The Best And Worst Of WWE Raw 11/14: Raw Gets Rocked

Pre-show notes:

– If you love The Rock and think he’s the best wrestler of all time, be sure to leave us a comment. That should cover my commenting hype-beg for the week and entitle every living human who isn’t me or Billy Jack Haynes to post something.

– An important thing to remember while reading this report is that I had a weekend literally full of awesome wrestling. I spent Friday night and Saturday and Sunday mornings at Wizard World Austin loitering around Darin Childs’ table in the 1600 aisle, commissioning professional art from my favorite wrestler in the world. Saturday night I went to Anarchy Championship Wrestling’s Lone Star Classic, which featured Portia Perez winning their heavyweight title only to lose it an hour later. ACH ended up with it, which was the second happiest thing that could happen. Also, the Nasty Boys were there. Sunday was CHIKARA’s High Noon iPPV. I was too worn out by then to cover it effectively, but it was one of the best shows of the year and Peck/Cabana II was simultaneously the best and worst match in history. So then Monday night comes along, and it’s three hours of Raw getting Rocked. My brain may not be processing this correctly.

– Oh, and before I forget, after the jump you can see four of my five (or six) favorite WWE Superstars appearing in one segment together on Friday’s Smackdown. Why am I not Besting and Worsting this show instead?

– For further reading when you’re done with Best and Worst, please consult:

UGO’s Monday Night Raw: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The John Report’s Raw Deal

But read my thing first.

My good friend Justin O’Connor from Progressive Boink was live at the show, so I’m letting him handle the first page. Take it away, friend.

First: A Personal Anecdote

Before I get into the Michael Cole Challenge, I’d like to take a minute and relay a personal anecdote. Brandon and I have been friends for about ten years. It’s been a friendship fostered by an encyclopedic, co-dependent reliance upon pop-nostalgia humor as a coping mechanism. Back in 2007, we met up with a bunch of friends in San Francisco to attend Ring of Honor’s “Chaos at the Cow Palace.” The day before the event, Brandon and I insisted upon being taken to the house from Full House. We couldn’t have given any less of a sh*t about Lombard Street or any of the other famous landmarks. We were in San Francisco and we were going to validate a childhood spent watching TGIF by visiting the Full House house. Our friends were kind enough to oblige, so we piled into a touring van and spent some time in the early afternoon driving out to Broderick Street.

When we arrived, the two of us NES Max turbo-buttoned our way out of the van, looked toward the house at the purported address and our smiles both did that thing from cartoons where someone gets hit with a mallet and their teeth fall out like piano keys. It wasn’t the house we’d remembered. For whatever reason, we both shared a distinct vision of a different house used in later-season establishing shots of the neighborhood skyline. Our friends all insisted we were at the Full House house, but we wouldn’t relent. We both felt bad about seeming so unappreciative of our friend’s efforts to placate our immaturity, but even though it was admittedly kind of neat to see A Full House house, it wasn’t THE Full House house. Not the house we’d remembered, anyway. We just knew we couldn’t be so sure of something only for it to not be real.

My point is, seeing The Rock live in 2011 was like my visit to the Full House house. He’s still A Rock, but he’s not THE Rock. He delivered his Rock catchphrases and performed his Rock mannerisms, but I was hoping for something else. It’s certainly not his fault for not being able to live up to the expectations I’ve cultivated for him in my brain, and I’d be lying if I tried playing it off like being there live was anything but really cool. I guess I’m just never going to be satisfied when reality ends up being nothing more than a vague approximation of how I expect things to be in my brain.

Worst: The Michael Cole Challenge

So I attended RAW live last night, and prior to the show, upon hearing I’d finally be afforded the dramatic conclusion to Michael Cole’ Presents “The Michael Cole Challenge” (a Michael Cole Joint,) I fervently texted Brandon asking if it’d be possible to do the segment’s “best/worst” write-up. I figured it couldn’t possibly be too difficult to riff on bad wrestling. Besides, I’ve read enough live WWE reports in my time to understand the process. I’d establish how Michael Cole is more like “Michael Something-That-Rhymes-With-Cole,” and make a few derisive barbs toward the children in my section for being “total marks.” I figured the whole thing would pretty much write itself. It wasn’t until this morning when I realized I’d have to actually choose between giving the segment a “best” or a “worst,” since “an autistic child’s fever nightmare” wasn’t a viable option for a segment qualifier.

