– Be sure you’ve read the Best and Worst of WWE Hell in a Cell 2014 before continuing. It features g-g-g-g-ghosts!
– Also, here’s some pretty cool information about the official release Meet Me There, that horror movie I made with Goldust and bugged you for money over a year and a half ago. The biggest news of my life so far, just ahead of “Heath Slater’s feuding with a rabbit.”
– Shares, likes, comments and other social media things are appreciated.
Please click through for the Best and Worst of WWE Raw for October 27, 2014.
Best: Randy Orton Gets So Mad He Forgets How To Breathe
The opening to Raw was probably my favorite in months. Seth Rollins and The Authority are in the ring lightly recapping Hell in a Cell and making matches for the night. They put over Rollins a little too hard as the “future of the WWE” and the “standard bearer” of leather daddies with the Kaitlyn haircut, and that brings out the maddest Randy Orton ever. He’s so mad he’s doing his full, wordy Randy Orton promo at 3X speed, going from sentence to sentence and thought to thought without stopping to breathe in-between. It was like listening to a YouTube comment happening in realtime.
WHADDID YOU SAY WHADDID WHADDID YOU SAY AGAIN THAT YOU’RE THE FUTURE OF THE WWE THAT YOU’RE THE STANDARD BEARER WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN WHADDID YOU SAY YOU’RE THE CREAM OF THE CROP AND THAT THE CREAM OF THE CROP RISES TO THE TOP WELL THAT DEPENDS ON THE LIQUID AND THE CONTAINER SETH BECAUSE YOU SEE I’M RANDY ORTON THE VIPER THE APEX PREDATOR THE GUY WHO’LL GO TO THE PAPERS IF HE HAS TO SETH WILL YOU GO TO THE PAPERS I DON’T THINK I DON’T THINK I DON’T THINK YOU’D GO TO THE PAPERS SETH WHY DID I LOSE AT HELL IN A CELL WHY WHY WELL MAYBE JUST MAYBE SETH MAYBE IF YOU THINK ABOUT IT MAYBE SETH MAYBE I LOST BECAUSE YOU CURB STOMPED ME AY YO F*CK THIS ARE WE DATING ARE WE FLIRTING ARE WE BEST FRIENDS ARE WE SOMETHING IN-BETWEEN THAT I WISH WE’D NEVER F*CKED AND I MEAN THAT
It reminded me of Agent Smith’s WHY WHY MR. ANDERSON WHY DO YOU PERSIST speech from the end of Matrix Revolutions. Orton referencing his mental problems from “back in 06” was kind of adorable, too, because shit, we’ve been there. You have some major problems in your life and you work hard to overcome them, and then this bullshit happens and you’re about to flip out but you know everybody around you KNOWS about the old problems and you have to explain that NO, THIS ISN’T THAT, THIS IS A NEW THING. It’s Silver Linings Playbook, except instead of a dance contest, guys have to hold each other by the head and fall to the ground.
Here’s the thing about Orton: he’s the easiest person in the world to turn face. All you have to do is position him as “not John Cena.” Not just in character, but in presentation. Cena never shows real emotions. He’s got carefully prepared jokes and speeches and his clothes are always pristine and bright and even when he loses it, he’s losing it for show. In his personal life, he’s a machine. He’s made to travel and shake hands and hug babies and kiss fat girls. He speaks Mandarin and can play the piano. In contrast, Orton is flawed. He’s been a part of wrestling his entire life. He’s bad to women, might be a kayfabe polygamist and has a bunch of rage issues. He joined the military, but went AWOL twice. He’s got hypermobile shoulders. There’s just so much wrong with him that when he stops pretending to be a wrestler and starts childishly screaming, it feels real. A guy who is tall and handsome and a 12-time WWE Champion, but hears that he’s a boring loser who did THIS bad thing in his past and THAT bad thing in his past every day of his life. Player two in a player one world. He’s us more than Cena ever will be.
