– As of right now, I’m not sure what the status is on the Best and Worst Of Royal Rumble ’12. I’m assuming it’ll still happen, but come to terms with the reality that it may not. Hopefully a Rumble 2000 report, two open threads and a Best And Worst Of Raw report in four days is enough wrestling content to keep you feeling fulfilled. If I keep up this pace they’re gonna sh*t-can me from With Leather and you’ll have to read my reports on Scoop This.
– Comments are loved and appreciated. So are “likes”. Clicking like is even easier than commenting, so at least do that. Last night’s Open Discussion Thread featured over 1,500 comments (holy crap) so we’re gonna start working on the likes.
– A.J. picture only tangentially related.
– The biggest and most profuse Thank You ever goes out to Marty Springall @CranberryNapalm for providing high quality screengrabs while 1) my normal computer is down and 2) WWE Fan Nation is being weird about uploading videos. Couldn’t have done it without you, guy. FOLLOW HIM AS A THANK YOU. Gifs contained within are, as always, courtesy of Jerusalem at Punchsport Pagoda.
– Additional reading: UGO’s Raw Report. I disagree with him about … basically everything.
Worst: This Isn’t Working For Me Because What You’re Saying Isn’t True
It feels weird to watch Raw closely enough to write a 7-to-11 page book report on it for With Leather every week and realize I’ve missed a grade-1 storytelling plot point an arena of wrestling fans have picked up on. Since going behind Triple H’s back to the board of directors last … what, September? John Laurinaitis hasn’t done anything so blatantly heelish that he deserves immediate dismissal and a building full of people booing him. He hasn’t. The crowd is booing him because people they like keep insulting him. That’s it.
CM Punk has spent the last several months screaming in Laurinaitis’s face about how he’s WORTHLESS and PATHETIC and how he’s JUST JEALOUS that Punk gets to be a WWE Superstar, something Laurinaitis wanted but couldn’t achieve. John Morrison randomly waltzed up to Laurinaitis one time and was all, “I think you suck!” Triple H is the only guy with a legit beef against him, and he spent most of the main event segment (blergh) glossing over the whole overt backstabbing thing in favor of talking points like “you are a liar!” and “you put CM Punk in a gauntlet match one time!”
This is the same Triple H who once told a company full of protestors that their concerns about lies and danger were for pussies, and that they should just “suck it up” and do their job because WWE is all about lies and fighting. He’s showing up to condemn Laurinaitis for making people wrestle.
And isn’t that John’s only crime? He made people wrestle. He put CM Punk in matches Punk didn’t like. He let Zack Ryder wrestle when he wasn’t medically cleared, and then when he WAS, he asked him to wrestle again. At what point does this become grounds for dismissal? Does WWE’s board of directors want a guy to make wrestlers wrestle or a guy for whom the wrestlers won’t wrestle? It doesn’t make any f**king sense.
So when CM Punk starts off the show by once again sarcastically trotting out to Halpert the camera and sing Steam’s “Na Na Hey Hey” (a song that hasn’t existed outside of wrestling crowds and Remember The f**king Titans since like 1970), all it reads to me as is a guy with an axe to grind against a character trope and a crowd willing to do whatever he says.
As much as I hate to say “hey wrestling, be more obvious”, it might help the constant LAURINAITIS IS THE DEVIL thing if you had him kidnap his own daughter and burn her teddy bear in the middle of the ring.
Best: A Vegan World Heavyweight Champion
Daniel Bryan’s taunt of I’M VEGAN! I DON’T EVEN EAT MEAT! was amazing, although that could’ve been just as true for a vegetarian heavyweight champion. He should’ve thrown in something ridiculously specific like I DON’T NEED VITAMIN D3 TO KICK YOUR ASS, UNLESS IT HAS BEEN DERIVED FROM MUSHROOMS, BECAUSE IN THAT CASE IT WOULD BE BENEFICIAL FOR ME TO SUPPLEMENT MY DIET WITH BEFORE KICKING YOUR ASS. He should wear veganism as a badge and be a super over babyface a la Bret Hart in Canada when WWE comes to Austin and Portland.
