Best: Mick Foley
Much in the way that the opening segment was good on paper and not-so-good in reality, the Mick Foley/CM Punk Mic-Work Of The Stars showdown was good on paper, bad on a bigger piece of paper and really good in reality. Why I was afraid it wouldn’t be what it should be:
1. Mick Foley appearances aren’t special anymore. They’re even less special than when Piper and Steve Austin show up. He’s just a reoccurring character now, not so much an Important Legend.
2. I am absolutely goddamn tired of the CM Punk championship storyline. It almost urges itself to not make sense. Punk ignores the compelling nature of his actual point of view in favor of saying “I demand respect!” and “I am the WWE Champion” on loop. His detractors ignore the compelling nature of how easy he is to take down in favor of saying “you have to EARN respect” even after he’s earned it, or “you have to prove to THESE PEOPLE that you’re WWE Champion!” despite him being champ for like 300 days and the crowd chanting CM Punk. It’s an exercise in futility and a waste of good talent.
So I went into the segment (that again would be an instant THIS GON BE GOOD to most people, and rightly so) with caution. What I got was Mick Foley casually breathing life into stale talking points by mentioning how he only held the belt for 29 days in three runs and nobody cares, and Punk regurgitating the same points he always makes but with a greater sense of urgency, because he was in the ring with someone who could challenge him. It didn’t approach Foley’s greater “talking to the young stars” segments (like when he cried blood and put the f**king fear of God in Randy Orton), but it was good. Foley is good.
And yes, I’d rather see 2012 TNA-ass Mick Foley against Punk in that Hell In A Cell match than John Cena. Right now I’d rather see John Morrison in that match than John Cena, and that is not a statement I type lightly.
Worst: The John Cena ‘Greatness’ Quandary
That brings us to John Cena. WWE legends, top stars and Johns Cena love to mention how CM Punk can’t be a great champion until he’s proven he’s the better man against John Cena, despite the fact that he beat Cena to win the belt, beat Cena to unify Cena’s FAKE TOY CHAMPIONSHIP BELT with the real one at the next pay-per-view, retained against Cena at Raw 1000, won a match with Cena in it fair and goddamn square at SummerSlam and retained against Cena at Night Of Champions. He has beaten Cena. HE HAS BEATEN CENA, IT IS OVER.
But people are still like “you didn’t REALLY beat him, you have to ACTUALLY beat him”. Punk brings up the most astute talking point ever (John Cena keeps getting title shots for no reason and it’s stupid, and other people deserve a chance to wrestle), but eventually gets put into another match with him. So then he beats him by pinfall, and Sgt. Slaughter comes out all, “NO MAGGOT YOU AREN’T REALLY THE WWE CHAMPION UNTIL YOU BEAT JOHN CENA BY SUBMISSION, BECAUSE NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE DO THAT”. So Punk gets put into a match with Cena and beats him by submission, and Nikolai Volkoff waddles out and is all “NO COMRADE, YOU ARE NOT WWE SHAMPION UNTIL YOU BEAT JOHN YEANA IN A THREE STAGES OF HELL MATCH”. So Punk gets put into a Three Stages Of Hell match and beats Cena in two straight falls via submission and pinfall respectively, then wins an unnecessary third fall by pinning him IN a submission, but oh no, here’s the ghost of Big John F**king Studd to tell Punk he’s not WWE champion until sets John on fire.
The truth is that Cena IS sorta the measuring stick to kayfabe WWE success, but he’s not really any harder to beat than Orton. The only difference is that when you beat Orton you’ve beaten Orton, you don’t have to watch him stumble out of the ring upset-but-confused and get confronted with 30 f**king rematches in a row the next night.
Worst: Daniel Bryan And Kane Are No Kurt Angle And Christy Hemme
I appreciate Daniel Bryan and Kane bonding over ultraviolence, but I’m not sure why they had to cum about it. I’m also not sure who thought a When Harry Met Sally joke was a relevant place to go with these skits in 2012, especially since WWE mastered that reference in 2005 when WrestleMania went Hollywood.
- Christy Hemme cumming > Daniel Bryan cumming
- Kurt Angle in a Billy Crystal wig > Kane eating spaghetti with a bowie knife
- Linda McMahon’s awkward punchline delivery > Mae Young being an omnipresent sex monster
- anything > Mae Young doing anything
Worst: Titus O’Neil Does Not Make His Lateral Press A Win
I felt like I was watching Osaka Pro as he was going for that pin. I thought that maybe the spin around the leg and the random arm-grab were gonna lead to something, and Santino would end up tied up in a pretzel with Titus sitting on him, saluting like Sailor Moon. Who the f**k knows.
Best: Somewhere Coral Is Pumping Her Fists and Chanting ‘FEED ME MORE’
I think Miz versus Ryback was my favorite match on the show. My favorite part of watching Goldberg’s streak was every time he’d step up to a higher quality of wrestler, to see if he’d be affected at all or just plow right through Perry Saturn like he did Jerry Flynn. Last night was Ryback’s next step up, and it was a step with authority. Something special about Jim Ross yelling YA CAN’T DEFEND IT~ as Miz is about to die.
As an added bonus, Ryback got to appear at the end of the show as Mick Foley’s bodyguard (?), because I guess Ryback’s interaction with Miz last week taught him that he could interact with actual wrestlers, and not just wrestle stagehands who remembered to bring their trunks.
Oh, and his finish got an announced-for-real name. SHELL SHOCK, which is great because he’s a turtle-themed wrestler. I think? I don’t know what a Ryback is. I would’ve called it the “Winnie The Pooh Marching Ryback Slam”. Put that shit on a shirt post-haste.