Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Best Coast Bias: Dead To Rights

Yeah, you done messed up, son
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In simpler times and for most of Main Event's run, no matter what actually happened during the course of an episode the opening highlight reel was sure to contain one of the greatest and subtlest jokes in the post-Invasion WWE.

There was comedy, high comedy, and then the couple of seconds every Wednesday they would show the cromdamn Undertaker looking mad spooky scary.

Even John Cena's being splashed in the sting made sense; for the handful of opening weeks when the show debuted and right thereafter he'd actually been on the show.  Maybe it was the mere act of cutting a promo (at this point BCB would like to introduce to you a quartet of dead writers who can see into the future but only to a limited extent called the Four Shadows), or maybe there'd even been a match in there, but Cena'd punched a WWEME card at some point.  One could be forgiven to end up thinking they'd wake up to Aubrey Plaza and Anna Kendrick in bed with them before the cromdamn Undertaker ever got within spitting range of showing up on WWE Main Event.

While there was no sign of cohabitation betwixt feline and canine, there was nearly a human sacrifice that capped off the show.  Whatever Paul Heyman was smoking to think he could get in the ring and disparage TGDUT for a few minutes before the main event promo is at best contained in the experimental study from whence it came and at worst is going to lead to the downfall of humanity via some real life iteration of the Krippin virus.  Even worse for Heyman, Taker snuck up on him and goozled him.  He played Kiddo to the former ECW honcho's Sofie Fatale, letting him live only to send the message that if Brock had something to say to him he might want to do it on Monday night's RAW from the BK.  There was then fireballs on the stage, purple lighting, insinuated lightning, and one very, very scared advocate: a man who'd just sampled the Undertaker flight and found out his liver was trying to eat itself to death as a result.  

Yet that interplay was merely the capstone of three really good matches.  It's not that this isn't compelling, or providing excellent pro graps, and call Main Event an afterthought that couldn't have gotten the Undertaker on the show if it'd promised a sixth History of Rap with Fallon and JT live on air for a ratings lead-in is understating things, to put it mildly.  There's a reason you don't see pennies turn into thousand dollar bills.  Then again, that was all the way back in January and pre-Network.  Lupita Nyong'o struck a blow for women's rights and a young Jordan Peele taught us how to laugh.  It was a whole different world.

In this world?  Hell, in this world Big Show goes up for the Clash of the Titus. Of course, the majority of the rest of the match was the black Irishman's ego writing checks his body couldn't cash, and after a fusillade of skillet chops he would eventually get KTFOed.  The act of not getting wholly destroyed by the former everything champion and fellow Andre Royale participant was enough, at least on this evening.  A land monster punched you in the face so hard you saw a bright light, your grandmammy, and your old puppy running around; perfectly explicable (if horribly painful) loss.

This world?  This world has Alicia Fox stepping out of her partnership with her hetero lifemate Aksana to pair with Layla (upgrade?) to take on the reunited and it feels so good Funkadactyls.  Hey, remember when Brodus Clay and Sweet T were a thing?  Yeah, me neither.  Watching every single woman in this match was enough to wonder who set the GPS for Full Sail and maybe they could just be in control of the GPS all of the time.  The Best Northern Lights in the Business, enzui basement dropkicks, Owen Hart rollups with a bridge, wheelbarrow armdrags culminating in Naomi's new double jump split-legged moonsault to shut down whatever the Fox would say--it wasn't flawless, but Cameron's demonstrably improved even from her last Main Event match not even a month ago, and she far and away had the smallest CV of any of the foursome involved. 

If this whole new era is going to be a NXTized version of WWEME with such touches as focus on the secondary titles and decent-to-great women's matches every week it's the least we as the viewer can do to bang the snooze alarm every nine minutes to allow Audrey and Anna their beauty sleep.  Maybe AJ was right; maybe that pipebombshell did light a fire under everybody else.

That usually would've been the highlight match of a program, but again this world is new.  (Actually new, not Columbusian new.)  So as it turned out, it had to take a backseat to the Rhodes boys and the Real Americans continuing their mutal contempt from Smackdown opening up the throttle.  Quelle surprise, get four of the best wrestlers on your roster exchanging blows and a couple of segments to work with and you've got the new standard above-average WWE TV match.  So it blossomed biggest in the little moments, like Cody stealing his old partner's rebound clothesline or Cesaro shoot strengthening his way into a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker on Goldust when a mere mortal would've probably just dropped the former Intercontinental champion, let alone turned it into offense.  While the Americans showed a more unified front than they've put up in months -- right up to the vintage Swagger Bomb/Mushroom Stomp combo that Goldust fell victim to -- it still wasn't enough to finish off the former champions, who took pleasure in sending Swagger down to the CrossRhodes, even if Cody had to limp through post Patriot Lock to pull it off.  This was in the service of setting up a #1 contenders to the tag team title fourway match on Big Blue this Friday, but even with no prompting this was a fine match.

And oh, what a brave new world with such (occasionally un)expected awesome in it.