Best: Mark Henry Gives Big Show Something To Cry About
Mark Henry’s been holding one of those spinning arrow signs you see people juggling on the streets with HEEL TURN written across it and standing behind Big Show for a month. We knew it was coming. At Hell in a Cell, the crowd was practically begging for it. They finally pooped and/or got off the pot last night, having Henry snap on Show for his improper tag team etiquette and World’s Strongestly Slam him three times. Henry is now a disappointment to America and friendship.
The good here is that it finally happened, and that Henry is about a thousand times better as a heel. Babyface Mark Henry is this lovable, kinda slow guy who has been around forever and gets respect applause, but never really lights the world on fire. As a heel, he’s the best. He will pick you up and scream and throw the girthiest part of his body into you to put you through the security railing, then wait in the ring watching you try to crawl your broken ass back in. Lots of sweaty yelling about WHAT HE DOES. It’s fantastic, and no matter how much we end up loving him for it, he should try to make the lovable mass of Olympic smiles and joy he is in real life his brand.
1. The heel turn was caused by “Big Show being bad at tag teams,” and not “Russia is superior.” I wanted an evil Russian Mark Henry so bad.
2. What’s going on with the back of Big Show’s head? Why is it so dirty? It makes him look like Cesaro.
Best: Progress (?)
The best news from Raw is that it was slightly different. For the first time in a while, it felt like they watched a pay-per-view and went, “okay, now let’s change it up.” Most of the feuds ended or moved on — Rollins is done with Ambrose and focused on Cena now, Ambrose is focused on Wyatt, Henry and Show are beefing, etc. — and the ones that haven’t are at least taking baby steps towards difference. Nikki Bella won her match against Brie, so now Brie’s her assistant. It’s not just bitch-calling for another month. That’s good! Let me fetch my applause GIFs!
I’m not sure which category the Divas Championship is in. At Hell in a Cell, Paige lost and slapped her “bestie” Alicia Fox in the face. Alicia got a match against AJ on Raw with Paige on commentary, and … yeah. Color Commentary should come with a commemorative souvenir chair with a picture of a distraction rollup on it. Paige distracts Alicia, a person who did NOT beat her at Hell in a Cell last night, and AJ gets a rollup win. As AJ walks backwards up the ramp (as wrestlers do), Paige fakes an apology and beats Fox up. So, is Paige vs. Alicia Fox the feud now, or are we building to a triple threat? Is AJ involved at all? It’s good that things are moving forward, but Paige and Alicia being added to the Total Divas roster and suddenly having a violent issue makes them feel like they’ve been grouped together and detached from the mothership. So if that’s all Total Divas, what’s the women’s division? Emma? Is AJ pulling a Brock Lesnar and not defending her title until the Royal Rumble?
Worst: It’s Our Old Favorite, The Juggernaut
It’s THE JUGGERNAUT, the popular WWE Superstar we are all used to calling “The Juggernaut.” Do … do we call him the juggernaut?
“How are you, Roman?”
“Yeah, pretty good I guess.”
“Cool. Ok, bye.”
If they want a big reaction to Roman returning from the Phantom Zone and trucking people, they should cut it out with these meandering little Skype interviews. Imagine a world where John Cena’s Survivor Series team enters play as “John Cena, Dolph Ziggler and who knows” and suddenly HERE’S ROMAN REIGNS, and HERE’S DANIEL BRYAN. The Royal Rumble and the Raw after Mania aren’t the only places you can spring an unexpected Top Shelf Guy return. Hell, if the big return is running out to save somebody at the end of a bad Raw main-event DQ, it’s accomplishing more than “Roman Reigns says hello for a second, and here’s what he’s wearing.”
Best/Worst: The Authority Try To Talk Some Sense Into Their Rebellious Teenage Son
Just to say it, Cena getting a match against Rollins is dumb.
