Turns out, all Bad News Barrett needed to ascend to the throne was win three wrestling matches in a row. It hadn’t come up until now.
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Best: WWE’s Dorkiest Tradition
The King of the Ring live special kicked off with a little KOTR video package which really underscored how doofy this whole thing is. Guys aren’t fighting for an opportunity, money or a title. They’re battling for the right to wear a prop crown and sit in a plywood throne. It’s the most “little boys playing at recces” thing possible. “If I win, I get to wear a CROWN an’ a CAPE, an’ you’ll have to call me KING OF THE WORLD.”
This, I realize, is exactly why I’ve always loved it. Bring on the goofiness.
Worst: Adrian Two-Two
Yeesh, these two guys from the British Isles are having a surprising amount of trouble with the whole English thing. First up, we have a weirdly acne-covered Sheamus talking about how Neville can’t defy gravity if he’s unconscious. Aw, and here I was imagining him hovering in mid-air as he slept.
Next up, Neville, in his first real promo on the main roster, defied proper sanitation and pooped the bed. He kept having to repeat everything he said, “I can’t believe it. It’s honestly hard to believe. Believing is a thing I’m having a difficult time doing.” It was like a weird off-shoot of Randy Orton’s over-talking syndrome. I know saying words is not Neville’s forte, but this was literally the most basic promo possible.
Worst: Distraction Finish Audio-Visual Aids
I’m getting tired of this Dolph Ziggler/Sheamus feud costing me potentially good matches. Dean Ambrose/Sheamus and Barrett/Ziggler were ruined on Raw, and on this show, the feud claimed Neville/Sheamus. The match was chugging along nicely, with Neville blasting around like a cannon ball, and Sheamus cutting him off to work on the midsection. Unfortunately, Ziggler showed his orange face and cued up a video on the Titantron.
Yes, somebody showed up with a video clip to cause a distraction finish. Yes, my stomach sank when it happened, too. Hopefully this was just an anomaly, but I fear WWE has found a way to pack even more recaps into their programming. If WWE could figure out how to superimpose video recaps over each other so they looked like they’re fighting, I’m sure they’d replace wrestling altogether.
Best: A Butt-Kissing Bounty
After the match, Ziggler was very insistent that Sheamus still owed him bum smooches, and he charged the ring to procure them. Dude, it’s okay to just let this one go. The arse-kissing wasn’t even your idea to begin with. Sure, punch Sheamus in the face for forcing you to kiss his ass, but having your One Free Buttock Kiss coupon honored isn’t that important.
Forget the ass kissing stuff, though. Ziggler and Sheamus got into a brawl, and Sheamus got busted open butt good. See what I did there? Blood makes everything better, even storylines involving guys pulling their trunks up into their cracks Wayne’s World-style so they can kiss each other’s butts.
Best: Spider Genocide
R-Truth is the most useless guy in WWE, but even he’s sometimes pretty damn great. There are a lot of “crazy” characters in WWE, but Truth is the only guy that truly makes me wonder.
Truth responding to some innocuous question from Byron Saxton with his detailed plan for the Ultimate Arachnid Solution was both wonderful and, honestly, a little disturbing. Truth babbling rapturously about wiping out entire spider family lines from his well-guarded castle headquarters is something I won’t soon forget.
Worst: Precedence For JBL Being A Terrible Announcer
Of course, directly following his funniest segment in ages, R-Truth made sure to remind everybody of what a waste of space he is 95 percent of the time. The dude isn’t even rapping anymore, he’s just dancing around and randomly shouting “What’s up?” Motherf*cker, you’ve had the same song for a decade, don’t tell me you forgot the words. I’ll remember them till the day I die, so you better not have forgotten them.
Anyway, it was an R-Truth match, so aside from enjoying Barrett kicking out of Truth’s lame finishers, I don’t have a lot to say about it. I do have some things to say about JBL’s commentary, which may have hit a new bottom here. He starts going on about how Truth would be like Nero (which he pronounced “Narrow”) because, uh, Nero fiddled and R-Truth dances? Also, Nero was an emperor, not a king, you dillhole. Seconds later, Cole caught him mixing up “precedent” and “precedence,” which JBL got all catty and defensive about. If talking on TV is your entire job, you don’t get to be all indignant when somebody points out that you mixed up two basic English words.
Best: Barrett vs. Neville
The finals of the King of the Ring tournament were pretty solid stuff. Not great by any means, but a nice little match, with a clean finish, no less. Barrett spent the match working on Neville’s midsection, which better than Barrett’s usual “bumble around desperately trying to hit his elbow” tactics. For his part, Neville toned down the high-flying a little in response to the “injured” midsection, instead focusing more on kicks and more physical moves. Also, in a surprise twist, the commentators actually did their job and told the story of the match competently.
So, nothing to complain about until BNB avoided a Red Arrow, nailed a Bull Hammer and won. Hmmmm.
Best: Cautiously Optimistic
You know what? I’m actually just fine with Barrett winning King of the Ring. Neville really wasn’t ready yet, and it’s not like winning King of the Ring is a particularly prestigious accomplishment in 2015. You may as well go with the guy who can best work with a wacky king gimmick, and that’s definitely Barrett. So, all hail King Barrett. Hopefully they didn’t melt down the Intercontinental title to make that crown.
Best: A One-Hour Show With Something To Achieve
Despite a lot of this show being, objectively, pretty bad, I still enjoyed it quite a bit overall. It almost had an NXT feel to it. I think that’s largely down to it being an hour-long show that had some things it needed to accomplish. That urgency is a major missing element in most modern WWE programming. Raw usually takes three hours and 15 minutes to tell a story that requires maybe half hour. I don’t care if it’s all good, just give me more shows where things actually happen, WWE.
Your Top 5 (hey, it was an hour-long show) comments of the night:
(A production meeting. All State Arena, Chicago. Sunday afternoon)
Triple H: Well, there isn’t anything we can do that fans would hate more than “Roman Reigns; Royal Rumble winner.”
Vince: Hah, wanna bet?
(Tuesday night, ~9 pm)
Michael Cole: YOUR 2015 KING OF THE RING, R-TRUTH!
The Space Cowboy, The Gangster of Love, Maurice *bow BWOW*, Neville!
JBL: “There’s a history of NXT Champions becoming stars here, there’s Seth Rollins, then there’s Big E… ugh, I mean, there’s Seth Rollins.”
R-Truth’s face looks like he’d rather be tending bar and wisely guiding Captain Picard.
John Michael Hall
Neville lost his chance to win the crown, so is he now also “The Man That Gravitas Forgot”?
Thanks for reading. See you folks in five years when they decide to revive King of the Ring again.