Essentially, the whole experience turned into one of those wrestling segments where if I were watching it alone in my apartment I’d spend twenty uncomfortable minutes trying to pluck invisible chiggers from the nape of my neck. Then my mom would walk into the room, followed by every girl I’ve ever made out with. Being there live was a whole different beast, since instead of being able to distract myself with Wikipedia articles, pornography and pornography about Wikipedia articles, I was forced to marinate in the shame of having paid legal American tender in exchange for the privilege of becoming a willing participant in my own mental schadenfreude.

And I know I’m being a tad melodramatic, because I certainly didn’t go into the Michael Cole Challenge with high expectations. I knew it would be bad. It just ended up being that rare kind of bad where it managed to hit upon everything I can’t stand about comedy in wrestling. I know it’s foolish to measure the standard of humor in wrestling against sophisticated fare such as ‘Community’, ‘Arrested Development’ or ‘Drexel’s Class’, but at the same time I don’t think it’s unreasonable for me to expect humor to be predicated upon the idea that a f**king joke (even in theory) is supposed to be funny.

See, if there’s one thing I hate about pro wrestling more than any of the other things I hate about pro wrestling (including myself for watching it,) it’s the oft-repeated, childish insults directed toward either a wrestler’s physical appearance or personality. The thing is, I don’t ever expect WWE to be progressive or accepting of anything not set in stone as a sociological folkway, but at the same time I don’t think its unreasonable for them to not use those things as fodder for derision. Its also just f**king lazy, unacceptable writing. Like alluding to Lucky Charms whenever someone’s Irish. Who still laughs at that bullsh*t? In this instance, Jim Ross is fat, so he looks like a parade float. Jim Ross also sells barbeque sauce, ergo his breath must smell like barbeque sauce. Holy sh*t, Cole! I haven’t witnessed such a scathing character assassination since Stephanie called DJ a double-geek-burger-with-cheese!

Worst: or “So Far Past the Known Quantification for Worst that the Needle On the Worst Meter Broke, the Glass Shattered and Now I Have Mercury Poisoning.”

Another thing I hate is wrestling “dance” segments. Usually they’re reserved for periods of a RAW where the roster has to tread water until Vince McMahon stops chasing around an intern with poop-filled underwear on a stick. In TNA, the equivalent is for Abyss to go to the ring and bleed for ten minutes, but I digress. I guess I simply fail to see the appeal in transplanting the most uncomfortable moment of any white person’s family reunion into a program about men who travel from building-to-building in a pseudo-reality where members of the Mexican aristocracy engage in class-warfare against the bassist for a Dischord band. At the very least they could make the experience authentic by affording me an open bar and the opportunity to score pot off a reception hall busboy.

I know I haven’t written much about the segment itself, but there’s not much to say about Michael Cole’s monopolization of television time that hasn’t been written already, and if I start delving into my theory about how the perverse humiliation of a crippled sexagenarian serves as a means for Vince to attain an erection, I’ll just end up bumming myself out again by fixating on the mental imagery of him and HHH pinning Jim Ross to the ground and rape-dressing him into an undersized sailor costume. Besides, by the time CM Punk’s music hit, the segment had dragged on for so long, I was certain WWE had found a way to shatter the concept of a linear timeline. Or maybe I was just really, really drunk. In either case, I guess I’ll never know what the gaping maw of Infinity smells like, but I’m willing to bet it smells like barbeque sauce!!!

(The gaping maw of Infinity is Jim Ross’ stomach.)

(Jim Ross fat.)

Back to me, because for some reason I haven’t started trying to kill myself yet.

Best: Cody Rhodes Version 1

The wrestling pessimist in me assumed the emasculation of Cody Rhodes by the coward Randy Orton two weeks ago on Smackdown was the end of a great character — after all, the classic Intercontinental Championship hasn’t moved or been used since it was reintroduced and the dipping points of Legacy’s career are always punctuated by Orton beatdowns — but I was pleasantly surprised to hear he’s been emancipated and won’t be completely dropping my favorite speaking-style in pro wrestling. You can see the remnants of it in the ring, too. Watch when he wins the match … he does the WWE standard “arrogant guy glare into Herman Cain smile”, but when he gets up he sorta cocks his head and opens his mouth like a velociraptor. I feel like a guy’s personality should be based (at least loosely) on the things that’ve happened to him before. John Cena shouldn’t be afraid of anyone because he has congenital insensitivity to pain can beat everyone easily. Randy Orton shouldn’t stop intermittently exploding on folks because the fans are cheering, and Cody can move forward from facial trauma without forgetting how internally nutso it made him. Well done, everybody.

Also, how great is it to see him winning matches cleanly? I don’t know if Kofi messed it up or if his body only spins clockwise, but Cross Rhodes looked devastating. It needs to be more “I’m twisting your body around and destroying your face on the ground” and less “what Carlito used to do”.

