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The Best And Worst Of WWE Raw 12/9/13: The Slammy Awards, And Brandon Grows Up

Pre-show notes:

– Sorry for the slight delay on getting this up. Some … things happened.

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Please click through for the Best And Worst Of WWE Raw for December 9, 2013.



Best Of The Best: John Laurinaitis And His Ice Cream Suit Presented A Pre-Show Slammy

My hearts are eyes right now. Nothing could make my night bad!

Best: So The Rock Seems Like A Pretty Cool Guy

Hi. My name is Brandon Stroud. If you aren’t familiar with With Leather and/or are one of those random guys from one of those places where you type “misandry” without irony, I run a comedy sports blog (this one) full of long-winded, preachy wrestling columns (like this one).

Back in January, the Best and Worst of Raw covered the show’s 20th Anniversary episode and I was forced to sit through the “Rock Concert,” a segment wherein a 40-year old successful handsome millionaire brought out Vickie Guerrero and sang an Eric Clapton parody song about how she’s a hooker bitch. It was awful, but stupid and hateful enough (and, most importantly, done by a popular enough guy) that fans ate it up. Sorta how they ate up catchphrases like “kung pao bitch” despite them not making any sense. Or how they thought “what in the blue hell” was hilarious. Or how saying “ching chong bing bong” and pretending you’re speaking Chinese is great. You know, entertainment.

Anyway, that segment came back to life last night and won the “LOL Moment Of The Year” Slammy Award. The Rock doesn’t ever actually show up at wrestling shows, so Vickie Guerrero, the butt of his joke, excused herself and accepted the award on his behalf. On Twitter, Rock (or, more honestly, the agency that tweets for the Rock) told her not to get her “stink pickle halitosis” on his award. Because I am pretty goddamn sick of Vickie’s character being “get berated by everyone for being fat and stupid and ugly because LOL your husband died, enjoy having this horrible degrading job forever,” I, in a moment of social media weakness, tweeted at “The Rock” to stop talking to women like garbage for five seconds.

His response was to tell me that I was a smark, and to grow up.

Now, firstly, I am the most smark. I think we’d all agree on that. But admitting that, me wondering why he talks to somebody’s mom like she’s a piece of shit didn’t have anything to DO with that. I didn’t call him Flex Kavana. I didn’t fantasy book some scenario where Raquel Diaz gets brought up and gets revenge. Secondly … well, hopefully I don’t have to explore the irony of a 41-year old man telling a guy on Twitter to grow up in defense of being able to slip in and out of a fictional persona to call women cunts all the time.

The follow-up tweet arrived this morning:

So here’s where we’re at: in defense of his tendency to fart out gender-specific hate speech because he’s a fictional character living in a bubble where he can do anything and be beloved for it, The Rock tells me not to be a smart mark, then immediately explains to me how wrestling works behind the scenes and tells me to smarten up. So … what is it, Flex? Do I respond to you “tweeting in character” with a concern I would really, really love to tell your character, or do you want me send you a big long thing about how WWE has molded this big stupidity-enabling machine that makes us all ignorant and weird about everything all the time?

Anyway, the point I’m making is that I get that this is all fake and ultimately pointless baby-entertainment, but Rock and Vickie and Cena and whoever else is laughing at the Eric Clapton goof they wrote together are not the only people who hear and see this, and not everybody gets a big pro wrestling paycheck to allow them to back into this corner where everything they do is important but nothing they do matters, and “smark” and “mark” disqualify everything.

Examples of what I’m talking about:

Worst: The 5 People You Meet In A Rock Tweet

I’ve spent most of my night dealing with

1. people speaking out in defense of the Rock. Not necessarily people defending what the Rock is SAYING, just saying “you’re the man, Rock!” because Twitter is less a social media platform and more of a popularity contest full of two-sentence blurts that have effectively turned all of our jobs into high school

2. people sub-tweeting me, because you’d think that a guy running a wrestling-heavy blog on the Internet wouldn’t be popular or notable enough to have passive-aggressive weirdos obsessing about him all the time, but hey, here we are.

