– This is the worst episode of Raw in history.
Please enjoy The Best and Worst Of WWE Raw for July 9, 2012.
I’ve decided to put all the Bests I could find on the first page, so you wouldn’t read things chronologically and assume I enjoyed any of it. I apologize in advance for this week’s overwhelming negativity, but it was either format it like this or repost that video of the monkey pissing into his own mouth for five straight pages.
Best: Marking Out For The Anonymous GM Noise, Before, Well, You Know
I was completely zoning out about 18 minutes into the 22 minutes it took AJ to say a sentence, so when the lights flashed and the Anonymous Raw General Manager noise sounded I put my hands over my head and did the ‘Regular Show’ ooooooooooh noise. Wrestling mysteries having a payoff or getting even a basic structure of continuity make me excited, like that time Test showed up to get back at Triple H for stealing his fiancée after everyone assumed he was just off-screen chill about it.
The Anonymous Raw GM has always been a unique storytelling opportunity — this is someone Vince McMahon specifically put in charge of running his flagship show, but chose to keep anonymous to avoid the pitfalls of authority figure/wrestler relations. It worked, too, and for the longest time I justified the anonymous GM as pre-television John Laurinaitis, a boring inner-office suit type who’d just do whatever Vince wanted and not ruffle feathers. But it couldn’t been anybody, you know? Someone from the past with a history of running a wrestling show (Eric Bischoff, Paul Heyman … Jeff Jarrett? Hell, J.J. Dillon?). Someone we’ve never met, who can do a Wink Vavasseur in Chikara thing and bring a new character type to a tired position. Every choice you make in fiction is a chance to go somewhere and do something, and everything can happen for a reason.
If you watched the show you know I could’ve smeared pig shit on my computer monitor and said the same thing, but I was excited. For a moment. Then he started making impromptu tag matches and all I could think was, “Teddy Long is the anonymous GM?” Even that would’ve been better.
Best: Heath Slater’s Sell Of La Mistica
The Heath Slater/Sin Cara qualifying match for the 200-person World Heayvweight Championship Money In The Bank Ladder Match at WWE Money In The Bank Brand Pay-Per-View wasn’t great (or good), but Heath’s sell of La Mistica was a thing of beauty, and an example of how high-flyers work best when they’ve got a good base. Proof:
That extra half turn where he goes flat and spins parallel to the ground before hitting the canvas is what makes it. It seems more like a comic book super hero guy doing a magical thing than a guy who keeps f**king up holding on until his opponent falls down. More of the former, less of the latter, fellas. Sin Cara can do it, he just can’t do it against Mr. Kennedy types, and he can’t keep doing it with Hunico.Subscribe to UPROXX
Best: Bob By God Backlund
The high point of last night’s Raw — and probably any wrestling show on which it happens — was the return of Mr. Bob Backlund, a 62-year old borderline-insane Opie Taylor who means well and will feel remorse for accidentally killing a mother bird with a slingshot before chickenwinging all three of her babies to death.
Backlund’s entire appearance was wonder, from the way he stood on the ramp flabbergasted like he was getting Rock/Hogan WrestleMania applause (when people were just kinda politely clapping) to the way he got a “you still got it” chant from people who have never seen him FOR DOING NOTHING to him responding to people in the front row like he was working Hooligan’s in Live Oak. The man is the unintentional Tim and Eric of pro wrestling, a guy who succeeds because he’s so ill-prepared to succeed, whose unbearable badness is occasionally overcome by a supernatural charisma and/or an ability to rip out a young guy’s shoulder socket for kicks. It’s surprising to say (especially following appearances from Vader, Sid and Diamond Dallas Page) but Mr. Backlund is my favorite of the Old Timey Raw Guest Stars so far, even if he isn’t the version of Bob Backlund that stands up from a chess match and screams at Jonathan Taylor Thomas about exacerbating him.
In a better world, Santino would’ve discovered Bob Backlund as the Anonymous Raw General Manager, Backlund would’ve gotten into a match with The Ryback (that went 10 minutes and mirrored that awesome Steven Regal/Goldberg European uppercut-fest from years ago) or Backlund would’ve wedged himself into the Punk/Bryan storyline and ended up married to AJ.
A 62-year old man was the best part of the show. When did Raw become Impact/Pro Wrestling NOAH/NWA Smoky Mountain/[reference you won’t get mad about]?
