“Monday Night Raw” Post-Mortem

Monday Night Raw
Monday, November 24
Providence, RI

If you’re gonna watch wrestling, you need the right food. If you’re lucky enough to be on-site, try the nachos and a large Coke. Dunno how much they cost, but I’m sure they wouldn’t cheat you. John Cena wouldn’t stand for it. (If he walks by, complain!) But if, like me, you’re at home, you must rely on the nearest purveyor of deep-fried edibles. A sandwich or bowl of hot minestrone will work in a pinch, but I highly recommend you plan these things out. Me, I’m strategically located in a bustling uptown with my choice of restaurants: Wendy’s, Arby’s, Jack in the Box, Panda Express, Burger King, and Del Taco. Most are OK, but I have a sentimental attachment to the Jack.

See, I used to live in Southern California, in the sleepy town of Pico Rivera. Jack stood proud at the end of my block (Washington/Rosemead), across from a Weinerschnitzel and a McDonald’s, neither of which rotted my colon the right way. Jack had the goods. Jack still has the goods. Because even though I now live a thousand miles from the Pico and its El Rancho Dons, Jack came with me and set up camp three streets from my humble abode.

I leave my apartment at 8:40 p.m., 20 minutes before liftoff. It’s a TV show, so it won’t wait for you. Give yourself plenty of time to order, fill your large cup, loiter at the retaining wall absently twisting the receipt in your fingers, jaw with the crew, quietly observe the precise rhythm of a kitchen staff in overdrive, and make your way home.

Here are a few tips to maintain precision and ensure maximum taste:

Jack’s fries are eh, OK, a little dry. They altered the formula a while back when change was all the fast-food rage and now it’s just a deep-fried potato stick that not even ketchup can lubricate to satisfaction. None of that noodle-y slickness to help the burger down. You gotta rely entirely on your Coke, which isn’t fair to the Coke, because it wants to be enjoyed by your taste buds too. It doesn’t want to work!

So forget the fries. Here’s what you do instead: Order the bacon and cheddar wedges. This is an important distinction. Otherwise you wind up with plain potato wedges, and you’re better off just eating a baby’s blanket. Tell the guy behind the counter you want to substitute the bacon and cheddar wedges for the fries. It’s OK — this is perfectly legal. If the cashier regards your request strangely, don’t panic. He is likely new and doesn’t yet understand the exceptions to Jack’s deceptively rigid value-meal rules. Ask for a manager — he’ll take care of you with the effortless press of a button. You will not be sorry. Not only are the wedges filling, they have enough of a liquid-cheese texture to send burger bits down your gullet in a thick wave. Not only that, the cheese is heavenly — way better than the goop you used to squirt on Chili Cheese Big Bites and nachos down at the 7-Eleven back in the ’90s. Truthfully, I might even buy Chili Cheese Big Bites again if they used Jack’s cheese. I wonder if Jack’s approached them. He must understand the fiscal implications of such a brilliant merger. After all, he’s got a really big head.

If you time it just right, you should be back in time to catch the last 40 seconds of House. Now comes the hard part. When RAW starts, don’t touch your food. Let it marinate during that useless opening where nothing happens. Its fumes will commingle to create an enticing bouquet. Do not capitulate. You are stronger. A more pressing concern is the ice — and Jack’s ice is weak — diluting your soft drink (my personal fave: Dr. Pepper, especially after they’ve just changed the tanks and the foam is ALIVE), which is already watered down enough as it is. Ignore it; it’s trying to get into your MIND. You mustn’t masticate or swallow till the real action starts.

Tonight’s prologue is a sibling spat between empire brats Stephanie and Shane McMahon over control of the RAW “brand.” Shane suggests she sleep with another wrestler (she married Hunter Hearst Helmsley, a.k.a. Triple H, a.k.a. The Game, real name: Paul Michael Levesque, in 2003), Stephanie’s right hand suggests he clamp his yap. OK, bite your burger now. MMMMMMMMM. More tips forthcoming!

