Raw opens up tonight with Dolph Ziggler, standing on top of a ladder in the middle of the ring, his Money In The Bank suitcase suspended over his head. After he goes on a bit about how he’s going to beat Cena to retain his MITB contract, (why he doesn’t just cash it in to keep it from Cena I don’t understand) Sheamus enters to interrupt him, followed shortly by Big Show.
What could have been a great long promo from Ziggler ended up devolving into a “I’m the best,/NO I AM” style argument between the three of them. It’s the sort of thing I understand the need for, because they have to build up the match for TLC, and the stakes that are there when it comes to acquiring the championship. I wish it could be done in a way that’s a little less trite. The thing about Sheamus is, even when he’s not being a terrible racist jerk, he’s an awful cornball. His line to Big Show about his “chestnuts roasting on an open fire”, is about as shoehorned in as an insult could be, and isn’t even funny. An entire segment shouldn’t end with Sheamus making some lame insult, then attacking the other guy who was in the ring with him for no reason. To be fair though, that fall was kind of on Ziggler, since Sheamus took about 10 minutes to slooowwwly push the ladder over, during which the entire time Ziggler could have just jumped down the 3 feet to the mat.
In a perfect world, Ziggler would have jumped down, brogue kicked Sheamus in the face, said “NOW I’M STEALING YOUR MOVES TOO! SHOW…off!” and then assrolled outta there. In my perfect world, Dolph Ziggler is super cool and never loses and always has the best insults. He’s the Hiro Protagonist of the WWE Universe, and nobody can dodge his Zig Zag in the In-Ring Metaverse.
This is one of those moments that makes me wonder why the hell Vince McMahon even shows up as a character anymore. His visits aren’t exactly “rare” anymore, if he’s showing up every damn week, and it’s not like he’s doing anything other than weirdly humiliating Vickie for no reason in particular, other than he kind of enjoys making people vaguely uncomfortable. There isn’t any reason why he couldn’t just send Vickie an email saying: “Please make this match tonight with Sheamus VS Dolph Ziggler. Write it into the card, and if need be, cut any match featuring Kofi Kingston or Tensai to allot for time. Sincerely, Vince McMahon, Owner of the Damn Company.”
It’s even more ridiculous when this is exactly what he did with the main event for TLC, which was changed due to CM Punk’s knee injury. I’m only left to deduce that his character really does hate women, and his only joy or satisfaction in life is embarrassing them by publicly undermining their authority for cheap pops from the crowd. Sure, Vickie isn’t that great at being General Managing Supervisor or whatever, but holy crap man, if you don’t like her, fire her. You’re the boss, you can do that.
Here’s another set of mid-card feuds I’m getting tired of. Each week we see Antonio Cesaro just killing it in the ring, to boos and USA chants. Accordingly, each week we also see his diametric opposite in Kofi Kingston, who utterly fails at any sort of competent wrestling, and gets ceaselessly applauded for it. Then you’ve got R-Truth who seems to have won some kind of random hat drawing to feud with Antonio Cesaro. He’s now as gung-ho and patriotic as ever, and dead set on winning the US title from him to bring it back to America. What saddens me the most is that this could have been the PERFECT opportunity for Jack Swagger to have turned face, and gone full-bore into super patriot-neo-Kurt Angle mode.
They had a guy whose entire catchphrase and gimmick was being The All-American American, and now they have a heel who’s heavy strength and strong style would have complemented Swagger’s perfectly, but instead they pick the guy who can see an invisible pre-pubescent child and dances funny. Regardless, this match was underwhelming mostly because R-Truth and Wade Barrett didn’t have any ring chemistry, but also because of the fact that Kofi Kingston kept trying to be funny on the mic, and failed at that too. To top it all off, after R-Truth cleanly beat Wade Barrett in the match, Kofi randomly attacked Wade Barrett, for no particular reason. You know, because that’s what good guys do in the WWE. If a lack of in ring talent, commentary, promo, or basic charismatic skills isn’t enough to convince you that Kofi is the worst, I guess you’re beyond convincing. I read a great comment on a discussion forum about Kofi that summed it up for me. Kofi calls himself a wildcat, and then has a shirt that says “I Can Fly!”, because you know, that’s what wildcats do!
