Tonight’s Raw opens up with Miz TV. There would have been a time when I would have liked this, but now that Miz is face, and thusly has turned into this bizarre, awful version of himself it no longer appeals to me. Fortunately he does announce the one good stipulation to tonight’s show, which is that championships will be defended, and the champions will choose their opponents. It’s sort of like the opposite of Open Fight Night on Impact Wrestling, but I’m okay with it because I’m just glad to see championships being defended on Raw. Then Miz goes to have an interview with Cena, which is predictably pretty awful.
In his short interview with Miz, we get a quintessential example of why John Cena is a terrible face. Namely his summation of his relationship with AJ, as he goes on to imply how slutty she is, insult her for trying to find romance, and generally does his typical slut-shaming, woman bashing, awful BS. As a devout defender of AJ, her actions, and her character arc, it’s quite maddening to see her portrayed as anyone other than somebody who gained strength against all the terrible men who used, abused or ignored her. Daniel Bryan treated her like trash, and her spirit broke because of it. CM Punk built her back up with the “Crazy chick” guise in her stead, Kane was honest and said a relationship wouldn’t work because of HIM, and pressure from Vickie and her new GM job made her confide and relate to Cena, which eventually drove them together after CENA made the first move on her. Then of course he treated her like she was insane trash every time she did something CRAZY like “Wish him luck before a match!” or “Thank him for literally anything!”
For Cena to come out and be all PHEW GLAD THAT WAS OVER about it, just communicates to me he’s an awful jerk who doesn’t understand women at all, and makes me think he really should turn gay. It would make his character so much more relatable if he was so sexist and homophobic because he couldn’t process his lusty feelings towards men.
Throughout the show, they kept cutting to Vickie’s New Years party, where amongst other unfortunate events happened which I’ll get to later, we got to see a casually dressed Tensai. I know I hate Tensai on here a lot, but I’ll be damned if I didn’t laugh my ass off seeing that man dressed in casual clothes eating snacks. Sometimes that’s the best way to make a character work. If your guy is too stupid to get over as a serious threat because he’s intrinsically ridiculous, make him absurd. Don’t go and make him all Santino Marella levels of retarded, but make him silly and it could work. If Tensai showed up to wrestle in casual wear and started complaining more and more about people calling him Albert, I could see his character working.
On the other side of these segments, was one notable, huge moment that is something I never thought I’d see again in WWE history: Mae Young giving birth. Again.
I suppose it’s a good sign that they’re referencing their continuity, but when they can’t keep it straight as to how many actual relationships AJ has had (2), It makes me wonder why they’d ever recycle the old Mae Young gag. It is funny, and when it was first announce I ended up waiting with bated breath because I was convinced she was going to give birth to the Other Hand. Miraculously, this segment ended up being EVEN DUMBER than that old Hand Skit, because she just gave birth to Hornswoggle, but everyone pretended like it was Baby New Year. You know when Baby New Year is born he has facial hair, tattoos, is wearing a diaper and holding a cigar right? I don’t know. I hate this kind of crap now, but I have a feeling that Me From 13 Years Ago would have thought it was hilarious. Me From 13 Years Ago was dumb.
While I can understand why the average wrestling fan wouldn’t like Antonio Cesaro, I can’t imagine it’s because he can’t wrestle, or has no charisma. The guy oozes charisma, and it takes a lot of skill to be so successfully hated. He’s making the arrogant foreigner character hip again, and in the meantime crushing faces with The Neutralizer and all the while pumping his fists like a boss. The guy is also crazy shoot strong, and by far the most athletic guy in the WWE today. (Athletic, not “jumps high”.)
On top of that I totally get his choice to fight Sgt. Slaughter. He explains it pretty perfectly. The guy represents the USA, Cesaro feels above the USA, he figures beating him will show us he is more than worthy to hold the US Championship. The problem is he doesn’t have to show us he’s worthy, he already is. Yeah he may insult your country, call you fat American pigs, and speak in 5 languages, but those are all things that make him interesting. In a WWE where the world “respect” is thrown around quite a bit, Cesaro deserves yours, if you actually like wrestling.
I know I can be in the minority when I say I goddamned love 3MB. Everything about that gimmick is entertaining to me. A multicultural, fake air guitar band of wrestling heels who are also somehow racist? If you’re gonna need wrestlers to be racist, at least make them the heels. And if you’re gonna make your heels racist, make them be racist in ethnically diverse groups so as to add irony, and thusly make the whole thing actually funny, instead of just racist. If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, 2 weeks at TLC, 3MB got mad at the Spanish Announcers for speaking spanish, and demanded they speak english because this was America. They did it while Miz watched and did nothing to stop them from harassing these poor spanish speaking folks. It was an uncomfortable segment, but in that good way where when they get their comeuppance, justice is served. It accomplished one of the basic things that wrestling can accomplish like no other form of entertainment, and that’s dispense out due, proper justice to the evils of the world in a vacuum that makes sense, and tells a story. When the bad guys act racist and are punished for that, it tells a good message to everyone. That should be wrestling storytelling 101, and It’s a sad state of affairs that today that’s the exception and not the rule.
