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WWE Raw and Wrestlemania 29 Recap & Review 4/8/13

Tonight’s Raw follows Wrestlemania 29, the veritable Super Bowl of wrestling, so to speak. The thing about the WWE is that the Raw’s after WM are always more interesting because of their very nature of being directly after WM. It’s the “season premiere” in a way, and like any other serialized show, is generally when they introduce new story lines, characters, or themes to the show. It wasn’t surprising to me at all then that this Raw was one of the best ones in a very long time, partly due to the fact that it was booked really well, everyone was on their A-Game, and the crowd was hotter than hell. A lot of folks online were complaining about the quality of WM 29, and while I can see where they’re coming from I still enjoyed it immensely. Sometimes I wonder if Wrestlemania no longer holding the same “prestige” it once did for me is because I’m just older, or if it is directly because their product isn’t as good any more. It’s hard for me to objectively gauge, but I do know I can still enjoy sitting in a room of wrestling fans, cheering when the guys I want to win, win, and being shocked together by the surprises that came.

Some wanted Wrestlemania to be a heel turn-fest, and provide shocks and twists abound, along with whatever other incredibly specific thing they each wanted. What we got instead were a bunch of great stories told inside the ring, with a specific set of characters telling them well. So Cena didn’t turn heel, so what? His match with The Rock was still exciting, and even though I knew he was going to win it was still fun to watch. I know I’m a total smark and talk all the time about how certain payoffs should or shouldn’t happen, but that’s only when what’s being given is lackluster, or comes at the sacrifice of good wrestling. Last night at Wrestlemania, neither of those things were sacrificed. If you watched that whole 4 hour show and didn’t find yourself standing on your feet at least once, you’re just dead inside. That all being said, Raw tonight was damned amazing.

Wrestlemania
Not pictured: The most garish and tacky shirt of all time.

Raw opening with Cena was inevitable, and what I’m about to say may shock and worry you but rest assured it couldn’t any more than it did me. Frankly, I was glad to see it open with Cena. I KNOW I KNOW, IT’S NOT BIZARRO WORLD BUT HEAR ME OUT! Firstly, his character in the last 2 weeks has received a considerable and noteworthy change. That main change is the earnestness of his character. He’s confident now in a way that isn’t unearned, or at the very least, isn’t grating. He’s able to communicate that his weakness is his UNRELENTING URGE TO ALWAYS WIN FOREVER AT EVERYTHING. Unstoppable Terminator Death Machine Cena is a much more interesting character than Fake Underdog Cena. He doesn’t have to sell us any line of BS about overcoming the odds or any of that crap, he’s goddamned JOHN CENA and everyone knows he’s nigh impossible to beat. A guy who comes out and says “HEY I’M THE BEST, BECAUSE I AM” is someone who I can respect more than a guy who comes out and says “HEY AREN’T I GREAT, HERE I’LL SHOW YOU OVER AND OVER, TELL ME HOW GREAT I AM!” Him coming out tonight in the ugliest shirt possible, standing there amongst the very loud, very obvious boos (that Cole and Lawler were trying so desperately to pass off as a “mixed” reaction) was something to behold. Fittingly it’s not a heel turn for him, because he’s not really done anything bad, but it’s a spark of a new direction for his character to take, and that alone is a breath of fresh air for Cena. It looks like he’s slowly going in the direction towards being a heel, but I’d put money on him never actually turning. It doesn’t matter though at this point, because I’d still rather have Cena be the champion. Why? Because one is an annoying, arrogant, sexist, baby talking self-centered douche bag, and the other is an annoying, invincible, up until now mostly bland and boring self-centered douche bag. If I have to pick between douche bags, I’m gonna pick the one that doesn’t hate women. Period.

Firstly, HOLY CRAP BIG E LANGSTON IS FINALLY DOING SINGLES MATCHES ON RAW YAAAAYYY! Secondly, he’s not getting to use his own totally awesome music from NXT. BOOOOO!!!!! But it’s okay, because hopefully this means he’ll turn face and we’ll get to bring the maniac murdering machine who’s obsessed with the number 5 to Raw now! Lastly, he got to wrestle against Daniel Bryan! And they both looked great the whole time! I’m used to Raw opening with a lengthy promo, but when the promo is interesting and captivating, and is then followed up by great wrestling, well I’ll be darned, YOU JUST GONE DUN MADE YOU THERE A GOOD RASSLIN’ SHOW! Which is funny because all of the dirt sheet info is saying that The Rock was supposed to show up tonight, and start a feud with Brock Lesnar for reasons. Then he decided to just head home and all of it was scrapped at the last minute. If you ask me it sounds legit because the whole excuse for Rock not being there due to “injury” just smelled something rotten. Regardless of the reason, this Raw is the result of The Rock not showing up and everyone scrambling to tell a new story? Well done. Do this every week please?

If you’re one of the millions of people who ordered Wrestlemania yesterday you’re no doubt confused like me as to why you didn’t see the Intercontinental Championship defended. The reason was because it was, but it was on the Pre-show that they stream on YouTube online. I don’t know about you, but if you’re over at a friend’s house waiting for a 4 hours wrestling show to come on, drinking beers and grilling hotdogs, you’re not gonna bust out a laptop and have everyone huddle around for one pre-show match. I understand it’s purpose is to get people who were otherwise unconvinced to watch it on YouTube for free a bit, then decide to watch the rest on PPV. But if you’ve already ordered the PPV, why the hell can’t we watch it in HD on our tv’s, before the actual PPV starts? Why not just include it? I’ll never understand why it’s not included, but it isn’t, so that’s that.

All that being said however, I’m glad they repeated it tonight on Raw because Wade Barrett and The Miz have found their perfect complements to each other’s skill sets. The two of them know how to build up a great match and keep everyone guessing. I full expected The Miz to win this match and keep another long IC title reign, and when Barrett finally smashed Miz’s face in with his Bullhammer finisher (that he finally got to look amazing instead of utter s**t!), I was sold on tonight being a great Raw. I’m only going to say that about 3 or 4 more times in this review, but believe me each time when I say it was great.

This was a match that had me on my toes for 2 reasons. The first was I love seeing Alberto Del Rio demolish either Swagger or Zeb Colter, because it’s just great. Zeb Colter using the rampant jingoism in every wrestling fan against them, to get them to inadvertently cheer for him was a brilliant heel move.  This feud is one I could see going on for a while, and escalating into something great, or, I could see it ending quickly in the limelight of what happened after the match ended. Which leads me to my second reason:

DOLPH ZIGGLER CASHING IN THAT MONEY IN THE BANK AND THE WHOLE DAMN CROWD MARKING OUT FOR IT LIKE IT WAS BIGGER THAN JESUS’ SECOND COMING HOLY F***!!!

I cannot stress enough just how awesome this crowd was at tonight’s Raw, and how special they made it by just being so into it that by proxy it made you even more into it. I can only imagine how magical it must have felt to have been there. Jerry Lawler “mishearing” the audience as saying “We want Colter” was particularly stupid though. Everybody friggin’ loves Dolph Ziggler already. He’s the top of the talent you’ve got and the future of the biz. Let him be loved by the people. It’s amazing. These matches were amazing. This whole night was amazing so far. You can tell when Raw is good because I don’t have much to say other than really liking it. It’s when it’s bad that all of a sudden I can’t shut up.

And then somehow, impossibly, as if things couldn’t get even MORE exciting, The Undertaker comes out! Just the presence of Undertaker is enough to get one excited, but after his top-notch match against CM Punk last night, it was more than enough to get me going. He looked so good that it convinced me he could easily go another 4 years and make the streak go all the way to 25 at the very least, if not 30. At this point I really don’t see anyone being able to ever beat him, and that’s a good thing. HIs streak means a lot to the WWE, and whoever comes to finish it off better bring a hell of a lot of gravitas and meaning to it. Whether next year it’s going to be Punk again, or Kane or Cena or whoever, it’s something I’m looking forward to. There’s only two people I can see being the ones to end The Streak, and the most obvious is Cena. He’s the Unstoppable Force to Taker’s Immovable Object. But concerning story and character arcs, it has to be Kane. He’s the only one who should end it, and the day they announce him has the one to go against Undertaker is the one day I actually put money against Undertaker at Wrestlemania. From now on, it’s clear sailing on Taker from here until then.

