On this week's episode of Raw is Lavar and the Ball Zone, a couple of young kids who are very good at basketball showed up with their clearly off his tits father, who was, for some reason no one will ever understand, given a microphone so that his words would be amplified for all to hear.
I don't have clue one what WWE was hoping to accomplish with this segment, beyond the obvious "just get a moderately famous person on the show because he has a connection to the city we're in so we can get free publicity when it's covered by outlets that wouldn't normally pay us any attention." That being the case, maybe it was a good thing he responded to The Miz challenging him by taking his shirt off, practicing some form of karate, and then just running around the ring.
He even interrupted Dean Ambrose's promo, who came out for the sole purpose of plugging the Big Baller Brand t-shirt before mercifully bringing the segment to an awkward end by getting to a commercial break just before a meaningless match no one cared all that much about because they were still trying to figure out what the hell had just happened.
What's amazing about all this is that the segment was an utter trainwreck but because this is pro wrestling and, more specifically, WWE, it might actually be considered a success.
How about that?
How fun is this Samoa Joe push?
That's what this is, you know. Everything about this feud with Brock Lesnar has been about establishing him as the worthy challenger and they've done so in spades, first by booking him to look like a badass killer with a seductive murder of Paul Heyman, followed by his going toe-to-toe and holding his own in a pull apart brawl, before getting to what they did this week.
LOOK AT HIS FACE:
Brock Lesnar is one hell of a monster, a physical specimen like no other in pro wrestling. That makes him a freak, yes, but what really puts him over the top as a pro wrestler is his ability to make you believe in the man facing him. He legitimately looks like he's being choked to death here, and he's shocked into disbelief that his size and strength couldn't save him.
The proof that all involved have done a great job of getting Joe over came when the crowd chanted to let them fight. That's a great success considering this was getting little more than "oh, so Joe is who they're feeding to Lesnar next, whatever" when it was first announced.
The new Roman Reigns, who acknowledges the hate for him and plays off it in his promos -- either they aren't scripting him as much, giving him free reign to work with the script he is given, or he's finally figured out how to be natural while working with a script -- is a real delight.
He's also a real dumbass.
At least for this show.
First, he says he's going to put Braun Strowman in an ambulance and then drive him to hell, I guess because he doesn't understand that he wins the match just by getting Strowman into the ambulance. Also, why would you drive him to hell yourself, that means you're going to hell too, you idiot.
Then an actual ambulance shows up and Reigns, because he's real smart, you see, decides to go right up to it and open the back door, expecting to find Strowman. He, of course, does not. Instead, he's attacked from behind, something he should have known was coming because everyone in the audience started freaking out when Braun's big ass showed up.
Reigns didn't react to the sudden noise AT ALL. Come on, man! That kind of stupidity deserved to be rewarded with pain, and Strowman obliged by throwing him off the stage into the side of the ambulance.
That's the stuff.
When Enzo Amore initially hit the stage dancing and doing his schtick like it was any other week it felt off. After all, he was literally only here to address the fact that his entire existence in WWE is in question after his tag partner turned on him and left him for dead.
But you know what? Enzo is EXACTLY the kind of dude who would hear his music and forget that he's supposed to be really sad about his life.
Then, something amazing happened.
They told a great story.
Enzo, instead of immediately vowing revenge, acted human. He pleaded with Cass to come out and talk to him, then admitted to some of the faults Cass criticized him for the week prior before essentially begging Cass to take him back. This was powerful because Enzo was essentially admitting to a reality it was unclear if he was ever aware of, that he IS a sniveling little shit and he DOES need help from someone who can take care of him and cover for his faults. That's something you can connect to.
He also made you believe in it with yet another amazing performance, pleading with someone he loves and cares about not to leave him, not like this, because he cares too much. And Cass was equally good when it looked like he had second thoughts and came to the conclusion that, yeah, why break this up, it means too much to the both of them, even if Enzo is a little shit sometimes. That's family. You fight and you forgive.
And it felt right, too, because you never see this in WWE, not like this. It felt good, and they sold it as long as possible.
Right up to Cass laying him out again, even more vicious this time, throwing him down the ramp and kicking his face off to the side. What a bastard.
They got me, and it felt good to be had.
All the best to all the rest
Six-man action: I don't know why WWE believes the best way to keep feuds going is to have wrestlers wrestle each other a million times in all the ways they can, this time pairing The Hardy Men with Finn Balor and putting Cesaro & Sheamus with Elias Samson to get them all in a match but the fatigue is real and it steals interest in a bad way. Josh Duhamel showing up for commentary doesn't help either. That said, pro wrestling is also about cool shit you can't get elsewhere, like this:
A positively WONDERFUL alliance. pic.twitter.com/pvgC4hy3Kn— TDE Wrestling (@totaldivaseps) June 27, 2017
Goldust: They spent weeks on really lame vignettes leading to Goldust beating up R-Truth with a personal cameraman following him around before they could have a match. This was really lame and no one cared.
Same old: Is it just me or do they literally have a template for all Bray Wyatt feuds and they're following it yet again with Seth Rollins as his foe this time? The angle is good, yes, but don't we need something more than titantron promos?
Titus Worldwide: Titus O'Neil is making the cruiserweight division on Raw interesting.
Gauntlet: They really did a number on Bayley, considering the reaction she got here, and maybe her getting beat up and pinned right away in a number one contender match was an indication they're just hitting reset with the character. It got funky from there because Nia Jax was the one to pin her before almost going the distance -- defeating Bayley, Mickie James, Dana Brooke, and Emma -- to become top contender before fading at the end and losing to Sasha Banks. It felt like a turn for her, the kind of performance you can't help but appreciate as a fan. That's why the crowd wasn't sure how to react to Banks submitting her. Even more bizarre, Kurt Angle hit the scene to raise Sasha's hand just so Alexa Bliss could come out and fall prey to a surprise attack (from the front mind you, and it was a drop kick). Just weird booking all around. But, hey, Banks vs. Bliss should be fun.
This was a fun show!