Best: At Least Van Dam Isn’t Pinning Del Rio Again
First of all, Ricardo Rodriguez is on my shit-list for rolling his Rs when he says “Rob,” giving Jerry Lawler’s goon ass something to mock every time Van Dam or Ricardo shows up. Second of all, Alberto Del Rio is so ineffectual as champion that he can’t even get that MY MUSIC PLAYED, NOW YOU LOSE thing right. Third of all, Damien Sandow (1) is Mr. Money in the Bank and CANNOT STOP LOSING, MY GOD, and (2) did not spend 20 minutes gloating about Cody Rhodes being fired. All Worsts.
After that, I’m left with a harmless match I desperately tried to enjoy on behalf of Damien Sandow and the knowledge that hey, at least Van Dam didn’t pin Alberto Del Rio again to set up a match against Del Rio he’ll lose. A championship challenger pinning other championship challengers is a pretty well-worn, functional wrestling trope, and if Del Rio’s not gonna do anything more interesting than having or losing employees, we might as well go for what works.
Best: CM Punk Keeps It Simple
Speaking of what works, CM Punk kept it simple this week, wandering out to the ring with a kendo stick to tell Paul Heyman his days are numbered, and that at Night of Champions he’s gonna rearrange his face. That works. No dramatic handcuffings, nobody screaming I LOVED YOUUU in anybody’s face, no pipe bombs or whatever. Just a dude who got treated ill last week who knows in his heart that he’s gonna return the pain tenfold when he gets the chance. That’s cool.
I gotta wonder, though, for a Voice of the Voiceless, what’s with Punk being completely detached from the whole Earth-shattering “Triple H and Randy Orton take over everything” party happening on Raw? I know he’s consumed by revenge and all, but damn, wasn’t this Punk’s whole thing? Being aware of the machinations of a corrupt leadership working to maintain and glorify itself, preventing it from eating up guys who worked hard on the indies and dedicated their lives to making it in a company that said they couldn’t? I’m cool with the “Punk’s always been in it for himself” point of view, so if that’s what they wanna do with it that’s totally fine and works, but jeez, you’d think maybe he could’ve bumped into Bryan backstage at some point and been like, “oh, how are YOU doing?”
Best: Hooray For Continuity, At Least
I want to give the Punk/Curtis Axel and Paul Heyman match at Night of Champions a colossal stinking Worst, because the selling point is that Paul Heyman HAS to compete or he’ll be fired, and if Axel loses Punk gets to be alone with Heyman, and how scared Heyman is of that. The problem is that they JUST SHOT THAT LOAD on Raw last week, with the “if Punk beats Axel he gets five minutes alone with Heyman” stipulation where Punk WON, and Heyman avoided any sort of punishment or consequence by simply letting Axel sneak up behind Punk and low blow him. What makes the Night of Champions match different? If Axel loses, he just sticks around and beats the shit out of Punk some more. Poor baby Paul Heyman!
At the same time, I’m giving it a Best because via some miracle of science, WWE creative remembered that Triple H should HATE PAUL HEYMAN’S GUTS, and shouldn’t suddenly be pals with him because they’re similarly-assholed. It conflicts the narrative a bit to have them interacting at all, and I wouldn’t, because it gets Evil Triple H face pops, and the last thing we want is for H to hear fans cheering again and start missing it and doing shit like this every week. I would’ve preferred Maddox have simply said, “hey, remember when you paid off the Shield to beat me up in the boiler room or whatever? Sucks to be you.”
Best: WHERE’S KANE
Yes, when Bray Wyatt’s first word was “Icarus,” my brain processed an entire story about WWE funding Condor Security to put Chikara out of business, because they were doing something unique and special in the world of independent wrestling WWE’s currently trying to bleed dry of talent, and I thought maybe this was Bray being transcendent enough to see through the dimensional barriers and speak directly to those affected. Then he said “was warned to never let his wings” and I was like, “oh, cool, Bray Wyatt’s owning another promo, let me sit happily and listen and clap my hands.”
(it’s not such a weird theory, you know. Brodie Lee’s standing RIGHT BEHIND HIM.)
Best: By The Way, If You Haven’t Seen This Picture
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