Best: Raw’s Supporting Cast
I’m really loving how the three-hour format of Raw is starting to open up opportunities for guys like Justin Gabriel to make (and be an important part of) Raw. Antonio Cesaro has become such a fantastic vessel for showcasing undervalued talent that I’m starting to develop a weird reaction: when I see him walking to the ring, I’m interested to know who he’s wrestling, and I make sure I stick around to see the entirety of it. When the hell did I start watching Raw like THAT?
I think if they were gonna go the Cesaro Wins/Other Guy Scores An Upset In The Rematch/Rubber Match At Hell In A Cell route they should’ve done it with Tyson Kidd instead of Justin Gabriel. Regardless, it was the latest in Cesaro’s string of solid-to-fantastic 5-minute matches on Raw, and I was legitimately surprised and excited to see Gabriel pull off the victory. I was all, “what, is he gonna kick out? Even Cena couldn’t kick out of Gabriel’s 450,” and then, “OH SHIT WAIT DID HE WIN THE UNITED STATES TITLE,” and then “oh, right, everything is non-title always” but with a SMILE on my face. You guys are really corrupting my ability to be smarmy about everything.
Kidd and Gabriel have gotten a lot of visibility from these matches, so hopefully after the (I’m assuming YouTube pre-show) match at Hell In A Cell, we can get them onto the show as a cool tag team and feed them to Rhodes Scholar or Car Stereo for a guaranteed 10 minutes of great Raw. While I’m forcing monkeys to fly out of my butt, let’s bring up Kassius Ohno already and give Antonio Cesaro a domestic running buddy. And whatever you’re gonna call Sara Del Rey. “Madge,” or whatever.
Worst: I Am Going To Emerge From The Shadows And Garrote Whoever Tried To Get A Boring Chant Going During Gabriel/Cesaro
Remember a couple of weeks ago when CM Punk escaped through the crowd and someone touched him in the back of the head, so he turned around and KENTA’d an innocent bystander? Remember how nothing happened, and WWE just released a statement that said (more or less), “it was the heat of the moment, sry”?
My new professional goal is to become so important to the wrestling ecosystem that I can randomly wander into the crowd during Raws and hurt people. For example, when I hear a lone voice going BOOOO-RINNNNGGGG during an Antonio Cesaro/Justin Gabriel match, I want find that person and throw them down a flight of steps. TMZ will write about how I “SAVAGELY … ATTACKED” him and Deadspin will wonder whether or not it’s a work, but I’m more important than some unimaginable asshole ruining 5 of somebody in his section’s 20-ish minutes of good wrestling experience and will be defended for my actions.
I would also like to follow this person home and throw them through a window, but that’s Triple H popular, not Punk popular.
Raise your hand if you came here specifically to read my take on the whole “AJ resigns as GM” thing. Okay, now put it down, I hate you.
The only thing I enjoyed about the night’s AJ Lee content is how nobody in WWE could pronounce “fraternizing”. It’s like somebody in WWE Creative had a birthday and got a Word Of The Day calendar, October 21′s word was “fraternizing” and they thought it was SO GREAT and wrote EVERYONE TO SAY IT. I love pro wrestlers, but expecting them to articulate a four-syllable word multiple times isn’t a good idea. Even the smart-sounding wrestlers like CM Punk say shit like “I hope you understand the levity of the situation you’re in”. The only wrestlers allowed to break three syllables going forward are Sandow and Otunga. A year later and I’m still marking out for that time he said “fastidiousness”.
So, the AJ thing.
Without going too deeply into it, the end (?) of the AJ Lee General Manager story is as sudden and underwhelming as its beginning. When AJ played along and let Daniel Bryan think he was marrying her, only to pull the I CAN’T MARRY YOU BECAUSE I GOT A JOB AND A WOMAN CAN’T DO BOTH card at the last second, it was terrible. It was the beginning of the end for the AJ character, turning her from a compelling, complex pro wrestler with a bright future into the pretty, teenage Teddy Long. She became the zero calorie Stephanie McMahon, showing up to tilt her head to the side and ALMOST trick us into thinking she was the same person we loved six months ago, but not really. Here, she’s exiting the way she entered: abruptly, out of nowhere, and contextualized in Bad Female Decision Making. When she got the job, she announced it during a wedding. When she lost it, it’s because she “had an affair”. Can a woman get or lose a job because she’s good or bad at it, and not because of how she relates to the boys at work?
