Best: Honestly Rob Van Dam Was Pretty Stupid To Assume Alberto Del Rio Was Bad At Hardcore Matches
If you remember his promo from Raw, notable Hardcore Guy Rob Van Dam mentioned how Alberto Del Rio “leaves no mercy” in the ring, but doesn’t know what he’s getting into when he agrees to a hardcore match. Keep in mind that Del Rio won a Money in the Bank ladder match back in 2011 and has beaten both the largest (The Big Show) and most impossible to beat (John Cena) pro wrestlers in last man standing matches. But sure dude, you were in ECW 12 years ago and have spent the last few years in TNA beating up guys who were ALSO in ECW 12 years ago (Christian York, Kid Kash, Jerry Lynn). I’m sure you’re fine.
Van Dam’s been a lot better than he’s had to be during his latest WWE run and I give him credit for that, but I was pretty confused when the crowd was chanting “this is awesome” following a not-totally-successful jump onto a ladder in the corner, a kick to the back of the head and an awkward, slow fall backwards. Del Rio jumped and double-stomped the ladder in a display of extremely mild violence, then spent most of the match lying around holding it in place while Van Dam got ready to jump on him. It wasn’t my bag, but I got a kick out of Van Dam tapping clean (well, as clean as the match allows) with a chair wrapped around his arm. People love him and he’s doing what people love, and he ends it with a little “sorry” sticky-note to me attached to an image of him being hurt. I can live with that.
Next time do your homework, though. You aren’t a spring chicken, Rob, and people have been having ladders splashed onto them pretty regularly since you influenced the Hardy Boyz to influence everybody else. Van Dam should’ve been all, “you don’t know what you’re getting into when you have a hardcore match with R, V, D!” and then just brought a gun to the ring and shot somebody.
Worst: Ricardo Rodriguez
Double Worst: Ricardo Rodriguez’s Stoner Facial Hair
Man, what an unbelievably butt-licker this guy’s become.
When he was paired up with Alberto Del Rio, there was a clear employer-employee thing that provided clear context for Ricardo Rodriguez being at ringside. This dick Mexican guy has a bunch of employees, so of course he has a personal ring announcer, and that ring announcer sticks around to cheat for him and help him win matches. It’s the kind of reasonable people boo, and nerds like me think is cool or funny. It works. Eventually they stayed together long enough for us to get invested in their friendship, and when Del Rio turned face he was finally allowed to say, “hey, you’re not so bad,” and let Ricardo wear a festive bow tie or drive one of his cars or whatever. When Del Rio got sick of pandering for admiration, his yo-yoing emotions caused him to … uh, attack Ricardo with a bucket and sever the friendship. That could only logically go in one of two directions:
1. Ricardo vanishing forever and never being mentioned again, because contextually he’s just one of Del Rio’s employees and that should’ve been that.
2. Ricardo remaining in WWE to become a wrestler and settle the score with Del Rio for attack him, which works because Ricardo’s a pretty good wrestler and is/was an easy guy to identify with or cheer for.
But no, in WWE “being a good guy” means “doing the most irrational, obnoxious thing possible at all times,” so of course Ricardo stuck around to be the personal ring announcer of a guy who has never provided evidence that he’s rich enough to get a haircut or buy new clothes in the last decade. Now he gets to wear the pinker version of Van Dam’s shirt, interfere in matches Van Dam’s supposed to be an expert in to save his ass from a heel who is playing by the rules and kicking his ass and have the worst, saddest stoner chin-hair I’ve ever seen. Seriously, did Charles Schulz draw his beard?
I was hoping Del Rio was gonna pull out some piano wire and choke him to death when they were in the ring together, but I’ll accept him being hurled into the guardrail and instantly dispatched. When somebody does you wrong, it’s okay (in WWE, at least) to get revenge. When you’re still getting revenge two months later for no reason, that’s on you.
Best: ‘Tired Of This Shit’ Antonio Cesaro Is The Best
I don’t know if he was drunk or just sick of being crammed into things with Santino Marella, but Antonio Cesaro was WONDERFUL last night. When the Real Americans were asked to stand behind a Zeb Colter promo and more or less just say “YEAH, SEE,” Cesaro turned it into a masterful narrative, pantomiming everything Zeb said, responding to it seemingly at random and making PFFT, I DON’T KNOW faces the entire time. It was Cesaro’s personality raging, raging against the dying of the light.
It extended to the match, too, where Cesaro got into position for a sprint (and stumbled around) before running to the ring with Swagger and throwing his Don’t Tread On Me cape-flag around all willy-nilly. It was like Cesaro was Shawn Michaels, and everything around him was a posturing Hulk Hogan.
Best: A Literal Giant Swing
Then, of course, came the reason this match happened at all: so WWE could get coverage on blogs that only talk about wrestling when people die or ridiculous shit happens like a giant swing on an actual giant.
Cesaro is a beast, and the fact that he CAN giant swing The Great Khali should forever guarantee him a spot on the show, and I hope these feats of strength eventually will away the Tea Party stuff and turn him face. I can’t imagine being a wrestling fan and not liking this guy. I would’ve loved him when I was five. A big weird foreign guy who can lift ANYBODY and throw them in ANY WAY. It’s amazing. He transcends that “he’s a good worker” crap we get into arguments about on the Internet over guys like Dean Ambrose or Dolph Ziggler and goes straight into “this man is our physical superior and we should be lucky to employ him.” It’s like Nikita Koloff is a real guy and has Mark Henry’s strength. He is THE BEST.
I’m excited to see what they have him giantly swing as the showcase spot at WrestleMania (my gut says Brodus Clay, but my heart says El Torito), but I’m even more excited for the day he breaks out the UFO on WWE television and blows everybody’s minds.
Worst: Triple H And Stephanie Can’t Be Here For The Blowoff To A Bunch Of Matches They Spent A Month Personally Manipulating The Outcomes Of
At some point during the show we jump backstage to Brad Maddox, who is on the phone with Triple H, who is no longer at the arena. Vickie Guerrero shows up for no reason to be the guy Maddox says TRIPLE H ISN’T HERE to, and yes, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon had to run off to a meeting that they I guess scheduled on a Sunday night at 9 PM on the night of their company’s big pay-per-view featuring a bunch of matches they specifically, personally manipulated over the last several months. Do what now? It’s like flirting with a girl for months, asking her out, buying tickets to a Broadway show, making dinner reservations and then staying home to host a f*cking webinar.
And sure, I’m guessing they weren’t there as to have plausible deniability when The Big Show knocked Daniel Bryan out in the main event, but … okay, I just wrote and had to move an entire paragraph about why the main event doesn’t make sense, so let me get through this goddamn Curtis Axel match and we’ll pick it back up later.
I want more like this!
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