I know a large portion of you don’t care about things having reasons or making sense, but you don’t hate-skim the column for the David O. Russell jokes, so here goes: two weeks ago on Raw, Dean Ambrose and John Cena had a contract on a pole match because they both wanted to kill Seth Rollins, but only one of them would be allowed to. Ambrose won the match, leaving a defeated Cena to golf clap in the ring. The next week, it turns out that the LOSER of the match was put into a #1 Contenders match, meaning the guy who won would get “revenge,” but literally nothing else. Cena loses the contract on a pole, gets put into a better match and wins it. Cena gets a championship match. Dean Ambrose got beaten up by Jamie Noble, Joey Mercury and a ghost.
That all said, hey, at least Ambrose still got the match against Rollins. The NEXT NIGHT, Cena gets a match against Rollins. So John lost a match to get a match with Rollins, was slotted into a better match with no outside interference from The Authority as his reward, earned a title shot doing it, and had to wait roughly 24 hours before getting his shot at Rollins anyway. Tell me again how this dude isn’t the Big Bad in charge.
Aside from that, I kinda loved this segment. It’s like watching me argue with other wrestling bloggers. Cena’s in the ring shouting his ass off about nothing, and Stephanie shows up all, “hey, we should work together. This is all pretty dumb.” She points out a lot of truths — WWE fans are fickle weirdos who turn on you for nothing, they’re sheep who’d cheer a bright red balloon if you asked them to, etc. — and sorta tiptoes around the reality that The Authority hating Cena doesn’t make any sense, because they’re both The System. They’re the measurements and qualifiers for WWE success. Cena’s still convinced that he’s Mikey Whipwreck, though, and keeps screaming in her face about how these people are important and how he’s here EVERY WEEK and all the most John Cena things you can think of. Triple H shows up and explains that this has all basically been a social experiment: they’d offer John a chance to play ball and not be a complete psycho, but of course he’s gonna yell and stomp around in a circle and be John. A Survivor Series match is made.
The most interesting thing would be the allegiance of Randy Orton, who should pull a reverse Miz and be Team Authority until the day of the show, then slither (snake jokes) over to Team Cena. Who should hate how The Authority runs things more than Randy Orton? They keep putting him into these overbooked messes and getting mad when he doesn’t singlehandedly beat the most impossible-to-beat guy in WWE history. Maybe the loss of Orton would cause Triple H to suit up for his team. Maybe Stephanie, too, if we’re lucky. I just love the idea of Triple H captaining a team where Joey Mercury and Jamie Noble are the muscle.
H, Kane, Mercury, Noble and Rollins vs. Cena, Ziggler, Reigns, Bryan (who was originally returning to the ring in November before the Internet found out, and now he’s having more mystery surgeries) and whomever? I’m in. You know the 5th guy’s gonna be R-Truth. He’s always the disposable babyface on groups of four or more.
Worst: I Was Saying Boo-So
Matches like this make me feel like such a hypocrite.
When I was younger, I didn’t get to watch a lot of WWF. My grandpa lived in Ohio and would tape the pay-per-views, but down in Virginia we only really saw WWF when Saturday Night’s Main Event aired. Because of this, I learned to pass over the popular guys like Hogan who were always in my face and cheer for the lesser-known, borderline-absurd undercarders. Sound familiar? For the longest time my favorite WWF guys were the blue pants, Hart Foundation version of Bret Hart and the KILLER BEES.
If you don’t remember the Killer Bees (or only know them as “that team with the guy Iron Sheik wants buttf*ck”), they were smaller guys in yellow and black striped trunks who were good guys, but would cheat to win by rolling out of the ring, crawling under it and crawling back out wearing masks. That’d prevent the ref from being able to tell them apart. I don’t know why they didn’t just come to the ring in the masks and skip all that extraneous effort in the middle, but whatever. They were total cheaters but I liked them, because they were colorful and interesting and the yankee version of “being a good person” is very different.
Fast forward to 2014, and my first thoughts on watching The Usos use Twin Magic to beat a heel team (besides “LOL Bella Twins”) is that they’re lying bastards I should boo. If I was still 6-years old, they’d probably be my favorite tag team, and I’d be happily clapping telling my parents how funny it was that they switched places and got away with it.
