– Your comments, likes, tweets and shares are appreciated. Here’s a handy thing to achieve those:
– Necessary GIFfage via WrasslorMonkey.
– If you’re in Austin this weekend, come see the Inspire Pro Wrestling show on 2/16. I’m the ring announcer, so obviously I’ll be there.
– Be sure to check out the trailer for Meet Me There, if you haven’t already.
And that’s it. Click through for the Best and Worst of WWE Raw for February 10, 2014.
Best: Betty White Hauls Ass To Lollapalooza
Betty White’s entire role on last night’s show was to give the New Age Outlaws diarrhea and yell “I’M GONNA KICK SOME ASS!” like some Adam Sandler granny, but come on, she’s Betty White. I know we tried to turn her into Chuck Norris a few years ago, but she’s a shoot comedy legend and 1/4 of The Golden Girls. I’m not going to Worst one of the Golden Girls, at least not outside the context of a Golden Girls episode. I might Worst the time Dorothy hooked up with Ted Zbornak, but whatever.
I’m actually really sad that the Betty White I grew up with — real-life animal lover and TV’s Rose Nylund — has been replaced by the Snickers commercial version of Betty, the Iron Sheik-like millennial one who yells LOOK AT WHAT A SLUT I AM, HEH, IT’S JUST A JOKE FOLKS at every opportunity and stars in bad TV Land shows I will hopefully never watch. A Raw hosted by 80s Betty White would be AMAZING. I want her to explain why she put Randy Orton and John Cena in the main-event using an example from St. Olaf. I want her to spend the entire episode talking about “Charlie” only to reveal she’s talking about CM Punk, who died from a heart attack while they were making love. (That’s why he’s not on the show.)
Rose is actually my third favorite Golden Girl. The Power Rankings go like this, keeping in mind that I love all of them because they’re on The Golden Girls:
I go back and forth on Dorothy and Blanche, mostly when they get to one of the super serious episode and Blanche is power-walking around all indignantly because Big Daddy was hooking up with the black maid. Anyway, what I’m trying to get at is that I watch too much Lifetime and Betty White is the best. So how’s the rest of Raw gonna go?
Here we go again.
Best: Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H
I wish Daniel Bryan was challenging for the championship at WrestleMania and I still think CM Punk saying “f*ck the lemons” and bailing ruined Kane and Bryan’s secret friendship story (real or not), but I’m completely on board with Bryan being wedged into Punk’s role and taking on Triple H at Mania 30. There’s a simple reason why, and a complex one.
The complex reason is probably the one you’re already on board with … the narrative that the Internet Favorite is going up against the Guy Responsible For Everything The Internet Hates, the people’s champion versus the evil, oppressive authority, the true “face of the WWE” against the guy who refuses to let him be it. That one relies on us maintaining this belief that Bryan’s always on the cusp of failure, ready to be fired for choking somebody with a tie or something equally innocuous because WWE doesn’t want him and has never believed in him. This was easy when he was on NXT (because revisionist history be damned, it was true), but not so much now that we’ve seen him win the WWE Championship a few times now and he’s the most popular guy in the best matches on the last hour of every show. It also relies on us believing that Triple H is still out to ruin everything we love, which is harder now that he’s running NXT and making it the most wonderful thing in wrestling.
The simple reason, and the reason I’m newly excited for, is because it’s the guy with the biggest positive crowd reaction against the only guy on the show who can get legitimate heel heat. Triple H got more heat giving Bryan the night off than Orton got handcuffing Cena to a post and beating him with a stick. It’s just who he is. If the story doesn’t go to that scary, Kevin Nash place where Triple H poses over Bryan’s unconscious body on all the important shows en route to some worthless comeuppance at Over The Limit or whatever, it’ll be the best.
The fear that it’s gonna go there might never go away, so forgive me if I give into it too many times between now and April.
Best: Baby Girl, I’m A Blur
Roman Reigns called Renee Young “baby girl” and I blacked out for a few minutes. Renee kinda no sold it, though, which is weird because Sami Zayn can be all “hello Renee how are you today” and she gets TWITTERPATED on this dude in a cabbie hat who looks like Seth Rogan and Jay Baruchel’s love child so I guess maybe she’s just not into BAD-ASS HANDSOME PRINCES.