Anyway, Daniel Bryan puts me in a unique position as a wrestling fan. It’s sorta like when LeVar Burton tweeted thanking George Lucas for Red Tails, because now he could go to bed dreaming of heroes that looked like him. I have almost NEVER seen a character “like me” in pro wrestling, and to tune in and see this pale ass bearded vegan tapping people the f**k out gives me one of my first ever experiences like this. It feels good. It does. It also makes it really easy for WWE to finally do their Casual Cruelty For Going Against Middle America thing and sh*t in my cereal.
Worst: What DO You Eat?
Case in point: CM Punk saying that if Daniel Bryan doesn’t eat meat, it begs the question… what does he eat?
The punchline here is “dick”, I guess, because CM Punk has terrible personal issues and the most complex joke a wrestling crowd can understand is “lol gay”, but here are a few things I would’ve liked Bryan to have responded with:
1. “Pussy”, followed by a microphone to the face.
2. “Are you calling me gay? Because I AM gay, and I’m going to kick you in the face” followed by a kick to the face.
3. “Mostly vegetables, why, is it weird that I eat corn, is that the coolest burn you could come up with, that I have ordered corn at a restaurant” followed by an ear of corn to the face.
4. “What’re you, eleven? Grow up.” followed by an unrelated shovel to the face
Or just something. Anything other than “did you just call me gay, THAT’S THE LAST STRAW” that they went with but thankfully still sorta-avoided. Number 2 would’ve worked really well because it would’ve given us a compelling, complex gay character in pro wrestling’s classically homophobic niche of popular culture or a scene on Smackdown where A.J. shows up and is all “you’re GAY?” and Bryan responds with “no, but he’s a piece of sh*t and it was awesome to kick him in the face”.
Worst: Hey Guys, Did You Realize Sheamus Is From Ireland
Sheamus interrupted the “lovefest” in the ring to announce that he’d use his chance to challenge for a championship at Wrestlemania to challenge for a championship at Wrestlemania (this is new information!), told John Laurinaitis that he should put his potatoes in a pot o’ gold and Dublin them in a shamrock shake, then tacked “Erin go braugh” on the end of it. He then exited the ring, holding up a sign that read “IRELAND”.
I guess I don’t mind a guy who wears a comically-oversied Celtic cross around his neck whose signature moves include the “Irish curse” who once literally danced with a midget dressed as a leprechaun adopting “Ireland Forever” as his catchphrase, because hey, if every Japanese guy gets a ching chong no speaky engrish so solly gimmick and every Hispanic guy has to ride a lawnmower or a low-rider bike to the ring, why not?
Worst case scenario it gets us one step closer to my fantasy booking where Sheamus gets a romance angle and breaks out I LOVE YA, ALWAYS ‘AVE on television.
As dumb as all this almost was, it was nice to end it with CM Punk saying “hey, we’ve known each other for a long time, let’s cut the bullsh*t and just wrestle” and then having that happen. Characters reacting like human beings to wrestling situations should happen more often.
Best: Wade Barrett’s Skybox
Wade Barrett never seems especially effective in the ring (his Nexas coup blew up in his face, The Corre played out even worse, he tossed Orton down stairs but bailed instead of pinning him, he got R’d-KO in three minutes and tossed out of the Royal Rumble like an afterthought) but outside of the ring he is an absolute dynamo. He could work the “classy wrestler” gimmick, probably by himself, for the rest of his career.
There’s something to like about a guy who wears a gigantic jacket with a rose in the pocket and rents out luxury skyboxes from which to observe his opponents when he’s not scheduled to compete. Right? This is the only wrestler on the roster who you’d be hanging out with and say “hey, let’s go to Olive Garden for dinner” and he’d sorta look down his nose at you and say “oh that’s a great idea, and maybe after that we can clap along to the Buona Festa song and scarf down individual chocolate mousse pies and hang ourselves in the bathroom”. There need to be more people like that. People who will Wasteland you for suggesting we go to the f**king Olive Garden.
Best: Mohawk Jackets
I thought Wade Barrett would be the guy in this segment with the best jacket, but out walked Dolph Ziggler in a sleeveless Thunderdome number with a fur mohawk. Faux fur mohawk, I guess. Faux hawk.
Anyway, the jacket was amazing, and the way he kept his head down as he walked to the ring (at the expense of his usual “slick my hair back and flick it on you” taunt) I thought he was gonna Cody Rhodes it back and reveal a new haircut. Probably for the best that he didn’t, lest we forget last year’s “Is That Evan Bourne’s Big Brother”-Gate.
