– There are a pair of live reports on the last page, so make sure you stick around and read those.
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– If you like the Raw column be sure you’re up on our NXT, Impact and Total Divas columns. Nate Birch of Gamma Squad is also trying out a Smackdown Best and Worst, so check that out and let him know what you think.
– I’ll be covering the Night Of Champions report, so be sure you’re here this weekend to participate in the open discussion thread, and then again on Monday to read that.
Please click through to enjoy the Best And Worst Of WWE Raw for September 9, 2013.
Best: Let’s Give Edge This Job And Let Miz Graze In Developmental Until He Learns How To Wrestle Or Remembers How To Talk
Edge still sounds like every lower-tier black comedian’s “white guy” voice and yeah, his haircut is still weird, and yeah, ‘Haven’ sucks so bad Edge didn’t even stick up for it when Triple H was making wanking motions with his mouth about it, but it was great to have him back, and great to have him around. He should have this job permanently, because (1) it would guarantee that talk shows segments actually got shit talked about instead of ending with the host being beaten up/beating somebody up, and (2) The Miz should never be allowed near a microphone again.
A few notes from last night’s opener:
– “Rated R soOOOoperstar!” is still funny, even if he’s in on the joke.
– I’m happy Daniel Bryan got cut off before he could say a lot, because nothing makes me more nervous in WWE right now than Bryan’s constant OH MAN LET ME TELL YOU WHAT sarcasm voice. I need him to stop doing that. Just say your piece, dude, you’re the best wrestler in the world and you’ve got legitimate grass-fed beef.
– To be fair, Triple H didn’t marry into a successful career. He was doing well for himself and winning WWE Championships before he and Stephanie got married. What he married into was the office job. So if you’re gonna hit him with the “balls in yer purse” gag, make sure you’re doing it based on his suit-and-tie sell-out, and not his Winning Everything Ever. Especially if you are Edge, who has 11 Championships because John Cena decided to lose the belt 10 times in three months*.
*I am intentionally remembering this era incorrectly.
– If you are Christian, don’t you want to make sure you’re not around when Edge shows up? He’s the Princess Toadstool of Edge’s life. If Edge could still wrestle, he’d be having Custody Of Christian Ladder Matches against Alberto Del Rio.
– I’m never going to work for WWE because I have said some saucy things about the people in charge, but if I WERE ever given a choice WWE position, I’d want it to be “writing filler segments for the WWE App.” Not the ones they use, though. Not “here’s what Kofi Kingston thinks about his upcoming match” stuff. I want to write unseen moments that connect/explain/justify what we see on Raw. Like, I want to write a scene where Christian’s in the back cutting the sleeves off his shirt, pretending like he’s got arm muscles, and The Shield just shows up. Have Christian be all, “sigh, this is because of Edge, isn’t it,” and Reigns just kinda nods and Ambrose palms him to death in the face a hundred times. Just fill the app with stuff like that. Guys getting into fights backstage and being all AASH, AASH, AASH when they punch.
Best: Canadians Chanting Asshole (And Toronto In General)
In the United States, our “asshole” chant sounds like this:
The Canadian version sounds a little different:
WWE should be in Canada more often. In fact, they should try to run shows in places that aren’t New York and L.A. (where everyone sees this all the time and barely cares) but ALSO aren’t Middle America (where everyone’s stupid) (except you, guy who just read this and got upset in defense of Iowa or whatever). Foreign crowds and post-WrestleMania domestic-but-fueled-by-foreign-fans crowds are the best, because they’re excited and happy to be there. Who knew?
Also, hey WWE announcers, when you’ve called like 10 different places in a year “bizarro land,” it’s time to accept that maybe you’re in regular land and crowds don’t have Borg brains.
Worst: The Two Most Boring Guys On The Raw Roster Get To Be Boring. Together.
I don’t know who thought it’d be a great idea to give Curtis Axel and Kofi Kingston a bunch of matches together, but Jesus, load that person into a catapult and stop doing this.
