The Best And Worst Of WWE Raw 8/8

08.09.11 5 years ago • 153 Comments

No numbers this week, but I do have some bullet points.

– We didn’t get to our 200 comments goal for last week, but thank you to everyone who reads these every week and takes the time to comment. I really appreciate it, and the Voice Of The Voiceless is an important part of what makes these columns worth reading. I can’t form a decent opinion without weighing it against the opinions of my peers. I think that’s constructive, and the last thing I want to be with a wrestling column is deconstructive. So drop a comment, share this on your Facebook, Tweet about it, send Kaitlyn a sternly worded e-mail about how she has rational, normal fans who don’t want to take her to Heaven, they just want to talk about wrestling, and possibly bodybuilding.

– If you don’t want to click through the pages, here’s the short version: Triple H

– I think the podcast is going to get started in the next couple of weeks, so if you’ve got any pro wrestling connections or are a literate, wonderful pro wrestling personality yourself (Kyle Durden, I’m looking in your direction) contact me via e-mail or over Twitter and let’s start setting up some appearances. Finally, a wrestling podcast! Why didn’t anyone else ever think of that?

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Worst: Triple H Is Great And Way More Important Than Anything Else Going On

I think Triple H’s five minute announcement that Triple H will be the special guest referee for the WWE title unification match at Summerslam might be the worst “Worst” I’ve ever handed out in one of these things. Worse than Keith Stone sexually harassing the Bella Twins into hiding. Worse than the Kofi Kingston and Dolph Ziggler Best 173 out of 345 Falls Match they ran on Raw between March of 2009 and June 2011. It’s just really, really bad.

Criticizing the top guy’s big decision is getting harder and harder to do, because of how many people jump on Twitter the second it happens to spread their mangled, misinformed “it’s all about the LAME #raw #smartmark” and because of how quick WWE has been to throw that sh*t on TV. Seriously, we live in a weird golden age of social media where I can call Triple H a cuntrifle and three weeks from now we’ll see big CUNTRIFLE signs in the audience. By Survivor Series John Morrison has a “CUNTRIFLE” t-shirt and is getting over with the fans because he’s the first one to call Triple H that to his face. Okay, some of that his hyperbole. John Morrison isn’t going to get over, but you see what I’m saying.

See? Even I’m using “get over” as a way to express an idea, as if I have any connection to the wrestling industry whatsoever. The biggest connections I’ve made are finding out Derrick Bateman laughs at what I write on the Internet and the time I bought Rachel Summerlyn two seasons of “Boy Meets World” on DVD for her birthday. I’m not a part of the business I love, and I think my realization of that makes me typing “Triple H needs to get away from my goddamn television screen” really mean something. I don’t care if you put The Undertaker or Prince Fergal Devitt in that spot, just get King Fat Suit out of C.O.O. and into something with blades that spins.

Worst: Triple H Is Art

It reminded me a little of Kanye West’s “Power” video. It reminded me a little more of Ecce Homo by Giulio Cesare Procaccini. It reminded me most of a f**king Frutopia commercial.

Worst: Jack Swagger Is Maybe The Least Intimidating Person Of All Time

I think that’s his major malfunction. I make fun of the way he talks a lot (he’s saying “your shoes will slip in the juice”), but he could be the facially-incompetent love child of Lou Ferrigno and two pounds of crackers and I’d still buy him as a pro wrestler if he had even an average adult man’s ability to intimidate. In story or out, nobody should be afraid of Jack Swagger. He’s going to amateur wrestle you to death! No, he’s not going to put you in submission holds like Daniel Bryan, the only one he really knows could be applied by a chimp or a happy dog and is the least painful looking and easiest to counter finishing hold in wrestling history. No, he’s just going to pick you up by the waist and lower you to the ground, then hold out his arms and run around in a circle. Christ, somebody teach Jack Swagger how to throw a Jerry Lawler punch or attack him with a sword so he can have some scars, I don’t know. Anything to stop him from being the 6-foot-13 guy who knows an eagle and loses to The Leaping Twink on the reg.