Best: Randy Orton And A Crowd On Fire
I’ve written about it at length before, but Randy Orton is bad-f**king-ass as the Silent Babyface Who Wrestles Heels. The crowd loves him, and he’s managed to maintain that love with an emphasis on in-ring competition and a de-emphasis of Home Invasion and/or Constantly Killing DiBiase And Rhodes stories. Basically he’s cutting out the stuff I hate about wrestling and doing the stuff I love. He’s winning a lot, and yeah, the top guys winning all the time and putting windex on the glass ceiling is kind of a drag sometimes, but f**k it, when your matches make a Raw crowd chant ONE, TWO, THREE along with the pin, win.
Seriously, listen to them when Orton starts Snaking Up and launches into his Hunting RKO appeal. That’s some Attitude Era sh*t right there. Wake Up taunts are great because they give the crowd a few seconds of OH GOD HERE IT COMES HERE IT COMES and make either a finishing move or a reversal of a finisher really pop emotionally. They’re also REALLY hard to do, as witnessed by Zack Ryder’s hopping L-I of supreme silence or the way Miz has to look around to make sure people see him wiggling his fingers in V-formation.
I don’t say it enough, but I f**king love that pre-RKO taunt. Love it.
Best: Orton’s Once Upon A Time In China Roll-Up
I liked the entire Orton/Ziggler match, but a highlight was Orton going up into hammock position in the corner and rolling down Ziggler’s back for a schoolboy in the style of Wong Fei-Hung circa 1991. I’ve seen him do it before, but he doesn’t do it often, and his “oh man you guys I was THIS CLOSE” when he came up from it was just as good. Stop making Cena look like such a P.O.S., Randy.
Worst: What You Think Is Happening To Dolph Ziggler
When I write these columns I try to establish a consensus opinion amongst the readers so I can tell if I’m on the right track or if I’m whiffing something completely. One thing I vehemently disagree on is the Internet’s idea that Dolph Ziggler is somehow in the doghouse, or “losing his push”, or a “jobber to the stars” or whatever. I don’t think this could be further from the truth.
Ziggler is the go-to guy. Go-to like Chris Benoit was for WCW in the 90s. Go-to like Randy Savage was for WWF in the 80s. Go-to like Hirooki Goto.
Sometimes we forget it, but professional wrestling is a job. It’s also a show. It’s also not a real sporting competition, so as fun as it is for our favorites to win and as passionate as we SHOULD get in our support of them, wins and losses, at least from a job security standpoint, don’t really matter. Sometimes a wrestler’s best use is winning a lot, so you can create a character like Goldberg or Cena or whatever that people buy as a big time important guy in big time important matches. Sometimes a wrestler’s role is to have great matches with everyone, so people BELIEVE those important guys in the big time matches deserve to be there.
That’s what Ziggler’s doing. He’s having great matches with nearly everyone he’s in the ring with. He’s going the distance with them, trading nearfalls, holding championships, doing his job. If he shows up on Raw next week and loses to the Funkasaurus in 30 seconds or spends the next six months teaming with JTG in dark matches, yeah, worry for his job. But don’t get upset when he loses a match he just brilliantly wrestled on the biggest wrestling company in the world’s flagship primetime show against a multiple-time heavyweight champion. He’s doing great.
Best: Disco Ball Accompaniment
I’m not sure how they continue to improve on the aesthetic of the Funkasaurus, but they manage to do it. First it was giving him a spoken-word introduction from his Funkettes. Now, it’s a big f**king disco ball hanging above the ring. They should keep adding and adding until his pay-per-view entrance has people jumping through flaming hoops and elephants dressed as showgirls standing on their hind legs.
Worst: F**king Up Fish In A Barrel
1. Brodus Clay, who is called the Funkasaurus
2. Tyler Reks, who has occasionally had the nickname T-Reks
So your joke is “this is a dinosaur fight between a Funkasaurus and a T-Reks”. If you’re Brandon, you watch Reks get cross-fatbodied and make a joke about dino damage. Jerry Lawler, on one of the most unbearable-to-me nights of his professional career, says the match is “right out of the Jurassic Park era”.
