A Shocking Best: Daniel Bryan Vs. Dolph Ziggler
When I talk about how I don’t like watching Kofi Kingston wrestle Dolph Ziggler, it’s about how Dolph’s biggest strength is his defense, and he needs someone with great offense to play off of. It’s why his matches with Chris Jericho were kinda underwhelming … Jericho’s offense has looked terrible since day one. That “run by you and touch your head with one of my hands so now you have to JUMP WITHOUT PROVOCATION AND OOHHH BULLDOG” stuff is terrible. The Lionsault hits with the impact of a guy jumping into bed. Going EEYAHH! before you do something doesn’t always make it look like it hurts. Jericho’s a GREAT wrestler, one of the best of his generation, don’t get me wrong, but that particular aspect of his game has never been top shelf.
Daniel Bryan’s entire game is top shelf.
It’s easy enough to just say “Daniel Bryan is a great wrestler so of course this is good,” but it’s all about the offense. Bryan’s offense is tight, crisp, powerful without being “stiff”. Stiff is overrated. Stiff is what guys do when they don’t know how to do it right. Pro wrestling isn’t about proving how tough you are, it’s a fake underwear fighting entertainment show. Whether Daniel Bryan is “stiffing” guys or not is irrelevant — he LOOKS like he is, the same way Bret Hart looked like he was, and that makes Ziggler’s ridiculous defensive selling look purposeful. Ziggler flops around because Bryan’s MAKING him flop around. He’s not whiffing a dropkick and making Ziggler stop drop and roll. Everything connects, everything makes sense, and everything is beautiful. This, for example:
JR had to call it “unorthodox” like it was a Rob Van Dam “hold my foot for a minute so I can step over and kick you” thing when it absolutely is NOT unorthodox, it is orthodox as f**k, it’s just that nobody else is doing the basic shit that makes pro wrestling look great, so you can’t call what Daniel Bryan’s doing the norm. It’s not the norm. It’s the EXCEPTIONAL norm. Best possible norm. Daniel Bryan is the George Wendt of WWE is what I’m saying.
Ziggler carried his end of it, too. If you don’t believe me, watch him go sailing over the top rope into the post and then STRAIGHT TO THE G.D. FLOOR.
If The Zig Zag Man Right Here is gonna kill himself, let him do it for a reason. Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler should wrestle each other in a Best Of However Many They Want series, and the next time one of them holds a championship belt, their first epic feud had better be with the other. Train your guys to do this, WWE. This exact thing they’re doing.
Worst: Matt Striker Needs To Be Fired So Hard I Can Barely Explain It
If WWE Creative was smart, they’d pull Matt Striker aside, put him in some Grand Wizard sunglasses and let him manage every undercard heel because I have never enjoyed someone less on a wrestling show. If Matt Striker accompanied Stan Stansky to the ring, I would be rooting for the other guy to rip off their heads. I would instantly turn into my mom, threatening to stab Sweet Stan Lane with the heel of her shoe if he got close enough to her at the Greensboro Coliseum. If Matt Striker managed Damien Sandow, I would be writing 10 paragraphs a week about how Damien Sandow was worthless and needed to be fired. Matt Striker’s combination of snark, theater kid presentation and dough-face give me a legitimate feeling of rage in my body I cannot deal with.
There is zero f**king reason why any Scott Stanford shouldn’t replace Matt Striker, Josh Mathews or Michael Cole during a televised wrestling segment. Zero. They’ve got Lance Russell hanging out filming app promos backstage while Chris f**king Cruise hosts Raw. Total bullshit.
If you don’t get the Matt Striker hate, listen to his Dr. Evil impression 30 seconds into this video.
Best: Sandow And Rhodes Have Cracked The Dumb Segment Code
The only real highlight to the Newly Tag Game (ughhh) was Rhodes Scholar showing up to fart in the general direction of the ring, announce that they weren’t going to participate and make two grown adult men who talk for a living think “gentrification” is a rare word.
