Ain't that a nice, exploitable image?
This post is wayyyy late, but if you watched this episode, you probably wouldn't blame me. It's frequently disheartening and ends on an absolute garbage of a promo. But hey, if you want to read me bitch about something that I supposedly enjoy watching and talking about, then move along past the break.
Best: Ziggler-Swagger Matches Are The Best/
Worst: This Match As A Setup For The Exotic Express
For all that Dolph Ziggler and Kofi Kingston seem to think they're each other's ideal opponents, they're really not. Jack Swagger is Dolph Ziggler's ideal opponent, provided he's not kicking him into concussion land. The two are absolutely incredible together here, and in a spot where it's completely wasted too. The two just fit so well together, playing off of each others' amateur backgrounds and bumping like hell for each other. Ziggler of course is known for selling like crazy, but it seems so much more realistic coming from a beast like Swagger, and Swagger's also going the extra mile to look Ziggler look good as well, including an awesome back-flip off the Zig-Zag at the end. There are so many great little moments all throughout this match, with Ziggler getting brutally tossed out of the ring twice, escaping the Patriot Lock by wheelbarrow walking Swagger's face into the corner, a perfectly-timed leg lift to counter the Swagger Bomb, the absurd vertical that Ziggler gets for the jumping DDT... I could watch the first 80% of this match on a loop. The greatest tragedy of Ziggler's aborted title reign might actually be that these two never got to feud over the World Heavyweight Championship. Instead they're wrestling on the C-show with absolutely nothing at stake, it's a throwaway contest purely to be used as an excuse for Adam Rose and the Exotic Express to come out, bother Zeb Colter, and give Swagger a distraction loss. This is the kind of shit you should be using Kofi Kingston for, but then again, Dolph Ziggler is at the level Kofi was a year ago.
The most disheartening thing is when Adam Rose invites Ziggler to party with the Exotic Express and he does, and proceeds to fade into the background right in the middle of Rose's nameless, unimportant entourage members. There is a nice touch with the attractive women seemingly being the thing that convinces Ziggler to stick around for a bit, but the guy takes the position in the conga line where he could not possibly be any less noticeable. The guy has fallen into the deepest, darkest pit of mid-card Hell where his character is meaningless, and he exists solely as a prop. People have made comparisons between Ziggler's fall from favor with that of Zack Ryder, but the difference between them is that Ziggler is one of the best wrestlers on the planet and has enthusiasm (if not charisma) to match. If the guy never crawls out of this position again, it'll be a damn shame.
Best: Zeb Colter As Adam Rose's First Feud
It's probably because I wasn't really convinced that Adam Rose should debut as a face, but I'm kind of kicking myself over the fact that I didn't predict that he would break into the main roster by feuding with Zeb Colter. What better way to introduce a care-free party freak with a heavy accent and an entourage of weird people from all over the world than by throwing him against a stuffy old xenophobe? Zeb's on color commentary during the Ziggler-Swagger match and for the most part he's quite good - a little shaky during dull stretches of the match - but the real highlight is when Adam Rose comes out and he immediately starts lamenting about the state of the world's future once today's youth gets in charge. Pay no mind to the fact that Rose is in his mid-30s and looks it, the entire dynamic of their conflict is basically perfect. I seriously want to believe that Rose is genuine in his concern over Swagger and Colter being all sour and grumpy, and was not actually trying to cause Swagger to lose. Being that nearly a full week has passed since this segment aired, I can now pretty safely say that it's probably Rose's best segment in the short time since he debuted. For whatever reason it just worked a lot better than either of his appearances on Raw. I get the feeling that it's inevitable that Rose starts losing some members of his entourage, and then it'll just look very sad when he comes out, so it's nice that at some point early on, everything actually went right.
Worst: I Have To Explain Why I Hate Natalya Now
The six-women tag team match pitted both Funkadactyls and Natalya against FOXSANA and Tamina Snuka. Natalya worked as the face in danger before getting the hot tag to Naomi, who looked pretty damn sloppy as she got the win, though I chalk about 30% of that up to her working with Aksana. You know, the girl who damn near fucking blinded her a few months ago. Here's the thing: the story of the match came from a bit on Total Divas where Cameron almost lost Natalya's cat. It didn't play any part in the match because who the hell wants to see Cameron wrestle, but there was clear tension between the two before and after.
This leads me into the segment header. Every single time I mention that Natalya's awful, someone says "No she doesn't. She's the most under-appreciated, best wrestler in the Divas division." To those people I say: Natalya's not even the most under-appreciated, best wrestler in this match. True, Natalya has gotten saddled with some really goddamn stupid character angles, particularly in the horrible span between the break-up of the Divas of Destruction and the start of Total Divas. Nobody deserves the shit she went through then. But being on Total Divas has really not done Natalya any favors, aside from getting her out of that "Hang around with the Oddities and fart" rut. In contrast to the positives the show has managed to enact, like the Bellas no longer being interchangeable, Natalya has been exposed as kind of hypocritical. For a woman who prides herself on her wrestling family roots and joined the show with the expressed purpose of demonstrating that she's earned her position through hard work as opposed to the negative stereotypes associated with WWE's Divas, the woman has gotten involved in some really stupid shit that makes her look just as shallow as her peers. It's eye-rolling enough whenever the female wrestlers on WWE's roster are treated as lesser characters in comparison to the men, but it's enraging when Natalya gladly puts herself through it for the sake of getting noticed and then still acts like she's above the other women doing the same.
