Best and Worst of WWE Raw 7/11: The Defining Moment of Our Generation

And believe it or not, it’s not just a joke about Kelly Kelly.

Best: When CM Punk Talks, and When Someone Dies

I want to make a better point than “this is how to make money” to start this week’s Best and Worst. I want one of those rambling Bill Simmons things about how I was five years old watching George “The Animal” Steele bite Macho Man on the leg through his boot with a bunch of footnotes about my wife and kids. I don’t have a wife or kids, and when I was five I was watching Magnum TA beat the head-blood and facial piss out of Tully Blanchard with a microphone.

I’m also not a “part of the wrestling industry”, and more importantly I’m not trying too hard to be. That’s something a lot of people blogging in the Internet Wrestling Community forget, just like sportswriters — no matter how much you write about this, you aren’t a part of it. Roger Ebert always mentions things like “Robert Altman told me this on the set of Gosford Park” but outside of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls he’s never been a “part” of Robert Altman’s work. I can mention that Sugar Dunkerton took a picture with me for his scrapbook at the King of Trios fan conclave, but that doesn’t put me in the ring with F.I.S.T. At best I’m a writer, at worst I’m a blogger, and I have no right to tell you what does and doesn’t draw money.

That being said, every nerve in my body tells me this is how you make wrestling fans pay for wrestling shows. You hire people who are good at things, then let them be their own kind of good. It took them five years, but letting CM Punk speak from that little pro wrestler living inside of his heart is the best idea they’ve had. I’m not unique in this opinion. All over the Internet today you’ll read about how people are buying Money in the Bank. You’ll read about how they’ve been on-again/off-again fans since the Attitude Era, but now they’re tuning in to see what everyone’s talking about. And guess what? You aren’t doing it with invasions and big stars from other companies and collapsible cage walls and falls from the Titantron — you’re doing it with a guy talking. Because this guy is f**king great at talking.

Wrestling is easy, I don’t know why you’ve been screwing it up so much.

Best: John Cena Has a Good Point if He’d Ever Make It

WWE character John Cena usually makes the same ten or so points when he’s faced with a challenge:

1. He will never give up.
2. He has been busting his ass for this company for years.
3. He has earned his spot.
4. He represents the people, even the ones who don’t support him.
5. He will not ever give up.
6. He will not back down from a challenge.
7. If you think he is going to give up, you are mistaken.
8. The Troops
9. Giving up is a theoretical impossibility.
10. He has beaten a lot of people

And he only really needs that last one.

1. John Cena has beaten a lot of people.

That’s my major gripe with Cena. He dances out and does his Three Voices of Doom and his Five Moves of Fear and just sorta delivers jokes and declarations without making the easiest, most effective one of all. People chant “Cena sucks”, but for the last eight years he has beaten literally EVERY PERSON IN OUR UNIVERSE, most of the time without breaking a sweat. Orton, Triple H, Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Eddie Guerrero, Batista, Punk, Miz, Skip Sheffield and everybody on down until you’re scraping the barrel at Firestorm Pro, trying to find Dick Trimmins’ phone number because nobody else is a fresh match. That’s Cena. He has shoulder-jumped and toe-held every single one of those motherf**kers, and the most effective John Cena is the one who says “I don’t care what you’re saying, I’m going to show up and whip your ass”.

That’s it. That’s all he’s got to do. He is intense like a drug addict and his body is made out of those metal meat tubes from the Tool video. He will f**king kill you and make you tap out and he won’t even have to close the window. That’s the John Cena we got in the opening, and that’s the John Cena I keep homering for every week.

Worst: That GM Noise is Not Getting the Heat You Want

Our fantastic opening to Raw was neutered in a split second by some flickering lights and an iPhone message noise. The reaction of the crowd isn’t “boo”, it’s “ah sh:t”. That’s not good. Listen to how molten hot they are for Cena and Punk, then pay attention to how molten freezing f**king cold they are for the GM’s commercial break, announcement and handicap match. These people had to go buy foam You Can’t See Me hands because they’d spent seven minutes ass-pressing the blood out of their real ones.

It’s time to do away with the general manager concept or give it a face and a name that can benefit, and I’m not just saying that because my girlfriend goes WHO IS THE ANONYMOUS GENERAL MANAGER every time it chimes. I DON’T KNOW DESTINY, GOD.

Best: Mark Henry Ensures a Total Lack of Peace

I’ve mentioned it before, but Mark Henry is doing some of the best and most effective work of his 380 year career and it is being completely overshadowed by CM Punk and will be forgotten in a month. I will talk more about Mark Henry racing across the stage like that rhino you can ride in Donkey Kong Country later, I just wanted to say how awesome this video package is. The only way it could’ve been better is if they’d distorted his IT BURN WHEN YOU CRY death poem for Owen Hart into the background somewhere. Or crying babies.

