– For the record, I have made a ton of friends with salad.
– Comments, shares, likes, what-have-you are really appreciated. It was a big week for me (and if you’re a regular reader, you’ll know why), so sharing this week’s column is a must. Plus, if you get enough of a sense of entitlement in regard to making Best And Worst Of Raw the most popular wrestling column online, you end up being my friend for real. WRESTLING BROS, WOO!
– Thanks as always to Casey/THESTINGER of Hammerlock Dialectic for GIFs.
– I still want to do a Best And Worst Of King Of Trios, but my schedule’s been working against me. I’ll try to have it out this week, but if I don’t, don’t beat me up too badly about it.
Anyway, please to enjoy the Best And Worst Of WWE Raw for September 24, 2012.
Best: I Would Probably Marry Paul Heyman, Or
Worst: In A Better World, This Was An Awesome Segment
On paper, last night’s opening segment was great. It had a lot of things I really enjoy, including:
1. Paul Heyman talking
2. An NXT/FCW guy getting a prominent character role on the show
3. Overtly-heel CM Punk
4. References to things that have happened in WWE’s past as a way to explain WWE’s present
5. AJ in shorts
A year-and-a-half ago that would’ve been my favorite segment of the year. And to be honest, last night’s opener was a hell of a lot better than the previous week’s Wah Wah Wah Wah-fest, but it still didn’t click for me. I’ve spent all morning trying to figure it out, and this is the best explanation I could come up with: When you surround a good segment with a bunch of bad ones, you don’t really “earn” it, no matter how good the performers are.
By itself, CM Punk (the bad guy) using a moment of vulnerability from AJ (the good guy) against her is smart. AJ WAS ridiculously in love with him not that long ago, and she HAS used her position of power to take out personal stuff on people who wronged her. Whether that’s good or bad in itself is up to the viewer, I guess. Punk should be allowed to be as slimy as possible about this. I’ve seen way too many guys flip the “MY EX-GIRLFRIEND IS A BITCH WHORESLUT” the second the relationship is over and get proud of how noble they were while they’re lowly former person-they-were-supposed-to-be-in-love-with sent sexts or whatever. This is a real character, and if WWE is committed to making Punk the heel, it’s the kind of thing he could/should be doing. Getting his smarmy manager guy to also mock AJ (especially when he’s an older, fatter, balder creep) is icing on the cake.
The problem is that the segment isn’t “by itself”. It continues a lot of WWE’s least admirable story tropes, like a woman being treated like a second-class citizen for doing anything wrong (or right, but too personal). See also: Eve Torres as a “hoeski”. It continues WWE’s trend of giving the bad guys reasonable points (AJ abuses her power because of personal reasons) and only letting the good guys respond with slaps to the face of pipes to the stomach, because bad guys complain and good guys FIGHT~. It also sadly follow’s WWE’s wishy-washy approach to full-on CM Punk, which has left a big part of the audience chanting CM PUNK, CM PUNK when he calls the lady names. Plus there’s really no pay-off for AJ. She goes backstage and cry-threatens the one person she has actual power over (the newbie referee) and Punk’s only comeuppance is from a guy who wasn’t in the segment at all.
So that’s where it lands. A good, possibly even great segment lowered by its terrible environment. AJ, if you’re gonna let facetious marriage proposals turn you into Rachel Berry storming out of a glee club rehearsal or let insults from Vickie Guerrero make you scream and throw around chairs, you might wanna put the tartan skull logos back on and come on home.
Best: Yes, I Blacked Out And Had Fevered Night-Terrors During Another Goddamn Kofi Kingston/Dolph Ziggler Match On Raw, But It Was A Competitive Match And They Never Seem To Have Those Anymore, So Whatever
I’ve been doing this column long enough that the regulars tweet-blitz me when certain things happen, and nothing gets as big of a HAHAH OH GOD I BET BRANDON JUST DIED AND WENT TO THE HOSPITAL reaction like the announcement of a Dolph Ziggler versus Kofi Kingston match.
