Monday, December 1, 2014

Best Coast Bias: Double Feature

Somebody didn't want onions on their burger
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It seems especially in a socially networked era of pro graps viewing and reviewing that every year towards its conclusion a gaggle of writers look back on the previous 365 and declare it The Craziest Year Ever™. This year may have been proving it; hell, this week's got it covered if you need a few bullet points to illustrate the larger thesis.

The Artist Formerly Known As Kevin Steen is taking up space on Stamford programming. Sting of all people has taken WWE out of the latest iteration of the McMahon-Helmsley Era. And the man most responsible for the biggest seismic shift within programming this year when his series of Tombstones took out Daniel Bryan and threw the entire summer into an episode of Sliders as they searched in vain for a recovery and then an heir apparent? He's the big goof in the black khakis getting kicked in the face by Dean Ambrose in Main Event's main event.

It's weird: for all the alluding to what Kane was and the evil things he's done, not to mention the fact he's literally the reason the Yes Era was a hiccup and not a pandemic, it's hard to see him as a threat nowadays. Then again, maybe that's why he got protected to an extent, as Ambrose had to pull out a surprise rollup out of the corner to win after the former DOO (hee hee, doo) managged to avoid the second version of Dirty Deeds in a two-segger show closer that was perfectly serviceable but nothing worth going out of one's set pathway to see. Not outwardly worse for wear from Bray Wyatt dumping Aisle 11 of Home Depot on him after a Sister Abigail on the floor the previous evening, the much-beloved Ambrose stayed steady with his spazmatic offense, even when Kane was countering his topes and punching him around the ring in a myriad of ways. Without their respective dance partners for TLC matches making appearances, it was up to Ambrose's weird mix of charisma and total willingness to lean into some uppercuts that set the table, milquetoast as the meal being served was may have been.

The ending sent the fans home happy, and the beginning did as well. To an extent--the new Tag Team champions Damien Sandow and Mike Sandmiz came out to test the bipolarity of the WWE fanbase right off the jump. (Oh, sure, that's not how they're technically billed, but that's how most fans see it.) It's amazing how this is the third time they're running "guy next to the Miz realizes he's way more awesome than Ohio boy with the frosted tips" and it still doesn't lose steam. It also helps when Miz cuts a wonderfully self-aggrandizing promo beforehand where he insists the crowd shut up before giving a metaphorical toast to the haters and wrapping it all up by thanking the one that's stood besides him without the proper recognition, respect and thanks it so richly deserves: his moneymaker. Hey, the man's married to Maryse. It's entirely possible he's attractive, you know. Anyway, Los Matadores came out afterwards and put up just enough offense to acquit them of folding as they do, but this match's ending came with the twist of Miz blind-tagging in to capitalize on Sandow's Skull Crushing Finale and get the victory after those roles were reversed days earlier in the title change.

Here's a question that'll never get answered: if Fandango is so new and improved, why's he got the same finisher? Adam Rose fell victim to it after some more Bunny-related shenanigans, and rest assured that question was more compelling than the sprint that caused it to happen. To his credit, F2.0 looked a little more vicious with a bull-run Rosegut first to the apron before back suplexing him into it; well, as vicious as a man can look wrestling with his collar up. But this was a mere trifle, and we daren't bring up desserts without noting the fact that for the last pre-giving Thanksgiving show that the E put on, that somebody was probably going to get piefaced. Three Stooges style, and not the more fight-inducing style. So Nattie was the poor victim this year, with the Slayers mocking her before putting a fat round of pumpkin (possibly sweet potato) right between the eyes. At least they topped her off with some whipped cream, but Nattie got the last laugh by making Layla tap out to the Sharpshooter in the middle of the ring. Well, maybe Tyson Kidd did by repeatedly posing in front of his wife after her win while they were both up on the same corner of the turnbuckles. And also by putting on his headphones or taking them off depending on the vociferousness of the Nattie's Husband chants.

