Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Best Coast Bias: Canada Day II: Shoot Harder

This is it, this is the "feud"
Photo Credit:
Let's just come out and address a piece of vocabularial popcorn that gets stuck between the molars of me and all the other poor afflicted former copy editors, Journalism degree holders, and fellow word nerds out there who flinch like beaten dogs when they see "accept" instead of "except" and the like. This thing Sheamus and Alberto del Rio have been doing for the past few years?  It's plenty entertaining when it's not racially cringeworthy, and it's lead to a string of matches including the crown jewel of this week's Main Event that bottom out at above average and scrape the ceiling of almost great.

What it's not is a rivalry or a feud.  Those have alternating winners.  There's a give-and-take inherit, like a coin flip between evenly matched oppositional forces where the wind blows one way, somebody makes a huge mistake or catches a big break, and then there's a winner.  Alberto del Rio might be comforted to know when he speaks it reminds some viewers of Jay-Z, but not if their response to seeing him is to laugh at the idea of him holding a Championship followed by cackling "we don't believe you, you need more people".  It was a matter of when and not if A-Hova would be stopping a Brogue Kick with his jaw on this Tuesday; as it played out it took three (yes, three) segments in a Last Man Standing match with Big Irish to get there.

That being said, this match was one of their better ones in the series, and might go on the short list of their 99th percentile from a sheer match quality perspective.  The idea of a fight about to occur being so vicious between guys who were smacktalking each other for two minutes beforehand somehow quelling itself long enough for pre-match introductions was quickly submerged in the opening fisticuffs that ensued.  It's a lawless environment, and that should be played up especially given the rarity of Championship matches on WWEME and this being the first time there was a stipulation in play on the level of a Last Man Standing codicil.  With the international flavor at play here you could see things tighter than usual and more bombs being thrown: kendo sticks, the announce table, and several parts of the barrier came into play before the first commercial break even rolled.  From there the violence escalated with Sheamus winning all the minibrawls that broke out as Del Rio armed himself with the kendo stick and tried to weather the storm brought by the Pale Horse.  By the end you were seeing crazy things like basement superkick/chair shot combo platters, but in the end Del Rio only had himself to blame for his undoing.  It's A Last Man Standing match, not a Last Man Armwrestling one, and putting on the Code Red was one of those things that easily led to him getting eventually one-arm bombed through a table Sheamus had worked into the ring earlier in S3. Truth be told it was more than a little surprising to see Alberto beat that count, but then again if he had he couldn't've gotten the two-step alarm that goes off at Brogue O'Clock, you know?

With that nearly taking up half the program it was unsurprising that the little bit that followed was also of a satisfactory if ultimately predictable nature.  Well, mostly enjoyable: it may've taken a five-on-one handicap match against Nikki Bella, and her embracing the heelish nature overlayed onto her by large subsets on the audience but watching Eva Marie on offense and winning a match with a DDT off of a blind tag suggests the sort of dogs and cats living hysteria mass living together that Dan Murray was talking about in that movie with the giant Mrs. Buttersworth.  Left to their own devices in this further Authortatorship overreach Naomi and Natalya opted to participate in the match by not while Eva, Summer Rae, and Rosa Mendes shrugged their shoulders because they had to get paid, y'all. Given the setup it was borderline brilliant and hilarious watching Nikki actually get it in when it came to the opening offense for the first :30 or so only to get into the bad part of town where all her opponents were and then not seeing daylight again even with 33% of the team not participating and the other 17% (Cameron) waiting until after she'd gotten pinned to literally run out, cheapshot Nattie into Naomi, and then run away when the latter chased her.

The feel-good moments would continue as the Highlight Reel main evented with Chris Jericho and Bret Hart having a mutual appreciation society in front of a packed house of Ottawa...ians?  Tonians?  Ites?  Irregardless, the people of the capital city were more than fine with two generations of Canadian wrestling excellence in front of them.  About the only thing that could ruin the moment was Shawn Michaels.  And he didn't.  Damien Sandow, Cosplayer to the Stars, however, did.  And even his ruining only could last so long before he got his beard punched and his legs Sharpshootered.  Music up with a swell, final credits, and now a few scenes of C.M. Punk's Money in the Bank wins to hype up the free week of WWE Network and lead to a thousand horrible thinkpieces that'll go up over the course of the rest of the week that'll do nothing in the long run but further point out the fact this week the WWE Network is free.

Now, watching 11 hours straight of awesome wrestling v. going outside for fresh air and interacting with other human beings?  Now that's a rivalry.