The JURASSIC PARK ERA. So, what, it reminds you of the mid-90s? How can you possibly botch this joke? Jay Briscoe’s infant f**king son could’ve looked at two dinosaurs and said DINOSAURS into a microphone without ruining it.
Best: The Last Hurrah Of The Midcard Mafia
I recorded my second podcast appearance with David Shoemaker of Grantland yesterday, and we talked about how one of the cooler aspects of the Funkasaurus is that his squash matches give me a chance to see some of the lower-tier guys I like a lot having matches on Raw. As we were taping, I assumed Funky’s opponent was going to be The Exodus Of The Beginning Of The Genesis Of The Right Now South Africa Such As Michael McGillicutty. I had no idea I was going to be indirectly pimping Tyler Reks.
Anyway, I don’t wish unemployment on anyone busting their ass for my wrestling enjoyment, but if Brodus Clay squashing Curt Hawkins and Tyler Reks leads to be them being released and sent off to work WWFX in f**king Mystery Nigeria or wherever with John Morrison and MVP I will not shed a tear. It’d open up roster spots for any number of FCW guys ready for the Superstars/NXT gig (Dean Ambrose and Antonio Cesaro would be instant, massive upgrades) and Reks and Hawkins would take their rightful positions as those guys I just flipped past in the WWE Encyclopedia who tried to SOPA the sh*t out of the wrestling Internet with their sh*tty, insider termz homemade episodes of The Backyardigans.
BEST: William Regal Has A What In The Where Now
John Laurinaitis sees William Regal backstage and asks him how his sons are doing. A forlorn Regal corrects John (they’re daughters, not sons), mentions that they are conjoined and that he keeps them in his attic.
1. Is William Regal’s daughter Jillian Hall? Because we never got actual physical closure on that weird thing she had on her face for a while, and
2. hahahahahahaha f**king what
I’m not sure if I want this to be a new gimmick for the Canadian Ninjas or if I never want it mentioned again.
Worst: So They Just Think We’re Idiots, Don’t They
I’m also not sure what the backstage conversation between Daniel Bryan and CM Punk was supposed to accomplish. It sucks that they’re finally allowed to talk to each other and can’t say what they want. CM Punk says not a lot of people know what vegan is (there are over 1 million vegans in the United States, as well as 7.3 million vegetarians who assumedly know what being vegan means… although to his credit, I can only think of like three vegans who watch wrestling and I’m one of them, Daniel Bryan is another, and a third is an evil anthropomorphic insect).
In response, Daniel Bryan says a lot of people don’t know what Straight Edge is. You know, the thing CM Punk had been preaching the values of to Each And Every One Of You™ in the WWE Universe since 2006 and to the rest of the wrestling world since the 90s. Oh, and then he says he doesn’t claim to be a role model, and my brain goes UH HEY ASSHOLE WEREN’T YOU THE GUY WHO MADE PEOPLE SHAVE THEIR HEADS SO THEY COULD BE JUST LIKE YOU BECAUSE YOU WERE “BETTER” THAN THEM AND THEY HAD TO LIVE UP TO YOU OR WHATEVER and then I wake up in a tub full of ice with a kidney missing and WWE is f**king me in the mouth.
If they REALLY wanted to have a snippy conversation they should’ve kept the “I don’t do drugs” and “think of the screaming animals” stuff to themselves and said:
Punk: “You’re only vegan because your doctor made you be.”
Bryan: “yeah well you’re only straight edge because your dad was an abusive alcoholic”
Best: Code Of Honor
It speaks to the effectiveness of Ring Of Honor’s rep that a handshake on Raw could make me feel okay about stuff, but here we are.
Best: This Isn’t For The IWC, This Is For People Who Watch Wrestling
A lot of recaps have sorta off-handedly mentioned that CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan in a champion versus champion match on Raw was 1) a bad decision, because they’re giving it away for free, and 2) something to make the “IWC” (the “Internet Wrestling Community”) salivate. I don’t think either of those things is true.
