Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Instant Feedback: Friendship Is Toxic

Fool's gold right here, y'all
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Lacy writes the Smackdown recap on this site, and she does a damn fine job with it, especially with her chosen theme. Friendship in WWE is hard to come by and even harder to keep, and this episode of RAW was the biggest indicator. The first three segments saw friendships dissolves, alliances crumble, and even later events where friendship was perhaps begun were dubious at best.

Of course, the crumbling bonds of friendship were obvious. Randy Orton morphed into a fiery, passionate babyface for the first time in his career. Mark Henry's slow burn betrayal of Big Show finally took place. The final cutting of the tenuous cord between Paige and Alicia Fox was cut. Those happenings were boring though. People turn in wrestling all the time.

The ancillary things were more important in all three cases. Mainly, Orton opened eyes that at least in an instant, he could be the guy WWE has wanted him to be all his career. Small sample size and all, but still, his emoji representation tonight would have been this:🔥. Mark Henry returning to his Hall of Pain self remains the biggest cause celebre. He should never be a WWE-style good guy, to be quite honest. Lastly, Paige's maltreatment of Fox was so heinous that it drew out Jerry Lawler to protect the victim. Lawler, whose repertoire in the broadcast booth is perpetrating how crazy wimmenz be and how much he wants to be inside of every Diva in the locker room, actually got up and showed genuine care. I have no idea where that burst of humanity came from, but I'm not hating it.

But the noted worst friend on WWE's roster trying to gain alliances backstage and finding a curious first partner for his Survivor Series match against Team Authority. When last Cena and Dolph Ziggler were entangled, Cena was dropping shit, literal shit, on him and his then-girlfriend AJ Lee. Now, when Cena needs help, he goes running to him because they're the same alignment. Good guys stick together, or they should at least, but what happens when only one of them, at best, is good? Cena rarely has ever looked out for anyone but himself. When people close to him are getting beaten down, he rarely makes the save. Poor Zack Ryder got horror film'd by The Demon Kane™, and Cena was nowhere to be found, not even when Ryder was alone with Kane while in a wheelchair. Of course, Cena was there to throw all the shade on Eve Torres when that situation came up, which shows you the integrity of his character.

So pardon me if I'm not jumping at the bit to proclaim the ideals of friendship in WWE saved because Cena finally made a save for his presumed first recruit. Don McCloskey, local Philadelphia area singer-songwriter, sang it best. "Ain't that just like an uncle, only calls you when he needs you." Cena's the uncle, but one who rarely needs anything. Things seem to fall his way. Even on this episode, he got a shot at Seth Rollins the night after Hell in a Cell despite needing to beat Dean Ambrose for said shot the night before (he didn't). And at the pay-per-view, his "loser's consolation prize" was yet another shot at Brock Lesnar, while the "winner's bracket" prize was ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Cena is literally Rich Uncle Moneybags from Monopoly, a right-wing capitalist one-percenter who wants it all and wants it now. A true friend would, despite all his riches with or without the need of another human soul, help out those in need. Cena has always done well by himself because he doesn't need anyone else, until now. That's all anyone need to know about him. Hell, that's all anyone needs to know about friendship in WWE in general. The good guys only call when they want something in return. The ones who are friends true and blue in Lacy's reports are the ones that Rick the Sign Guy tries to instruct people to boo. Awful people need friends. "Good" people require only pulling themselves up by their bootstraps.

Much like the Randian dystopia that attitude is modeled after, the state of needing friends in WWE is so toxic right now that it's no surprise the first hour of the show was built on dissension, explosion, and betrayal. I guess if you want to see people align with each other in meaningful fashion, you need to watch New Japan or Chikara. Not that that's necessarily a bad space for WWE to occupy. Even desolate hellscapes with loners roving about can provide great story fodder (theoretically, of course, since WWE still hasn't proven week-to-week it can provide great stories in, I don't know, ever?). I just wouldn't be so sure about Team Cena at Survivor Series being anything but a stopgap of dudes whose mantra is "The enemy of my enemy is my friend, I guess."