Man, Cena really squashed him, didn’t he? It reminded me a little of those Magnum T.A. matches where the referee would be checking him for international objects before the match and some jobber would try to give him the bum’s rush, so Magnum would just grab the guy, belly-to-belly and pin him, then spend the next five minutes telling Bob Caudle how hard he’s gonna garrote Tully Blanchard. Cena didn’t even have to duck the post-shoulderblocks punch, he just crouched there and Swagger swung over him. That sucks. Does it count as “mailing it in” if you’re too lazy to find an envelope?

Worst: That’s Enough, Twix Commercial

Raw averages about seven commercial breaks per hour, meaning we get this 15 seconds of Twix commercial approximately 14 times a night. It doesn’t even make sense. The cops have had a long night, so they hit a pause button in their car (?), causing the dispatcher to announce a Twix Break in progress, so the cops say “let’s do it” and start rocking out to the Mannequin soundtrack. The fact that they’re cops or eating Twix has nothing to do with the song, and the song starts in the middle, right before the chorus. AND I HAVE TO WATCH IT 14 TIMES EVERY WEEK.

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Best: The Secret Origin Of Little Jimmy

At first we thought R-Truth was acting crazy (or, as David D. of The Smoking Section put it on his twitter, he was told to go out on TV and “act as n*ggerish as possible”), but it turns out he’s got an awesome secret D.C. Comics origin thing going on. If you think about it, we don’t know a lot about our WWE Superstars. In the 80s, I knew everything about Ricky Steamboat. I knew about his family, I knew where he grew up, I knew how and why he reacted to situations. How much do you know about Kofi Kingston? Seriously. He was from Jamaica and spoke with a Jamaican accent, then just stopped and was from Africa and nobody cared. Do you know where Dolph Ziggler is from without looking it up? I’m sure some of you do (he’s from where Steve, D.J.’s boyfriend on “Full House”, is from), but it should be common knowledge.

R-Truth is changing the game. He introduced this fictional abstract known as “Little Jimmy”, and we just thought he was picking a common name to insult average children. Then we found out any adults cooperating with a Little Jimmy were identified by Truth as “Big Jimmy”. A few months later, we find out he’s afraid of spiders during a Money in the Bank promo, so much so that he couldn’t win the briefcase for fear that it was full of them. So he’s just crazy, right? No. Last night he revealed an important piece of the story: his grun-mama would prepare something called “spider stew”. Carrots, potatoes and one big ol’ turnip. The only person who would eat the stew was LITTLE JIMMY (“but that’s a whole different subject” Truth says as he quickly changes the question).

So, here’s my theory: R-Truth grew up in one of Granny Goodness’ “Terror Orphanages” (with “grun-mama” being the biggest hint). The only food he was provided was spider stew, causing him to have a deeply-rooted fear of spiders. Another orphan, Jimmy, was Granny’s favorite because he hate up all the spider stew, possibly leaving none for the others. From this interaction, Truth learned that sucking up was the only way to get approval from people, so he danced around and rapped for all the children. John Morrison’s “humor” brought back all the repressed memories and caused Truth to snap, forcing him to relive his childhood spider torture and the crimes of Little Jimmy, and now everywhere he looks he sees spiders, and everyone he meets who does him wrong is Jimmy. It’s a conspiracy, and it goes all the way up to grun-mama. And seriously, the guy even has a New Gods sounding name. Artruth. He just needs to call his Flatliner the “Anti-Life Equation”.

Best: The Miz Killing Rey Mysterio

People online only seem to want “workrate” and “comedy”. You’re either Dean Malenko or Santino. That’s all well and good, but let’s not forget what brought pro wrestling up from the dark ages of niche entertainment and onto that plateau it jumped from to become a multinational family favorite — violence. Between Frank Gotch and Dusty Rhodes wrestling was nothing but slow-moving guys in underwear holding each other until one fell down. Watch any wrestling match from the 60s. They just sorta stand there swatting at each other, then one guy throws a dropkick and it’s over. Somewhere around the birth of Dusty Rhodes, a bunch of big/tough/fat guys started bleeding everywhere and stabbing each other in the eyes with things (reference: any Pro Wrestling Illustrated cover from 1975-1986) and wrestling got more and more popular until Vince went ADD CARTOONS AND STUPID PEOPLE and America fell in love.

