The Best And Worst Of WWE Raw 10/31: Muppets, The Rock and Mortal Kombat

Pre-show notes:

– Comments on these reports have been down lately, due in part to our new comments section requiring registration and due in another part to me writing 600,000,000 words about wrestling and not getting it up until four in the afternoon, but go ahead and leave us a comment if you aren’t a total jerk. Leave us one even if you are. I’d appreciate it. I like talking to you about the wrestling.

– AJ picture in the intro is not necessary because she’s actually on the show this week, and oh man you guys is she ever on the show.

– All animated gifs are via the Punchsport Pagoda at Something Awful.

WARNING: I like the Muppets a lot, so if you’re one of those “meh, the Muppets” types, I don’t understand you and we should make that clear now. For more information on me and Muppets, please consult the 50 Greatest Muppets list I helped write at Progressive Boink a few years ago. This happened on an Internet before slideshows, so you should be able to enjoy it without trauma. When you’re done with that, read the second half of it.

And now, the Best and Worst of Muppet Raw.

Worst: So Are We Tired Of This Asshole Yet Or What

My problems with The Rock have been written about at length in not only this column, but in lengthy g-chat conversations with The John Report’s John Canton and throughout the entirety of the wrestling Internet, all the way back to when I was an online four-year old making Jeff Hardy banners for myself at Wrestling Uncensored. I know you like him, and I know that his ALL REAL NON-GAY MEN PRESS THEIR SHOES TO BUTTS AND WORSHIP OUR ASS-WHIPPING LORD rings true when a John Cena t-shirt reading “John Cena” infuriates you, but I think I speak for at least myself and everyone live at Raw when I say holy sh*t, why did it take you six f**king minutes to say “I’ll be John Cena’s tag team partner so he can see how good I am up close”?

And it’s not that he took six minutes. Cactus Jack took six minutes to say “Tommy Dreamer is stupid for not selling out”, but he made a point and peppered it with colorful dialogue. The Rock said literally nothing except that he 1) didn’t want to be John Cena’s partner, but 2) he hates Truth and Miz, so 3) he guesses he’ll do it. He just filled in the gaps with meandering sh*t like LET THE ROCK TELL YOU THIS! or AND THE ROCK SAYS THIS! If you disagree with me, listen to that crowd’s diminishing returns. At first they’re like WOO OKAY YEAH VIDEO OF THE ROCK, but by the four minute mark or whatever when they cut to the crowd for awed expressions it’s just people waving at the camera and not paying attention.

I don’t even know what to say about this guy anymore. Are you seriously still enjoying the content he provides? I love the hell out of Stone Cold Steve Austin, but I was brave enough to admit that the Redneck Triathlon made me stupider for watching it and the sheriff ATV only happened in a dark, alternative universe. You can’t be liking this. I don’t believe The Rock wakes up in the morning and rushes outside in his pajamas to start stomping his mailman in the asshole (then continues this trend non-stop until his body gives out from exhaustion and possibly hunger and he collapses into sleep), and if I learned anything from Hogan vs. Flair or WWF vs. WCW it’s that any dream match cool enough for an unlicensed, blurry-photos MS Paint Pro Wrestling Illustrated cover story has no resolution greater than sadness and lingering disappointment.

You had to come back because you hate the Miz and R-Truth? Didn’t you talk to the Miz like, once? You helped him win his match at Wrestlemania. Have you ever even met R-Truth?

Best: A Minute Or So Of Henry Vs. Punk

I can’t say Mark Henry vs. CM Punk was a “good match” or anything, because it lasted about a minute and a half and ended when Alberto Del Rio somehow thought a clothesline and an elbow drop had put Mizark in the red (he was in the yellow at best), but I liked what they were doing while it lasted. As his matches with John Cena or Samoa Joe back in the long-long ago taught us, CM Punk is at his best when he’s taking on a guy who is just a little bigger, stronger and better than him. If you put him up against somebody WAY bigger than him he falters (see any of his matches against Kane or The Big Show … although those might not be his fault), but if you keep it in that “lower half of six foot guy who can throw him around” territory he’s golden.