First match: The Miz/John Morrison vs. Rey Mysterio/Shawn Michaels
Eating: Bacon Ultimate Cheeseburger

It’s called the Bacon Ultimate, because Burger King called shotgun on the Bacon Double. The BK was first on that shit, but crafty Jack and his big head upped the ante with “Ultimate.” How ya like them cows and pigs, Whopper Boy! Jack used to offer a Triple Ultimate Bacon (real name: Appalled Moo-chael Delicious), but I think too many people dropped dead right in the restaurant just from skin contact with the greasy wrapper, much like The Miz fell after skin contact with Rey Mysterio, who pinned him to exact revenge for last week’s dirty pool. Victory did come with a price, however; Miz’s partner, the spangled Shaman, went all “Break On Through” on his adversaries until John Bradshaw Layfield intervened, driving his limo right up to the ring, entering said ring, and, when Morrison propped the downed Shawn Michaels for a debilitating blow, delivered the biggest shock of the night by kicking Morrison in the kisser! Looks like they won’t be building a happy home on “Love Street”! Providence is shocked, I’m shocked, commentators Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole are slackjawed. What’s going on? Apparently, JBL and the Heartbreak Kid signed some hush-hush backroom deal. Wonder what this means for the Mysterio/Michaels team.

Win: Rey Mysterio/Shawn Michaels

Second match: Kofi Kingston vs. Kane (Intercontinental Championship Tournament, Opening Round)
Eating: Bacon Ultimate Cheeseburger

Remember when I said, “More tips forthcoming”? That moment has arrived! As of right now, you should still be working on the cheeseburger, chewing thoughtfully through Mr. Kennedy’s plug of his straight-to-DVD action/thriller Behind Enemy Lines: Colombia, in which he plays a Navy SEAL — congrats, Mr. K, but ho hum. Personally, I can’t wait for Chris Jericho to enter the movie biz. Wrestlers always play wrestlers, bad guys, mercenaries, thugs, hit men, and marines on film; Jericho’s one of the few grapplers who could maintain a plausible career as a character actor, whose mat reputation would not precede him. Frame-wise, he’s big, but not so impossibly hulkish you wouldn’t believe him as, say, a construction worker, doom-metal shredder, or the hero’s best friend from high school. In fact, here’s a great idea, Hollywood: Chris Jericho in the Harvey Keitel role of a Blue Collar remake. He could pull it off, and he wouldn’t have to swing at anyone until the final second, which is a freeze frame anyway and he doesn’t make contact. Dave Batista has charisma spilling out his skull stubble, but even if you cast him as Atticus Finch, the audience would riot if he didn’t spear Bob Ewell and snap the rabid dog’s neck. Then eat him.

But I’m getting off track here. We were talking about food. As I said, you should still be enjoying every sinful morsel of your burger. It’s so good, in fact, that it’s advisable to keep the experience as pure as possible. Don’t taint it with a single drop of soda. Don’t tarnish it with the side order. Leave it alone. Everything must be enjoyed by itself, just like the phantom loner Kane (he had his own movie too; he played a teen-slashing serial killer — big surprise), whose own “brother,” The Undertaker, wasn’t safe from his unpredictable outbursts. Tonight it’s Kofi Kingston, shareholder in the World Tag Team Championship with CM Punk, who suffers at those chokeslamming hands. The ref disqualifies him for trying to spill Kingston’s guts the fun way (bending him across a ring post), and Kane goes ape until Stephanie McMahon placates him with a shot against Heavyweight champ John Cena next week.

Winner: Kofi Kingston

Match 3: Chris Jericho vs. Batista vs. Randy Orton (Triple Threat)
Eating: Bacon & Cheddar Potato Wedges

Aren’t you glad you didn’t order the fries? All that monotonous lifting and dipping, lifting and dipping. It’s enough to drive you crazy, like those poor souls on the assembly line who finally snap after separating one microscopic pebble too many from a conveyor belt of freeze-dried raspberries. You don’t want that happening to you, so try the wedges! There aren’t as many, but they’re far more filling, because they’re coated in bacon bits and cheese by divine minimum-wage hands. And no order is exactly the same; all bear the individual fingerprint of their respective architects. Some are generous, others are skinflints, and you’ve got to learn who’s who. Be vigilant and alert! Jack thoughtfully bags a fork with the gunk, but you won’t need it, so either toss it or force it through the plastic for fun. There are four tines on the plastic fork, so snap off the extra and pretend the remaining trio represents the three wrestlers. Tine 1: Batista. Tine 2: Jericho. Tine 3: Orton. There’s a lot on the line tonight. The winner of this match gets to face Cena for the Heavyweight title two weeks from now at Armageddon. (Stop stocking the bomb shelter — it’s not real.) Tine 1 spends most of the match dusting the ring with tines 2 and 3 until tine 2 gets blasted outside, leaving tine 3 to contend with tine 1 alone, which is not a happy proposition. Tine 1 eventually pins tine 3 after a mind-thudding spear, but opportunistic tine 2 boots tine 1 off and, what the fork, wins by pin.

