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Easy enough, right? Click through to enjoy the Best And Worst Of WWE Raw for August 19, 2013.
Best: The Easiest Side-Picking In Wrestling History
Ask me who my favorite wrestler is, and I’ll say, without hesitation, “Daniel Bryan.” Ask me who my least favorite wrestler is, and I’ll say, without hesitation … well, Rob Van Dam’s my least favorite wrestler, but if you wanted to know who my least favorite person in ANY aspect of wrestling is, the answer is “Stephanie McMahon.” How great (and easy) is it when your favorite goes up against your least favorite? It’s how 5-year olds watch wrestling, and it’s the best way to watch wrestling.
I’ll get into the specifics of it more a little later when the shit goes down, but I really enjoyed the opening segment of Raw for a few reasons. The first is that I wasn’t expecting it. I was expecting one of those “Y’WANNA KNOW WHY I DID THIS SHAWN, Y’WANNA KNOW WHY I DID THIS” filibusters from Triple H. I certainly wasn’t expecting a recreation of basically every manager meeting I’ve ever had in my life. Stephanie’s “you’re not an A, but you’re a B+” is straight out of the “new Olive Garden manager who has to teach the servers to respect her” playbook. I think I’ve heard that “you’re talented and people like you, but you’ve got to calm down and stop being such a weirdo” speech from everyone I’ve ever worked for. I once had a Blockbuster Video manager tell me to my face that I was never going to accomplish anything. When I was 17. A BLOCKBUSTER VIDEO MANAGER was telling me this.
So yeah, I love how easy it is to pick sides. I desperately want D-Bry to start running-dropkicking people in the mush right the hell now, and I’m anxious to see how much agony they put me through before that happens. As has been stated several times by a lot of smart people on the Internet, WWF put 21 months between the Austin 3:16 speech and WrestleMania XIV. That’s a lot of time, and if the best wrestler in the world is getting a fat paycheck for a bunch of great matches and ugly t-shirts between now and Spring of 2015, I’m okay with that.
Worst: A Thing I Don’t Want To Type
You guys have read a lot of soapboxy stuff from me, right? I’ll keep it short. “Try not to go straight for ‘bitch’ when a lady does something that makes you mad.” He didn’t CALL her a bitch, like how Batman didn’t KILL Ra’s al Ghul in Batman Begins, he just “didn’t save him” and left him to explode in a bunch of crashing trains. And when he called her “trash,” he could be speaking ill of her character in a gender-free way, which she deserved. The problem there is that Chris Jericho called her a “trashbag ho” or whatever for like 25 straight years of Smackdown, so somebody could say “howdy” to Stephanie at this point and I’d be like WHOA DID HE JUST CALL HER A BITCH
So … let’s not call ladies bitches. Okay!
Best: I Guess Cody Vs. Damien Isn’t Going Anywhere, But I Like Watching Them Wrestle
The announcers seemed hellbent on getting over the “CODY RHODES HAS BEATEN MR. MONEY IN THE BANK TWICE, THAT MEANS HE SHOULD GET A TITLE SHOT” thing, so I guess they’re putting any future Sandow/Cody issues on hold to run the still-fairly-hottish Cody Rhodes against Alberto Del Rio for the WHC when Van Dam craps out and takes two seasons off to sell back issues of Jay and Silent Bob comics or crash jet-skis or whatever he does in his personal time.
Sounds good to me. For the second night in a row, Cody and Sandow had a fun, too-short match with a clean finish and entertained me. Cody challenging a motivated Alberto Del Rio could be extra great, especially if the scourge of an opportunistic former tag team partner was waiting to pounce with his novelty contract. Let’s just make sure we don’t irreversibly turn Sandow into Top Loser Wade Barrett while we’re waiting for him to cash in.