There are a lot of varieties of HOW DARE YOU SPEAK TO THE ROCK retorts, but I narrowed it down to five basic types, including:

Type 1: You Don’t Like Jokes

This one happens a lot, but more before we actually starting arguing about things. This guy thinks that I just don’t understand that the Rock is joking. He’s not being serious. It’s jokes! The joke is that Vickie’s breath smells like shit because she’s a fat bitch hooker. Like how you’d say somebody was in jokes!

Type 2: You Are A Gay Bitch

This one speaks for itself. Don’t think we should maintain all of our hateful, controlling attitudes towards women? FAGGOT.

Type 3: I Remember The Rock’s Catchphrases

Do you smell what these guys are tweeting? Get it!

Type 4: You’re Great, Rock, Notice Me/What He Said

Lots of people jumped into the conversation because they saw Rock tweet at me, so it was mostly “hey, you’re exactly right Rock. What do you think about ME??” Some people couldn’t even figure that out, and just said whatever Rock said. Because if anybody needs people to have his back, it’s the Rock!

Type 5: The Person Who Will Not Stop Trying To Engage You In Conversation

This guy has a thing he wants to explain to you and DAMMIT, you’d better respond to him or he’ll keep tweeting it until you do. This guy’s sent me at least half a dozen variations of this, a few of them deleted, since last night.

And that’s not all of them. There are a few other types, like the “meme” guy (usually accompanied with a message about how I’m gay, which works into the Gay Bitch category), the “The Rock can beat you up in real life” guy (yes, of course he could, he is a gigantic ex-football playing pro wrestler, I am a f*cking blogger) and the “die” guy.

I just wanted to share my night with everyone. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to use my Wrestling Smarts to talk about Raw.


Best: A Fresh-As-Hell Way To Start A Raw I Expected To Be Bad

Last year’s Slammy Awards were a nightmare. The show started with Hornswoggle in an afro wig, contained 22 seconds of wrestling in the first hour and featured a conversation between the Bella Twins and Santino about what “LOL” means. It was one of those endless, forlorn episodes that made me want to give up the lucrative “making jokes about wrestling” business and get a Dilbert-esque desk job. I was prepared for the worst.

Surprisingly, the first thing on this year’s show was a competitive match between Daniel Bryan and Fandango, and I couldn’t have been more surprised. This is exactly the kind of thing I want on my fantasy Raw … the popular, insanely-talented new star Daniel Bryan getting a hard-fought but decisive win over Fandango, a guy who is great at selling and in desperate need of something constructive to do, cleanly with his finisher. You know, while the arena does his signature taunt and goes insane. It was perfect in its own little way, and what both guys needed.

You can only watch Bryan have a great match only to have the rug pulled out from under him at the last second so many times. Similarly, how many times can you watch Fandango take a count-out loss on purpose and still give a shit about him? Fandango looked as good as he’s ever looked here, got in more legitimate offense than he’d get in ten years of wrestling WWE’s top brass and ate defeat like a champion. Bryan looked like he deserved the adulation he gets, coming in hard and KO’ing a worthy opponent with the knee strike that won him the WWE Championship. And he broke out the running dropkick against the barricade, which is ALWAYS boss. Loved this.

Worst: THE KICK CONNECTS

Well, not exactly. But hey, he WAS trained by Shawn Michaels.

Best: The Wyatt Family Is Finally, Consistently Killing It

When the Wyatts first got called up, Bray had to brave the live audience and have middling, kinda-shitty matches with guys like R-Truth and Kane. It provided a very easy platform for the non-NXT-informed to run up to their rooftops and shout OVERHYPED! THIS MAN IS OVERHYPED! HOIST THE BIG FLAG THAT SAYS SMARKS WE’LL FIGURE IT OUT LATER

The good news is that they’ve seemingly figured out the way to make the Wyatts work. Step 1) make Bray a mysterious presence. Don’t just let him wander out and start yammering to a crowd of people who can only understand you if you talk slowly and in a reliable cadence. Put him on the big screen and surround him in weirdness and darkness. Have him only show up when SHIT’S ABOUT TO GET REAL, sometimes wearing a butcher’s smock. Step 2) have the big monsters in his employ do his dirty work. Luke Harper is awesome in the ring and Erick Rowan’s gotten a lot better, and in a tag team situation they can have good-to-great matches with WWE’s little nest-egg of superior talent (the Rhodes Family, the Usos, Bryan, Punk, etc.). This makes them look like “mini bosses” instead of henchmen, and beating them to get to Wyatt makes everybody seem tough and more important. Step 3) run the Wyatts against people who are better/as good as them in the ring or on the microphone. That’ll allow the Wyatts to raise their own level of performance until they’re established and experienced enough on the main roster to do that for someone else.