Winner: Chris Jericho

Match 4: Santino Marella vs. Goldust
Eating: The melted cheese at the carton bottom with your fingers

The best part of bacon and cheddar potato wedges isn’t necessarily the solid food itself, but its oft-generous remains, those pools of dairy resting against piggy-bit rocks. And it doesn’t get any cheesier than Marella, erstwhile Intercontinental champ and permanent WWE comic foil. Poor dude can’t even beat the sexually ambiguous Goldust (like Cody, another in Dusty Rhodes’ son-stable) now. He’s carted off by paramour Beth “The Glazamon” Phoenix after his efficient loss, with his opponent, in his black-and-gold glam jumpsuit, blowing kisses at them both. Goldust is back!

Winner: Goldust

Match 5: CM Punk vs. Snitsky (Intercontinental Championship Tournament, Opening Round)
Eating: Nothing; work on that Coke!

You should be finished with solids, unless you were generous or hungry and ordered cheese sticks or blueberry French toast sticks, which are kinda gross. French toast was meant to be drowned in syrup, not dipped into it — it’s the syrup that’s the active element! The sticky maple fluid doesn’t need your fingers to spread its magic; it does quite well on its own, thank you very much! Just pour and watch! But I digress.

If all’s gone well, you should have plenty of soda pop/soda/pop to last the rest of the broadcast. They say (they being doctors and Dr. Mom!) it rots your teeth, so Snitsky’s probably guzzled about six continents’ worth of bottling companies by now. Even Intercontinental champ William Regal, a Brit, comments on his hellacious bridgework. But Snitsky doesn’t need his teeth to win; he’s like a lumbering elephant cornering a mouse, flattening Punk like an annoying whack-a-mole. Punk looks straight-edge helpless until he finally lifts the behemoth over his shoulder and applies his “Go To Sleep” finishing move.

Winner: CM Punk (he might have to face his own partner!)

Match 6: Beth Phoenix/Jillian/Katie Lea vs. Mickie James/Candice Michelle/Melina (6-Diva Match)
Eating/Drinking: Time Out

Warning: Dangerous sugar ‘head, so stanch the flow for the mo and enjoy a well-choreographed catfight between two trios of synthetically enhanced women. (Where’s Kelly Kelly, you ask? Resting from her house ad with D-Generation X for basketball jerseys and the RAW Vs. SmackDown 2009 video game.) The angle for this match is Melina’s return from the injured list, which she marks in a near-sheer costume with Apollonia lingerie fringes, so Katie Lea‘s sucking on lace as Melina wins by pin.

Winner: Mickie James/Candice Michelle/Melina

Drinking: Massive Caffeine

You’re drinking for two now, because John Cena’s on the warpath. He’s had enough of Chris Jericho coming out every week and berating the crowd, calling them hypocrites and sycophants and fools and blind liars, which is exactly what Jericho’s doing tonight when Cena, the Great Uniter, interrupts him and delivers the Mr. Smith speech of a lifetime! Better than Tom Cruise in Jerry McGuire, better than Peter Finch or William Holden in Network, better than even John Belushi in National Lampoon’s Animal House. “You talk business,” Cena pit-bulls, whipping his shirt off for emphasis. “I mean business.” Jericho leaves the ring, but Cena starts up again, speaking for the crowd after their long verbal-assault nightmare. “Me holding this belt,” he says, raising his gold, “proves that we are good enough! This proves the CHAMP IS HERE!” The TV screen prickles with goosebumps. It feels like a three-dimensional road map now. Jericho renews his epithet fusillade: “You’re a worm, you’re a coward of a man.” That’s all Cena needs to hear. Fists fly, Jericho flies, Jericho sleeps, Cena stands triumphant, your Coke is finished, and you’ll be wired for the next six hours. Go finish that Kierkegaard. “A man who as a physical being is always turned toward the outside, thinking that his happiness lies outside him, finally turns inward and discovers that the source is within him…”

See you next week!


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