And now let's talk about her wrestling, because it's supposed to be the thing that makes her superior to the rest of the women's roster. The thing is, people mistake technical knowledge for full, general talent a lot of the time, and this is one of those times. Natalya is perfectly competent at chain-wrestling and various submission holds, but her live performances are absolutely miserable. Every single thing she does to get a pop is cringe-worthy, from her run-up-the-back-then-come-back-for-a-dropkick thing to her complete refusal to sell effectively to her spinning discuss clothesline, which looks so weak when she hits it that she might as well spin in the opposite direction. And all of this she does with this blank, mouth-slightly-unless-her-teeth-are-clenched-shut look on her face, which indicates that she's so focused on wrestling properly that she's not even wrestling as a character. Oh, but she does the Sharpshooter! Yeah, and she puts it on about as reliably as Miz puts on the Figure-Four. Natalya has some strong points as a wrestler, but she can't wrestle as a babyface to save her life.
So she's insufferable as a character and mind-numbing as a wrestler. There's only so much of that that you can excuse with the way that she's utilized.
Mr. T's bizarre goddamn Hall of Fame acceptance speech was one of the strangest things to witness unfold, but it was also entertaining as crap. So some idiot who had just got done watching an Auto-tune the News video decided to 'remix' some highlights of T's speech, photoshop some images, and thereby be 'funny'. The person who thought this would be a good idea should be fired. And issue a public apology. And personally apologize to his momma.
Worst: Storylines Advancing At The Pace Of A Slug Who Refuses To Ask For Directions
"Hey guys, you know how one week we had Cody lose to Del Rio, and then on Main Event Goldust beat Del Rio emphatically? What if we did something sort of like that, except Cody lost to Ryback on a fluke and Goldust emphatically beat Curtis Axel?"
Cody and Goldust are so much better than this storyline. You can tell just by looking at them. Their facial expressions alone - Goldust's of naive happiness and Cody's of forced joy - tell the story even without the commentators doing it for them. This break-up storyline is so by-the-numbers basic, and is placed on the card in such a way that it's completely forgettable, and it frustrates the hell out of me. These two were the hottest thing going in WWE six months ago, and now nobody cares about them. Nobody but me. Sigh.
Worst: John Cena Thinks People Who Like The Wyatt Family Are Morons
So in a speech capped by a passionate reiteration that he's never, ever going to undergo a character tweak which might make him interesting again, John Cena questioned why people are so willing to follow Bray Wyatt. To this I ask: who the fuck is following Bray Wyatt that you're referring to? The kids? The twenty or so kids who wore masks and sang and that's it? The only grown adult who joined the Wyatt Family did so in order to sabotage them from within, so who the hell is joining the Wyatt Family that has him so concerned? Is it kids? Really really stupid, impressionable, comfortable with huge hairy smelly men creeping around in the darkness kids? Because I'm pretty sure no actual kids go for that. Especially none of the kids who would listen to John Cena. There's no reason for Cena to even need to explain why Bray's bad news to kids like that. He'd be halfway through explaining "You shouldn't listen to him kids, he's a dangerous liar," before they screamed "I LUV YOU JAHN SEENA, BRAY WAYT'S FAT AN' UGLY AN' SCARY."
So let's instead imagine that Cena's talking about adults following the Wyatt Family. What's he going to do to turn them off of Bray Wyatt? By dropping the amazing revelation that -GASP- Bray Wyatt's a cult leader! He makes you sing "He's Got The Whole World In His Hands" because he wants you to think he's got the whole world in his hands. He makes you wear sheep masks because he wants you to follow him like sheep. John, the guy showed up nine months ago proclaiming himself the eater of worlds. He crab walks like he's possessed by a demon. He went into his match against YOU with his theme song being played by men wearing fucking plague doctor masks. Before he started singing hymnals, he just shouted a people to "Follow the buzzards" because he planned to leave a trail of dead bodies in his wake. OF COURSE HE'S AN EVIL CULT LEADER. Did Cena himself only come to this realization like a couple days ago, so he thinks that nobody else has seen it either? Does he think Bray Wyatt's got some sterling reputation in the community built upon a carefully-maintained web of lies? The dude declared himself a god on national television and declared his intent to burn the world down and rebuild it in his image, and to make the point of "This man is dangerous" you felt like you had to play that quote twice? Give me a break. Get off the stage so I can get to the-
Worst: This Segment Happened Instead of A Main Event Match