Worst: The D-O-Double-Go-F*ck-Yourself

Regular readers may know that nothing in the history of wrestling makes me want to stuff my head into the ass of a raw turkey and fall into a volcano quite like the Road Dogg. I can’t believe I’m about to write this paragraph, but it’s the Road Dogg, so I’m going for it.

It’s a sad state of affairs when WWE is actually stealing gags from Impact Wrestling. If you thought Road Dogg and Billy Gunn dressed as the guys from Dumb & Dumber was funny, perhaps you’ll like it even more two months ago when Bad Influence dressed like that to induct Bobby Roode into the EGO Hall of Fame. Normally I wouldn’t mind and would just tell TNA to go screw, but the EGO HOF introduction is actually funny and wonderful and worth rising up in defense of. And sure, somebody’s gonna say “TNA DOESN’T OWN DUMB AND DUMBER THEY PROBABLY JUST HAD THE SAME IDEA, NOT A SUPER ORIGINAL IDEA,” and to that I say “google ‘Voodoo Kin Mafia’ and tell me these assholes don’t still watch Impact on the reg.”

There are few things less funny than “we’re not supposed to SAY that!!!!! but we’re gonna say it ANYWAY!!!” Road Dogg should’ve said “politically CORRECT” in a really condescending tone to bring it home. Is “you are both ancient, stop carnival barking about your dicks all the time” not a good enough argument? Maybe we should start calling them Dad Influence.

Best: Big E Langston, Casual Boss

The Damien Sandow/Santino match was pretty bad and “You’re Welcome” makes the Skull-Crushing Finale look like a Steiner Screwdriver, but I really liked two things:

1. Sandow’s leg sweep was RAD. Santino face planting off it is what really sold it. He should hold a workshop on how to eat Sandow’s sweep, and then Sandow should sweep everybody on the roster. PUT HIM IN A BODY BAG, YEAHHH.

2. Big E Langston getting to be likable and personable again on commentary, building the match appropriately and sounding confident without unnecessary exaggeration, and wearing the most amazing clothes from the Big And Tall section of Ross ever. I don’t know who buys Big E’s clothes or how they got here from a 1995 beach vacation, but I love them.

Big E’s ladies blouse and pant combination wasn’t the best clothing of the night, though. The return of Mark Henry’s coral jacket wasn’t even the best. That Slammy goes to …

Best: The Shield In Suits Just Happened

It’s official, I’m gay. Update Brandon.txt accordingly.

Worst: How Did Mark Henry Not Win This?

A travesty. Also, how funny is it that two of the nominees are about Daniel Bryan getting shat on? We had a productive autumn, didn’t we.


Best? I Don’t Even Know: The Battle Of The Worst-Ever Mid-Card Highlanders Continues

The Miz and Kofi Kingston are in the middle of a best-of-seven series where all seven matches end with Kofi getting rolled up and pinned. If any one aspect can truly define Kofi’s WWE character, it’s “can only wrestle one person at a time.” He’ll wrestle nobody but Ziggler for a year, then wrestle nobody but Alberto Del Rio for a few months. Now he’s wrestling nobody but Miz. Ever. And it’s always the same. Every Del Rio match ended with him in the armbar for too long, and every Miz match is ending with him being dicked out of a win and having to “show aggression.” What’ve you been doing for the last 7 years, Koaf?

That said, I’m kind of enjoying it. Miz and Kofi are basically the protagonists of Gravity, forced to float around in nothingness trying to survive, but not really having the resources to do anything exciting. They’ve got a radio telling them what to do, but it’s just an Eskimo singing his baby to sleep, so they go out and roll each other up. The good news is that Kofi’s finally starting to look like he’s trying to win wrestling matches, to the point that the announcers wouldn’t shut up about how much intensity he was showing. He needs that. He’s been either baby soft or accidentally brutal his entire career, so if he could just even it out and kick the moderate shit out of people, I’d probably throw in with him.