I continue to love the Shield as guys who are great as a team and just kinda understand that they’re all jerks. They don’t shatter and break out over the first bad thing that happens. Ambrose being goaded into defending the US Championship seemed like a gesture between Bros and less like a noble challenge or whatever, and that’s perfect. They ended up helping him out after all, right? Keep The Shield together forever, and when they get singles runs, let them still be friends who occasionally team up.
Worst: Let’s Ask The WWE Universe What They Think About The Shield
Thank you for leaving this YouTube comment, dying robot.
Best: THEM WYATTS THO
1. Goldust is a better high-flyer than Rey Mysterio. When did THAT happen? The best description of Mysterio I’ve read so far this year is that he slides around on his belly like the penguins in Mario 64. Goldie’s got five years on you, Rey, get into DDP Yoga and get your shit together.
2. I watched this match with Destiny, and her biggest (continuing) gripe is that Goldust and Cody Rhodes “need to look like each other, like a tag team.” You know what’d be great? If they did that, but switched it up. Like one week Dustin comes out in trunks and knee pads as this normal guy, and then the next week they’re both painted gold. Code-dust seems like a thing that should’ve happened already.
3. This match was RAD and somehow not the best match on the show. How did THAT happen? The real attraction here was the finishing sequence, featuring unexpected dives from half the people in the match and Bray Wyatt continuing the Rey Mysterio Has The 619 Interrupted Farewell Tour by catching Rey mid-run and PLANTING him with a sick running clothesline into the Sister Abigail. Rey went down like Brian Griffin getting hit by a car. It was AMAZING.
4. See? All you had to do was put Bray in matches with people who aren’t garbage. Instead of Kane and R-Truth, you put him in there with Bryan, Ziggler, the Rhodes Boys and Rey Mysterio. Now every time he’s in the ring he gets to look like the baddest dude in the world. AND HE GETS TO WRESTLE THE SHIELD NOW. Keep this going.
Worst: Mizzus Interruptus
The Miz interrupts a … pretty bad Fandango vs. Santino match to explain how ridiculous it is that Raw’s in Los Angeles and he’s not on it, as “one of the only superstars who’s been in Hollywood films.” I don’t think The Marine 3 and Christmas Bounty count as “Hollywood films.” Jerry Lawler was in Life With Mikey and Man On The Moon and he’s sitting RIGHT THERE. I mean, he was also in something called Girls Gone Dead, a Spring Break slasher movie co-starring Ron Jeremy and Beetlejuice from Howard Stern, but even that wasn’t made for him by the wrestling company he works for. Trishelle was in a Dukes of Hazzard prequel. TRISHELLE has you beat, Miz. Don’t even get me started on Tek Money.
Worst: JBL, General Manager Of Ruiners
I’m getting really distracted and bothered with how vehemently JBL is working to destroy all the good will NXT’s built up for folks who’ve been there and show up on Raw. He never quite seems to truly know who they are, but he’s quick to tell you they’re terrible and worthless. Sample conversation:
Cole: “We see Emma at ringside.”
JBL: “SHE’S AWFUL.”
Cole: “whatta ya mean she’s awful, chuckle chuckle”
JBL: “SHE’S AWFUL, SHE CAIN’T DANCE AND SHE SHOULD PROBABLY DIE, SHE’S JUST A WORTHLESS SACK OF SHIT.”
Cole: “chuckle chuckle”
And that’s it. It’s not a “heel announcer” thing either, because guess what? Heel announcers are ALSO supposed to get the babyfaces over. They’re supposed to provide a ridiculous point of view or some obviously two-faced, ulterior-motive-laden thing where they run down the people but the viewers at home know they’re full of it. Jesse Ventura would run guys like Hogan through the mud for being callous cheaters, and while it totally makes sense from the point of view of adult wrestling-obsessed jerks like me, it makes regular fans scrunch up their faces and shake their heads. Bobby Heenan was always in it for himself, saying nasty shit about guys you’re obviously supposed to cheer for. JBL’s just arbitrarily saying mean, counter-productive things because he can. He has no agenda. He’s just a drunk, barely-interested guy at ringside ready to make your job as pro wrestler difficult as f*ck.
