May 17th, 2010’s Monday Night Raw may have been the most historically significant ever. I don’t mean wrestling history here, either; I mean history history. This was the night that Raw was hosted by Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, second man to step foot on the moon. And really, like the Royal Rumble, that’s pretty much the same as being number one. This would be like if Christopher Columbus hosted Raw (except without Vince McMahon reciting a glaringly inaccurate bio). The fact is, for better or for worse, in a thousand years’ time, Monday Night Raw will best be remembered by historians as that show that Buzz Aldrin hosted one time. If you happened to watch that episode, though, you already know that it would be for the worse, not the better.
While Buzz’s lunar lander roommate, Neil Armstrong, shied away from the public spotlight after the Apollo 11 mission, and Michael Collins had the unenviable task of flying all the way to the moon only to not touch down but orbit around it…
…Aldrin has relished the attention in the forty-plus years since the historic landing, appearing on shows like Dancing with the Stars, Punky Brewster, The Simpsons, not to mention countless documentaries and talk shows. That is to say, this wasn’t Aldrin’s first TV spot. It would, however, be arguably his most embarrassing.
And speaking of national heroes sacrificing their dignity, the show (a “commercial-free” edition, by the way) opened with Canada’s own Bret Hart. Oh, did I mention that this episode took place in Canada, not the U.S.A.? Ah, well. It shouldn’t affect their appreciation for Buzz Aldrin. After all, I am told that Canadians can see the moon in their night sky, as well.
Bret declined a challenge issued by U.S. champion The Miz the week before, not wanting to be one of those guys who hangs around too long and tarnishes his legacy. Those in attendance in Toronto may have disapproved, but more mature viewers at home knew it was the right decision. Wrestling can’t live in the past, even if Bret did accidentally call the company “WWF” every now and then. Of course, after some goading by Chris Jericho, Bret decided that he did want to be one of those has-beens who didn’t know when to give up, after all.
Long story short, Hart “wrestled” The Miz in a minute-long no-DQ match, putting him in sharpshooter after the Hart Dynasty interfered. This drew the ire of Michael Cole, showing his pro-Miz heel tendencies for the first time outside NXT. Still, Bret was so excited at winning his first U.S. title that he forgot how to climb the ropes.
What’s that? He had already won the U.S. title four times before? Well, this was his first WWE U.S. Title, so that was totally worth the meaningless victory lap of a reign (Hart would forfeit the title the next week, whereupon the Miz would win it back in a match against R-Truth).
What a great night for Canada! Not only did they get to see Bret Hart’s last and most unnecessary title reign ever, but they also got commercials, as Canada’s The Score wasn’t gung-ho on the whole, “not making any money” aspect of USA’s commercial-free Raw. I’m not even being sarcastic about commercials making for a great night for Canada, as they at least got to see real ads rather than the pointless mock-ads by WWE, parodying famous commercials of the moment. The fans in attendance weren’t so lucky, and they expressed their disapproval at once. It probably didn’t help that the first “commercial” was a Geico parody featuring Hornswoggle.
Other important non-Buzz-related crappings on the show were the mis-titled “Pick Your Poison” matches in which Randy Orton and Edge chose each other’s opponents. Shouldn’t it be called, “Pick the Other Guy’s Poison”?
Edge showed up to the ring and was greeted by his brother, I mean, ex-best friend, Christian, with whom he had an inexplicably boring match, killing any interest in a program between the two. Poison indeed. So yeah, the commercial-free aspect wasn’t the only way that WWE lost out on piles of money on this night. That was about par for the course from WWE Creative at this time, though, considering that the only reason Randy Orton was a face in the first place was because they screwed up the booking of his Legacy feud so badly that the fans cheered the sociopathic Orton over Cody Rhodes and the would-be babyface star Ted DiBiase, Jr.
Edge won (in a match where the wrestlers simulated the conditions on the moon by sucking all the heat out of the arena), but the joke was on him: Orton never said that he had picked Christian; in fact, Edge’s real opponent would be The Undertaker, who had no trouble dispensing with the blown-up Edge. How little trouble? Edge immediately left the ring and took the intentional countout loss, only to be thrown back into the ring after the bell by Christian and chokeslammed. Congrats on fulfilling your yearly Raw quota, Taker!
Edge would later send World Champion Jack Swagger – yes, World Champion Jack Swagger (I don’t even know which part of that phrase to emphasize, it’s just that unbelievable) – to face Orton.
Hey, I recognize that skyline! This is where Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi was filmed! I knew I had heard of “Toronto” somewhere.