The Miz’s attack on Rey Mysterio gave us something that was otherwise missing from Raw this week, and has been missing since Mark Henry remembered which show he was supposed to be on. It was purposeful, brutal violence for a reason. Miz felt overlooked, so instead of just standing backstage and calling himself “must see” like he usually does, he tossed Rey’s little pandering ass into the Stunt W and kicked him into semi-unconsciousness. It lacked a lot of the chain choking and ABDULLAH THE BUTCHER SAYS PEDRO MORALES MUST DIE sort of theatrics I WANT to happen on Raw, but it was good, and it gave me the impression that these professional fighters would and could occasionally fight each other.

We have about 200 characters who are “unhinged”, but we don’t have enough characters who unhinged because they love to beat the mess out of people. And as I typed that sentence, I figured out why so many people like MMA. Okay, we don’t have enough characters who are PRETENDING TO BE unhinged because they PRETEND love to beat the mess out of people.

Best/Worst: The Miz Having To Kill Kofi Kingston

How many of you played the “two opponents” game when Anonymous Raw General Manager Triple H announced The Miz would be wrestling a new opponent? Come on, raise your hands.

I actually enjoyed a lot of what they did. I’m not going to pull a 411 Wrestling and call it a “sprint” (it didn’t exactly end with Kofi breaking out an Avalanche Last Falconry or anything) but it played out like a fun house show match, with Miz and Kofi both getting to look semi-talented and smart by avoiding and countering basic moves and not being afraid to shake up the script. I get so frustrated when guys watusi around and waltz into stuff, so this gets a “best” from me. Mostly.

It gets a major worst for my new pet peeve — having to turn and face the hard camera to hit your moves. I know guys have been doing it for years now, probably deep into my childhood, but I feel like it should be the cameraman’s job to get into position and catch the Skull-crushing Finale. Kofi shouldn’t have to stumble in a certain direction and Miz shouldn’t have to always apply it from the left. The illusion of a real fight would do a lot to help these guys perform naturally and make the show more popular. The video game should emulate wrestling, and not the other way around. I see you and your stupid attempts to give your signature moves animations, Miz.

Worst: The Miz Shilling John Cena Verse The Rock

First worst: It’s “versus”, not “verse”. I don’t care if you’re from Parma, the word has another syllable, say it.

Second worst: Remember when the main event of Wrestlemania was supposed to be John Cena vs. WWE Champion The Miz, but The Rock showed up and started fashion gossip wars with Cena and everybody forgot about Miz? Remember how mad that made him, and how hard he tried to get Cena or Rock to pay attention to him? Remember at Wrestlemania when Cena sucked and Miz got a concussion and the show ended with Rocky helping Miz win, then beating him up for no reason? Yeah, Miz should probably not be the one accosting kids at the 7-Eleven to tell them how awesome Rock vs. Cena is gonna be at Wrestlemania, that’s all I’m saying.

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Worst: CM Punk Is Just Another Guy

CM Punk, your backstage babyface promo, woof. Punk’s live, in-front-of-the-crowd speeches over the last two months have been exceptional, but every time he goes backstage he looks like he doesn’t know what he’s doing. Maybe it’s because he’s not supposed to look at the camera? My brain does that, I can’t write and listen to music at the same time, the words get jumbled up and I lose track of what I’m typing. She said to write her somethin’ nice on the next track but she cute, so I wrote her ass a whole rap. Maybe that’s what Josh did. I mean, sh*t, wait.

Not to mention he used “verse” instead of “versus”, too. Ohio and Illinois, you pop-saying motherf**kers, learn how to use words.

Worst: Jerry Lawler Argues Like My Dad

Jim Ross gets the biggest, happiest Best with a smiley face for his frank, honest answers to questions on Raw. Michael Cole will be all, “THE MIZ IS A GREAT CHAMPION KING COME ON” and King is all “MICHAEL WHEN YOUR MOTHER SITS AROUND THE HOUSE SHE REALLY SITS AROUND THE HOUSE” and Cole responds with “GIVE ME A BREAK, THE MIZ IS A MUST SEE CHAMPION”. Without J.R., the conversation goes no like this for two hours and nothing gets accomplished. But Cole says “MIZ IS TRULY THE KING OF KINGS, KING” and Ross goes “I don’t think anyone’s arguing that” and Cole is brute forced into shutting the f**k up and calling “vicious clotheslines”. That’s wonderful. He did that with Matt Striker for a while, too, Striker would compare John Morrison to 19th Century poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and Ross would go “Morrison trying to keep The Big Show grounded” and Striker’s brain shuts down and we don’t want to kill ourselves for five minutes.