Cole: “Here’s Aiden English now…”
JBL: “AIDEN ENGLISH CAN’T SING MAGGLE, I HEARD HIM, HE CAIN’T AND HE ALSO CAIN’T WRESTLE”
Lawler: “heh heh you said he CAN’T WRESTLE?”
JBL: “I WATCHED HIM, HE’S HORRIBLE. I HEARD ABOUT IT ON A WRESTLING PODCAST ON THE INNERNET PROBABLY, SOME GUY HATES HIM SO WHATEVER”
Cole: “chuckle chuckle”
Best: THIS MATCH
Speaking of JBL bury jobs, what’s his problem with Christian? He uses every breath he’s got to explain that Christian’s a horrible-looking, sad-sack wrestler who’s never done anything and can’t possibly succeed. Again, I get “heel announcer,” but … why? Christian’s been out forever and he’s in the main-event of the upcoming pay-per-view. He’s also in a good-to-great match almost every time he wrestles, including this one happening AS JBL SPEAKS ILL OF HIM, which is SO GOOD YOU GUYS.
This might’ve been my favorite Raw match of the year so far. Sheamus, Christian and the Real Americans broke out EVERYTHING and just beat the ever-loving dogshit out of each other. It felt real and organic. Things were happening all over the place but it felt like a real contest, you know? Guys in a tag match who all desperately wanted to win it. The Real Americans’ double-teaming was firing on all cylinders, Zeb was great on the outside without being too much of a distraction and Christian’s smaller body helped him not only be the believable face-in-peril, but allowed him to create dynamic offense later on, like when he’s just jumping in out of nowhere onto dudes.
I think I speak for everyone when I say program Sheamus and Antonio Cesaro against one each other right now, possibly forever, and let them hit each other as hard as they can. Oh MAN was that wonderful. Early in the match the blows start landing a little too hard and Sheamus is just like YEAH LET’S DO IT BRING IT ON, and Christ I could cheer for that guy. Crowds are starting to realize that Cesaro’s better than everybody else on the show, too, which means a couple of memorable, high-profile matches from now — like the Elimination Chamber, perhaps — Cesaro’s gonna be THE TRUTH. They’re doing such a good job of building up these randomly placed bad-asses right now … Cesaro, Roman Reigns, Bray Wyatt, Big E Langston. That’s a core group of fresh, interesting, TALENTED guys who can carry your company when Cena’s dog-jumping finally stops being profitable.
But no, seriously, Sheamus vs. Cesaro forever. Blood rivals forever. Austin/Rock. Hell, Ziggler/Kingston. DO IT.
Worst: I Enjoyed Almost A Full Minute Of You, Dolph Ziggler
Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio work great with one another, but it’s not really worth teasing us with how good that match could be if you’re gonna end it in a minute, work in another tired Alberto Del Rio Holds The Armbar On Too Long After The Bell moment (with an especially awkward-looking armbar, even) and have it all be an excuse to UNLEASH THE FURY~ of Batista.
Yep, that’s all I’ve got to say about Dolph Ziggler. The true sign of trouble in WWE is when your signature t-shirt doesn’t change for a suspiciously long time. Ziggler might as well still be wearing his Spirit Squad uni.
Worst: Dave Hates How Things Have Gotten So Un-Dave
In case you’re wondering, the “KT” on his tape is in memory of his friend Kinesiology Tape, who died earlier this year after being applied to Batista’s gross muscular infant body.
Batista is the least believable guy on the show. That’s why I’m having trouble cheering him. Sorry, that’s too nice. It’s why I’m having trouble not stabbing myself in the heart with kitchen knives when he shows up. He’s the image of a tough guy instead of an actually tough guy, and JBL working SO HARD to explain how in 30 years he’s never seen FURY UNLEASHED LIKE BATISTA’S is a great indicator of how focus-grouped he is. What does that even mean, JBL? You haven’t seen “fury unleashed?” You’ve never seen a guy powerbomb another guy through a table on Raw? Really? WHAT FURY, WHY ARE MOST PEOPLES’ FURIES LEASHED?? He’s on the same show as Brock Lesnar, you f*cking yokel.
