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Top-Down Smackdown: Mr. Nelson Rules!

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WWE

Can I just say that Eva Marie’s dad, Barry Nelson, is my favorite character on any WWE program right now? He’s loud, unapologetically Roman Catholic and superior about it, possibly in denial about his health, and seemingly a good dude deep down. The way he shut down the idea that he should have a bucket list just because he has colon cancer was such a good moment I have to wonder how planned it was, if at all. You never know with Total Divas.

But I think the lesson here is this: you take a real guy with a brash personality, (presumably) tell him to amp it up on camera, and let him do his thing, unscripted. What a concept! I think certain people could learn from that. When I think back to what WWE did with Torrie Wilson’s dad, I cringe – but Barry, who is presumably not healthy enough to appear as a regular character on wrestling shows, needs to at least get a vignette at WrestleMania.

I half-watched most of WWE FastLane on mute on my laptop while the Oscars were on, and don’t feel like I was cheated in any way. Props to Daniel Bryan for making Roman Reigns look really good in singles competition (the opposite of how Alberto Del Rio made Batista look like an easily winded chump this time last year). And I like that the Miz/Sandow feud is getting a slow build – it’ll be electric when Sandow finally snaps and nearly beats Miz to death.

Now, could they have done this Sting angle much worse than they’re doing? You debut him in November and don’t have him do or say anything till March. Then, instead of setting up the dream match of Sting vs. Undertaker that everyone wants to see, Triple H hogs the spotlight instead. And not only that, but he makes it a WWE vs. WCW bout, with WWE as the bad guys, getting the fans to boo the brand they’re loyal to. It’s muddle-headed thinking, but at least Triple H can generally be counted on to give a good match and not get too bothered by putting someone over (these days, anyway).

Commenter Girlgeek4girls suggested that Undertaker chose Bray Wyatt to be his opponent, which makes sense since I can’t imagine it would automatically have been Vince’s first choice. I still don’t quite get why everyone loves Wyatt so much – his tittering feels like a high-school drama impersonation of a psychopath, and he doesn’t have the same kind of personal intensity that sort of charismatic cult leader would normally have (ironically, I think Luke Harper absolutely does, as his solo Titantron video focusing on his eyes evinces). The spider-walk thing is cool, but is he really an outstanding wrestler beyond that? He needs less gimmickry to prove it.

With that said, is the Undertaker up for another match? He looked absolutely terrible last year, and his loss to Brock came across like an old dog being put out of his misery. Wyatt will have to rise to the occasion in a big way if, at any point, it falls on him to carry the match.

I suppose it’s a no-brainer now that we’ll see Jon Stewart at WrestleMania – after he responded to an offhand remark by Seth Rollins with a promo that indicated he was well up on his WWE storylines, I have to think he’ll pair up with someone like Dolph Ziggler. Not to wrestle – WWE is smarter than Jay Leno-era WCW about that – but maybe as a special corner man, getting in one cheap shot against Jamie Noble.

‘Mania could be quite interesting…if not necessarily “good.”

Talk back about Raw below.

About Author

Luke Y. Thompson has been writing professionally about movies and pop-culture since 1999, and has also been an actor in some extremely cheap culty and horror movies you will probably never hear much about (he is nonetheless mostly proud of them, as he met his wife on one). As editor of The Robot's Voice since 2012, he can take the blame for the majority of the site's content, all of which he creates because he loves you very, very much. (Although he loves nachos more. Sorry.) Prior to TRV, Luke wrote for publications that include the New Times LA, Los Angeles CityBeat, E! Online, OC Weekly, Geekweek, GeekChicDaily, The L.A. Times, The Village Voice, LA Weekly, and Nerdist