Monday, August 18, 2014

Smackdown: Friendship is Magic

The birth of a new ship?
Photo Credit:
First, something to add to the list of things that I find unbearable about Michael Cole: he always uses the word “nonetheless” to segue between subjects, even when it makes no sense to use that particular word. WORDS MEAN THINGS, COLE.

Should Be More than Friends—Dean Ambrose and Cesaro
Ever since this I started this whole friendship shebang, I've been captain of the good ship Cesaro + Sheamus, but I'm starting to fear that ship may have sailed. Cesaro and Sheamus haven't interacted on Smackdown for weeks; instead, Dean Ambrose has been having a series of intense and fun matches with our Swiss hero. Until now I've been content to just sit back and enjoy the show, but now I think that there might something more here. Sure, both men bring a certain amount of intensity to all of their matches, but together they crank things up to a whole other level, despite the fact that their matches are given no stakes—Cesaro's just the latest in a series of props standing between Ambrose and Seth Rollins. There's a story being told in their matches that is decidedly not a part of the main narrative.

And, yes, you COULD chalk this up to both men simply being excellent professional wrestlers with the knowledge and ability to put on a good match no matter what, but I insist that a complex and beautiful love story is once again playing out in our midst. A note about Rollins' taunts to Ambrose after the match: I've mentioned before that it is unacceptable to heedlessly fling around the word “bipolar” and I'm going to mention it again. Bipolar is not an insult or a synonym for “uncontrollable” or “erratic” or whatever the hell Rollins was trying to imply. Sometimes “bipolar” is incorrectly used to refer to someone being moody, but even that context doesn't apply here—Ambrose has been pretty consistent in his moods. Bipolar disorder is just something that's a part of many, many people's everyday lives, and it definitely does not cause a person to single-mindedly pursue their ex-best friend who betrayed them in a stunning fashion. WORDS MEAN THINGS.

Shakiest Friendship—Heath Slater and Titus O'Neil
I still don't know if I like Heath Slater and Titus O'Neil (I am NOT calling them Slater Gator) together. I loved 3MB and the Prime Time Players, and I like both men individually, but as a team, meh. Maybe if they had an origin story other than “Hey, these guys used to be in tag teams and now they're not and it's kind of not going so well so let's put 'em together!” it would make a difference. Both of these guys have fun personalities, but I'm just not having fun watching them and that makes me a sad panda. Also, all they do is bicker, so I don't think this friendship is going to be particularly long-lived.

Should Be Friends—Mark Henry, Big Show, Luke Harper, and Erick Rowan
I was very excited for Mark Henry versus Luke Harper, and then for Henry and Big Show versus Harper and Erick Rowan. The only thing better than two very large men crushing each other is four very large men crushing each other. And the only thing better than THAT is the added aspect of FRIENDSHIP. Show and Henry are clearly having such a good time together right now, and I'm sure that Harper and Rowan want to join in the fun a little. I'm not suggesting that the Wyatt family should break up or anything, but maybe Henry and Show could be like the cool uncles who occasionally take Harper and Rowan out for ice cream and movies when Bray Wyatt gets to be too overbearing and makes them go to bed early without dessert.

Most Unintended Friendship—Paige, AJ Lee, and Eva Marie
Paige and AJ Lee have been stuck at Step 1 of their feud (Paige attacking Lee and then saying that she still likes her is just so nuanced that we definitely have to do it at least six weeks in a row for things to sink in) for a while now. Meanwhile, Eva Marie has been quietly building a winning streak thanks to the other women's manoeuvres against each other. Her “Yay, I won smile!” after Lee was counted out was kind of adorable; the other two women probably didn't even know how happy they were making her. Of course, then she was immediately attacked by Lee, so there's little chance that their unintentional friendship will ever blossom into something real.

Best Friend—Bo Dallas
Bo Dallas continued to be my best friend when he single-handedly saved an otherwise lacklustre segment that had him tap in seconds to Jack Swagger. I guess if you lose a couple matches to R-Truth, suddenly you're just another brick in the wall. However, Dallas then revealed that he wasn't ACTUALLY tapping—he was just trying to use his hand and arm to try and push himself up. Furthermore, he magnanimously forgave the ref for not realizing his mistake. Bless you, Bo Dallas. Never, never change. Side note to call out Cole for saying Swagger was defending the “red, white, and blue” against the “Colours of the Russian Federation.” You know, whatever colours those might happen to be.

Doesn't Deserve a Friend—Roman Reigns
I'm pretty sure Ambrose and Reigns are no longer friends and have possibly suffered a strange form of amnesia that made them forget all their time together, but I'm not so sure Reigns deserves to have a friend anyway. He was a guest on Miz TV and, with very little provocation, walloped his host. Not exactly the work of a man deserving of friendship. And I honestly thought that Reigns kept forgetting his lines and that was the reason Miz kept talking over him. I've been so disappointed in Reigns of late, and this cemented my disapproval. Above all things, Roman Reigns should be COOL. Punching a dude in the face and pandering to the audience? Not cool. Remember that early Shield segment wherein Cole tried to goad Reigns into saying something and he was just like, “I'll say something when I want to. Fuck off,” and then fell back into intense silence? And the reason for that was because Ambrose was by far the best talker and Reigns was still really inexperienced, but it made him look so aloof and cool? I would like to have that back.

On Smackdown he should have just sat there, said nothing, and let Miz verbally make a fool out of himself. Then Reigns would have looked chill and awesome and Miz would have looked like a jackass—everybody wins. However, in the scenario that actually went down, Reigns looked like a jerk and I just felt sorry for Miz, who was also picked on by Kane and whose escape was thwarted by Dolph Ziggler.

Side note to again call out Cole for stating that if Miz was really an A-Lister you'd see him more on TMZ. Ah, yes, TMZ: the pinnacle of Hollywood achievement. Shut the fuck up, Cole.