Change of plans.
In light of my busier schedule and my decreasing ability to watch Raw and Smackdown anywhere near on time or in full, I’m going to be trying something a little different – namely, a weekly recap of however much or little wrestling I have seen this week. Essentially, same Reports, just bundled into one and posted on the weekend.
The first thing that strikes me this week is, or was, WORD LIFE. This is basic thuganomics. Holy Jesus, John Cena coming out here doing his very best John Cena impression and making me feel like a 13 year old girl again was amazing stuff. Also, the promo was great, I never thought they’d actually go as far as mentioning Rock’s boobies, but, well, they did. Great work, and also a nice short slice of Cena was a refreshing change of pace too.
And then there’s Rock. They almost, almost had it here, because the Rock Concert was awesome. He was back in form, he was having fun and doing crowd interaction without it being obnoxious, there was nothing Twitter related, the jokes were great. He was back…and then ‘We Will Rock You’ happened. Ouch. If they had ended it at that point it would have been the perfect way for Rock to reclaim some ground, but wow that nosedived (at least they realised it too and cut it out of the replay on SD). Anyway, on the whole it was great fun, regardless. Mentioning Cena’s wife was another cool detail after she appeared weeks after he kissed Eve. I cant decide whether I want things to start going down or whether they should stay far away from each other until Mania. Either way, I cant wait.
Taker, I love you man, but sometimes, you just cant cut a promo. The stupid crowds chanting ‘WHAT’ at him dont help either, but God. Anyway thankfully Shawn was there being great and they did get down to the point of it all: is Shawn bitter enough about The Streak that he would actually screw Taker at Mania? Shawn’s character that has developed since 2009, that he is this unfulfilled soul, a babyface who’s final run was based around his failure without the usual redemption, and in his retirement it could well be haunting him, its really quite fascinating. I also loved Shawn’s jab that the Almighty Taker was practically begging for a rematch, coming from a position of weakness. He’s the one with something to prove, even though he won the first match. They’re still nailing this build.
Speaking of, wow, Punk and Jericho. That happened. The feud was trundling along boring as hell so this was sure as hell a shot in the arm. They have this lame BITW angle with Jericho doing tired 2009 schtick, but he’s not really getting it done, so BAM, he goes with the ALCOHOLIC KO PUNCH OF DOOM. I like the idea of Jericho being that much of an utter prick. Its a better direction for him. Suddenly twice as interested in this feud.
They should do that for Sheamus and Bryan. Its not really going anywhere, and people like to blame babyface Sheamus for that, but its not all his fault – Bryan seems to have absolutely nothing to do do with him and there’s just nothing there for them to fight each other for. Having said that, both guys still had good weeks. Sheamus/Dolph on Raw was a fun little opener, and their save on the finish was great work. He also had a super fun main event with Jericho on SD, which included the most natural set up for Sheamus’ springboard shoulder block ever. Bryan, in the meantime, was mean to AJ and worked as her cornerman in a match that, surprisingly enough for me, Booker T ruined by trying way too hard to bash the heels. But still, you should really have watched their segments on SD. “If you had just listened to me it would have gone a lot smoother.”
Speaking of Smackdown, Santino freaking Marella HIDING IN FEAR OF KOFI’S PYRO was the greatest thing I’ve ever seen. NEEDS to be seen. The entire SD opening was full of win, since Christian is back with a super mid-life-crisis haircut, Santino hid in fear of Kofi’s pyro, and Kofi vs Otunga RULED. Otunga has been good for some time now, but he still impressed me here and this was easily his best match since Orton. They had a long match, Kofi bumped around for him and Otunga hit some SWEET offense – the big toss, the giant powerslam and the freaking LARIAT-OH were all great. The absolute best Otunga has looked on offense his entire career.
As the teams are coming together, let me just say now, that MARK HENRY MOTHERF*CKERS. He was beastly this week, killing every babyface he saw on Raw, and then murdering poor Yoshi on SD. I was giddy when I saw this because I knew Henry would just eat him alive. He did. Not before Yoshi tried to go all Junior Fighting Spirit-oh on Henry at the bell. And then he died. Mark Henry, motherf*ckers. I cannot WAIT for Henry/Cena, I just hope to the Lord that they get some time this time around.
Smackdown was Squash City this week, really, and I say that as a very good thing, since they were all super fun and the other two did a great job for Cody/Show. Newly semi-braided Drew Mac has a new lease on life as…a jobber. But I cannot be hatin’ because THE BIG SHOW. They had what was basically a Chop Cam that zoomed in to watch Drew getting CHOPPED TO DEATH and selling it, which was awesome. Drew got a moment in by taking Show down, but then Show just Show’d Up and killed this poor f*cker with finishers, ending with a MANSIZED KO PUNCH OF DOOM that caused a ref stoppage. I mean, Drew sold the JESUS out of this punch. Still in love.
And somehow Cody was even greater in his match. I still dig his angle that Show is Show, but at Mania he chokes so thats the best chance he has to get a big win over him, so he’s going for it. Then going all “watch this” and facing Khali to prove he can hang with a giant. But hands down my favourite part of this, and possibly my favourite spot of the week, was the opening of this match. They lock up and Cody gets knocked down. The end. Best spot of the week. Really, I mean it, for the way that Cody sold this, or rather, how much he did. He didnt take a gigantic bump and then sell fear and try to walk out or something. He got bumped, he got right back up, shrugged it off and went back to work, as if to say “Yep, thats what happens when you face a giant, I’m ready for this.” It was like he was treating it as a real sporting contest, and in a real sporting contest against a giant, you will go in expecting to get knocked down and you wont pitch a fit when it happens as if you had no idea it was coming. This sh*t is real.
There was more goodness as well. At one point Booker suggests that attacking Khali’s legs would be a better strategy than the arm work that Cody was trying. Moments later Khali powers out of the armbar so Cody switches to the legs instead, like it had just occurred to him too. And the finish with Cody hitting that pinpoint dropkick and waiting for the exact moment when Khali moved into position for a BD Kick. Which once again knocks someone out. We can add Cody to the list of Khali’s friends in the ring, and also to the list of my favourite people right now.
The only other thing of note really is that, in a nice little piece of continuity, Kane referenced their Street Fight from last July, how Orton beat him and after the match Kane shook hands with him in admiration (which I had honestly forgotten about but I remember now), and how he needs to expunge the memory of being a sad sap softie babyface who loses to people and shakes their hands afterwards. It actually reminds me of 2003, when his reason for burying his brother The Undertaker at Survivor Series was that Taker had gone soft by being a babyface protecting defenseless women and he needed to be put down. Now Kane is sort of putting his 2011 self down by putting a mask back on and turning into Embrace Hate Kane, and now he needs redemption by beating the man who beat him. Nice piece of work there to give them a story, actually. And we keep rolling towards Mania.