I really liked Punk flying off the ropes to land on Henry’s back and throw elbows. I like how Henry can realistically take punishment without it seeming forced. Remember when anybody would hit Bill Goldberg, and he’d take a step back and raise his arms and shake his head around and bug out his eyes? Have you ever noticed how when somebody tiny punches the Big Show he starts shoegazing? Those are unrealistic depictions of pain absorption. Mark Henry just kinda gets hurt, then toughs his way through it and does something strong. That’s good (and probably a by-product of years of him being MVP’s loser friend who just can’t seem to beat Ted freaking DiBiase) and helps give me that nervous “Randy Orton’s about to win this match, isn’t he” stomach without it making me throw the hell up.

Worst: To Face The WWE Champion, You Must Beat The World Champion

Here’s a quick hierarchy of title belt importance in WWE, TO WWE, as far as I can tell:

1. WWE Championship

2. arbitrary goals caused by things being “personal”

3. everything else that has ever happened

4. World Heavyweight Championship

5. Zack Ryder’s Internet belt he bought from somebody on the Internet

6. resolution to non-personal interoffice issues

7. Intercontinental Championship, when they remember it

8. Diva’s Championship and accompanying “battle royal -> PPV” sticky note

9. anything we forgot in #3

10. United States Championship five years from now when we’ve finally got the Benoit stink off of it

11. those belts from Spencer Gifts with skulls on them, but the skulls are wearing bows so you know it’s a belt for girls

12. the old version of the tag titles

13. the current version of the tag titles

and sure, there’s a pretty big gap between 1 and 4, but there’s no reason why you should have to beat a World Champion to get a shot at a guy holding a different belt. Why wouldn’t Punk just challenge Mark Henry for the World Heavyweight Championship? Why not do this exact same match with Punk vs. Brodus Clay, or at least someone who doesn’t get inadvertently made to look pointless by being a prop in the more important show’s stage production?

Best/Worst: Fight Back, Ricardo

I like Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez a lot, but even I’m tired of seeing Ricardo take finishing moves. I don’t want to see it anymore. It’s reaching Ziggler vs. Kingston levels of repetition. Please just have Ricardo get stretchered out for six months by a Ruff Ryder or whatever or have him throw on the Chimaera hood and start busting out corkscrew moonsaults on dudes like he’s the Maximum Champ of Battleground Pro.

(yes, that’s a real thing)

(okay, because you asked, here’s a hierarchy of independent pro wrestling title belts:

1. Absolute Champion of Absolute Intense Wrestling

2. Maximum Champion of Battleground Pro Wrestling

3. Intense Champion of Absolute Intense Wrestling)

Best: Kermit Is Better At This Than You

I can’t figure out whether “sad” or “awesome” is the correct adjective, but Kermit the Frog is literally a green felt sock on a squatting guy’s hand and he’s a better actor with better facial expressions than most of the WWE roster. I mean, look at it directly — compare Kermit’s face when Jack Swagger threatens to slaughter and eat him with any post-match “upset” Jack Swagger face. It’s not just Kermit … compare Miss Piggy’s line reads with Vickie Guerrero’s. I love you, pro wrestling, but Jim Henson puppeteering is on a different level. At some point I stopped wishing for a Muppet Raw and started wishing for wrestlers on The Muppet Show. It’s like going to the museum to look at René Magritte, then turning the corner and walking into one of those rooms where some chump put 400 alarm clocks in the ground.

I only had two Muppet-related disappointments on the night — one, that Jim Henson isn’t still alive, but that’s a disappointment I have every day, and two, that the show didn’t begin with Scooter knocking on a door and saying “five minutes to promo, Mr. Cena!” Okay, three: Sam the Eagle didn’t show up to talk about politics with Kane. And nobody totally 1970s (like Bernadette Peters) showed up to wear Mary Poppins clothes and tap dance or sing Vaudeville or whatever.

