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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.”
Best: Deep Sea Adventure Big Show
I’m so happy to have Big Show back on the show, especially if he’s gonna switch up the camo singlet and be those alternate Batman action figures featuring Batman doing things he’d never do that stores stock 30,000 of whenever a Batman movie comes out. DESERT MISSILE ATTACK BATMAN in that beige and mustard Batman costume he wears when he needs to strike fear in the heart of dudes in the desert! I’m naming Big Show’s dark blue get-up DEEP SEA ADVENTURE BIG SHOW.
Either that, or Big Dad likes the Dallas Cowboys. Doesn’t EVERY Big Dad like the Cowboys?
Show was great last night, from his matter-of-fact interview with the lovely Renee Young wherein he announced that he and Mark Henry would be making a run at the tag titles to his 3-on-1 handicap match with the already tired, already done with this shit Shield. I bet they wish they’d gotten Ziggler second. Oh, and while I’m thinking about it, a big shiny supplemental BEST goes to WWE for finally making The Shield’s DAMNED NUMBERS GAME a thing that exists. Three against one is bad numbers, I agree, Michael!
Best: CM Punk Is Pissed Off, So Let’s Just Go With It
I’ve expressed a few times how much I’m in love with the Paul Heyman/CM Punk shouting matches and how I want their thing to keep moving forward until WrestleMania, because it’s been a WHILE since two guys this good on the microphone got into a year-long argument. Punk has finally found his promo soulmate in Heyman, after wasting so much time nuking guys like Kevin Nash and Jeff Hardy and trying to drag 1998 Chris Jericho out of 2012 Chris Jericho.
I love when Punk gets all enraged, and the crowd hits their cheering cue but he doesn’t stop, so THEY don’t stop, and it just builds until Punk’s screaming a bunch of stuff and the crowd’s just going REAGGGHHHHH in the background. And the one guy booing. Did I mention the one guy booing?
Predictably I’m not a fan of all the BE A MAN AND HAVE BALLS stuff Punk considers knockout blows, but I’ll forgive him if it involves him snatching a fan’s weave. Oh man, that fat guy in the crowd is gonna have to live with being the “Punk And Heyman Hate You, Obnoxious Fat Guy” in his circle of friends forever.
Worst: Paul Heyman Is Suddenly Really Bad At Plans
Remember last week when Heyman’s big “swerve” was to challenge Punk to a one-on-one fight, then come out first, announce that he was planning to trap Punk by making it a stupid-obvious two-on-one fight, then talk for 10 minutes to justify it as some kind of cerebral masterstroke? Remember how oddly stupid that seemed? This week he has an even worse solution: get Curtis Axel to tape up his fists and fight Punk, but only after he’s had a commercial break to stand around and prepare. YOU’RE BAD AT PLANS, PAUL.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. His entire plan for the Dangerous Alliance was just “have good wrestlers, hit people with my big Zack Morris phone.”
Worst: Curtis Axel Takes The Worst Bump Of The Year
The Punk and Axel fight was fun, but Axel continues to be mass garbage on Raw, and may have taken the least believable bump of 2013. Go back a page and watch Dolph Ziggler get speared by Roman Reigns again. Shit, go up and watch that soft-ass bump Show takes on the spear. Now watch Curtis Axel take a “Go To Sleep” on the ring steps.
Let’s take a look at the point of “impact”:
What is that, a foot? Seriously, look at this:
You might be the least perfect guy I know, Curt.
Best: I Am Booking The Wyatt Family Now, I Guess
One of the cooler parts of SummerSlam was WWE using my prediction for the Ring Of Fire match, which was “Harper and Rowan stop being stupid for five seconds, throw some blankets on the fire ring and do whatever they want to Kane because Ring Of Fire matches are stupid.” Confident, I named myself the personal booker of the Wyatt Family and made a suggestion for the following night’s Raw.
Tonight on Raw: Harper and Rowan squash R-Truth and somebody. Maybe Kofi. Make it so.
The match ended up being Bray squashing Truth, but f**k it, I’m calling it a win. Let’s see if we can keep this going! So far the big flaw in the Wyatt Family booking has been putting the new guy in the ring with 46-year old slow-ass Kane in a gimmick match and having his first Raw one-on-one against a guy who’s had exactly zero great matches in a 17-year career. My suggestion is to put Bray up against a guy who can go but isn’t important, so he can take the ass-beating he needs to take, make it look like a million bucks and eat the Sister Abigail like you’re supposed to.
Ziggler. I know I shouldn’t expect a Ziggler/Wyatt match on Raw with a clean ending, so let’s say Ziggler runs his mouth again and gets put into a 3-on-1 thing against the Wyatts. Big boots and splashes happen, and Ziggler gets all shaky-spaghetti-hair on the Sister Abigail.
Best: Everybody On The Indies Is Stealing That Hot Tag Dive
The pointless but fun Usos tag matches continue!
This week they get default Best 3MB, and the match features a thing I’m gonna see at 50% of indy shows I go to for the next two years: one Uso tagging the other as he dives over the top rope to the outside for proper tag legality. That’s cool as hell. If Okada ever does it I’m bumping the percentage up to 80.
Best: Ryback Pretends To Be JBL
A few people have dropped a WHY DIDN’T YOU MENTION RYBACK GETTING ALL SEXUALLY DOMINANT AND WEIRD WITH TOMMY DREAMER JR. OR WHATEVER on me, so I’m adding this back in by request.
I could go either way on this segment. Unless this leads to The Ryback running afoul of the wrong jobber (say, a newly-thin-by-order Kassius Ohno) or a bunch of nobodies banding together to form the world’s least effective Nexus and fight back, I don’t know where it’s going. “Ryback is rude to people who aren’t on the show” isn’t an important plot point. On the plus side, I like that he didn’t waste a bunch of food. And if a bunch of nobodies DID form the Shitty Nexus, maybe Ryback could Shell Shocked 9 of them at once.
I wish they’d filmed a follow-up segment with the local talent walking up to a merch table and being all, “got any pants?’