The story of the match was fine, but one of those times when WWE does something on Smackdown, then realizes they should’ve done it on Raw when people were watching. So on Smackdown Kofi beats Axel, causing Paul Heyman to, for the first time, realize Curtis Axel could LOSE and leave him all alone against CM Punk. On Raw, Kofi beats Axel again, this time by disqualification, and Paul Heyman realizes that Axel could be DISQUALIFIED and leave him alone with Punk. Two things:
1. Is getting beaten up by Punk really that bad? I mean, Heyman JUST got out of a year-long feud where Triple H kept punching him in the face and pedigreeing him and emasculating him on tables. Sure, Punk seems dedicated to hurting Heyman to the best of his abilities, but he’s only attacking during pro wrestling primetime, so how bad could it be?
2. I wish Night Of Champions was like six months away so they could redo this angle every week. Next week on Raw, Curtis Axel loses via countout and Paul Heyman is SHOCKED AND UPSET because he just realized Axel could lose via countout and leave him alone with Punk. The week after that, Axel gets a concussion and the ref stops the match. OH NO, REF STOPPAGE COULD LEAVE ME ALONE etc. Drag it on for six months with every possible match outcome. “OH NO, CURTIS AXEL ROLLED INTO THE RING, NOW CM PUNK AND I ARE THE LAST TWO PEOPLE LEFT OUTSIDE IN THAT REVERSE BATTLE ROYAL THING TNA DID, HELP”
Worst: Woof, Take It Home With These Awkward Paul Heyman Injury Segments
Here’s something we didn’t need: in-ring medical examinations.
I can’t decide if I loved Paul Heyman’s scared guy run and bail over the barrier more or less than I hated CM Punk beating up Paul Heyman’d doctor for … I dunno, being in “cahoots” or whatever. Was the story that Heyman’s bearded friend wasn’t a doctor at all, Punk knew that (because he spent years hanging out with Heyman and would in theory know his personal physician) and beat up the guy for being a poser? That’d be fine. If I missed that, there you go. If not, Punk is straight-up beating up a dude’s doctor for no reason. So he’s on the take. That’s no reason for a caning to the face, is it? You don’t even cane Curt Axel in the face, and he’s Curt Axel.
That run was pretty darling, though.
Best: Let’s Ask The WWE Universe What They Thought Of This Segment
Best: Dolph Ziggler Loses, Which Means Six More Weeks Of Briley Being Whiny On Twitter
Supplementary Worst: Michael Cole apparently did not watch the Sister Abigail origin video and is just making shit up on the fly. “Sister” can only mean one kind of sister, right?
Supplementary Best: How awesome is it that Dolph Ziggler ditched AJ Lee and Big E Langston in a fit of confident arrogance, and then his career went straight to Hell? At some point the guy’s gotta realize this and try to get back with them. I mean, he was the World Heavyweight Champion with them by his side. Now he’s getting a jobber entrance and losing clean to Bray Wyatt. And not just Bray … he lost clean to Cesaro on Superstars, too. The guy who loses to Santino Marella on this show. It cannot objectively get much lower. What’s lower than that, Corey Graves? Being half of a team that loses handicap matches? Or a third of a team in 3MB’s case? The Drew McIntyre portion of 3MB. There you go.
Actual, formal Best: Hey look, Bray Wyatt’s winning matches! And they aren’t against Kane!
Best: Renee Young Gets A Pop
… which is appropriate, because Goldust also has a huge pop.
But no, Renee “Paquette” Young getting a huge reaction from the crowd because she’s Canadian and gorgeous and great at her job and they’ve all known this for years is wonderful. Her Bumpit is reaching CRITICAL MASS, by the way. And hey, now that you’ve seen Renee with Goldust, here’s Renee as Goldust.
Trust me, I’m going through the same thing you are right now.
Worst: Jesus Christ, Announce Team
Maybe it’s been a while since they’ve said something to piss me off, but God, how awful was the announce team during the Divas six-person tag? AJ’s on commentary trying to talk up the importance of the Divas Championship and get the ‘Total Divas’ feud over, which is nigh-impossible at this point, and all Jerry Lawler can do is ask her about her tattoos, call her ugly and talk down to her. Michael Cole calls her “fiesty.” They aren’t listening to her. She says all she cares about is wrestling and the title belt, and Jerry just goes “lemme, lemme, lemme” until she finishes, then asks her if she’s jealous of the other girls. It’s like talking to a brick wall with its dick out.