Best: Eve Has A Really Good Point, Actually
CM Punk calling out Eve on her spray tan (on a show full of people covered in make-up and spray tans) was pretty lame, but Eve (yes, Eve Torres) managed to salvage the segment by doing what effective heels always do best: saying something true in a way that makes you hate them for saying it.
For the first time possibly ever, TV Character Eve Torres reasoned out a legit talking point — that CM Punk’s WWE title reign had been overshadowed by The Rock, John Cena, Big Show and Brock Lesnar, and now it was taking a backseat to a weird romance storyline involving a girl who didn’t even win the season of NXT she competed on. She dunked it home by mentioning how it must be emasculating, causing CM Punk to look for his balls, realize he’s misplaced them, then suddenly remember AJ’s carrying them around in her purse. In his mind, John Laurinaitis drives by on the still-working People Power Hoveround and does the Nelson Muntz “haw haw”. Punk shakes out the cobwebs only to realize he’s still wearing Triple H’s jacket and has become everything he hates, which drives him to becoming an alcoholic just like his father and we reveal that Chris Jericho has been right all along and AJ was the girl in the videos and this is the end of the world as we know it. Okay, most of that was conjecture, but you see what I’m getting at.
I really want Punk to revert back to Last July Punk and start SERIOUSLY pipebombing people. I don’t want him to say “Come onnnnn” when Daniel Bryan tries to propose marriage to his abused ex-girlfriend, I want him to point out how stupid everybody’s acting, kick Daniel Bryan in the head for being such a skeevy douchebag and tell AJ that he “digs crazy chicks” on a t-shirt, but digs women with self respect in real life. When Eve Torres can take you down, it’s time for a change. I want him to respond with “That’s a great point, Eve. Hey, remember when people started calling you a whore for no reason, so you put on fake glasses and started acting like a character from GLOW? You don’t know how to throw a moonsault, get lost”.
Best: Top 10 Comments of The Week
And now we’ve reached the end of our column. Here are my favorite comments from the open discussion thread.
Lawler actually said “That’s Kim Possible!” while looking at the wallpaper on his desktop.
I like how WWE doesn’t have enough power to run the lights AND receive e-mails.
I know it seems weird that Cole said that episode 1000 comes 2 episodes after 999, but remember that The Ryback has already proved to us that 2 is not in fact greater than 1, so the math here may be non-Euclidean.
Cena is just a grown-up version of Roger Klotz.
Here’s my number. Khali maybe.
“It was Hornswoggle” is the new “a wizard did it.”
Wait, that still doesn’t answer how Hornswoggle became GM. Do you just need the WWE WiFi password to control the company?
I voted yes because I want to see if Cole has finished that dreamcatcher piece.
Show concept: The Great Khali tries to explain what is happening on Game of Thrones.
AND THE CROWD GOES HOME
Worst: The Worst 22 Minute Opening Segment Featuring Three People I Love Ever
to … write
this … this paragraph …
like AJ spoke in the opening segment of Raw. Look, I’ve been a supporter of AJ’s since long before it was cool. I love what she’s been doing lately. I have at times loved CM Punk as much as a wrestling fan can possibly love a wrestler and Daniel Bryan in one form or another has been my favorite pro wrestler in the world for a decade. Most of the time I give Bryan and AJ Bests because I like whatever they do, and I give 2012 CM Punk a lot of Worsts because I know he could do better. I have my taste leanings, and I try to own up to them.
That being said, this opening segment was f**king garbage, and aside from some barely-intentional humor in Daniel Bryan suddenly ALSO proposing marriage, it was a slow, stupid, puerile waste of my time. I am saying this as a dude who is choosing to watch pro wrestling in primetime and write about it later. It set a really dangerous tone for the rest of the night, one the night followed-through on with EXTREME PREJUDICE, and made this dancing happy fantasy from two years ago of Bryan Danielson, CM Punk and cute FCW Divas opening Raw into a wank-gesturing hellscape.
And guess what? The worst part is that by the end of the night, this seemed like a pretty good segment. As far as I can tell, this was the only Best for the first 22 minutes of Raw:
As weird as it sounds, taking Kane out of this angle was a terrible idea.
Worst: Sheamus Is An Asshole
or, Worst: Jack Swagger Should Probably Contact NWA Smoky Mountain
The first 40 seconds of this video is the entire match, by the way.
