’s contract was fun.
Number two is contentious, and I’ve read a lot of show reports about how the match fell apart when they got the contract down and started fighting over it. Maybe I was just in a good mood, but that made the match for me. By pulling down the contract and having to fight for control, they incorporated ladder match tropes into a pole match. When it got knocked to the outside, they introduced some cage match drama, trying to keep each other from crawling out of the ring first. Ricardo got involved, and I got very interested in seeing how they were gonna finish what they’d started.
The supplemental worst here is that they didn’t … Sheamus lobster-headed his way out to announce that Vickie Guerrero had made a triple trett match for Smackdown and they should stop wrestling. I wanted Ziggler to run around the ring and grab the contract anyway, so he could get another match if he lost that one. Lawler rightfully asked why Sheamus seemed so happy about suddenly having to face two opponents instead of one for the World Heavyweight Championship, and I said “because he’s stupid, Jerry” to my television.
Best: The Underpants Rumble
I’m not sure how to justify it, but I liked the Summer Whatever Excuse To Put Girls In Bikinis battle royal. In a TV-PG environment it seems a little more sane. In the Attitude Era, these things were excuses for people to get stripped naked and blasted with super soakers and stuffed into potato sacks or whatever. Here, it seemed like a fun novelty. You wouldn’t think I’d say that, but I love battles royal, and will usually find a way to justify them as great.
Highlights (which you’re free to note have zero to do with wrestling) include:
– Kaitlyn in a swimsuit, because Kaitlyn is my fitness and improperly-dyed hair role model.
– Vickie Guerrero looking so good in her swimsuit that Lawler lost track of the 65,000 of the 70,000 jokes he had ready about her being a fat old worthless Mexican cow.
– Rosa Mendes making “gross” face at Vickie in a swimsuit, like she won’t be lucky to still look that good in her mid-40s after two kids.
– Layla making “gross” face as well because she’s secretly still LayCool Layla, which is why she acted so weird about having to introduce Wendi Richter and Cyndi Lauper last week. Tossing her into the “secret heel” group with Punk. Bonus highlight for Layla making the gross face, and Kaitlyn standing next to her with a huge smile on her face.
– Maxine in a bright yellow bikini. True fact: Maxine was the best looking woman out there.
– I am not going to post a picture of AJ’s butt.
– No, I’m not. Stop asking.
– all right all right
Worst: This Would Probably Work Better If Everyone Wasn’t Actively Trying To Eliminate Themselves
I spent 3 hours watching GLOW on Friday night (yes, this is my life, shut up) and man, even the GLOW battles royal required the women to go over the top rope and hit the floor. The Ain’t No Cure For The Summertime Boobs battle royal or whatever was two minutes long, and 115 seconds of it was just girls stopping, dropping and rolling out of the ring. There is no reason why you should get eliminated from a battle royal for going out under the bottom rope, I don’t care HOW afraid of nip-slips you are. Put on some Wrestleicious Leyla Milani star pasties and throw your ass over the top rope. You’re a televised professional.
By the way, if you ever find any Best Of GLOW DVDs, buy them and watch them. They’re the funniest thing you’ve ever seen on Raw reproduced non-stop, with 100% more “people getting thrown headfirst into cardboard columns”.
Best: Oh Okay, Yes
And now the reason you clicked this column, gifs of AJ doing YES! chants in her underwear. It was good, I’m not gonna front.
Remember all those times I typed about how great it’d be if they took AJ’s newly-developed character and put her back into the Divas division, so she could sorta develop them by proxy and be a huge, marketable star? Listen to the amazing reaction she got during the battle royal last night. AJ chants, a pop for her victory and the entire crowd chanting YES along with her. People want to see wrestling and people want to see women. If you let them be interesting beyond “they are a woman”, maintain their characters and present them as an important part of your show, people will pay to see it. Let them take piss breaks during those long-ass silent commercial breaks you have between segments. Let AJ be the next evolutionary step.
Also, let Kaitlyn be there.