Best: My Heartfelt Apologies For Your Loss … At WrestleMania
I’ll write about this at length a little later in the column (when the “smashing peoples’ brothers with their dead dad’s urn” starts happening), but I love with my entire heart Impossibly Awful Heel CM Punk and his penchant for interrupting anyone else’s good time. Interrupting an elderly woman’s fake birthday party was one thing … interrupting a legendary wrestler’s tribute to his freshly dead mentor is something else entirely. If Punk had brought out a dummy of Paul Bearer, kicked it in the head and proclaimed “shitty roundhouse kick” the cause of death it wouldn’t surprise me. Aside from “believing what he says when he says it,” one of my favorite things about Punk has always been that he’s not afraid to go all-in on offensive angles. I mean, hell, he’s the guy who once let a guy attack him and try to remove his Straight Edge tattoos with a cheese grater.
Punk’s interruption was good, but him extending his heartfelt apologies for the Undertaker’s loss, then dramatically pausing before unleashing at WrestleMania to a chorus of boos was Next Level heeling. Just an A+ all around. I want to see the Undertaker annihilate him at WrestleMania now. This angle should end up with Punk’s head on a spike on Undertaker’s Spiky Devil Castle, which I assume exists, and is where he keeps his colorful outfits.
I’m also really happy they found a way to get Kane in on this stuff, because Kane/Paul Bearer is just as important as Undertaker/Paul Bearer. I only wish they’d brought on Foley as a cheeky special guest, had him learn of Bearer’s passing and had the Mankind persona get all f**ked-up in Foley’s head and take over for a night. Good Mankind, too. Piano music Hannibal Lecter Mankind, not Chef Boyardee and sock puppets.
Worst: Big Show “Gets The Jump” On The Shield 40 Seconds Into The Match
I think Seth Rollins versus Big Show could be good. It’s one of those matches I’d love to play in the video game. It was pretty good for the 15 seconds of it we got, too, until Big Show attacked the other Shield guys, causing the Shield guys to attack him. You know, I think the referees should have better judgment than they do. I get that The Shield was probably just gonna run in and start clubbering or whatever, but in the scenario we were given, they were just hanging out at ringside. Show throws Rollins into Ambrose, rolls out of the ring, then purposefully seeks out Reigns and throws him into the guardrail. Ambrose and Rollins attack from behind, and that’s when the referee calls for the disqualification and Show gets the win. Is that fair? Shouldn’t he be the one disqualified for starting a ruckus? If Reigns had been up on the apron going HEY SHOW HEY OVER HERE and gotten punched or whatever I could see DQ’ing things Show’s way, but nope, purposeful attack.
Anyway, I love Show and the Shield, but I don’t want to see many more of these DAMNED NUMBERS GAME assaults. Hopefully WrestleMania will be the end of them. Why are The Shield wrestlers? I know they’re here to right injustices or whatever, but when they exist independently of Paul Heyman’s mechanizations, shouldn’t they want to win wrestling matches? They’re doing really great when they actually wrestle. We’ve seen that they can win as a team. I buy that over them “standing tall” at the end of another powerbomb blitz, because shit, what does that accomplish, exactly? If a soccer team ran out onto the field 20 seconds into every game, beat everybody up, posed, then immediately left, all you’d think is “man, those guys are assholes and terrible at soccer.”
Best: Daniel Bryan And Dolph Ziggler Are So Good Together
Yes, please. Yes, please.
This was predictably great. Maybe one of the unexpected side effects of Paul Bearer’s passing is that Kane has a relevant reason to f**k with the Undertaker again, and Daniel Bryan can move forward as a submission wrestler who has great matches and not worry so much about therapy graduations and whether or not people think he looks like a goat. Can we do that? Can we make the best of a bad situation?
It’s also SO GREAT to see Dolph Ziggler win a match on Raw again. The guy’s been losing so much lately I forgot how good he could be when he comes out on top, and even though he went to his old offense a little too much here (the Ace Crusher II instead of the jumping DDt, for example) it all played well. It’s no shock that the guy who is best at taking offense in WWE pairs well with the guy best at delivering it. It’s also no shock to learn that I am still infatuated with WWE Team Rocket, and appreciate every instance of Big E Langston and AJ Lee on my television. In a better world (the 1980s), WrestleMania would have 15 matches on it again and we could get a swank 15 minute Big E/Daniel Bryan match to settle a grudge without a bunch of gravity being wedged into it. Hell, do it on Raw. Make Big E look great and remember that Daniel Bryan is magic and can make anything Pro Wrestling better.
Worst: The Announce Team, All Night Long
I’ve got this thing I do where I multitask during Raw and randomly yell things at my television. I’ll be doing dishes or whatever and Jerry Lawler will say something like “AJ Lee had a boyfriend before Dolph Ziggler, right? What a whore!” and I’ll yell F**K OFF JERRY LAWLER “at” the television while staring into the bowels of my dishwasher.
Last night I did that WAY TOO MUCH. The announce team was spectacularly bad, reaching Heel Michael Cole levels for maybe the first time since Cole cut it the hell out. Almost everything they said was counterproductive and stupid. Lawler’s baiting of AJ for absolutely no reason continues to be infuriating, but it didn’t stop there. Listen to him and Cole cackle to themselves about how bad the Highlight Reel segment was. Yeah guys, we know it’s bad, your job is to run damage control on ugly segments. Jim Ross would’ve just called it “bowling shoe ugly” in passing 10 minutes later and let it live or die on its own.
Better yet, listen to Lawler and Cole say that CM Punk interrupting the tribute to Paul Bearer is the most disrespectful thing he’s ever done. Hey Jerry Lawler, remember when Punk was straight-up making fun of your dead mother? Get some sincerity and context, you chuckling f**ks.
Best: Good Call, FAHDAHGOO, Nobody Wants To Wrestle Tensai
The best part of this segment is Fandango addressing Naomi as an individual (the first time this has happened since NXT) and the big ass smile on her face, which to me read, “oh boy, somebody noticed that I’m good! Thanks, Faaaahdaaaaahgoo, I am willing to nutshot these dudes for any reason, just say the word.” A Naomi heel turn is gonna be great, especially if she pairs up with Johnny’s dancing girl and forms a team of evil, bad-ass wrestling Ballroomadactyls.
And furthermore, let me get this straight: I should be cheering for the fat guys in matching underwear who do The Pony and rip off their pants to studio music from 10 years ago, and I should boo the handsome, ripped guy who is good at his hobbies. Got it.