Best: Paul Heyman, Friend ‘Til The End
Speaking of disingenuous dirtbags, imagine my glee when Paul Heyman’s talking point was, “CM Punk, you lost to my strongest summon so I’m gonna assume you learned your lesson, I would like to make money off of you again/not have you try to choke me to death and punch me every time you see me, so let’s be friends, okay? Love you lots, BFF forever, Paul Heyman.” LOTS OF GLEE. Like, prepping for a Sports On TV column levels of glee.
It got even better later. What’s with this Raw setting up payoffs for later in the show? It’s like they want me to keep watching for three hours or something.
Worst: Oh No, Total Divas Are Interacting With Actual WWE Divas
So far, the “Divas Division” has been AJ Lee and Kaitlyn over in one section having wrestling matches and trying hard, and “Total Divas” has been the Bellas, the Funkadactyls, Tyson Kidd’s neckless farting girlfriend and some models in another. Last night probably wasn’t the first time the two sides have come together since Total Divas got big, but it’s the first time I paid attention to it, and pretty much anything related to Total Divas that isn’t Damien Sandow no-selling boob jiggles is off my radar.
It was … not good. I got some shit in the comments section of The Best And Worst Of WWE SummerSlam 2013 for skipping any in-depth commentary on the Natalya/Brie Bella match in favor of moving on with my life in peace, so I’ll try to be a little more giving here.
Worst: Can We Get A Semi-Competent Referee For These Divas Matches Please
The match was extremely short and featured three performers I regularly enjoy and Cameron (who should stop shit-talking Sid on the Internet and visit TheBomb.edu), but as I write this the only thing I can remember at all is the botched finish. Layla jogs in and knocks a Funkadactyl off the ring apron. The other one rolls her up and “gets the pin,” and I put that in quotations because the referee counted AS SLOWLY AS POSSIBLE, and Layla kinda rolled out of the pin attempt before his hand actually came down for three. If you’re one of those folks who doesn’t blame Natalya for everything, that’s two weeks in a row that a referee has ruined the finish of a Divas match. Are they writing Black Ref into Total Divas? Is he gonna be Eva Marie’s Superstar Boyfriend?
That would actually be pretty great, now that I think about it. A WWE Refs reality show would be WAY better than Total Divas, especially if it involved Charles Robinson sitting around being all emo about Molly Holly.
Best: Roman Reigns Ends Dolph Ziggler’s Life For Realsies
Dolph Ziggler has been one of those Alex Riley “mystery opponent” silhouettes for me since he dropped AJ and Big E Langston, and after pretty much ignoring everything he did at SummerSlam, I thought to myself, “what’s been so different?” My conclusions were twofold:
1. he’s acting like a tanned, miniature Sheamus, and I hate that (especially when Sheamus AND John Cena are out for several months and Miz is relegated to hosting duties, leaving us dangerously low on main-event butthole good guys)
2. it had been a while since he’d done one of those things he used to do where he takes a basic wrestling move and makes it ridiculous, like adding a handstand to a chinlock or selling a hip toss like he’d just jumped out of a plane and hit the Earth
Want to see a guy jump out of a plane and hit the Earth? Watch Dolph Ziggler go for a Stinger Splash and get turned into Inside-Out Boy by a Roman Reigns spear. Holy SHIT that thing was massive. Dolph Ziggler and Roman Reigns might need to wrestle each other more often. In fact, if Dolph spent the next, oh, I don’t know, eight months feuding with The Shield guys one at a time (possibly alongside Daniel Bryan and Kaitlyn for MAXIMUM BRANDON ENJOYMENT) en route to a big WrestleMania thing, sellin’ headlock drivers and spears and jumping knee strikes all the while, I would spend the next eight months happily clapping my hands.
Worst: Seriously, Sin Cara, Are You F**king Kidding Me
Sin Cara returns to face Alberto Del Rio, and his music gets a small “Oh, THIS guy still exists!” pop. ONE GODDAMN SECOND INTO THE MOTHERF**KING MATCH Sin Cara gets kicked in the hand and collapses in pain, having taken exactly one offensive move before failing. A few seconds later he goes for a dive to the outside and connects, which is a great idea if you’ve just gotten your hand kicked off. That causes a ref stoppage, complete with exaggerated “come here and observe my Avian bones being broken” gestures. Jesus Christ. Didn’t John Cena JUST get finished wrestling a match of the year candidate with a torn tricep and an elbow the size of Hornswoggle’s head?
