Monday Night Raw
1. I Now Have Whiplash. You know what? Maybe I should lay my name down on the "suing WWE" dogpile they've been forming lately, because goddammit I cannot care less about AJ as GM. I was so super excited when it happened. Yeah, it was random, but it had such amazing potential of being a fighting-against-the-odds story where none of the roster took her seriously and she had to work really hard to get the respect of the locker room as their new boss. But they didn't run it that way. I think they're trying to run it as a power-trip story, but it's not even working as that. The girl can be really entertaining, but unfortunately, she's usually scripted to be looking blankly into the distance to avoid dealing with the issues she has to face as a GM, having screaming fits when she actually needs to get the attention of a group of unruly superstars, and just generally being really sloppily written. If they're trying to write her as crazy, this isn't how you do it. Sure, she's annoyed at the notion of needing a coach to improve her job performance. There's no one on earth who wouldn't be, because we all like to think of ourselves as doing just fine on our own. The difference between a normal person being coached on the job, and AJ being coached on the job, is that a normal person realizes there's a reason that coach is there and at least tries to find a lesson to be learned. You know, listening to the coach, saying the right things at the right time, and looking forward to not being coached anymore. AJ had pretty much the exact opposite reaction, as she spent the entire night being an exceptionally horrible person, blatantly not taking the guy seriously, and then kicking him out three hours later. I'm pretty sure that's how you get fired in most workplaces. Now, to be fair, there was actually one thing that worked for it, and that was her insistence that Mr. Nobody can't possibly know how to coach her because he's never been inside the business. It was actually kind of a good point she made; it's just too bad it got buried underneath all the rest of that ridiculous bipolar mess.
2. How Will I Know If He Really Loves Me? See, in my head, that's the song that started playing at the end of the debate between Sheamus and Big Show as they stood face to face for that money shot that's needed for every championship match promo. I hate politics in my wrestling. The debate was a debacle. Sheamus is pretty much the worst person ever next to AJ. Big Show was actually kind of entertaining here. He delivered his opening statement perfectly, chose to defend his personal hygiene before his honor, destroyed a podium and asked for another, and took the issue of the World Heavyweight Championship much more seriously than Sheamus. Sheamus tried to say that he took it seriously. Words are great like that. You can say anything you want. Nobody said it had to be true.
3. Punk is Creepy and I Like It. JR Appreciation Night. CM Punk did his regular thing that he does now and he interrupted Jim Ross to try to get him to say that Punk is the best in the world. Inexplicably, JR expressed the same thoughts that everyone else has about facing John Cena at Hell in a Cell. (Incidentally, I am now seriously considering putting together and entire "Green Eggs & Ham" style poem about all the different ways Punk needs to beat Cana tentatively titled "Green Merch & Fans") Punk kicked him out of the ring, and then the most wildly creepy and awesome thing happened. JR turned to go back to the commentary table, but before he could make it two steps, Punk grabbed him by the arm and asked him, "Where do you think you're going?" You see, when the WWE Champion tells you to get out of his ring, you should say, "Yes, sir, which direction?" I should honestly be very uncomfortable with Punk playing the abusive boyfriend part, but holy crap, it was so over the top that I can't even overanalyze it like that.
1. Bout Damn Time. Al Snow, after reviewing the contract with Bruce Pritchard, called Joey Ryan out from the back early on in the show. To avoid a lawsuit, the company apparently agreed to some demands from Ryan, including giving him a contract. Al tried to warn Joey before he signed it, but the Sleaze was so focused on having apparently won the war that he didn't listen until it was too late. The contract was only good for one night, so yes, we're going to get Joey Ryan v. Al Snow at Bound For Glory as Ryan fights for a chance at a full contract. The amazing part to me here was just how much heat Joey Ryan was getting from the in-house crowd this week. I now need to see Joey Ryan and Zema Ion team up in some form or another. They would be magical together.
2. AND THE DOOR'S LOCKED, TOO! Well, pretty much the best part of the night was Bully Ray making his case to Sting, who, by the way, I misunderstood as also being against the rules like Hogan last week. However, apparently, Sting is cool to wrestle the biker gang, so now he just needs a partner. Bully's case, by the way, is that Aces & Eights are the reason he's not in the title match, so he wants them worse than anyone else on the roster. Sting's insanity mixed with Bully Ray's entertaining-as-fuck-heel-so-deal-with-it-ness played off of each other really well, and the segment ended with Sting telling Bully to go find someone to beat up, because "I NEED A BULLY! I'M PISSED!" Unfortunately, I was pretty exhausted on Thursday and ended up having to give up and go to bed before the big match. It looks like he won his match, Hogan and Sting still picked Mr. Anderson anyway (for no apparent reason), Anderson got attacked backstage before he could come to the ring, and Bully Ray slid in there and took the spot anyway. Seems kind of pointless to have the fake-out choice there, but whatever. It's TNA, I don't question it.