If you missed Smackdown, Alberto Rio (© Jerry Lawler) attacked Sheamus, draped him over the front of his
rented come on tell them it’s rented automobile and slammed the hood across his back. Sheamus is Sheamus and it didn’t look like it hurt that badly, but in the world of wrestling the sell is what matters, and Sheamus chose to sell the attack by showing up to Raw perfectly fine and beating Jack Swagger in 40 f**king seconds. The people in the audience waited through a 22 minute conversation about marriage proposals and a 5 minute dead silent commercial break to get 40 seconds of action, a video taunt and 1 more second of action. Then, detective jokes!
But seriously, aside from my schtick about hating him for the Daniel Bryan match at WrestleMania, Sheamus has got to be one of the least morally acceptable babyface World Heavyweight Champions ever. Every time he feuds with somebody he sneaks up on them and attacks them from behind, and here he responds to Alberto Del Rio’s taunts by kicking a helpless, non-confrontational and already beaten Jack Swagger in the face. He should just make the total transition and start offering pints of Guinness to the Divas, yelling “OH YA DON’T WANT THAT, DO YAH” at them whether they drink it or not and Brogue Kicking them in the face.
And while we’re on the topic of what people should do, Jack Swagger should put his shit in a cardboard box and wait outside until somebody comes to pick him up.
Worst: That’s The Same Pipe R-Truth Had In His Mouth, Isn’t It
There are only a few things the WWE higher-ups find consistently funny, and one of them is “people dressing up like Sherlock Holmes when they have to solve a mystery”. It’s the same hat and pipe every time.
People like to point out that Raw’s target audience is kids, and that they do a bunch of stuff like this so the kids will laugh, but seriously, what seven-year old in 2012 laughs at f**king Sherlock Holmes jokes? Not even Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes, I’m talking straight-up magnifying glass to the eye Inspector Clouseau bullshit. Is your seven-year old laughing at this? Hey WWE, what the Nickelodeon laugh track says is funny on iCarly isn’t an accurate gauge of what kids are laughing at. This is Santino, for God’s sake, the guy with a SNAKE FOR AN ARM and he’s putting his face against a production crate because “you are stupid” is the only joke WWE’s come up with since 2001.
The least they could’ve done is have Zack Ryder be meta about it, and break out an “ARE YOU SERIOUS BRO” before disappearing off-screen again to play with action figures on his webcam, or whatever the hell Zack Ryder does with his time these days.
Worst: Awesome, 15 More Seconds Of Tyson Kidd
Tyson Kidd made his second straight appearance on Raw in anticipation of his big Money In The Bank ladder match appearance, and for the second straight week his appearance was kept to sub-30 seconds and ended with plus-30 seconds of him being beaten up. Is it weird to anyone else that WWE only seems to know how to have wrestlers get beaten up AFTER the wrestling match? Wrestling is how wrestlers get hurt. Even Jerry Lawler mentioned how Dolph Ziggler “didn’t do anything in that match”, and they said it was because he was smart and perfect because they can’t say “thirty f**king seconds isn’t long enough to feature more than two wrestlers”.
The only upside to this is Cole breaking out that “the ring apron is the hardest part of the ring” factoid. You’re right, Michael! It’s way harder than those four giant rods in the corners or those huge pieces of metal that actually make up the ring’s construct and require two or more guys to carry, or the ring steps John Cena tries to convince us weigh 2,000 pounds or the floor under the ring or the security railing around it or that table you’re sitting at with the metal monitors that could shock or explode people if wrestlers weren’t courteous enough to remove them before trying something. That ring apron is a motherf**ker.
I know Tensai was in Japan long enough to know that ring apron moves don’t hurt unless you do them FROM the apron and jump downwards.
Worst: Drew McIntyre Does Not Deserve This
Whether you like Drew McIntyre or not, there’s no f**king possible reason why a handsome, 6-foot-5, 250+ pound pro wrestler with 11 years of experience should get stuck on Funkasaurus duty. I hate being that “YOU’RE USING HIM WRONG” guy on the Internet, but this is what your Arthurs Rosenberg are for. Guys who have no business being in the ring with a real wrestler, so they get their asses kicked. The guy you just booked to lose to a fat dancing dinosaur in 30 seconds is a former Intercontinental and tag team champion. Although I guess that’s not saying much, because the guy you booked to lose to Sheamus held the World Heavyweight title for four months.
But yeah, this is all just stupid. That’s the theme for Raw. Not offensive, like it can be at its worst, just stupid. A string of badly written, badly executed, stupid decisions. Good on Drew McIntyre for getting a Raw paycheck, but Christ, Brodus Clay’s immobile headbutt is probably the worst move in wrestling right now. At least teach him to lean forward a little. Dude’s just standing still and expecting people to bump to his f**king aura.