She tries admirably to stand up to them, dropping in one of those Jerry Lawler Law Bombs about how he’s a statutory rapist, but no amount of that will counter the ingrown disrespect and ignorance that needs to be forcibly removed from every old white man allowed to speak for a diverse, publicly-traded company in 2013. The easiest way to remove that would be to remove them. “Guy who hates women,” “guy who hates liberals” and “guy who says whatever we tell him to” is the worst-ever combination of announcers and it would not kill them to employ somebody who isn’t speaking from the tip of their cock 24/7.
Worst: AJ’s ‘Real Divas’ Team
To those assholes’ credit, though, AJ’s point IS ridiculous. She hates the cast of ‘Total Divas’ because they showed up to be models and actresses and not wrestlers. SHE’s a real wrestler, and she’s put together a team of like-minded, “real” Divas to counter them.
Just to type it out-loud, her team is Layla (who got here because she was a Miami Heat dancer who won the Diva Search), Askana (a fitness model who does not even possess the wrestling ability of dirt) and Alicia Fox (who got here because John Laurinaitis saw her in a fashion catalog, and who kayfabe entered WWE as a wedding planner). Oh, also? AJ and Askana came in on a WWE game show called “NXT season 3,” alongside Naomi, who I guess only showed up to be on a reality show several years later. And sure, Natalya got here because of nepotism, but she did wrestle in SHIMMER, which gives her as much indy street cred as anybody good at Full Sail.
AJ should just clarify, say she hates Eva Marie and Jojo, have everyone agree with her, and then everyone beats the mess out of Eva Marie and Jojo. Happy ending.
Neither Best Nor Worst: Alberto Del Rio Vs. R-Truth
If a wrestling match happens in the woods and nobody’s around to hear it, does it make a sound? And more importantly does that sound roll its Rs when it introduces people, because guhhh I hate that sound.
Best: Santino Vs. Cesaro
Quickly moving away from the Alberto Del Rio/R-Truth match, here’s a match that was about a thousand times better than it needed to be: caped Antonio Cesaro taking on the returning Santino Marella, who “likes to have fun” according to the announce team, in the style of worked-shoot Beaver Cleavage.
As regular readers of the Best and Worst of NXT column or the Best and Worst of Superstars column that doesn’t exist might know, Antonio Cesaro’s been tearing it the hell up lately. He had the arguable Match Of The Year against Sami Zayn, had the best match Dolph Ziggler’s had this calendar year against Dolph, and now here he is throwing ridiculously-long giant swings and Europeanly uppercutting Santino Marella to death. Pair that with a hot crowd and Santino, who is fresh by proxy of not having been around in a long time, and you’ve got something special.
I wasn’t a big fan of Cesaro losing, but losing is what Cesaro does on Raw, and Santino can steal a fluke victory here or there without hurting anybody. If this leads to Santino having an extended feud with Cesaro, I’m all for it. If he feuds with Cesaro and Swagger (and Zeb), I’m even more for it. If he brings back Vladimir Kozlov and they try to pass themselves off as Real Americans, I’m even more more for it.
Best: GIANT SWANGGG
Best: This Is How Every Crowd Should Treat The Miz
Destiny spent most of this match complaining about how stupid The Miz’s haircut is, and she doesn’t have a broad set of pop culture references to draw from so I couldn’t use that amazing “he walked into a bar with a DVD of ‘Boardwalk Empire’ and said ‘give me one of everything'” joke from a few weeks ago.
I liked this match a lot, because I love any match where the crowd says nuts to what the Miz is selling and gives him grief. The one constant in “bizarro land” crowds (besides the “chanting for wrestlers who are dead/aren’t there” thing) is a hatred of The Miz, because they are closer to honest than any other WWE crowd, and though opinions on most things vary, Miz is garbage to all of them. To reiterate, he isn’t bad in the ring (when he isn’t doing a figure-four) and his mic problems are a combination of Big Stage nerves and WWE Creative giving him asinine shit to say, but he’s the fakest pro wrestler of all time, nothing he does or says looks or sounds like he means it and he doesn’t have John Cena’s steely, prototypical robot resolve so they can eat right through him. If Cena had come up trying to be Jericho instead of Hogan, he’d be The Miz.
Also, hey, remember when Fandango was a thing? That was fun. Toronto took the worst possible Fandango appearance — him providing a distraction to someone in the ring who gets rolled up and pinned, then dropping his infuriatingly out-of-context catchphrase — and made it feel Post-Mania again. Back before the put the “da das” on the TitanTron. Back when Ann Dango roamed Raw and danced free. I miss those days.
