Welcome to the Best and Worst of WWE Raw for September 13, 2011. Before we begin:
– Be sure to leave a comment if you read the report. If Vince McMahon is ever on his word processor and accidentally stumbles upon the site, it’ll make me look cooler to have 200 comments than it would to have 8. Also, these things take about three and a half hours to build from start to finish, not counting the two hours of wrestling I have to sit through, so your feedback and thoughts are my payment. Money is my payment, too, but I get these four times a month.
– As previously mentioned, I’m headed to Los Angeles on Thursday, so both The Best And Worst Of Night Of Champions and the next night’s Best and Worst Of Raw will feature guest writers. Handling the Night of Champions report will be Andrew Johnson of the popular The John Report, which I think is a blog about bathrooms. Covering next week’s Raw will be writer Diego McCafferty, a man shockingly important to my pro wrestling fandom. Be kind to them and give them the same kind of response you’d give me, only with more curse words. Burnsy will be in charge of With Leather while I’m off taking mark photos with Maleficent (or Andre Ethier, or whoever), so if they do a terrible job, blame him.
– A.J. image unrelated, but important.
Enjoy the report. See you in two weeks.
Best: Bret Hart Is No Style, All Stubstance
Bret Hart, to me, is the Washington Nationals.
I love the Cleveland Indians. I lived in Cleveland for four years and they were my first “hometown” team, so weird racist human being mascot or not, they’re my team. The Washington Nationals are my National League team, or “the team I support in the National League but don’t really care about”. I spent most of a year in Bethesda, Maryland, so I learned to love the Nats and their whistling eagle mascot and their racing Presidents. In wrestling terms, Sting was my Cleveland Indians. I grew up in “Horseman Country” (southern Virginia, right on the border of North Carolina) so pre-Crisis days of the NWA, and later, WCW, were my hometown team. I knew of and enjoyed the WWF, but it wasn’t my thing. It seemed cartoonish and fake to me, but I liked Bret Hart. He was the guy in the Wrestlemania 2 celebrity battle royal who wasn’t a big fat guy and he wore sunglasses, so I thought he was cool. I liked the Killer Bees, too, but that’s like cheering for the Astros and destroys my analogy.
Anyway, I followed Bret Hart throughout his career, but I was never one of those little African kids from the video packages about him being a hero who’d run up to him with tears in their eyes. I liked him, but I didn’t really care. He’d put on good matches against the Rockers or whoever, sure, but I had the Steiner Brothers, so basically everything he did looked like sh*t. That’s what the American League tends to do to the National League (pitchers batting is the “Doink” of baseball, a thing that seems stupid and IS stupid, but started off as a great idea). Unexpectedly complex story short, it makes me happy to see Bret on television and he’s fully welcome to wander out and shrug his shoulders at us through varying stages of stroke madness for the rest of his life. Alberto Del Rio is right about him — he looks like a bum, he looks like a homeless person, his jacket is dumb, his hair is stupid — but I wouldn’t be watching the National League if I wasn’t expecting to be a little bit bored. Also, Jesus Christ, what happened to the Indians?
But no, seriously, if a guy has a stroke, is it still okay to make fun of him for saying “stubstance?” What if you put this music behind it?
Best: Alberto Del Rio Gets Illegal Immigrant Canadians To Clean His House
While running down Bret Hart’s Smodcast get-up, Alberto Del Rio, the guy responsible for about 80% of Raw’s bests between now and whenever CM Punk gets his sh*t together, said Bret looked like one of the illegal Canadians he hires to clean his house. The logistics of that are amazing, and explain why he got an independent wrestler from California to be his Spanish ring announcer. Maybe I don’t understand how NAFTA works, but would down-on-their-luck Canadians make the trek across the entire body of the United States to get a housekeeper or landscaping job at the Del Rio Estate? If I attend a gala at Alberto’s, will I be served berry sangria by a spindly-looking white dude in a Kyle Broflovski hat?
This whole thing is amazing, and another reason why John Cena’s one-two punch of “your richness is a gimmick” and “go back to Mexico” are so disappointing. I hate to keep comparing Del Rio to the Big Bossman, but while nobody ever thought Bossman was an actual Cobb County police officer, we were fully prepared to believe that The Mountie disagreed with his interpretation of justice or that Nailz was a legitimate escaped convict who never had time to change his clothes once between May and December of 1992. This is why we’re watching the show, John. We don’t want “this guy is rich” to be the whole story. That’s Ted DiBiase Jr. We want “this guy is rich, and here are a bunch of ridiculous f**king things he does with his richness”. The Million Dollar Man wasn’t awesome because he had money, he was awesome because he used that money to lure children into street games under false pretenses and make folks kiss his feet. Alberto isn’t rich enough to own a nice car, he’s rich enough to own EVERY nice car, and to bring in non-union labor from countries that make absolutely no sense.
Also, holy sh*t, wrestlers are still telling foreigners to go back where they came from in 2011.
Worst: Johnny Ace’s Only Idea Is Tag Matches
The closest Cena came to being on The Truman Show this week is mimicking what John Laurinaitis was going to say and how he was going to say it on a two second delay from Laurinaitis saying the exact same thing in the exact same way, but the “worst” comes from John Ace’s second-ever executive call being the same as his first — he decided we should have a tag team match pairing up John Cena and Bret Hart to take on the team of Alberto Del Rio and a guy who is not technically employed by WWE.
Either of the other suggested matches would’ve been better (Del Rio vs. Hart in a WWE Championship match would’ve been shoot exciting, and Cena squashing Ricardo would’ve accomplished everything the tag did, sans slow-motion Sharpshooter) and I’m sorta deeply disappointed that Triple H didn’t run out and pull away the mic mid-declaration to make his own tag match announcement. Or Teddy Long. Jeez, counting the Anonymous Raw General Manager (who is still showing up, I’m not losing faith) we have FOUR GUYS roaming around backstage with match-making powers. The last thing I want to do with my column is compare every bad thing that happens to TNA, but this is a hell of a lot like that period where Jeff Jarrett, Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff, Ric Flair, Mick Foley and like Traci Brooks all could make matches and hire and fire people, but Dixie Carter could overrule them all, but SHE could be overruled by the executive board of directors or whatever and nobody knew what the f**k was happening ever. Next week on Smackdown, ECW General Manager Tiffany needs to show up out of nowhere and put Randy Orton in a tag match without explanation.