– Be a pal! If you read and enjoy the column, be sure to click the “like” button, share it with your friends on Twitter and drop me a comment below. I’m like [ ] this close to doing Best And Worst Of Impact reports, so if you want to see those, nudge me in the right direction.
– I was at this show live, so this week’s report will be a little different. More on that inside. All of the pictures contained inside (and that one of Ziggler’s LIVE ASS ROLL) were taken by me, so if you want to use them or share them somewhere else, go for it, just don’t be a dick about it. Toss me a link somewhere.
– We’re organizing our first With Leather/Best And Worst Of WWE Raw Column Appreciators Club live meet-up! If you’re going to be anywhere in the area of Easton, PA in September, consider stopping by CHIKARA’s King Of Trios to watch Meng wrestle Ebessan and hang out with me, Destiny, THESTINGER, prestigious wrestling blogger Tom Holzerman and the rest of the crew at a still technically unapproved UPROXX network event. RSVP on that page and be our friend. I’ll make you a sandwich.
– Casey made a few GIFs for the report but I dug the live DIY approach as I was writing it, so I didn’t use any. A big thanks goes out to him anyway, because he’s awesome and works too hard for the amount of credit I give him.
Please click through to enjoy
Best: The AT&T Center, Or “WrestleMania Palm Tree Make-Up Tickets Are Awesome”
If you read my Best And Worst Of WrestleMania XXVIII report, you may remember how I paid almost 200 dollars to stare at a skyscraper-sized palm tree and crank my neck around to watch a video screen just to see Rock get bearhugged on the ground for 30 minutes. It was an awful experience (aside from being at a WrestleMania, which is inherently fun) and the cool cats at WWE Fan Services offered me two free tickets to the next two events in my area as a make-good. Raw in San Antonio was my first makeup event, and I’m gonna cash in the second Money In The Bank style later this year and try to get front row seats at TNA “IMPACT” WRESTLING AND DIRECT AUTO INSURANCE PRESENT TURNING POINT.
These live reports are a little different. If you’re okay with reading “lol look at this kid sitting in front of me, he loves people based on whether or not they get stuffed animals version of themselves made” instead of “that thing Jerry Lawler said about how [nationality] is [horrible stereotype] [follow-up about him being into 13-year olds]”, you should be fine.
If you ever find yourself in San Antonio, drive an hour north and hang out in Austin. If you find yourself in San Antonio without an hour’s worth of gas, here is a complete list of fun things to do: walk along a river and visit its 200 variations on Applebee’s, visit an old building and remember whether or not you’ve seen Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, patronize a Minor League Baseball team with a dancing jalapeno mascot, go to the worst Six Flags ever and eat at my favorite restaurant in the world (Green Vegetarian Cuisine). That is all. Oh, you can also get run over by a car or have your bike stolen.
Best: The Lady Next To Me Who Asked About/Flinched At Everything
One of the reasons I like going to wrestling shows put on by local promotions is because I fit more naturally into their vibe. I’ve never been the guy who tries to constantly heckle wrestlers and get himself over (you won’t see me doing that F**K YOU F**K YOU F**K YOU middle-fingers-to-the-face thing to wrestlers ever) (well, almost ever), but I occasionally like to get into it and yell out asinine shit like a normal wrestling fan.
WWE shows are bad for this for a few reasons, the big ones being:
1. The wrestlers can’t hear you, so there’s no point unless you’re sending in a live report to 411 and want people to think you were the coolest, smartest and most popular person in your section.
2. There are a lot of kids around you, and while you can keep your Shouted Things PG and under, the good stuff without curse words requires too much capacity for abstract thought for them. Like, I can’t yell YOU’RE BEING RACIST at Sheamus for throwing a burrito into a river because the kid in the John Cena shirt’s gonna turn around and look at me weird.
3. That’s the other thing: people at WWE shows love to turn around and look at whoever just said anything. It’s probably why they’re at WWE shows, they love looking at people who talk. It’s never malicious, but if Brock Lesnar’s staring down Shawn Michaels and you, the average, reasonable man, decides to yell BREAK HIS ARM at the top of your lungs, 30 people are gonna turn around and look at you. Why? Because that’s not what you’re supposed to say here, and they don’t understand why you’re saying things.