But that’s not it, we’ve now got The Shield showing up, challenging Undertaker, and my heart nearly skipped a beat! What are these guy’s agenda? Why Undertaker? Furthermore, if Kane and Daniel Bryan didn’t show up to back Taker up, would they have been able to do their triple power bomb of destruction on him? With the way The Shield have been going so far, it almost wouldn’t surprise me. Seeing Kane and Daniel Bryan come out was so great too. Any time characters support each other mutually for reasons that make sense, especially emotional ones like the support over the loss of a loved one, gets to me. Kane is THERE for Undertaker, and Daniel Bryan is THERE for Kane! Amazing!

Of course though, it couldn’t all be perfect. There had to be at least once match that slowed everything down so we could all catch our breath. As much as I love 3MB any and all of their coolness was utterly negated by the inherent lameness of Zack Ryder, Santino and R-Truth. Which is a shame because with the exception of Santino those guys used to be really funny and interesting. Then they just got lamer, and lamer until you didn’t care about them anymore. Then they both just became annoying and made you wonder why you ever even cared about them to begin with.  Santino is the worst, so I can’t really hate on him too much because that’d be like kicking a deaf, dumb, blind weasel in the throat that was wearing a green sock on its paws and pretending to be threatening. The dude is such a non-wrestler that I could not see him for months and not even think a single thing about him, or even notice his absence. Oh wait, that happened. It just did. This is the first time I’ve seen Santino in months. And he won using his stupid Cobra finisher that obviously does nothing. There goes my theory about 3MB slowly amassing strength from all their combined defeats. If Heath Slater can’t kick out of a finger poke, he can’t kick out of goddamned anything.

This match is a great example of a perfectly serviceable match between Sheamus and Orton, with Sheamus Sheamusing around and Orton Ortoning right back. The both of them doing their boring invincible white guy thing back and forth. It’s also a great example of this crowd turning a relatively boring match into an exciting one, as they brought it to life with different chants and reactions that made Sheamus and Orton actually put some effort into their stuff, rather than just going through the repeated old motions that they’re used to. By the time Big Show stormed out and demolished them both I found myself surprised rather than cynical, simply because the crowd got me into it. Guys, the crowd got me into a Sheamus and Randy Orton match. That’s. In. Credible.

It was a really good Raw. I’m telling you.

God I love Fandango. The guy actually can totally wrestle, so everybody who chants that he can’t can just shut it. Plus watching him beat down Kofi Kingston using the ART OF DANCE, AND WRESTLING was goddamned amazing. Sure Jericho had to come and ruin it all because he’s upset that Fandango beat him last night at WM. Listen Jericho, Fandango beat you fair and square. A roll up pin is still a pin, and just means you fell for the most obvious and old hat trick in the book. You have nobody to blame but yourself for losing, so why are you acting like something was stolen from you? I like Jericho but he’s not above me calling him out when he starts acting like every other hypocritical jerk that’s supposed to be a face wrestler in the WWE. If you don’t like Fandango, why not try besting him in a dancing competition, or just prove to him you’re the better wrestler by issuing a rematch? Running out and interrupting his beat down of Kofi Kingston is not the way to my heart Jericho. IT IS NOT.

This was a match that got bumped from the Wrestlemania card on Sunday, and it’s a shame. My lecherous cousins, friends and I all were looking forward to seeing the return of the Bella twins to the WWE in a wrestling capacity, if only for their looks. Like I said, we’re not the greatest, most classy bunch of men. Anyhow, it’s a shame because I’m sure the match would have been better then than it was tonight. It was by no means bad, but I’m so not into “Tons Of Funk” as Tensai and Funkasaurus have been rebranded, that it really makes me sick. Like I said before, there’s really no logical reason at all to dislike Team Rhodes Scholars, and if you do there’s something wrong with you. But it was really nice to see Naomi and Cameron actually get to wrestle for a few moments. Made me remember when the WWE had an actual women’s divisio… A woman’s do-what? A what’s division? What was I saying? I can’t remember anymore, because the WWE CLEARLY DOESN’T WANT ME TO.

Mark Hentry vs Cena means of course I’d like to see Mark Henry win, but I know I won’t. It’s Cena. He’s in this new attitude where he’ll still let you take that same challenge against him, but now he’s so confident he’ll win that actually fulfill his duty to enact that challenge and actually have it happen that night. The best thing about it was the fake out they’re trying to do, by having Cena win in the “cowardly” way by count out. It would seem they’re trying very hard to create some traction with his character and give some new life to him, and having him win in this “gray” way, (for Cena at least) is a surefire step up from Mr. Five Moves Of Doom. Seeing Mark Henry angrily World’s Strongestly Slam him into the ground and hold up the belt triumphantly was great as well. What was greater was how into it the crowd was! They wanted Cena’s BLOOD! When The Ryback finally showed up and took out Henry, everyone was going insane and it made it all that much better.

Then the predictable thing happened, where The Ryback went to offer a hand to help Cena up. A wrestler acting honorably is something you don’t often get seen raucously booed into oblivion, but the people at the show there tonight hated Cena and wanted to see him suffer. So it was pretty jarring to see what I’m guessing is ostensibly a heel turn, with The Ryback viciously attacking Cena, be cheered as if it was some glorious, honorable display! I’ve never seen a potential heel turn so widely and resoundingly cheered, that it might have totally ruined his heel turn! If they want The Ryback to be hated or booed, they’re gonna have to try again, because tonight at least, the people certainly didn’t hate him for taking on Cena. It was amazing you guys.

It was a really good Raw.

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WWE Monday Night Raw Recap & Review 3/25/13

Tonight’s Raw opens up with CM Punk making his way out to the ring.

Punk’s now fully in his ultimate-disrespectful-douchebag mode, and it’s something I just love to death. Granted he doesn’t sound as believable as he did when he was feuding with The Rock a few months ago. That’s really my only problem is that when Punk was making promos against Rock, it was for an ideology. He was saying what he believed because he believed it, and it echoed throughout his promos and made them mean more on every level. While I prefer earnest-I-Mean-Everything-I-Say CM Punk to Ultimate-Disrespectful-Douchebag CM Punk, they’re both fascinating, interesting, amazing characters. I like how he’s gained his confidence back, because him being cowardly and afraid of The Ryback rang so false it made my ears bleed. I like that he’s not afraid of The Undertaker and sees him as just yet another challenge to take on forcefully to cement himself as The Best In The World. In my heart of hearts I want Punk to win, because 20-1 is a good number, and as much as I love Undertaker all things have to come to an end eventually. When push comes to shove though, I’ll be putting money on ‘Taker though, because I’m a smart better, not a hopeful one.

OH MY F***ING GOD I LOVE FANDANGO. HOLY CRAP! THAT ENTRANCE! MAN THAT’S AN ENTRANCE! I KNOW HE DID IT LAST WEEK BUT I WASN’T ABLE TO WRITE ABOUT IT LAST WEEK BECAUSE OF TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES, SO I’LL PRETEND LIKE IT’S NEW THIS WEEK AND OH MY F***ING GOD!!!

WWE Monday Night Raw-Fandango-1

WWE Monday Night Raw-Fandango-2

 

 

 

 

 

I’m a sucker for a good gimmick. I was at a wrestling show this last weekend and there was a guy there who was clearly green, but had a bunch of galaxies and wizard art airbrushed onto his singlet, and I cheered him on obnoxiously loudly because why wouldn’t you? That’s who Fandango is to me right now. He’s that guy who’s unafraid to commit to being really super ostentatious and annoying, solely to get heat. The fact that he’s getting “YOU CAN’T WRESTLE!” chants only confirms this to me, because if any of you saw him wrestle as Johnny Curtis you’d know he can wrestle just fine. For now he’s just coming out and being a weird little jerk and I’m loving it to death really. Of course, this is what I said about Funkasaurus when he first came out, so I’m wary. However, until that happens (and knowing WWE, it probably will), I’m going to let myself enjoy it without letting my pessimism ruin everything for me.

So a long time ago on this column I wrote about how Dolph Ziggler should be the Bane to Jericho’s Batman, and break him and yadda yadda, it was a tired joke then too. Well that’s all horses*** now. Fandango is clearly the one who must end Jericho, because while the match between Jericho and Ziggler was top-notch, it was SO CLEARLY OVERSHADOWED IN EVERY WAY, by Fandango showing up just to dance on Jericho’s corpse, beat him up, and then yell over and over “SAY MY NAME! SAY MY NAME!” which is one of the most psychotically amazing things I’ve seen in wrestling for a long while. There’s something inherently emasculating and psychotic about a flamenco dancer in bright sequins and skin-tight gold bands beating the crap out of you demanding you say his ridiculous name to him. It’s some straight up gangster s**t. You know how there’s always that one flamboyant guy in the bright pink suit and tie in the club, who everybody says you should never mess with? And then you do and you find out he has a collection of human ears and eyeballs from everyone who’s crossed him? That’s Fandango. He’ll rip your goddamned eyes out and demand you say his name correctly.

Is it obvious enough I love Fandango guys? BECAUSE I REALLY REALLY LOVE HIM YOU GUYS.

This whole “enemy of my enemy” thing is a bit of weak sauce storyline, because it’s more or less the same dynamic they’ve been doing, but now they’ve replaced The Ryback with Big Show. It’s definitely an upgrade, and if TLC was any indication they’ll have an amazing match at Wrestlemania, but the whole thing seems a bit by the numbers for me. Although I do got to say I approve of The Shield showing up to beat up Sheamus for no real reason, because f*** Sheamus. Seriously. The fact it devolved into a typical backstage fight is secondary to my joy of seeing Sheamus begin to talk, and being brutally interrupted. It’s like The Shield are my own personal buddies who beat the crap out of the dumb people I hate, and it rules.

When this match was announced I just laughed because pffffftttt really? The Uso’s versus Mark Henry? Really? Of course the match went predictably enough with The Uso’s getting murdered in the ring. I love seeing a good handicap match and I really don’t’ get tired of Mark Henry doing that murdering. While the match itself was fairly rote, I did get into a brilliant conversation while watching it with a friend, who keeps misremembering Mark Henry’s new catchphrase, which is the incredibly apt “THAT’S WHAT I DO!”, which is one of the best catchphrases because it’s terrifying, blunt, and effective.  However he keeps thinking it’s “THAT’S ALL I KNOW!” which is probably one of the funniest damned things I’ve ever heard in my entire life. The idea of a tortured, utterly broken Mark Henry who can only communicate his emotions through physical pain is a great one. He would just show up randomly, World’s Strongest Slam them, then start weeping and yell out “THAT’S ALL I KNOW!!!”, while all Lawler and Cole speak in Owen Voices about how Mark Henry is just a product of societies ills, and we can’t truly judge him for his actions because this really IS all he knows. Jerry would disagree and call him a monster. He’d be a layered, complex character who could only exist in the world of wrestling, because it’s the only job you could randomly assault all of your co-workers and it’s considered good for business. Eventually his character arc would wrap up with Mark Henry somehow, being reached by Mae Young once again.

He’d want to love her, and show them he cares, but he can’t, because all he knows how to do is to create pain. He then decides to make the ultimate expression of self-sacrifice and love, and World’s Strongest Slams himself off of a cliff, the entire time yelling “THAT’S ALL I KNOOOOWWW”. We’d cut back and see AJ or Kaitlyn looking mortified while holding Mae Young, and we’d all question if all along it was actually WE who were the monster, not him.

This match is a little inconsequential because it only lasted for a few minutes before Jack Swagger came out and attacked poor, injured Ricardo Rodriguez, and sure enough like a good-good guy Alberto Del Rio immediately dropped any pretenses that this match mattered to help his friend in need. It’s a simple thing really, but it’s the sort of thing I love to see, and I love the idea of friendship, loyalty and fighting against bigotry with honor and respect being communicated through this storyline. I recently got into a debate with a friend online about the whole Jack Swagger thing, and he brought up a very valid, but still debunk able concern. His issue was with Jack Swagger being on tv, portrayed as a racist was in poor taste, and unneeded. He understood that he’s meant to be a bad guy, but didn’t want to expose his son to any hate speech, or messages of racism and bigotry. Which is totally noble, admirable, and proof he’s just trying to be a good father. My counterpoint to his argument was that Jack Swagger/Zeb Colter are NOT good guys, and obviously so. They’re meant to do more than get cheap heat by being racist and inflammatory, they’re symbols. They’re ugly symbols of an ugly thing that exists in our society, because people like Swagger and Colter really do exist, and are monsters that should be vilified and hated. They’re parallels to these kinds of people who children watching WWE will eventually grow up and have to deal with, and unfortunately that’s something they’re going to have to learn about at some point in time.

Now I’m not saying every kid should have their innocence spoiled as soon as possible, so they realize how unfair and unjust the world can be, but the WWE is doing a ballsy, daring, bold move by portraying these kinds of characters, and by having them be combatted by a latino good guy who’s meant to be our representation of everything that’s against those bigoted, hate filled beliefs. If there’s any one appropriate way to teach your kid about who NOT to be, and who to idolize and look up to, it’s this Jack Swagger/Alberto Del Rio feud. It’s a very clear-cut case of right and wrong, reflected by the WWE with these characters, who are in turn reflecting different viewpoints of society. It’s a story that has parables to real life, and in that way it’s one of the more legitimately important ones the WWE has. It’s nice that John Cena REALLY REALLY wants to beat The Rock and everything, but if just one kid grows up seeing the good example set by Alberto Del Rio, learns to shun and ignore people like Swagger/Colter, then that’s infinitely more important and interesting to me. Wrestling is an art form like no other that has the capability to tell real life moralistic stories of justice, that reflect the way our society is, and for them to take that opportunity and use it is something special. It’s certainly better than having all your bad guys be “bad” just because they’re arrogant or have facial hair. What better, safer place than the WWE for a kid to get his first lessons on hating racism and bigotry? It’s certainly more age appropriate than most movies or tv shows about racism, and it’s a hell of a lot more fun. I applaud Swagger, Colter and the WWE for having the guts to take on this kind of character, because it MEANS something in the final analysis of things.

Hey look the Prime Time Players got beat by Team Hell No again. This is what, the 40th time now? I don’t think I can write about this exact same match anymore. There’s nothing left to say other than I’d like to see Kane and Daniel Bryan in singles competition, so have them lose the titles to Ziggler and Big E or whatever until the same thing happens with Ziggler and Big E, until somebody else wins it from them and the same thing happens with them and OH GOD IT’S AN INFINITE LOOP HELP MAKE IT STOP SOMEBODY GET THE WWE A REAL TAG TEAM DIVISION AGAIN PLEEEAAASSEEE!

I’m gonna ignore the fact that Triple H/Brock Lesnar is the stupidest thing ever because these idiots take a whole month to have a conversation that could literally be done in 5 minutes flat, and they’re both big dumb meat heads who’ve weaseled their way to the top and are more or less just jerks I don’t care about. The thing that pisses me off is that Triple H is such a stupid, vain, lousy character that he has to go and assault Wade Barrett for no damned reason near the end of that video. Triple H wraps up his speech, Wade Barrett walks out because HE WAS SCHEDULED TO, AND THERE’S A CARD, YOU SHOULD KNOW THIS TRIPLE H YOU RUN THE DAMN COMPANY DON’T YOU? And for no reason Triple H just kicks him in the balls, because oh yeah he’s the biggest, baddest, toughest guy in the room. He’s like the real life equivalent of those Internet Tough Guys who’ll comment on your blog and threaten to beat you up, and oh my god just make him shut up. He’s seriously the worst boss ever, because Wade Barrett can’t even go and file a complaint with HR or anything because Triple H will  just veto it or whatever. I bet he even suspended Wade’s pay afterward he’s that much of a prick. God Triple H is the worst.