I also like that Miz is starting to get outmatched by Kofi’s offense, so he has to be smart … something he’s always claimed to be, but has never really shown. He’s one of those guys who just does a spot and smirks and that means he’s “smart.” Guy doesn’t even put in the effort to point to his brain. But he’s maneuvering Kofi into these situations where his offense goes bonkers and he can just wait for him to fall down and lie on top of him, and I like that. If you’re making a movie about being lost in space, at least show some fire, you know?

Best: And Now, This Week’s Random Great Match Featuring Everybody

The now regular Good Match On Raw got some fresh meat, substituting in Curtis Axel, Ryback and the Real Americans for The Shield. As much as I love The Shield, they’ve been in so many good schmozz tags at this point I’d almost like them to move on and work on something else. How do you even differentiate all the good Shield matches this year? The Battleground tag was probably the best, but the Elimination Chamber tag was the game changer, and almost every Raw has them killing it SOMEWHERE.

Anyway, Goldust vs. Antonio Cesaro is a feud that needs to happen immediately. If you’ve been watching NXT recently you’ll know that Cesaro has gotten into a Swiss Beef with William Regal over the improper treatment of broadcasters, and man, I would be so happy if WWE just devoted like, two years to Cesaro getting in the face of every respected, still-awesome-in-the-ring legend and took their spot as the guy who never gets pushed to the top, but stays beloved forever. Regal, Goldust, maybe bring back Ricky Steamboat again since he was so amazing during that feud with Jericho … have him do one of those springboard European uppercuts to Dusty Rhodes and have Big Show just grasp Dusty and lower him to the ground. That’d be so good.

It looks like WWE’s gonna call the Ryback/Curtis Axel team RYBAXEL, which is fine, but I’m still calling them AxelBack. Or maybe Skipgillicutty. Sha sha sha what it do?

Best: The Curtis Axel Art Project, Abridged

Last week, I asked you to write up haikus and tweet them to Curtis Axel. The intent was to create this magical happenstance of sudden poetry in Axel’s life, but a lot of you started tagging me and sending me everything and it became less about living art and more about what a guy with a wrestling column thought would be funny. That’s … probably my fault.

Regardless, there was an absolute DELUGE of haikus this week. Turns out haikus are really easy to write. Haiku? How do you pluralize it? If you don’t know what a haiku is, here’s an example:

Kingdom of Tonga
Powerful pro wrestling greats
and also death grips

Yes, that was a Haku haiku.

There were so many Axel haikus that I unfortunately cannot include them all (unless you want 30 pages of meter poetry instead of a wrestling column), so I’ve picked 10 of my favorites at random for inclusion here. If you’d like to read more, just follow the #CurtisAxelArtProject and read them for days. If you’re not included here, I promise that I still appreciate your creative efforts and mastery of 5-7-5.

@prof_bailey:

SHAA SHAA SHAA SHAA SHAA
SHAA SHAA SHAA SHAA SHAA SHAA SHAA
SHAA SHAA SHAA Perfect

@purjanger:

Paul Heyman is lame /
Axel is loaded with skill /
Real unified champ

@coreyakajoopac:

Without Paul, I lost, |
the Innaconnannennall |
Shampign to Big E.

@The_Dr_Hope:

A Paul Heyman guy/ Eh kind of entertaining/ Not good at winning

@BillAtTheEnd:

May all Hennigs feast / in the halls of Valhalla: / The Axe, Curt, Axel.

@WBXylo:

The Ref Counts to Ten
Glory to the Perfect Son
Curtis Axel Wins.

@FlashBeagleX (bonus points for knowing a haiku should mention nature):

It’s Curtis Axel
Like Tender Raindrops on Wood
Nature’s Great Blessing

@StarOfSavage:

McGillicutty:
Now you are Curtis Axel.
Soon, Joe the Wrestler.

@brent_wentworth:

To Curtis Axel
Dirt sheets say you can’t wrestle
Don’t believe that crap

@tholzerman:

His fate was sealed
When in his debut, the shine
Went to Trips’ head hurt

Okay, one more. @clparty:

You held the title
Just a little while, but you
Hold my heart always.

