Worst: Chekov’s Yescalade
The only sincerely memorable thing Kofi Kingston has done outside of Royal Rumble elimination spots in 7 years of WWE superstardom is vandalize Randy Orton’s car. Even then, it was written in the most lazy way imaginable; Randy Orton was never a “car guy” and never thought about or talked about cars, but suddenly he was getting presented with a customized Randy Orton NASCAR, and he was so, so proud of it. Less than two hours later, a co-worker had jumped around on it and covered it in paint.
Last night was the same deal. Randy Orton hasn’t had a car (or expressed anger at losing the one car he HAD), but here’s Triple H presenting him with a Cadillac Escalade for absolutely no reason. Daniel Bryan walks out, reminds the crowd that he’s got beef with Triple H and Randy Orton, gets all winky-winky nudgey-nudgey about the car’s existence and leaves. Every single living person in the WWE Universe goes, “he’s going to vandalize Randy Orton’s car.” They’re just playing through the Kofi Kingston storyline with a different player. Chances that this will end with Daniel Bryan illogically boom-dropping Randy Orton in Madison Square Garden sitting at 100%.
I know there’s a value to repeating the same storylines over and over and repurposing certain things for bigger stars (like when Kurt Angle got the Patriot’s music … I’m already waiting for somebody to co-opt the DiBiase Posse Party*), but man, you’ve got enough time between Original Incident and Repurposed Incident to improve it, don’t you? Wouldn’t it mean more if Orton drove the car to shows for a while, even for a MONTH, before Bryan messed it up? As it stands, a rich guy’s getting a present from a rich guy, doesn’t have time to get attached to it and then we have to buy that he’s WORLD-ENDINGLY bent out of shape over it. Orton doesn’t give a shit about that car and you know it.
*My suggestion: “Watch-o Camacho Parties.” Everybody sits on bikes!
Best: Triple H Is The Big Bear Of Raw
Because he’s DOIN’ THANGS.
Last week, the impossible happened: I did a 180 on Triple H, the guy who has consistently made my wrestling life miserable with his unique brand of being the coolest/smartest/funniest/toughest guy in the room and pedigreeing Paul London and Brian Kendrick for no f*cking reason. I couldn’t help it. He did the best and most obvious thing in the world — he turned the “Darth Vader shit” we (mostly) all think about him into an on-screen character. You know, an actual one, not one we’re supposed to cheer because he’s so cool at being bad.
This week, Triple H made it two weeks of Brandon Loving Him in a row, starting off the show with some THRILLING condescension en route to making a gauntlet match between Daniel Bryan and all three members of The Shield. This was Bryan’s punishment. As a wrestling fan, I get Daniel Bryan in matches against all three members of the Shield. I know this is gonna sound weird, but can you punish dudes like that more often, Triple H? Be like, “I DON’T LIKE YOU, SO TONIGHT, WE’RE GONNA HAVE A 60-MINUTE IRON MAN MATCH BETWEEN DANIEL BRYAN AND DEAN MALENKO. YES, HE’S COMING OUT OF RETIREMENT. GET IN THERE MALENKO.”
Worst: Daniel Bryan Should Not Be John Cena When John Cena’s Gone
I still have unshakable faith in Daniel Bryan’s ability to tell a story between the ropes, but I would be pretty happy if I didn’t have to hear him get through another “OHHHH GOOD FOR YOU, WELL THESE PEOPLE THINK I’M GREAT” promo. Especially the ones that end in him rehashing Kofi Kingston, or worse, stealing from the John Cena’s Greatest Misses collection. Remember when Cena and Cryme Tyme vandalized JBL’s limo by spray-painting JBL IS POOPY along the side? Remember how you thought it made the fledging “CTC Nation” look like a trio of illiterate jerks? Daniel Bryan’s being sarcastic and spray-painting YES on an Escalade a bunch when he’s got a legitimate, personal gripe with Randy Orton and is strong and confident enough to kick him in the head about it.
Do not pair up two wrestlers from my all-time least favorites list and cast them in the John Laurinaitis role of “assholes who are just trying to do their jobs and must go to extremes because everyone else is aggressive and crazy” against my favorite wrestler playing “guy who is in the right, but won’t stop being a childish, pandering criminal about it.” Don’t do it.
Worst: Every Bad Raw Trope In One Match
The wrestling on this week’s show got better (a lot better, don’t get me wrong), but the first match was emblematic of not only what’s wrong with WWE’s ability to tell a story, it was everything wrong with their stories at once.
Normally you’d have three hours of Raw, and in one match a guy would get distracted by his upcoming opponent and get rolled up by his current one. The next match would feature someone on color commentary, and they’d get involved afterwards. Then later somebody would intentionally take a count-out and lose a match when it doesn’t make sense, and later a bunch of guys would get into a fight and an authority figure would materialize from the ether to make the world’s most obvious decision and make it a tag team match. Champions would lose non-title matches. Near the end of the show, somebody would dress up as their opponent to make them mad, a Diva would have a match where she’s suddenly changed alignment without anyone noticing and Jerry Lawler would make a half-hearted, impossibly half-assed crack about whatever pop culture thing had happened since the last Raw. You’ve read this all before.
In this match, all of that happened.
Cody Rhodes tries to wrestle Fandango with Damien Sandow on color commentary. Before they can do anything, The Miz shows dressed as Fandango, accompanied by the suddenly-babyface-by-proxy-of-losing-her-team-to-bullfighting-legend Rosa Mendes, doin’ a dance and distracting Fandango. Cody takes advantage, rolls Fandango up and pins him. Fandango, a sore loser and enraged by the fact that he’s been in a wrestling ring for almost two minutes, attacks. Cody fights him off, but gets attacked by Sandow. This brings Miz down to the ring, and HOLE ON A MINNENT PLAYA, here’s Teddy “Brad Maddox” Long to make this a TAG TEAM MATCH. It’s so tired and obvious even Maddox is all, “sorry, yeah, we’re doing this again.” So that becomes this:
AND THE DRY ERASE BOARD KEEPS ON A-COMIN’.
As Jerry Lawler mentions that The Miz’s dancing was SOMETHING SOMETHING MILEY CYRUS (ughhh), Fandango decides that he’d rather leave the ring than finish the tag team match he stuck around to compete in for some reason already. The good guys take a 2-on-1 advantage, Miz does his wacky open-armed and aimed-at-the-hard-camera Skull-crushing Finale and cleanly pins Mr. Money in the Bank. Fandango says his catchphrase for no reason.
Meanwhile, in the back, a dejected WWE writer hands over a $20 bill to the man he said couldn’t do everything on the board at once. The only thing they didn’t use was “Kharma – Pregnant? Coming back?” because it’s been a while since they wrote this thing and they don’t remember who that is.
Best: Miz Dances Like A Dude From Parma
I’ve been to clubs in Cleveland, and trust me, unless you’re going to Bounce, every guy in the club is gonna be dancing like this. It’d be endearing if it was coming from anyone other than The Miz, and maybe even him if he hadn’t pulled the “I’m a better ballroom dancer than you, nyerr!” card on Fandango at SummerSlam. The highlight of the entire affair was JBL aptly noting that Miz had gone into Fandango’s bag like a weirdo and stolen his tights.
Actually, the best part was Rosa Mendes confirming that the booty twist against the ropes was her only move, and that her ballroom dancing ability is exactly as good as her 9th-grade Spanish.
I want more like this!
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