wrestling / Columns

Hidden Highlights 02.13.12: Laurinaitis, Jericho, More

February 13, 2012 | Posted by Dimitri Dorlis

Hidden Highlight (n) – a small, hardly noticeable point that makes a big, positive difference. This could be anything from a wrestler putting extra emphasis into his moves to make it believable to a person in the background reacting while not the focus to the cameraman shaking the picture to create an effect. There are just so many unsung heroes of wrestling that it is impossible to cover them all.

And with that, welcome to the triumphant return of Hidden Highlights. You’ve asked for its return, and we here at 411mania listened. I am your host, Dimitri Dorlis, and no, I’m not JP Prag. Prag is enjoying the retired life, and good for him. But we’re going to bring back the spirit and fun that made this the most positive article on wrestling found anywhere! But we won’t be bringing everything back….

Ghost of JT: So I’m not coming back?

DD: Glad you figured that one out. I’m also going to do away with these conversations because, if there’s one thing I’m bad at writing, it is dialogue. And proper sentences. Possibly even jokes….

But enough silliness. Each week on Hidden Highlights, we’ll be looking back on the week of wrestling, taking a look at our top 3 highlights from each of the major wrestling shows (Raw, Impact and Smackdown) and a PPV if one occurs. And sorry, RoH bots, but I’m on the two-week delay to get the internet show here in Los Angeles, so unless Sinclair Broadcasting buys itself an LA station that I can watch on, or I find someone else on the staff willing to do some highlights for RoH, you’re out of luck. Maybe I’ll sneak an iPPV in here for you occasionally.

Also, as with the original Hidden Highlights, we’ll also take a look at reader-submitted highlights, and post our favorite ones at the end of the columns. How do you get your submissions in to me? Well, you have two options. The recommended option would be to send me an email at [email protected] with the title Hidden Highlight. The second option would be to leave a comment here with your highlight, although I can’t guarantee that I’ll read all the comment highlights, so if you really want to get your submission in, send me that email. The best 10 submissions will get posted, so make them good!

And with all the housekeeping out of the way, let’s get down to business.

3. Still vegan. Still champion. – Daniel Bryan has been on some kind of roll as of late, but I love how he’s slowly worked being a vegan into his heel shtick. Case in point, during his promo following his match with Big Show, Bryan listed off the three things that he will continue to be. Hidden in the middle of those three things was Bryan mentioning that he will continue to be vegan. I love that Bryan has been able to turn his veganism into a negative trait in the eyes of the fans, and this was a lot more subtle than his argument with Teddy Long over hot dogs on Friday.

2. Everything matches. – I imagine you thought that Otunga would get a Hidden Highlight for Tebow’ing in the middle of Raw. Believe me, I really wanted to. But no, Otunga got a Hidden Highlight instead for having matching attire. And by attire, I mean sweater, pants, tie and thermos. Yes, his thermos matches the rest of his outfit. Laurinaitis may be my favorite character on TV right now, but Otunga is really rising, which isn’t something I thought I’d say a year ago.

1. Jericho is a heel, and also great. – God I’ve missed Jericho. He just knows how to do the little things that make him a Hidden Highlight Hall of Famer (hey, looks like we may have a new segment idea right there). Take, for example, the end of the six-pack challenge on Raw. Punk hit the G2S on Ziggler, and Jericho broke up the cover and threw Punk over the announce table for his trouble. But the real highlight was Jericho throwing the Raw cover from the table on top of Punk before going back to the ring to pin Ziggler. And, even though it was obvious that Ziggler was out, Jericho heeled it up by putting a leg up on the rope for good measure.

Full disclosure. I stopped watching TNA about a year ago, and I’ve been relegated to watching clips occasionally since then. So for the first few weeks, the Highlights will be a little weaker than the other sections, but we’ll get the quality of them up soon. Plus this gives you wonderful readers a whole show where you’ll most-likely find more highlights than me.

3. The Icon is culturally sensitive. – One of Sting’s trademark weapons since WCW has been the black baseball bat. So I have to give credit to TNA here for subbing out Sting’s bat for a cricket paddle. I mean, sure, it’s a little hokey, but as a lover of all things British, I thought it was a nice touch.

2. Brutus Magnus is British, just FYI. – Going back to me loving British things, Magnus had a wonderful promo that totally played off of his heritage. American fans probably won’t get as much out of that promo, but from Brutus implying that he’s not that fond of the Irish to making sure the fans knew they were in England (which is only one part of the UK), this was perfect.

1. And Doug Williams plays the role of Roderick Strong. – I realize this is as close as we’re going to get to a Generation Next reunion in TNA, but I love this Aries/Shelley feud. Notice during the entrances how Aries and Shelley seemed to be joking around with each other. Other fun parts were all the counters the two (and Williams to a degree) were pulling out in regards to each other’s moves.

3. Cole went to the Milford Academy. – At the end of the night, Orton and Big Show got into a brawl following the main event. The announcers were forced to scatter as Orton and Show fought where they usually sit, but watch Cole here. Instead of just running away, he goes to the other side of the announce table, crouches down so as not to get in the camera shot, and added a few more words of commentary. I know a lot of people on this website dislike Cole, but they should give him credit for doing a good job in this situation.

2. Color coded. – During the backstage segment with Aksana and Teddy Long (who, by the way, adhered to the Smackdown rules by turning the opening segment into a TAG TEAM MATCH, PLAYA! HOLLA HOLLA!), Aksana and Long started to get somewhat-intimate. The scene was complete with pink mood lighting and the corny saxophone that the WWE always manages to use for these situations. Enter Daniel Bryan to immediately ruin the moment, which prompted a record scratch and a change in the lighting color. I have to appreciate that the WWE realized how corny the whole thing was, and went the extra mile to emphasis the ridiculousness.

1. He doesn’t just explain his title. – You’re going to learn as this column goes along that I love John Laurinaitis’ character. What put him over the top for me was when he introduced himself to Ryder and Swagger in a backstage segment, then ended the segment by smiling and staring off into the distance. I’m secretly convinced that Johnny Ace is a comedic genius who was just never allowed to show off this level of greatness. Anyway, on to Smackdown, where Johnny was calling in from Abu Dhabi to gloat over his retention as interim Raw General Manager. During the segment, not only did he remind everyone of his position in the company, but he took time to educate everyone on what U.A.E. stands for, and also its location. Pure greatness from Laurinaitis here.

Reader Highlights

Since this is the first week, we don’t have any reader highlights to add this week. Let’s try and remedy that for next week, shall we? Also if you would like to make a new banner for the column, go ahead and send me a sample. Lord knows you’re seeing the height of my editing abilities in the temporary banner at the top.

And with that, the first edition of Hidden Highlights v2.0 is in the books. Make sure to send in your reader Highlights so we can return this to being the most reader-inclusive and positive article in the IWC.


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Dimitri Dorlis

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