Thursday, October 9, 2014

Best Coast Bias: Go With The Flow

He beat Bo, but bigger challenges loom for the IC Champ (Photo Credit:
Dolph Ziggler retaining the Intercontinental Championship over Bo Dallas to kick off the first October edition of Main Event was pretty much a fait accompli. Dallas' wins over Mark Henry were getting increasingly fluky as it was; with a step up in competition despite Dallas even pulling out the double-arm DDT it seemed only a matter of time until he got Zig Zagged and defeated.

So the even better story than the Perfectly Cromulent Wrestling that was going on inside the ring was what was going on at the announce table, as the ever-erudite Cesaro joined Byron Saxton and Michael Cole and pulled off a minor classic in how to put things over and still maintain credibility. Amidst alternating his venom on both members of the new usual announce team, Cesaro not only showed he'd maintained every bit of swagger the summer could've robbed him of but put over several fine points that any objective viewer could (perhaps begrudgingly) agree with. After being prompted on why he kept referring to himself as the future IC Champ, Cesaro laid out a very convincing argument; he'd won the battle royal for #1 contendership but not only had to take his shot later on that same SmackDown, he'd gotten cheated during the pinfall in the process.

His next time around was a triple threat, and what he wanted was a straight up mano-a-mano shot at degolding the Showoff. Later on, he'd slightly put over Bo -- some of you may've remembered the brief rivalry they enjoyed down in Full Sail last year -- and noted that Mark Henry may've lost to him in triplicate due to a lack of speed, so Bo focused on that aspect of his offense and pulled out the Ws. Cesaro got his wish to face Ziggler eventually as the Champ was surprisingly dominant in the back end of the two-segger, but it'd be great for more insightful commentary with him along the way to his assumed eventual rematch.

Even with Total Divas fodder in front of them, the Coleton team brought narrative importance to the undercard fodder on display. Nikki finally managed to beat Brie with her own trademark Foley-style running knee before the Rack Attack, but it was under the auspices of a four-on-one handicap with the Slayers and Cameron as her partners. Hell, Nikki even blind-tagged herself in after knocking Summer off the apron to do it, then left on her own with her mocking Hunter Pence Daniel Bryan on her way up the ramp. On the headsets, Cole was sticking up for Brie and the decisions she'd made along the way during the year. Remember, in the way back when she'd quit on D-Bry's behalf and as a result Nikki had spent the spring into summer into the same types of handicap matches that she'd been facing over the past couple of weeks.

The difference? Brie showed fighting spirit, a bit of luck, and a bit of planning in clean sweeping all of her bouts before this one; Nikki had failed every single time out, presumably leading to her breaking point at Summerslam. Against lesser lights and only two at a time, even then Brie had found a way. Against two tag teams at once? She was going to be doomed eventually/ It was just a matter of when. Nikki gets the shadiest of victories to preen over, Brie is clearly capable enough and just put in an unwinnable situation, and more fuel was added to when they eventually get to knock horns one-on-one (presumably at Hell in a Cell, but don't quote me boy, etc.)

Here now, we muster sympathy for Tyson Kidd. Sure, sometimes he's a preening jerk, but what sort of reaction would you have to every single one of your coworkers emasculating you and lobbing stones at the shaky foundation of your marriage from their own glass houses? When the mouthpiece of White Savior Jack Swagger: The Shame Of A Nation is doing it on the way down to ringside and throwing in a cheap Foley pop for good measure before hitting the catchphrase, that's one thing. KANECORP (™ World Wrestling Entertainment) doing it before the match got underway in the back was something else entirely, and for the second week in a row to boot. Either way, it led to increased aggressiveness in Kidd early and the fact he was avenging a tapout RAW loss couldn't've hurt matters any. This time he not only countered the Patriot Lock by scrambling for the ropes but it set up a crisp gamengiri from the apron that gave him an opening to slingshot into the ring and rollup Swagger cleanly with a hold most probably associated with Owen Hart. While As The Harts Turn goes on, keep in mind what every NXT acolyte knows - Tyson Kidd in the middle of those ropes is not a man to be trifled with.

The show concluded with the Usos' continuing quest to get another shot at regaining the tag team Championships, but in singledom as Jey managed to triumph over Stardust by snapping off a superkick from the floor and uncorking a Superfly splash to the back to end the show. Not Cody pulled off a lot of fun offense considering the virtual sprint he was involved in, including a fine rope-hung swinging neckbreaker and a vintagely villanous Regalesque choke with his shin across the neck of a fallen opponent. The end was really innovative, as Stardust had shoved Jey off the top and it looked after he'd taken a spill to the floor that he might've re-aggravated his knee injury the Dust Brothers had caused earlier. One way or another it was a great sell job, as Stardust came to see what he'd wrought and got tuned up for his trouble, leading to the finish.

It just goes to underscore how important presentation is, especially on the shows that don't get the attention the big two -- well, okay one and a fourth -- do. It's very easy to imagine Lawler and JBL snarking their way through Tyson's balls being in Nattie's small purse and completely ignoring the fact he's whaling on a former World Champion and Money in the Bank briefcase holder, so we should also note not when things aren't made of hot garbage and Guy Fieri but when the people in charge of doing so and the Cesaros who usually aren't are advancing what we're seeing. There's not much foresight and forethought can't elevate, and even when Main Event can't deliver on a namesake level, it's the things like that that keep the small band of loyalists in the tent.