Firstly, while the decision to have champions wrestling each other in the middle of a free show might not seem like a great call, it was a largely consequence-free affair … if Punk beats Bryan clean with the GTS, who cares? Punk gets a fun win, and that’s it. If Bryan makes Punk tap out to the LeBell Lock, what happens? WWE fans don’t start thinking Bryan is “good”, because their only definition of “good” is “I Like Him”, and if he beats a thousand guys with a thousand LeBell Locks and still says “vegan” they’re gonna boo him. It’s important to note that NEITHER of those things happened — they teased us with an incredible match, then mad us resentful that we didn’t get a clean ending. That means we 1) hate the guy who kept that ending from us, and 2) want to see the match again, because it was so good the first time. (and yeah, I know we don’t hate Jericho, but stay with me here)
Secondly, the “IWC” is a myth. Like every group of fans of anything, it is divided amongst people who want one thing and those who want another. A 15-year old pimply-faced guy doing star rating recaps on his 0.05 megapixel webcam 20 seconds after the show ends does not have the same wants and desires as me. Similarly, a smart, observant wrestling fan online who I’d consider a peer also wants something different, because we are not the same. I can condescend on you for thinking the Road Dogg is cool. You can condescend on me for thinking womens wrestling should just be called “wrestling”. Japan is lame to you, I think you’re stupid for thinking that, and while I am totally and completely right our opinions are exactly the f**king same amount of valid. It sucks, especially for me, but it’s the truth.
So what you got last night wasn’t an “IWC Dream Match”. If we’re really the “IWC” we’ve seen Punk and Dragon wrestle a hundred times. I can go pull out four different DVDs with a Punk/Dragon match on them if I want to watch it. What we got was a GOOD match, good f**king professional wrestling on a show we tune into to see professional wrestling. Don’t condescend on the product by classifying it as for the less cool of us … none of us are cool, and ALL of us should enjoy this.
Worst: Jerry Lawler
Okay, so without getting too far into it, most of you know that I’m vegan. The truth of the matter is that most vegans are buttholes. I go hang out with a vegan group here in Austin sometimes, and of the circa 60 people I’ve met, at least 56 of them are up their own ass. All they can talk about is being vegan. I don’t want to be that guy. I avoided veganism for nine years of vegetarianism because I thought vegans were crazy. It wasn’t until I met a sane one (hi, Destiny) that I gave in. I love it. My stomach stopped hurting, I lost 70 pounds and I love what I eat.
So, in the spirit of not wanting to bring up how vegan I am all the time, this is contextually important: here is a list of really stupid sh*t people say to me when they find out I’m vegan. Notice that “oh, okay” is not on the list.
1. So you don’t eat meat? (no)
2. You don’t eat like, cheese or milk or anything (no)
3. What about your belt, is your belt leather, huh, what about your shoes (no)
4. What about fish? (because fish is a vegetable)
5. I COULD NEVER DO THAT BECAUSE I LOVE MEAT/CHEESE TOO MUCH! (I would not be comfortable stating that I could “never do” anything. You can do anything you want. If you can’t, your brain needs to try harder. The reasonable explanation for this sentence is that you don’t want to/choose not to, and that’s fine for you, but has zero bearing on what I do or don’t put into my body. #5 is the “people have to tell you what they think of a movie trailer in the theater as soon as it ends whether you care or not” of food conversation)
6. Something about God putting animals on the Earth for Noah to eat (I am not talking to you about religion)
and the worst one, which is
7. What about KILLING VEGETABLES, huh? You’re killing poor defenseless LETTUCE by eating and murdering lettuce, etc.
Actually bacon-as-a-meme is the worst thing that comes up, but the “heh what about murdering grass, are you okay having murdered grass” or whatever argument is the worst. Jerry Lawler did this last night, wondering aloud if Daniel Bryan had considered how much it hurts a banana to have its skin peeled off. He might as well have said “I could never live without cheese doodles” and moved on.
There’s a speech that can be made about compassion, the avoidance of guilt, the footprint we leave on the world we leave behind and the disconnect between cruelty and domestication, but it is less to-the-point than just saying “what are you, some kind of f**king idiot, if bananas had brain or the capacity to feel pain or a f**king endocrine system or whatever I probably wouldn’t eat them either”. It’s ignorant to pretend like pigs and f**king bananas are the same thing, and the least you can do as someone who enjoys bacon as a meme is be confident enough in your absence of guilt to leave me the f**k alone with my bananas.