Best: Big Show Destroys Canada’s Newest TV
Normally the only TVs in a Raw arena are giant flatscreens hung in the hallways so wrestlers can stand shoulder-to-screen or in large groups and watch what’s going on in the ring. In Canada, there are suddenly 1990s tube TVs sitting out in the hallway, not plugged in or playing anything, they’re just there.
Big Show gets informed that his Ironclad Contract sincerely means “do exactly what we say constantly or you’re fire” due to a previously-unforseen loophole that places every Raw on OPPOSITES DAY and smashes the TV in the floor. I really wanted the camera to hold on the wreckage long enough for Goldust to wander in and be all, “OH NO, MY GTV!”
Speaking of Goldust, Goldust should be on every episode of Raw.
For anyone who doesn’t know, I am the most biased person ever when it comes to Goldust. I grew up an NWA/WCW kid, so of course “The Natural” Dustin Rhodes was one of my favorite wrestlers. He came to WWF and instantly was that guy you know I’m a homer for, the midcard guy with a wacky, fun gimmick who can wrestle his ass off and makes everybody else look great. He was one of the most ridiculous parts of ridiculous-ass dying WCW, was one of the most ridiculous parts of ridiculous-ass TNA wrestling and then reemerged with his worker boots on in WWECW, which is right behind NXT on my list of the favorite things WWE has ever done. I LOVE the WWE version of ECW. Oh, and then this past May I shot a movie with him as one of the lead actors. That doesn’t even address his dad, who is one of the greatest ANYTHINGS of all time, and his brother, who defines “I like this” at With Leather. If you see anybody +Rhodes somebody else, trust me, they mean it.
So OF COURSE I’m going to love the Goldust match on Raw, right? The match could’ve been a throwaway thing where somebody gets Fingerpoked Of Doom or hit with an aluminum trash can or something and I would’ve given it a Best, but it turned out to be really f*cking good, and I couldn’t be happier. This was the next, logical, emotional step in the Rhodes vs. McMahons story, with Dustin taking up Cody’s “do or die” mentality in a match with Orton and fighting with everything he’s got. If you didn’t pop for that Crossrhodes counter callback to the RKO, you’re doing it wrong. The crowd was hot, Dustin knows exactly how to bend them to what he’s doing, and guess what? Randy Orton’s suddenly the best kept in-ring secret on Raw. That guy’s KILLING it lately. If you offered me Daniel Bryan’s Raw matches over the last month and Orton’s, I’m taking Orton’s.
Goldust needs to stick around, for that Rhodes Family vs. The Shield Survivor Series payoff I’m imagining and beyond. Make him an NXT trainer, put him in the Hall of Fame, have him replace Booker T’s Bagger Vance ass as the legend who hangs around to give people advice and occasionally let him tear it up in the ring with your Orton’s and your Sheamuses and maybe even your Zayns. William Regal him is what I’m saying. William Regal him immediately.
Best: Goldust’s Widescreen Entrance Doesn’t Work Anymore Because Everybody Has Widescreen TVs
I wonder how it’d look on Big Show’s TV?
Best: Stephanie McMahon Is THE DEVIL I SAID (And Goldust Needs To Be Here Every Week)
We’ve said a lot about how perfectly evil Triple H has gotten lately, but my God, Stephanie McMahon has successfully turned everything I’ve ever wanted to boo about her into a character and taken her from that overdone “bitch” thing she used to go for into SUPER GENDER-SPECIFIC CURSE WORDS territory. She’s just an awful, awful person, with the sick bonus that she’s a wrestler’s wife, so unless Chris Jericho shows back up swinging and missing she’s not ever getting her comeuppance. Triple H will get his ass Brocked from time to time. Stephanie just gets to wear pantsuits and attend school assemblies and make people feel like farts for being decent or trying hard.
Although I’m not gonna front, if Dusty shows up next week and Bionic Elbows her, I’m gonna lose it.
Worst: Everything About Ryback/Rob Van Dam Besides The Text On Ryback’s Singlet
Whoa ho, hold everything, guys, the Airbrush Convention is in town! Between Van Dam’s singlet, Ryback’s singlet and Ricardo Rodriguez’s awful shirt I thought I was at a f*cking Myrtle Beach gift shop.
