Best: AJ Lee, Florist
And the most popular moment of Raw from the perspective of the With Leather open discussion thread commenting community goes to AJ, for responding to Daniel Bryan’s Corey Matthews-esque apology attempt by biting off the head of a rose and spitting it at (I’m assuming) Primo just off-screen. I know this had to be particularly stressful for a vegan to watch.
As socially concerning as the AJ angle can get, I like the dynamic of a woman forced to choose between a guy who doesn’t give a shit about her and a guy who only gives a shit about her to keep her from hurting him. That’s an indescribably realistic situation for a woman to find herself in these days, and I like that AJ keeps getting more and more obviously in control of it. I also like that the only guy smart enough to get out of it was the guy who once killed his girlfriend and raped a lady into marriage.
On that note, part me of feels like Kane was the only one of the three AJ liked, and his rejection of her is what’s taken her from “confused crazy chick” to out-and-out anarchist. Kane’s exactly like her, when you think about it — he can go from Spinaroonie Pal to “shocking your balls with a car battery” in like two shows.
Best: Calm Paul Heyman, or
Worst: This Is Seriously A Six Week Engagement For A 20 Minute Conversation
I’ve been loving Paul Heyman for as long as I’ve been hating Teddy Long. He single-handedly birthed my love of heels with the Dangerous Alliance in the WCW of the early 90s, made me a Black T-Shirt Wearing Prick On The Internet with ECW a few years later and made me laugh out loud on the reg when he was Jim Ross’s color commentator and wouldn’t stop calling JR out on his stupid inconsistencies and mistakes. As good as Ross is, remember that he spent about 10 years there not being able to differentiate Hardyz and calling Chris Jericho Chris Benoit.
So honestly, I could listen to Paul Heyman talk about anything for any length of time and enjoy it, especially when he’s using his Inside Voice. Heyman’s voice is right alongside Bob Caudle and the guy who voiced Pac-Man on the Pac-Man cartoon on the list of voices that send happiness to my brain.
At the same time, it is taking Brock Lesnar and Triple H nearly two entire pay-per-view cycles to have a conversation that could be introduced, explored and wrapped up in a single Raw opening. “Brock Lesnar will be here to address some concerns in three weeks” isn’t something to get excited about. Imagine if they did that with everybody. Imagine if Epico held Kofi Kingston’s trunks during a match, and the next week R-Truth announced that in three weeks, Kofi Kingston and his representatives would air a brief statement about how Kofi feels. You’d hate the shit out of that, right?
Best: Vickie Guerrero As Queen Diva
I feel oddly compelled by the Vickie Guerrero aspect of the AJ angle. That’s what’s been great about AJ’s rise to prominence — she’s been directly connected to so many people recently, they can be tied in. AJ’s never been a very successful wrestler, but she gets to look like f**king Akira Hokuto wrestling Stalker Ichikawa against Vickie.
I was worried that Vickie wasn’t going to wear her awesome EXCUSE ME singlet from WrestleMania, but she rocked a slimmer, bedazzled version and made my day. On paper Vickie isn’t great at her job … her cadence is weird, she’s not TV Pretty or TV Ugly, she’s just this normal lady who was close enough to the good Guerreros to approximate them for a living, and shit, approximate Guerrero is better than exact anybody else. Chavo should learn to approximate the Guerreros.
When Dolph has finally had enough of Vickie, it’s gonna be a big deal.
Worst: SHH, Punk Is On The Phone
Okay, it wasn’t so bad, but AJ getting offended because CM Punk was on the phone with his drug addicted sister and not closely watching Teddy Long’s Next Tag Team Match Of The Night approaches “you spilled coffee on me once” and “I wanted to do the shampoo commercial you got” as a bad WWE idea. When Punk is at long last revealed to be the evil mastermind he’s always been, I hope they replay this segment and reveal that he was actually on the phone with whoever John Laurinaitis was texting.
Alternate suggestion: “Who are you on the phone with?” “My ex-girlfriend Traci, she just realized she could’ve hooked up with anybody in the wrestling industry and ended up married to Frankie Kazarian.”
Or: “Who are you on the phone with?” “Tiffany. You remember, the ECW General Manager? Apparently she just split up with her husband, we’re gonna get together for lunch so she can show me how to be a human being.”
Or: “It’s Ace Steel. I don’t know what the hell he’s talking about.”
In all seriousness, Punk gets a small Best for the completely reasonable reaction of, “I was on the phone, sorry”.
Worst: Those Anti-Drug Commercials That Are Videos With Fake Matt Hardy Version 1 Video Player Frames Around Them
You know who’s even stronger? People who didn’t give in in the first place, or do a bunch of drugs before deciding drugs were bad. Also, people who do drugs and aren’t little wieners about it.
I don’t love being old, but I’m happy I didn’t grow up in the era where strangers on YouTube were responsible for my self confidence. Kids my age relied on something stronger — the combination of Garfield, Muppet Baby Kermit and Michaelangelo from the Ninja Turtles telling us to just say no.