– Do me a big favor and click that “like” button at the top. If we get 100+ comments on these reports, we should be getting just as many likes. This is my job, technically, and I get paid based on some really weird stuff.
– Thanks to Casey of Hammerlock Dialectic for gifs, as always, especially the one at the very end.
– We’ve got a Smackdown discussion thread happening for tonight’s Great American Bash live special, so be sure to check back in a little bit for that. It’ll have a Ryback badge, and I don’t want you to miss it.
Short list this week, so let’s get right to it. Please click through to enjoy the Best And Worst Of WWE Raw for July 2, 2012. Yes. YES. YES! YES!
Best: NWA Smoky Mountain’s CAGE OF DEATH~
Okay, so this didn’t happen on Raw, but I’m spending the week at my parents’ house in Bristol, Virginia, and had to share it. If you follow me on Twitter you know about this already, but I ditched a minor league game in Bristol to catch NWA Smoky Mountain’s CAGE OF DEATH show, and it was the type of show you have to write about in CAPITAL LETTERS. It featured:
– Ricky Morton, who is still alive (and awesome)
– A two ring battle royal
– A black guy in full Hayabusa gear
– A homeless man dressed like Psicosis with velour shoulderpads (he was the champion)
– Post-match respect speeches with no microphone
– A fat guy pretending to be Heath Ledger’s Joker (this is at every show)
– Two intermissions, one of which was to fix a malfunction in the ring, which would’ve been fine if they did not have TWO RINGS
And to top it all off, the show was main-evented by the CAGE OF DEATH, a War Games match advertised as “one fifteen foot high steel cage, one barbed wire cage” that delivered roughly fourish sides of steel cage and two hastily put-together arrangements of lumber with maybe four strings of rubber barbed wire wrapped around them. It was amazing.
As you can see from the video, none of the cage walls touched and they had to have a Young Boy (or whoever) stand under each one and hold it up. Before the match, they told people in the front row to relocate if they “could not move quickly”, because the cage walls were just gonna fall on us. Nobody got thrown into the barbed wire cage walls (to avoid a lawsuit, I’m guessing) but the Joker guy did try to roll around in the wire for a minute. It didn’t even stick to his clothes. The War Games match ended with only two guys in the ring, doing the Cena/Umaga Royal Rumble finish.
So please understand that it is with the CAGE OF DEATH ringing in my head I tried to watch an episode of Raw at my parents’ house.
Worst: All Right All Right, I’ll Recap John Cena’s Nonstop Reiterations
That’s what’s bugging me the most about Cena right now, and what’s bugged me since the first few weeks of the formal Rock feud — Cena’s not really saying anything BAD (Star Wars promo notwithstanding), he’s just saying the same thing over and over.
With the Rock, he mentioned that the Rock was never there, he’s ALWAYS there and the Rock played the tooth fairy in a movie once. Then he mentioned it on repeat for weeks. Against Brock, he said he was gonna FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT, and he said it again the next week, and again the next. He did something similar with Show, and now that the feud with Show is over he’s moved on to explaining how he’s in the Money in the Bank ladder match to keep Show from winning. He mentioned it last week, he mentioned it again last night. He’ll probably mention it next week.
I know you’ve got to speak a little more slowly than natural and reiterate some stuff to drive it home to the WWE Universe, but damn dude, we get it. We understand your motivation. If Travis Bickle had spent the entirety of his movie saying “I’m socially awkward and feel like I need to save people who don’t want to be saved” he wouldn’t have been in Taxi Driver, he would’ve been in Garden State. Don’t be Garden State, John. Nobody should have to be Garden State.
Best: Chris Jericho And Daniel Bryan
One of the major highlights of last night’s show was the pretty-obvious-in-retrospect reveal that Chris Jericho and Daniel Bryan are great together, and should either be blood rivals or a regular tag team. It worked in the opening segment, when Jericho managed to obnoxiously point out that Bryan’s insecure about his catchphrase because it’s the only thing that’s ever gotten him over and he’s afraid he won’t have another because that is absolutely true, and it hit without making Bryan look less important. It made him look like they’re trying to make him look.
It worked again during the backstage YouTube Poop segment a little later, when Bryan took the first opportunity to start shouting “yes” and Jericho responded by just mindlessly screaming his own catchphrase. It’s not something that should work, but these guys are great at what makes pro wrestling great, so it does.
Give Bryan the belt at Money In The Bank, pair the new Macho Man with the new Elizabeth, do a double turn to get Punk closer to fine and feud Bryan with heel Jericho for the next six months. Everybody in the world is suddenly super happy.
Worst: The Most Important Person To Your WWE Career Isn’t Vince, It’s The Music Guy
You don’t need connections in The Business, an incredible amount of talent, indescribable charisma or impossible luck — you just need to be friends with the sound guy, because whoever’s music plays at the end of the segment is the winner.