They go backstage and Triple H is all, “hey man, this is a publicly traded company, try not to go out and break my shit,” and Dave’s all, “sighhhh, you’ve CHANGED, man.” Yes, Dave, Triple H has changed. We’ve all changed. Most of us move forward in our linear understanding of time and become adults with jobs. We do not all start getting rave girl tattoos on our sides when we’re in our mid-40s.
Worst: The New Age Outlaws Try To Give A 92-Year Old Woman The Shits And It Sorta Looks Like They’re Trying To Date Rape Her
Poor Betty White doesn’t get to do much on the show, but she gets two important backstage segments:
1. A shoulder-to-shoulder meeting with a bunch of Divas who’ve never seen anything she’s ever done, a fake Eva Marie (no way is that the real Eva Marie, that is Hunico dressed as Eva Marie) and Natalya, who has TOTALLY seen every episode of The Golden Girls. I’d bet my life on it. Vickie shows up because “cougars” is a joke and Natalya briefly explains the concept behind Betty White’s Off Their Rockers (“worked prank show” would’ve been quicker). The Bellas respond with “can’t wait to see it,” which is great because the show’s been on since 2012.
2. The previous meet-and-greet ends with the New Age Outlaws showing up and whisking her away to a tea party where Road Dogg briefly entertains with some delightful explanations of tea before revealing that they are DRUGGING THE OLD LADY. But ho ho, Betty White is AMERICA’S SASSY OLD SWEETHEART and has been getting her tea drugged since the 30s so she switches the cups. Billy drinks the drugged cup, and I should’ve assumed it was a laxative and not a roofie, but I’m working with the terrors given.
I thought this was terrible, but maybe I’m biased. What do the true fans think?
Yep. Betty White having a tea party with the tag team champs where one of them ends up accidentally drinking poop juice IS just like the Attitude Era and not at all for stupid people and babies.
Worst: You See, The Joke Is That Now Billy’s Pooping His Pants
Best: Dean Ambrose’s Scared Face
Look at these friends. LOOK AT THESE COOL FRIENDS.
Best: Mark Henry vs. Dean Ambrose
Note: JBL instantly burying Dean Ambrose on commentary. Nobody on “the Internet” is talking as much shit about Raw as JBL is, for the record.
I didn’t love the fact that the first United States Championship title defense in eons ended in a predictable disqualification, but I’m very happy that Mark Henry is back from his kayfabe Brock Lesnaring and ready to be one of my favorite parts of the show again. I thought the match was fun while it lasted (through one of a thousand endless commercial breaks) and particularly loved Ambrose trying to remove Henry’s protective exoskeleton to get a better chance at winning.
I also loved that it led to the best non-wrestling part of the show:
After The Shield is done saving Dean Ambrose from Mark Henry, they decide to leave through the crowd (back to their waiting helicopter, I like to assume) and get interrupted with BLEARP~! and the presence of the Wyatt Family.
I loved every single second of this. It’s all so brilliantly put together. The Wyatts don’t interrupt The Shield by jumping them … they’ve heard The Shield claim that they aren’t afraid of lamb masks and haunted rocking chairs, so they’re giving The Shield their FULL ENTRANCE. Video, lights, music, lantern, everything. They’re just presenting themselves. The Shield’s response is just as perfect. Roman glares at them for a bit like he’s not sure if he should leave and save himself the hassle or just run into them to death, but he gets confident and steps back over the barricade without even really looking at it, which continues his streak of being the coolest guy in wrestling. If Rollins had tried to do that he’d still be spinning around on the floor.
From there, it’s A GAME OF HUMAN CHESS. A new pop from the crowd for every piece movement. One team gets on the apron, pop. The other team gets on the apron, another pop. One guy gets into the ring. ANOTHER pop. The crowd goes from FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT to thunderous boos simply because Bray Wyatt takes a step in the wrong direction. How great is that? True crowd manipulation. Interesting characters in a tense, fresh situation. To be more of a fanboy about it, they’re also all SUPER F*CKING COOL and feel like bad-ass super heroes. I want to know who’s gonna win, and whether they break out into a West Side Story dance like they almost did or not I AM SO IN.