Best/Worst: Hunico And The Island Of Magic

I like the MS Paint drawings of Sin Cara that show up in Botchamania as much as the next guy, but the Sin Cara/Blackface parts of this match were tight. It was weird to see them going at it full-speed and leaving Cody and Kofi to mess stuff up. I like where the Hunico character is going, especially when he gets teamed up with the Latin Freebirds and nobody ends up waving to me from a riding lawnmower, but there are two minor worsts happening:

1. I can’t recognize him. When they posted the Survivor Series team graphics I thought it was Chavo Guerrero for five full minutes. It helps that they put his name in Wolverine font all over the stage for a few seconds before he enters, but still, he should’ve at least kept the sparkly jacket.

2. Nothing seems more like TNA than a Hispanic guy in a wifebeater and bandana walking to the ring grabbing the front part of his baggy jeans while Mexican restaurant music plays. Nothing. He also gave me a Konnan vibe (made worse when Kofi started doing front somersaults before his clotheslines), which makes me remember WCW’s penchant for putting Mexican guys in one-button flannel shirts and assuming all Hispanic people are friends, and bad-era Thunder-WCW just brings me back to TNA.

But no, I like him. But what do I know? I think they should make FCW the WWE television roster and let John Cena banter with the Rock in front of a few hundred people in central Florida.

Worst: Kofi’s In A Weird Place, Isn’t He

Evan Bourne’s suspension is hurting Kofi Kingston worse than it’s hurting Evan Bourne. Kofi doesn’t look like he knows what to do, lugging that big Batcave penny down to the ring on his shoulder, pumping his fist and telling people to “come on” while they glance over his shoulder to see if the little metro guy who’s way better than him is peace-signing anywhere in the background. He’s entered that post-Orton-MSG-push, pre-Dolph-Ziggler-constancy period again, and they should keep him teamed with Sin Cara or someone else of a flipping nature until Bourne “overcomes injury”. Call them “Fall Down Go Boom”.

Or, better yet, put Daniel Bryan in these matches and let Kofi spend the next six months losing dark matches to Drew McIntyre.

Worst: Santino Playing WWE ’12 Like It’s Tecmo World Wrestling

I’m sure there’s a TV trope for it somewhere, but there’s nothing worse than watching somebody on TV “play a video game”. They hold a Dreamcast controller and jam the buttons as hard as they can, sometimes putting it on their thigh and rapping it at full speed (never touching the d-pad), or they hold it face-high and swing it back and forth until somebody walks in and is all “what’re you doing” and they say something asinine and inaccurate like “I’M PLAYING SUPER MARE-IO BROTHERS I JUST GOT TO LEVEL 10 AND BEAT THE WIZARD”. And you’re like “no part of this is right, Patrick Duffy”. It’s amazing to me that video games are a billion dollar industry and nobody in movies or TV has ever f**king played one.

That was Santino last night. Just hammering the buttons as fast as he can as The Rock does complexly-mapped moves. It reminded me of those kids at the arcade who’d wander up to Street Fighter II without any money and wait for it to get to the demo, then move the joystick back and forth and slap their little fat hands into the buttons like they were playing. Then you walk up to them and they just kinda stare at you for a second before turning around and leaving. Basically watching the highest rated show on cable last night made me feel like I was 12 years old at a goddamn Hills department store, so thanks for that.

Worst: Zack Ryder, Do You Get It

If you watched Zack Ryder do his Zack Ryder thing for three hours last night and aren’t tired of him, I don’t know what to tell you. Back when he wasn’t on TV and I was always saying “use him in this segment instead of x”, I didn’t mean use him in EVERY segment instead of x. They’re using him instead of x and y at this point, and six months from now it’s just gonna be a split-screen where a left-facing Zack Ryder in a “take care, spike your hair” poncho and “are you serious bro” cowboy hat holding a “woo woo woo” koozie says “bro” repeatedly to a right-facing Zack Ryder wearing QR code pasties and plastic sunglasses with “internet” along the side.

Worst: Mason Ryan Isn’t Strong

Point 1: When you’re little, you assume muscles = strength. As you grow up and discover ESPN 2, you realize that guys who are trim and ripped have made themselves so largely because of vanity, and that the truly strong people have muscular arms and legs but also heads and necks and torsos shaped like barrels. A lot of your strength comes from your core, so if you want a lot of strength, barring any sort of natural genetic mutation, you’ve got to have a lot of core.

Point 2: I love and miss leather vested, “I’m here to make money” Dave Batista, but one of my worst live wrestling memories was being in the crowd for Armageddon 2002 and watching him try to powerbomb Kane. I’ve seen Kane (who is not “cut” by any stretch) scoop up the Big Show and carry him around on his shoulder. Here I was watching Mr. World Fitness Batista struggle to get a jumping Kane higher than Celestial Moon bellybutton tattoo without dropping and killing him. He struggled and struggled, and everybody booed.

