Best: I Think You Can See Her Kidneys
A lot of wrestling fans who hung on to WWF when the Attitude Era ended and the dreaded E arrived cite 2007 as the year when things started to go bad. As someone who has been watching wrestling for three decades I can assure you that wrestling has ALWAYS been bad, but 2007 is when a lot of people gave up. My theory: Divas started getting forced into pants around here, and by 2008 we’d lost the two greatest physical contributions to WWE television:
1. Trying to look under Mickie James’ skirt when she went for pinfalls
2. Melina’s proper split ring entrance
Anyway, the idea I’m trying to get across is that there’s no point in denying women athleticism and legitimacy in favor of cheesecake taint shots unless you’re willing to allow them the cheesecake taint shots. Being all “look how sexy this is!” while making everyone look stupid and unsexy is a waste of time. The second idea I’m trying to get across is “holy sh*t look at Melina’s vagina”.
Best: Team Future Endeavors Vs. Team F**king Up Our Legacies
The opening match of the show is MNM (Joey Mercury dressed as Mankind because he’s a month removed from having his face shredded with a ladder, and John Morrison back when he was Johnny Nitro) teaming with Montel Vontavious Porter (MVP) to face Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy during that weird period where they started teaming again and felt too much like adults to be “Boyz” so they were just “The Hardyz” and
Worst: Chris Benoit Is Fine, But His Selling Makes Me Uncomfortable
There’s no point in turning the No Way Out 2007 report into “here’s what I think happened with Chris Benoit”, so the short version is that Benoit was my favorite wrestler in the world from like 1995 until 7 PM or so on June 24, 2007. I can think objectively enough to not pretend like what he did made him a terrible wrestler, but I’m also not dispassionate enough to watch a match he’s in without feeling creeped-the-hell-out throughout.
So yeah, this is a completely and totally all right six-man tag team match to start a pro wrestling pay-per-view. I think MNM is one of the great lost gimmicks of WWE, especially when they could’ve pulled a Federline and been the kayfabe catalyst for hooking up assumedly heel General Managers with A-list celebrities for Raw hosting gigs. It protected Morrison’s eventual pointless flashiness, gave Joey Mercury something to do besides shave his head and vanish from the Earth and shielded us from the knowledge that Melina would go drug-eyes and burst into tears as a stimulus response to f**king anything. The Hardyz are the Hardyz, like them or not, and one of my favorite things to do for a 10-spot of wrestling years was watch Benoit reverse sh*t into the Crossface for a finish.
He does that here, and man, I bet I really would’ve liked it.
Worst: JBL’s Stunted Commentary
WWE Champion JBL was great. I liked his act, I liked his car (I always end up supporting guys with car entrances, for whatever reason), I liked his faux-Dallas entrance theme. In fact, if you ignore his career between 1992 and 2003 I like everything he did, including (and sometimes especially) his color commentary with Michael Cole. Maybe it’s just the way he says “Michael”. MYcull!
Rewatching these shows years later allow me to take myself out of the moment more easily, and I noticed something really, really grating about JBL’s commentary — how he never sounds like he’s saying something off the top of his head. He’s got these little speeches prepared and sometimes he’ll be silent for a minute or so and then just burst into these longwinded YOU KNOW SOMETHING MYCULL NOBODY HERE RESPECTS CHAVO GUERRERO HE’S A LATIN WARRIOR HIS NAME MEANS WARRIOR THESE PEOPLE BLAGH BLAGH BLAGH and it comes out of NOWHERE and then he just stops, and Cole continues this thing and we wait for the next one.
To put it another way, he’s babyface announcer Matt Striker in the body of a shouty heel. That’s … not a fantastic combination.