Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Best Coast Bias: Chapter 3

Cry havoc...
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It's greedy and hopeful to want to keep the end at a distance.  Hell, even while the events of this Main Event were unfolding the narrative was being overtaken by shocking, horrible news.  Sometimes in a world of infinite surreality, finite reality clears its throat and re-establishes its dominance.  History is full of examples where something major was overshadowed by tragedy, and where the reaper's shadow cast everything else about that day to darkness to get barely remembered in the scythe's cut.

That said, when the shock has worn off and the tears have dried the third installment of the Shield/Wyatt Family trios skirmishes will still be an excellent match.  Worthy of consideration and definitely one of the highlights of this new Networked era from WWE Network's signature Tuesday night show, they made half an hour (in a three-segger with post-match promo to boot) fly by quicker than you can say "look at these paramilitary vigilantes throwing bombs with this Southern Baptist hillbilly cult".

You could tell right from the beginning that this was going to be something different, and not just because of the old it's-hard-to-beat-anyone-of-quality-three-times-a-season trope.  In the first installment at the Chamber, Bray Wyatt's able to goad Dean Ambrose and snuff out the already short wick of his temper and cause a Pier 6 at the outset.  Ambrose's wildness isn't the Shield's wildness and never has been; such anarchy lends itself to the Wyatt's, who eventually ape (or mock) the Shield on the way to dealing them their largest defeat in their tenure to date.

On this night, Wyatt picks up that narrative thread right where it laid and immediately starts in on the US Champion with taunts of "errand boy" and the like.  You can see it in Ambrose's body language because it's such a similar cut to that beginning a couple of months ago.  But the Shield have gone into therapy since then, so to speak, and have faced down and thrown bombs against a small wing of Hall of Famers not 24 hours previous.  The moment hangs in the air, reminds the astute what's come before, but doesn't replicate.  This is a new world now--Bray's a little bit more arrogant having taken them on twice and won, while the Shield have faced down the threat of their immolation and rebuilt their bond on rededicating to justice.  So Ambrose is fine staying in the ring to start, Bray sends Rowan out as the sacrificial lamb mask, and when the Champion doesn't get a reaction to his smacktalk he opts rather to smack the mask off the big ginger's face.

And so the fight begins, with Rollins doing the brunt of the early work.  See again that this plays to the Shield's advantage with their architect in there controlling pace with his athleticism and combination of rare moves (the Complete Shot into the second buckle, flying at Rowan into an almost standing Koji Clutch that brings to mind how AJ gets the Black Widow on usually, etc).  Ambrose uses a bit of offense from Reigns and a combo neckbreaker and then it gets away from them.  It's weird seeing somebody who looks more like a cast member of It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia and has made his bones up and down the shores of Grappalania as a redemption-free scumbag milk the crowd for their ardor, let alone do it again and again.
To add insult to injury, Wyatt keeps his hands clean of Ambrose at first and lets his leviathan minions at him instead.   Wyatt eventually gets in for what he assumes is going to be some scrap pickup, and would probably have won the bout doing so had Rollins -- you know, the guy who'd cost them the rematch by leaving the team to prove a greater point that they took to heart in the aftermath -- not made a save.  NOW the full-out Pier 6 breaks out, and the former NXT Champion's flying in all directions to cut off the former NXT Tag Champions and nullify the size advantage, as well as buy Dean some time.  From there the signatures flew like his body, but eventually even without Roman contributing to the end Ambrose and Rollins get Rowan alone and finish him off to put one on the board for the Hounds.  It's not a victory over Bray.  At least not yet.   But as a newly cohesive unit, they've managed to stop the shutout.

So for the second time in a day Renee gets in the ring to interview the Shield, including a hilariously beat-up and raspy Ambrose, who ended up trying to game his way through the leadoff position before calling it off.  It turns out when a corporation gets busted for using its workers and is on tape calling them nameless, faceless, expendable etc. that sometimes the workers don't like it and revolt.  Again, this is a world of infinite surreality here.  And then Roman Reigns gives Renee a smirk and a "Do I look like I'm faceless, baby?" and suddenly my television got buried in an avalanche of provolone, but somehow in a good way, the same way a large segment of the female audience who would shortly join in in chanting the Handsome Prince's name were suddenly looking at him and thinking roughly "I know I want to do something with him but I don't know what".  Making the moment even better were A and R laughing clearly in the background.  The wars -- external a few moments ago and internal a few weeks ago -- is over.  Well, all except one.  And hey, if there ends up needing to be a double steel cage lowered to settle it, well, who could ever complain about that particular blast from the past given new life for a new generation.

And all of this could stand to be forgotten, to say nothing of Alexander Rusev squashing Sin Cara and Jack Swagger picking up a short but energetic win over Dolph Ziggler.   It was the night Parts Unknown got a little colder; the same night a band of warriors exemplified the spirit of a newly minted Hall of Famer and brought the energy he used to bring.  Tuesday was black, for the better on-screen and for the worst out in the world.  But it probably signified the thing most appealing and problematic of the Stamford schedule: the end came, and the end was always at a distance, and as a result the moments were set to live on even when a heart had beat its last beat and lungs had breathed their last breath.

That's something to believe in.