So now when I see Mason Ryan gorilla press people, it makes me sad. He doesn’t really “press” them, because he isn’t really strong. I don’t want to get all “secrets of pro wrestling revealed” on you, but all Ryan is doing is balancing the guy on the top of his head Nat-Geo style and waiting for them to press themselves up on his shoulder. Normally I wouldn’t care about something like this, but when your entire thing is being strong and lifting guys, you’ve got to be strong and able to lift guys.

Best: Just Let Dolph Ziggler Wrestle Everything

Christian is injured, so Dolph Ziggler is taking his place on Team Barrett at Survivor Series. I would’ve went with Cait Sith, but whatever.

Anyway, assuming that the Zack Ryder “hey bro will you bro my petition for a Bro-S title bro at Brovivor Series” thing happens, this will be the second pay-per-view in a row with two Dolph Ziggler-related matches on it. As someone who loves watching the guy wrestle I’m all for it, but part of me wonders whether or not that spot couldn’t be used for somebody else, both to make someone else look important and to let Dolph settle on making his United States title run mean something.

This is a great place to shoehorn in Brodus Clay, isn’t it? Have him stand there all scary on the ring apron, blocking an entire section’s view, have him crossbody Sheamus or whoever to eliminate them in shocking fashion and just stand around growling like the Bear Hugger-looking motherf**ker he is when Team Barrett wins. That’s easy. Or, let one of the Nexus guys throw back in with Barrett. Heath Slater or Justin Gabriel could carry a part of the match before getting eliminated in spectacular fashion, couldn’t they? Or bring back Skip Sheffield here. Give William Regal a pay-per-view payday. Put Derrick Bateman on Barrett’s team and Titus O’Neil on Orton’s to make NXT still seem like a thing. And seriously, that’s at least five reasonable ideas I could come up with in the time it took me to write a stream-of-consciousness paragraph. I love Ziggler, but damn, there are only so many spots on these shows.

Worst: The Physics Of The Anaconda Vise, And Also This Is So Stupid

I could be completely wrong about this, but the Anaconda Vise isn’t supposed to hurt your arm, is it? It’s a choke. You pin the guy’s head between their arm and yours and you choke them.

Michael Cole returned sometime around here to reclaim his spot at the announce table, and he did so with his arm in a sling, never once mentioning that he’d been choked. So… in WWE terms is the Anaconda Vise an arm submission, now? Because seriously, bend your arm like that and hold it up to your head. That’s how an arm normally bends. Unless you’ve got pecs like Mason Ryan it shouldn’t be able to tear anything in your body. Doing an elbow smash to the head should hurt your arm worse than having it held in elbowing position. Maybe everything I’ve ever known about Hiroyoshi Tenzan is a lie, or everybody at Raw is dumb and nobody knows how wrestling works.

Worst: The Popular Use Of John Morrison

John Morrison beat Dolph Ziggler in a match last week, for some goddamn reason, and this week felt it still necessary to run down to the ring (in jeans, but without a shirt) to roll Ziggler back into the ring after a match Mason Ryan just won to see him beaten up more. And yeah, Vickie slapping Mason was a cheap way to end the match, but it wasn’t really Ziggler’s doing, and worst case scenario this Mason Ryan fellow beat the sh*t out of the US Champ and made him turn tail and run. It just seemed unnecessary. But you know, “it just seemed unnecessary” might’ve been the running theme on the night, especially when CM Punk is literally saying so into the camera, so maybe this is a best after all.

And if you’re keeping score at home, the United States champion lost to John Morrison last week and Mason Ryan this week after losing, like, five of six matches to Zack Ryder. Ryder’s got his petition going, but shouldn’t everybody be getting US title matches?

Best: Wizard World Dreams Do Come True

From August:

Melina Splits: WWE Cleaning House – Notable because WWE is referencing them on television, with the slight chance that Masters, Kozlov and Harry Smith are going to return as part of CM Punk’s “Legion Of The Damned”. Melina, of course, will be at Wizard World Austin. Come on, Wizard World Austin! [With Leather]

From then on, it became a running gag that I was going to hook up with Melina at Wizard World. Well, Wizard World came and went, and like I said, dreams come true.

(no they don’t)

(I’m still trying to figure out which part of my outfit makes me dorkier, the Zelda hoodie, the Totoro shirt or the Minor League Baseball hat.)