Worst: Tag Teams Are Music Videos on MTV

I can only think of two things off the top of my head that are less funny than a Dead Baby Joke, and they are as follows:

1. That joke where you replace “ESP” with “ESPN” because you’re supposed to be psychic, but are also dumb. This is the laziest joke ever and unless you are Kimmie Gibbler you should not be making it.

2. Any reference to MTV playing music videos, followed by a “heh, but MTV doesn’t PLAY music videos anymore!”

That one sucks a lot, because yeah, f**khead, MTV doesn’t play music videos anymore and they haven’t for like 10 years. It’s like complaining that SpikeTV doesn’t play enough episodes of “Hee-Haw”. The state of tag team wrestling in WWE has become the MTV Doesn’t Play Music Videos Anymore of online wrestling discussion, and I think last night’s handicap match is the official marking of moratorium on the talking point.

This isn’t the first time WWE has had one guy beat up two guys without breaking a sweat, and it’s not the first time those two guys have been tag team champions. Hell, this isn’t the first time Cena’s done it. It’s always bad, and it’s always a sad look at the easiest kind of exciting wrestling to build and execute, but it’s time for us to get over it. The Bulldogs and the Hart Foundation and the Smackdown Six were great, but Michael McGillicutty rocking his Exodus of the Beginning of the Start of the Chinlock while wearing a hieroglyphics collector’s plate on his stomach is a white flag. We give up, and we should be gracious in our defeat.

Worst: Bullies Don’t Cause Anorexia Angles, They Cause Bulimia Angles

This, in case you’ve forgotten, was Piggy James.

The idea here was that LayCool (may they rest in peace) were mean and jealous, so they started calling Mickie James fat. If you watch the video you will recall that Mickie James had basically the hottest body a human being can have and wore size negative 11 jeans and was not fat. LayCool were going to gang up on her, shove some cake in her mouth and humiliate her. Mickie would get her revenge, beat the bones out of Michelle McCool, and that would be the end of the angle.

The problem is that the Internet got wind of a rumor that WWE was unhappy with Mickie’s weight in real life (because they are psychos), and that gave the stuff on TV a weird stink. Then, when LayCool beat her up and dumped punch on her head, she just knelt there in the ring sobbing , instead of getting up and flipping out and screaming about how she was gonna kick LayCool’s ass, which is what happened in ACW recently when JT Lamotta pulled something similar on Rachel Summerlyn. Rachel stood up for herself, and then at the next show she kicked Lamotta’s ass. Mickie sobbed because she secretly AGREED with LayCool that she was too fat, and nobody on the announce team made a clear enough point that she wasn’t and that LayCool were mean and jealous, and before you knew it LayCool were still on top and Mickie was fired. Because she was fat.

Something similar is starting to go down between Kelly Kelly and the Bella Twins, because the only two things WWE thinks a woman can feel are “I’m better than you” and “I’m prettier than you”. The Bellas (who I need to remind you weigh a combined 80 pounds) ran down Kelly for being too skinny, needing to eat, and for wearing makeup because she has acne. Of course, this angle needs to end at Money in the Bank with Kelly doing her Angry Butthole Rub in Brie’s face, K-Drilling her (or whatever she calls it) into oblivion, then sitting on her chest and eating a yellow bell pepper while “Holla” plays.

That’s what should happen, but I’m not holding my breath. There’s a better chance that Kelly will lose and be fired for being too skinny and sleeping with a bunch of dudes.

Worst: The Way Kelly Kelly Holds a Belt

Seriously, what’s going on with this? It looks too big for her to wear as a belt, and her shoulder isn’t big enough to support it that way, so she’s basically got to hold it out to the side of her body at shoulder height as she walks. Can’t you just wear it like a bandolier? Now we know why Melina was always wearing it like a bra, it was the only place on her body with enough surface area to keep it up.

Best: The Bella Twins are Shoot Hilarious

It’s like watching Paul Rudd stammer through a comedic retort, except in real life. I’m going to pretend like they aren’t just f**king up on the reg and assume they are improv masters, and “Why don’t you get some ProActiv, it worked for Kelly Kelly, I mean Katy Perry, yeah, and except you’re no teenage dream!” is a meta “South Africa, such as” interpretation of WWE micspeak.

Worst: Time to Pack It In, Melina

I think that weird, long intro shot of Melina sitting on the turnbuckles yammering and making faces to apparently nobody is a big neon sign easing us into release. I actually really like Melina, which is weird because I hate John Morrison so much, and personally I think another three or four years of pointless wardrobe changes and show-to-show unpushes is still required for that two years or so when she wore thongs and did splits in a skirt. But the writing is on the Facebook wall, and it doesn’t say “WWE likes this”.