Best: The Biggest Heat Of Jack Swagger’s Career

I’m not ashamed to say that I laughed my ass off at Kermit all night. “Concerned Kermit face” is one of my favorite things in the world, and if you didn’t laugh at his little arms flailing around while Jack Swagger held his mouth shut, I don’t know what to tell you. Look at him go … just that gif gives me more fight drama than the last five years of John Morrison. Swagger’s got a weird way of having charisma when you wouldn’t expect it, like when he kinda-sorta chatted up Trish Stratus, and I think I figured it out. Swagger is a guy who has been good at everything his entire life. He was good at wrestling, he married a porn star, he won a variety of trophies … but PRO wrestling is different, and even when you’re a tall, muscular, great athlete you still have to publicly speak and act and express emotions. I feel like that stuff stresses Swagger out, and you can see the hamster running in the wheel in his head sometimes, like he’s going “okay now I’m supposed to pose to the crowd, now I’m supposed to Vader Bomb Evan Bourne, now it’s time for the roll-up”. When he’s chatting up Trish or threatening Kermit, those are things he ENJOYS, as any red-blooded American American American man would, and he goes natural with it and excels.

Swagger has too much of an upside to go the way of Snitsky, and is the number one example I could name of a guy who needs a gimmick shift to “being himself turned up to 11”. Push-up ankle-locking-ad-nauseum Jack Swagger isn’t Jake Hager, and if we ever find out exactly what Jake Hager is, it’s going to be f**king awesome. Worst case scenario, freak him out with hoverboards and drive him into manure trucks until he figures it out.

Worst: Santino

I remember being so excited for Santino segments. Now his music hits and I just go “oh great, here comes racist-ass stupid Santino”. If I’m a wrestling hipster for anyone, as I’ve been called for liking Zack Ryder better when he was underground, I’m a hipster for Santino. Once Santino started being the “funny guy” to people without a sense of humor, he stopped being the funny guy to the rest of us. I miss the Glamarella days when he’d make John Cena laugh in the middle of a segment. Kermit had to start going “uh huh, oh yeah, is that so” between Santino’s sentence because the guy playing him probably could not f**king believe that this is what constitutes the funny part of their live show. And this isn’t even REAL KERMIT, it’s Weird Sounding Muppets Kermit.

By the way, if you clicked that link, please notice John Cena Rising Above Hate. The best thing about wrestling in 2011 is that Cena has mostly stopped using “YOUR A FAGGOT” as his response for everything. Jesus Christ, that was the worst.

Best: Miss Piggy, Selling Kelly Kelly

I like how they couldn’t go 30 seconds into Muppets without having Miss Piggy and Vickie Guerrero interact. Calling Vickie Jack Swagger’s mother was one of the most legitimately funny things on Raw in forever, but my favorite moment of the segment post-Kermit-getting-Swaggermouth’d was Kelly Kelly appearing to kiss Kermit on the mouth, and Miss Piggy’s reaction. It doesn’t do much for Kelly’s reputation when she decides to waltz up in her Digital Playground Pirates costume and french the guest livestock without context or provocation. Piggy should’ve kicked her ass. All we needed was a backstage segment where the Bella Twins grab Gonzo’s arms and seductively tell him how they’re HUGE FANS of his circus act only for him to turn them down because he prefers chicken vag. And then he hooks up with Kelly instead.

I’m sorry, Kelly, I know you don’t have a chicken’s vagina, but these jokes are too easy.

The Best Best Of All Time: AJ As Kitana

Like many of you, I recognize that AJ is a beautiful young woman and assumed her “HEY PALS I’M A GAMER GIRL VROOM VROOM STAR TREK BEEP BOOP” thing was just a way to get her over with that crowd who believes Olivia Munn loves StarCraft and isn’t just posing naked with an Xbox controller to take your money. Last night, in the same ring where Brie and Nikki Bella dressed as the Super Mario Bros. because they were “major league butt kickers”, AJ dressed as Kitana from the Mortal Kombat series and, in nearly every definition of a masterstroke, tried to f**king levitate Tamina with her fans.

Do you understand what this means? It’s all real. AJ is actually this person. Look at her, she did the stance and everything. The fans would’ve levitated her, too, if this had happened in CHIKARA. How do you come to terms with this? It’s like meeting Santa Claus and finding out he actually brought presents to your house for like 10 years before you stopped believing in him. It’s like meeting John Cena and finding out he never gives up IN REAL LIFE. AJ, beautiful young pretty AJ with her size 0.3 waist and optimistically five-figure pro wrestling salary knows who this Mortal Kombat character is and could reference her like I might. I’ve never been so happy. Congratulations, AJ, your little fan waggle moved you into my FAVE FIVE. From now on I’m referring to you as “my girl AJ RIGHT THERE”.