For the newer readers, WWE started every booking meeting between 2008-2011 by writing DOLPH ZIGGLER V KOFI KINGSTON on the dry-erase board in capital letters. I have a photographic memory, so I can confirm that every pay-per-view as well as every episode of Raw, Smackdown, NXT, Superstars, Jakked, Velocity and Tuesday Night Titans between X and Y featured a goddamn Dolph Ziggler/Kofi Kingston match, sometimes 2-out-of-3 falls, sometimes 33-out-of-65 falls, sometimes under the “keep doing falls until one of you dies” stipulation. It was the worst. Ziggler and Kingston are both solid athletes, but Ziggler’s strengths are all in his sell of offensive, and Kofi’s biggest weakness is DOING OFFENSE. They’re each other’s “favorite opponent” or whatever so maybe I don’t know anything about wrestling, but I know about WATCHING wrestling, and by year 4 of the feud those things made me feel like I was wandering through the orgy house from Eyes Wide Shut.
Last night’s match was pretty good, as far as Raw matches go. I don’t want to shit on it entirely because I WANT competitive matches on Raw, not just the illusion of competition those main-eventer tag matches have, and good or bad it’s a step in the right direction. I also liked Ziggler winningly cleanly, because that can’t happen enough.
Worst: Kofi Kingston Can’t Even Jump Accurately Anymore
I’ve seen GLOW Girls deliver better dropkicks than that. But the jumping part sure was great, am I right, guys!
You guys can fight me all you want about the Kofi Kingston Is Terrible talking point, but until he stops being a shaky-ass video game character with crappy hit detection I’m gonna keep GIFing his terrible jumpfights.
Best: Gerald, A Waiter In That Restaurant Near The K-Mart
I’ve become friends with a few people who wrestle on the independent level, and right or wrong, the experience of wrestling on a regular basis has given them a critical eye and made it hard for them to watch wrestling on TV and not nitpick it to death. I think that could be said for any profession. I was a trainer at the Olive Garden for two years and was great at my job, so whenever I go out to eat I’m all “our waiter needs to learn about SILENT SERVICE” or I’m meticulously pre-bussing plates or being all “RAGHH CARRY GLASSES AT THE BOTTOM I DON’T WANT YOUR FINGERS IN MY MOUTH”. In my head. Mostly.
Those worlds collided during last night’s DragonFire segments, and while I thought they were extremely hit or miss, Kane as roleplaying therapy-waiter “Gerald” (why not Glenn?) was choice. I liked that he went full Goldust and wore his wrestling gear under his server clothes. I also kinda enjoyed him confessing to murders randomly, but come on, as a food service professional I know that if someone had dunked their head in the deep fryer, no self-respecting manager would let food get through the expo line sprinkled with discarded head-pieces. That “cooks spitting in your food” thing only exists in TV shows and movies. If a cook ever spit in your food at the Olive Garden they’d be fired immediately, thrown out on their ass and your food would get made again. And that’s at the lowbrow f**king Olive Garden. Food contamination only exists at places like Taco Bell, where the cooks and managers are both 17 and want hits on their YouTube channels.
D-Bry should’ve complained to the manager about Kane being rude and gotten a gift card.
Best: Mick Foley
Much in the way that the opening segment was good on paper and not-so-good in reality, the Mick Foley/CM Punk Mic-Work Of The Stars showdown was good on paper, bad on a bigger piece of paper and really good in reality. Why I was afraid it wouldn’t be what it should be:
1. Mick Foley appearances aren’t special anymore. They’re even less special than when Piper and Steve Austin show up. He’s just a reoccurring character now, not so much an Important Legend.
2. I am absolutely goddamn tired of the CM Punk championship storyline. It almost urges itself to not make sense. Punk ignores the compelling nature of his actual point of view in favor of saying “I demand respect!” and “I am the WWE Champion” on loop. His detractors ignore the compelling nature of how easy he is to take down in favor of saying “you have to EARN respect” even after he’s earned it, or “you have to prove to THESE PEOPLE that you’re WWE Champion!” despite him being champ for like 300 days and the crowd chanting CM Punk. It’s an exercise in futility and a waste of good talent.
So I went into the segment (that again would be an instant THIS GON BE GOOD to most people, and rightly so) with caution. What I got was Mick Foley casually breathing life into stale talking points by mentioning how he only held the belt for 29 days in three runs and nobody cares, and Punk regurgitating the same points he always makes but with a greater sense of urgency, because he was in the ring with someone who could challenge him. It didn’t approach Foley’s greater “talking to the young stars” segments (like when he cried blood and put the f**king fear of God in Randy Orton), but it was good. Foley is good.
And yes, I’d rather see 2012 TNA-ass Mick Foley against Punk in that Hell In A Cell match than John Cena. Right now I’d rather see John Morrison in that match than John Cena, and that is not a statement I type lightly.
