John Cena, Sheamus and the 10 Not-so-Funny 'Funny Guys' in WWE
Photo courtesy of http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Santino-Marella_4704.jpg
There isn't an episode of Monday Night Raw or SmackDown that goes by without WWE making viewers legitimately laugh out loud (LOL).
Somewhat awkwardly, it's not usually when WWE writers and/or performers have scripted a joke that we find ourselves laughing.
Our chuckles tend to come out of WWE's overly goofy, downright cartoonish notion of what a comedic bit is.
Exhibit A: The serpentine sock on Santino's right arm.
Exhibit B: Most anything Hornswoggle has ever said or done, but especially the "hilarious" reveal that Hornswoggle was the Anonymous Raw General Manager.
While calling this supposedly comedic material lame would be an understatement, there's no doubt that it serves a purpose.
This is the PG era after all, and WWE's younger fanbase likes its humor good and obvious.
Don't get me wrong. The company has wicked witty talents on its payroll, many of whom I covered in my article CM Punk and the WWE's Top 10 Comedians.
But those legitimate comedic chops are very much the exception in modern-day WWE.
Check out my 10 not-so-funny "funny guys" in WWE!
Santino Marella is actually a very capable speaker with excellent comedic timing.
The problem is that he's significantly more entertaining as a heel than as a babyface, and it's been years since we've seen him in the former role.
I'm a fan of the scathing yet imbecilic promos Santino used to cut on top good guys.
He verbally cut up "Stone Cold" Steve Austin to the point that it felt almost unfair (to Santino) for the mini-feud to culminate in him eating a Stunner.
As a babyface, Santino panders to the crowd a tad too much for my taste, and the insults he hurls don't have quite the same sting as those of the old cowardly villain Santino.
Santino's biggest and most tired joke is his finisher, the Cobra Strike.
For those who claim Jack Swagger has been buried since TMZ reported his arrest on suspicion of DUI, try to remember that it was only a little more than a year ago that Swagger was losing to Santino on a regular basis, usually after being hit with everyone's second-favorite sock puppet-related wrestling maneuver.
But the nonsense doesn't end with Santino's ridiculous thrust to "the throat area" (as Vince McMahon might have called it).
There's also his unibrow, which is more ghastly than funny.
And the trumpet pantomime that was mildly amusing the first 30 times he did it.
The running head drop that looks about as offensively threatening as Ric Flair's signature flop.
How about the stereotypical Italian accent he has been milking for well over six years now? If it sounds a touch inauthentic, it might have something to do with the wrestler's birthplace being Mississauga, Ontario.
Here's hoping that when Santino returns to WWE programming, he does so as a heel who talks big and can rarely back it up (without cheating).
If the plan is for him to return as the sock-sporting babyface boob we've come to know, let's hope he's at least kept far away from title contention.
The great travesty with Cena is that he could easily be one of the funnier performers in WWE.
Hey, he was exactly that during his early WWE days as a rapping, potty-mouthed bad guy.
The squeaky-clean Cena of today (and what feels like the last 45 years) spends most of his microphone time telling us about how upfront he is, how he will never quit and how much he respects the WWE Universe's decision to boo him mercilessly.
Naturally, this is all said in his "vintage Cena" serious voice.
When Cena does choose to take a lighter approach to entertaining his loyal elementary school devotees, it usually takes the form of him yelling trite one-liners even a blindfold match participant could see coming.
Of course, Cena subjects us to his painful upstanding citizen routine for a very good reason.
Children need heroes, and Cena is boundlessly heroic.
Children love buying their hero's shirts, hats and other crap, and Cena is totally up for selling the wee ones a different color crap every couple months.
Cena's excessively discussed potential heel turn won't happen any time soon, but it would be nice to see Cena reintroduce some of his former edge into his current act.
It's no coincidence that the best promo Cena has cut in recent years was when he brought back his Thuganomics-era gimmick and verbal aggression to rip into The Rock prior to their first WrestleMania encounter.
Team Hell No: Daniel Bryan and Kane
I'm not saying Team Hell No didn't have their moments in the comedic sun.
But for the most part, their anger management counseling sketches and constant "hugging it out" last year felt a little flat.
In fact, I think their strange bedfellows storyline was massively overrated by fans. I suspect most of them were grateful to see Bryan and Kane receiving so much air time and confused that fuzzy feeling for genuine entertainment.
I don't blame the underwhelming segments on Bryan or Kane.
Daniel Bryan is typically strong (if unspectacular) on the stick, and while Kane's not about to land a guest spot on the final season of Mad Men, he's hardly the most embarrassing actor on WWE TV.
Instead, I place the blame on lazy writing.
Week after week, Kane pointed out that Bryan was small and had a bushy goat-like beard, and Bryan poked fun at Kane's monstrous stature and general freakishness.
And even worse, most of their time together was spent yelling "YES!" and "NO!" or "I'm the tag team champions!" back and forth to seemingly no end.
Thankfully, both men seem to be onto bigger and better things as singles stars...or, well, at least Bryan is!
I'm including the leather-loving rock n' jobbers in this list because it's clear the WWE powers-that-be are tickled by the idea that three grown men could think they're expert wrestlers and musicians but actually be very bad at both art forms.