And in case you were wondering, AJ, Archibald Peck, Portia Perez, Miyako Matsumoto, Akira Tozawa.

Worst: Ol’ Hollow Eve

And way, way over on the other end of the believable costumes spectrum we have battle royal winner Eve Torres, who explained via Exclusive that she chose Robin because “not a lot of people know this, but Robin was a master of the martial arts”, and because she trains in jiu jitsu she feels a special connection to Robin, and I guess not Batman or Nightwing or Lady Shiva or Batgirl or Talia al Ghul or Catwoman or the f**king Creeper or the 100,000 other Batman-related characters who know martial arts. She feels a connection to the one who has a shiny “sexy” version of his costume at the Halloween Express. The Batman character who pops his coochie before he does a handspring onto guys. That guy. Deep connection.

While we’re at it, as much as I liked Kaitlyn as Dog: The Bounty Hunter and Aksana as the world’s least athletic Morticia Addams, how many more times are we going to have a battle royal to decide the number one contender to the Divas Championship? Is there no other way we can get to this point? Eve won a battle royal to be named the same amount of contender she was two weeks ago. Good job, Eve! What’s the purpose of the other Divas if only Kelly Kelly, Eve and Beth Phoenix get title shots? Wouldn’t it make sense to give Alicia the win here, since she beat Natalya on last week’s Raw? What about giving the shot to someone like AJ and giving them a chance to get a crowd response by actually accomplishing something? If you felt something stronger than, “well here’s Eve again”, you’re lying. Nobody cares about this or likes this. Hell, give it to Nikki Bella, I’d rather see Beth trying to thwart Twin Magic with brute strength than see her pretend the Eve-a-canrana or whatever is a legitimate part of a moveset.

Another thing: girl battles royal where you can toss out your opponent through the ropes instead of over them are pro wrestling’s version of rec league softball where if you walk a guy, the girl batting behind him gets to walk too. Completely stupid. You’re just assuming the girl isn’t any good at softball. Eve can spring backwards off the top rope, but she can’t put a little effort into picking somebody up? Come on. Rey Mysterio is as short as these women, shouldn’t people be allowed to boogie board him under the bottom rope during Royal Rumbles?

Best: SummerSlam Closure

During the Cee Lo Green Oompha-loompic performance portion of the Best And Worst Of WWE Summerslam 2011 report, I wrote the following:

Worst: Why Is Alicia Fox A Sailor

Nobody else was wearing a sailor hat. Cee Lo Green isn’t a sailor. What are you doing, Alicia Fox?

Last night on Raw, Alicia Fox competed in the Divas battle royal and guess what her costume was? She bought her costume for this in August. Not since Test showed back up to mention Triple H stealing Stephanie from him have I felt so relieved by a moment of pro wrestling closure.

Best, Oh God This Is So Best: Beaker O’Shaunessy

All of the buys. All of them.

I have a working theory substantiated by 500 episodes of Muppet Babies that it’s impossible to put Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker on screen and have it not be great, and last night continued to prove it. Every moment of this was great, from the idea that a Wellness Tested company is allowing a puppet to cook for them what amounts to blue meth to Christian wanting to meet Muppets but feeling insulted by them not wanting to meet him back (and shoving down Beaker’s head and calling him a nerd) to the coup de grâce: Sheamus BEING A STAR and revealing that he’s distantly related to Beaker. When you approach a Muppet Raw your brain types things like, “they should make Breaker and Sheamus interact because they look exactly the same LOL”, but when they actually do what your brain typed it’s a revelation. All we needed was Sweetums putting Sheamus through the security barrier.

Best: Wade Barrett Vs. Evan Bourne

The counter sequence between Polish Abolitionist Barrett and Evan Bourne was so swank it almost made me forget about John Morrison dumping his life’s sandbag on Wade last week and ruining his “I can do the Wasteland in all SORTS of crazy ways” routine. Barrett’s resurgence as an Actual Guy is making the Nexus devotee in me very, very happy, and guys like Bourne and Trent Barreta are instrumental in making the Wade’s Strongest Slam look devastating. Bourne gave the move his best Family Guy sell, and if Wade could keep dropping guys head-under-feet like he’s powerbombing them I could start buying Wasteland.