Worst: The John Cena ‘Greatness’ Quandary
That brings us to John Cena. WWE legends, top stars and Johns Cena love to mention how CM Punk can’t be a great champion until he’s proven he’s the better man against John Cena, despite the fact that he beat Cena to win the belt, beat Cena to unify Cena’s FAKE TOY CHAMPIONSHIP BELT with the real one at the next pay-per-view, retained against Cena at Raw 1000, won a match with Cena in it fair and goddamn square at SummerSlam and retained against Cena at Night Of Champions. He has beaten Cena. HE HAS BEATEN CENA, IT IS OVER.
But people are still like “you didn’t REALLY beat him, you have to ACTUALLY beat him”. Punk brings up the most astute talking point ever (John Cena keeps getting title shots for no reason and it’s stupid, and other people deserve a chance to wrestle), but eventually gets put into another match with him. So then he beats him by pinfall, and Sgt. Slaughter comes out all, “NO MAGGOT YOU AREN’T REALLY THE WWE CHAMPION UNTIL YOU BEAT JOHN CENA BY SUBMISSION, BECAUSE NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE DO THAT”. So Punk gets put into a match with Cena and beats him by submission, and Nikolai Volkoff waddles out and is all “NO COMRADE, YOU ARE NOT WWE SHAMPION UNTIL YOU BEAT JOHN YEANA IN A THREE STAGES OF HELL MATCH”. So Punk gets put into a Three Stages Of Hell match and beats Cena in two straight falls via submission and pinfall respectively, then wins an unnecessary third fall by pinning him IN a submission, but oh no, here’s the ghost of Big John F**king Studd to tell Punk he’s not WWE champion until sets John on fire.
The truth is that Cena IS sorta the measuring stick to kayfabe WWE success, but he’s not really any harder to beat than Orton. The only difference is that when you beat Orton you’ve beaten Orton, you don’t have to watch him stumble out of the ring upset-but-confused and get confronted with 30 f**king rematches in a row the next night.
Worst: Daniel Bryan And Kane Are No Kurt Angle And Christy Hemme
I appreciate Daniel Bryan and Kane bonding over ultraviolence, but I’m not sure why they had to cum about it. I’m also not sure who thought a When Harry Met Sally joke was a relevant place to go with these skits in 2012, especially since WWE mastered that reference in 2005 when WrestleMania went Hollywood.
– Christy Hemme cumming > Daniel Bryan cumming
– Kurt Angle in a Billy Crystal wig > Kane eating spaghetti with a bowie knife
– Linda McMahon’s awkward punchline delivery > Mae Young being an omnipresent sex monster
– anything > Mae Young doing anything
Worst: Titus O’Neil Does Not Make His Lateral Press A Win
I felt like I was watching Osaka Pro as he was going for that pin. I thought that maybe the spin around the leg and the random arm-grab were gonna lead to something, and Santino would end up tied up in a pretzel with Titus sitting on him, saluting like Sailor Moon. Who the f**k knows.
Best: Somewhere Coral Is Pumping Her Fists and Chanting ‘FEED ME MORE’
I think Miz versus Ryback was my favorite match on the show. My favorite part of watching Goldberg’s streak was every time he’d step up to a higher quality of wrestler, to see if he’d be affected at all or just plow right through Perry Saturn like he did Jerry Flynn. Last night was Ryback’s next step up, and it was a step with authority. Something special about Jim Ross yelling YA CAN’T DEFEND IT~ as Miz is about to die.
As an added bonus, Ryback got to appear at the end of the show as Mick Foley’s bodyguard (?), because I guess Ryback’s interaction with Miz last week taught him that he could interact with actual wrestlers, and not just wrestle stagehands who remembered to bring their trunks.
Oh, and his finish got an announced-for-real name. SHELL SHOCK, which is great because he’s a turtle-themed wrestler. I think? I don’t know what a Ryback is. I would’ve called it the “Winnie The Pooh Marching Ryback Slam”. Put that shit on a shirt post-haste.
Worst: Hahah Did They Seriously Find A Finish Worse Than Wasteland?