Worst: Again, This Is A Three Hour Raw

So much of the show just … didn’t seem to matter. I was happy to see Mick Foley back in a WWE ring, but not really the version of Mick Foley that exists now, and not really the WWE ring i was watching. With Mick Foley and Kevin Nash anchoring segments and, again, a Mexican guy with the gimmick “Mexican STREETS guy”, it made things feel a little too Impactful, and Impact has been bad enough for the last five years to make that a legitimate derisive adjective.

I am happy to see Mick, though. I’ve been a Cactus Jack fan since I was 11, and remember, I am extremely old.

Best: The Best Non-RO&D Moment Of Bull Buchanan’s Life

The clip from WWE Fan Nation omits the best part, which is when Bull forlornly walks up the ramp, but stops before he leaves to turn around and add THANKS A LOT!! I was laughing my ass off. If Bull had shown this much hilarious yokel charisma during any point of his WWE career, maybe he never would’ve retired into dog-bite obscurity. When Foley started the segment I sort of jokingly turned to Destiny and said “maybe Bull Buchanan will show up”, as if she had any idea who he was or it was a remote possibility. My only two issues with the best two minutes of the 77-minute segment were that 1) clips of Doctor of Thuganomics John Cena make me remember how awesome he was and magnifies how lame jortsed-out Troops Pal Cena has been for the last … however long it’s been, and 2) I’m not sure John Cena is Bull Buchanan’s best tag team partner ever.

Well, let’s look at it. According to his Wikipedia page (lol @ his real name just being “Barry Buchanan”), he’s held the following tag team gold:

– AJPW All Asia Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Rico Constantino (worse than John Cena)

– GCW Tag Team Championship (3 times) – with A.J. Steele (1), David Young (1), and Johnny Swinger (1) (all worse than John Cena, especially Johnny Swinger, who is worse than me and most housepets)

– OVW Southern Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Mr. Black (way, way worse than John Cena)

– USWA World Tag Team Championship (3 times) – with The Interrogator (or Kurrgan, worse than John Cena but way better than Mr. Black, who is basically Kentucky’s version of CAPW’s “The Bouncer”)

– WWF Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with The Goodfather (worse than John Cena, especially during this era, when he was a Wrestling Rib)

But then there are two big exceptions:

The Big Bossman, who teamed with him for a while but they never won tag team gold, and

D’Lo Brown, with whom Barry won the GHC Tag Team Championship (1 time) and Global Tag League Technique Prize (2008, 2009)

And hell, that Wrestlemania match with Undertaker has me willing to put Cena over the Bossman, but I’m not sure I can in good faith say “rapping best friend” John Cena was a better tag team partner than Japanese D’Lo Brown. I mean, come on Bare, don’t you remember why you stopped teaming with Cena?

He should’ve claimed Rodney Mack was the one who gave him rabies. Also, “m’dog gave me rabies” is my new excuse for quitting any job.

Best: The Best Selling Of John Cena’s Career

I hate giving Cena “Bests” on a show where you know I’m going to give Rocky so many “Worsts”, but John Cena’s “dying a thousand deaths” faces from the “This Is Your Life” segment were outstanding. He had a realistic reaction to his Little League coach (as “I know the embarrassing thing he’s about to say but I can tell you how it was worse because I had to live with it and get over it” is a pretty complex pro wrestling emotion), a nice mixture of “yes, I know you” and “sorry about living moving on” for Bull Buchanan, and that killer response to his Dad pictured above.

And speaking of Mr. Cena,

Best: Johnny Fabulous

Hoooooooly sh*t how much do I love John Cena Sr., and how much do I wish he was a regular fixture on the show? The guy has decades of experience as a pro wrestling manager and has somehow developed a condescending voice I love even more than Cody Rhodes’. A quick points rundown for John Senior:

+10 points for having a Big Band entrance theme, which may or may not have been the Raw Roulette music

+100 points for pronouncing “testosterone” as “taz-test-aron” like he’s cutting an off-the-hip Grand Wizard promo

+1000 points for breaking out the “Rocky doesn’t suck, YOU SUCK!” crowd chatter from WWF Attitude

Mr. Cena for Raw General Manager. I’d rather see him than anyone not in that Smackdown clip I linked into the intro.

Best: Bill “The Rock” Goldberg

The Rock showing up, pity-killing Mick Foley with a Rock Bottom and immediately leaving before his music stopped was maybe the first time I’ve loved babyface The Rock since Survivor Series ’98. As someone who was there when Goldberg started this streak, I know unarguably that what made casual fans love ol’ Bill so much is that on a show full of boastful, constantly-talking people he just walked to the ring, murdered people in three minutes and LEFT. That was it. He didn’t spout catchphrases, he didn’t have wacky shirts, he didn’t zip-line down from the rafters. He had Viking Death Music, let fireworks burn him, backflipped occasionally and made people die with his shoulder. It was great.