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Yeah that anti-bullying campaign must mean a whole lot to you Hunter.

HOLY CRAP! A TOTALLY DECENT, LEGIT MID CARD MATCH! I mean sure it still has the problem of the championship being devalued by its champion being beaten, but at least it’s by somebody within the mid-card, and not just him being jobbed out to one of the Invincible White Guys of the WWE like Sheamus or Randy Orton for the millionth time. It was a really invigorating, well balanced match with both Miz and Barrett totally working well off of each other, and creating real suspense and drama throughout the match. I loved it, so of course the audience started chanting “Boring” during the middle of it, because those leptons don’t go there to actually watch wrestling, they just want to watch Triple H cut promos about how HE’S THE GAME and oh my god I’m gonna barf everywhere. It’s a wrestling show people. Don’t be BORED when there’s actual WRESTLING happening! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU!?

This match wasn’t even fair. Who seriously expected anything other than them being utterly crushed by The Shield? If you did, congratulations you’re officially retarded.

RIP Zack Ryder. May your stupid, annoying bones rest in Kane’s Hell.

So lets take a moment and be glad the Bella Twins are back, and that if you couldn’t tell them apart before, you definitely can now.

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In case it’s not obvious, one got a massive tit-job and the other didn’t.

 So now they’re just parading around as the girlfriends of Team Rhodes Scholars, which to me just spells them out more and more as being totally awesome, super cool dudes. I don’t understand how they’re bad guys at all. They’re smart, funny, have awesome facial hair, and hang out with hot chicks. TWIN hot chicks! They’re more or less exactly the dudes you wanted to be in High School but weren’t, and they accomplished it all by being their own clever, thoughtful, snarky selves. But somehow we’re supposed to hate them and instead cheer this weird team up of Tensai and Funkasaurus because they like to dance. I like dancing as much as the next guy, but I like being smart and hanging out with hot chicks a lot more. But that’s just me.

I have a theory that The Ryback must be getting weaker, or 3MB must be accumulating strength from all of their combined losses. The fact of the matter is that a few months ago, this would have been a 2 minute squash, and The Ryback would have killed all of them in the first 3 seconds and spent the next 90 seconds marching around their dead bodies while leading his own chants or whatever. Now it’s an actual match where they manage to weaken and stun him for a moment, only to be beaten down inevitably. Sure they’re gonna lose, but the fact is they held their ground, and died fighting. They’re like heroic Spartans to The Ryback’s Xerxes. The Ryback may be a golden god king, but 3MB showed him he’s mortal tonight by throwing their spear of offense at him, barely grazing him. They showed him he’s not a God-King, but a man.

Tonight, The Ryback had his fill.

HEY A DIVAS MATCH OH MY GOD! GUYS DO A SHOT! Oh did I not tell you? Yeah we do shots when there’s a Diva’s match now. They’re not very often, so your shot will get pretty nasty sitting there week after week, but it’s nowhere near the shot I take every time I see Tyson Kidd on Raw. That shot’s been sitting there for months now, and it’s attracted a sizable amount of dead gnats and flies and dust. I’m kinda dreading Tyson Kidd’s return to be honest, because I really don’t wanna take that shot.

Anyhow, back to the match itself, WOO GOD I LOVE THESE WOMEN! This feud has been a long time coming and it’s about time they got to it. They’re probably the only two characters whose friendship has had real ups and downs, and meaning behind it that could be used to enhance this into a full on, actual Diva’s storyline other than just “You’re a bitch, I don’t like you!” I want to see Kaitlyn beat AJ sure, but I want to see Kaitlyn REACH AJ too, make her see how she had been acting, and for AJ to reach Kaitlyn see her errors too, and how badly Kaitlyn treated AJ in kind. Basically I’m saying they should turn this into a story arc from HBO’s Girls, but with less clothes, hotter girls, and literal fighting to resolve their issues. That’s about all you could ask for I think.

Hey I guess The Rock and John Cena are gonna fight again at Wrestlemania or something I’m not sure. What’s that? Oh they’ve only been talking about it stupidly, endlessly, boringly, and infuriatingly for weeks now? And they’ve both made no new points or established any stakes other than they both REALLY REALLY wanna win? Sounds great bro, let me know how it goes. I’m gonna sit here and hope CM Punk ends The Undertaker’s streak, because as far as I’m concerned that’s the real main event of Wrestlemania 29. Now excuse me while I ogle some pictures of AJ and Kaitlyn.

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Oh AJ and Kaitlyn. You’re the best.

WWE Monday Night Raw Recap & Review 3/11/13

Raw opens tonight with a rather well-edited real life memorial to William Moody, AKA Paul Beater, who unfortunately passed away last week. Seeing a bunch of old WWE clips of him acting all goofy and creepy stirred up a lot of fond memories. I distinctly remember him being one of the most engaging manager characters of them all, and was probably my favorite manager character of all time, second to Jimmy Hart. His dedication was followed by Undertaker taking a meaningful pose of respect and grievance in front of the urn that Paul Bearer always carried, while a memorial card for him flashed on the titan-tron. Then a brilliant, terrible thing happened, as CM Punk interrupted it.

I know this pissed off a lot of people, but it’s something wrestling does best. I love it when they purposely mix real life events with kayfabe feuds like this, and use it to build heat. Making CM Punk the most disrespectful, terrible and offensive man is pretty great, and goes a long way towards making him an actual bad guy. On top of that, it gives a better reason and some meaning behind the match Punk and Taker will be having at Wrestlemania.

One of the best things I like about The Shield, is that they beat everyone they oppose, not by cheating, but by just being better than their opponents. Consistently they just isolate the weaknesses of their opponents, exploit them, and use their numbers smartly to gain the advantage. While I was interested in seeing how someone like Seth Rollins would go up against someone like Big Show on his own tonight, Show ruined it for himself by unnecessarily attacking the other two members of The Shield. They defended themselves, then retaliated after the match to show superiority and dominance. It’s the sort of thing that consistently spells them out to be a heavy contender to be reckoned with. I have no doubt that separate they wouldn’t be as effective (Ambrose aside), so I’m still enjoying them as a team. Whenever they do end up splitting up, or even if they just start wrestling more individually, I’ll be looking forward to see how or if their team dynamic changes. I think the only thing that will stop The Shield is themselves, and it’s a good old tried and true angle to run for factions. Until then, watching them triple power bomb giant dudes is good enough for me.

Man, I’m not sure exactly when it happened, because it happened so gradually, but Daniel Bryan really has gone into full Hobo-Beard mode. I still argue he doesn’t have a goat face, because goats don’t have massive beards that scraggly and awful, but something does need to be said to the guy. I’m sure he’s well aware how horrid it is, but good lord there IS a handsome man underneath there. I’m a pretty firm believer that you should only have a beard that huge and swarthy if you’re already an ugly bastard, a fat man, a biker, or a wizard. There’s a lumberjack clause is there too, but that’s kind of antiquated profession these days isn’t it? I’m actually not certain at all, I just imagine giant machines cut down all the trees now, but that’s neither here nor there. The best thing about this match is how damn good it was. People forget that despite all the gimmickry, both of these guys are excellent goddamned wrestlers, and Daniel Bryan is singlehandedly probably one of the best in the world. It was good to see Dolph Ziegler pull over a win and manage to still make Bryan look strong. It’s the kind of fast faced match that works really well for tv. I wish they had more like it.