The message: stuff like this is awesome if you’re still six.
Worst: Adam Rose And The Rosebuds Are Looking Terrible
In all seriousness, these women are legit heroes who deserve to be celebrated for kicking cancer’s ass. No jokes, no insincerity. I can’t imagine the stuff they’ve gone through, and if they want to get in the ring on Raw and do some wrestling poses they had no idea existed before this afternoon, they should be allowed to.
What I continue to not enjoy is the world’s most insincere man shilling breast cancer awareness like he’d shill a pasta restaurant or a novelty grill. A pink Hulkamania is not prestigious. You could hand Hulk Hogan a check for ten grand and say “Hulk, go out there and do all your catchphrases, but make them about how eating dog shit is delicious,” and 20 minutes later he’d be saying YOU KNOW SOMETHING DUDE, DOGSHITAMANIA IS RUNNING WILD, WHATCHA GONNA DO WHEN THE DOG SHITS ON YOU??
I guess what I’m saying is that I’m sad one of the ladies didn’t hug him, only for another woman to hug him from behind at the same time and incapacitate him.
Best: THE BIG GUY
Here’s something I certainly didn’t expect. Bo Dallas issues an open challenge, and RYBACK FROM TWO YEARS AGO answers it. Like, full-on 2012 Ryback, with the meathook clothesline and the Feed Me More chants and the marching around the ring to hit the Shell Shocked. Any criticisms I might’ve had were immediately addressed and answered by this:
Best: The Explanation
This is the most pitch-perfect, believable explanation for a face turn I think I’ve ever heard. I am 100% behind The Ryback.
Best: Pretty Excited About These Ambrose/Wyatt Promos
We’re already off to a good start. Dean Ambrose has a microphone, won’t stop hitting people with it and slurs his way through WHARS BRAYWYATT IMMA FIGHT AUGHHH before throwing it on the ground in anger. Bray Wyatt answers him via the TitanTron, with a short, effective speech about how he sees himself in Ambrose, and would take great joy dissecting and dismantling a broken man’s brain. That’s so good. I like that Ambrose and Wyatt have a history through the whole Family/Shield thing, but have enough character depth to ease into a one-on-one feud with each other that makes sense. Wyatt has a very simple motivation: the joy of playing with someone as batshit as himself. Ambrose’s is even better: YOU TRICKED ME WITH GHOST HOLOGRAMS AND NOW I’M GONNA STAB YOU.
My only complaint is, uh
Worst: How Boring Is Cena/Orton Now, Cesaro?
Last week, Cesaro told a British reporter that the idea of watching John Cena vs. Randy Orton for the 500th time was boring. We made a bunch of “haha he’s gonna get buried” jokes, but it’s the internet, so we didn’t think much of it. On Sunday, Cesaro lost two straight falls to Dolph Ziggler. Last night, he was supposed to have a match with Dean Ambrose. It ended before it began when Ambrose punched him in the face with a microphone about 200 times while Cesaro helplessly flailed and tried to run away.
I’m going to cling to the conspiracy victim inside me and say it’s a work. Because seriously, you have Cesaro, a man who not only has potent “indie darling” love from nerdier fans but is the most physically talented and credible performer you’ve employed in YEARS. I can’t think of anybody more all-around legit since what, Lesnar? He can do anything. You’ve got him stuck in some awful midcard Duck Duck Goose. That’s got to be on purpose, right? You’re trying to recreate a Daniel Bryan groundswell of support for him so he’s a huge deal when you finally hand him the ball. No other explanation makes sense. Hell, THAT explanation doesn’t make sense. Bryan got that support because hew as a great worker who also happened to be a 5-foot-tall pasty hobbit. He’s an average dude with exceptional talent. Cesaro is SUPERMAN, you guys. I am never going to “see myself” in Cesaro. He is giant and ripped to shreds and lives in Sara Del Rey’s house and can run around the ring with Big Show over his head. You don’t need to build cred for a guy who already has ALL OF IT. Give the “lovable loser” push to NXT’s ska-enthusiast Seth Rogan and let Cesaro into the top of your cards with some dignity.