And that was the Rock last night, at least in the 30 seconds-or-so of glory before the darkness came. He seemed purposeful, and more like a pro wrestler than he’s seemed since (give-or-take) Summerslam ’04. It was good, and I’m not afraid to admit it. Also, it ended this segment before Yurple could appear.

Best: Sheamus Vs. Swagger Was Fine

It was. It was completely fine. It’s the kind of match I’d play in Fire Pro or build an EWR campaign around, but given the constraints of a Raw match, the timing of happening in hour 14 of Raw Gets Rocked and my aforementioned weekend of pro wrestling bliss I found myself not enjoying it as much as I should’ve. I sorta went in and out. Around here is when I went ughhhh and decided to watch the rest of the show in bed.

But again, it was fine. Three hour Raws come with two big rules that I always ignore:

1. They will be worse than two hour Raws and I should just skip them, and

2. They will have less wrestling than normal, for some reason, and what is there will be bad

… so “fine” sorta seems like a thing I should be praising more. Sheamus continues to be a perfectly-honed WWE-Style good guy and the Irish Hand Grenade always makes me laugh now. Jack Swagger is a good story turn away from being set for life, because he’s solid-to-very-good in the ring and has more personality than we get to see. It’s an easy win to say “give them a story and 15 minutes on a pay-per-view”, but I guess you could say that for everyone. Is malaise kicking in? Remind me to only watch Combat Zone and like, WOW: Women Of Wrestling before watching Raw next week.

Worst: Who Would You Rather Hang Out With

The Bella Twins ditch Zack Ryder to talk to Alberto Del Rio. Ryder, not content with being outside the camera frame, interrupts them to say “woo woo woo you know it” and everybody just kinda goes “whatever” and leaves. Ryder removes his plastic sunglasses, adjusts his novelty wig and slips on his Zack Ryder Top Rope Speaking Gloves to add “come on bro” and we hold on him for several minutes.

Best: Hombre Magazine

Del Rio namedropped it like it was the fictional, non-union Mexican equivalent to Playgirl, but it is a real thing, and he’s really in it. It looks and reads like one of the bachelor profiles in a local magazine. “Oh hey this guy is a handsome business millionaire and he’s only 32, I wonder why he’s single!” Probably because he’s a prick, local magazine.

Worst: No Brodus Clay, Again

I was okay with it last week, but no Brodus Clay this week makes Brandon something something. I only took one philosophy class in college, I don’t have a lot more “I am the fall of humanity” jokes. By the time he shows up it’ll be another Blood Runs Cold situation where we’ve built up MORTAL KOMBAT NINJAS in our heads and end up with a blonde white guy doing day 1 Taekwondo kicks in a spotlight. Or, stop mentioning him now and bring him in when we’ve forgotten. Have Daniel Bryan valiantly fight his way to Wrestlemania, topple Mark Henry in a bloody, violent 22-minute classic and have Brodus show up out of nowhere and trounce him out of nowhere like he’s the goddamn Necron. An “oh no, I’ve got an even BIGGER guy to fight now” moment.

And call his splash the “Neutron Ring”.

Best: Kelly Kelly’s Butt

Objectively she’s got a pretty nice butt, even if her best use for it is lying on cars in warehouses. And while we’re at it, why are people always laughing so much during these behind-the-scenes photoshoot videos? Does the photographer crack jokes nonstop to disguise the fact that he’s the guy who takes photos of naked ladies on cars in warehouses?

Worst: Women’s Wrestling, As It Were

The video for this match is only 1:07, but it features the entire match, and the wrestling stops 20 seconds before the end.

One of the most surreal experiences during my Wizard World weekend was this:

The Ladies Of Wrestling

Maria, Melina and Candice Michelle answer your questions about what it takes to hit the mat become a dashing Diva in the world of professional wrestling. (Room B)

I sat in Room B beside Rachel Summerlyn and Portia Perez, two of the best and most hard-hitting women in the world. If you don’t understand the magnitude of that, click those links and look at those pictures. I watched Portia Perez slowly take all the Japanese money out of her wallet while Maria told a story about the one time she broke her thumb. I raised my hand and asked them if they followed women’s wrestling outside of WWE, and if so, what did they think about it? Neither one really answered my question.

