Piper’s Pit. Workrate. Eddie Guerrero. Three very good reasons to watch this show.
I have so much I want to say about Piper’s Pit. This was some spectacular sh*t. As Piper can often be these days they werent completely on the same page and tripped over each other quite a few times, but in a strange way that sort of added to it since the story of the conversation is that they were on two completely different pages philosophically.
Piper is old school. He also spent a large part of his career as a heel, and mentioned this. So his thing is, he sees Cena being booed countless times and wonders, why doesnt he just turn heel? He especially sees Rock getting Cena completely booed out of the building, which Cena accepts (he accepts it…) and then he gets Rock Bottomed. So Piper thinks, if this guy doesnt turn heel sometime soon, he’s going to be completely destroyed by Rock at WM. Because by normal wrestling rules, if a guy is that hated, he usually turns heel and uses the boos as fuel, getting back to the point about energy. If you just try to rise above it and pretend everything is fine, as Cena does, you’re not getting the right babyface energy and things dont work for you, as evidenced, in Piper’s mind, by the fact that Rock hands Cena his ass every time they meet.
For Cena, he just honestly believes he’s the exception. He believes he’s doing the right thing, and he believes that he can survive and prosper by ignoring the fact that everyone hates him. He’s been hated so many times before, after all – WM22, the Edge TLC in Toronto, One Night Stand 2, Punk at MITB – and he’s ALWAYS perservered, always risen above it, and almost always gone on to win anyway. He HAS been doing things his way for years, and he’s been doing just fine thanks.
But somehow, and everyone around him telling him so (Miz, Truth, Piper so far) seems to sense this as well, this time, with the Rock, its different. This one has to hurt more than most. Rock is so insanely popular that he gets Cena booed more than ever, and often seems to relish that fact as well. And, I think the most important point of all, Rock is a guy who left for years and never came back, he said he’d never leave again in February, but he’s only appeared a handful of times since then. THAT is what has always irked Cena, he thinks that Rock doesnt love the fans enough to turn up. But no matter what happens, people cheer that guy over Cena who works his ass off 300 days a year on the road for the people.
So, after all the years of unpopularity, combined with the knowledge that his work ethic and principles will never get him the respect he deserves, combined with this latest, most humiliating indignity at the hands of a fly-by-night Rock, combined with every single person he runs into expressing their disbelief that he can possibly take all of this hate directed towards him, and maybe, finally, after all this time…THIS is the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Maybe.
But it isnt tonight, as Piper tries so hard to just make Cena mad, make him take that step that he needs to take, he goes so far as to slap him in the face. Cena, wondering how many times he can assure people he’s fine, wondering how this guy just dared to paintbrush him, maybe, maybe he thinks about it, but he Rises Above Hate and stays true to himself, as he always does. And gets booed, as he always does. An excellent, excellent segment just dripping with subtext, this was a great tease for future events, no matter what they may be, and suddenly, somehow, Cena has the most interesting character in the company.
Falls Count Anywhere for no reason, wacky. Miz attacking someone on the stage? Well I never! I sort of liked Miz’s dead eyes, but I liked more his casual stroll to the ring and picking up the mic to cut his promo, only for Morrison to come down to start the match so he has to hand it back. Details. I liked Morrison’s mini comebacks in this match even though I have no idea of their purpose. But HOLY GOD DAMN HE DIED ON THE SET! That was an awesome bump. Full credit to this guy for going out a worker. I liked the finish in the sense that the Stage Skull Crushing Finale is a knockout move that is so hurtful it causes matches to be stopped. Sort of like the Punt, only not as good.
AHAHAHAHA OH GOD, Ace casually strolling out here, glancing at Morrison’s dead body and just as casually strolling back was HILARIOUS. I laughed forever.
The absolute last thing Miz needs to be is more monotone. They also really, really need to stop doing super close ups on Miz’s face when he talks, it makes him look like the goofiest, most un-threatening fool in the world.
I liked the new cut in the Bellas outfit. Thats about all I got out of this. The Boobs “doing a run in” lap around the ring was pretty funny, but needed to stand out more. As it was it was just baffling. GIVE A GIRL A MICROPHONE, I’M BEGGING YOU. I’m not the biggest Alicia fan but I can dig her as the next challenger. Especially if it means she works Nattie.
I liked the way Ace explained the Brodus angle. I hope he does eventually come in and kill people out of frustration.
Argh Orton vs Dolph! I saw them walking backstage and was already marking out at the idea, and they delivered another piece of awesome. This is the third great Raw match this year, fourth overall. Everything these two guys do is just so damn smooth. Some cool ass spots, like Orton being tossed, he hung on but only to be DROPKICKED. Also Dolph’s rollup out of the Orton backbreaker. I also enjoyed the callback to the last match with Dolph’s backwards turnbuckle climb leading to the Superplex. Such great work and today Orton is the one to pull slightly ahead, for the next 24 hours anyway.
Also, WADE FREAKING BARRETT. I’ve heard him be a real commentator already, so I expected big things from him here and he NAILED it. He was so great this entire match, just completely natural, and I marked when he was on such a roll that even Lawler had to sit back and put him over for being so great on commentary.
And Dolph wins! The finish was great and I’m so glad they gave Dolph this win, he’s more than earned it at this point, and as someone who pays far too much attention to these things, I’m glad he finally beat Orton.
HEADSTAND BITCHES! Dolph is great. What would be great is if, like, one day he cuts a really good promo and randomly pulls a headstand to celebrate.
I could handle sitting through Cole here because it was a vehicle for Bryan to cut his promo in response. And it RULED. I mean, thank the Lord he was given time to cut the wwe.com promo on television and explain why he tried to cash in, and he was great getting all fired up. A big win. Then MARK HENRY. He was as great as always, and Bryan’s little swipe at the leg on the way out was great. Its hard for him to come off heelish doing something like that, because, I mean, Henry is three times his size. He’s the underdog trying to pull it off any way he can. Anyway I am so, so excited for Smackdown. Its insane to see how much better and more important the World Title comes off, compared to Raw’s.
Zack vs Swag Man was unmemorable except for the strange Swagger Bomb spot. I assume it was a botch but I actually enjoyed it and thought it worked as a spot – hey, accidents happen and if Swagger accidentally tries to push off Zack’s hand going for it, he’ll slip. Made it seem more real in a way.
Punk vs Alberto was another fun match although not as great as the semi-main. Above all I liked Punk trying to throw a one-armed sunset flip and missing wildly, I thought that rocked. But hey CM PUNK IS EDDIE GUERRERO! I was expecting a DQ tease but I wasnt expecting Eddie Guerrero, so I marked. Alberto trying to physically block the ref from reaching the timekeeper to ring the bell on him was immense work, and it worked long enough for Punk to roll him up and basically ensure the match continued. Genius. The Backcracker at this point and the nearfall ruled. Punk then cheating to win was kind of weird at first glance, but overall it was an acceptable way to stick it to the heels who were actively trying to get him unjustly DQ’d to screw him out of the title. Fairs fair. Anyway, bring on Smackdown!