As Bad As It Gets: Disaster Strikes Junior High Recess

Nick Paglino

AJ LeeIf the buy rate for the Money in the Bank PPV depended solely on the go-home Raw, WWE would flirt with John Blutarsky territory: Zero-point-zero. WHAT A FRIGGIN’ DISASTER.

The main event got ruined. The special referee, the diva, became the focus. It’s not A.J.’s fault; if it is, it’s her fault for being too good. A.J. turned in a couple show-stealing performances.

BUT THAT DOESN’T MEAN YOU GIVE HER THE SHOW.

The matter of A.J. angling to unite with her true love (whoever that is) has emasculated Daniel Bryan and especially C.M. Punk (the heel is supposed to look stupid sometimes, but not the babyface) and reduced the WWE championship to total insignificance.

Divas don’t deliver payoffs. They’re meant to enhance, period. They’re totally interchangeable, and DON’T DRAW MONEY.

But A.J. cut some great promos, her facials are excellent and so, in knee-jerk fashion, WWE made her the hub of the storyline. Monday night, she Peter Principle’d out and killed MitB.

The anonymous Raw GM returned, and was revealed. It was the little person, because LITTLE PEOPLE ARE FUNNY!

Hornswoggle has been mute much of his WWE career, but we’re to believe he articulated all those erudite e-mails from UNDER THE RING. Who made Hornswoggle the anonymous GM? Did he somehow seize power on his own? IT MADE NO SENSE.

But mostly, it WASN’T FUNNY. Vince McMahon believes in lowest common denominator humor. Now that’s all he’s got left. As per my column last month, 5 million wrestling fans are still MIA.

One man stood out. One guy provided Raw with a respectable moment. John Cena cut a textbook go-home promo defining the importance and glory of both the MitB match and the WWE title. I’m glad someone has a modicum of pride, smarts and savvy.

Actually, I’m pretty sure Punk does, too. His pained expressions during his exchanges with Bryan and A.J. seemed a bit too real.

Raw is supposed to be PG, as highlighted by WWE’s pro-bullying campaign. (C’mon, watch the show. They can’t possibly be against it.) But, in the attempt to be kid-friendly, they’ve become a bad Nickelodeon tweener show. Hannah Montana in tights.

It’s junior high recess. Punk and Bryan are fighting over a girl, except neither one really likes her. The girl skips around the playground because she knows the guys are watching. Jack Swagger is the big, bumbling oaf who hasn’t grown into his size. Dolph Ziggler is the dumb jock with the loudmouthed mother. Cena’s the cool kid, but half the class hates him because he’s cool. McMahon is Mr. Belding more than he’d ever admit.

It’s dumb, sophomoric and juvenile. Watching Monday’s Raw, I was stunned by how awful it was. Two hours of USELESS.

So naturally, they’re going to three hours. Shrewd move.

I’m further amazed by just how little talent there is. Take Swagger. He’s thought of as an occasional main-eventer and a long-term cornerstone. He’s already been world champ.

But what’s Swagger got going for him? He can’t talk. He’s an OK worker, not great, and he’s funny-looking. His head’s too big for his body, his teeth too big for his head. In the late ‘90s, Swagger could not have gotten on TV. Look at wrestlers who got lost in the shuffle then, talented performers like Shane Douglas. You think Swagger now is better than Douglas was then? Please.

Mark Madden hosts a radio show 3-6 p.m.weekdays on WXDX-FM, Pittsburgh, PA(105.9). Check out his wbe page at WXDX.com. Contact Mark by emailing wzmarkmadden@hotmail.com. FOLLOW MARK ON TWITTER: @MarkMaddenX

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