The major point here is that veganism ITSELF is not something that deserves to be insulted. Neither is being Straight Edge. Neither is being fat or black or a widow. What deserves to be insulted is how you handle these things, and when CM Punk dresses up like Jeff Hardy to tease children and makes people shave their heads to prove their worthiness it is Punk’s hubris and sh*tty attitude that make him the heel. Daniel Bryan not eating meat is fine — it is his insincere, holier-than-thou attitude regarding it that deserves your boos. A long time ago morality and a thought process were important things to have. Now the best we can hope for is Jim Ross spending most of a match trying to get it over.
Basically what I’m saying is f**k you, Jerry Lawler. Much like your approaches to women and people of color, you have the stupidest point of view. What you say influences a million people who can’t think for themselves. I hope Doug Gilbert shows up on next week’s episode of Memphis Power-Pro Wrestling and says “YOU KNOW I’M DOUG GILBERT, AND JERRY LAWLER YOU ATE A MOCK CHICKEN SALAD SANDWICH, HAHA”
Best: It Begins, Finally
oh, hey, back to the wrestling
When Sheamus won the Royal Rumble, a lot of people thought it was the end of that Chris Jericho/CM Punk “who is the best in the world” storyline we all wanted, and with Jericho’s run-in and Codebreaker on Punk to ruin the best match on Raw in a year, we were saved. Two months of Jericho vs. Punk is a happy, happy thought, and hopefully it isn’t limited to Punk finding out what Jericho’s dance partner’s name on ‘Dancing With The Stars’ was and telling him to take his balls out of her LED purse.
Best: R-Truth’s Interpretation Of What Constitutes A Jimmy
I’m not really okay with the crowd clapping and cheering for the announcement that R-Truth is one of the people who will compete for the WWE Championship at the Elimination Pay-Per-View, but I enjoy his commitment to never quite laying out the specifics of what Little Jimmy is all about. “I TALK TO LITTLE JIMMY, I DON’T TALK ABOUT HIM.”
That’s wonderful. I like the idea that R-Truth lives in a world where he assumes Little Jimmy is a figment of his imagination and uses him as a broad example of the things he needs to express (like “people who cheer for Cena”) but doesn’t understand why people think that’s weird. Like he’s stuck in some sort of purgatory where he sees ghosts and can’t convince Tea Leoni or whoever that her ex is RIGHT HERE and wants to tell her something.
Worst: Kofi Kingston Adding Fetch Quests To WWE ’13
The going theory is that either
1. Kofi Kingston and WWE Magazine held another one of those “design your own Kofi Kingston gear and he’ll wear it” contests, but only 15 people read WWE Magazine so they only got a few submissions, and one kid just drew the Riddler on the page and sent it in and sadly that was the best so here’s Kofi Kingston in Riddler underwear, or
2. Miz has the worst rogues gallery ever. R-Truth is his Clayface (showing up in different outfits to play mind games with him, jumping him from behind), I guess Alex Riley is what, Prometheus? He stole data about everyone else’s finishing moves but you can beat him by kicking in the nuts. If you bring Evan Bourne back with a Clock King gimmick I will buy your next 12 pay-per-views.
Best: Even The Matches We’ve Seen A Billion Times Are Pretty Good Tonight
We’ve seen The Miz wrestle everyone on Raw to the point of nausea (and don’t get me started on Kofi Kingston), but their match got going pretty well near the end, possibly on the backs of a crowd who got two great matches in a row and are hot as sh*t. Giving Kofi cool athletic spots and basic, important wins to make him seem like something other than the Rob Van Dam Memorial Spot-Doer (thanks, comments section) in the Elimination Chamber is a great idea.
Worst: Enjoy This Rapist, Everybody!
whew, this column is getting preachy
Anyway, much in the same way that if you brutally beat a woman you shouldn’t be allowed to be a “sex symbol” anymore (Chris Brown) and in the way that you shouldn’t be able to say you “paid your debt to society” by serving a brief prison sentence of racketeering and not actually for the systematic and heartless murder of dogs for sport and profit (Michael Vick), raping and beating ladies should prohibit you from getting into any Hall of Fame. I was gonna type “I guess actually KILLING them is where they draw the line”, but no, Jimmy Snuka’s in there too.
So whatever. The WWE Hall Of Fame is a thank you card from a guy who made a living arbitrarily deciding bullsh*t and doesn’t matter. Drew Carey, Pete Rose, Vince McMahon’s limo driver something something Randy Savage something something.