Two talking points for the Tyson Kidd versus Wade Barrett match:
1. Compare and contrast this match with Kofi Kingston’s earlier in the show. Watch how Tyson Kidd is able to jump high, but also to look like he’s actually trying to kick someone when he kicks and hit moves with impact without being sloppy or stiff. Also pay attention to how he doesn’t stand still in the middle of the ring for 30 seconds at a time holding up a big sign that says OKAY EVERYBODY, TIME TO HIT THIS NEXT MOVE YOU KNOW. That’s more or less why I shit-talk Kofi and think Tyson Kidd is awesome. Because I’m watching wrestling and paying attention.
2. I’m starting to get worried that Wade Barrett might not be as good as I think he is. Don’t get me wrong, the sky isn’t falling on him or anything (not a Zack Ryder situation by any means), but his 1/2 Randy Orton-style body has made him far less threatening and inability to put together a moveset that looks worth a shit (outside of the Black Hole Slam, which he’s great at) is starting to bug me.
I mean, his old finisher was “Wasteland”, which didn’t really gel with his “bare-knuckle boxing” schtick and was an Attitude Adjustment with even less work involved. Also it was called f**king “Wasteland”. Now he’s complimenting his bare-knuckle boxing character by taping up his fists and hitting you with his elbow. And it’s one of those things where he still has to set it up all dumb, face you away from him, grab your wrist, push you away and pull you back into an elbow when he could just spin around in place and deck you. And he’s calling it “The Souvenir”, and Michael Cole’s explanation for that name is, “he’ll tell us later”. Oh, cool, thanks.
Best: Jerry Lawler Died, But Is Not Dead
I thought Jerry Lawler would save his first post-heart attack interview for season 2 of Ring Ka King, but somehow WWE Raw got a WORLDWIDE EXCLUSIVE with The King.
In all seriousness, I’m happy Jerry’s okay. Like I said before in a not necessarily understood by everyone column two weeks ago, I don’t like or want Lawler as an announcer on my wrestling show, but he’s an important thing in the history of modern wrestling and I don’t want to move through the rest of it knowing he’s not around. One of the sadder aspects of the interview was Lawler’s voice, which could’ve been just because he’s still tired and shaking off illness, but struck me as that first horrible step that turns people a wonderful thing like Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan into a thing that makes you cry all the time.
If I’m WWE (and I’ve already gotten to the point where I’m selling LONG LIVE THE KING t-shirts because one of my employees had a heart attack on TV and the news heard about it), I give Lawler as much time away from television as he needs to recover as much as he can. Don’t keep carting him out for interviews, don’t rush him back to the booth, and for God’s sake, never show that footage of him getting CPR again. Have him show up to functions like the Hall Of Fame or have him sit in the crowd and wave for a few minutes at WrestleMania. This is a guy’s FOR-REAL LIFE. Let him be okay without being a publicity strategy.
Worst: Those Lingering Shots Of Lawler At The End
I hope I’m not the only one who was weirded out a little by this. When his interview was over, they held on him just kinda smiling with his eyes bugged out, then cut to a shot of the crowd cheering for him. Then they cut BACK to him, as if to gauge his reaction to people being happy that he isn’t dead, then back to the crowd, and back to him.
Not to sound melodramatic about it, but it was a lot like the post-PERFECT STORM Triple H reaction. He stood up in the ring lookin’ all hurt on the inside and the crowd heckled him, so he lingered, trying to get the response, then wandered up the ramp and lingered AGAIN. It didn’t work, so they put a Shawn Michaels promo between him and his next appearance, and when he came out on Raw he got the teary goodbye. WWE’s so obsessed with manufacturing the proper crowd response that they eliminate sincerity from the experience. You don’t have to film a crowd making Jerry feel better. You have Jerry do his interview, and if the crowd gets really into it and gives him a big reaction, THEN you film it. Don’t ignore sincere reactions, and at the same time don’t anticipate something and follow-through on it whether it happens or not.
Best: Con Cara
Hunico, is that you?
Worst: Sheamus Is Still A Colossal Dick
I think “the Sheamus character is such an asshole, argh” is one of the most exhausted topics in Best And Worst Of Raw column history, right behind “the Big Bossman was the one who raised the briefcase” and “Watchmen is great”. Chris Sims from ComicsAlliance wrote up a piece about how Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio had become impossibly-confusing characters to justify and follow for us on Monday, and this match is another brick in that wall.
