Monday, September 8, 2014

Smackdown: Friendship is Magic

These two need to be chummier.
Photo Credit:
From the moment I heard that John Cena was going to start off the show with some John Cena-ing, I fully expected that this episode was going to be no improvement on the last couple. I'm happy to report that my dire expectations were not wholly justified and, though Cena was as tiresome as usual, there were enough fun bits to make up for him.

Should Be Friends—Kane and Seth Rollins
Kane and Rollins came out to interrupt Cena's speechifying and I took a certain shine to the two corporate toadies together, all besuited and snarky as they were. Of course, Cena immediately shut them down and dismissed them, which was pretty shitty. I mean, I understand that there's very little reason to take Kane seriously anymore (he can't even properly pick on the Miz—Kane keeps putting Miz in matches, but he's never yet prevented the latter from simply substituting his stunt-double), and Seth Rollins is a contemptible weasel, but come on. Now I just want more of Kane and Rollins palling around together, making cunning plans and cutting remarks and being ultimately ineffectual.

An aside about Cena, because I've got to get this out. Is anyone else really weirded out by his statement that he's not just going to beat Brock Lesnar, he's going to beat Brock Lesnar's ass? What is that even supposed to mean? Why the specific emphasis on Lesnar's ass? Is that his power source? Also, is it just me or is there also a sexual connotation there? Personally, I can't think of anything less appealing than Cena and Lesnar in flagrante delicto.

You know how they both get during matches--all red-faced and shouty and making off-putting faces? That is exactly how I imagine they both get during sex and I DON'T WANT TO THINK ABOUT THAT, but Cena keeps making reference to Lesnar's ass and I am forced to think about it and I just cry quietly to myself until the mental images go away.

Should Be More Than Friends—Sheamus and Cesaro
I've noticed all of the Sheamus/Cesaro interactions that have taken place on RAW during the past couple of weeks, and I took their lack of interactions on Smackdown as a personal affront, positive that the powers that be were trying to silence me by refusing to provide me with fodder. However, Sheamus popped up on Smackdown as a guest commenter during Cesaro's match against Dolph Ziggler and, lo and behold, the results were a renewed revelation of romance.

Sheamus admitted that being in the ring with Cesaro is the closest he can get to being in the ring with himself. Well, well, well, looks like someone's been reading his Victorian novels. “He's more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same” (Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights). In Wuthering Heights Heathcliff and Cathy were both violent personalities who couldn't articulate how they felt about each other until it was too late and in the meantime destroyed the lives of everyone around them, much like how Sheamus and Cesaro continue to take out their romantic frustrations on everyone they come across. I'm onto your literary allusions, guys. Nothing gets past me! And during the match, Cesaro kept looking over at Sheamus, clearly showing off. If you're one of those people who watches wrestling shows just for the wrestling, the match was excellent, too. There was something for everyone.

Most Devoted Friend—Jey Uso
Jey Uso was using a crutch to get around, but he still attempted to take on Titus O'Neil following the latter's attempted referee distraction during Heath Slater's match against Jimmy Uso. It's a very devoted brother who still looks out for his twin even the midst of injury. Special acknowledgement to Slater for selling Jimmy Uso's superkick like absolute death. He bent backwards at the waist so sharply that I half expected his torso to fall clean off his body.  

Most Unexpected Friend—Brie Bella, to Nikki Bella
During her match against Paige, Brie Bella unexpectedly pulled AJ Lee off of Nikki Bella when the former attacked the latter as they both sat at ringside. Brie Bella ended up losing her match (which shockingly got a decent amount of time, by Diva standards), but I really liked having her rescue her sister. Brie has kind of looked like a chump lately, as her only responses to Nikki's attacks and accusations been to weakly protest and attempt to cry. The lack of aggression coupled with her awful acting hasn't made her a very strong protagonist.

However, on Smackdown she came out swinging against Paige and was able to show that she still cares about Nikki without looking pathetic. This was far preferable to Brie overcoming her spinelessness by evolving into the hero-who-is-actually-kind-of-a-jerk that we usually see in WWE. I'm not a fan of combining Paige and Lee's narrative with the Bellas,' especially since it appears like the former (by far the stronger performers) are going to be taking a backseat, but if we can continue to get a sympathetic, layered hero in Brie Bella then I won't complain too much.  

Most Stable Friendship—Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter
Bo Dallas had a brief match against Zack Ryder, and then Swagger came out, once again accompanied by Colter. I kind of predicted Colter turning on the Real American, but I guess that will have to wait. For now, I suppose I'll be content with Dallas and Colter engaging in a propaganda war.

Best Friend—Triple H
The five-on-five tag match he set up was a lot of fun, and for that he was everyone's friend.