Okay, ONE more. @Foil1212:

Better than Perfect
Three ain’t enough I need five
Former champion

Ugh, they’re all so good. Seriously, go read them all. Thank you to everyone who participated.

Best: This Week’s Project

Simple. Curtis Axel debuted a new shirt this week. I want you to improve upon it. Give me your best design (or redesign) of Curtis Axel merchandise (of ANY kind) and tweet it to me directly with the hashtag #CurtisAxelProject.


Best: “Eve Torres Is Back, And The Same Amount Of Beautiful As Ever!”

I wish she’d ordered someone to take a photo of her posing in front of the Slammy.

Also, Eve Torres was in the building and John Laurinaitis presented a pre-show award. You know David Otunga’s back there somewhere. Can we get a reunion? And more importantly, can Teddy Long show up and bring everybody refreshments?

Worst: The Bella Twins Appreciate Your Love, And By Love They Mean Boos

AJ Lee not winning Diva Of The Year is objectively the most ridiculous Slammy result of the night. She’s held the Divas Championship since June, has defeated all of her challenges with authority (at least outside of the non-title matches) and is nominated for other Slammys like “Insult Of The Year,” meaning she had an impact in the right and outside of it. But nah, it’s cool, you’ve got that reality show to promote and “the Slammy Award for Important Wrestler’s Girlfriend goes to” doesn’t sound as nice.

So yeah, I don’t really have a problem with the Bella Twins winning Diva of the Year, I just think it’s funny that 1) they combined to win “Diva” (singular) of the year because no matter what they do, they’re still just two halves of one employable person, and 2) they just went ahead with their “we appreciate your love, wow what an honor” speech even though the crowd was clearly booing them. It was like watching Bo Dallas and his twin brother Bo Dallas accept an award. They even kinda look like him, come to think of it. If I start calling them the Bo-la Twins, would that be weird for everyone?

Worst: HB-Shizzle Is Still Happening

The conspiracy theorist in me wonders if they put Superstar Of The Year in the middle of the show because they knew people would vote for Daniel Bryan, and moved Match of the Year to the end because they knew people’d vote for whatever had the Rock in it and get Most Important Thing John Cena a boost for his show-ending thing, but … eh, whatever. The only thing earning a Worst here is Michaels suggesting the award be called the “H-B-Shizzle.” Not even the “H B Shizzle Superstar of the Year Award,” just H-B-Shizzle.

If you missed it a few months ago, Shawn Michaels doesn’t know how slang works, but he’s an old white guy so he thinks doing “rap slang” makes him hilarious. Imagine that every time HBK says “shizzle,” JBL’s brain goes MALLY CYRUS TWERKIN MAGGLE. Also, he doesn’t get why “shizzle” happens at all.

Liberally reposted from the 10/14 edition of Best and Worst:

You wouldn’t be “H-B-Shizzle.” Your name isn’t “Heartbreak Shawn.” The idea is that the “izzle” follows the first letter in the world you’re replacing, like when Snoop Dogg says “Snoop Dizzle” or “Snoop D-O-double-jizzle.” If you’re so in love with that antiquated white guy joke, call yourself “H-B-Kizzle.”

Shorter version: Shawn, every time you say “shizzle” it makes me want to take an enormous shizzle all over your fizzle.

Best: Daniel Bryan, Superstar Of The Year

Bryan winning Superstar of the year was nice, but was just an appetizer for his hilariously-great overness later in the night. Stick around for that.

Best: ‘Sup Again, Renee

Renee’s sell of Bryan being shorter than her was adorable, and momentarily excuses her NXT conversation about twerking. Supplemental Worst goes to Nikki Bella for saying winning a Slammy is one of the “greatest fillings ever.”

Worst? I Don’t Even Know: Am I Still Reviewing Last Week, What’s Going On

Writing Raw columns is never as hard as when they do the same thing two weeks in a row. They did it with Miz/Kofi, but at least that’s got some story reasoning behind it. The only story I can gather from Sin Cara/Alberto Del Rio is “Sin Cara only wrestles Alberto Del Rio now, and he won last week, so I guess he’s wrestling Alberto Del Rio again.” They had a similar match with a few new things mixed in, Huni-cara moved around like Mistico with a dump in his pants (but didn’t f*ck anything up and didn’t take six months off with a charlie horse, which makes him a dozen times better in a WWE ring than Mistico) and Del Rio lost. IT WAS A THING THAT HAPPENED.

