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Please click through to enjoy The Bray and Worst of WWE Raw, July 8, 2013.
Best: Daniel Bryan Is Opening And Closing Raw, Which Is Pretty Important
Big ups to the various image macro boards across the Internet who have decided I am a wrestling hipster who hates Daniel Bryan for not being a real-life vegan anymore (or whatever their excuse is), but yeah, I’ve been cautious about his career and forward momentum ever since I sat in Sun Life Stadium and watched my favorite wrestler lose the World Heavyweight Championship in 18 seconds.
So sometimes, yeah, when my favorite wrestler is in the beginning stages of a legitimate push to the top of the company (fingers crossed) and randomly gets hurt during a match, or they have to redo it with a predictable ending that kills all the spontaneous joy a victory without the stoppage and the week drag would’ve caused, or rumors of WWE going with a Cena/Henry/Ryback triple threat instead of a Daniel Bryan match … that traumatizing 18 seconds comes back and kinda kicks me in the ass. I’m sorry if I ever sound pessimistic about him. D-Bry is the best wrestler in the world in a walk, I am always sitting on the edge of my seat wishing the best for him, and did not give a shit about his meat intake for the 8 years or so he was my favorite wrestler and NOT a vegan.
Daniel Bryan (more or less) opened the show with a great back-and-forth match against the very guy that 18 Seconds’d him, beat him right in the middle of the ring with a clean pinfall and got to celebrate in his face. Sheamus even shook his hand after the match, which I think is the first time Sheamus has acted like an adult since 2006. THIS is when I get to mark out like a doofus. So switch your Brandon Opinions from “joyless douchebag” to “wanking mark.”
OH! And the best part:
Best: Mr. Small Package!
Daniel Bryan forever-and-ever gets a Best for any match he wins with a Small Package (or an “inside cradle,” or basically any roll-up a schoolboy wouldn’t use). If you missed his Ring of Honor title run where he was so much better than his peers he could beat them with old-timey wrestling pins and did so because he was such a prick, this is your semi-regular suggestion to check that out immediately.
Also, this was bad ass:
Worst: WWE Has Not Learned Its Lesson About Big Heavy Guys
I have never understood why WWE employs so many fat guys just to turn them into dancing sight gags. They’ve been doing it forever. They have Brodus Clay, they turn him into a dancing dinosaur. They bring back Tensai, push him briefly with his oft-missed MOUNTAIN DEW SPIT HAND and then turn him into a Hip Hop Hippo (twice!). Remember when they brought in The Giant from WCW and within a few years had him dressing up like other characters for laffz and made a movie about how stupid he looks wearing underwear? Remember when they got a nearly 8-foot tall guy and made him dance with a farter and a leprechaun? Remember when they brought in the One Man Gang and turned him into a BLACK GUY?
I guess in a world where your shows aren’t seen one town at a time there isn’t as much money in a “monster” character, but there is a legitimate need, especially in tag team wrestling, for fat guys. What’s keeping WWE from turning Brodus and Tensai into a new Miracle Violence Connection? Just two big guys who are gonna kick the shit out of you. Not slow, plodding guys who bear hug you and brain chop you or whatever, and also not Mike Awesome types who do dives and hurt themselves all the time. Two guys who could beat you up in real life, beating up people like they would in real life. I’d NEVER put my money on Primo and Epico or whoever if Brodus and Tensai were throwing hands for real. Or at least making it LOOK like they were.
But yeah, how sad is it that “treat the fat guys like they’re tough consistently” is such a fantasy booking pipe dream? Mark Henry had to be the cock-voice Kool Aid Man for 14 years before somebody let him be tough. Viscera wrestled in pajamas. Whatever.
Best: Wait A Minute, This Is Actually Pretty Good
Newsflash: The Shield is great at wrestling matches. NEWSFLASH.
This got really good toward the end. I think this the first time Tensai’s gotten to do something besides shoveling motions on Raw in months. Both sides pulled their weight, The Shield worked their “we are entertaining at everything” magic (complete with the Seth Rollins bump on the side of his face) and we got a shockingly believable nearfall off a Baldo Bomb. Lipton Bomb. Whatever they’re calling it now.
The tag team division is the EASIEST THING TO FIX EVER, and the only thing stopping them from doing it is THEM. The Shield are a great tag team (in any combination, in any number), and they aren’t big individual stars so you can build up the idea of teams competing for titles. You know, like they’re supposed to. You’ve got a lot of teams already who can probably go harder than we’ve been allowed to see (Tons of Funk, the Colons, Rhodes goddamn Scholars, Double Dutch, Kofi Kingston and Disposable Partner, the Wyatts now) and could be having matches like this — or better than this — on the regular.