Worst: The Thing About Jaded Internet Fans Is That We’re Usually Right
At SummerSlam, Daniel Bryan was challenging John Cena for the WWE Championship. Some people were worried, because any hope or idea of Bryan winning was marred by a Triple H guest referee spot and a Randy Orton Money in the Bank cash-in looming. People who were worried were told to stop being “jaded internet fans” and just enjoy the moment, because JUST WAIT AND SEE, maybe it won’t happen like that. Spoiler alert: it happened like that. Bryan won clean in a great match, was immediately pedigreed by Triple H, and Randy Orton cashed in to end Bryan’s reign in a matter of minutes. A month of Daniel Bryan getting shit-kicked followed.
At Night Of Champions, Daniel Bryan beat Randy Orton with the same running knee he used to take out John Cena and won his second WWE Championship in a month. Unfortunately Scott Armstrong made an unusually fast count, which was code for “Bryan’s going to be stripped of the belt tomorrow night.” GOOD fans on the Internet told the jaded types to enjoy themselves and stop overanalyzing everything, because JUST WAIT AND SEE, maybe it won’t happen like that. Maybe Bryan will keep the belt and Triple H will be all mad and send another opponent after him at Battleground. Spoiler alert: it happened like that.
Yes, some people on the Internet are jaded to the point of nausea. There are people who watch the show simply to complain about it, people who watch out of habit or to form a contrarian opinion in their group of friends. To be the guy who “gets it.” This is awful. You should never watch something you hate. I’m stuck in a loop like that with ‘Glee’ right now where I’m mentally contractually obligated to finish out the run and it keeps getting renewed and I’m f*cked. This is a legitimate concern. The thing you think of as “the IWC” is just the WC with computers. They’re the exact same wrestling fans. It’s not its own thing.
Knowing that, it’s important that I grab you by the shoulders and shake the shit out of you until I convince you that some people who voice concern are just tired motherf*kcers who have been watching this shit for decades and are paying attention. If you pay even basic attention to wrestling, it shows you its cards. We aren’t genius scientists or anything, we just sorta internally enjoy the comfort of knowing the sport’s rhythm. Hoping for the best and expecting the worst, because face it, the best is the greatest thing on Earth, but wrestling is a solid 80% the worst. The worst thing you can imagine. It’s why so many people hate it and look down on it and the people who love it. The ones who stick around for a long time are the ones who learn that the good stuff is worth wading through years and years of the bad, because nothing else in the world compares to great professional wrestling. True f*cking story.
I’m in a weird spot, because my job is to entertain you with goofs and jokes, but also to tell you what I thought about the show. I’ve watched a lot of these shows. Sometimes a guy falls out of the ring and the first thing that pops into your head is “can he get back into it when Raw rolls on,” and then a commercial break happens. Because you know this like the back of your hand. I am not a genius or a scientist, and I don’t know any more about this than you do. I’m just in it for the good stuff, and pointing out all the bad stuff around it makes the bad stuff easier to take. My heart beats strong for Daniel Bryan title wins, and it protects itself by saying “here’s how it’s gonna fail.” It doesn’t make the highs any lower, trust me.
Best: Daniel Bryan Does Not Roll Over Like Every Single Other WWE Person
The actual Thing We Expected was done really well, with Triple H bringing Scott Armstrong to the ring to provide way, way too much explanation for the fast count and vacating the WWE Championship because CONTROVERSY. More importantly, Daniel Bryan actually tried to stand up for himself and refused to hand over the title to this bullshittery, yelling “no” in the face of the giant, condescending man who wanted to dethrone him and that man’s slender, creeping friend.
Everyone played their role well. Scott Armstrong has clearly watched his Randy Anderson tapes and knows how to play the stupid Southerner who done mest up and just wants to keep refereein’ without consequence. Bryan was fired up and dragged down into the gutter by Triple H’s predictably manipulative nonsense, and H continues to be amazing when he’s not interacting with a heel and reverting back into pandering-ass cool heel DX mode. Orton keeps validating my Johnny Lawrence theory (that he is a good guy forced into bad situations by the actual bad guys, something he’s always kinda been, even when he was punting folks) and hit one of the best RKOs I’ve seen him hit in a while. It’s all very good, even though I wish they’d let WWE Champion Daniel Bryan exist in a world without GM Storylines.
Best: No Morality! No Mororse!
Spit it out, Steph.
Worst: “The Story Is That Dolph Ziggler Has Pinned The United States Champion!”
Isn’t the story ALWAYS that some guy has pinned the whatever champion? That happens on Raw more than the f*cking Attitude Adjustment. Champions or briefcase-holders can win at pay-per-views, but cannot HOPE to win on Raw, where they are at the mercy of that one WWE writer who thinks “champion loses non-title match to set up title match” is a perfect story whether you do it six times an episode or not.
Best: Dolph Ziggler vs. Dean Ambrose To Open The Show, And It’s Better Than It Was At Night Of Champions
That said, Raw was surprisingly full of great wrestling last night, starting with the Night Of Champions rematch between Dolph Ziggler and Dean Ambrose. Ziggler won with a nice counter of the headlock driver, which sadly means that I have still not gotten my “awesome Dolph Ziggler headlock driver sell.” If you missed NOC, Ziggler sold it like a person climbing into bed. He just sorta fell over. It was HEARTBREAKING for me.
The Dolph Ziggler fan-favorite run has been miserable, but there’s one thing about it I’ve learned to like: his justification of the “comeback.” I think Ziggler’s paid enough attention to how and when to sell that he knows selling on offense is important, but his character is built around these adrenaline rushes where he starts hitting a bunch of stuff and becomes overwhelmed by how spectacularly bad-ass he can be, so he just keeps powering forward until he hits everything he can. Watch him here, when he hits the dropkick, hits a stinger splash, hits a bunch of punches in the corner and connects with a running clothesline. Watch when that’s over, and he stands up and looks like he’s just gotten off of a roller coaster. That’s cool. It’s not a YEAHHH LOOK AT ME moment, it’s more of a “wow, look what I just did, that f*cking ruled.”
WWE should learn an important lesson from Daniel Bryan … you can package and repackage and reappropriate stuff all you want, but the key to a successful good guy in WWE in 2013 is great matches. Punk did it, Bryan did it, and everyone eventually figured it out and started following along. Ryback didn’t, Del Rio didn’t (not really), Miz didn’t, and they’ve all either stumbled or had their act changed on the fly. If Ziggler could just have a bunch of matches like this every week, the fans would love it and the jerks like me who turned on him when he ditched Team Rocket would stop worrying and learn to love the bomb.
I want more like this!
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