Previously on the Best and Worst of Raw: Director of Operations Kane had a performance evaluation due to anonymous complaints filed against him with WWE’s Human Resources department. This is the major story on the flagship, primetime, 3-hour TV show of the biggest pro wrestling promotion in the world. Also, King Barrett is back! What a time to be alive.
Now, the Best and Worst of WWE Raw for October 5, 2015.
Best: All These Brock Lesnar Appearances Are The Same, But It’s Brock Lesnar, So Whatever
If you haven’t noticed, every non-PPV appearance from Brock Lesnar — save for that time he flipped out on everyone and F-5’d Michael Cole out of his shoes — is identical. He and Heyman show up, Lesnar stands still in the middle of the ring almost staring at the hard cam, and Heyman cuts a good-to-great promo about how Lesnar is literally Jesus Christ reborn in the body of a minotaur or whatever. Either the promo ends and Brock calmly leaves, or someone interrupts and gets thrown. Occasionally he gets kicked in the dick or someone puts a pen through his hand. No matter what, the formula is the same: Arrive, Speak, Briefly Interact, Repeat.
That said, it’s hard to get a better recurring (and sometimes objectively boring) wrestling segment. Lesnar is the most legit wrestler WWE’s had in eons, so all he’s gotta do on a show full of Rybacks and Dolph Zigglers is stand still and be cool. Heyman’s the best talker in the history of wrestling, so even if he doesn’t have much to say, he says it beautifully. Heyman could read old Paddington stories and make them sound like threats. There’s a joy in watching Lesnar interact with almost anyone, even people he’s tossed before. Watching him suplex Big Show is old hat, but it’s also a spectacular feat. It’s like watching Willie Mays sprint toward the center field wall and make an on-the-run, over-the-shoulder catch on the warning track. You see that clip your entire life so it feels like background noise, but then you pay attention for a second and your brain goes, “wow, that’s the best.”
Lesnar being mildly amused by everything that happens around him is great. He obliterated a 7-foot, 500-pound man in one of the most famous sports arenas in the world, and he’s like, “it’s fine, this is one stop on my metal-as-f*ck pro wres tour.” That guy (big) shows up and tries to shake his hand, and Brock’s all, pphhhhhhtttt. Show responds with some mild-ass negativity and Brock is like, NOPE, BRUTAL VIOLENCE. His actions, reactions and thought process doesn’t make any sense, but for once, that works: he’s Brock Lesnar, goddammit, we shouldn’t be able to comprehend why he does what he does. He just exists. He’s an inevitability. He’s a meteor crashing into Earth and killing the dinosaurs.
Best: (This Match Needs Seth Rollins)
“We’re cool wrestlers!” is something WWE doesn’t do enough.
I can’t speak for them creatively (even though I do, like, all the time), but WWE’s wrestling seems to exist to substantiate a product. You aren’t watching wrestling to see Randy Orton, for example, you’re watching Randy Orton and seeing wrestling. To break it down even further, you aren’t interested in Randy Orton at all … you’re interested in the idea of him. The brand. The song and the taunts and the talking points and the RKO. He’s a reference point. WWE created a show full of reference points and brand ideas, which is why it has become so dissimilar to an educated point of view’s perception of what “pro wrestling” is, and how pro wrestling works. It’s also why WWE remains so popular. They created a new definition of “wrestling fan,” branded it the “WWE Universe,” monetized it and taught an entire generation that if we aren’t it, we’re doing it wrong.