And seriously, look at this face:
HE IS GOING TO KILL YOU.
Best: Bobo Brazil
Bobo Brazil is my jam.
When I was 17 I’d been into tape trading for a while, so I found myself getting into weird black and white tapes from the 1960s. They were mostly match compilations. I don’t know how much pre-1970s wrestling you’ve watched, but it’s jarring. Matches are super short usually, and nobody really does anything. They just sorta stall and then hold each other for a minute, and then one guy does an Irish whip and the other guy falls down and a pin happens. That’s 70% of pre-1970s matches. They’re like Divas matches today. As soon as somebody hits a move, it’s over.
I got into Lord James Blears like this, and I also got into Bobo Brazil, who felt like f*cking Blitzkrieg compared to most of these guys. He was interesting looking, had a weird personality (his name’s “Bobo Brazil” like he’s a South African caveman or apeman or something, but he’s from Michigan?) and would just headbutt you into unconsciousness. That’s all he’d do. He’d show up and start headbutting you and you’d be dead. It was great. When color TV got big he started wearing outfits like that sharp blue trunks and collared vest ensemble, and that’s basically the only way to make constant headbutts cooler. Dory Funk got big in Japan in 1969 and the game kinda changed after that, but as far as pre-puro-and-redneck-territories revolution wrestlers go, Bobo’s one of the best.
Best I Guess: Lita, Hall Of Famer
Good for her? I don’t know, if you put Trish in the Hall of Fame you might as well put in Lita, too, because they’re the two great, identifiable, nostalgic pillars of “good women’s wrestling” for people who’ve never actually seen good women’s wrestling. I’m legitimately happy that she got in before either Hardy Boy, though, and I hope they never get in just to make it a thousand times more hilarious.
I also hope that Cryme Tyme inducts her into the Hall and give her back her vibrator.
Real talk though so you guys don’t get too mad at me … Lita’s matches were almost uniformly horrible. What you’re remembering of “cool Lita” are her spots in other peoples’ matches, like when she runs in and is BONUS AWESOME in TLC 2. Even if most of her matches were bad, she IS a multiple-time former champion, the only woman to main-event Raw twice and one of the most identifiable female characters in WWE history. Of course she should go into the Hall of Fame. Most of us remember her fondly, and there’s something to be said for that. You know, even if her Hall of Fame induction video features her botching dives and nearly killing herself. I guess when it isn’t followed by months of injury and inactivity, it looks pretty cool.
Also, go f*ck yourself with the “she’s not a girl, she’s a CHICK” talking point, Michael Hayes. Get your perspective on women from someone more learned than Bill Engvall.
Worst: Aksana Continues Her Losing Streak
This is just to get us to cheer for her, right? She’s still getting that high profile match at Mania. They’re just working us. Right?
Worst: The Bella Twins Seriously Need To Shut The F*ck Up
There was a lot of oddly good stuff going on in this match, and I can see the Divas division sorta trying to pick itself up and be a thing, but man, I can’t handle any more of these multi-woman tags. It’s the same match every time out with holiday clothes being the only deviation, and the Bella Twins will NOT STOP SCREAMING. You’ve got to use your voice in the ring and fire up the crowd and keep everyone involved, but they will not stop yelling things and it drives me insane. In the ring they can’t do anything without yelling COME ONNNNNN or BRIE MODEEE or whatever, and then when they’re on the OUTSIDE they KEEP GOING with COME ON BRIEEEEEE or COME ON NIKKIIIIIII. Just a constant stream of high-pitched yelling.
I would give anything if I could get Cena and Bryan or whoever to stop teaching them random moves and just grab them firmly by the shoulders and say, “I love you, but if you scream Come On Brie one more time I’m going to Attitude Adjust you through the roof of an ambulance.”
Worst: If You Thought The ‘How To Download An App’ Videos Were Bad, Wait Until You See ‘How To Use The WWE Network’
It starts with “make sure your devices are plugged in and turned on.”