But no, seriously, Lawler argues like my Dad. I’ll get into a fight with my Dad and we’ll go back and forth for a while until I go “all right, I don’t want to fight, maybe we should just agree to disagree”. So my Dad starts in with “well I was just saying …” and restates his entire argument. So you say “okay, I understand” and he’s quiet for a minute, then adds “but I wasn’t trying to say you’re wrong, I just meant that …” and restates his entire argument. I’m sure you know people like that. They’ll walk downstairs and suddenly you’ll hear “BUT I THINK YOU ARE WRONG BECAUSE”. The major difference is that Lawler’s “argument” is “hot women, fat women and I want to punch Michael Cole”. Maybe you should’ve punched him during one of those 15 matches you guys had. Shut up about it forever.

Best: Champions Winning Matches, Like Actually Winning Them

I didn’t really enjoy Swagger Verse Cena or Punk Verse Del Rio, and I especially didn’t enjoy watching Perennial Number One Contender Alberto Del Rio cosplay Carlito and lose to Punk in about four minutes, but I enjoyed both WWE Champions getting a chance to compete in and win matches without a lot of bullsh*t. It’s weird that a company who routinely puts their wrestlers in hot tubs with twins, a midget dressed as a leprechaun and the cast of Hot Tub Time Machine would be so into “protecting” people and “50-50 booking” (I’m paraphrasing The Internet here) that they had to book Miz into a quarter-year of Alex Riley distracting the referee. Cena should be able to beat Jack Swagger without a lot of effort at this point, and while I don’t agree that Punk should be able to dispatch Alberto Del Rio as easily, he’s popular right now and should get that win. Both guys look like they deserve to be holding the belt, and whoever can manage to defeat the other at Summerslam is going to be respected and look strong when Triple H is standing over them, posing.

Worst: Jerry Lawler Speaks Spanish

Alberto Del Rio: “He ran! He ran and ran, like a perro cobarde. Like a coward!”
Jerry Lawler: “Well, if you don’t speak Spanish, Alberto Del Rio just called CM Punk a coward!”

Who are you, Mike Tenay? All it needed was for Lawler to pipe in with ALBERTO DEL RIO, SUGGESTING CM PUNK IS A COWARD, TAZ as soon as Del Rio’s sentence was over. You’d think a guy who likes young people as much as Jerry Lawler would’ve seen enough “Handy Manny” to know that Manny translates everything he says in Spanish as soon as he says it.

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Best: Beth Kleenex

Beth Phoenix started out for her one-on-one contest against WWE’s equivalent to Eternia’s Beastman, Eve Torres, and I had this conversation with my girlfriend.

Me: “Beth Phoenix has the best entrance music. It sounds like-”
Destiny: “She has something on her boobie.”

And sure enough, Beth Phoenix, in her newly-announced and ongoing quest to rid WWE of TNA by quoting TNA, has brought back the push-up bra. It pushed her up so much you could see part of the bra poking out for the entire match, which begs the question “if you’re going to get breast implants, why didn’t you get the ones that push up without the bra?” Velvet Sky does that, she can be raccoon-naked in one of those pandering “stripper holds XBOX controller” Lee South photoshoots and her triple-Q sized left boob is at a 90-degree angle to her body. I understand why Kelly Kelly wears seven or eight bras to the ring at a time — her breasts are natural, so (because that’s how humans worked before porn) you’ve got to push them to and hold them where you want them. I’m not asking Beth to go Full Ivory and join the Right To Censor or anything, but if she’s protesting the importance of cleavage fights in wrestling, why is she dropping bombs?

Of course, despite my reservations, this gets a “best” because I am an adult male and somewhat predictable.