The match itself was pretty good, I thought. David Otunga is still no great (protein) shakes in the ring but I love him, and getting a chance to see Alberto Del Rio aggressively f**k up luchadors and Ricardo actually wrestle (!!) and take crisper bumps than anybody in the ring was a treat. Rey Mysterio is still wrestling under the Tommy Dreamer rule, but I’m enjoying his tag team thing. And hey, even Sheamus is usually pretty good at the actual wrestling parts of wrestling. Ricardo told a great story that eventually proved to be his undoing, causing him to lose tremendously and lie there like a goon while the good guys celebrated.
Aaaaand then the good guys stuck around long enough to make sure Sheamus hit a Brogue Kick on the non-wrestler who competed fairly valiantly and who also had his neck nearly snapped by a Brogue Kick like two weeks ago and got racially taunted at a court deposition about said move. I don’t know, you’ve read enough about it, I’m just saying. One of these teams is filled with admirable, hard-working dudes and the other is made up of guys who hide their identity and their friend, the massive, racist 5-year old.
Best: Rhodes Scholar Is Now Canon, Holy Shit
For those of you who asked, this was my experience. Daniel Bryan and Kane have a RAWACTIVE~ poll about what their team name should be (my suggestion was not included) (my suggestion was “The Huggabunch”). They’re announced as Team Hell No, and they get jumped from behind by Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow. At some point during the beatdown my brain goes, “hey Brandon, maybe they’ll get a tag team name, too, that would make sense”. Cody backwards-walks up the ramp and gets a microphone and starts talking about team names, and my internal monologue starts going “he’s gonna do it he’s gonna do it he’s gonna do it he’s gonna do it he’s gonna do it he’s gonna do it he’s gonna do it he’s gonna do it come on do itttt”.
He says the word “team”, and his mouth starts to make the R shape, and without a word my hands shoot up into the air.
A lot of people are gonna take credit for this (because “Rhodes Scholar” isn’t the most impossible-to-come-up-with name ever), but I’m calling this victory for myself, folks. I’m sure WrestleSite-dot-xanga-dot-org or whatever is a great blog full of timely wrestling gags, but WWE isn’t reading you, so give it up. I’m gonna be in the next edition of the WWE Encyclopedia for this achievement, crammed somewhere between Braden Walker and Bryon Saxton. My ability to be tangentially mentioned on wrestling will BRING YOU TO YOUR KNEES.
(Macho posturing about totally imagined blog superiority is awesome.)
Best: The Tag Team Division Is For Real
So! Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow are now a christened tag team, jumping WWE Tag Team Champions (and former World Champions) Daniel Bryan and Kane. Daniel Bryan and Kane have an ongoing story about their formation as a team, to give their matches gravity and help them rise above other randomly-put-together semi-main event teams. Earlier in the show, we have Santino and Zack Ryder teaming up against the Prime Time Players, who have their OWN story about how they’re going to destroy all the other teams in the division to become rightful number one contenders again. Former champions R-Truth and Kofi Kingston are still hanging out together despite losing the belts, and remain united as they get into a thing with Dolph Ziggler. Also on the show (!), Jim Ross is telling us to keep an eye on the Rey Mysterio/Sin Cara pairing.
How great is this? The tag team division is really happening. It’s existing outside of the one, cobbled-together story so the pay-per-view can have a filler match. These are real teams of real wrestlers moving forward with goals and characters. I cannot applaud WWE enough for taking the proper steps toward making this happen, and if the stories of this being a Triple H orchestration are true, I am prime and ready to blow that man for his creative ideas on the reg, assuming he never shows up or does anything and I don’t have to look at or hear him.
Worst: Burps And Puke, or
Worst: Goodnight, Sweet Vegan Prince
Watching Daniel Bryan take a bite out of a meatball was pretty depressing for me, but not as depressing as the normally great Daniel Bryan and Kane relationship segments end in When Harry Met Sally jokes or, as in the case of the final segment of the night, foley burps and simulated vomits. For the first time I started to come around to that “Daniel Bryan should really be doing something better with his time” talking point.
One huge, huge Best for the segment: the amazing, in-continuity callback of Kane only eating spaghetti and meatballs. I cannot f**king believe they remembered that.
Worst: For A Second I Thought Brodus Clay Versus Tensai Was Gonna Be Awesome
For a second I was pretty stupid.
I think WWE can do HOSS FIGHTS really well when they go for it. Two big guys just throwing bombs at each other can make for great, classic pro wrestling TV, and I think Brodus Clay and Tensai (called “Damien Sandow” by WWEFanNation in the video description) are at points in their career where they’re looking at their upward momentum stall, and a huge throwdown thing where they go all Rikishi/Val Venis on each other could help. Well, Clay’s seeing his forward momentum stall, Tensai’s already halfway into the OVW crate.