3. Bruce Pritchard is a better GM than AJ & Booker combined. Much like AJ, he doesn't really do much of anything. But much like Booker T, he wants there to be accountability for the insanity that has been happening in the ring. Here's the difference, though. Booker T is going to hear both sides of the story and go, "Well this is tough, I need to think about this, I don't know what to do about it", and wander off, trying to figure out just what it is exactly that Teddy Long does. Bruce Pritchard knows the full job description of every backstage employee and goes, "DO YOU SEE THIS? THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE. GO FIX IT RIGHT THE FUCK NOW." We saw it last week with Al Snow being berated for hitting Joey Ryan, and we see it again this week, as D'Lo is asked, "HOW THE FUCK DID MATT MORGAN MAKE IT TO THE RING? YOU NEED TO STEP UP YOUR GAME RIGHT THE FUCK NOW." You really get the feeling that these guys are Bruce's unruly teenage sons who keep getting in trouble with their wild pranks, even though they know better because their dad is chief of police and it's pretty much a given that there will be an extreme scolding as soon as they walk back in the door.
Friday Night Smackdown!
1. All Aboard the Del Rio Train! So Mike is the one who got me on this bandwagon. I didn't start out liking Alberto Del Rio, and I don't necessarily get all giddy when he shows up like my dear boyfriend does, but I have to admit the boy has a point. Del Rio is pretty great when he's allowed to be. He's been so stifled for so long being forced into an unnatural an uninteresting feud with Sheamus, the World's Blandest Champion, that I'd kind of forgotten what it was that made Del Rio so great in the first place. The man can actually be really entertaining, as we saw when he came down the ramp to Randy Orton\s music, called him a dog (which he needs to never stop doing), and even struck Orton's pose, probably better than Orton does it. This would have been greater if Otunga hadn't been addressing the WWE Universe in his underpants first, which was a dead giveaway that this was all just leading up to a match. I need to see Otunga start wearing his trunks under his lawyer pants at all shows now, because he's had too much experience now with, "I'm not even scheduled to compete tonight!" and there's something silly about Otunga just walking around backstage in his gear without a match to look forward to. Otunga is a professional, dammit, and he should wear a suit and sip on his coffee thermos at all times that he is not wrestling.
2. Booker's Terrible GMing. So this is what I was getting at before when I was talking about Bruce Pritchard. I realize that Bruce is not the GM of the show, but GM appears to just be a decorative title these days, and no one holding that title seems really worthy of it. In the case of Booker T, I would have said a couple of weeks ago, well at least he's trying... But he kind of really isn't trying. He's making a show to make it look like he's trying. Listen, I'm a manager at my job, and I get that it can be difficult if two of the employees don't get along, but I'm generally being pretty proactive about talking to the different parties, getting their sides of the story, and trying to make a plan that will work to resolve the dispute. Here's Booker's take: He walks in on Teddy accusing Eve of having Kaitlyn attacked and giving her the "If I was in charge" speech. Booker's GM brain's first priority, remind Teddy who is in charge around here. Here he knows he has a problem and he should try to address it. He also has enough courtesy & sense to know that he shouldn't reprimand one employee in front of another employee, so he asks Eve to leave the room. And then, instead of the proper response of, "Teddy, is everything alright, man? Talk to me; tell me how you feel." he instead accuses Teddy of acting jealously, doesn't really let Teddy respond to the accusation, puffs out his chest and declares that bickering is strictly forbidden, and then forgets the next step in Respectful Workplace 101 and takes the easy go-to route of, "I gots bid-ness to attend to." exit stage left.
3. I Hear You, I Just Don't Care. That was the final message from CM Punk this week. Yeah, yeah, yeah, everyone is telling him he needs to face John Cena, the fans want him to face John Cena, King Mo wants to see him face John Cena. Therefore, he's not going to face John Cena. I realize that there was probably a lot of stalling going on here as well because of Cena's surgery, but I actually like the consistent refusal of the match here. I like it a hell of a lot better than Brock Lesnar's thing from this summer, anyway. Then again, we all knew Brock was a temporary commodity, and of course he was going to eventually agree to the match, but in this case, we don't know that from Punk. He might still get pushed over the edge at some point. Whatever. We are patient. We can wait. And when CM Punk speaks, we will listen.