But I digress, because they’re amazing heels. I also never fully noticed when Team Hell No officially became faces, but I suppose that’s because they never really had a proper face turn. Their popularity and natural comedic talent just catapulted them there, and while they don’t really act like faces, they’re not really heels either. Nor would I even say they’re tweeners. In fact I have no idea what to refer to them as, other than awesome. They’re a wonderful, exciting and hilarious anomaly in the WWE today, and I am so thankful for them both.
I’m not a big fan of face-Vince McMahon. As far as I can tell he’s entirely incompetent, has a bizarre obsession with serving John Cena’s every whim, and is even more bizarrely forgiven for being a total asshat for his entire duration as a WWE character. But nights like tonight are when he shows up to address things in a kayfabe manner that couldn’t be addressed because of real life reasons. Basically, we were promised a TLC match with CM Punk and The Ryback, but didn’t get one because of Punk’s real life knee injury. Now we’re being put back in that old place of “What’s real?/What isn’t?” by McMahon proclaiming if Punk isn’t cleared to wrestle by next week, The Ryback will fight Paul Heyman. Which really makes no sense and seems like an unjust fate for Heyman, who’s really done nothing wrong other than make crass heart attack jokes.
I’m guessing Punk won’t be cleared, and Heyman will sweat it out up until the last-minute dreading his match with The Ryback, up until Punk decides to either A.) Get cleared at the last-minute, or B.) The Shield intervenes. I’m guessing B is more likely to happen, but frankly I’d love it if Punk came back and just slapped the taste out of The Ryback’s mouth, proclaiming his new-found BIONIC KNEE POWERS HAVE GIVEN HIM UBER-STRENGTH!
Listen, a man can dream right?
This is another one of those matches that happens on Raw, but you forget about entirely. It seems lately there’s at least one of these, and usually they’re with more of the mid to lower card talent, but tonight it was with Sheamus and Ziggler. To be honest I have no idea if this was a good match or not, because trying to watch it is like trying to remember a half forgotten dream. It slowly fades and fades until you either pass out from mental exhaustion or your nose starts to bleed and you die from boredom induced brain tumors. That’s not to say that Sheamus or Ziggler are themselves boring, because that would be objectively wrong. However I think we have seen them wrestle about 1/5th the amount of times we’ve seen Ziggler wrestle Kofi Kingston, and that’s approaching an infinite amount.
I’m becoming a big fan of Eve. Her latest character development is to utterly destroy her opponents, then pose over their dead bodies with her championship, while her photographer takes pictures of her. It’s pretty funny, and it goes to show how her character has developed past “Hoeski”(whatever that means), and is now firmly back into arrogant, destructive heel. Which is a bit of a refresher for a female wrestling character, since they tend to either be Slut, Good Girl, or Bitch, all three of which are boring, regardless of their moral implication. Her challenging Mae Young to a match was pretty great too, because her reasoning was solid. She’s beaten the entire female roster in WWE (all 8 or 9!), and the only one left is Mae Young. Obviously they can’t have her wrestling goddamned Mae Young, so they came up with the weird pregnant/new year birth nonsense, and then had her wrestle around unofficially with Kaitlyn for a minute or two. It might has well have been a full Divas match, it just didn’t count because the bell never rang.
I think the biggest bummer about Kaitlyn being a face, aside from her atrocious treatment of AJ,(Seriously, your friend is heartbroken because the dude who’s been leading her on for weeks tells her you’re crazy and I hate you, then you go an tell her it’s too hard to be her friend anymore because she stood up for herself? Oh f*** you.), she’s lost her old wrestling duds. For those who don’t know, Kaitlyn used to dress like this:
But now she dresses like this:
I know, I know, all women shouldn’t have to dress in skimpy outfits to appeal to yadda yadda yadda I get it, I understand, and you’re right. I still miss it. A woman can dress sexy AND be tough you know?
Highlight of the night goes to this match. This goddamned match you guys. Not only do we get the heartwarming establishment of Ricardo Rodriguez and Alberto Del Rio as BFF’s, cementing ADR as a good guy in my eyes, but we got a match where ADR was the supporter for Ricardo! With Big Show brutally attacking Ricardo for no reason last week on Smackdown, I’ll be damned if I wasn’t totally ready to see Ricardo go and take down Show for the title. If you’re going to build up an underdog story, this is how it’s done. Rey Mysterio isn’t an underdog, he’s been a long-established character who wrestles all the time and has won multiple championships in multiple promotions for years. Ricardo Rodriguez however, has only been the butt of jokes, and the unfortunate recipient of unjust punishment for his friends actions all his WWE life.