Worst: I Was Saying Boo-Ourne

In accordance with its Talent Wellness Program, WWE has suspended Matthew Korklan (Evan Bourne) for 30 days effective immediately for his first violation of the company’s policy.

A few things to counter the “wait, what” reaction of nearly everyone reporting this:

1. Lots of pro wrestlers do drugs, not just performance enhancing drugs, because lots of people do drugs, so don’t ever be surprised when you catch your Aunt smoking pot or find out Evan Bourne got suspended.

2. Bourne spent a lot of time in Dragon Gate when he was Matt Sydal, and if you think “Mid-Breath Gym” isn’t just code for “jump in this Saw 2-style pit full of steroid needles” I’ve got a trios team from Mexico I’d like you to book.

3. His partner is a fake Rasta guy.

Meanwhile, Mason Ryan, clean as a whistle! Hopefully this will be the only time Bourne gets suspended for something like this and the tag titles don’t suffer (hahaha), and the worst thing that comes from it will be those “Evan Bourne likes to get HIGH” jokes when he’s 38 and doing shooting star presses for chants in TNA.

Worst: I Don’t Even Like The What Chant When Muppets Do It

Some post-Henson Muppets work better than others. Kermit is doing okay. Ernie from Sesame Street, not so much. Statler and Waldorf have suffered a lot, and despite Dave Goelz being funny and great at his job, a lot of their “oomph” came from Henson’s inert need to go as far and elaborately with a pun as humanly possible. Henson would just kinda say something sh*tty and go HO HO HO HO about it and it ruled, but now they seem less like heckling old men and more like a old age comedy team going through the motions. Making jokes about the “what” chant, as funny as “old people can’t hear” may be, is not the way to compensate for that loss.

Honestly, if Jim Henson was alive today and sitting next to me at a show doing “WHAT” chants I’d turn on him in a heartbeat. I still haven’t totally forgiven him for changing that original version of Big Bird that looked like Jimmy from South Park, and that happened like ten years before I was born.

Best: Brodus Clay, Existential Fat Man

Brodus Clay as the philosophically demanding pro wrestler is a great idea. I want to hear him scream his way through “the world is so exquisite, with so much love and moral depth, that there is no reason to deceive ourselves with pretty stories for which there’s little good evidence. Far better, it seems to me, in our vulnerability, is to look Death in the eye and to be grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides” and then sit on Derrick Bateman’s chest as hard as he can.

If he starts dressing like Carl Sagan as well, that would be a plus.

Worst: Take It Home

The Alberto Del Rio vs. The Big Show match ended up being a pretty well-structured big man vs. little man match and better than it had any right to be, but Jesus, it felt like it was 45 minutes of front facelocks and somewhere near the rising-action-to-commercial-break I started zoning out. Remember, I’m the guy who thinks that 19-minute Flair/Steamboat wristlock sequence is the greatest thing that ever happened in wrestling. I don’t know, I just didn’t dig it like I should. I liked that WRESTLING in all capital letters was happening, and on a show with seven matches I don’t for a second want to be that guy who chants “boring”. I’d rather have the most boring wrestling in history than the most exciting backstage walking, but when I’m multitasking hard enough to start figuring out Riddler trophy puzzles in my mind you need to take it the hell home and move on to the “losing to the punch” part.

Wait, hold on

Worst: Wait, Don’t Take It Home Like That

Alberto Del Rio’s corner skip into Weapon Of Mass Destruction made Destiny do one of those subversive “I can’t believe we’re watching this dumb thing” laughs, and I couldn’t blame her. On a night when the United States Champion and Tag Team Champions got pinned clean without losing their championships and the unstoppable monster World Heavyweight Champion was in danger of losing to the spindly, mouthy guy in the Big Trouble In Little China shirt, watching the WWE Champion get punched in the face and pinned by a guy they’ve spent 20 minutes building as “not even 50%” means something is terribly, terribly wrong.