Long story short, Damien Sandow should walk out with a stack of books and just f**king throw them at people as hard as he can.
Anyway, the point I’m getting at is that people in bigger wrestling fan sections form these weird social contracts, and you end up sorta briefly chatting with someone and they turn into YER BUDDY for the rest of the night. Mine was a lady in my row who was there with a small child, but who chose to spend the night asking me who everyone was, why anybody was booing anybody and whether or not I remembered the Von Erichs. She FLIPPED THE HELL OUT WITH FEAR when the Raw pyro started, so my job for the rest of the night was to warn her whenever somebody with pyro was about to show up. It was stressful. I was being forced to speak a lot, and deal with everyone looking at me when I did. I’M SORRY I KNOW KANE’S COMING OUT NEXT OKAY, THEY PUT HIS SHIT ON THE RING POSTS.
Worst: These Opening Dialogue Segments Would Be Better If Anybody Speaking Watched Or Paid Attention To Wrestling
It was pretty difficult to explain to my Section Buddy why everyone was wearing CM Punk shirts and going crazy for him when he walked out, and again why everyone decided to boo the same guy they were just cheering. The best thing I could come up with was, “they like him, but they’re supposed to be booing him, so they just do both”.
Business Suit AJ continues to depress me (her affected “cute” mannerisms have gone from endearing to forced at record speed) and while I didn’t mind Punk’s involvement here, I didn’t enjoy that easy-to-handle and totally-expected “I have a problem with the GM, so I’m going to talk to the GM about my problems in front of everyone as condescendingly as possible” thing. That’s not a big deal, that’s just wrestling writing. I thought the “a general manager should be treated with respect” thing was loveably douchy, because I remember him treating John Laurinaitis like dogshit for like a year for no reason.
What bothered me most is John Cena’s continued insistence that CM Punk has CHANGED~, and is no longer the SUPER RESPECTFUL FRIEND OF JOHN CENA WHO’D NEVER TURN HIS BACK ON THE WWE UNIVERSE he knew and loved. Cena makes no goddamn sense when he goes off about this, because in like five years Punk’s only come close to that in the last seven months. The guy organized a cult of worshippers and threatened Rey Mysterio’s children, but that’s not even the worst of it… Cena doesn’t seem to remember that the entire Punk/Cena beef that led to the Summer Of Punk started when Punk commandeered the Nexus. You know, the gaggle of helpless goons who got Cena fired (“fired”) the previous Autumn. After this, Cena should get into a feud with Daniel Bryan and be all, “you’ve changed, the Daniel Bryan I know would never yell YOU ARE NOT BETTER THAN ME and kick me in the head”.
Best: LOL Big Show
My favorite moment of the opening segment was Big Show appearing, causing AJ to go NO WAIT HOLD ON HOLD ON JUST A MINUTE and move things forward without letting Show get into the ring or say anything. That’s how almost every Big Show segment should go. Like, he walks out for a match and Vince just starts screaming NO STOP IT DAMMIT GO TO COMMERCIAL, and when we come back Alex Riley’s wrestling Curt Hawkins or whatever and Big Show’s covered in a tarp.
Worst: My Votes Don’t Count
Nobody listens to me.
Worst: So Sometimes The Commercial Breaks Don’t Help
I hate saying this, but I didn’t like a CM Punk vs. Rey Mysterio match.
I don’t know if I was bored from a commercial break of hashtagging “Punk” with names of wrestlers who are never on Raw or what (#PunkShowtimePercyWatson), but I couldn’t get into it. Something about Rey Mysterio wrestling in a shirt rubs me the wrong way. I know he’s got Terry Funk knees and everything, but a legit top pick for Best Wrestling Of All Time should not be competing under the Tommy Dreamer Rule.
It could also have something to do with having seen so many Punk/Mysterio matches in the past, and so many of them being great. Basically everything Mysterio did with the Straight Edge Society is rose-colored and sparkly in my memory, so watching him Crash To Break and spend four minutes in a leg scissors was pretty assy. During the match I leaned over to Destiny and started to ask her if she wanted me to wander out to Fiesta Favorites and find her a Super Pretzel, then stopped myself because what asshole goes to get a pretzel during a Punk/Rey Mysterio match?