The point of that anecdote, besides me being new to name-dropping and having to do it constantly, is that they don’t follow it, and they don’t think anything. That’s what gives us 48 seconds of Kelly Kelly in a sexy New England Patriots jersey rolling up Natalya for a pin when the pay-per-view match they’re building to is Eve vs. Beth Phoenix. Natalya is a joke. An absolute joke. It’s stupid. I don’t have any long-winded justification for it this time. They’re just being stupid, and I hope it gets better. It won’t, but I hope it will. It’s sad. Natalya should eliminate herself from the next battle royal and put some more Japanese money in her wallet.

Good luck trying to enjoy this match clip with all the “announcing” going on.

Worst: Mark Henry, Coward

Early in the match, Mark Henry has one of those moments he has where he flashes back to the old Mark Henry and I get worried that they’ve ruined him forever. They never have, but when a guy’s previous 14 years of highlights were topped off by sub-PN News rapping to a midget you get paranoid. Anyway, Big Show started hitting him with stuff, and Henry bailed, leaving Del Rio by himself for a moment as they crashed to break. He got back into the ring during the commercials and the match went on as planned, but that moment concerned me … why is Mark Henry afraid of ANYONE? He shouldn’t be the bully who backs down when you stand up to him, he should be the one bully who is just stronger than everybody else so he catches your George McFly punch in his fist and breaks your hand.

I haven’t figured out why they’ve been portraying Mark as sketchy around the Big Show. They’ve played up the “last time they collided” video a lot with the ring collapsing, but nobody ever points out that it was Mark Henry SUPLEXING Big Show INTO the ring that made it collapse. They didn’t just bear hug each other and have it explode. Mark was the catalyst; they didn’t break the ring, he did, and I think we aren’t saying that clearly enough.

So no, when Big Show tries a punch, the guy who can break the set with your body shouldn’t bail.

Best: Mark Henry, Everything Else

And like I said, thankfully Henry never STAYS in coward mode, and quickly goes back to splitting wigs. I like when CM Punk gets to wrestle and isn’t relegated to being the show’s sociopathic Jim Halpert, and I like it even more when Henry gets to catch people while they’re trying to do things and put them down with malice. That’s cool. That’s why I loved Vader so much. Vader could get beaten down (see Simmons, Ron) but he never, at least until the WWF brought him over, seemed like he was weaker for it. You just had to be really strong and tough to beat him. That makes sense, doesn’t it? Mark should be blistering dudes like Punk on the reg, so when he does, I’m going to Best it.

I’m also going to give a secondary Worst to Alberto Del Rio, not for his personal performance, but for how dead-set they seem against him doing well on his own merits. When you have everyone who gets cheered point out that you’re a fake guy who rents cars and doesn’t know Spanish and is actually white and is actually a woman and is actually a 4-year old baby girl with f**king butterfly disease or whatever you can’t do much with it. What I’m saying is that I’m not afraid for Berto’s future, I’m just kind of afraid of the future itself.

Best: I Actually Liked This Kevin Nash Thing

I think “my friend didn’t notice the pop I got” is the worst reason to feud with somebody since Japanese shampoo commercials, but I liked Nash’s interaction with Santino. Santino announcing to the crowd that his career is on the right track and that he’ll return as champion is a perfect comedy turn, especially following his Royal Rumble performance and that moment of thought where you try to figure out how that’s going to happen. It won’t, and how badly it won’t is funny.

The second funniest part was Nash’s big boot, which was bigger in size than in execution and got up to about the waist, like he’s one of the character from ‘Wrestlemania’ for the NES. Just stand straight up and kick about hips-high. Third funniest part is how easily Nash could avoid injuring people with his powerbomb if he’d just follow through with his arms and move his lower body a little.

Worst: Jerry Lawler’s Taste In Movies

Get It To The Greek was one of my all-time favorite movies …”

He loved it so much he couldn’t even remember the name of it. But seriously, Jonah Hill is showing up and you mention how great Get Him To The Greek was? Not Moneyball, not Superbad or Forgetting Sarah Marshall or Knocked Up? I want Jonah Hill to show up on Raw next week and get accosted by the Bellas only for Lawler to interrupt, shoo them away, pull Jonah to the side and tell him, “you know what, I think Allen Gregory is easily the best television show ever made”.

Worst, But With A Best Chaser: Orton And Barrett

Much in the same vein as Sheamus/Swagger (and to a lesser degree that “why am I not Besting and Worsting Smackdown instead of Raw” thing from the pre-show notes), Orton and Barrett was fine, but a victim of being shorted on Raw, being better on Smackdown and being run moments after a “tune in this Friday to see Barrett take on Randy Orton in a tag team match” commercial. I like what both of them can do in the ring and was hoping we’d get another “signature move into Wasteland” thing, possibly the RKO jump, but once the Survivor Series teams wandered out it was super secret wrestling fan code for “nothing’s going to happen and then everybody’s going to fight”.