“Pinning the champion in a non-title match to earn a title shot” is right behind “Divas battle royal” on WWE Creative’s list of story ideas, but that wasn’t even what was happening … Zack Ryder has been trouncing Dolph Ziggler for a month, only to lose his one actual title shot. The tag champions lost to set up a multi-man tag that might not even happen thanks to Bourne’s suspension, CM Punk was trying to beat the Heavyweight Champion to get a shot at a different Heavyweight Champion and Big Show just F**KING PUNCHED THE WWE CHAMPION IN THE FACE AND PINNED HIM AND DOESN’T SEEM TO CARE ABOUT IT. None of that is building to something. Imagine if the Divas had a battle royal and the winner got to face Beth in a non-title match, beat her easily, then never mentioned it again. What is going on? This isn’t an issue with storytelling, this is an issue with you knowing what a goddamn story is.

Last night’s show should’ve had at least three title changes. That’s not a good thing, but at least I could’ve rationalized it if you’d pulled the f**king trigger.

Worst: CM Punk Refusing To Be A Star

I actually stated writing this as a “Best”, because just like last week, Punk is getting closer to what he was during that month or so when wrestling was cool again, but I rewatched the clip and had to change it to Worst. There’s just something unsettling about the way Punk’s been going about things lately. I want it to be a continuation of his Cult of Personality theme, the theme that he’s being a self-involved prick but he’s so charismatic that we follow along with him and accept his warped interpretation of what’s good and bad about the WWE Universe, but it isn’t. He’s beating up a vulnerable guy to get what he wants because he’s got some personal vendetta against him two months after openly saying Del Rio was right for cashing in Money in the Bank on him. Del Rio just doesn’t want a match with him. That’s ADR’s entire angle. Not only does Punk, the good guy, bully Del Rio, the bad guy, into getting what he wants, he makes sure to deride his ethnicity the entire time.

Listen to him, goading Del Rio on in condescending Spanish, as if Del Rio doesn’t speak English. “Comprende?” Throwing water in his face. Calling him “amigo” with a verbal wank every chance he gets. It sucks. It’s the “evil foreigner” trope taken to this weird 2011 place where you aren’t evil for what you do as a foreigner, but for being a foreigner at all. It’s weird, and it’s beneath any version of Punk we’re supposed to be cheering, but what makes it terrible is how much the crowd loves it. Del Rio was a coward to have Ricardo cost Punk his match against Mark Henry, but Punk’s “revenge”, especially when played up by Jerry Lawler, scoffing and boasting about how Del Rio is getting what he deserves, is a terrible message for a terrible generation. Claim “shades of gray” all you want, but when you deal with the most base, simple stories of good versus evil and never provide a deeper meaning I didn’t have to pull out of my ass for this column, the colors are black and white. Gray just makes people forget what black and white used to look like.

Best: Fozzie Bear As Jim Halpert

My biggest want for Muppet Raw was Mark Henry scooping Fozzie Bear off his Muppeteer’s hand and World’s Strongestly Slamming him in the middle of the ring. My second biggest want was Rowlf, possibly operating on Triple H and making jokes about it.

I got neither of those things, but I did get Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger trying to mutilate Gonzo while Fozzie stood back like a wimp and watched. I also got Jack Swagger’s amazing “HAM SANDWICH, WOCKA WOCKA” line earlier in the night, which puts me one thrown tomato away from hitting for the Fozzie cycle. I hope these segments are special features on the The Muppets DVD, so I’ll have something to watch if “fart shoes” is as funny as that movie gets.

Best: Beaker, Out Of Nowhere

I didn’t like a guy with a green hand puppet showing up to interrupt a segment involving Kermit the Frog (wait, what), but once again I laughed my entire asshole off when Beaker just randomly showed up at ringside to give Santino the blue potion to help replenish his life and magic and help him win his match with Oriental Mist~ and a roll-up. The announcers being all HOW DID HE GET DOWN TO RINGSIDE was funny, too. I think Santino should maintain this Muppet loyalty and have them randomly show up Marvel Vs. Capcom style to give him abilities and assists. Like, Santino’s about to get hit with a World’s Strongest Slam and the screen flashes and Crazy Harry jumps in and explodes Mark Henry with dynamite. Or he only conducts backstage interviews with Guy Smiley. Something.