I still don’t think it’s fair that guys like Del Rio have to compete in Sin Cara’s mood lighting. It’s such an unfair advantage. They should reveal that Sin Cara’s mask doesn’t have eye holes because the eye parts are actually glasses that make everything in blue and orange look like regular lighting, so he’s like the pro wrestling Predator and can get the jump on you from anywhere because of it. Either that, or have Sin Cara start dressing in orange and blue and hiding in his own lights.

(it is not easy to come up with new material sometimes)

Best: Brodus Clay Is Srs Bzns

THIS was great. I was so surprised by how much I liked it. If you missed it, Brodus Clay has this weird problem with Xavier Woods for using his entrance theme and dancing with his dancing girls, even though according to Truth Brodus gave Woods his permission, and even though ‘Somebody Call My Mama’ is originally Ernest Miller’s anyway.

I thought they were gonna have another one of those short Raw matches were one guy gets beaten up and then rolls his opponent up for a “shocking” three, but nope, Brodus just destroys him, splashes him and pins him. Then, after the match, he just keeps dropping big elbows on him and trying to smear him into the canvas. Tensai, R-Truth, Cameron and Fake Geek Girl Meme Naomi all try to break it up or express concern, but Brodus just stomps away yelling about how he’s more important than all of them.

I’m not sure I love the idea of another heel just being all “I’M THE ONLY PERSON WHO MATTERS” instead of basing his complaints on actual things that’ve happened, but I’m all for Brodus just being a big fat mean guy who splashes people to death and then facetiously dinosaur dances. Facetious dinosaur dances need to happen. And maybe he gets to keep his pants on.

Weird thing I noticed, though … did WWE have a powerbomb workshop before Raw? Fandango, Sin Cara and Brodus Clay are all suddenly using powerbombs. Did WWE 2K14 send them a message that said “hey, if you want us to give these wrestlers movesets they’re gonna need more than chinlocks and running shoves?”


Best/Worst: CM Punk vs. Dean Ambrose Was Pretty Good, But Ease The Breaks On That Shield Tension

Don’t get me wrong … I know a lot of times people will skim the boldface and see “Worst” next to something and assume I went all crazy hating it, but that’s not always the case. Punk vs. Ambrose was obviously very good and a lot of fun, and the kind of match a show like this desperately needs when so much of it is guys having 2 minutes of entrance and 40 seconds of wrestling, but the Shield tension is really getting to me.

I say this as a fan of the team, not so much as a guy who watches the show and tries to nitpick it to death. During their awards presentation, Ambrose interrupted Reigns and Reigns interrupted Ambrose back, bringing back that extremely unwanted-by-me Shield break-up tease/tension stuff from a few weeks ago. I thought they’d moved on from it, but here it is again. During the match, Reigns was visibly upset with Ambrose and came in after Dean’s loss to gore Punk and sorta assert his dominance over everybody.

Now, I get that if you’re booking a 3-on-1 handicap match for a pay-per-view (two of them, in fact, but that’s beside the point) you’ve got to create the illusion that there’s a way the 1 can beat the 3 realistically. If Punk’s going in there against a united team he’s got a 0% chance of winning, but if they’re at each others’ throats for some reason, his chances improve. So that’s smart. But NO STOP DOING THIS I DON’T WANT MY BELOVED BEST-PAL SWAT TEAM TO BREAK UP. IF YOU HAVE GOOD TEAMS SOMETIMES YOU CAN KEEP THEM TOGETHER AND HAVE GOOD TEAMS FOR LONGER.