When ADR lets Ricardo borrow his fancy car so he can have a grand entrance, walks him down the ramp and encourages him to go in the ring, It made me want to see him win more than anybody in recent WWE history in a long time. I like the Big Show and all, but what a great way to make a non-wrestling character a person to truly root for against impossible odds. Sure we know he’ll lose to Big Show, because he’s BIG SHOW, but what if…
And when Ricardo got that few seconds worth of offense in, and landed that jumping enziguri kick to Show’s face, you better believe I cheered harder than I have in a long time. In that brief moment I forgot all about story lines, or what’s kayfabe or what isn’t, or any of that other minutia I pick apart as a wrestling fan nowadays. In that moment I was SO happy to see WRESTLING, and this guy who I wanted to win, overcoming the odds. Sure Ricardo got beaten, but he made us forget that he would, in that short amount of time. That’s why Ricardo Rodriguez will stay at the top of my list of amazing wrestlers, because he did more in one match and 2 minutes than some wrestlers can in their entire career.
I will never understand why people like the stupid, boring, waste of talent, time, space and championship that is Kofi Kingston. A friend of mine and former guest writer here at GB is a big fan of his, and every time I ask her why, she responds with “BECAUSE HE FLIES!” and then glares at me pretty harshly. Then I make fun of his incredibly weird pectoral muscles and she says “THOSE ARE HIS WINGS”, which makes no goddamned sense but I try to laugh it off because her glare is menacing I tell you. MENACING.
Like I said though, this was the highlight because the Intercontinental Championship changed hands to Wade Barrett, who I’ve long thought is pretty awesome despite needing a new-New finisher. The Wasteland looks crap, The Souveneir/Bullhammer looks worse, and it’d be so easy to give him a new move. Let him borrow one of Sheamus’ finishing moves, the dude has like six. If Wade Barrett wants to make me personally happy he’ll start doing the Crucifix Powerbomb on people and call it The Boxer’s Edge, or The Fighter’s Edge, or God Save The Queen or something. I dunno, reference Razor Ramon or your britishness, just get a new move already. You’re the IC Champion now Wade, make that s**t WORK!
When this match was announced at the top of the show, I was pretty excited. For those who didn’t see TLC, the match between The Ryback, The Shield and Team Hell No was one of the best of the year, and TLC was a contender for PPV of the year, all because of it. It was a thrilling, awesome match that showed the spirit and tenacity of all the members of The Shield, and portrayed them as guys who could walk the walk as well as talk the talk.
When they announced this match I expected it to be a mini-version of that TLC match, in the way they do when they want to recreate the PPV matches on Raw for people who didn’t order the PPV. What we got instead was Sheamus and Randy Orton showing up to ruin the fun before it could all start, and The Shield running away from all three of those giant invincible men who are bigger than they are. In some strange way you could call it cowardly, but I’d call it smart. In the same way that running from a giant stampeding rhinoceros is smart. Basically as usual, Randy Orton and Sheamus messed things up.
And then Raw ends with this. Another segment in Dolph Ziggler and AJ’s weird pervert theater. For the christmas episode of Raw, we got to see Dolph and AJ’s christmas, which was a segment so voyeuristic and perverted it made me feel dirty watching it. Like if somebody taped someone’s private moments with their girlfriend, and made me watch it. They didn’t do anything overtly sexual, but somehow that made it even worse. This continues again with Dolph and AJ in all white, talking about how lame a year this was for John Cena. It was pretty great because they’re right, and even when John Cena came out he had to admit as much.
Then he went and made yet ANOTHER awful promo, about capturing the championship again, because he’s John Cena and that’s what he does. Apparently what he also does is spend inordinate amounts of time making really poorly done photoshops of people he doesn’t like doing stupid things, and rigging complex traps with large amounts of actual poop in them. That’s right, just as Cena was wrapping up his promo, he said that he would toast them with “The one thing they are full of”, and then signaled for his trap to be set, which was dumping POO on Dolph Ziggler and AJ, hence their white clothes. I don’t know about you, but the segment to me wasn’t funny, and just made Cena come off like an insane creepy person. Can you imagine how he had to acquire all of that poop? Or who he had to bribe to set it up in the rafters, and who he had to pay to dump it into the ring? The whole thing reeks of the worse kind of parody of Carrie, and is somehow even more insane and weird. If anything, i guess it shows why you shouldn’t mess with John Cena, because he’ll f***ing dump a giant ton of s**t on you. And that’s how the last Raw of the year ended. Covered in s**t from John Cena.
How incredibly appropriate.