Best: The Best John Morrison Match Since Survivor Series
Remember this time last year, when John Morrison was jackal-jacket deep in a feud with Sheamus, and circa Survivor Series we were sorta reveling in how good they were together in the ring?
They had a great match at Survivor Series 2010 and followed it up with another good match at TLC, but Morrison had spent all Autumn trying to get his parkour thing over and it seemed less about wrestling and more about him Mirror’s Edging things. Then came his admittedly rad-as-hell Spider-Man spots in the Royal Rumble and we (not for the first time) thought he was going to be a Huge Deal. He got put into a high profile Wrestlemania thing with Snooki, but then the rumors started spreading about Melina being upset about “losing her spot” or whatever and some combination of Internet Confirmed Doghouse and “I like parkour” being his only character development grounded him, and he mired in that six-to-whatever months of mailed-in boring. He could jump, sure, and he could find fifteen different ways to clear a production cart, but his matches looked like a failing business chart from an ’80s movie. Just a big red arrow peaking, then sloping to the ground. Breaking the bottom of the chart and hitting the floor, because that’s hilarious.
Anyway, regardless of what did or didn’t happen, Morrison seemed like his old self last night, at least the old self who could hang with Sheamus and be carried like Frodo f**king Baggins by Rey Mysterio. His moves connected with urgency, he moved like a guy trying to win a wrestling match and even his overshot Starship Pain seemed to make sense in context. It was good, and more importantly made better BY John rather than in spite of him, and a reminder that I only talk so much sh*t because I know he can be better than his last year.
Best: Dolph Ziggler, The Only Person Who Can Make Me Go ‘Ooooh” At A Nearfall
Dolph Ziggler is one of those things everyone is going to agree on five years from now. Today when you type “Dolph Ziggler is awesome” into Twitter (into it), somebody always chimes in with “yeah right whatever CM Punk something something” or “lowered expectations”. I don’t know what bar you think I’m looking at, but when Ziggler can get a convincing near-fall out of John Morrison with a Rocker Dropper while making one of the dumbest moves in wrestling history look 1) real and 2) painful, no, he’s awesome, I don’t care if you’re comparing him to 1990s All Japan or WOW: Women of Goddamn Wrestling.
He does just enough to make me think he’s on the cusp of losing. He postures too much, takes too many liberties, walks around yelling at the crowd and pushing Morrison’s face with his foot. He gets hit with moves and dies a thousand deaths, and you’re all NO NO NO and he kicks out, or he turns a headscissors into a sleeper out of nowhere and it f**king rules. If you read this column and don’t agree with me on this point, watch him sell Zack Ryder’s Jumping Cock To The Face and compare it to anyone else in wrestling. Anyone. Daniel Bryan couldn’t sell that move better. Eddie Kingston couldn’t sell it better. Dolph eats it and launches himself into the mat like he’s been shot through the windshield of a car. It’s great, and even better it’s great in a way few things in TV wrestling get to be great.
Best: The We Want Ryder Chants Actually Accomplishing Something
Am I the only one who felt terrible for John Morrison during this match? He was working hard, but he was a glorified jobber and no matter what he did the crowd chanted “We Want Ryder”. In any other world this would end with John Hennigan throwing his sunglasses in the garbage and walking away all sad with MORRISON NO MORE across the page.
I’ve never understood WWE’s penchant for giving fans the opposite of what they want, be it humiliating guys in their hometown or listening to a crowd chant “we want” something and not giving it to them. Maybe “giving it to them” is too strong … giving it to them in any capacity. If you have Zack Ryder backstage and the crowd has been chanting WE WANT RYDER through the dark matches and opening bout, send Ryder out there, have him do something. For once they did just that, and look how it worked — the crowd LOVED Ryder jumping Ziggler and booed the hell out of Dolph for daring to throw shade. It was simple but it worked, and now that kid from Long Island who begged his parents to take him to Survivor Series and bought all that dumb Broski sh*t you peddle can go home with a happy memory instead of wondering why you hate him.
Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything.