Monday, August 25, 2014

Smackdown: Friendship is Magic

Orton's call to the announcers was more for show than effect
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This episode was exactly what people think of when they think of Smackdown - utterly predictable and a waste of time. I was bored throughout this entire show, despite the fact that it contained a lot of performers I really like. Smackdown does not have to be like this, and I wish someone would fix it.

Desperate For FriendshipRandy Orton
Randy Orton came out again this week to remind everyone that he is the Viper and he likes to hurt people blahblahblah. Mr. Orton, if you were really fearsome then you wouldn't need to constantly make these little speeches. Last week I suggested that he was really trying to get the attention of Dean Ambrose, but this week he was definitely looking to catch the eye of Roman Reigns. Their feud has clearly been decided - Reigns always comes out on top-and everyone knows it's over except for Orton. He's just desperate to keep this thing with Reigns going and it's kind of sad.

Even after his absolute bore of a match against Rob van Dam, Orton tasked commentary with telling Reigns that the two men would see each other later. Considering that commentary stays firmly ensconced behind their table for the entire show, there was no way that they could carry these instructions out, so the only point of Orton's message was to once again make sure that everyone knew that he was trying to be the most important aspect of Roman Reigns' life. During Reigns' main event match against the Miz (a repetition of last week and probably the biggest waste of time on the show), Orton sauntered out to insert himself in the proceedings, and while I was hoping that Reigns would just disdainfully ignore him, the two men ended up engaging in some intense staring followed by fisticuffs, followed by more intense staring. Randy Orton achieved his goal of getting Reigns to pay attention to him and I was bored out of my tree.

Worst FriendRoman Reigns
Reigns finally remembered that Dean Ambrose exists and that they used to be friends, conveniently after it was too late to actually do anything to aid the latter. Reigns' vow to avenge Ambrose's abuse at the hands of the Authority rang hollow. You're a terrible friend, Mr. Reigns!

Should Not Be FriendsJack Swagger and Bo Dallas
After Jack Swagger lost his match against Seth Rollins, Bo Dallas emerged to give one of his patented back-handed pep talks and offer to be our new American Sweetheart. I would have enjoyed it a lot more if I didn't have the sneaking suspicion that we were being teased with a Swagger/Dallas team-up, despite the fact that Swagger is still (allegedly) a face. I'm beyond tired of Swagger being paired with far more charismatic people. I actually liked him as the All-American American-with his cheesy grins and bravado-but lately his constant dour expression just irritates me and I don't want someone I enjoy, such as Dallas, to be saddled with Swagger's dead weight of a character.

Most Stable FriendshipRusev and Lana
Having effectively neutralized the Real American threat, Rusev and Lana appear to be as in sync as ever. We'll have to wait and see if Mark Henry can shake them up a little.

Can't You Just Be Friends?Paige and AJ Lee
Natalya took over Eva Marie's role this week, keeping Paige occupied until a wild AJ Lee appeared and used DISTRACTION. As usual, it was SUPER EFFECTIVE (I'm positive that I'm not the first to make a Pokemon joke, but I don't care). I'm grateful that this time Paige didn't immediately succumb to the fatal distraction after Lee made her appearance, but I am tired of this pattern. I'm all for Paige and Lee playing mind games with each other but the constant repetition is the furthest thing from compelling and it makes both women look ridiculous, as neither of them is apparently learning anything or adapting. I kind of just want them both to be removed from the title scene until they can learn a fucking lesson (and so that Naomi can finally have a title run). Either that or have them legitimately be friends; no more of this “frenemies” bullshit. Just SOMETHING NEW. Please.

More Stable FriendshipsGoldust and Stardust, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan
The outcome of this tag match was the only thing on the entire show that I didn't accurately predict. The Dust Brothers won and the Wyatt Family beat them up after the match, supposedly to “send a message,” though to whom and for what purpose I have no idea. Both teams still appear very team-y. There's nothing I love more than a strong, supportive tag team, so having these two teams in the division along with the Usos and Rybaxel is great, but it's just not going anywhere. Give me some sort of narrative, guys. I don't think I'm asking for the moon, here.