This entire thing made me sad, from Ryback’s continuing “bully everybody, then purposely fail before you even really TRY to win the match” thing (Fandango does it too) to that limp DQ finish that normally doesn’t get anybody DQ’d, to the post-match attack that Ryback always does. He used to do it as a good guy, too. We cheered him for beating up a guy and Shell Shocking him after a match at WrestleMania, but oh, he does it to Rob Van Dam and suddenly he’s a creep? He’s not a bully. He’s THE BIG GUY.
And he’s got BIG TRAPS. Like Kevin from Home Alone!
Best: Small Package > Damned Numbers Game
And now, the page where I talk about Daniel Bryan and The Shield.
You know this was good, right? You should’ve known it was going to be good when they announced “Dean Ambrose vs. Daniel Bryan.” Two weeks ago, Daniel Bryan took on The Shield in a gauntlet match to end Raw, and after a great match with Seth Rollins, Ambrose and Reigns just kinda ran in and clubbered until they got disqualified. I was disappointed in that, and said that I’d only accept it if we got similar matches with Ambrose and Reigns in the near future. Sometimes what I want to happen happens! I should’ve asked for more helicopters!
I sure hope WWE has the same plans as me and runs Daniel Bryan vs. Roman Reigns next Monday, because oddly enough that’s the one I want to see most. Bryan’s always best when he’s fighting bigger, stronger guys, and Reigns is the only guy in the group who didn’t comb the indies and wrestle everybody a thousand times.
I’m a little tired of the constant YESsing for everything in Bryan matches — I thought he’d successfully contained them to the kicks to his kneeling opponent’s chest, but nope, they’re yessing for punches and forearms and everything else — but my two favorite Bryan moves have always been that top rope backdrop and the small package, and I default to “pleasant joy” when they both appear. If WWE 14 doesn’t make the small package one of Bryan’s specials, complete with all those throwing and jumping versions of finishers they keep adding in, I’m gonna be mad.
Best: Finally, A Raw With A Happy-ish Ending
The best part of the match is that they got alllll the way to the fifth-straight week (counting SummerSlam) of Daniel Bryan getting mauled by Randy Orton and the Facgime before pulling back and allowing us a moment of happiness. Show continued to be complexly motivated and driven to instant tears by having to do wrestling moves to wrestlers, Orton was set to end Raw standing on Bryan’s 80-pound albino dwarf corpse (their words, not mine) with the belt over his head, etc. And then OH HEY, Bryan runs and knees Orton in the face, the cameras actually catch it this week, and Show gets to walk away without having knocked anybody out. Which … means he’s fired, I think?
No matter what happens at Night Of Champions (and believe me, the only outcome is tragedy), we got THIS, and that’s enough to keep us hoping for the best. Maybe next week when he counters a Roman Reigns spear into a head kick and a small package, we’ll get Big Show storming the ring with a 2×4 and Union 2000 finally forming.
Study question: Bryan is Foley and Show is Show. Who gets to be Test?
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Night
Great, now Christian is out for another 9 months
Some Notes on Curtis Axel:
Played college football at DeVry, where he studied poetry. He finished with a GPA of reddish-gray.
Dislikes taking the subway, not because of any particular phobia, but because whenever the car stops and nobody gets off, he feels terrible for the train operator.
Refers to liquids in plural, i.e., a glass of milk is “a glass of some milks.”
“Who PUT THE water there?”
“WHO put the WATER THERE?”
“Who put the water THERE?”
(Curtis Axel, rehearsing)
So RKO wins out over Shattered Dreams Productions
Hehe, old time movie studio jokes
10 minutes later
“HEY AJ?? I’LL THINK ABOUT IT!”
Ugh, that RVD promo made him look like one of those human suits the tiny aliens would power in Men in Black.
I can no longer tell the difference between Raw Jerry Lawler and WWE ’13 Jerry Lawler.
“Goldust, not only did you cost your brother his job, but Big Show died of grief due to the loss.” – Stephanie McMahon
This stipulation would be made 100x better if Reigns and Rollins spend the entire match just throwing themselves at Big Show and he has to avoid them or get fired
Kofi Kingston is the No-Pecs Predator of the WWE
See you guys next week. Or, you know, on the weekend, for that pay-per-show.