Worst: But Seriously, This Santino Thing

I mentioned it last week, but Santino should be having these comedy get-togethers with the lower ranking guys on the show, not with two borderline main-eventers trying to make something of themselves. Jack Swagger, like Dolph Ziggler before him, should not have any trouble mangling the sh*t out of Santino Marella. WWE should take a note from the 900 Swagger/Evan Bourne matches this year: it doesn’t matter if Swagger controls the match for 90 seconds, if he gets rolled up and beaten with nothing in second 91 he looks like he sucks. Wins and losses don’t matter, but HOW someone wins and HOW someone loses does.

The quicker version of the report was just this

Best: Muppets

Worst: Wrestling

I probably should’ve kept it that way.

Best: Dolph Ziggler Ganso-Bombing The Rough Ryder

“Dolph Ziggler falling down” is my new drug. Zack Ryder basically has Kelly Kelly’s offense against anyone else. His moves in WWE 12 are ‘kick, flapjack, Ruff Ryder’ and every other button does a snapmare. Against Ziggler he looks like a boss, and if you watch Dolph take the Ruff Ryder in that clip you’ll see what I’m talking about. Logistically, a jumping inner-thigh to the face shouldn’t do anything to you, and you should just remain static while the jumping guy loses his balance with his ass on your shoulder and falls and paralyzes himself. Ziggler understands that it hurts because of what it does to you when you hit the ground, and if you hit it like you’ve been neck-broken and throw your body backwards it can sincerely look like it Murder Death Killed you.

Worst: This Match Really Didn’t Make Sense

But yeah, just like Santino, none of this made sense. The actual physical wrestling was good, but two big questions:

1. Why have your United States Champion lose another match cleanly to a guy who didn’t beat him for the United States Championship at Vengeance?

2. Why have Ziggler get his foot on the rope and tease Ryder’s victory if you’re just going to have Ryder win anyway?

I get that Ziggler is so good at this that he’s best utilized making other people look better, but damn, Ryder wasn’t good enough to be on Raw a month ago and now he’s eaten Alex Riley’s heart absorbed his powers? I don’t know. I just want somebody to pull Daniel Bryan out of the 25-spot in the Powerless 25 if “people liking me on the Internet” is reason for a push now.

Best: This Raw Has Been Pretty Good, And I Just Realized Why

Oh hey, yeah, none of this has been happening. Triple H is out for at least five weeks with a “we trusted Kevin Nash to wrestle in 2011”, but I’m sure when the doctors realize how tough and strong and cool he is he’ll be back sooner.

Worst: Ugh Wait This Is Still Really Bad

I don’t want to devote another thing to goddamn Michael Cole and WWE’s attempt to recreate the lightning-in-a-bottle of anal bleeding by naming off rectal diseases on national television. The Michael Cole Challenge got cut for time, possibly due to Del Rio/Big Show taking up 89 minutes of programming, and we STILL had to have a diaper-wagging, Jim Ross is a fat old palsied loser thing, didn’t we? The only logical solution here is that someone steps in, fires them both and lets Jack Korpela and William Regal take over on Raw. WWE, if you’re ever planning to do something I suggest in this column, do this one.


Best: Easy Melina Jokes

“John Morrison should’ve hooked up with Miss Piggy, since Melina was already off somewhere f**king Kermit the Frog” and so on. This was the best use of John Morrison since he Got Got by R-Truth a few months ago, and only would’ve been better if we’d gotten to see him parkour over a bunch of Muppeteers to hit his mark. Also funny is that he had a “friend” who would be a better date for Miss Piggy, but just turns around and underarms the nearest Muppet-sized person to be his replacement. Too bad Austin Aries doesn’t have a WWE contract.

It would’ve been funnier if he’d agreed to go out with Piggy, only to wander back in with a dozen roses a few hours later to find her getting porked by Batista.

Best: Hornswoggle, Living The Dream

But no, Hornswoggle. In a conversation a few days ago I referred to him as the Peter Dinklage of wrestling, or “the midget with dignity”. It was refuted, because of all the condescending sh*t they’ve pulled on him, but consider everything Hornswoggle’s done since arriving in WWE.