Worst: We Can’t Believe Brie Bella Would Cheat To Help Her Twin Sister Win A Match, She Must Be Following ORDERS
For the record, I still think the Bella Twins angle is going in the right direction. Having Nikki be a cruel overlord who is taking too much joy in her “my sister’s a slave” victory and Brie as the helpless do-gooder stuck slumming it as a butler and valet is on the money. It all builds to day 31, which is Brie whipping off her belt and lighting her sister up.
I just think it’s kinda bonkers that we spent what, seven years watching the Bella Twins work together? And during that entire run, their gimmick was being interchangeable and cheating to win their matches. Even if we believe that Daniel Bryan somehow magically cured Brie of her evil with granola and cute dogs and domesticated living, pretending Brie’s this precious flower who won’t grab Naomi’s leg to help Nikki win is preposterous. You don’t need an intense attention span to assume the twin sisters who still share a Twitter account and make convention appearances together might lean towards being in cahoots.
Worst: The Authority Should Let EVERYBODY Join Team Cena
The Authority has challenged John Cena to find any four partners he wants for his Survivor Series team. He finds some people backstage and tries to talk to them, but when he does, members of The Authority “hear about it” (possibly by watching USA Network) (USA, characters welcome) and punish them. Kane hears about Ziggler getting all handsy-shakey, and instead of being all, “hey, remember when you stole that guy’s girlfriend and she pushed him off a ladder so you could beat him, what was that all about, why are you pretending to be his friend now,” they have a match.
If The Authority REALLY watched the show, they’d let Cena find his teammates. You’ve got a better chance of beating Cena 5-on-5 than 5-on-1. 5-on-5 he might have some miscommunication with his pals and get “accidentally hurt” or counted out or whatever. 5-on-1, dude’s got ALL THE ODDS to overcome and will jumping shoulderblock you to death within the quarter-hour.
Best: Ziggler vs. Kane
I liked this more than I thought I would. It’s not terribly exciting, but it’s the best Kane’s been in a while. He loses, of course, but he’s built up as a threat. Ziggler can’t just do a bunch of moves to him and beat him like Cena, he has to formulate a gameplan. Stick and move. That works really well for a guy like Ziggler, because his two finest attributes might be “finding a convoluted way to get into a wrestling move,” and “hilariously dying.” His knee slide into a sell of Kane’s big boot was GLORIOUS.
I think my favorite part of this (and the excuse for me not being upset that Big Brother John Cena rushed out to save him) is that Ziggler feels like an actual wrestler again. The last week of matches against Cesaro and the strong 2-out-of-3 falls sweep gave him momentum, and he’s continuing it here by getting a high profile victory in association with a real-live PPV build. In a world of rotating midcarders, that’s something. Keep it going, man. I want to see you big on the souvenir cups, not jumping in the background beside Kofi.
Worst: THAT’S NOT HOW IT WORKS. THAT’S NOT HOW ANY OF THIS WORKS.
Last night’s main event made less sense than a smoking lantern that produces ghost holograms.
Cena wrestles Seth Rollins, as we’ve discussed. Rollins is working about ten times harder than anybody else on the show right now, and the match is as good as it can be with that inevitable Raw DQ finish that looms and turns the arena to shadow and ruins everything. If WWE’s doing ANYTHING like WCW, it’s baiting and switching every single finish. It’s so frustrating. When you’ve gone 20 minutes and Cena’s got the STF on, just give it to him. He “won the match” whether a decision happens or not. Letting decisions happens makes it feel like you’re a real competition with wins and losses and logic and purpose. If you want to DQ a match that isn’t clearly already over, go for it.
