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– Personal stuff: Two big things. 1) We just wrapped principal photography on Meet Me There, so make sure you visit the official movie site and like it on Facebook to keep up with news and updates and stuff. It’s gonna be good. 2) I’m going to be at Full Sail for the next NXT tapings on July 11. If you’re in the Orlando area and are gonna be there, be sure to find me and say hi. I’ll also be at Shine 11, so join me in getting a mark photo with Paige AND a mark photo with Paige’s mom.
Please click through to enjoy The Best And Worst Of a pretty depressingly rancid WWE Raw, July 1, 2013.
Worst: I Think I Actually Liked Rob Van Dam The Most Out Of Everyone In This Segment
Here’s a list of everything I liked in the first 15 minutes of Raw:
1. Daniel Bryan has a new shirt, and I have to like those even when they’re ugly.
2. Bryan asking if he could call 1-800-FELLA and make Sheamus Brogue Kick himself in the face, effective ice-burning the “fetch” that is 1-800-FELLA into secondhand embarrassment forever.
Besides that, the opening segment to Raw was BRUTAL for me. In retrospect it was maybe the 20th worst thing about the episode, but there are few moments worse for a wrestling fan than when they see where a segment’s going two minutes in and have to wait 13 more for it to see itself through. Bryan opened the show … that’s fine. Sheamus interrupts him and acts like an asshole, but Bryan gets to verbally shut him down, and for better or worse, they’re referencing actual WWE history. That’s also fine. But then that THIRD Money in the Bank match participant interrupts, and the normal, observant wrestling fan brain goes “shit, they’re all going to interrupt and talk about how they’re gonna win, aren’t they?” That’s two minutes in. Then, 13 minutes of them all interrupting and talking about how they’re gonna win. You’re like the guy from ‘Early Edition,’ and the headline of tomorrow’s paper is SHITTY WRESTLING SHOW.
As I mentioned up there in bold, I think I liked Rob Van Dam the most here, because he was sitting at home NOT wasting the first 20 minutes of Raw. While I’m thinking about it, I should give Bryan another supplemental Best for interrupting Punk and calling him on the “go down the line and talk about how great we all are, then say you’re better than us” gag. More people should do that to Punk. He’s got the talent to rise above boring bullshit Raw speeches, and rarely has the need to do so.
Also, a light supplementary Best for Christian for being all, “welp, dudes are gettin’ RKO’d, I’m outta here” and just bailing.
Worst: The Crowd
I’ll reference them in passing throughout the report, but BIG UPS to Sioux City, Iowa, for being total f**king garbage all night long. From the “What” chants during Mark Henry’s promo to the half-assed attempts to chant “JBL” and be the post-Mania Raw crowd (Raw crowds need to either go all the way with it or cut it the f**k out) to chanting WE THE PEOPLE along with the hateful jingoistic nutbags, Iowa defined what it means to be a terrible Raw crowd. Do not ever go back to Iowa, WWE.
Note: One thing I do like, though, is how you can look at which John Cena shirts kids in the crowd are wearing to see how long it’s been since WWE’s been in their town. Kids were wearing that orange “Never Give Up” one from 2011, so it’s been a WHILE.
Worst: Seriously, Enough With These Conflicting Authority Figure Segments
I’m not going to link to the videos or write another big thing about it, but WWE once again devoted time to three different backstage confrontations between Vickie Guerrero, a woman who is just trying to do her job, and three conflicting authority figures who are trying to undermine each other passive-aggressively, but seem united in their quest to make the woman they hired to do a job feel paranoid and terrible about any attempts to do it. Stephanie even went so far as to pull the “hey Vickie, I get it, we’re both ladies, am I right” card and then IMMEDIATELY turned it back on her for no reason, setting her up for another in an endless string of asinine “performance evaluations.” I’m hoping that’ll be the end of these things.
Best: The Shield Not Losing Matches (On Raw, At Least) Simply Because They’re Holding Belts
The Shield might be the Nexus of All WWE Realities. Not that kind of Nexus.
Think about it. What happens on NXT in the Full Sail NXT continuity doesn’t really “happen” in the WWE Universe. Antonio Cesaro has the United States Championship a week after he’s lost it, and nobody cares. Michael Cole has never heard of the Wyatt Family and nobody knows what they’re capable of, even though they’ve been doing their thing on NXT for over a year. The Shield guys showed up as a new thing, but the announcers knew who they were and referenced NXT by name. “That’s Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns from NXT!” etc.
