Worst: Hey Shawn, Learn How Slang Works
You wouldn’t be “H-B-Shizzle.” Your name isn’t “Heartbreak Shawn.” The idea is that the “izzle” follows the first letter in the world you’re replacing, like when Snoop Dogg says “Snoop Dizzle” or “Snoop D-O-double-jizzle.” If you’re so in love with that antiquated white guy joke, call yourself “H-B-Kizzle.”
Worst: I Hope You Enjoyed That Week Off, Brandon, Here’s Two ‘Guy Gets Distracted By Someone Not In The Match’ Matches In A Row
Last week I wrote up The Best and Worst of WWE Battleground but handed the Raw report off to comedian Joe Starr, thinking that would constitute some sort of “vacation.” When a PPV happens and necessitates two Best and Worst columns be written in the span of about 12 hours it can be tough on me, and with there being three WWE pay-per-view events in the span of about a month and a half, I decided not to bruise my brain until I was just ragging on Divas matches and giving star ratings. “I’ll take a week away from Raw,” I thought. “When I come back everything will be fresh, and I’ll be happy to write about it.”
Spoiler alert: this is the same episode of Raw I wrote about two weeks ago.
Additional spoiler alert: this might be next week’s Raw, too.
The show began with WWE Hall of Famer Trevor Phillips announcing nothing in particular (I think “I’ll do nothing, ON PURPOSE” was his major talking point) only to be interrupted by Randy Orton, who he no-sold completely before threatening to kick him once and send him packing. That bled into a match between Orton and the Miz, and while the match itself was perfectly acceptable, it did feature two things I really dislike:
1. that finish where a guy gets distracted by something happening outside of the ring and gets instantly Critical’d by something
2. The Miz
They followed THAT up with a Santino vs. Fandango match where the finish was Santino going for the Cobra, missing, being distracted by Summer Rae (read: something happening outside of the ring) and getting Critical’d be a roll-up. So within the first 20 minutes of Raw we’ve gotten not only the show’s most tired trope but two of them, plus a thing where a guy who is never on the show is tougher and cooler and more important than the guy who is always there.
So, welcome back, I suppose. If you need me, I’ll be pressing my face into the dry erase board until one of them breaks.
Best: Bray Wyatt Perfects The Anti-Miz Sentiment
The highlight of the opening match — and quite possibly the highlight of the Miz’s entire career, ignoring the ‘Hate Me Now’ video they did for him at WrestleMania 27 — was Bray Wyatt and Bray Wyatt’s deeply-bruised thigh appearing in a rocking chair and succinctly explaining Miz with a grace and way-with-words I could never touch: “You are the epitome of everything I loathe about this world, Miz.”
Of course, it’s hard to get excited about the Wyatt Family killing The Miz. Remember what happened the last time they focused on a guy and decided to take him out? It was Kofi Kingston. They beat him within an inch of his life at Battleground, and then there he is the next night on Raw, hoppin’ around with some gently-used ribs. He’s totally fine. You didn’t DO anything to him, Bray. And yeah, I want you to bash Miz’s head between the steps and remove him from my televised wrestling program, but you’re one for two in effective pest removal and I’m not confident in that percentage.
I just wish he would’ve followed that loathing sentence with, “you remind me of my brother.”
Best: The Expanded WWE Universe
One thing I noticed as I was watching Fandango wrestle Santino Marella is how differently NXT has made me think of Summer Rae. If I only watched Raw, she’d be the blonde girl who dances with Fandango, occasionally tries to distract somebody on the apron and can’t do the splits. That’d be it. I wouldn’t have a single reason to give a shit about her. She’s just the Diva who replaced Fandango’s original, far-superior dance partner.
But I follow NXT closely, and if WWE is a “Universe,” developmental constitutes the expanded universe. Because of that I know all ABOUT Summer. About how entitled she is, about how much she values her appearances on Raw and uses them as leverage over the girls she trains with, about her friends and her enemies and her entrance theme and her moveset. There’s so much to know about her. It’s like Boba Fett. Summer Rae is Raw’s Boba Fett. These Fandango matches where he lives or dies based on purposeful count-outs and happenstance distractions are the Sarlacc Pit.
Another example of the expanded universe improving the WWE experience is the mention of Xavier Woods and his petition to help out the Big Show. The announcers mention him (once again establishing that NXT is canon and a thing that exists in WWE, despite the inconsistencies) and JBL’s all WHO THE HELL IS XAVIER WOODS MAGGLE. If you only watch Raw, you’d have the same reaction. “Who the hell is Xavier Woods?” If you follow the expanded universe, you know that Woods is a borderline-stereotypical black guy who also happens to be getting his PhD and also is sometimes into cartoons and Super Sentai shows. He just had beef with a South African hunter. And whether you like him or not, his name recognition on the big leagues A-show is exciting because it pulls those strings of continuity and nuance together and makes both shows better. Knowing about NXT also gives you insight to JBL’s ignorance, because he was JUST put into the NXT General Manager position by Triple H and clearly gives no f*cks about the personnel or the people he’s in charge of. It’s delightful, and this is coming from a dude who wishes Xavier Woods would get “called up” to a spaceship and fired into the sun.
For the first time in 30 years I understand why I’d want to read a Star Wars novel. That one lady Jedi in the background is probably the best one, right?
Worst: Were Los Matadores Specifically Hired To Wrestle 3MB Or What
Two weeks ago on Raw, Los Matadores debuted and defeated 3MB. Later that week on Smackdown, Los Matadores defeated 3MB. The next week on Raw, Los Matadores defeated 3MB. This week on Raw, Los Matadores defeated 3MB.
Aside from a match on Smackdown last week where they defeated Los Locales (who, let’s be honest, were probably just Heath Slater and Drew McIntyre under masks) Los Matadores have been around for two weeks and have wrestled 3MB four times. I know I give WWE a lot of grief for running and re-running the same matches on every show, but Jesus Christ, this is reaching critical mass. Were they hired specifically to run 3MB out of WWE? If you’re gonna run this on every f*cking episode can you at least take my jokey advice and put 3MB into different gimmicks so it doesn’t SEEM like the same thing every time? Los Matadores defeat this familiar-looking team of sailors! Los Matadores get a big win over some EVIL RUSSIANS in MASKS. YEAH.
Best: I Cannot Not Like El Torito
That said, I am still basically in love with Mascarita Dorada as a miniature bull and living exclamation point. Having him assist in the double-team Samoan drop gave it a Shield-style “big finish” feel, and I’d love it if we built up enough teams with triple finishers and actually ran some sort of King of Trios in WWE.
You know, even if Los Matadores defeated 3MB in rounds 1 through 3.
I want more like this!
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