I’m done with you, Sin Cara. I don’t care about your stupid Mexico comic book, you deserve ever “LOL BOTCH” MS-painted 60s Spider-Man meme you get. The best part is how much Del Rio still wanted to kill him, possibly for being such a f**k-up, and how those baby-sized referees had to keep dragging him away and shoving him into the corner.
Worst: So The True Hero Of The Latino Community Is … Rob Van Dam?
Ricardo Rodriguez returned to tell Alberto Del Rio that he’s NOT a Mexican hero, and to announce that he’s thrown in with a NEW wrestler who is everything Del Rio isn’t. Then he brings out Rey Mysterio, who looks great and isn’t wearing a sadness shirt and … wait, sorry, that’s what we were expecting. So he brings out Hunico, and Camacho rides out with him on those bicycles and … sorry, that didn’t happen either. Memo Montenegro maybe? I don’t remember.
OH WAIT NOW I REMEMBER IT WAS F**KING RVD
What is Ricardo getting out of this, exactly? Is Van Dam paying him in wellness violations? Hopefully Van Dam’s getting some of those fat burners that got Ricardo suspended. Ugh, man, the only way this is gonna be okay is if Ricardo starts wearing a whistle and calling everybody “daddy.”
Note: Rosa Mendes would make a pretty awesome Hispanic Beulah. She can pose in Cereza magazine*.
*Unless I make a Live Bait joke at some point, this is the most esoteric 90s wrestling valet porn joke I’m ever going to make.
Best: I Might Love The Babyface Prime Time Players
When Zeb Colter started in with his speech about WWE making headlines, my brain went DANGER, DANGER and I started swinging my arms around like that robot from ‘Lost In Space.’ Thankfully nothing came of it and Zeb just did a thing about how he hates Los Angeles, and that was that. The Prime Time Players got to wrestle (and win!) a match without the announcers, wrestlers or crowd mentioning anything about Darren Young’s newly-known-to-everybody sexual preferences. Awesome.
The weird thing that happened is that Darren Young coming out turned The Prime Time Players FACE, which is probably the most promising development for decency in the wrestling industry in … ever. A lot of people are doing the “why’d they turn them face out of nowhere just because he came out” thing, and that’s valid, but if you’ve watched any of the backstage stuff on YouTube, seen any interviews with Darren or Titus or hell, if you watched NXT Redemption, you’ll know that they’re charismatic, funny, likable guys who really should’ve been being themselves on TV a long, long time ago. They’ve been face pretty much since Pancake Patterson, haven’t they? Darren had that great singles match on Raw with CM Punk not that long ago, too.
It makes sense. The crowd seemed to like it, and I like it a lot. Let’s keep this going, and let’s hope Michael Cole’s reiterated “we’ve got GOOD TAG TEAMS you guys” talking point and Big Show’s mention of a title challenge means somebody remembered tag teams are a thing again.
Worst: Let’s Ask The WWE Universe What They Think About Darren Young’s Big Victory On Raw
(This is why we can’t have nice things.)
Worst: Oh God, Primo And Epico Are Going To Be Matadors
THIS IS ALSO WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS
Primo and Epico are being repackaged as LOS MATADORES~, a pair of masked matadors who have combined three terrible gimmicks:
1. Tito Santana’s hilariously racist “El Madator” period
2. Aldo Montoya’s hilarious pastel jock strap mask
3. Los Conquistadores’ hilarious “we’re Hispanic-themed guys who lose” act
If we’re gonna bring back teams and give them rehashed, racist 90s gimmicks, let’s go all the way with it. The American Wolves can dress up as Akeem The African Dream, right? Sign Takashi Iizuka and Toru Yano and have them do nothing but run around threatening to “choppy choppy your pee pee.”