So here’s the best thing about this, does anyone actually want to see Tensai wrestle around anymore anywhere? I’m glad he’s wearing pants and a singlet now, but it doesn’t make him not horrible and not  boring. I can’t get past how big and boring he is. Now I know i lament the lack of wrestling on this wrestling show, but comedy bits and whatnot, as long as they’re funny, I really have no problem with. The issue is often they’re not funny, and for now, Fandango coming out and refusing to wrestle stupid people (kofi, tensai, etc) because they don’t pronounce his name properly, entertains me all to hell. Plus Fandango coming out and flat out saying how Naomi is better than the stupid team she’s currently affiliated with, and the thought of her potentially joining Fandango’s crew of sexy flamenco dancers sounds great to me. Plus for the first time in years, Jerry Lawler really made me laugh by cursing out Tensai for ruining our chance to see Fandango wrestle.

Someone somewhere noticed that there wasn’t really a tag team division anymore, and realized they ought to reassemble Team Rhodes Scholars quickly. Having them come out and do a faux-intellectual version of the New Age Outlaw’s old introductory speech was actually pretty funny, mostly because Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow are still so likable. Those guys really do ooze class and charm. I have a hard time accepting them as bad guys at all, because they’ve never even done anything wrong. They’re only booed because other crowds boo them, and it feeds on an infinite loop. I’m just hoping all of this isn’t building to some stupid angle where the New Age Outlaws become the tag team champions again, because man does that devalue the Tag Titles even more. It’s more or less the same argument made for why The Rock shouldn’t be champion, but it goes double for NAO.

The problem with this too, is that Brock Lesnar came out and attacked them, you know because we need to be reminded of Brock Lesnar. I get they need to have him attack the NAO, and to have him accept their challenge, because this is what happens with every time Triple H and Brock Lesnar show up. Rather than settle everything, all threats, all challenges, etc with one promo between the two of them, they keep interacting on Raw by making long protracted speeches or segments. It’s almost like they’re using WWE as their own personal social media service because they’re both too shy to just talk things out like adults. The only thing I’m glad to hear is that Brock Lesnar will be making the stipulations of the match, and we can only hope it’ll be that Triple H has to quit forever for real or something. It doesn’t matter though, he’ll always find some way to come back and ruin everything. Let’s just let this be the end of Brock/Triple H forever, okay?

I guess if we have to have Kofi Kingston matches, they might as well be short non-matches like he’s been having recently. If you’re honestly complaining about not seeing enough Kofi Kingston lately, there’s something f***ing wrong with you.

Hey The Bellas are back! Let’s get first things first out-of-the-way, HOLY CRAP DID THEY BOTH GET TIT JOBS WHAT HAPPENED OH MY GOD HOLY F***  JESUS THEY LOOK AMAZING. I’m gonna wonder if they’re actually back or not, but until then let’s just marvel at them and hope they come back  as valets only. They could never wrestle but I sure did love seeing them in skin-tight plastic outfits, so if they’re in some super team with Rhodes Scholars I’m down with that.

Here’s the sad thing, I would totally mark out if somehow, someway Heath Slater beat The Ryback. I understand they’re building up the feud between Mark Henry and The Ryback, ostensibly over the title of the worlds strongest man, or something to that effect. Just have them both do dueling feats of strength each week, and one up each other. The Ryback lifts two guys, Mark Henry lifts two guys, The Ryback eats and devours Kofi Kingston, Mark Henry crushes Great Khali into a little ball of misery. That way everyone would win, and it’d end in a great match between two strong guys just beating the crap out of each other! Plus Khali and Kofi would be dead! WIN/WIN!

First and foremost, this was a pretty great match. Both of these guys are damned amazing in the ring, and watching them go at it was entertaining. My problem with this match is it only reinforces two ideas that are destroying the WWE’s mid-card, which is #1, that the World Heavyweight Championship is the new Intercontinental Championship, and that the IC title and the US title now both mean jack squat. When you have your mid-card champions just lose, all of the time, only win when they defend, and generally get beaten by a higher “class” of wrestler, (not just including the Invincible White Guys Cena, Sheamus, Orton et al), it just makes their title look meaningless. This isn’t me complaining about Cesaro losing, it’s about him losing making that title appear worthless. Cesaro can lose for sure, but have it lead into someone taking the belt from him, or have him get cheated or anything other than what they’re doing right now. If they were smart, they’d consolidate the WHC and the WWE belts, make the Intercontinental belt mean something again, and retire the US title. But they won’t, so whatever.

I feel like I should like this match more. I like Rhodes Scholars but sometimes their offense is just lacking. They’re wonderful on the mic, and I love their characters, but they’re not incredibly dynamic in the ring, and when you put them up against a terrible super-team like Orton and Sheamus the whole thing becomes a foregone conclusion to begin with. Maybe I just find Orton so boring that he ends up infecting the entire match with his boringness, and ruins the whole thing? I don’t know, I sure do love his pose though. Me and my friends make a point of doing it all the time. I’m hoping it’ll become the next fad like Planking. You walk up to your friend, you smack his hat off his head, then pose like Orton. It’s pretty great, but you better make sure you do it to a friend, or else you’ll get your ass beat half to death.

I love Jericho, I just wish he’d do something new with his hair. He keeps trying to spike it up or whatever it is that he does, and it just looks terrible. Dude, we all know you’re going bald, just kinda wet it down like how it gets after he sweats for a while. The problem with segments like this is they’re just big commercials for stupid things, and the stupid thing this time is The Miz’s new movie. Then you’ve got Wade Barrett coming out, and being NO NO NO YOU OYL OTTA KNOW OYM THE REAL SUPER MOOVEE STAH ERE! Which I suppose all things considered, is preferable to just some glad-handing nonsense about movies and hey here’s a clip. At least they’re arguing about it. I think the idea of wrestlers getting into arguments about whose the biggest movie star is pretty stupid, but it’s stupid in that good way that only wrestling can be.

I know this clip is about Miz VS Jericho but I just love it every time Wade Barrett talks, and would rather watch him talk about being awesome, and rejecting scripts and being british. I think out of everyone in the WWE, he’s the one i’d most like to have a beer with. Plus the segment was so bad that even Michael Cole said so. So that’s pretty telling.

Swagger’s just beating up any and all Mexican people now. This makes me laugh for all the wrong (right?) reasons? I’m loving this gimmick, I’m loving the feud that surrounds it, and I’m loving hating Zeb Colter and Swagger. They even got me to cheer to Sin CARE-UH! Which is saying a lot. Zeb Colter is great because he’s getting people to hate and boo racism, which for WWE audiences is damned progressive. Let’s continue this happening please?

There’s been a subplot the entire night throughout the show, showing Kane very upset about CM Punk’s disrespectful turn against Taker and Paul Bearer at the beginning of the show. It was actually pretty moving and managed to show Kane inject some pathos into his mourning, both kayfabe and shoot of the late Paul Bearer. The entire idea behind the match being No DQ was pretty great too, and was an excellent match between the two, because it allowed for this:

Raw

If there was any one person whose music could and should actually distract you during a match it’s The Undertaker’s. The match between Kane and Punk just goes to show how great they both are, and ended with a really awesome confrontation between Punk and Taker, where Punk managed to pull off that wonderful mix of disrespectful mock taunting he always does, and the whole thing looked like it really did piss Undertaker off. Initially I was worried their WM match wouldn’t have any real stakes, but thanks to Punk yet again, it does. I fully expect Undertaker to win, but if they REALLY want to get Punk over as a HATED heel, they’ll have him end the streak. Don’t make it a triumphant battle sort of thing, have it be a super cheap, super sh***y  thing where Punk gets the win through some terrible technicality. It’ll piss everyone in the world off but me.

For the first time in a while, I feel like tonight’s Raw wasn’t just an assembled collection of scenes with no rhyme or reason. Somehow someway, they turned a tragic thing like Paul Bearer’s death into a viable storytelling mechanic, and had a good yarn spun throughout the show, ending with a finale that wrapped up the whole thing. Sure there were a few stupid moments in the middle, but if Raw was more like this, it’d be just a bit easier to defend why I watch the damn thing. I also didn’t even realize until it was pointed out on twitter, that John Cena wasn’t on the entire show. Maybe that also has something to do with it.

