TRIPLE H: A PROMO WITH EMOTION (OR PINK EYE, CAN’T TELL)
I’m willing to admit that one of the things that make me cry is seeing another man cry (I’m not trying to bait John Cena into attacking me, I swear). It’s then infinitely amplified when I see a pro wrestler crying. Shawn Michaels’ retirement speech last year was worse than when my cat died. Triple H wasn’t anywhere near HBK territory (I was tempted to write “tear-itory, but thought better of myself) — in fact I may have been more invested in Dolph Ziggler’s Twitter farewell — but I felt like there was some truth behind what THE DESTROYER was saying. Besides the fact that he said he has “no challenges left,” and then kicked the nuts of the guy who put him out of action for nine months.
He was on TV for maybe ninety seconds, but it was like a breath of fresh air (Bourne!)… I’m looking at a pun per paragraph here. When a healthy chunk of your roster are being churned out of FCW with seemingly no experience elsewhere, it’s always exciting to watch Evan Bourne wrestle on Raw. I typically reach my stomp-quota about a half-hour into the show, but when Bourne appears on my TV screen moving with the kind of speed that a real fight takes place in, I get FIRED UP. Guys like Bourne, Bryan, Punk, Del Rio, Regal, and anyone who doesn’t wrestle that super generic style, are SO necessary on this show. I don’t need to see a Pumphandle Neckbreaker Piledriver-Valley-Driver-Driver or anything, but I like having some kind of variety on the show.
WHAT D’YA THINK OF THAT LAWLER
How Michael Cole can bring such real emotion and intensity to a promo (and a feud in general, be it against Daniel Bryan or Jerry Lawler), but offer none of that on commentary (prior to his heel persona) is perplexing to me. He is so perfectly irritating and annoying and self-important and everything a character like him should be, that I literally can’t even fully appreciate it when I watch him, because all I can think about is punching his face inside out. Here’s a sign of how much heat Michael Cole has: Jack Swagger, a former World Champion, is getting a rub from Michael Cole, the announcer. CRAZY.
Honourable Mention: The hype of WrestleMania.
This show had a crazy amount of stuff going for it, and it’s all thanks to the hype of WrestleMania. The Rock’s response to John Cena, Shawn Michaels commenting on the Triple H/Undertaker match (which was a very well-done package, the kind I’d love to see more of to hype big matches), the announcements of Sin Cara’s signing and Stone Cold Steve Austin’s return to Raw next week (which was accompanied by a video of Austin beating the crap out of Kurt Angle, Scott Steiner and Eric Bischoff), a steel-cage match, Evan Bourne making his return — a lot of big, “newsworthy” things happened on this show. There wasn’t a ton of wrestling to be had, but that’s cool with me (as long as I get interested in the matches for WrestleMania). So…
THE ROAD TO WRESTLEMANIA IS GETTING FOGGY
With all of those things on ONE show, how did this Raw end up so… bad?
Last week everything seemed so clear. Triple H wants Undertaker’s streak. The Miz and John Cena don’t take Rock’s words kindly. Randy Orton and CM Punk don’t like each other. John Morrison actually appeared on television.
But this week, I feel way more confused. There were a TNA-amount of sneak attacks on the show. Alex Riley was the fifth person “fired” in like two weeks time. And can anyone tell me in less than two sentences just what the FUCK this Miz/Cena feud featuring The Rock (or Cena/Rock feud featuring The Miz) is about?
It seems so scatterbrained. The Miz is trying to be taken seriously, and now doing things, like attacking Daniel Bryan, because “he can.” John Cena is mad at The Miz, and I thought Michael Cole (“your boy is done”), for eliminating him from the Royal Rumble, but also for winning and losing the Tag Titles with him. But he’s not too mad, even though he got deathly serious at the Rumble, because he’s cracking jokes and putting his arm around Miz and all that good stuff. But he’s also upset at The Rock for leaving us, and Miz is upset at The Rock for overlooking him. So Cena baits Miz into a match that got Alex Riley “fired” as his assistant, and Miz attacked him.
Reads like a classic, doesn’t it?
The Onion has a Raw review up (thanks to FTF contributor K. Sawyer Paul for pointing me to this) that talks about the difficulty of reviewing “unfinished stories” like you would when covering a TV series or a wrestling show that is leading to a bigger payoff (like WrestleMania). While this Miz/Cena feud is certainly an unfinished story, I feel like most good stories have me hooked by this point.
SHEAMUS TOOK A LITERAL AND FIGURATIVE KICK IN THE NUTS
“Alright Sheamus, I know we had you put Triple H out of action for nine months, but tonight you’re going to go out there and get kicked in the balls and pedigreed through a table so hard that it launches Michael Cole’s water bottle in the air and after that you’ll be pinned by the guy we used to make you look good for all of last year, sound good — it doesn’t matter if it sounds good! Haha, oh I’m glad the Rock’s back, aren’t you? Next week we’ll have him kick you in the nuts - it’s your new gimmick, cool? — It doesn’t matter if it’s cool! Oh man I’m hilarious. You’re fired.” - Vince McMahon (not really).
I’m not going to say anything besides that that was pretty crazy. He kicked him in the balls! It would’ve been one thing if he just attacked him, but he literally kicked him in the balls like it was the punchline to a joke. But I’m sure Sheamus will be back doing Sheamus-like stuff next week, so I won’t get too worked up about it. I’ve got better things to worry about, like calling in to a radio show to get cursed at by Michael Cole.
JOHN CENA AND GAY JOKES
I need to come back to Cena for this one.
This Cena/Miz promo probably should’ve been as wordless as the Triple H/Undertaker promo from last week. And, I’m being 100% serious, the Triple H/Undertaker promo was way the fuck funnier than this one.
I don’t know how to come at this any other way, but John Cena needs to reel in the gay jokes. Richard Flynn of Bored Wrestling Fan wrote an article addressing Cena’s remarks that raised a lot of good points, which you should definitely check out.
But did anyone else find John Cena’s comment to The Miz, “… do you really want to look back years from now and realize you shared your legacy with another man?” to be particularly offensive, or at least out of place? Maybe it’s because no one laughed. Maybe it’s because there was no wit whatsoever. He didn’t tie in Rock’s movies to a “Brokeback Mountain” joke this time, he just plainly stated, essentially, that The Miz should regret being a homosexual. He also made a bukakke joke that went over everyone’s heads (mine included). Just… weird.
All of those remarks definitely seemed a lot more hateful than they were probably intended to be, because the jokes bombed big time. Still, it’s probably not the best idea to have your company’s biggest name making awkward gay jokes in 2011. Can’t we just go back to Bret Hart complaining about Shawn Michaels showing his “navel”?!
Honourable Mention: #IWantWrestling
While I stand by what I said earlier (not needing a ton of wrestling), I would prefer what little wrestling we get on this promo-heavy Road to WrestleMania to be good. There was a longer match between Orton and McGuillicutty, who can’t really cut (I almost wrote McGuillicut, but then thought better of myself) the greatest pace. There was a Divas Battle Royal that took place in fast-forward and ended in Eve selling a Bella twin attack like the plague. There was a steel-cage match between John Cena and Alex Riley, and the highlight was Cena and Miz wrestling a door.
Thankfully, I got my wrestling fill for about a year from ROH’s 9th Anniversary Show. You got lucky this time, Raw. LUCKY.
FAIR TO FLAIR CREW