Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Raw Regurgitated, 8/26

Of all of the reasons to want to watch Raw live that don’t include “hate working retail” or “not post Raw Regurgitated at 5 in the afternoon”, “being the first to tweet a #KofiKingston joke during that opening” tops the list.

Randy Orton has been in or around THIS BUSINESS for his entire life, absorbing knowledge from some of the great workers and storytellers in history. From Roddy Piper to Andre the Giant, he learned from the best the industry has ever seen. And not a single one taught him how to speak into a microphone without sounding like a complete idiot. It’s remarkable.

The switch from selling Daniel Bryan as an extremely talented, if generic face to The Face of the Company in terms of announcer rhetoric, branding and “staying on message” should make everyone wonder why Vince doesn’t run Linda’s campaigns. At this point, the WWE brain trust seems like it could get Castro over with a crowd in Miami.

***

There was a lot of bad in this clusterkerfuffle. Like, the entire thing.

Speaking of which — and not being able to speak into a microphone without sounding like a complete idiot — it’s hard to calibrate how good/bad it is that the only person who had anything interesting or engaging to say in those segments (this terrible match, Randy and Christian’s tough guy talk, and the Punk/Heyman+Axel segments) was Brad Maddox  invoking the Teddy Long clause, turning a really terrible match with a decent runover between Cody and Fandango into a really terrible tag team match with Miz in Fandango’s old trunks and Fandango on Damien Sandow’s shitlist again.

***

Curtis Axel can’t read cue cards, and it’s very depressing. Paul Heyman should just write the poor guy’s lines in his bald spot.

The WWE needs to do a better job of occasionally making the fan votes actually intriguing and not just an obvious plot device. There’s only so many times you can include one obvious option like THING WE ALL WANT TO SEE HAPPEN, AND WOULD PROBABLY PAY FOR with the other two equally obvious choices, like THINGS NOBODY WANTS and WE’D REALLY PREFER YOU PICKED THE OBVIOUS ONE, before people stop caring about these votes at all.

Curtis Axel may not be much of a talker, and looks more Arn Anderson than Ric Flair, but he’s not a bad worker. And he sells like he’s worried about losing his job when he finally goes bald. Which, at this pace, should be sometime during the 2014 Royal Rumble.

Uh. So. I know wrestlers can’t win Emmys, mostly because almost none of them can act and also, you know, it’s wrestling, but Paul Heyman should at least be nominated for a Golden Globe.

There’s been very little snark from the announcers with Paul E.’s, “Phil, I am your father” routine, and it’s not clear if it’s because it’s coming from a very real place within their real-life relationship, or if it’s because talking about Daddy Issues would be taken by Triple H as a personal attack on his wife and family.

***

It’s hard to say what got AJ’s pipebomb over more with the people on Twitter: the Bella’s SCREECHING reaction to everything AJ was saying like she was getting in their shot on Total Divas or the Chris Rock mic drop at the end. Either way, kudos to AJ for getting on TV as a wrestler without having to do a Beth Phoenix impression or farting.

***

Oof. There’s a lot to love about Ricardo. I mean that very literally. He was apparently just filling that bucket up with food at craft services.

It’s hard to tell if it’s worse that Rob Van Dam just got handed a PPV match or that this will likely be parlayed into a Rey Mysterio run with the World Heavyweight Championship.

***

Everyone knows that Randy Orton looks better when he is actually trying, but it’s difficult overstate how much better. But, taking a stab at it, whatever the opposite of that hideous neckbeard is on the “good” scale, that’s how much better it is when he gives a shit.

Christian as Jobber to the *Actual* Stars is what should got on that man’s Hall of Fame plaque.

They may have sold another 30,000-50,000 new PPV buys in one night from a story told in 3 five-to-ten minute segments that the crowd was actively engaged in, and all it took was a can of spray paint and a $70,000 dollar car. Why can’t TNA book like this?

***

That win was good for Titus O’Neill. Less good for the Prime Time Players chances of beating the Real Americans in an important tag match any time soon.

***

There’s going to be a breakdown in the Shield, and I agree with Noah (from this week’s episode of Headlock’d), it’s probably to be Seth Rollins on the way out. Which while wonderful for Seth, who should get a pretty great push out of the whole deal, is pretty much a bummer for anyone who has had a chance to watch Daniel Bryan and him work against each other in the ring.

***WARNING*** WRESTLING NERD DISCUSSION ZONE*** ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK TO PARTS UNKNOWN*** These last few segments, from beginning to end, were everything good about the new WWE. The reason so many storylines have worked on so many levels recently in the WWE is that they finally begun to understand how important it is to have well-defined characters react to things that are happening to them, as opposed to generic characters reacting to a storyline. When you establish that Daniel Bryan has a never-say-die attitude, and keeps coming back after getting killed, that’s good booking. When you have Fandango make it VERY clear that he does not care about anything other than himself, and have him walk out of nearly every match then randomly start giving pronunciation lessons on his name immediately afterwards, that’s good booking. And when a guy like Triple H, who has essentially always done what’s best for business (outside of whatever the fuck happened at WM XIX) in-and-outside of the ring (even if people don’t like it) responds to years of criticism of claiming he was doing the the opposite by a significant portion of the viewing (and more importantly, buying) audience ends up giving that segment exactly what they want, while making it seem like he’s trying to do the opposite the entire time, that’s the best possible booking. ***YOU ARE NOW LEAVING THE WRESTLING NERD DISCUSSION ZONE*** ENJOY YOUR COMPLIMENTARY SONIC MILKSHAKE***

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