Seriously though, if I have to watch him on my screen again, I am just typing BUTTS over and over. I’m so done with him it’s ridiculous.
Whoever’s been in charge of revitalizing the tag team division lately, they’ve been doing a damn good job. Matches like this are the best way to quickly and effectively show that even the #1 Contendership for the title is a position worth jockeying for, and thusly gives the belts themselves more meaning. A year ago the tag team belts changed hands at a house show, and were more or less forgotten about because John Cena had something Big & Important to do. Isn’t that indicative of the real problems that are going on in the WWE writers rooms? Where back then whatever it was John Cena was doing was considered more meaningful and memorable than the tag titles changing hands, and yet today I can’t for the life of me remember what he was doing, but I’ll never forget how forgotten and second-rate those tag titles were made out to be.
Today it’s a total inverse of that situation, at least in the title spectrum. Yes John Cena is still doing boring, pointless things that we’ll all forget in 6 months, but at least now the tag titles have value. I like the idea of an 8 Man Tag Team Fatal 4-Way Elimination match. I liked how it was able to easily build a sense of tension in wondering who would win, and let me pretend for a minute that Rhodes Scholars didn’t have it in the bag.
Also, holy crap can I talk about Cody Rhode’s mustache for a minute? For a character who was more or less your stereotypical arrogant-narcissist heel, just adding that little crusty mustache suddenly makes his character all the more interesting and hilarious. Like he woke up one day from his shoulder injury, saw a picture of Damien Sandow’s beard and said “Yeah… me too”, but could only manage to grow this scraggly little molest-stache instead. I genuinely hope he keeps it, and has future segments about it. Have him say it’s his new look, and he’s no longer “Dashing”, but is now Cody “Dirty” Rhodes. Then have Sandow debate the finer points of proper mustache care with him, and you’ve got a legendary tag team in the making. One more thing, a million points awarded to the crowd for starting a “Cody’s Mustache” chant. Amazing.
Let’s get this out-of-the-way, first and foremost, Alicia Fox cannot wrestle. She is not a wrestler, she’s a model who they’ve hired to look good in the ring, and occasionally do flips or bridge pins. That being said, Eve isn’t that great of a wrestler either, but between the two Eve looks stellar in comparison. I’m still uncertain if Eve is supposed to be considered a heel or a face, but if you ask me she comes out, looks great, smiles a lot and beats her opponents cleanly, so I’m inclined to say face. In WWE though this could mean she’s a sneaky, deceitful, unruly cheating whore though, so who knows. I also don’t understand why her finishing move is the Cross Rhodes Neckbreaker all of a sudden, but I’m guessing she doesn’t want to keep messing up her moonsaults every single time she does them. Good on her I guess!
Here’s a moment when I may have to admit I’m biased. There’s been talk lately of CM Punk being stripped of his title, since he won’t be able to defend his title at TLC. I’m guessing way back when, John Cena had the title and injured himself, and was stripped of his title for the same reason of being unable to defend his title. Now it’s easy to say now, but I honestly believe if I had been watching WWE at that time (I stopped watching right around when Cena got popular), I would have thought it was BS that they were stripping Cena of his title then, though I wouldn’t be that mad about it. The difference here is I’m a huge fan of CM Punk’s, I think it’s lame he was indadvertedly injured by The Ryback and can’t defend his title because of it. In no way do I think his title should be stripped, and I don’t see why The Ryback’s title shot shouldn’t be delayed until the next PPV, or whenever Punk recovers. Is it in the rules somewhere that it says that each and every PPV must have the WWE title defended? Furthermore the match between The Shield, The Ryback and Team Hell No sounds like a great replacement.
