– Raw’s 1000+ show run peaks during this report, so read at your own risk.
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– Thanks as always to Casey/THESTINGER of Hammerlock Dialectic for his stellar GIF additions to the weekly report.
– Also, don’t forget, the With Leather Pro Wrestling Community is having its first get-together at Chikara’s King Of Trios 2012 in Easton, Pennsylvania, so if you’re anywhere in the area or are coming in for the show, let us know so we can high-five you. It’s going to be a grand time. I don’t know if it’s going to be much more than people standing around awkwardly, but it happens in like two weeks so hurry up and say you’ll come.
Please enjoy the Best and Worst of WWE Raw for September 3, 2012: Hug It Out Edition.
Best: Sheamus Is A 40-Degree Day
I loved four big things from last night’s opening segment:
1. Obviously, the ‘The Wire’ reference. ‘The Wire’ is the best show in the history of television and I love it so much I found a way to write 15 pages about it on a comedy sports blog. Punk dropping street legend and Honey Nut Cheerios enthusiast Omar Little’s classic line “you come at the king, you best not miss” was amazing, although you’d think with Punk’s tendency to lean homophobic he would’ve called Omar a vagina and dropped Marlo’s MY NAME IS MY NAME instead. Regardless, more Wire references on wrestling, please.
2. I love how backed into a corner the Chicago crowd is during this CM Punk heel turn. Most crowds are doing that thing where Punk’s music hits and they go crazy, and then he starts You Peopling them and they boo. Chicago has been etched into wrestling history as the one crowd who will love and support Punk no matter what, so they chant his name like it’s July 2011, and when he starts in with the “if you disagree with me you disrespect me, Jerry Lawler’s head is a bean bag full of lard” stuff they’re SUPPOSED to boo, but they can’t, and end up just kinda going “yayyy” and clapping politely. It’s hilarious. Wrestling crowds should never get so into being “wrestling crowds” that they stop reacting to stuff naturally. Every wrestling crowd of any kind in America, I’m looking in YOUR direction.
3. The sad but true fact that the World Heavyweight Championship is the new Intercontinental Championship is finally spoken. When Shane McMahon showed up on Raw, the big gold belt officially became a WWE thing, and all the Rics Flair and Harleys Race you want to assign to it become irrelevant. It’s a lasting testament to WWE being more important than its competitors, and while holding the belt gets you a nice set of words on your Wikipedia page, it’s no more prestigious than holding Matt Hardy’s silver ECW bangle. They can just retcon that shit from history whenever they want. Who knows this better than Punk? There’s a reason he held the Big Gold three times before he got important and held the real one.
Worst: Seriously Though, LOL At Sheamus’ Babyface Promo
Poor Sheamus was doing his best to be a relatable, natural babyface last night and oh man was it hilarious. First he Shameful Thing Lobster Headed dout to the ring to say, more or less, OI SHORE DO LOVE BEIN’ IN SHERCARGO, THE PORTY NEVER STOPS. I’m guessing this is the first time he’s ever had to say “Chicago” out-loud. I had a similar experience the first time I tried to say “taciturn”.
Then Punk starts in on his stuff, and while I think Punk’s a little too confident in his ability to overshadow everyone on the microphone, True Facts state that Punk’s in Chicago and is going to be more loved and comfortable than ever. So Sheamus brings up a few good points (Punk’s going to talk for 30 minutes, Punk’s doing Sheamus what The Rock tried to do to Punk), but he’s so damn Irish and excited he can’t get it out straight. I’m not sure who said it on Twitter last night, but only CM Punk could make Chicago boo the Irish.
They should do a Backstage Fallout segment where Sheamus is riding home on the bus, headphones on, scribbling promo notes on a piece of paper. He puked spaghetti on his sweater this week, but eventually he’ll lose himself in the moment and have his “f**k the Free World” moment.
Worst: Randy Orton Is Dominating So Slowly I’m Starting To Think He Lost A Bet
Is there a way we can just let Randy Orton do steroids? Between wellness violations he had that Kicking Vince’s Head In moment where he was gonna be the next Stone Cold and that great, silent run on Smackdown where he’d wrestle guys like Christian every week and have good-to-great matches, but since coming back as 1/2 Randy Orton he hasn’t done a lot besides stand around and wait for you to run into his moves. At some point during Orton’s stomping last night I drifted off to sleep, and woke up this morning suddenly remembering a bunch of great moments from the match. No, seriously, the Dolph headstand audibled into a Cattle Mutilation thing, Orton’s intensity throwing Ziggler into the ropes for his hanging DDT, all sorts of things. But thinking back I was so goddamn bored out of my mind watching it. I’m pretty sure I got Dark City‘d.
If I could be in charge of WWE Creative for a year, the first thing I’d do is take control of Randy Orton’s character and push it in the right direction. I mean, the FIRST thing I’d do is write a love triangle between Kaitlyn, Raquel Diaz and new Raw General Manager Brandon, but after that I’d go back to the things that made Orton’s character unique (“IED” disorder, his shady past, his tendency to just assume things will be given to him instead of working hard to have them) and turn them up as high as they’ll go. Maybe he’ll come across as a wacky nutbag like when he was doing jumping toe-touches or whatever on Smackdown, but maybe he’ll be that corrupted “new Stone Cold” they’ve wanted so bad … a morally and socially reprehensible character who’s just too interesting to deny. He doesn’t have to drink beers and drive trucks into the arena, he can be his own version of it. Shit in peoples’ bags and lick unconscious lady faces. Whatever. Anything’s better than “popular guy who’s like John Cena, but worse”.
Best: Dolph Ziggler, Master Of The Raw Rematch
One of my favorite moments of the show was Grabbing Of The Trunks-Gate, if only for that awesome moment where Ziggler wanted to roll out of the ring and chose the farthest possible spot away to do so, and the camera cut to Vickie doing this amazing, toothy, goofy walk around the corner to meet him.
That’s their relationship in a nutshell, isn’t it? A guy who thinks he’s the greatest thing ever but secretly knows he’s the captain of the B-team, managed by a woman who says her guy’s the best but secretly thinks he’s about as good as Jack Swagger, so she gets shoot shocked when he pulls it out. That’s a thousand times more compelling than the “arrogant man” and “shrew woman” commentary they get. Sometimes all it takes is a different perspective on what you’re being told to turn a boring character into a great one.
And while that sentence is reminding me, we miss you, John Laurinaitis. Please come back to us.
Best: I Am Emotionally Invested In This Anger Management Story
I wrote about it at length last week, but I don’t think I’ve considered backstage segments “must see” since maybe … hell, I don’t know, Eugene and William Regal were friends? Tajiri was testifying in wrestling court? Some time around then, I don’t know.
But no, the Daniel Bryan and Kane anger management segments should just be a horrible waste of time to secondhand shill a Charlie Sheen show, but they’re great. Daniel Bryan is turning everything he turns to gold this year (so fast the t-shirt people can’t keep up with the funny stuff he says and does) (because he’s the Best In The World) and Kane is at his best in surreal comedy (see also: “suck it”), so it’s heartwarming to see them actually show up with their anger collages and work through their problems. Kane’s anger collage being blank because he feels blank on the inside is strangely moving, even if WWE fans would roll their eyes and say “gay” and it was just a set-up for a fire joke. And yeah, I wish Bryan had worked Roderick Strong onto his anger collage, but I’ll take what I can get.
The best part is that I had NO IDEA where this was going. And oh God, did it go.