For now, here are a pair of live reports, to give you a different perspective:
– So I was sitting third row on the “camera side” facing the ring (if you see a guy in a hoodie with a bald spot, unfortunately that was me). Sitting right next to me was a kid with Down’s Syndrome and his dad, and I’m just gonna say that sitting next to this kid absolutely made my night. He was a Randy Orton fan, a huge Randy Orton fan (“he’s the best! The RKO is the best!”), and probably the only person in the building who booed both D-Bry and Goldust tonight. When everybody else in the arena was YES YES YESing, he screamed “NO! NO! NO!” as loudly as he could, like a kid trying to protect their sandcastle against the tide (of course in this case the tide is Not Good For Business and also HHH owns the sandcastle, so who knows). But seriously, this is why live wrestling is the best: you sit next to a kid like this (or the six-year-old girl sitting behind me who yelled “BRAY WYATT, YOU HAVE UGLY PANTS” as loud as she could) and you get to remember what it was like to be a kid and lost in the story and the illusion. This is why any real wrestling fan doesn’t hate John Cena, even if you get tired of the character, because Cena makes it magic for these kids and how can you hate that, really? Are you Chuck Taylor or something?
– The “RANDY SAVAGE” chants were mostly directed at a Randy Savage cosplayer (doing early 80s Savage) a few seats away from me. He started out modest and then started egging on the chants whenever he felt like it. Memo to all other wrestling cosplayers: please don’t do this. It is possibly the only thing worse than WHAT chants, which thankfully we managed to keep to a minimum. Not terribly pleased about the “maple syrup” and “go Leafs go” chants, but they’re better than WHAT, so I’ll take it.
– I don’t know why Toronto hates the Miz exactly, but man, we really, really hate the Miz, don’t we? At first I thought we were pro-Sandow, which would be just fine with me, but no, it’s not just us liking Sandow (we booed him literally through an entire commercial break, but it was your classic “heel openly begs to be booed” booing, so that is fine), but it was also us really really hating the Miz. I have no idea why we hate the Miz. I’m fine with it, actually, but as a rule “YOU CAN’T WRESTLE” chants should be reserved for when Miz flubs the figure-four again.
– If you were wondering about the massive Santino pop, remember two things: firstly, everybody mostly likes Santino and it was a decent surprise, and secondly, Santino is a local boy (even if they pretend he’s from Italy, we all know damn well he’s from Mississauga) and Torontonians are homers beyond all rhyme and reason.
– Superstars taping notes! Two matches. The first was a perfectly good little Usos/3MB (Heath and Jinder) tag match. The Usos were really quite over and we booed the hell out of 3MB, and I like to think they were all happy with their reaction (the Usos looked particularly pleased after their win). The second was an okay Big E Langston/Zack Ryder match, which is notable for two things: firstly, there was a hefty “BIG E LANGSTON!” chant going for a while, and secondly, there is a pretty vicious and awesome spot involving Big E catching Ryder mid-plancha that deserves to be watched.
– Your dark match main event, for those interested, was CM Punk versus Paul Heyman and Curtis Axel in a no-DQ match. Mostly a big nothing (although Heyman did sit in the ring cross-legged like Punk and said he was “dropping a pipe bomb,” which turned out to be him activating an obscure clause of some sort to declare the match to be NOT for the Intercontinental title, which: a-doy), some kendo stick shots, a low blow from Axel on Punk to save Heyman, and finally a quick GTS on Axel, but afterwards Punk celebrated with the crowd for like twenty minutes and high-fived everybody around ringside and posed for selfies with fans and at one point even did a Kliq hand-signal touch thing with one guy and generally seemed to be in a really good mood. And that was a fine way to end the show.
– Renee Young got an INSANE pop when she appeared on the Titantron, because of course we all know Renee Young up here! She’s the person who introduces WWE on The Score every week! She’s OURS, dammit!
As I explained to him, no, Renee Paquette is yours. Renee Young is ours.
A second report, from Dan “Tobogganing Bear” MacRae:
Local Moron Talks About Toronto Wrestlefella Event: A With Leather Special Report
I’d Best & Worst this, but I’m not certified for such a format (Insider Secret: You need a two year degree from an Ivy League school just to take the B&W writing test!) so this live report will just be one big ol’ wordbarf.