It's more sad than funny, I'm afraid.
Christened "The Chosen One" by Vince McMahon himself, it seems all Drew McIntyre was chosen to do is follow in Paul Burchill's footsteps of dressing like Captain Jack Sparrow whilst losing matches.
It strikes me as cruel that WWE doesn't simply release Heath Slater and Jinder Mahal. Continuing to employ them may give them false hope that they'll ever be used as anything more than fish food for the company's top babyfaces.
I implore you to try to make it to the 1:50 mark of the attached clip for what 3MB claimed to be their first single.
It's basically them screaming a bunch.
What a hoot, huh?
I don't mind that Sheamus is a good guy who happens to bully his adversaries.
However, I do mind that Sheamus laughs at his own jokes.
I could possibly understand this if his jokes were funny, but they absolutely never are.
Funny? Sorry, fella. No way.
The only thing worse than a joke by Sheamus is a joke about Sheamus.
You can only state that a man has fair skin and red hair in so many ways.
When Miz was heel, it kind of worked for him that his weak jokes and catchphrases made him seem like a bigger tool than his opponent.
As a face, his approach is ineffective and sometimes downright confusing.
He delivers lines clearly scripted to make fans laugh along with him at his villainous enemy's expense, but the best he can get is a smattering of applause.
Other standard reactions to his stale wisecracks include loud booing (which is more audible on Raw than SmackDown because they largely edit it out on the latter) and complete silence.
But it's not entirely Miz's fault.
He aptly described rotund mastermind Paul Heyman as a walrus, but WWE Creative made sure the nickname was promptly uttered to death by Jerry Lawler and other babyfaces incapable of generating original material.
He's The Miz, and he's awesome...at wearing lots of suits and hosting this year's SummerSlam.
No, not really. Just kidding.
The Miz will definitely not be an awesome SummerSlam host.
Surely Miz TV has taught us something.
Tons of Funk: Brodus Clay and Sweet T
I'm guessing the duo's dancing act is supposed to be more fun than funny, but I consider it neither.
The fat-man-who-boogies-down gimmick wasn't compelling during Rikishi's heyday, and it's doubly true of Tensai and Clay in 2013.
I'm just glad neither man has had the bright idea to give himself a wedgie before rubbing his buttocks in a seated opponent's face.
These are two huge, scary-looking blokes who could easily factor into the tag team division if they put the dance routine to bed.
I'll give credit where credit is due.
WWE hasn't force-fed us Big Show's so-called comical side since his most recent heel turn last summer.
Big Show has proven over the years that he can play more than the invincible giant trope, but there's a reason he always settles back into the role.
That's what he does best.
While Big Show and WWE insist that Big Show can be a super funny entertainer when he wants to be, it's more truthful to say that he's a somewhat amusing novelty act when he needs to be.
Following WrestleMania 2000, Big Show began impersonating other wrestlers, including Rikishi (as Showkishi), The Berzerker (as Shonan the Barbarian), Val Venis (as The Big Showbowski) and Hulk Hogan (as The Showster).
These appearances were well-received because they were an unexpected departure from Show's usual schtick of just being an enormous man. It was refreshing to see the monster show a lighter side.
But the impersonations were far from accurate, and it's not like he said anything that broke the brain power bank.
The gimmick relied on the sheer absurdity of someone with physical features as large and distinctive as Big Show's pretending to be some else.
For that reason, Show's time as a comedian had an expiry date. It was about halfway through the year 2000.
If you don't believe me, just watch Big Show's terrible Shrek-inspired Scottish accent in the video.
The only funny thing about Big Show in recent years is that the sweatiest man in the sport often insists on wearing a beanie to the ring.
The Great Khali
Maybe I'm on my own, but even at the peak of his Punjabi Playboy gimmick, I didn't laugh at Khali.
I found it rather disturbing that there was a randy colossus walking around WWE arenas looking to kiss any woman in sight.
And I certainly don't giggle or gasp nowadays when Khali sporadically emerges as the surprise opponent for an unsuspecting heel. Khali may be freakishly big, but he's also a glorified jobber.
There's not a lot of satisfaction in watching a cocky heel get stuck wrestling the giant when we know it essentially guarantees him a win.
You know, so long as the heel isn't a member of 3MB.
When Khali isn't being slain in short order by much smaller wrestlers, he is slaying audiences everywhere by requesting a title shot from John Cena in Punjabi.
He's short, has dirt on his face and bites people on their bottoms.
What's not to love, right?
In a word: overexposure.
The tubby green worm is tolerable in (no pun intended) small doses, but over the years WWE has insisted on featuring him in prominent, ultimately unbearable storylines.
He was Vince's son and then Fit Finlay's as well.
He was DX's sawed-off mascot.
He was even the last Cruiserweight Champion in WWE history.
Did I mention he made approximately no one laugh when he revealed himself to be the Anonymous Raw General Manager?
Forgive me as I laugh uncontrollably thinking of all the wrestlers who have had to sell the Tadpole Splash.
The good news is Hornswoggle is now used sparingly.
The bad news is that any day now WWE could decide he's the perfect addition to the Wyatt Family.