You'd think a man married to a woman that attractive would be encouraging that sort of chant, but that line of thinking is probably cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, right?

Like have you seen my dignity where the hell'd I put it
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For wrestling fans of a certain age, pro graps and Thanksgiving go together like gravy and tryptophan, the middle of the second quarter and falling asleep, old sibling rivalry arguments renewing and sneaking sips out of Grandma's flask. Therefore it was a nice thing to see NXT pick up that forgotten torch and provide a new episode after the last drumstick was eaten and most people were slowly drooling on themselves.

While it wasn't a blowaway show by any means, it set the table for one to come up in a couple Thursdays with the next Network Special, Revolution. (Here in BCBville, we don't take too kindly to unnecessary misspellings. How could a proper British gentlemen be running the show and allow such an abomination to stand?)

It's fitting that the Thanksgiving episode ended in a fight to set up the next special, since this all began at the last one; the Ascension showed up and ruined a perfectly good Tyson Kidd/Finn Bálor match with the rarest of Full Sail entities: a DQ. Their showing up to lay out the newcomer brought out Hideo Itami to have his friend's back the way nobody had his back at Fatal 4 Way, and pretty soon the clubberin' commenced, slightly eradicating the ten minutes before hand where Bálor kept pace with the self-proclaimed and quite delusional "new Hitman" for two segments. After getting out chain wrestled early, Tyson bailed in the manner you see above before getting his own back from the break. Yet despite his pleas to the ref to ask Bálor if he wished to submit in Irish, he was too good to stay down long and at the moment of the disqualification he was perched up top ready to deliver the double stomp of instant killification to the former Tag champion. Hopefully these guys get a rematch, a few more minutes, and a cleaner ending in the future.

This put a bow on a show that was remarkably similar in pacing to the previous week's, except at this time a week ago both of Bayley's legs worked. Mama Charlotte told her to not do the thing, but the thing she did, and Sasha and Becky took to being called bullies by bullying her and beating her up, putting more heat on the BFF Implosion title match that'll also happen at Revolution. Honestly, while that was probably necessary, the more compelling action in the women's division was the magical return of Leva Bates Blue Pants in her role as This Guy to Carmella's ersatz Bo Dallas Open Challenge. Not that the match was anything of substance; it seemed almost a verbatim reiteration of what'd gone before. But all the character work was delicious: Amore and Cass being stunned the crowd would beat them to the punch of what the surprise for Carmella would be, the big man singing the Price is Right theme for the victim yet again and some crowd members singing along, OBP being completely psyched to being led to another slaughter and even exchanging high-fives with some front-row supporters on her way to the ring, and then the Let's Go Blue Pants chants. Hopefully this leads to a larger role for her within Full Sail's walls, as the rest of it was more compelling than Carmella rifling through five moves we already know she has a handle on. Oh, and Cass gettting a hug before Amore got Heismanned once again. Literally everything around the match was more compelling than what constituted it; those things named donut holes still have donut constituting them, you know? This was the inverse of that.

The Lucha Dragons were successful over Team Scrubs to no surprise, but unlike the offense served up to Tye Dillinger and Jason Jordan didn't have any reposte to the midget madness match last week, nor the short black-and-white film put up by the Vaudies depicting them (well...the midgets again) as dynamite enthusiast bank robbers only to get hoisted by their own Wile E.sque petard and blowed up real good by the #1 contenders. Kevin Owens noted he'd started fighting to provide for his family, and that his 14-year journey to WWE was going to end with him proving people wrong on Revolution's launch date. Tyler Breeze, stuck in title shot purgatory until the Zayn/Neville contretemps is settled, made fun of Marcus Louis for a minute or so before putting him out of his misery with a Beauty Shot. That was it--that was the show. Individually, it seems the journey is being sacrificed at the cost of the destination; fortunately for everybody who's an NXTophile, that destination is one last hour away from going live.