Worst: Hahah Did They Seriously Find A Finish Worse Than Wasteland?
Two talking points for the Tyson Kidd versus Wade Barrett match:
1. Compare and contrast this match with Kofi Kingston’s earlier in the show. Watch how Tyson Kidd is able to jump high, but also to look like he’s actually trying to kick someone when he kicks and hit moves with impact without being sloppy or stiff. Also pay attention to how he doesn’t stand still in the middle of the ring for 30 seconds at a time holding up a big sign that says OKAY EVERYBODY, TIME TO HIT THIS NEXT MOVE YOU KNOW. That’s more or less why I shit-talk Kofi and think Tyson Kidd is awesome. Because I’m watching wrestling and paying attention.
2. I’m starting to get worried that Wade Barrett might not be as good as I think he is. Don’t get me wrong, the sky isn’t falling on him or anything (not a Zack Ryder situation by any means), but his 1/2 Randy Orton-style body has made him far less threatening and inability to put together a moveset that looks worth a shit (outside of the Black Hole Slam, which he’s great at) is starting to bug me.
I mean, his old finisher was “Wasteland”, which didn’t really gel with his “bare-knuckle boxing” schtick and was an Attitude Adjustment with even less work involved. Also it was called f**king “Wasteland”. Now he’s complimenting his bare-knuckle boxing character by taping up his fists and hitting you with his elbow. And it’s one of those things where he still has to set it up all dumb, face you away from him, grab your wrist, push you away and pull you back into an elbow when he could just spin around in place and deck you. And he’s calling it “The Souvenir”, and Michael Cole’s explanation for that name is, “he’ll tell us later”. Oh, cool, thanks.
Best: Jerry Lawler Died, But Is Not Dead
I thought Jerry Lawler would save his first post-heart attack interview for season 2 of Ring Ka King, but somehow WWE Raw got a WORLDWIDE EXCLUSIVE with The King.
In all seriousness, I’m happy Jerry’s okay. Like I said before in a not necessarily understood by everyone column two weeks ago, I don’t like or want Lawler as an announcer on my wrestling show, but he’s an important thing in the history of modern wrestling and I don’t want to move through the rest of it knowing he’s not around. One of the sadder aspects of the interview was Lawler’s voice, which could’ve been just because he’s still tired and shaking off illness, but struck me as that first horrible step that turns people a wonderful thing like Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan into a thing that makes you cry all the time.
If I’m WWE (and I’ve already gotten to the point where I’m selling LONG LIVE THE KING t-shirts because one of my employees had a heart attack on TV and the news heard about it), I give Lawler as much time away from television as he needs to recover as much as he can. Don’t keep carting him out for interviews, don’t rush him back to the booth, and for God’s sake, never show that footage of him getting CPR again. Have him show up to functions like the Hall Of Fame or have him sit in the crowd and wave for a few minutes at WrestleMania. This is a guy’s FOR-REAL LIFE. Let him be okay without being a publicity strategy.
Worst: Those Lingering Shots Of Lawler At The End
I hope I’m not the only one who was weirded out a little by this. When his interview was over, they held on him just kinda smiling with his eyes bugged out, then cut to a shot of the crowd cheering for him. Then they cut BACK to him, as if to gauge his reaction to people being happy that he isn’t dead, then back to the crowd, and back to him.
Not to sound melodramatic about it, but it was a lot like the post-PERFECT STORM Triple H reaction. He stood up in the ring lookin’ all hurt on the inside and the crowd heckled him, so he lingered, trying to get the response, then wandered up the ramp and lingered AGAIN. It didn’t work, so they put a Shawn Michaels promo between him and his next appearance, and when he came out on Raw he got the teary goodbye. WWE’s so obsessed with manufacturing the proper crowd response that they eliminate sincerity from the experience. You don’t have to film a crowd making Jerry feel better. You have Jerry do his interview, and if the crowd gets really into it and gives him a big reaction, THEN you film it. Don’t ignore sincere reactions, and at the same time don’t anticipate something and follow-through on it whether it happens or not.
Best: Con Cara
Hunico, is that you?
Worst: Sheamus Is Still A Colossal Dick
I think “the Sheamus character is such an asshole, argh” is one of the most exhausted topics in Best And Worst Of Raw column history, right behind “the Big Bossman was the one who raised the briefcase” and “Watchmen is great”. Chris Sims from ComicsAlliance wrote up a piece about how Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio had become impossibly-confusing characters to justify and follow for us on Monday, and this match is another brick in that wall.
The match itself was pretty good, I thought. David Otunga is still no great (protein) shakes in the ring but I love him, and getting a chance to see Alberto Del Rio aggressively f**k up luchadors and Ricardo actually wrestle (!!) and take crisper bumps than anybody in the ring was a treat. Rey Mysterio is still wrestling under the Tommy Dreamer rule, but I’m enjoying his tag team thing. And hey, even Sheamus is usually pretty good at the actual wrestling parts of wrestling. Ricardo told a great story that eventually proved to be his undoing, causing him to lose tremendously and lie there like a goon while the good guys celebrated.
Aaaaand then the good guys stuck around long enough to make sure Sheamus hit a Brogue Kick on the non-wrestler who competed fairly valiantly and who also had his neck nearly snapped by a Brogue Kick like two weeks ago and got racially taunted at a court deposition about said move. I don’t know, you’ve read enough about it, I’m just saying. One of these teams is filled with admirable, hard-working dudes and the other is made up of guys who hide their identity and their friend, the massive, racist 5-year old.