Worst: I Went To Buy A Half A Bottle Of Water And Missed The Wade Barrett Video Package
I found a Fiesta Favorites after the match, and Oh My God you guys. I bought a bottle of water for Destiny for four bucks (which I expected), but when the lady brought it to me she opened it herself and poured half of it into a disposable plastic cup. She helpfully explained that I could stand there in the front of the line at f**king Fiesta Favorites and drink the rest of it if I wanted, but that I had to give the bottle back to her. Apparently someone tossed a bottle into the ring during one of the terrible pre-show matches so normal, functioning adults could no longer take bottles of water back to their seats, but they could sure as shit still pay four dollars for one. I asked her if I could have a second shitty plastic cup to pour out the other half of the bottle, and she smiled really big, shook her head and said “nooooooooo, sorryyyyyyy”. Four dollars is not enough to cover the price of a $1.09 bottle of water (assuming they bought it at the gas station at full price and, you know, don’t get them in gross wholesale from somewhere) and two disposable cups. One cup, sure, but that second cup puts them in the red.
What I’m getting at is this: eat a dick, AT&T Center. While I was standing there going, “wait, what”, I missed this:Subscribe to UPROXX
For the record, “Fiesta Favorites” are nachos with cheez-glue, hot dogs that rolled off the grill at Valero and 32-ounce souvenir sodas of Mr. Pibb. I’d hate to hear what they don’t like at that fiesta.
Worst: I Hate Every Single Thing About The Sheamus/Alberto Del Rio Feud
But hoo boy, I got back in time to see
1. Alberto Del Rio park his car in front of the bathrooms, and
2. Sheamus show up, steal his car, drive it around town, call him a Dirty Mexican (in so many words) and bring the car back covered in tree branches, dry ice and HIS OWN FECES APPARENTLY to uproarious babyface applause.
Lecturing you guys about how Sheamus is the biggest, most reprehensible underhanded prick in WWE is starting to get tired, but I need you all to understand that Sheamus STOLE A MAN’S CAR, made sure to have someone video tape him doing it (broadcast on live television), SHARTED THE CAR A BUNCH and brought it back to zero consequences. Alberto Del Rio, the guy who wins matches clean (a boot is not cheating when it’s your own boot) and wants championship opportunities but happens to speak Spanish and act arrogant, is the bad guy. It doesn’t matter if you f**king rob someone at gunpoint in WWE, if you’re affable about it and the other guy’s an asshole you’re still in the right.
It’s the worst. Before, I could justify Sheamus randomly attacking his heel opponents from behind as a way to stay on top of them, because of course THEY are gonna eventually try to do that to HIM, but this is too much. Eating Mexican food on video just so you can be all “heh, Mexican food am I right, what a pile of shit” is NOT ADMIRABLE. It’s also not funny, unless you hate Mexican people or think pooping is hilarious.
Best: Randy Orton, A Live Experience Rollercoaster
When Randy Orton was announced to appear in a match later in the show, the people in the crowd went bonkers. When ‘Voices’ started up, they went bonkers again. They cheered loudly for Orton’s Release The Doves taunt, but the space between I HEAR VOICES and doves being released was almost silent. They were quiet for the match, too, except when Orton was hitting/about to hit an RKO. They loved that got the best of Big Show, but forgot him the second he was gone.
Is this proof that the RKO is a thousand times more over than Randy himself, or another example of WWE audiences showing up to see wrestlers, not to see wrestlers wrestle? Even Destiny’s comment was along those lines. “I like Randy Orton. Well, I like his entrance.”
Worst: Double Count-outs, With Help From These Assholes
My least favorite fans of the night are the guys in the front row dressed like referees who brought a sign that said ARE WE TRENDING YET because buying a half-dozen front row tickets to Raw means the show is ALL ABOUT YOU. They didn’t make a sound or move unless the referee was making a count, and the only thing they really accomplished was blocking the guy in the swank Anarchy Championship Wrestling shirt from being on TV most of the night.
I can only begrudge people having fun at a wrestling show so much, but man, you could accomplish that same thing for the same amount of praise in your living room. My only Best for them is watching them count about eight numbers of the Orton/Big show double count-out, then just sorta sit there looking like assholes because they kinda-sorta contributed to a terrible match finish.