I worked at a Circuit City so I know how stupid people can be, but can we save the “are you sure your TV’s ON” question for the troubleshooting calls and assume 99.9% of functioning adults know you have to turn on your TV before you watch it? GODDAMMIT WWE I’M TRYING TO WATCH WWE NETWORK ON THIS DINNER PLATE BUT IT’S NOT WORKING, PLEASE EXPLAIN WHY THIS IS HAPPENING TO ME. I WANT TO WATCH WWE NETWORK ON MY DINNER PLATE.
Best: Corporate Kane Gets His Punishment
An employee who was placed on administrative leave got attacked in the middle of the ring by an employee who was given the night off and told to go home when neither of them should’ve been in the building, so … that doesn’t make a lot of sense. WWE’s the only place you can work where they send you home from work, and you have to stay there to explain in the middle of the ring that you’ve gone home from work.
Regardless, Daniel Bryan briefly got to kick ass on Raw, so I’m Besting it. I really hope the Kane thing gets blown off before, during or quickly after Elimination Chamber so the payoff at Mania can be Triple H, but if we do Bryan and Kane at Mania and it ends with them hugging it out, my cold heart will melt and it’ll be fine. As long as we get those running dropkicks to the face, I can’t complain.
Worst: The Same Exciting Match We Always Have
Firstly, the match was fine. Both guys are good at what they do. Orton’s great at engaging the crowd, and the crowd seemed to love it. That’s all that matters. My opinion on anything not involving hate, prejudice or ignorance sorta defaults to the crowd, because “did it work” sorta lives and dies with them. That’s not a universal truth, but sometimes I accept that the wrestling performed is not being performed for me, and that’s not only understandable, it’s desirable. Wrestling should be for everybody, and there should be lots of different kinds of it.
Secondly, f*ck this f*cking match.
THE NORMAL MATCH, now more normal than ever. If you remember when these guys fought back at the Royal Rumble, I wrote about how Cena and Orton really only have one gear and God bless them for going in it, but they’re the most predictable people in the world. Orton’s gonna hit an RKO, Cena’s going to kick out of it. The only thing that can happen next is Cena hitting an Attitude Adjustment and Orton kicking out of that. Orton’s gonna make these crazy faces like he can’t believe Cena kicked out of his DDTs and backbreakers even though they’ve been wrestling for a decade and he should know John Cena’s not eating a three count off your f*cking transitional moves. The end won’t have any build-up, it’ll just be Cena popping up and hitting the Attitude Adjustment, because that’s how Cena ends matches he wins. He just decides to win them, then wins them.
They tried to make it a fight FOR OUR FUTURES or something and the End of an Era, but these guys are gonna be fighting at Elimination Chamber, and if they aren’t fighting consistently forever I’ll eat my shoes. The most boring “exciting” match in the world. On and on and on and on and on and on.
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Night
In Soviet Russia, highway is the dangerzone.
Angela is clearly handpicked and getting an unfair push. I was chanting Angela Sucks.
“Despite earning his freedom under the Emancipation Proclamation more than 100 years ago, Virgil continued to valiantly serve Ted Dibiase for several years in the WWE. His shiny head, matched only by his shiny tearaway tuxedos, and his memorable black guy scowl and remembered fondly in the annals of WWE lore. Today, he can be found on boardwalks and in hotel lobbies throughout the East Coast. The WWE honors Virgil and all the African-American superstars who contributed to make the WWE…and our nation…a better place.”
I would die if 3MB showed up right now.
Oh look, the ghost of Andre the Giant
A clever man would put the poison into his own goblet, because he would know that only a great fool would reach for what he was given.
That’s So Raylan
There’s a lemon party joke in here somewhere.
Can someone call WWE Network support and ask why it keeps showing Cena vs Orton
I will not beat him on a ladder. I will not beat him in a cage. I will not beat him in an ambulance. I will not slam him off the stage. I will not throw him off a cell. Or taze him like Kevin Nash. I will beat him in the middle of the ring. Because this is a Regular Match.
That look on Renee’s face… she has no idea what Cena said… she’s doodling “Renee Reigns” on the trapper keeper of her mind.
Thanks, everybody. See you next week.