Someone on Twitter asked me how I’d break the Shield up if I was put in charge of it, and I said something about giving Roman a big singles run and maybe bringing up an NXT tough to be the new Roman and keep the squad intact, but I’ve got a better idea. WWE’s obsessed with booking these 3-on-1 handicap matches, right? That’s got to be on purpose. It has to go somewhere. So you establish that the Authority goes to this as their can’t-miss punishment technique. Done. When it gets closer to WrestleMania, the Undertaker shows back up and does his throat-draggy challenge face at Triple H, because they “ended an era” supposedly but H and Shawn are still all over Raw making everybody’s lives miserable. Triple H, because he is now a coward and not the coolest and toughest and smartest, backs down from the challenge. When Taker pressures him, he books Taker vs. The Shield in a 3-on-1 handicap match at Mania. They’ve got a pre-established problem with one another, so it works.

That’s enough to make you think maybe Taker’s gonna lose, right? So at Mania the Shield makes their entrance, but right before the match starts, Roman Reigns makes Ambrose and Rollins leave. Decides he’s going to prove himself and take out the Undertaker by himself. Ambrose and Rollins are rightfully pissed and abandon him, and you do whatever you want with Rollins/Taker. Have Reigns come close and become a superstar, have Reigns win if you want, whatever. Taker keeps his legacy in a story that makes sense and matters, the entire thing ties into the Authority storyline and references past WrestleManias, you get an explanation for why they’re booking the show so stupidly and Roman gets made to look noble and tough. Because eventually you’re gonna have to put your faith in ONE of these young guys.

Alternate plan: The Shield wrestles Tons of Funk on the pre-show and Taker wrestles Triple H and Stephanie in a handicap match. Quick, guess which plan is more likely to happen!

Best: The Tag Team Division When You Occasionally Add in Teams Or Pay Attention To It

As of right now, the tag division’s in better shape than it’s been in in years. You’ve got:

– The Rhodes Brothers
– The Shield
– The Wyatt Family
– The Usos
– The Real Americans
The The
– Los Matadores
– 3MB

And that’s just off the top of my head. If you count teams on NXT like the Ascension and Hunico and Camacho, you’ve got a really outstanding core tag division where almost every single person in it is great at wrestling. When you’re running the top wrestling promotion in the world, shouldn’t EVERY division on your show be full of guys you could describe like that?

If Raw could just focus on fresh-seeming match-ups, I’d almost excuse anything. If two guys who don’t wrestle each other on every show had the match Del Rio and Sin Cara did (say, Del Rio and Sami Zayn) or if two guys who hadn’t fought last week were doing the same Miz/Kofi match (say, Dolph Ziggler and Sin Cara) I wouldn’t feel so spun-out all the time and would probably love everything. It doesn’t have to be revolutionary, guys, just not the same thing on loop.

Worst: STOP MAKING BRET HART TALK IN PUBLIC, JESUS

LET HIM REST.

Worst: I Don’t Want To Live In A World Where Rock/Cena II Was The Match Of The Year

It wasn’t even the best match on that show. I’m pretty sure there were three matches better than Rock/Cena on this episode of Raw. I wasn’t as big of a fan of Punk/Taker as … well, almost everybody else in the world, but if you want to give a trophy to a big time, big stakes match featuring two big stars, Punk/Taker is Savage/Steamboat compared to Cena/Rock.

(But seriously, Rhodes Brothers/Shield was robbed. I can’t decided who was most robbed, that match, AJ as Diva of the Year or Mark Henry’s double cross.)

Worst: Next Week, Natalya Beats Batman In Like 40 Seconds And Then Poses A Bunch Because She Has CHALLENGER Written Across Her Forehead In Pink Magic Marker

Suggestion for WWE 2K15’s Universe Mode: when you make someone a championship challenger, they can never lose. Every move they have turns their opponent blood red all over their body, and submissions instantly fill up the Breaking Point meter all the way. Bonus points if you can make the opponent flap around helplessly the entire time.

If Natalya could win matches this easily she should be a 15-time Women’s/Divas Champion by now. I swear, you make Natalya a Divas Championship challenger at WrestleMania and she’ll tap out the Undertaker to a Sharpshooter in 80 seconds without breaking a sweat. As long as it’s not actually for the Divas Championship.


Best: The Ascension Ceremony

Shit, wait, wrong video.

