Worst: Titus O’Neil Singles Matches As A Sobering Reminder That No Amount Of Being Funny On Commentary Will Make Him Good At Wrestling
Titus O’Neil is bad at pro wrestling.
He’s great at casually TALKING about pro wrestling, though. When he was on NXT trying to read clumsy, pre-written sentences about whether or not you should make it a win, he was terrible. Later, when WWE briefly forgot that NXT existed, Titus (and Darren) were allowed to speak as themselves in weird skits about impressing Tamina by buying her flower pots. Darren never really got the hang of it (“nobody’s gonna get any WANG from us!”) but Titus blossomed. Last week the Prime Time Players were f**king HILARIOUS on color commentary, discussing the differences between “wash cloth” and “wash rag” and asking Jerry Lawler if he’d taken his heart medication. It was enough to make you forget that in the ring, Titus is the worst kind of wrestler: the awkward hoss.
The Internet has a thing against “hosses,” bigger, slower wrestlers who mostly just slam and forearm you. In the late 90s, how good you are at wrestling became synonymous with how many crazy moves you can do in a row without screwing up. Hosses aren’t the most reliable sort for shooting star presses and rolling Germans, but the hatred (mostly) leveled out with the rise of guys like Mark Henry and a motivated Big Show. They don’t do a lot of moves, necessarily, but they’re legitimate monsters, and their value lies in freakish strength, intensity and the ability to throw the little move-wielding guys around like dolls. Their style is rough, but smooth, and everything they do looks natural and purposeful.
They are not the “awkward hoss”. An awkward hoss is that big, strong guy who never quite figures out how to look natural in the ring and just kinda wanders around kicking and punching like nobody would ever kick or punch, hoping his look and scary whatevers will get him through. Classic examples of this include Nathan Jones, Great Khali and the Kingshit of Awkward Hoss F**k Mountain, El Gigante/Giant Gonzalez. Nothing they do looks tough or strong, they’re just BIG and THERE and trying desperately to earn a paycheck for SOMETHING. Titus is one of these guys, and as funny as he can be, I guess we can’t afford to forget it.
The only real highlight of this match (and all the stupid commercial break chant-leading Ryback really needs to stop doing) was Darren Young FLEEING IN TERROR when Ryback charged, then lying in the corner in the fetal position, kicking the keep him away. A+.
Worst: Hornswoggle Has No Idea How Jokes Or Women Work
Rosa Mendes approached Hornswoggle backstage. She was mad at him because he came down to the ring to interrupt the Khali vs. Prepico handicap match, offered her flowers and a kiss for no reason, then squirted her in the face with water and ran away when she was polite to him about it. His response was:
1. It was just a joke! Lighten up!
2. Nobody would ever really want to kiss you or give you flowers.
What a creep, right? Addressing number one, jokes aren’t just a thing you do, they have context. Even non-jokes (like when Chavo Guerrero gets hit in the head with a paint can and Macaulay Culkin magically appears) or gags without formal punchlines have a context of absurdity. All you did was interrupt something, pretend to be nice to a person and splash them in the face with water. That’s not a joke. That’s you being an asshole.
Addressing number two … really? Putting aside how UNBELIEVABLY misogynistic and hurtful of an excuse that is, I am pretty sure lots and lots of people would want to kiss Rosa Mendes and give her flowers. Even Jerry Lawler was all, “uhhh hey Hornswoggle that’s pretty stupid” during the follow-up match. WWE, listen, seriously, there has GOT to be a better way to get fictional characters mad at each other than by having them tell each other they’re worthless.
The shorter point here is “f**k you, Hornswoggle”.
Best: Alberto Del Rio Versus Great Khali (Yes, I’m Giving It A Best)
Last night’s Raw had a lot (A LOT) of really good wrestling on it, so you may be surprised to see me give a Great Khali match that ended with KHALI WOULDA WON BUT DISTRACTION~ and involved Hornswoggle biting Ricardo Rodriguez on the ass, but I liked it a lot. It was the kind of match I like playing in WWE ’13. A smaller guy I like against a big hulking guy I want to see destroyed. It made Del Rio look like serious business again (which is the holding pattern … Del Rio looks great all month, looks like a loser goon on pay-per-view, rinse, repeat) and I thought his offense looked spectacular against a guy that size. The corner enzuigiri to the shoulder was choice, ADR’s ridiculous jumping stomps looked good because the guy he’s stomping is like five feet tall when lying on his side, and I am 99% convinced that normal application of an armbreaker like that on Great Khali would for-real break his arm.
So yeah, this one gets a thumbs up for me. It was the worst match I liked on the show, but Del Rio is better in the ring than Punk, and anybody in the world is better than Zack Ryder right now.
Best: Rosa Mendes Going ‘Full Handy Manny’
Open Discussion Threader ‘shabbydude’ gets credit for articulating it first, but Canadian-ass Rosa Mendes should not attempt on-screen Spanish dialogue with the shoot lucha-dynastic adult from San Luis Potosí. Here’s the transcript of the backstage run-in, more or less:
ADR: “sup rosa”
Rosa: “Gracias — thank you — for POR SALVARME — saving me from EL PEQUENO DUENDE — the tiny leprechaun. Muchas gracias! Thank you very much!”
ADR: “uhhh no problem, your hot, c ya”
Rosa: “Hola! That means goodbye!”
The next scene should’ve been Rosa walking by Mr. Lopart, who is clearly about to f**k up the project he’s working on but refuses to be helped. Jerry Lawler can play Mr. Lopart. Stacy Carter can be Fluffy!
For real though. Rosa, you don’t have to speak Spanish. Both characters can speak English. We’ll still accept that you’re of Costa Rican descent. It’s like Prince Of Egypt. Everybody should be speaking Egyptian or Hebrew or whatever, but the good guys speak American English and the bad guys have British accents so we can tell who’s who and it’s fine. Just … don’t try to speak Spanish anymore. And get somebody to make Alberto Del Rio start referring to himself as “the morning and the eve-a-ning star”.
Best: Fandango, Again, Because Seriously
This guy. This is the wrestler I’ve been waiting for for like 15 years. “I don’t care about ruthless aggression and ‘making an impact’! I’m just here to dance, and wrestle, prob’ly!” Love it.
Before he debuts, I’d like to formally request that Fandango’s debut revolve around him trying to get a spot in Rhodes Scholar. Cody would love him (obviously), but Damien Sandow should NEVER EVER ACCEPT HIM, because he’s smart, sure, but his hobbies are balderdash.