Man, I wish they gave Newberry Medals for excellence in the field of wrestling blogging.

Anyway, I look forward to posing with Melina at Wizard World Austin and hoped she saved up a ton of money, because she seems like a nice person, and I wish her and most of her teeth well on their future endeavors.

Worst: Promos From the Tops of Ladders

I don’t know how many of you have been a part of an “e-fed”, but “I’m gonna sit on top of a ladder and talk” is the hackiest way to promote an upcoming ladder match ever. It’s reaching Birthday Cake In the Ring levels of critical mass. I don’t even like it when CM Punk or Chris Jericho do it, much less this concussed version of The Miz we’ve been dealing with since Wrestlemania. The only two promo I can think of more e-fed than sitting on top of a ladder is the one where your guy beats up a bunch of strangers to prove how tough he is.

Which is, uh, sorta what they did with Alberto Del Rio immediately following this.

Regardless, that video package of Shelton Benjamin killing himself with a ladder did ten times more to make wrestling fans want to see a ladder match than this weird jambalaya of increasingly sh**ty promos. I like to think that when the ladders were being set up, everyone in the match got into a single-file line backstage.

Best: Evan Bourne Redefines the Term “Hard Camera”

This is technically a “worst”, but I can’t help but smile and say “oh honey, no” whenever Evan Bourne talks. The best part isn’t what he said, but how he said it. When Jack Swagger interrupted the Miz, he talked to him, and Miz talked back. They looked at and addressed each other. Then Bourne’s music hits, and he slides into the ring like he’s going to yell at them or something, then turns and just smiles and stares into the hard camera and says he’s gonna “go Air Bourne” and win the Money in the Bank match at Money in the Bank The Pay-Per-View. It was hilarious. It was like he walked across the screen with a big PLEASE BUY ARMOUR BRAND HOT DOGS.

I wanted Kofi Kingston to just scuttle in sideways and say “AND ALSO I’M HERE”. Just kidding, I didn’t want Kofi Kingston to do anything.

Best: R-Truth Bout to Get Okeydoked By Spiders

I’m not sure what it was, but Truth taking the scenic route to his punchline about a fear of heights and the Money in the Bank briefcase being full of spiders is one of the greatest things I’ve ever heard. It was like the announcers underestimated Truth’s wit when he started (and stumbled over his words), then were shocked at how funny it was when he actually got to the joke. Chucklemonster Michael Cole actually seemed to be legitimately laughing for the first time in his life. So was I.

The Money in the Bank Briefcase gon’ get got, and if anybody gets to win it and lose immediately Mr. Anderson Kennedy style it should be Truth. He can cash it in, lose, and complain about how a contract allowing him a WWE Championship shot whenever and wherever he wanted it was part of the conspiracy against him.

Worst: A Six-Man Tag So Exciting I Left the Room Completely

I don’t even know what happened. I didn’t read about it later. Once Alberto Del Rio started getting interrupted by his own music I just hung it up and went into the computer room to see what Twitter was saying about CM Punk. In case you were wondering, they were saying he’s great.

I’m just going to assume Dolph Ziggler did a run-in here and pinned Kofi Kingston with a Zig Zag, but Kofi’s foot was under the rope, and blah blah blah

Best: Mark Henry is Running

Okay, so no, seriously, Rambi from Donkey Kong Country Returns

TELL ME Big Show didn’t look like one of those ashtray-headed guys spinning off the stage to his doom when Henry came out of the shadows and pounced him into that secondary stage of cardboard boxes and blankets. That’s one of the things I love so much about Mark Henry — sure, he’s the world’s strongest man, but that can be faked with some rubber pipes and phony dumbells. What you can’t fake is that he is a terrifying fat f**king Predator running at you. If an actual rhinoceros was charging at me I would say “wait, what’s going on, what’s happening”, but the second Mark Henry emerged from his dimension of darkness like goddamn Dagger I would say “oh sh:t” and start running. He is legitimately terrifying when he’s scowling and shouting and running, and that should be his resting state.

Worst: Cuddling

Lying on the stunt floor cuddling with The Big Show and then hobbling off making me think he’s hurt himself again should not be his resting state. This should be John Morrison’s resting state.

In a related Best, my resting state should be with John Morrison’s swinger girlfriend after her appearance at Wizard World Austin.

Worst: Pretty Sure McIntyre Just Got Hassan’d

There were a lot of “Bests” to come out of the Big Show handicap match segment. Big Show running after people and tackling them to the ground to punch them to death is a best. So is Dolph Ziggler making it through a softball handicap match loss without getting beaten up or losing anything. However, two handicap matches in one show gets a giant “Worst”, and so does Drew McIntyre getting the Muhammad Hassan treatment.

