[Editor’s note: yes, that is Paul Stanley in the background of the picture. Why do you think we used it as the picture?]
Look, I should’ve admitted this to you a long time ago: I wasn’t a wrestling fan as a kid. While I did play and enjoy WWE video games my one friend with the xbox owned,1 I’ve only really gotten into watching wrestling in the last few years. With that said, the only thing I have to report re: Sting opening RAW on Monday is that while he was on the mic and subsequently arguing with Steph McMahon and the ol’ Tripster, I Wikipedia’d how old Sting is.
Sting is 56 years old.
At Wrestlemania this Sunday, Triple H and Sting are going to “wrestle,” which is to say they’re going to bean each other with a rubber sledgehammer and baseball bat, respectively, because of the obvious technical limitations presented by a wrestling match featuring an AARP candidate. This may well result in an entertaining match, but no matter how it goes, you should bear in mind that Sting is 56 years old, which is a decade and a half too old to be an actual pro baseball player.2
Speaking of possible non-starters with the potential to be great, Bray Wyatt has challenged the Undertaker to a re-murdering, according to his in-ring rhetoric complete with stadium-wide strobe lighting for emphasis. Claiming Taker will finally get to “rest in peace” implies he and Wyatt will do battle in a casket match3 or perform some kind of (mostly) nonviolent AV-assisted ritual that turns Taker to ashes and officially pass the Spooky Wrestler crown to Wyatt.
In Monday’s match featuring a tag team of R-Truth and Dean Ambrose against Stardust and Luke Harper, Intercontinental championship contenders all, Ambrose and R-Truth learned about Luke Harper’s4 trick where he grabs his opponent’s face and jams his fingers into their eyes. Harper’s attacks prove powerless against the momentum with which R-Truth is going over his opponents recently, pinning Stardust for the win. He and Ambrose celebrate by dancing in the ring together, which is real real cute.
ESPN’s Bill Simmons arrives at the announcer’s booth to comment on the ten man tag-team match at hand and immediately begins clowning JBL (offering to take his job once Booker and Cole tire of him) and ultimately brings some fresh perspective to the match, at one point referring to the Miz-Mizdow situation as “Single White Female mixed with wrestling.” Speaking of, Mizdow gets a huge pop upon entering the ring, though of course he doesn’t wrestle for long. Ultimately the crowd demands Ryback, who pins the Miz for the Ryback-Rowan-Primetime Players win against Adam Rose, the Ascension and Miz and Mizdow.
The WWE lets the fans vote on who they want to see wrestle Randy Orton, and I’m surprised Rollins and J&J security didn’t win by a larger landslide than they did (with something like 77% of the vote). Rollins also gets a huge pop upon entering the ring — no matter how hard the WWE tries, the Authority’s poster boy is too popular to remain a heel for long. Rollins naturally runs away from Orton and the match in general, giving Orton ample opportunity to pummel J&J, hit Noble with an RKO and pin him for the win.
The popular girls from your high school battle the goths — Cole and company literally refer to the Bellas and AJ Lee and Paige as such — in a Nikki Bella v. Paige Divas title match. Things go fairly well for Paige until an outside-the-ring smozz results in AJ cold clocking Paige in one of the WWE’s favorite team-breakers, the “I thought you were an approaching enemy and clearly attacked you on accident but of course you don’t believe me so now we’re fighting” trope. Nikki wins easily and Paige and AJ are fighting, again.
Snoop appears to promote his new album and joins Hulk Hogan in tossing Curtis Axel out of the ring when he interrupts Snoop’s self-promotion with his #Axelmania schtick. Immediately following this is an “interspecies” match — “interspecies” because Los Matadores have a little person on their team, El Torito, who fights in a bull costume, resulting in him being deemed “the bull,” “a bull,” or “the bull man,” but never acknowledged as being a little person, because that would be distasteful. Also, El Torito can only fight Natalya from the team of Natalya, Tyson Kidd and Cesaro, because that’s how “interspecies” matches work, apparently. Anyway, Torito pins Natalya for the win.5
Rusev soundly defeats Jack Swagger for the umpteenth time, holding him in his submission move the Accolade long after the bell rings Rusev’s victory. Cena appears to save Swagger, which was apparently Rusev’s plan all along — the Bulgarian-is-close-enough-to-Russian “Russian” slams Cena’s spine into the turnbuckle, tosses him over the announcer’s table, stomps on his spine and holds him in an Accolade until after Cena passes out, causing Sean Penn in Mystic River amounts of referees to descend upon him and eventually break his hold on Cena.
Dean Ambrose is voted by fans to be the guest referee of the Daniel Bryan v. Dolph Ziggler match, rounding out the Intercontinental title contenders. Ziggler somewhat miraculously goes over Bryan in one of the night’s best matches, but is immediately subject to Dirty Deeds at the hands of Ambrose. The ring erupts in a smozz wherein all seven contenders in the ladder match on Sunday brawl in the ring, setting up ladders in an attempt to snatch the Intercontinental title, which already hangs above the ring. Everyone knocks everyone else out, and we’re left with a pre-Mania Lesnar/Reigns stare-down in which they tug-of-war over the Heavyweight title but manage to not actually fight each other.
Wrestlemania airs this Sunday. See you there.
Having no knowledge of pro wrestling lore at the time, in hindsight I’m proud of my adolescent decision to exclusively play as Rey Mysterio or Ric Flair. ↩
where Wyatt could either officially retire the dead man or kick off a comeback rally, resulting in Taker avenging his first Wrestlemania defeat against Brock Lesnar last year. Lesnar having just announced he’s retired from MMA and has signed another contract with the WWE, we’re likely to continue to see him embroiled in a main event story line, whether he retains the Heavyweight title (likely) or not. ↩
Does that handkerchief perennially hanging from his back pocket mean he’s flagging on live TV? ↩
Couldn’t they have paired up Adam Rose and the Bunny with someone else, allowing El Torito and the Bunny to battle it out? This begs the question, how is it the WWE has come to have two wrestlers in their stables who are exclusively acknowledged as sentient animals? ↩