Anyway, besides that, so much of the match didn’t work. Remember the whole “Cena getting a shot at Rollins” thing from earlier? First, that. Second, both of these guys were in Hell in a Cell matches last night. Matches that are supposed to maim you and leave you a battered, splintered shell of your former self. Rollins is heavily taped and limping during his ring entrance and selling (sometimes brutally) on offense. John Cena is PERFECTLY F*CKING FINE. No injury, no selling, no slowdown. Full-on John Cena. Rollins will gasp for air and struggle to the top rope. Cena will just pop up, run over and start punching him. It must be like playing NBA Jam when the handicap starts kicking in, spread over twenty minutes.
What’s super infuriating about it is that it’s put together backwards. John Cena is 100% daisy fresh and twice Rollins’ size. He’s instantly shaking off all of Rollins’ offense, even when it comes from MULTIPLE PEOPLE interfering. Rollins is doing big flipping kicks and top rope moves and dives to the outside, all while his ribs are taped up, selling his ass off the entire time. So you’ve got a smaller guy with visible injuries fighting from underneath this monstrous, invulnerable Beast-God. Imagine if it was built the other way around. Imagine that the guy you’re supposed to cheer for is half the size of his opponent and taped up, because he fell off a cage and pretty much stole the show at the previous night’s PPV. Imagine that the heel is invulnerable and shaking off most of his offense, AND has two guys on the outside helping him. Imagine the nuclear heat on the nearfalls when the face pulls off something big like a dive to the outside that crashes into the announce table, or counters the heel’s finish by flipping backwards out of nowhere and cracking him in the head with a kick. Doesn’t that make more sense? Why are you giving the scrappy underdog tropes to the wormy guy everybody’s supposed to hate? Why is the #1 good guy the strongest, best guy with absolutely no chance of losing? Is there more comfort in an endless string of easy victories marred slightly by jerks than in triumph over adversity? Has human storytelling been doing it wrong for the past 4,000 years?
Kane breaks up the STF, and that’s the end of the match. Then, for basically no reason, the ENTIRE RAW LOCKER ROOM EMPTIES and everyone rushes to the ring and climbs INTO it to fight each other. Guys who were IN THE LOCKER ROOM TOGETHER ALREADY and RAN DOWN THE RAMP TOGETHER climb into the ring SO THEY CAN FIGHT. Also, we aren’t building to a 30-on-30 Survivor Series match. This ain’t the go-home show for the Royal Rumble. Why are we Insta-battle-royaling?
The cherry on top of the bizarre sundae is Cena ending the show by Attitude Adjusting two of The Authority’s deadliest villains: Bo Dallas and Heath Slater.
That poor guy’s always getting thrown down by asshole rappers.
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Night
Cena’s greatest rivalry has been his continuing one against self-awareness.
“How are you feeling, Roman?” “Good.” “Roman Reigns, ladies and gentleman! John Cena jerks off over your broken hopes and dreams when Raw rolls on!”
It would be really refreshing if they interviewed Big Show later.
Renee: “Big Show, what happened out there?”
Big Show: “I was jealous of Mark Henry. Always was, always will be.”
Son of Mecha Mummy
Hogan should just keep shilling for progressively worse things the longer this promo goes on. AND ACTUALLY IT’S ABOUT ETHICS IN GAMES JOURNALISM, GAMERMANIACS
Now it’s Brie’s job to poke holes in John’s condoms. How humiliating.
Cena: “Wanna be on my team Jack?”
Cena: “Jack I wasn’t talking to you Jack. Hey, you wanna be on my team Jack?”
Cena: “Jack I wasn’t talking to you Jack”
(Repeats for 4 hours)
Miz gets a concussion. Next week, he shows up wearing a bathrobe and cradling the mic like a brandy snifter.
That didn’t have to do with Survivor Series. Cena and Ziggler were just re-upping for another year of their agreement where Dolph sells twice as hard so Cena doesn’t have to at all.
Thats the most mic time Cesaro’s gotten all year
EL TORITO IS THERE
BUT WHAT SIDE IS HE ON?
Thanks, everybody. See you this Sunday for THE ROYAL RUMBLE!