It helps too that this is yet another segment where Paul Heyman comes out, says a bunch of perfectly reasonable, totally sensible things and is booed endlessly for it. Whatever, it appears they’re not stripping Punk of the title, which is great. Let’s see him break one of Bruno Sammartino’s records dammit. Why not? WHY NOT?
I don’t know how many times I’ve seen this match, but I do know it has to be approaching about a 1/3 as many times as we’ve seen Sheamus VS Alberto Del Rio. Of course, it looked for a while there that Sheamus/ADR matches were nearing an infinite number, so I’m clueless as to what a 1/3 of infinity is, suffice to say it’s a damn lot. Too many, if you ask me. This is why I’m so desperately hoping Big Show beats Sheamus at TLC, not only because f**k Sheamus, but because holy hell I don’t want to see Ziggler cash in and fight Sheamus again. That’s assuming Ziggler beats Cena to retain his rightfully earned MITB case, but that’s neither here nor there. If you ask me, this match was pretty great when I first saw it, a couple of months ago at No Way Out. Right down to the top rope face buster. It was entertaining as hell the first time I saw it, but now it’s just a repeat.
It’s not even like we’d get to see something cool like Dolph Ziggler getting brogue kicked to death. If that happened it would sadden me, since it would mean the death of the dream of a Ziggler World Heavyweight Championship reign. Regardless of the outcome of Sheamus and Ziggler’s respective matches, I don’t want to see them fight again until they both decide to agree to new spots. Let’s evolve guys.
This segment is pure eye AIDS. Nothing about it is entertaining, original, or funny. It’s just a collection of awful, stupid characters doing awful stupid things. I hate stuff like this, and so should you. There’s a rule that any segment featuring Hornswoggle is exponentially made worse when Great Khali is involved. To make the whole thing into a really tired sex joke, makes me want to roll my eyes out of my head and onto the remote to change the damn channel.
If there’s one thing I have to give the WWE props for, it’s that they’re finally starting to build properly on the effectiveness of ADR’s cross-armbreaker. Lately when he slaps it on folks, they tap out immediately, just like you would in real life. I know in wrestling everything’s supposed to be exaggerated, so we’ll get some match in the future where somebody (Randy Orton probably), manages to power through it and get to the ropes or something, rather than just have their stupid arm snapped in half.
A lot of people still seem to be bummed out by Zack Ryder being “buried” so to speak, as opposed to how he was treated last year. Sure, last year he had a huge push, and got really popular, only to disappear into nothingness again. There’s a reason for that, and that’s that the dude wore out his welcome with a gimmick that unfortunately doesn’t have any legs. There’s a “Bro/club” character on Impact Wrestling too, only he’s somehow more annoying. To make it worse, there’s an independent promotion in Oakland, California I go to, called Hoodslam. In it, one of the main commentators is named Broseph Joe Brody, (a character played by the excellent AJ Kirsch, from Tough Enough fame), who is a funnier, more original take on that kind of character. A “Bro” character can be pulled off, it just has to be done correctly, and firmly tongue in cheek. Zack Ryder for all his earnest enthusiasm, sure does come off grating after you’ve seen him say his catchphrase for the 5th time in two hours. Especially when Broseph Brody gives “Bromos”, uses multiple cans of Axe body spray generously, and enters the ring to Nickelback songs.
What I’m saying is, if you’re in California, go to Hoodslam. It’s in Oakland, and worth every penny
Let’s set aside for a minute how weird it is that Vince McMahon forced this match on Vickie, but I’m guessing it’s to get us to like AJ again, or to let us know she’s a face again. Or has been one all this time. Or whatever. Regardless, if you’re fighting Vickie, you’re a face. I can try as hard as I want to ignore the continuing stupid storyline with AJ and John Cena, but it’s getting more and more difficult. I mean, I don’t know what to say about Cena other than he’s acting like a weird mixed message giving doofus by acting like AJ was somehow “underdressed”, simply because she entered the mens dressing room. For the record she was wearing her exact same wrestling attire she always wears in public, in front of thousands of people live and millions at home, so I’ve no idea why he felt it necessary to cover her up, and pretend like he was embarrassed or whatever about her walking in. Dude, your “friend” (Until they EXPLICITLY confirm otherwise, they’re just friends to me dammit. She’s mine) is excited to talk to you about her match. Why don’t you try not being a stupid little smartass about it, and share some enthusiasm with her? Were you too busy standing around doing nothing with other naked dudes in towels?