That’s what Show did. He interrupted the Interruption Segment and a fight broke out, and when he knocked everybody down, Jeff (the sound guy, I’m assuming) hit the “WELL IT’S THE BIG SHOW” button and declared Show the victor. I mean sure, the other guys could’ve stood up and resumed fighting … they get knocked down like that in wrestling matches all the time, they’re just waiting for you to pull them up so they can start throwing back elbows or whatever. That’s how wrestling works, Jeff. You should until 1) official match entrances and 2) a bell ringing and a referee’s decision before playing somebody’s theme. Otherwise you’re just accompanying their walking, and that’s weird.
Worst: I Guess The Ryback Has Been Quarantined To Smackdown
Those stupid Goldberg chants are going to make me have to start recapping Smackdown, aren’t they.
Best: Team Brandon
I noticed two major things in the first 30 seconds of this match:
1. How sad are the current WWE Champions? I like Christian as much as the next guy, but Christian, Santino Marella, Kofi Kingston and invisible child leading R-Truth as the statistically 3rd-6th best people in your company is depressing. There’s something to be said for giving title belts to people who need them instead of to people who deserve them, but man, if Vince believes that shit he said to Daniel Bryan about D-Bry “not looking like a wrestler” he should watch these Raw showcase matches. They end up being less important than the dancing dinosaur, is what I’m saying.
2. The heel team of Cody Rhodes, David Otunga, Darren Young and Titus O’Neil is basically my perfect mid-card eight man tag squad. Not for winning matches, really, but for Brandon’s Enjoyment. I’ve grown to love these guys, even if Cody SERIOUSLY needs to start hanging with a more impressive gaggle of jobbers.
Fantasy booking in my head involved The Ryback wandering out and Muscle Busting eight guys at once, but we don’t always get what we want.
Worst: One Of My Least Favorite Tropes Leads To My Least Favorite Trope
The match wasn’t great (I’ve gotten spoiled by Chikara, Dragon Gate and others making trios matches and eight-man tags into something special), but it gets a big smelly steam-lines Worst for evoking my second least favorite wrestling thing right now — heels giving up five minutes into a match and walking to the back for a count-out with nobody stopping them — and having it lead directly to my LEAST favorite thing about wrestling right now — babyfaces ganging up on a heel, beating him down and getting cheered for it.
WWE babyfaces are being really awful about this lately. Cena needed help against the Big Show, so five guys run out and help him win. Brodus Clay gets shanghai’d by David Otunga, so Brodus AND Christian AND Santino AND R-Boom all take turns beating him up and a bunch of kids dance on his corpse. Otunga deserved comeuppance, but shouldn’t that have just come from Brodus? That Sheamus-ass thing of attacking your foe from behind and serving him up on a platter to somebody else to beat up is at LEAST as cowardly as the purposeful count-out thing. It’s happening so much the “be a star” gag has gotten tired. Just have wrestling matches, don’t be afraid to let wrestling matches end, and don’t systematically humiliate everybody on your roster.
Best: Teddy Long Dancing At His Television
Ladies and gentlemen, the best moment from last night’s Raw:
They cut away from the Funkasaurus Dance Party to backstage, where Teddy Long is happily dancing along. Or he’s riding an invisible dirt bike, I’m not sure.
Teddy being in charge of the @WWERawGM is probably the most infuriating thing happening in my life right now. He tweets “Hey playas! Kane and Big Show are having a match!” and it’s totally harmless and I’m still typing and deleting YOU’RE A PIECE OF SHIT TEDDY 10 times in response. As a young fan of the Steiner Brothers a teenage fan of White Boys and an older fan of John Laurinaitis, Teddy has made my wrestling life Hell for like 25 straight years.
Best: I Don’t Miss Shane McMahon, But The Vince Training Video Is Amazing
I bet Stephanie’s favorite Smackdown moment is “that time I compared my Dad being investigated for steroids to 9/11”.
Anyway, Vince McMahon doing sit-ups while screaming I HATE AUSTIN, I HATE AUSTIN is one of the best and most pure moments of character development in wrestling history, and those Vince training segments still hold up today. He’s chasing a chicken with VIDEO CAMERAS IN ITS EYES for Christ’s sake. When Vince power walks out onto Raw these days to make both literal and figurative wanking gestures over his own talent, remember that he used to earn it.
Best: ADR F**king Up Sin Cara, Rudo Style
This was an emotional roller-coaster for me. It went something like this:
1. Alberto Del Rio has a mystery opponent, Teddy Long picked it, but he’s wrestling Sheamus at the pay-per-view. Is Randy Orton back yet? Maybe it’s THE UNDATAKAH
2. AWWW HERE IT GOES
3. did michael cole just say sin cara was a “popular lucha libre”
4. Alberto just attacked Sin Cara during his entrance, this is gonna be so awesome. I’m happy they’re finally pairing up the two legit lucha guys they have, becau-
5. Wait, is that it?
And then I settled into a happy place where Alberto Del Rio is tired of the stop-and-go bullshit he’s been plagued with since WrestleMania 27 and is ready to once again snap arms in the name of destiny. He’s made it this far without them doing a dumb split angle with Ricardo Rodriguez, so if he Rybacks Sheamus like he Rybacked Sin Cara we’ll be set.
An additional Best goes to any largely Latino wrestling audience. You guys are the best.