That’s a trend that should continue. It’s why I got so mad when Sandow accepted Jared’s meatball sub. Sandow and Rhodes should be smart enough and, more importantly, dignified enough to say nuts to the backstage WWE comedy segment. When Yoshi Tatsu and Johnny Curtis are playing Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker in a Santino YouTube video, that’s fine. Those guys should be funny. They aren’t important. When Daniel Bryan and Kane are doing anger management skits on Raw, that’s also fine. Those guys should be funny, because the WWE Universe is trained to accept “funny and not directly mean to us” as code for “cheer for these guys”. Rhodes and Sandow should only be funny on their own terms and make each other laugh. If Hornswoggle tries to lure them into Little People’s Court, Rhodes Scholar should just glare at him until he’s willed into oblivion. Those are the guys I want to see as WWE’s top heels. Guys who are good at wrestling and not afraid to be up their own asses about it. That’s what the Four Horsemen did. They didn’t wear suits and ride in limos because they were independently wealthy, they wore suits and rode in limos because they made a ton of money WINNING AT WRESTLING. It’s your fault for being jealous.
Okay, there were two highlights.
Worst: WWE Mystery Storytelling
I like that the Who Attacked Kaitlyn storyline has reached its denouement, that Kaitlyn continues to be on my television (‘sup, Kaitlyn) and that the blonde mystery assailant didn’t end up being Rikishi. I also like that we’ve finally gotten around to it just being Eve, so we can move forward with jiu-jitsu heel and MISTRESS OF DISGUISE Eve Torres as the division’s Big Bad. Additionally, I like backstage fights that end up in catering. YEAH HIT HER WITH SOME POPCORNS!
What I don’t like is how WWE pays off mysteries. You’re probably thinking of the Higher Power type stuff here, and that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about backstage attack segments, or whodunits that don’t really require pay-per-view payoffs. They’re all the same. Somebody gets attacked, and nobody can figure out who did it. So they spend like four weeks asking each other about it, getting into fights about it, mentioning evidence they think they might’ve found, whatever. Then suddenly one day they just have EVERY PIECE OF EVIDENCE IMAGINABLE and that’s the end of the story.
For example, Kaitlyn got attacked a month ago. She somehow got surveillance footage of the hallway where she got attacked but couldn’t see her attacker’s face, because I guess she couldn’t also get the footage from the previous hallway, or the locker room, or that person entering the building in a blonde wig or whatever. Weeks go by and nothing really happens, then BAM, Kaitlyn not only figures out that it was Eve, but she’s got access to e-mails and iPad passwords and PHOTOS OF IPADS and everything. Hey WWE, do you guys not know how an outline works? You can pace yourself. You don’t have to write your shows like Saw movies, where nothing makes sense for 88 minutes until you get to the big video package exposition in the final two.
I was gonna complain about how Kaitlyn found out about all this, too, because it’s the least face thing to do ever, but if I learned anything from my Glee Sports On TV column research it’s that going through somebody’s phone and personal belongings is fine if you think they might be doing something wrong.
WORST: John Cena Will Defend You, Little Lady
I wish John Cena was the WWE Champion. When he’s champion, his only story is YOU WANT THIS BELT YOU COME GET THIS BELT, or he’s promising to WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP FOR ALL OF US and BELIEVE IN DREAMS or whatever. When he’s NOT the champion, his stories are the most godawful thing imaginable, from his Nexus-arranged “firing” to Kane kidnapping Eve in the Wambulance.
Here, John Cena exits the WWE Championship picture and goes straight into his rehab story, a thing where he crudely and unprofessionally asks his boss out on a date on national television, goes on the date with her, then gets confused and upset when that causes problems. But it’s okay, because he’s a TOUGH GUY WITH A HEART OF GOLD and will hug poor little helpless waif AJ and make things better by talking to her bosses. Because that is a normal thing you do in relationships, and not creepy and controlling and weird at all! F**k, you’d think a guy who just five months ago made out with his best friend’s, got that guy’s back broken and ended up blaming and berating the woman for letting it happen would know better than to chase tail on Raw.
As sad as it is, that hug is the cherry on the shit sundae that AJ’s character has become. In three months she went from a character who ended Raw by putting CM Punk and Daniel Bryan through a table and cheering over their unconscious bodies to being a damsel in distress, whimpering about her life and being comforted in the arms of John Cena. What can you even say?