I want so much better for Drew McIntyre. The fact that a few years ago he was Intercontinental Champion and ponytail deep in ECW General Manager Tiffany and now he’s JTG when they’ve run out of JTG makes me a little bit sadder about life.
Worst: John Cena Will Overcome The Odds Of Being A Participant In A Normal F**king Wrestling Match
Here’s a transcript of John Cena’s promo from last night:
BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH
Read that and you’ll get the same information you got from Cena’s shouting. He’s FEELS THE ENERGY HERE TONIGHT! He’s gonna WALK INTO MONEY IN THE BANK! He’s gonna CLIMB THE LADDER and grab that TITLE SHOT! He’ll OVERCOME THE ODDS that were stacked against him when he signed on to be a part of a ladder match to keep Big Show from winning, but somehow that’s still about HIM overcoming HIS odds and ADDITIONAL BLAHS.
I am in no mood for your ADHD Divorce Sorrow bullshit tonight, John. Nobody stacked shit against you, stop yelling at me.
Worst: 16 Of The Show’s 25 Minutes Of Wrestling Were A John Cena Tag Match With A DQ Ending (And The DQ Made No Sense)
Remember six months ago when Kane was trying to get John Cena to embrace the hate, broke his friend’s back, threatened and tried to kidnap Cena’s Girl On The Side and at one point tried to literally drag him into Christianity’s interpretation of Hell and kill him with fire? Fast forward six months now and check out this clip of Cena holdin’ on to th’ tag rope, willin’ his lil’ buddy Kane to find the strength to leap and make the hot tag. Was Kane lighting a barbecue at a fake cookout a face turn, and if so, was it the worst goddamn face turn in history?
Ugh, so you know how sometimes a referee messes up a three count when whatever just happened was supposed to be the finish, so they either have to awkwardly redo something or do another three count and it totally kills the heat and makes things weird? You know how sometimes that happens with disqualifications as well, where the match is going great and all of a sudden a DQ happens off something stupid like “not breaking at 5” or “punching too much” and erases anything good that’d happened before it? Somehow that all happened at once in this tag match, with Big Show getting disqualified for BREAKING UP A PIN and the bell ringing before he was even done doing it. Not to say the 1500th consecutive f**king Raw tag match was a five star affair or whatever, but 16 minutes of wrestling felt like f**king Dreamslam 2 compared to the rest of Raw and I was sick about losing it.
That’s how bad this show was. I was upset that they messed up the Randomly Thrown Together Main Eventers tag match.
How is that a disqualification, seriously? And to bring back the “WWE only knows how to hurt wrestlers after wrestling has ended” point, why couldn’t they have continued the match and called the DQ a F**KING MINUTE LATER when Show pulled out ladders and started hitting people? Why not give us a good reason for the DQ?
Worst: Yeahhh Beat Them Up As Slowly As Possible, Show
With the audience dead, Show was free to gingerly walk around the ring holding a ladder and walking into people (and doing an awful sandwich spot with Jericho that more or less outed those ladders as Dollar Tree quality at best) until JOHN could OVERCOME THE ODDS of being pulled out of the ring and thrown into a padded barricade and clear Show out of the ring, pointing up and SCREAMING AND POINTING AND SCREAMING AND ALSO POINTING like he’d just climbed out of f**king Hades.
I’m so sick of writing about this. I’m sorry. If the 999th episode of Raw (or the 999.99th, whatever they’re calling it) is this bad, I’m just going to post a bunch of matches I like and pretend they were on Raw. You can’t just pretend drama exists, WWE. If the guy’s screaming, he has to have a reason why. Your “do these poses for the video package” is showing.
Worst: The Rest Of The Sin Cara/Heath Slater Match
The best part of this match was the La Mistica sell (see page 2), but the second best part is the WWE Fan Nation video title:
Sin Cara vs. Heath Slater – World Heavyweight Championship
So yeah, right at the beginning of the match Heath Slater locks on a sleeper, and somehow it puts everybody watching asleep. I guess Jigglypuff was a “one man band”, too. The only other plus to this bland, mood-lit affair was it being over before Michael Cole could tell us about how Sin Cara was so popular in Mexico he had a comic book based on his life. Real life WWE announcing shouldn’t be like the video game announcing.
Let the video play and you can watch the Backlund part again. Guh. One more page.