Holy crap, maybe they are making John Cena gay…
Well anyhow, this match was about exactly what you’d expect, since the second they announced Brad Maddox as The Ref, I knew Vickie was going to win. Firstly, how hilarious is it he still gets to be a referee? Secondly, of course he helps Vickie win, because he wants a job wrestling, not referee-ing. I can’t blame him at all, and AJ’s freak out afterwards was sad because she deserved her due justice, and was denied it for reasons she couldn’t control. At least she didn’t lash out at Maddox or anything. Oddly, during the entire time she was freaking out, I couldn’t help but think how sexy I found her to be while she was all mad and whatnot. What does that mean about me? Is it bad I find her being all crazy and emotionally unstable really attractive? It probably is, isn’t it?
BUTTS BUTTS BUTTS BUTTS BUTTS BUTTS BUTTS BUTTS BUTTS BUTTS.
Antonio Cesaro is awesome. Next.
Let’s start off with the good. Cody Rhode’s mustache is made tenfold better by him wearing a suit. Oh my god I couldn’t stop laughing at it for so long, I even missed the majority of Miz’s awful, stupid puns. This is probably the biggest travesty, that The Miz went from being such a great, douchey heel character, to becoming this smarmy, annoying punster who laughs at his own jokes. I wanted to like face Miz so badly, but lordy is it bad. I’m guessing out there somewhere Godzark is watching this and hating him even more? Or maybe he’s gone the inverse route and we’re now going to split opinions on Miz yet again. I sure hope not.
I want to like Miz, I want him to be a great face character, and I want to like Miz TV, but together they all combine into a perfect storm of stupid and boring. The only slightly redeeming bit was Miz trying to put a wedge in between Cody and Damien by saying Damien had said Cody was the Marty Janetty to Sandow’s Shawn Michaels. It then ended with Rhodes Scholars abruptly leaving, because why wouldn’t they? And then ended with Miz making another stupid pun after saying “Was it something I said?”
What are you f***ing Bart Simpson circa 1995? Why don’t you just tell them all “Don’t have a cow, man!” God, shut up and turn heel again so I can forget this dark chapter in your history already.
Remember earlier when I said that Sheamus and Dolph Ziggler were just repeating a match they’ve had before, and that anything they’re doing they’ve done before, and it’s just repetitive now? Well rather than just copy and paste all of that in this paragraph, do me a favor and just scroll up and read it again, and replace their names.
We’ve all seen John Cena pretend like he’s somehow not going to beat Big Show before, and we’ve all ooh-ed and ahh-ed at him lifting Big Show on his shoulders for the AA. Yes, that’s impressive John. Yes we know you’ve done it before. No we won’t pretend like you can show us the same magic trick twice and give you the same reaction each time. The only saving grace of the bit, and Raw’s ending in general, was the arrival of The Shield. I love The Shield, and they remind me of a more focused and slightly less vague version of The Outsiders, before they became NWO. They’re here, they have a purpose, and they show up to beat up the good guys cheaply, like heels should. Watching the match burst into a huge brawl between all of them, Sheamus, ZIggler, The Ryback, Kane and Daniel Bryan was a goddamned hoot. It looked like absolute chaos in the ring, and left me wanting more as Raw ended. I wanted to see what would happen if all of those guys fought in the ring at the same time again, and sure enough, that’s the match we’ll be getting at TLC, less Ziggler, Sheamus, Cena and Show.
All in all, it was a pretty decent Raw, and that ending really did work very well at making me want more from a show that’s already 3 hours long. That’s a success in my book. Now let’s just have less Hornswoggle and Kofi Kingston. And by less I mean none.