Best: Everybody Who Has Mattered In The Last 10 Years (That Isn’t Dead) Is Standing In The Ring And All Anybody Wants To Do Is Chant Daniel Bryan

You might not be able to tell if you just watch the WWE Fan Nation video, but WWE filled the ring with 20 former World Heavyweight and WWE Champions. Shawn Michaels was out there, Bret Hart, CM Punk, Booker T, Rey Mysterio, Big show, everybody. The WWE Champion Randy Orton was pleading his case. The World Heavyweight Champion John Cena, the face of the company for the last decade, was reaching one of those really good spots he gets into sometimes where he sounds like he means what he’s saying, which elevates him to one of the best promo men in the business. He gave Orton everything he had, dissecting him personally and professionally. COO and legendary champion Triple H stood between them as Stephanie McMahon, daughter of the guy who made this promotion’s worldwide dominance possible, watched on. Both title belts were hung on a hook and raised up, illustrating the climb these men will have to make to be crowned the undisputed champion of pro wrestling at TLC in one of the biggest matches of all time.

The entire time, all the crowd did was chant “Daniel Bryan.”

This is Daniel Bryan’s real moment to me. Superstar of the Year can be worked. Matches aren’t real. They can make whoever they want a star. Crowds might be chanting “yes” because it’s fun to chant “yes,” not because they like the guy chanting it. But nope, all of that becomes legitimate and undeniable when EVERYTHING ELSE YOU COULD POSSIBLY LIKE ABOUT WWE is in front of you and all you wanna do is chant the name of the 5-foot-nothing former ROH Champion who “looks like a troll” and can’t draw, or whatever.

So yeah, I’m gonna try to be okay with everything. The sub-20-seconds loss at WrestleMania. The several months of screwjob endings he’ll never get revenge for. Getting stuck in a therapy-themed tag team. Whatever. Daniel Bryan is more than a stupid word and an ugly t-shirt with a badly-drawn goat on it. I’ve made peace with it. Glad you got to smile that smile, AmDrag.

Best: THINGS ARE HAPPENING, WHAT

The rest of the ending was RANDOMLY EXCITING, with everybody kinda hitting everybody and everything getting set up for later. I’m issue a tentative WAIT AND SEE WHERE IT GOES warning for this, because it’s perfectly reasonable to wait and see where it goes on Friday and Sunday. If it goes to Triple H winning the belts himself (which it will), so be it. But even if you go somewhere stupid, roll my ass there in an exciting-looking wagon.

Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Week

DoctorCAW

“That’s where you’re mistaken, John. I haven’t been handed shit. I hand other people shit. In bags of varying sizes. Sometimes in handbags, sometimes in sandwich bags, but make no mistake about it. If anyone is going to hand a bag of shit to someone, it’s going to be me.” – Randy Orton

Ironavenger6491

The 12th man is in action forcing Trips to burn a timeout.

Cami

Thrice in a Lifetime/ Talent flowing underground.

Same as it ever was

Same as it ever was

Same as it ever was

Thrillhouse

Awww yessss, most extreme moment! A wrestler beatin’ up a dude that isn’t a wrestler! *shredding guitar solo* *’72 firebird burn out*

JonSte139

Now Foley needs to tell Punk he’s gotta GTS Heyman at WrestleMania or it doesn’t count!

mtr

hey guys remember when i legit died in front of all of you ROFL #YOLO

The Deposed Knave of Bel-Air

In a dark room all by himself, Dean Ambrose tearfully destroys his “SIERRA UNIFORM MIKE MIKE ECHO ROMEO – JULIET ALPHA MIKE ZULU” mixtape.

Lester

I figured it out. Sin Cara is a wrestling hipster. The lighting is the closest he can get to having his matches on instagram.

TheRealMSol

A microcosm of the year would have D-Bry winning this award, only to have The Authority come out to say there was a glitch in the voting and that Randy Orton really won it. Then Big Show comes out to defend Daniel Bryan, but kinda ignores him as D-Bry just wanders slowly offstage. Then John Cena shows up for no reason, HHH and Stephanie are like, “Hey maybe there was a tie! Would you fans like to see Randy Orton and John Cena both be Superstar of the Year? Cheer for them, but really we know it’s for us!” And then that’s it.

Johnny Slider

Nikki: “Are You saying BOO or BOO-ella?”

I was saying Boo-ella. Thanks everybody, see you on Sunday for TLC.

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