Also, Barrett wrestled for like a year without his hair coming out of place, and now it’s flopping around everywhere. Did they bring in Rob Lowe’s season 4 hair guy from ‘Parks and Recreation’?

Worst: More Like Needles To Asses

I have to give Kevin Steen credit for that one. I’m going to move on from this pretty quickly, but how funny is it to hear The Rock talk sh*t about John Cena’s dorky catchphrases and spend 17 minutes trying to get “boots to asses” over?

Worst Worst Worst: I Can Trend So Much Better Than You!

Seriously, 17 minutes. The Divas match lasted 48 seconds. For 17 minutes a legitimate Hollywood movie star, the biggest guy in your company and the two guys they’re supposed to headline against at your six-days-away pay-per-view said TWITTER TWITTER TWEET TWITTER TRENDING TWITTER TWEET TWITTER TRENDING TWEET to each other.

That was the segment. It wasn’t an attempt to make things important, it was a storyline plot point, it wasn’t “talking people into the building”, it was two guys trying to trend random things before seeing who could beat up their meaningless insect opponents the most. As I mentioned (on Twitter) early Monday, “So I’m”, “Guess I’ll” and “GOT AIDS” were all worldwide trending topics. As of Tuesday afternoon, as I’m finishing this up, “Look What You’ve Done” and “Man I’m” are trending worldwide. I bring up the pointlessness of getting something to trend a lot, but you really have to understand how and why this happens. Twitter is made up of these huge groups of people called “stans” who like one and only one thing, and have to constantly prove that the one thing they like is better than other peoples’ one thing.

For example, say “Man I’m” is trending. You click it, and there’s a girl saying “Man I’m glad for Justin Bieber’s Mistletoe” and below that is “Man I’m in love with ONE DIRECTION” and below that is somebody putting all the trending topics into one sentence and below that is somebody who copy-pasted “Man I’m Man I’m Man I’m Man I’m Man I’m Man I’m Man I’m Man I’m” and above all of it is fake Voldemort saying “Man I’m going to try to kill Harry Potter”. Getting WWE things to trend is MINDLESS. At worst it doesn’t do anything to help you, and at best it placates your ego and convinces you that you’re popular. Make your shows good and they will trend naturally. Or just keep saying TWITTER TWITTER TWITTER and shake your head 10 years from now when you’re trying to put together a John Cena DVD and can’t use anything from 2011-whenever Twitter died.

Worst: Before We Begin, I’d Like To Remind You That You’re A Gay

I’d almost gotten through an episode of Raw without any condescending racist rape-culture bullsh*t going down, but then John Cena had to start his show-ending conversation with “are you wearing MAKE-UP?” as if they aren’t ALL wearing make-up because they perform on a TV show broadcast in HD. That leads directly into a passive-aggressive Rock and Cena showdown where Rock threatens to put his shoe in John’s “lady parts” and Cena saying “man-gina” and threatening to “bitch slap” The Rock. Two grown adult men, one wearing a shirt that says “Rise Above Hate”, the other who is the captain of a team of everybody, and the only things they hate about each other are the parts that are like a woman.

Meanwhile, Miz and Truth stand around doing nothing. But that leads to:

Best: I Am So SICK! Of this!

The Miz says this about 26 minutes into the 17 minute segment, and it brings up a very good question: How can you get excited for pro wrestling when the bad guys are the only people saying what you think?


And the show ends with Cena and Rock agreeing that “boots to asses” and beating up The Miz and R-Truth, as they’ve done without effort since day 1. The only issue that arises is that Cena wants to hit Miz with his special move, but Rock stops him so he can hit his own. And then Cena is sad! So Rock steals his taunt. And that is your build to Survivor Series.


One of the biggest stars you’ve ever had is wrestling his first match in 7 years on Sunday. He’s teaming with one of your most hated/popular and easily most bankable stars. They’re facing a guy who used to be on MTV and, worst case scenario, a former NWA Heavyweight Champion. In WWE terms they’re facing two guys who not very long ago lowered the Hell in a Cell around the company’s biggest stars, beat the sh*t out of them and walked away in handcuffs with smug smiles on their faces. The Rock agreed to partner with Cena because of how much he hates them, and when he’s finally in the ring with them he explains how he doesn’t and has never cared about them. Cena doesn’t care about them. The crowd will do whatever Cena and Rock say, so THEY don’t care about them. And the worst part? It’s taken us since before Wrestlemania to get here. And it took us three hours just to get here TONIGHT.

“Constantly disappointing” is trending worldwide. So are “losing money” and “get it the f**k together”.