WWE also does this weird thing where Smackdown happens, but it doesn’t. They admit that it exists, but it’s almost a “test” to see if something’s gonna work on Raw. If a match happens on Raw and has a shitty finish, they’ll do it again on Smackdown and end it clean, but never mention the storyline follow-up on Raw. If a good match happens on Smackdown, they’ll just repeat it spot-for-spot on Raw like it never happened. They might mention that it’s a “rematch,” but it’ll just be the same thing, same finish and all. Cesaro doing the Neutralizer to The Great Khali is a great example of this. They’re all, “this is a rematch!” and in the same breath say “WOW I HAVE NEVER SEEN ANYBODY LIFT THE GREAT KHALI LIKE THAT.” They don’t seem to know if they’ve watched it or not. See also last night’s Christian/Usos vs. The Shield six-man tag, which was a rematch from Smackdown with the “corrected” Raw finish of The Shield using THE DAMNED NUMBERS GAME and being unstoppable. Shouldn’t that have happened BEFORE The Usos upsetting them, to build momentum for the challengers in the right direction?
I’m gonna throw this out there: The Shield wear all those clothes to hide the fact that they’re dimensionally-indifferent swamp monsters.
Best: Dean Ambrose’s Reaction After Pinning Christian
Best: Dolph Ziggler, New Master Of Choreographed Group Fights
Here’s something that doesn’t get typed a lot, but is true: Jinder Mahal is secretly a really good pro wrestler. Sure, I would’ve rather seen Ziggler vs. Slater or Ziggler vs. McIntyre, but Jinder knows what he’s doing, even if the crowd is too far up their own ass to pay attention to it.
I loved the post-match stuff, with Ziggler defeating 3MB in a fight by avoiding/parkouring the shit out of them, which was perfect for a guy who is supposed to be showing off. It was a weird, rare moment of WWE physicality thinking outside the box. There were two big Worsts for me, though:
Worst: I Am Seriously Not Okay With Jesse And Meowth Being Segregated From James
1. Ziggler’s hair is getting blonder and blonder each week, and eventually he’s gonna have normal blonde hair instead of that platinum spaghetti shit we’ve come to know and love. This will soon be the haircut equivalent of losing ‘I Am Perfection.’
2. WWE’s still unnecessarily measuring Ziggler’s crowd response by sending him out alone, then having AJ and Big E Langston show up together later. This is unacceptable. They’re a unit, and I do not want them to have that moment when Dolph says “hey AJ, you’re a trashy whore, only now people are gonna CHEER when I say it!” and they break up. Don’t do that. Ever.
Worst: This Kind Of Shit Is Why I Didn’t Lose My Mind Over Bryan’s Win Last Week
Last week, I wrote about how the Daniel Bryan concussion telegraphed his “big win” over Randy Orton on the next show, and how that sorta took the wind out of my (full) sails. A lot of people agreed with me, but some of you called me a pessimistic asshole for not losing myself in it and loving it. You know, because 12 straight years of saying “Daniel Bryan is the best wrestler in the world and here’s why” is negated by one quarter page about how I wish they’d just been able to finish the first version of that match. ATTN Wrestling Fans: it is okay to sometimes not be 100% happy with what your favorite wrestler is doing or saying. It doesn’t make you “wrong” for liking them or less of a fan, or whatever social hang-up is keeping you from having reasonable opinions about things.
Anyway, I was worried that the aborted finish to the first attempt at the Big Orton Win (and wrestling Randy Orton, period) was going to hurt the INSANE in-ring momentum Bryan had built over the last few months. He ended Raw with a clean, submission victory over Orton last week, which positioned him to continue moving forward and ultimately challenge Cena (or, in a perfect world) Mark Henry for the belt at SummerSlam, right? This week, he’s back to having interpersonal issues with Kane, playing a special guest referee in a match designed to get him booed and eating a post-match RKO from Randy Orton and having to lie there on the mat like a stupid f**king idiot while ‘Voices’ plays. And the dirt sheets post WWE NOW CONSIDERING JOHN CENA VS. MARK HENRY VS. RYBACK INSTEAD OF ANYTHING DANIEL BRYAN-RELATED.
I love you, D-Bry, but right now you are pressing your face into the glass ceiling so hard.
Best: The Kane Bleacher Creature Lives In My House Now
Thank you to Destiny for making the fire explosion noise.
And before you ask, I didn’t get the Team Hell No 2-pack because the Daniel Bryan one 1) doesn’t look anything like him and 2) they got the beard all wrong. They just put Sheamus hair on the bottom of his face.
God, I hope series 2 has a Mark Henry.