Raw
20-1. I hope.
Raw
Anybody who’s watched the CM Punk documentary will get this.

WWE Monday Night Raw Recap & Review 3/4/13

Tonight’s Raw was a blast from the past with a theme that I can certainly get behind, that theme being “Old School” night. Sure it’s a cheap way to get people excited and induce nostalgia, but seeing that old logo and introduction brings back great memories from when I was a kid watching WWF with my gramps, and well that’s what nostalgia is for isn’t it? It also helps that last week’s Raw was particularly bad, so riding on the heels of that this was a breath of fresh air. Furthermore any episode of Raw that opens up with The Undertaker returning to ominously raise his arms and summon fire and lightning is fine by me.

As if that wasn’t enough, then CM Punk strolls on out, more or less to complain. He’s in this great place right now where you can tell he just loves annoying the fans, and isn’t above getting cheap heat by acting like an indignant bastard. The thing about Punk for me is despite trying his hardest to be super annoying, I still find him innately likable. For me, if there’s no Punk at Wrestlemania, it’s not purposeless, but it sure does seem like it. Whenever Punk comes out and talks about something, you believe him, even if what he’s saying is complete BS. He’s that damn good on the mic that he makes me even tolerate and accept the entire concept of “straight edge”, which if you knew anything about how often I drink you’d know that’s a damn good feat.

He was interrupted by Randy Orton, Sheamus, and Big Show however. Since it’s the beginning of Raw, and despite being Old School night, that doesn’t mean that typical Raw clichés won’t apply, which is that any group of people talking at the beginning of Raw, will inevitably end up fighting at the end in some kind of fatal 4 way/tag team match. The tag team clause triples if there is a Teddy Long presence anywhere within 1000 feet of the ring.

Here’s a good chance to explain to those who don’t know, what the words “shoot” and “kayfabe” mean, in terms of literal character strength. In the WWE, The Ryback has been trumped up and promoted as being “The Strongest” in the company. He can lift two guys over his head (as long as they’re both really skinny), and certainly looks like a living human action figure. He has the look of strength, but still has trouble lifting any guy over 200 pounds over his head. Then you have a guy like Antonio Cesaro, who has consistently been able to dead lift 400+ pound dudes, and occasionally picks people up by their legs and smashes them into walls. Also there was that one time where he picked a guy up by the legs, and spun him around 100 GODDAMNED TIMES  

Antonio Cesaro is shoot stronger than The Ryback, because he’s clearly and obviously really picking up dudes using his actual strength. The Ryback while strong sure, is just a weightlifter who counts on getting the assistance from his opponent to help along his feats of strength. Here’s a good way to tell if someone is strong for real or not: If they’re lifting people up by the legs and swinging them into walls, they’re DAMN STRONG.

BAH GAWD CESARO THAT IS A HUMAN BEING!
BAH GAWD CESARO THAT IS A HUMAN BEING!

That match was immediately followed up with a match between Zack Ryder and Mark Henry, which is a laughable pair up at best. I don’t think Zack Ryder even made it longer than 1 minute before he got World’s Strongestly Slammed into the ring and died a horrible death. I know a lot of people feel like Zack Ryder is this under appreciated godsend, but he had a big push last year, and his character was AWFUL. He was a stupid, pussy whipped, weak willed moron who couldn’t even get the girl (Eve)who was right in front of him, and ended up losing her interest to JOHN CENA of all people. Then he went and started acting like she was a total “hoeski” for not sitting around and waiting for him to grow some balls, and both and he and Cena went on slut shaming her for the next year because she kissed Cena once. After he rescued her from notorious fire rapist Kane. How DARE she get emotional and weird and kiss a guy after being saved from fire rape! WHAT A SLUT RIGHT? BETTER MAKE A SHI**Y OVERPRODUCED SONG ABOUT IT.

That’s who Zack Ryder is now folks. He’s that annoying friend of yours who talks up how much of a ladies man he is, but never ever gets laid, and wears lots of bronzer and spikes his hair and can’t wrestle. Why do you like him again internet? Why?

This match is yet another testament to how good Dolph Ziggler is at losing. He can make guys like even The Miz look like total powerhouses, and if it weren’t for all of The Miz’s other mediocre matches, you’d think he was this great all the time. I do want Ziggler to cash in his contract and become champion and attain greatness and all that, but to be honest I’m perfectly fine watching him lose all the time and getting everybody over. He’s like the anti-John Cena that way. Plus I really love Ric Flair and any time I get to see him strut around like a rooster, elbow drop the mat for no reason and yell out WOO indiscriminately, I’m pretty happy.

Oh boy. This whole promo was just one big exercise in both of these egomaniacs trying to get the last word on one another. It was one big circle jerk of “No I’ll beat YOU!” “No!” “No I’ll beat YOU!”, over and over again that communicated every main talking point they made last year, with the added subtext of Cena’s “Oh I’ve failed now, I need redemption” rhetoric that’s so trite it makes The Rock’s talking points of “DON’T BE A WOMAN, WOMAN, YOU’RE A WOMAN I HATE WOMEN AAARRGGGGHHH” seem almost reasonable. Well, as reasonable as a pair of dickheads can be. This is a match I honestly couldn’t care less about, if it weren’t for the fact that Cena is going to clearly win, meaning I fully plan to bet money on it and reap in the rewards. You reading this Marcos? YOUR $5 IS MINE. (Ryan, if you’re reading this, show it to Marcos.)

Not that I didn’t enjoy it, but is there a storyline reason why Swagger is attacking all of these American icon wrestlers? Is it because they don’t actively support his racist agenda? I know in reality it’s to get heat because ZOMG SO DISRESPECTFUL, but maybe I fast-forwarded through a Zeb Colter promo where he rallied against those from the past who’ve encouraged illegals through omission of condemnation? Knowing the WWE, that’s almost definitely not the case, and instead we just have a match of Swagger beating up some old timers, because he’s eeeevil now. Which is fine! I actually loved it, he’s being a really bad, bad guy! Which is good! I love it when my bad guys are actually bad, and the good guys are actually good. I’ve typed variations of that sentence probably a thousand times on this column but it just stands to reason that that’s the way things should be. Right? Right. Although I gotta say, downgrade on changing Swagger’s finisher to “The Patriot Lock” from “The Patriot Act”, which I’m guessing is from real life political pressure, because stupid racist tea party members found his character insulting, rather than recognizing he’s a cartoon because all of this is a cartoon, you’re watching a wrestling show what is wrong with you?

So what, is this like the third week in a row where the entire tag team division has been Team Hell No vs The Primetime Players? And the last two weeks it was in gimmick blindfold matches? They’ve entirely given up on any pretense of an actual, legit tag team division haven’t they? It’s just gonna be Team Hell No vs The Primetime Players forever, and nothing will change but match stipulations. Eventually it’ll be Team Hell No fighting The Primetime Players in a bikini match or something, and we’ll all wonder what prestige the Tag Titles have, or if they ever even used to mean anything at all?

Please don’t let Brodus Clay and Tensai become a real team. Please don’t let this happen. Please don’t… Oh god.

UGH
UGH

NO. THIS IS NOT WHAT SHOULD BE HAPPENING! WHY? WHAT FOUL GOD HAVE I ANGERED TO DESERVE THIS?  If Funkasaurus and Tensai end up being the team that beats Team Hell No for the titles, I will eat my damn hat. Awful.

This is one of my favorite matches from the whole night for 2 main reasons. 1.) We didn’t have to see Kofi Kingston wrestling, and 2.) we finally got to see FANDANGO. Here’s a tip, if you want me to immediately love your new wrestler, all you have to do is one, give him a wonderfully obnoxious gimmick like “Flamenco dancer narcissist”, and then have him insist everyone is mispronouncing his ridiculous name. Not only will you get him to draw heat from the crowd, (because homophobia) but it’s hilarious. Nearly 3 minutes of a dude insisting you’re not pronouncing his name right because you’re not “letting the A’s breath” as you say his name, is great. I now have been walking around the house lately, grabbing random objects, dipping them like a dancer, then I rub myself a little bit and say in my most sultry voice, FAAAWWWWNNN DAAAAWWWNNNN GOOOOOOOooooo, and it’s never not fun you guys.