1. be Cruiserweight Champion

2. kiss AJ, Kaitlyn AND Maxine

3. hug hot 30-something MILF Sunny, and he’s not very tall so he basically faceplanted in her boobs

4. have one more awesome Wrestlemania moment than Ultimo Dragon (getting hit by a trashcan)

5. pin at least five more non-little person male wrestlers than Braden Walker

6. merge the WWE and Home Alone universes

7. hang out with Muppets

This guy was wrestling in NWA Wisconsin a few years ago, sitting beside me at an ROH show in Chicago. Now look where he is. He has action figures and shows up in video games. Hornswoggle is living a life I would’ve been proud to call my own.

Best, So Many Muppet Bests: Kermit Gets Bagged

It’s hard, especially on a show with AJ doing the Fan Lift and Statler doing “you can’t see me” until he collapses, to say what the best moment was. It was AJ, but the second best was Kermit getting a tiny, pre-prepared paper bag stuck on his head by Cody Rhodes for no reason. Muppet Raw is the best and should stay like this forever. There is no end to the amount of “all we need now is ____” sentences I can write. All we need now is for Ted DiBiase to sing a tender song about which step he chooses when he sits on the stairs. All we need now is Scotty 2 Hotty to show up and have a dance-off with Slimey from Sesame Street. See?

A billion bests.



Worst: Jesus, John, Stop Hurting Mike

It’s the first move in the video. Watch as John Cena hits the ropes, forgets he isn’t trying to mangle a f**king African Elephant with his monster body and just PLOWS through Miz with a clothesline. Holy sh*t, why is it that every time Miz gets into a match with Cena he ends up having his head smashed against something?

I enjoyed Cena vs. Miz a little, especially when this happened and they started going 1998 All Japan with the head drops and all, but I think there needs to come a time when we step back and accept that while Cena and Miz both have a lot to offer as wrestlers, they don’t have a lot to offer wrestling each other. It’s just not great ever, and it always reminds us of Wrestlemania and the worst non-Hogan main event in that show’s history. They just do their stuff, and no matter how much better Miz gets at his taunts, Cena’s still just gonna jump at him as hard as he can and bruise his brain and we’ll have three more months of Alex Riley feud-quality Miz to live through.

Also, this whole thing:

Worst: Thank Goodness The Rock Will Be Here To Help Him Soon

In last week’s column I mentioned how superfluous it seemed for John Cena to beat up The Miz and R-Truth in a handicap match by himself on Raw but need to call down THE THUNDER in the form of Dwayne Johnson as tag team back-up at Survivor Series. It got way, way worse this week, when R-Truth jumped Cena from the crowd but got IMMEDIATELY dispatched, and Cena just nonchalantly rolled back in the ring and STF’d Miz into submission. It got somehow worse than that when Truth got BACK into the ring, only to get Attitudinaly Adjusted, demasked and mocked.

Again, if you can beat these guys so handily yourself, 1) why is everyone afraid to them to the point of walking out, and 2) why do you need the guy you hate most in the world to show up and have your back when you fight them again? Kofi Kingston just lost a partner and he doesn’t have the wherewithal to turn on anybody, grab him. Anybody. Jim Ross. Anybody. They aren’t tough, and as long as the C.O.O. isn’t around you’re the toughest and most Never Giving Up of them all.

Worst: Falling Off Hard

Early in the night, sometimes around Jack Swagger clamping Kermit’s mouth shut, I posted “this is the best Raw in history” on Twitter. As the boldface says, it fell off hard. I don’t know what happened. Early on even the bad wrestling was kinda good (Del Rio vs. Big Show might still be going on, I haven’t checked), but by the end there were maybe 2 Muppets per half hour and a bunch of retread. Survivor Series is hurting right now, headlined by the tag team match nobody really asked to see and an Eve Torres title match, all of the champions are losers and one (and only one) of them is on drugs for 30 days. You should be using these extra few weeks to build to a really good, really well put-together show, guys, not waiting until two weeks prior and holding battles royal to decide everything. Don’t make me fantasy book it. I hate fantasy booking. I will fantasy book the Chickbusters into the WWE Tag Team Championship if you make me fantasy book it.

Hopefully next week’s show will come back hard with some good wrestling, because after that is the three hour RAW GETS ROCKED special that I legitimately might get someone to fill in for me on, because holy sh*t. I’m just going to watch six episodes of The Muppet Show and report on those instead.