Sadly the match ended almost immediately, and The Big Show got to wander out and just kinda stare at us while occasionally punching, because “Big Show”. I’m sad that Brodus played Dolph Ziggler to Big Show’s Brodus Clay by just running straight at Show’s fist and dying, and I’ll echo the sentiments of nearly everyone in last night’s open discussion thread by saying how much I wish this could’ve been Mark Henry, and how awesome it would’ve been to see him World’s Strongestly Slam these fat motherf**kers into dust.
Jack Swagger Of Mars
He’d made it!
Jack Swagger rushed to the pod bay door of the U.S.S. Rhadamanthus and engaged the control on the vessel’s airlock. As the heavy door slid into position and began to open, Jack quickly grabbed a nearby boombox and hit “play”. Soon, the confrontational, government-rock sounds of
Rage Against The Machine’s Jim Johnston’s ‘On Your Knees’ blasted through the depressurized cabin and out across the red sands of Mars, and into the darkest reaches of outer space. Jack Swagger put on his fishbowl astronaut helmet and made sure the straps of his singlet were tout. Sorry, “taut”.
With big footsteps, Jack stepped out onto the planet’s surface, holding out his arms and mouthing hard-to-make-out words to nobody in particular. After he was several feet from the hull of the Rhadamanthus, Jack paused, pointing toward the ground with his arms raised high. He fell flat to the surface, doing a series of military-style push-ups before hopping up to his feet. Fireworks fizzed from the top of his ship, but the atmosphere of Mars isn’t great for fireworks so a small part of the Rhadamanthus caught fire. It didn’t really do anything, but the footage was beamed back to Earth and played on Raw six or seven times.
It was at this moment when Jack Swagger realized there were no fans in this Universe … only distant mountains, a great valley and the twinkling of stars he found no brighter than the ones he’d seen in Oklahoma.
“Uhhhh, HULLO?” he once again bellowed. Nothing hulloed back. Jack rolled his eyes and smacked his lips. “Great job, Jack,” he spoke aloud. “What’ve you GOTTEN yourthelf INto?”
Using the techniques he’d learned as a scout, and, to a lesser degree, the skills he’d come to learn as an interplanetary traveler, Jack began his great conquest of the red planet. His mission was exile and solitude, yes, but it was also Manifest Destiny, a great desire to reach out to a desolate abyss, close your massive, taped hands and pull back discovery. It was the mountains he’d reach by morning, he thought, as the chilling cold of night seemed to have no effect on his well-being, but the daytime sun would make him sweat a lot and ruin his finely-combed hair. Jack looked at his futuristic watch: -63 C. “Thank goodness I’m wearing boots, kneepads, a spandex onesie and some wrist tape,” he thought.
Jack Swagger had walked almost a mile before he realized the distant mountains he’d seen at the landing site weren’t getting bigger. His futuristic watch was great for telling you the temperature, but its navigation functions left much to be desired, and it’s nearly impossible to get phone coverage on Mars. Also, it’s nearly impossible to carry around a phone all day when your work clothes are more or less a bathing suit with shoes. To make matters worse, Jack had anticipated the need to travel ‘cross great expanses of crimson earth and had loaded his speeder bike, the Swagger Soaring Eagle, onto the deck of the Rhadamanthus before takeoff. That was advice from WWE Hall Of Famer Jim Ross, an aficionado on intergalactic speedbiking, but there it sat, a mile back, as cold as the rest of this lonely planet. “Just another part of my LOSING STREAK,” Jack thought.
Somehow, the night on Mars grew darker. Colder. Jack kept warm by jogging in place, stopping to do push-ups whenever necessary, but his stomach began to rumble, and his tongue began to dry. “I gueth I should sthop and GET a BITE t’EAT” he muttered aloud. This was the first sound greater than footsteps in the Martian valley in eons, and as the All-American American American American dropped into a criss-cross applesauce to enjoy the wedge of astronaut ice cream he’d stashed in his wrestling boots, his voice echoed into the unseen holes and caves of surface. Places sound should never go.