TOO SEXY!
TOO SEXY!

I may also be partially a psychopath, so there’s that.

Hey look, Triple H took 10 minutes to announce a match between him and Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania! Do you care? No? Do I? Certainly not. The biggest tip off that Triple H is a waste of time for everyone whenever he speaks is that he takes at least 10 minutes to say anything, and the good folks over at WWEYoutube edit his stuff down to less than 5 minutes. Imagine how much you’d hate The Undertaker if every year he came out and made a 20 minute long speech about HIS STREAK, and how much IT MEANT TO HIM, and droned on and on, when instead he could just point and say “YOU’RE NEXT”? You’d f***ing HATE Undertaker if he did that. So why do people cheer when Triple H does that same thing? Undertaker doesn’t even talk anymore, he just stands there and you know that it’s about to go down. Why can’t you just take a hint from Undertaker, Triple H? Why?

I love Alberto Del Rio, but Wade Barrett can’t get any respect. They’re doing a great job at devaluing what it means to be a mid-card champion by having them be beaten all the time these days, and I don’t understand it. I did enjoy that Swagger coming out didn’t distract either Barrett or Del Rio however, and instead they just ignored his presence and wrestled anyway. That’s what should happen every time, and the whole “distracted, leading to roll up pin” thing is the worst staple match finish that the WWE has, and they should stop doing it. Now that i’ve said that, it’s going to be used at least 3000 more times in my lifetime. But hey, Alberto Del Rio! Yayyy!

Seeing this match made me have a bunch of mixed emotions. On one hand, I used to love the New Age Outlaws. I used to know their whole opening spiel by heart, and couldn’t wait to say it every time they showed up. Now I watch Road Dogg do that shuffle titty shake dance knee drop thing he does, and I can’t help but think what the hell was wrong with me? I must have been a retarded little boy, because dear GOD these guys are annoying as hell, and their weird, watered down PG version of their gimmick, which was more or less “Suck My Dick”, is just terrible. The one thing I did enjoy was Rosa Mendes clearly shaking her ass over and over in front of Jerry Lawler, apparently to get him to turn back into horrible-lecherous-creep Lawler from 1999. He even mentioned (but didn’t explain) puppies! Which was his old catchphrase, that more or less communicated his desire to see the tits of any woman who was in front of him. I do the same thing sometimes, but I’m not on live television performing in front of millions of children, okay? So there’s a difference there. Also my catchphrase is “Show me your tits”, which isn’t as catchy as “Puppies!”, but it’s a hell of a lot more direct. My other catchphrase is “I Am A Great Man”, so you know…

I’m a super cool dude.

This was a pretty great match that consisted of 4 dudes just trading finishing moves back and forth. If you’re gonna do big dumb hoss wrestling, this is the way I like it. Have some dudes get in there, have ’em trade chops and kicks for a while, then just go insane with finishers. It makes for a good end to the show, and it creates realistic suspense between who could actually pull off the win. They did a good job keeping everyone who had easily predicted Punk as being the obvious winner, by seemingly putting him out of the picture early on, and having him pick up a “cheap” (but still clean), win at the end via GTS. Out of all the people in this match, Punk is the most interesting to feud with Undertaker because you’ve got two legends facing each other, only one is being made and the other nearly ending. It’s a great dynamic, of the beginning and the end, of respect versus the streak, and personal achievements measured as success. 434 days vs 20-0. It’ll be a great match, even if I do expect Undertaker to win. But, it’ll be fun to hope Punk beats him.

If there was anyone who I think Undertaker SHOULD be beaten by, it’d be either Punk, for the reasons I stated above, or Kane. Kane makes the most sense to me, because in storyline terms, he was the one who has always had an equal standing with Undertaker in terms of kayfabe strength and heart, as well as fire powers to match Undertaker’s lightning powers. On top of that, it’d be great to see that character arc finally resolve with Kane burying Undertaker, once and for all. But perhaps that’s a bit too “gimmicky” for the WWE now, and if it’s gonna be Punk, then let’s let it be Punk. I’m all for it. Wrestlemania, get here already. Let’s go.

THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE.
THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE.

Top Ten Most Memorable WWE Moments – Part 2

 

Article by Cheesebadger and Godzark

Welcome to part 2 of Grizzly Bomb’s Top Ten Most Personally Memorable WWE Moments. Where Godzark and I have compiled our own memorable WWE moments. We thought that rather than try to make another in a long series of “Top X OMG Moments”, much like the WWE themselves have done, we’d prefer to share the moments that stuck with us on a personal level. The moments that made our eyes pop open in disbelief, laughter, surprise, or sheer excitement. Sure, some of these may not be universally recognized as the biggest, baddest, most memorable moments in WWE history, but to us, they were.

5.) Big Bossman Kidnaps, Kills & Cooks Al Snow’s Dog

Cheesebadger: Holy shit. Sometimes a storyline, even a sub-plot minor storyline like this one, can leave an impression on you you’ll never forget. Right around this time there was probably some big feud between Stone Cold Steve Austin & The Rock. Sure I remember that feud, but the everyday skits about it didn’t stick with me the way THIS storyline did. In 1999, when the WWE(F) was at the height of its Attitude Era popularity, they seemed determined to make Big Bossman the most despicable heel alive. After weeks of mentally and physically torturing Al Snow with random beatings and whatnot, it seemed like things had finally gotten to a head. You see, Al Snow had made himself a little friend. A chihuahua named Pepper, whom he loved. He carried Pepper around everywhere and took care of him, so it was only a matter of time until Big Bossman dognapped Pepper. Al Snow became dedicated to rescuing his furry friend, and just as we all though Big Bossman was about to do the unthinkable, something happened.

Suddenly, Big Bossman reached out to Al Snow, asked for forgiveness, and begged Al to trust him. He insisted that Pepper was fine, and would return him to Snow. He even invited Snow over to his place for dinner, all the while assuring Snow that he had to make things right between them. Snow complied, still suspicious but desperate to get his friend back. When Snow arrived at Big Bossman’s place, Bossman insisted Snow try some of the meal he cooked for him, before he returned Pepper. A wary Al Snow took a few bites of the chinese food that had been seemingly prepared by Big Bossman, before Pepper’s ultimate fate was revealed with one shocking sentence I’ll never forget:

“Would you do me a favor, and try not to get them paws stuck in your teeth.”

The pause after that sentence seemed like minutes, as Big Bossman went on to proclaim what Al Snow was eating was in fact, 100% Grade A Pepper. That’s right, Big Bossman fed Al Snow his own damn dog. If that seems extreme, Big Bossman went on a tear continuing his reign as the worst human being alive by feuding with Big Show. How did he top himself there? Oh simple, he just interrupted Big Show at his fathers funeral, assaulted him, then stole his dead father’s casket with body inside, and literally towed it out of the graveyard behind his cop car. Yeah. That moment was almost on this list too.

4.) Unholy Matrimony of Undertaker & Stephanie McMahon

Godzark: The WWE has done some unforgettable mock weddings on their shows, but nothing will ever compare in my book to the “unholy matrimony,” between The Undertaker and Stephanie McMahon. This just so happened to play right in the middle of Stone Cold Steve Austin (who was and always will be my favorite wrestler)’s feud with Stephanie’s father, and owner of the WWE, Vince McMahon. The premise was that The Undertaker would kidnap Stephanie and tie her to his symbol, while Paul Bearer in all his wonderful pastiness and his sweet comb-over would marry Taker and Steph. This all went according to plan until the most unlikely beer drankin, finger flippin, Texas redneck anti-hero came out to save the day. The reason this moment meant so much to me was because I feel like it was the moment that pushed the “hero,” into Steve Austin’s anti-hero label. With the daughter of Austin’s arch nemesis in trouble, Steve came out and did the right thing, just because it was the right thing to do. When I was a kid, it really made me look up to Steve Austin, in a similar way that today’s youth looks up to John Cena. The impact that this moment had on me is why I believed it earned the right to be on this list.