Best: David Otunga’s Concerns Match His Travel Thermos
Worst: And Now The Women Are Wrestling, For No Raisin!
Raise your hand if you enjoyed Eve Torres wrestling Beth Phoenix on Raw. Now raise your hand if you enjoyed it for more than 30 seconds.
My first thought is “where the f**k was Kharma, they should’ve finally been able to wipe these matches off their dry erase board and get back to the story”, but my second thought was “I guess Beth Phoenix has to win some matches so people will remember she’s a wrestler with a thing when Kharma challenges her”. Then I thought about how Kharma said she was gonna murder the Bella Twins when she got back, and they were nowhere to be found. So my fourth thought was, “heh”.
Best: Three Words To Describe Eve Torres Collapsing In Helpless Terror Anytime Anything Happens
Eve’s job on the show now is to either win or lose a short match, then completely forget it happened in favor of complete and total emotional collapse. Somebody could hold up an 8 x 10 of Kane at this point and she’d pop her urinary tract. She should probably be ashamed of how she makes women look in the biggest role for women currently provided on WWE television, but I guess it’s no more insulting or worse for people than what they usually do.
With all these people getting raped and murdered and glovemouthed, Beth Phoenix should probably complain to her boss again about those unsafe working conditions.
Worst: John Cena Is Upset, Black, Happy, Lifting 800 Pound Steps
a) John Cena suddenly being able to throw around those steps it was so hard for him to pick up a couple of weeks ago
b) John Cena emoting “embracing the hate” with his face by pretending he’s a Tim & Eric Awesome Show character
c) John Cena emoting “embracing the hate” with his voice by yelling WE GONNA HAVE A PATHY UP IN HEEYA~! in his best urban preacher voice
d) Kane scampering away like a coward, muttering “wait sh*t hold on embrace slightly less hate”
If you picked “none of those things, Jesus” you are correct. Much in the way that Eve watching Zack Ryder get tombstoned did more in a moment than three weeks of horror movie cliches and backbreaking, a little blood and choking would get across “Cena has gone over the deep end” more than him having fun and being cheered.
Best: Eve As Miss Elizabeth Might Actually Make This Work
If the Kane/Zack Ryder/Eve/John Cena storyline ends with Cena falling in love with Eve and having that weird Hogan/Elizabeth “these are complex grown-up emotions and I probably shouldn’t be watching this” thing the MegaPowers did, yeah, that’ll be a good ending.
I feel like Cena could really benefit from having a valet who is essentially John Cena With A Vagina: she likes to work out, she hears you cheering for her when you aren’t, she’s got a grand total of four moves and she’s done a bad job of appropriating black culture. She wears the same terrible clothes every week. She’s got a strong jaw? I feel like I could write these forever.
Best: Fives In Everything
Fantasy booking idea (turn away now): WWE should use social media to establish a group of young Superstars who share my point of view that John Laurinaitis is a normal guy but into an extraordinary position and will make bad decisions and mistakes from time to time (I said on the Grantland podcast that Laurinaitis is basically Ron Donald from ‘Party Down’ and I stand by it) but that he’s TRYING, which is something the Teddies Long and Erics Bischoff never did, and support him.
He needs SOME of the employees to see his point, right? No man can live on Otunga alone. Throw a Derrick Bateman his way as the opposing voice in the argument, that way Laurinaitis can start favoring someone unfairly and actually accomplish any of the bad things he’s getting booed for. Did you like “The Corporation”? Try it again with a guy who is literally the corporation.
Additional fantasy booking: John Laurinaitis says “evaluate THIS” and hits Triple H in the face with a microphone, speeds off on his Big Johnny skateboard.
Worst: Here Comes WWE COO
CM Punk Triple H
Triple H and CM Punk are the same person. I hate to say it, but it’s the truth. I guess it started when Punk put on H’s jacket. They became the same character — a tell-it-like-it-is type who speaks in a calm, sarcastic voice about how worthless the guy in the ring with him is, always making sure he’s the coolest and most important person talking, always bringing it back to gayness and balls. They pace the same way. They SOUND the same. The only difference in Laurinaitis/Punk and Laurinaitis/H is Johnny’s response to their level of power.