Swagger quickly snapped off the entirety of “strawberry”, but before he could taste vanilla, he was pinned to the ground by an epic Martian serpent! Jack could only see the face of the beast, its pincers snipping only inches from his face, seething and lurching for a meal. Swagger kicked out at two. As he rose to his feet, the serpent appeared to convulse, sprouting dozens of thin, arachnid legs. It made a shrill sound as it scuttled across the sands, like glass scratching glass.
The serpent leapt at Jack’s face, but he was able to duck, wrapping his arms around the beast and gator rolling it to the ground. There he quickly transitioned into an ankle lock on the monster’s tail, wrenching it in and opening his mouth to make things look more painful. After like four seconds of pretending to be hurt, the vicious creature rolled forward, sending Jack Swagger stumbling through the darkness.
Jack was able to narrowly duck a clothesline attempt and used his space ranger training to spin with the serpent’s momentum, gutwrenching all fifteen feet of slimy Martian reptile into the air and down for a sit-out Swagger Bomb. The beast let out a deep cry and went limp, allowing Jack to roll backwards onto his feet before he, too, collapsed to the ground.
Far from home, lost in an empty Martian wilderness and dying from dehydration and starvation, Jack used his last bit of strength (because “selling”) to push the monster away. Under its body lied the remainder of Jack’s astronaut ice cream, the package he’d paid $35 for at a live WWE event, crushed and vaporized in the dripping pink sand. “Aw COME AWNNN” he moaned, and lowered his face into the dust.
He would die here, he thought. What good is he on a losing streak? He would simply give up and die here on Mars, long forgotten, an anecdotal footnote in the future’s Grantland articles about aborted World Heavyweight Championship runs. “The end,” he breathed.
It may have been a moment or a week later, but Jack was awakened by a strange noise. It sounded like the cars from ‘The Jetsons’, he thought, but different. Jack’s brain wasn’t very poetic and had a limited number of literary references. He raised his head, expecting to see nothing but pink-hued darkness, and instead found himself staring at the chassis of a fantastic machine! “A sthpeeder bike, are you KIDDENG ME,” he said.
Lost in what he thought was a deathly dream, Jack pulled himself up to his knees. It was a speeder bike, all right, but one unlike any he’d seen before. The sleek metal of the bike had an unusual greenish hue, and light seemed to emerge from within it, rather than from its headlights. In the drivers seat sat a figure vaguely human, but not … a body too thin, too long, too angular. “Athley Matharro?” he thought aloud, before realizing she’d died like 4 years ago, probably.
The figure turned its head, a metallic green shell with dark eyes, toward Jack Swagger. Instinctively he prepared to go into a tie-up. Before he could, the figure reached its long fingers up to the face and removed it, revealing a set of beautiful, etherial features, roughly female, distinctly Martian.
“You look like you could use some help,” the figure said. She said it in Martian, but Jack had planned a trip here, so he could understand her, because at least he prepared for something. Why do you think he’d been losing so many wrestling matches?
“Do YOU know where I AM?” Jack stuttered.
“I’m on my way to Hellas, I’m late on a delivery. I thought I’d cut through the silent zone to save time, and … well, here you are. You’re welcome to hop on … the last thing I want to do is clean up abandoned bodies on the way back to Ella’da.”
Jack climbed onto the rear of the speeder, bound for adventure, determined to survive.
“My name is the ALLL AMERICAN AMERICAN AMERICAN AMERICAN … JACK, THWAGGER.”
“Kaa’orri. If you don’t be quiet you’ll get us both killed. Possibly by me.”
Jack sat silently as the speeder shot across the wasteland, en route to a new and exciting destination.
For all the Jack Swagger Of Mars updates, be sure to visit the story’s official Tumblr page.
Worst: Hey WWE, I Legitimately Love Kaitlyn And Even I Don’t Give A Shit Who Attacked Her
I don’t usually remember it when I’m writing about contract signings or in-ring weddings or whatever and compile a list of the worst tropes in wrestling history, but the newest and worst spot on that list goes to “getting ahold of security footage from backstage on the night of whenever whatever happened”. It’s the worst. I refuse to believe that Kaitlyn “got ahold of” any footage, or that she could ZOOM AND ENHANCE enough to get information about her attacker without knowing who her attacker was. Pretty sure I could watch five seconds of any Diva walking around or fighting in a mask and tell you who it was. If she fell down twice during the attack, it was Aksana. If she walks like Jack Skellington, it was Alicia Fox.