Just when you thought that all the other crap on this episode would eclipse (Ho ho! Get it?!) the lunar astronaut, Buzz appeared backstage with his wife, a space suit, and a bunch of astronaut-related paraphernalia. Vickie Guerrero, who lasted one week as Raw GM before quitting, complained that the room should be her office before Buzz explained to her, very slowly, that she wasn’t in charge. Poor Buzz must have been confused by Bret’s “WWF” gaffe earlier in the night, as he seemed to have forgotten what the company was even called.
Fortunately, his personal security skanks The Bella Twins dragged Vickie away before she could make a scene.
As painful as that segment was, it was at least good to see that Aldrin wasn’t hurt after Mark Henry smashed him with a chair the week before.
And it’s really only fitting that Aldrin would host Raw. Just as the moon landing was a pioneering venture into the uncharted and unexplored reaches of our solar system and universe, so too was the introduction of guest hosts a pioneering venture into Wrestlecrap. The problem is, when you decide to induct a particularly bad guest host stint, you end up falling way further down the craphole then you ever wanted, discovering layer upon layer of forgotten awfulness from the Asinine Era of wrestling. Case in point: R-Truth and Ted DiBiase’s feud being recapped in the form of a faux-Mastercard commercial.
That’s not all; Ron didn’t want to be Ted Jr.’s “Virgil,” so DiBiase did what any sensible person would do in 2010, and that was hire Mike Jones himself! While I wouldn’t want to be redundant by going into great detail about an angle that probably deserves a separate induction, I must point out how brilliant a move it was to re-introduce Virgil on the Buzz Aldrin-hosted episode.
I mean, Mike Jones is the wrestling equivalent of Michael Collins, who flew solo around the moon on the Apollo 11 mission to become the loneliest, most isolated person in human history (until around 2005, that is).
You know who would have made for an even better return to WWE on this night? Max Moon. Alas, Paul Diamond’s rocket thrusters must have overheated en route to Toronto.
Here’s a Dos Equis parody starring Santino Marella, dubbed, “The Most Irritating Man in the World.” I love it when WWE writes my jokes for me.
Hey, remember when both Layla and Michelle McCool carried around Women’s Title belts? Never mind, I don’t want to get any more sidetracked with unrelated Wrestlecrap. Sidecrapped? Anyway, back to our guest host.
Buzz, aptly nicknamed for his apparent tipsiness during his promo, tried his hand at cheerleading for WWE and “our space program” (the United States’ that is).
Look at him go!
He even tried a bit of rapping. “Randy and Jack on the mat/What’s better than that?” Someone get Verne Gagne on the phone; we’ve got a fresh young talent for the Wrestlerock Rap, part 2! The American hero may have finally found his true calling.
Really, though, he’s not just a hero for America, but for the human race. That didn’t stop the astronaut from trying to ingratiate himself to the Canadian audience, though, accidentally damning the country with the faintest of praise. The Toronto fans should have been grateful to hear that Canadian engineers built the landing gear on the Apollo 11 lunar lander, but no. No one ever cared about astronauts anyway; back in the 60s, every little boy wanted to grow up to be a landing gear technician! The fans in attendance, thinking Aldrin was turning heel on them, booed poor Buzz, even after his enthusiastic exclamation of, “Woo. How ’bout that?”
Just before the fans could start a riot, or worse, accuse old Buzz of screwing Bret, someone even more despised arrived on the scene to take the heat off him: None other than Zack Ryder, who was still sporting his half-tights/half-trunks.
Ryder belittled Canada (intentionally) and implied that Aldrin never went to the moon. This led Buzz to show footage of him punching a moon-truther who followed him around calling him a coward and a liar.
For the next seven minutes or so, Buzz and Zack had a stand-off until someone in the production truck couldn’t wait any longer for Buzz to deliver the cue. Evan Bourne and Gail Kim came to ringside for a match with Ryder and Alicia Fox (Zack’s hoe-ski of the month). By the time the two opponents got to the ring, Aldrin was still in the middle of introducing them over top of Bourne’s music.
Our guest host celebrated his team’s victory in the ring. Neil Armstrong may have performed the very first moon walk ever, but Buzz performed the very worst moonwalk ever.
If this episode weren’t enough of a crapfest, remember that it will likely be a time capsule of sorts for future historians researching the Apollo 11 mission. Millennia from now, people will assume that Buzz’s dance was the proper way to do “the moonwalk,” that Bret Hart was an immobile old man, that Mike “Virgil” Jones was once relevant, and, worst of all, that Jack Swagger was world championship material. Now that’s an impossibly heavy load of Wrestlecrap, even under moon gravity.