Best: Hey Melina, Watching At Home, We’re Better Now Because You’re Gone

Beth Phoenix beat up Eve (and it wasn’t great, because “Eve”) and announced that there would be no more “booty-popping” (thank God), no more stink faces, and (most importantly) no more splits. The women I can immediately recall who wrestled for WWE and did splits were Christy Hemme (who I am almost certain is never referenced) and the recently-released Melina. Of course, Melina was there and watching, prompting this response on her Twitter:

“Can’t say anything 2 my face as usual. This is funny. That’s WWE making a statement. They know the fans want me back. PS- Any Diva can try 2 do a split from here on out but what the WWE confirmed is that the SPLITS will always remind the world of me. Thank u. I love the statement peeps! I bet the powers that be were waiting all night 2 hear that line go on air. Hee hee. I find it very flattering!”

And a few hours later, she followed that up with


and an animated GIF of a dog f**king another dog and throwing up all over it.

Worst: Kelly Kelly, Mistress Of Subterfuge

After taunting Eve, Beth left the ring and walked to the bottom of the ramp to turn around with her back to the entrance and continue speaking. She’d been speaking for about a quarter of a second when Kelly Kelly, Destroyer of Divas, materialized out of The Mist and bashed her in the back of the head with the Saffron City Butterfree Championship. Or a double axe-handle, it was hard to tell. Anyway, Beth gasped on the ground for a while, so Kelly took her pre-cut cutoffs into the ring to kinda stand near Eve and hold the Divas Title. Issues with this include:

1. Admirable Champion Kelly Kelly hit the evil Beth Phoenix from behind, then ran away
2. Beth had already finished beating Eve up, so much so that she had already left the ring, so Eve did not need “saving”
3. Kelly didn’t hold up the title in triumph like she usually does, she just held it up once and looked at herself doing it in the Titantron
4. Kelly tried to help Eve up by pawing at her hair
5. Beth Phoenix did not just climb back into the ring and f**k up Kelly’s Christmas

Michael Cole sounded sarcastic doing his OH YEAH OKAY WHAT A GREAT THING FOR KELLY KELLY TO DO HUH GUYS and Lawler responded with “I think it’s a great way to get ready for Kelly Kelly vs. Beth Phoenix at Summerslam!” and at no point did Jim Ross say “Michael, you’re right for the wrong reasons, King, you’re wrong for the right reasons”.

Best: Give The Divas A Chance~!

There’s a petition going around (or a “Twitition”, because our generation is in f**king Fatal Attraction love with portmanteau words) requesting that WWE “give the Divas a chance”, and while the meaning behind it is good (women professional wrestlers should be given just as much time and spotlight as their male counterparts) it is written by the Gooniest Internet Guy and whiffs pretty hard. Gems include “the ones that do get screen time, are the ones who cannot wrestle…” and “too bad Kharma had to got out and get pregnant as she could have single-handedly saved the entire division”.

If you’re going to be the guy who stands up for the women in professional wrestling, you also have to be the guy who doesn’t completely hate women and want them to apartment wrestle for his enjoyment. Let me put it to you this way — Portia Perez is one of my favorite wrestlers. I think she’s a great wrestler, and I also think she’s pretty. At no point in my life am I going to give a guy on the Internet 300 dollars to make a “custom” of Portia Perez wearing fishnets and getting choked out repeatedly by an older lady. Do I wish Portia Perez was in the WWE? Yes, I do. Do I wish she was on my TV every week for five minutes instead of Eve Torres? God, yes. But can I ignore the fact that WWE is a publicly traded company who has built a very specific part of their show to appeal to a very specific demographic? No.

The problem isn’t giving Divas “a chance”. The problem is in restructuring women’s wrestling from the ground up and convincing the average wrestling fan, and more importantly the average human being, that women are just a different set of regular people who aren’t here for our niche, perverse amusement. Guess what happens if you give Divas a chance? They’re going to get booed by those same 14,000 assholes who won’t watch an Akira Hokuto match on YouTube because it’s longer than ten minutes. The guy who started the petition but thinks it’s “too bad” that Kharma “went out and got pregnant” is going to find something else to be unhappy about, and the circle goes around and around.

My petition: Give me somebody better at what you’re trying to do than Eve.

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