3.) Kane Finally Unmasks Himself

Godzark: For years the WWE built Kane’s character to be The Undertaker’s brother who was burned in a fire at the families funeral home as a child. Kane spent six years behind the infamous red and black mask, supposedly in attempt to cover the hideous scars he received as a result of being burned in the fire, which was caused by his dysfunctional brother. In 2002, Kane was set up to compete in a match, where should he lose, which he inevitably did, he was required to take his mask off. I remember a friend of mine stayed over that night and I had my VCR recording this moment, only to re-watch it about 20 times throughout the night. This was the moment that changed the landscape of Kane’s career forever, and a moment that I’ll never forget.

To me the reason this moment stuck out so much, goes far beyond the storyline that was behind Kane’s character, there was also a degree of mystery to him as a person. Even though some longtime fans new that Glen Jacobs had played the unmasked character of Dr. yankem much earlier in his career, to fans that began watching during the attitude era, Jacobs was completely new. What I remember most about this moment was the fact that, as soon as it happened, as a fan I wasn’t really sure what to think, since there were no visible scars on his previously masked face. Did this mean that the whole story was a sham, or was this man so delusional that he really believed that he was burned in a fire and in fact did have these scars? It was a perfect way to keep fans sitting on the edge of their seats, waiting to see where the storyline would progress next. Either way, this moment was in my opinion, one of the greatest non PPV moments in WWE history.

2.) Stone Cold VS The Rock At Wrestlemania 15

Cheesebadger: One thing about this match that bring it some necessary context, is that in 1999, SCSA and The Rock were the two biggest names in all of pro wrestling, and arguably of all time. They were larger than life in every single way, right down to their finishing moves being sold as unstoppable, world shattering blows that no mortal man could possibly withstand. The Rock was played up as an arrogant, cocksure young jerk who could walk the walk as well as talk the talk, and Austin was the the toughest SOB in the entire WWE(F). Their feud is probably one of the best pure examples of how successful a properly done Heel Vs Face feud could be. The heights of fame and popularity their characters reached has since been unparalleled, and for months the two of them combatted each other in the ring or on the mic. When it all came down to it though, they settled things (for the first time anyway), in the ring at Wrestlemania.

To the both of them, the WWF Championship meant everything, and it was worth everything but short of your last dying breath to strive for. As a young WWF fan, seeing the both of them give each other every single thing they had, was like watching titans battle before your eyes. So many times we had seen people utterly destroyed by the one-two combo of the Rock Bottom & People’s Corporate Elbow. Additionally, The Stone Cold Stunner was a move so devastating and rapidly given, that SCSA often could take on multiple opponents at once or end matches nearly instantly, so great was its power. After 20 plus minutes of battle, seeing these two greats kick out multiple times from each other’s finishing moves, was unheard of. I remember being absolutely awestruck at the fact that Austin had such tenacity, surviving everything the Rock threw at him, and countered a third Rock Bottom into a Stunner that won him the match and championship. Austin winning that title was a victory for all the fans of the Texas Ratttlesnake that night, and a victory for all wrestling fans who got to see an unforgettable match.

1.) Mankind VS The Rock at the 1999 Royale Rumble

Talk about an unforgettable match. Even in 1999 people knew Mick Foley was going to be a legend, but this match sealed it for me. I remember being so excited for all of the build up Mankind had, with his recent face turn, brief acceptance into DX, and subsequent title reign. Mankind being world champion was the feel good story at the time, and their rivalry was a classic case of the underdog winning. At the time Mankind was known for his tenacious ability, incredible resilience and massive tolerance for pain. He was the last man you’d ever expect to quit a match, and would literally rather die than give up. So an I Quit Match at the 1999 Royal Rumble seemed like a no brainer. How could he possibly lose?

Sure enough, for the first few minutes things seemed like they were in Mankind’s favor, as The Rock seemed puzzled at what to do to put Mankind into a state where he’d give up. You could pin the man down for 3 seconds sure, but break his spirit? Impossible. What transpired over the last 10 or so minutes, left my jaw agape during the entirety of the match. After being pushed off a guardrail 20 feet up, onto electrical wires and nearly being electrocuted to death, The Rock somehow found handcuffs, and handcuffed Mankind with his hands behind his back. Ever resistant, Mankind still fought back, until The Rock grabbed a chair.

The Rock then proceeded to wail on Mankind with chair shots directly to the head. After 10 unprotected chair shots to the head, including one to back of the head, The Rock placed the microphone next tot he mouth of an apparently unconcious (or dead) Mankind. What happened next is in my mind, still up for debate. The fact of the matter is that the phrase “I Quit! I Quit! I Quit!” was played over the loudspeakers, and the match ended with a victory for The Rock. The next night we’d discover that in storyline terms, this was The Rock’s way of ensuring his victory, by “cheating” and using a clip from a promo Mankind had made earlier. In real life, I think what happened was that people backstage were scrambling to try to end the match, which had quickly grown out of control. I assume that a certain number of chair shots were agreed upon, but as usual, Mankind and The Rock took it to the next level. After the 10th chair shot to the back of the head, Mankind is clearly unconcious, and whoever controls the soundboards at the WWF took that as an opportunity to end the match by playing that clip. I’m positive the real story behind this match is out there, but that’s how I’ll personally remember it, and that memory of watching these two men was incredible. They embodied the Unstoppable Force and The Immovable Object so perfectly, and as we all know, that contest only ends when they finally give up.

Honorable Mention*:

Godzark: Although we here at Grizzlybomb, like to focus on things that put people in a good mood, Cheese and I both believe it would be absolutely ridiculous not to mention somewhere on this list the scary moment that occurred a couple weeks ago on Raw. On September 1oth, Jerry “The King” Lawler had a near fatal heart attack on Raw, and as a viewer, few moments have made my stomach sink like this one did. When you watch wrestling every week for fifteen years, the show becomes defined by not just the wrestlers, but those calling the action as well. For years, Jerry Lawler has been synonymous with not only the WWE, but pro wrestling commentating in general, and any circumstance where such a person is almost lost far too soon is a scary moment for fans everywhere. In that moment I couldn’t help but think of what Raw would be like without Jerry calling the action, and to be quite honest I can’t imagine it. For fifteen years he has been that familiar voice that I hear every Monday night when I watch Raw, and the show would never be the same without him doing commentary. Thankfully, due to a stellar medical staff on hand, and Michael Cole’s quick reaction, the King is doing just fine and will be back doing commentary in no time. From all of us here at Grizzlybomb, get well soon King!

Cheesebadger: I made my feelings pretty clear here the night Lawler had his heart attack. That feeling of dread in between matches, with no commentary was resolutely ominous. I kept waiting for it to cut back to Michael Cole, and for him to give us the terrible news. Thankfully, the reports got better, but nothing was nearly as harrowing as rewinding my DVR and literally seeing Lawler in the background struggling to stay conscious, preceded by his abrupt drop off of commentary. Watching officials rush around in the backround, and the entire crowd’s attention diverted from the match onscreen, will stay with me forever. I’m incredibly glad to hear how Lawler made a full recovery, and wish him nothing but the best. Hopefully, he’ll be able to return to his home life, and take things easy for however long he has left. Long live The King!

*A few of you may notice a notable exception. That being the infamous Undertaker/Mankind Hell In A Cell Match, where Taker threw Mankind off the cage, through the cage, and into thumbtacks. Of course that’s a memorable moment but it’s at the top of EVERY best moments list on the internet, and as personally memorable as it may be to both Godzark and I, we decided to exclude it for that reason.