For those of you who don’t remember, Hassan was an Arab-American character who opened his mouth as a progressive character and a statement of xenophobia, and by the time he finished his first sentence he was an evil Sand N-Word terrorist from Derkaderkastan. He tried to have Undertaker killed by terrorists on the same day actual terrorists tried to kill people (which is every day), and they wrote him off by having Undertaker Last Ride him through a stage. He went back to his home planet, and died on his way there.

I got a similar feeling from Drew watching him get insulted by Vince McMahon, beaten into oblivion by Big Show and gored off a stage onto Actual Floor by Mark Henry. I think McIntyre is one of the most talented guys they have, and while he is clearly an attractive man I do not want to stick him at Wizard World Austin, I want him on Raw (or at least Superstars) putting on great (at least good) matches with John Cena (at least Goldust).

Best: The Defining Moment of Our Generation

And then, the ending to our show. 411 Wrestling said the segment went on “too long to be effective”, but 411 thinks the top 25 of anything from wrestling history happened between 1988 and 1997, so f**k them.

I’m going to say this, and stand by it: CM Punk getting Vince McMahon to yell I DON’T GIVE A DAMN WHAT YOU WANT at a crowd chanting WE WANT WRESTLING is the defining moment of our generation. It is everything we’ve ever needed to hear from the characters on our wrestling show and the people who play them. It substantiates and makes true the emotions we’ve felt for our entire lives, the sinking suspicion that the people in charge of the sports-thing we love are the people trying hardest to ruin it. It slayed the elephant in the room, and turned it into a hundred tinier elephants we get to capture and identify. It was exciting, important, and something we will never forget.

And if they were chanting “WE WANT ICE CREAM” it was even funnier.

Best: Ice Cream Bars are More Important Than Most People

Did anybody else expect a pop that huge for a mention of WWE ice cream bars? Punk might’ve been right when he told McMahon he’d just made him a million dollars. At the very least they should make up Punk ice cream bars and sell them at shows. I’d buy one, and I’m vegan. Maybe Daniel Bryan can get them to make Tofutti ice cream bars.

I think the most telling thing from the ice cream bars pop (which was bigger than the reactions for anybody on the show other than Punk, Cena and McMahon) is that the memories of wrestling you’ve seen are more important than the wrestling you’re seeing. Ten years from now Derrick Bateman is going to namedrop Norman Smiley on Raw and the crowd is just going to f**king erupt.

Worst: John Cena Forgets How to Be Good, Goes to the Poopy Well

Cena opened the show like a boss, so it was disappointing for him to show up at the end, having forgotten that “I’m going to beat you up” works and shoehorning in some weird probably-from-Step-Brothers comedy bit about Vince McMahon’s face being a run meant for poop and pee-pee. Maybe they did it on purpose. Maybe it made Punk’s points make more sense. Rookie with Ruthless Aggression John Cena wouldn’t call somebody a poopy rug, he’s the guy who challenged Kurt Angle on his first night, got up in Brock Lesnar’s face for no reason and called Eddie Guerrero a wetback. Punk is right, and all he needed was Cryme Tyme bamboozling somewhere in the background to make it perfect.

The Champ could’ve just said “don’t resign him, I’m going to destroy him, here, watch” and then destroyed him, because that’s what John Cena does, but no, he had to drag Round The Corner Fudge Is Made out of his second grade mothballs.

Best: John Cena is Terry Funk

Terry Funk called Cactus Jack’s wife and children whores, but it wasn’t until he dared call Eric Bischoff a homo that Cactus snapped and attacked him. Cena is the new Terry Funk, in one of the only ways he can be — Punk insulted his hometown, Cena shrugged it off. He brought up Cena’s father and wife, and Cena said “easy, easy”. But when Punk compared him to the New York Yankees, Cena punched him in the face. Lesson learned here? That being a part of the New York Yankees is akin to having gay sex with Eric Bischoff. Seems about right.

Best: Money in the Bank Now Has an 80% Chance of a Colt Cabana Arn Anderson Run-In

Wouldn’t it be great if we’re in minute 20 of the Money in the Bank main-event and Punk gets caught with the jumping shoulderblocks, Cena ducks a punch and protobombs him in the middle of the ring… but when Cena heads towards the ropes for the Five Knuckle Shuffle, Colt Cabana appears out of nowhere, Colt 45s and Flying Assholes him to set up a near-fall from Punk? It might end up being the best thing ever. It’d be even better if Luke Gallows and Serena showed up, and if Ace Steel got to hit somebody in the face with a trashcan.