There is a lot that goes into a pro wrestling broadcast. You have a (hopefully) rowdy crowd that is making noise that sparks energy in the arena. The commentary team is tasked with framing the action by entertainingly describing what the fans at home are watching. The wrestlers not only have to provide the action in the ring, but bring their A-game outside the ring to make the people care about and understand their motivations.
It’s not always easy to find value in the spoken word in WWE, but we’re giving in an honest effort.
Here are some of the top quotes of the week:
Graves reminds us why he’s the cream of the crop
This week’s MVP (not the wrestler) is Raw commentary team member Corey Graves. He is very similar in style to the kind of commentator that JBL used to be. He knows what’s going on in the ring, he can speak from experience and he’s incredibly quick witted. A man with a silver tongue, if you will. Let’s start with this gem:
“I’ve seen Rusev backstage all day. He’s disconsolate. He won’t speak to anybody but Lana. He’s always in a bad mood but somehow he’s in an even worse mood tonight.” – Corey Graves on how Rusev may not be the same guy Reigns beat the night before at Clash of Champions.
Right off the bat, very early on in the show, we were treated to a lesson in diction. Disconsolate? What kind of person uses a word like that while speaking to 2 million wrestling fans at the beginning of a three-hour broadcast? Give us time to get acclimated to the situation first, Graves. At least he didn’t use it in the third hour of the harrowing marathon that Raw often turns out to be most weeks. Minds likely would have exploded and left couches across the country covered in stains that would never come out.
Foley’s message to Sheamus and Cesaro
“You think I’m messing with you? I’m not messing with you! I’m gonna tell you what I saw last night. Me, Michael Hayes, Arn Anderson, three WWE Hall of Famers sitting at a table. Jaws open, I got tears in my eyes! You know why? Because I believed in you and because you proved everybody out there wrong and you proved me right. You proved that the best-of-seven seventh match could steal the show. It’s a damn good show, and you stole it!” – Mick Foley on the final match of the Best of Seven series between Cesaro and Sheamus.
Moving on to something with more steak and not quite as much sizzle, we have Mick Foley. While the general manager of Raw has been stumbling, to put it very nicely, just about every time he gets a live microphone in the middle of the ring, he generally tends to be the old Mick Foley backstage. His outburst at Stephanie McMahon one week after Triple H handed Kevin Owens the Universal Championship showed the emotion that people have come to expect from the veteran. Let us never again speak about the introductions of the four participants in the No. 1 contender’s match for the Cruiserweight Championship.
I bring those painstaking few minutes to attention now because his impassioned speech toward Sheamus and Cesaro was somewhere in the middle. Foley’s sentiment was right on the mark, and even though many people seem to be underwhelmed and disappointed by the lack of a winner in the best-of-seven series, Foley’s decision to team them up actually made a great deal of sense. He is concerned about the well-being of two of his show’s top guys, and not just because they’re his meal tickets, but because they’re two human beings. That was a wonderful touch and it is something Mick has been doing a fantastic job conveying. He cares about the men and women who work for him and takes his responsibility very seriously.
My only criticism regarding the promo was how Foley delivered his lines. It got better after he went deeper into the important context he was conveying, but when he first interrupted the argument, he went all in and what he said came out as a screaming whine, and it was very off-putting. He recovered well and his investment in the two men came through in a genuine manner. It may have made more of an impact if this was set in the ring as opposed to backstage, but it was an important segment nonetheless.
Rollins loses patience with Foley
“I see your lips moving, but all I hear are Stephanie McMahon’s words coming out of your mouth.” – Seth Rollins to Mick Foley, who was attempting to stop him from interrupting “The Highlight Reel.”
A big contrast to the previous quote comes from Seth Rollins. He feels that he has been wronged and held back from every opportunity since he returned from his injury, and he fully believes that both Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley are in on the conspiracy being led against him. Rollins wanted to believe that Foley was better than that, but this statement shows that at this point, Seth no longer believes that the man who claims to be “his” general manager doesn’t have his best interests at heart. He accused Foley of being just another corporate puppet afraid of losing his job.
Intentional or not, that’s a great callback to Foley’s plea a few weeks ago for everybody to get it together because he needs this job. This is all he has, and if he doesn’t succeed as the GM, he expects to lose his WWE Network show and everything else that WWE affords him. If Foley wants to keep his job, one surefire way to do so is, as the Raw commissioner’s father used to say, “Don’t cross the boss.”