I also don’t buy that Kaitlyn could work for a billion-dollar, world-traveling pro wrestling company and not get IMMEDIATE access to the security footage, or that she had to f**king spelunk for it for two weeks. Why not ask WWE security? WWE has two security guys standing at the end of every row of fans and like 85 wrestlers backstage at any given time, I’m pretty sure one of them (or the cameraman who follows people around while they stretch or walk) would know something. Additionally, WHO GIVES A SHIT ABOUT THIS, SERIOUSLY, NOBODY CARES ABOUT YOUR GUESS WHO? GAME. SO THE ATTACKER WAS BLONDE, IS BETH PHOENIX SUDDENLY WWE’S SIGNATURE BLONDE
If Kaitlyn got into a match by accident and got shuffled out of it at the last minute, let’s call that a recovered fumble and move on with our lives.
Worst: Beth Phoenix Isn’t Even Good Enough To GET To Mars
Beth should just hang it up, or invest in a tracksuit and a pair of dancing girls and learn how to do the Everybody Walk The Dinosaur dance. Watching the “toughest Diva in WWE history” get Critical’d by an Eve Torres boot to the “stomach” and a neckbreaker that simulates how people get into bed is sad.
Somewhere Natalya is standing beside a television, looking over her shoulder at it and laughing because sure, she had to fart on television, but not like THAT.
Worst: John Cena Is Sad About All The Time He’s Gonna Miss, Doesn’t Know Where His Career Will Take Him, Will Be Here Next Week, Will Main Event Next Pay-Per-View
Everybody who thinks John Cena will miss even one hour of one Raw because of elbow surgery, raise your hand.
Now, everybody who is worried about Cena’s chances at Hell In A Cell, regardless of whether or not you think he’ll lose, raise your hand.
Finally, everybody who enjoys hearing Cena sing-song his way through another in an endless string of “some of you like me some of you don’t, that’s okay, I come out here each and every night to perform for you the fans and I am coming to fight at X pay-per-view and I will leave the WWE Champion” things, raise your hand.
Unless we’re reading this column aloud in the Make-A-Wish wing of John Cena Hospital, nobody should’ve raised their hands. You are going to be here next week, John. You are fine. You will either win or lose at Hell In A Cell and it will have nothing to do with you, because you’re not a wrestler anymore, you’re a thing that happens. The build to Survivor Series will probably involve you being unsure of yourself but knowing you’re COMING TO FIGHT or whatever and you’ll get at least 5 more title shots before WrestleMania. It’s fine. Just stop pretend-cursing.
Worst: Comedy Cursing
I shouldn’t have been surprised that the guy who used to have a RUCK FULES t-shirt would think comedy cursing is funny. I can’t imagine anyone in the world enjoyed that. Even when Cena was halfway through his “I tried to keep it PG!” dipshit chaser you could hear the agony of a bit steamrolled through in his voice.
Please stop fridging talking on my gallblame wrestling show, you hobby-lobbied divorced motherflanker.
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Week
Alex *, with an assist from Lobster Mobster
TEAM FRIENDSHIP A GO
Jerry Lawler tells his story? “Uhh, my arm started to hurt, I couldn’t breathe, then I woke up in the hospital. I’m lucky to be alive and I just want to thank…/brogue kicked by Sheamus.
Would everyone start screaming in horror if popcorn started floating up and then disappearing?
Gerald, just give me all the steamed vegetables you have. Wait, wait. I’m worried what you just heard was, “Give me a lot of steamed vegetables.” What I said was, “Give me all the steamed vegetables you have”. Do you understand?
Stone Cold Jane Austen
STORYLINE IDEA: THE COBRA TURNS HEEL AND SANTINO FEUDS WITH HIS OWN ARM. “I HAVEN’T MASTURBATED IN 2 MONTHS” HE TELLS AN AGHAST JOSH MATHEWS.
Punk: “HEY MICK…… I’LL THINK ABOUT IT!”
“Hey Triple H, this might work better if Cena showed a little bit of vulnerability.”
“Nah, let’s just talk about respect some more.”
Ricardo: All right, let’s do this. RIIICARDOOOOO!!!! ROODRIGUEZZZZ!!!!
Otunga: Oh, God! He just ran in!
Del Rio: The plan! The plan! Stick to the plan!!
Lawler has the support of the people, but let’s put it in context. Nobody wants King Brian Christopher.
REALLY surprised WWE isn’t calling this trio “Law & Border”