It’s the worst. This Raw was stellar from top to bottom, but between “TIME TO PLAY THE GAME” and Undertaker’s dong it was just the f**king worst.
Worst: John Laurinaitis Just Got Inducted Into The “Stand There And Pretend Like What I’m Saying Is Hilarious And Cool” Club
A quick recap
1. Vince McMahon, the CEO of WWE, was fired from the position of COO by the Board of Directors for nearly costing WWE its championship and putting himself in front of the well being of the company. He retained his position as CEO, but I guess COO is more powerful than CEO so he couldn’t do anything. He gets replaced at COO by the guy who fired him, Triple H.
2. COO Triple H gets fired by the board of directors as the General Manager of Raw (?) for putting himself in front of the well being of the company, gets replaced by the Executive Vice President of Talent Relations as GM of Raw but maintains his position as COO, which is weird because that was his job.
3. John Laurinaitis almost gets fired as Interim GM of Raw AND Executive Vice President Of Talent Relations (“fired”, not “relieved of day-to-day duties” or whatever) by the guy he fired who couldn’t stop Laurinaitis from firing HIM because Laurinaitis was “making it personal”, even though he didn’t let anyone leave the company the WWE Championship or cause things to get so bad the talent walked out.
So Laurinaitis can fire Triple H who can fire Vince McMahon who can’t fire anybody despite being everybody’s boss, and Triple H can still fire Laurinaitis and is the guy the board of directors (who may or may not be able to fire anyone directly… or exist) choose to do the evaluation despite 1) having lost the job involving the responsibilities of doing job evaluations and 2) having an obvious conflict of interest. Ms. Brooks has been put in charge of the WWE Knockouts, but she still has to report to Karen Jarrett, because she’s the wife of the founder, who has to report to the general manager, who has to report to the owner, who can be fired by petition.
Is that right?
Best: Saved By The Bell
I have never been more happy to see the Undertaker.
Best: Undertaker’s Weave
Taker had a severe case of Kane Hair upon his return, and with Triple H seemingly turning down Taker’s suggestion that they have another match at Wrestlemania (which I’m rationalizing as “Taker beat H twice, but that second time he couldn’t leave under his own power so he wants a more decisive victory to prove he’s still got it”) I can only hope that Taker will remove the Hair Hat, get on a motorcycle and crew cut his big old ass down to the ring for one more run as Big Evil.
Most of you remember Biker Taker from his babyface run, but I urge you to go back and watch some of his matches as BOOGER RED. Watch his title match against baby Randy Orton, the ladder match against Jeff Hardy where Jim Ross nearly blows out an o-ring wishing Hardy well, or even that hilarious time he dragged Hulk Hogan behind his motorcycle. It was all great, and if we have to have another month of Resting In Peace, let it involve Limp Bizkit.
Or, you know, Laurinaitis saves his job by signing Brock Lesnar to face Taker and giving H the coward’s way out. Either way works.
Top comments from the week, which will take me an extra hour to dig out:
NWOSTINGER (I love all the STINGERS we have)
Brandon’s reaction to reaching 1500+ Comments:
next week: eve vs. kane’s pyro. she wins if it doesn’t make her run away.
BookSavvy and The Next Steve Blackman. This one is born from the joke earlier in the night that John Laurinaitis would respond to Triple H’s job evaluation by unmasking as The Undertaker:
swear my first thought when Taker showed up was “Holy crap, Johnny is the Undertaker! The Withleather gang called it!” I love you guys.
Ain’t no wave, can hold my Johnny down…
Attacking my expendable friend dozens of times and terrorizing his girlfriend…that’s a paddlin.
OH NO HOW CAN KANE BE BEHIND YOU HE WAS JUST ON THE BIG TV
KillPrint (I’m totally with you, bro … she should’ve made a “Jaqueline is from the jungle” reference):
In this Rock montage, the soundbite of his mom going “He’s half black and half samoan” made me have Opie & Anthony flashbacks so shoutout to WDB and Scotsman
Nothing sells The Rock to wrestling fans like Vanessa Hudgens.
This WWE Superstar may lower the Boom. Can you solve my riddle, dark knight?
BRYAN DON’T EAT THEM JIMS SO HE DON’T LIKE THEM TROOPS
Vegan you next week, everybody. Sorry, I meant “see”.