Best: When the Heels Are Completely Right
I'm pretty sure my least favorite set-up for a title match is when the challenger pins the champion in a tag team match. Of course the singles champion isn't going to look as strong in a tag team match, it's not their specialty. The fact that Rob Van Dam pinned Barrett only after Cesaro completely abandoned him, causing him to take BOTH opponents' finishers before RVD got the pin, makes this even worse. Sheamus is at least half responsible for Barrett getting pinned, where's his title shot? I don't care if he's already United States champion, they've teased the possibility of having a double champion before and then just had the champion in danger of losing his title retain.
In short, this is a really stupid situation, and it was incredibly satisfying to hear Bad News Barrett break it down. Barrett totally has every right to complain here. He just got finished obliterating RVD on Sunday after the least controversial possible conclusion to a match, but due to getting screwed by his tag team partner on Monday, he's stuck fighting with Van Dam's decrepit ass again. Barrett's not just outright complaining about the situation, though, he's still perfectly confident in his chances of taking RVD down again. Barrett was already incredibly entertaining before, but his reign as Intercontinental Champion has transformed him into Bad-Ass Barrett.
Worst: I Sneak Attacked a Guy From Behind, Thereby Proving I Am No Better Than He Is, But Then I Pointed At Myself With My Thumbs, So You Should Still Cheer For Me
What a prick.
Best: A Sensible New Take On an Old Formula
Some tag teams just sort of end without comment. Some end with lame excuses. MANY end with one partner turning on the other. Few if any end with one member resigning from the team but sticking around to try to find a suitable replacement. WWE has found a new way to continue doing very little week-to-week to advance the Rhodes brothers break-up storyline, but for the moment, it's just refreshing to see something different going on. And honestly, if things continue at this rate, we might just get Goldust vs. Cody at SummerSlam rather than on Battleground or whatever, and that's awesome in my book.
The match itself was also really good. Kofi Kingston is actually probably the first guy Cody should've tried recruiting over Sin Cara, but hey, it made for a better, longer match tonight, so I'm not complaining. There's any number of guys that can fill the role of "take a hot tag, hit flurry of offense, die" before the Rhodes storyline moves to the next step, but there aren't likely a lot who will do it as well as Kofi. The guy's practically made to do this and only this as a wrestler, and he always looks his best as part of a tag team. The fact that Kofi and Goldust have each been part of so many different tag teams, and won the championships as part of those teams, actually makes it kind of weird that they never paired up before. Their specialties perfectly match up with each other too - Goldust is great at being the man in danger for the lion's share of the match, and Kofi's great at receiving the hot tag. Really, their mistake was just going up against the Wyatt Family right when Luke Harper and Erick Rowan look like they're on their way to getting pushed towards the title picture.
Best: The Wyatt Family Is Still Plenty Good Without Bray Wyatt
I mean it's not kick-the-wall-down crazy awesome, but Luke Harper and Erick Rowan still carry a lot of presence while Bray Wyatt's absent, and while not nearly as a talker as Bray, Harper is more than competent at cutting backstage promos. The short break from Bray really did the two a whole lot of good while he was away, as it made them momentarily receive a big old spotlight of attention. Between Raw and Main Event, each of them got to show off their finishing move on the way to getting two solid, clean victories, including one over the tag team champions. I think I want to see Harper wrestle Kofi eight hundred more times just to see their competing, spinning finishers go up against each other again and again.
Worst: Nobody's Even Listening To What I'm Saying Anyway
Rob Van Dam countered Barrett's promo insulting him every which-way by doing absolutely nothing to refute any of Barrett's talking points, even the one about him losing grey matter every time he gets hit in the head. In fact, RVD looked his most drugged-out since he made his return, which is of course saying a lot. On top of that, his promo was predictably eye-rollingly bad, and the lowlight was RVD saying it doesn't matter that he lost a match to Barrett on Sunday, because "success isn't measured in wins and losses, but over the course of a career." How the fuck does THAT make any sense? Barrett beat you clean, dude. Time for the next opponent. Come after him again after you earn another title shot. You're not John Cena, you can't just stay in the title picture because you want to. And stop excusing your laziness by proclaiming yourself to be "cool." Yeah, I'm not having any of this shit.
Worst: "Isn't the Old Adage In WWE That You Pin the Champion To Get a Shot At the Championship?"
Worst: It's the Same. Dam. Match.
I'm not going to dignify Rob Van Dam's amazingly repetitive matches by repeating the same criticisms of them over and over again. Take every negative thing you've ever heard spoken about his matches and just come up with your own version of this paragraph. I'm going to do this every time RVD has an unexceptional match on Main Event, because. Just because.
Worst: Too Bad This Whole Thing Gets Resolved On SmackDown!
Cesaro hits the Neutralizer on both Barrett and RVD in response to Barrett calling him a coward at the beginning of the night. This sets up a triple-threat match for the Intercontinental Championship...which happened on Friday's SmackDown. Which ended with Barrett pinning RVD off the Bullhammer. I suppose since Cesaro is almost certainly going to be involved in the Money in the Bank match that a match for the IC title couldn't happen at the next pay-per-view, but it seems like a waste of time to introduce this three-way dispute at the beginning of the week only to blow it off at the end. Not to mention, Barrett was stuck wrestling RVD FOUR TIMES in the span of a week. Is it done now? It's settled, right? Barrett can wrestle other people now? Please? Yes?