I love Paul Heyman and Vickie Guerrero, but more ridiculously classified Position Of Power stories are the last thing we need, especially when the people involved are the same people who were in every other story like this. Vickie Guerrero, Paul Heyman, Teddy Long, Vince McMahon. Just like how a Major League Baseball team hires terrible f**king Bobby Valentine or a player from the 80s because they’ve heard of them instead of doing 20 minutes of f**king research and finding somebody with actual managerial skills and ideas, WWE is missing a long list of storytelling opportunities by going back to a broken well and creating a “managing supervisor” title that nobody understands, not even THE GUY WHO CAME UP WITH THE TITLE AND IS THEORETICALLY PAYING SOMEONE TO FILL IT. On the WWE hierarchy, Managing Supervisor falls somewhere between Interim GM and Celebrity Guest Host.
It’s all a circle-jerking waste of time and talent. If AJ goes back to being a wrestler and helps anchor the slowly-improving Divas division, great. If Heyman Ceti eels his way into Vince’s brain and ends up in charge of Raw at Vickie’s expense, great. But skip the condescending “poor girl tryin’ t’make somethin’ of herself an’ messin’ it up b’cause of th’ cute boys” shit and hire someone with a short-term memory or access to a tape library to do your job interviews.
Worst: This Isn’t Going To End With John Laurinaitis Coming Back, Is It
I’m going to keep these candles burning until it happens. You hate CM Punk, right Vince? CM Punk is the only guy John Laurinaitis was bad to, and even that was Punk’s fault. He earned his job and ran a tight ship. He fired John Morrison. NO GENERAL MANAGER IS AS GREAT AS JOHN LAURINAITIS.
Best: Sheamus Verifies My Theory About Him Being A 5-Year Old
Last month, I came to the conclusion that Sheamus was a 5-year old. Via The Best And Worst Of WWE Raw 9/10/12:
I’ve been trying to figure it out for months, and I think I’ve got it. I don’t hate the Sheamus character because he’s a good guy acting like a bad guy. Being an “asshole” or whatever. A lot of good guys do that, and I like them anyway. I don’t hate the character because he’s racist or offensive, despite how much as I hate that stuff. I hate the Sheamus character because he’s trying to be the voice of a common WWE fan who wants to live vicariously through their favorite superstars, doing what they can’t do and saying what they can’t say, but is missing that completely and acting like a five-year old.
That’s it. He’s a f**king five-year old. He responds to questions and situations like a kindergartner would if he’d pulled a Big and gotten his brain put into the body of an albino gorilla, or whatever. That’s why he says “si senior” when he answers Ricardo’s questions and snickers about it, because a five-year old hasn’t learned what a f**king piece of shit that makes you yet. A five-year old thinks Jeff Dunham is funny. He thinks a jalapeno in a sombrero going “ay yi yi” is hilarious, because Mexican people aren’t like him. A five-year old would hear “do you swear” and think it means “say curse words”. What living grown-up with a functioning f**king brain makes that joke? It’s like writing “yes please” under “sex” on a job application.
On last night’s Raw, Sheamus verified this theory by getting super excited that Josh Mathews was holding a stuffed animal, then reacting to the threats of The Big Show by holding a doll in his face and making it say things. Big Show’s response was the exact “oh my god if you knew any better I would bodyslam you onto the merry-go-round” response you’d get if a kindergartner showed up at your job and called you stupid-head for a month while everyone you work with cheered.
WWE should reveal that Sheamus is sensitive to the bullying epidemic because he’s got Jack disease.