This was my first time attending an episode of WWE TV. Sure, I’ve caught some house shows before, but this was my first chance to take in the glitz, the glamour and the IS THAT THE MIZ? OH F*CK RIGHT OFF!ness of a fancypants WWE production. I was pretty jazzed about that. What happens during commercial breaks? Does the bull from the Los Matadores vignettes stomp through the crowd while wearing a handsome “Tout” sash during these lulls? C’mon Raw, surrender your mysteries to Zoidberg!
(It turns out commercial breaks are mainly for RVD stretching awkwardly while a trailer for The Call plays. Frankly, I was a bit disappointed he didn’t pay close attention to what was going on in the trailer. What if he’s ever called upon to save 911 callers using his Sonic the Hedgehog style roll powers? He’ll be woefully unprepared!)
I suppose the live experience depends on who you sit with. My section had their ups and downs. I went alone (A bearded adult by himself at kids-focused entertainment? Move over, Stephen Dorff. There’s a new supercool dude in town!) so I was way more sheepish about things like chants and heckles. (Y’know, cuz I’m a coward.) I was parked in a row with a dude holding a “What?” sign that had a big ol’ boner for trying to get “eee-cee-double-u” chants going. Successful crossbody from an Uso during the Superstars taping? “EEE-CEE-DOUBA-EWEEEE!” (One imagines he was a big fan of Ravenue and Tommyue Dreamerue.) There was also a little girl behind me clutching a Kaitlyn poster and yelling “3MB!” over top of the Santino chant later in the show. Full points to that girl for her moxie and for being one of only 9 people not to wear khaki shorts to the show. I hope she becomes Prime Minister sooner rather than later.
One thing I wasn’t counting on was that the show drags just as much in person as it does on TV. At first, you’re distracted by all the neat novelty TV stuff going on (I wound up sitting by a TV production monitor that lets me know that Raw is essentially put together like Kris Kross: Make My Video for the Sega CD.) but that melts away a bit after you put it together that you’re getting hot Kofi Kingston action for the next ten minutes. If you want to hemorrhage the goodwill of Torontonians that paid to see The Sad Giant Variety Show, just toss on Kofi and Curtis Axel.
Kofi/Axel goofz-n-spoofz aside, the crowd was pretty peppy for most of the broadcast. Occasionally they’d tune out (Alicia Fox is still around? Do her creditors know about this?), but it’s nearly 4 hours of wrestling with Superstars and the off camera main event tacked on so you can’t really blame ‘em. The length of the show didn’t deter anyone from getting their chant on, either. Holy shit do wrestling fans love chanting things. We’re talking clever things, bland things, if we stop chanting we’ll die things. If you ever wanted to get a “Free Paul Bernardo” or “Vaccines Are For Pussies” chant going, Toronto’s the place that might make your weird shouty dreams come true.
Toronto adored Daniel Bryan. (Full Disclosure: Assorted Torontonians also shouted “DANIEL BRYAN!” at me because I’m a squinty beardo.) We also clutched Goldust to their bosom, cheered Renee Young like a returning intergalactic war hero and booed Diddy so f*cking hard you’d think he was…well, Diddy because that’s a fairly reasonable reaction. Maybe they should’ve just played the music video for “Sharpshooter/Gametime” instead.
Other Thought Chunklets From Tonight’s Show
– Big Show is the size of a grain elevator. You sorta take it for granted until the world’s largest teardrop ‘n Slim Jim transportion device rumbles down a ramp giving you the opportunity to gawk. “Look at ‘im! HIS FEELINGS MUST BE SO MUCH LARGER THAN MINE!”
– Kids lurve John Cena. They also love his goofy C with a line through it symbol. I’ve had a think about and I’m pretty sure his logo means “You Can’t See Me” or it’s a nod to his dislike of Confrontation on the hit E! series Total Divas.
– It’s a weird feeling going from “Yay! Santino! I enjoy his inoffensive tomfoolery!” to “Aw nertz, this means Cesaro’s gonna lose!” It’s a bit like being excited mom bought sugar cereal before figuring out she only did it because Mittens’s stitches opened up again and it’s vet visit time. WHY CAN’T MITTENS CATCH A BREAK?
– I was seated in a part of the arena where the TitanTron wasn’t visible, so if the commercial breaks also included a portion where they showed all your favourite wrestlers have sex with each other on the big screen, I’m afraid I totally missed it. Sorry gang.