Monday, December 15, 2014

Smackdown:Friendship is Magic

Jimmy Uso may be chummy with his brother, but he still doesn't deserve friendship
Photo Credit:
Still Doesn't Deserve a Friend – Jimmy Uso
…but I have to admit that this week's Uso/Naomi/Miz drama was miles ahead of last week's. Miz and Mizdow were on guest commentary while the Usos had a match against Tyson Kidd and Cesaro (once again proving to be an enjoyable team) and, as could have been predicted, Cole spent the vast majority of the time badgering Miz endlessly about Naomi, and we could hardly see the match at all. I was about ready to throw in the towel. Imagine my delight when Miz ended up going backstage to speak with Naomi, not only leaving us actually able to watch the rest of the match (wrestling on a wrestling show, what will they think of next?) but also delivering a pretty good backstage segment as well. Miz was equal parts manipulative and sincere, telling Naomi how truly talented she is, but warning her about how a jealous husband just screams “too much drama” to a studio. Better yet, Naomi actually got to speak!

I liked that she told the Miz she was on to his game of trying to shake up her husband, but she also clearly took his works to heart, later delivering a similar rebuke to Uso for not trusting her to make her own decisions. The cherry on top of my already satisfying Smackdown sundae was Jey Uso pointing out to his brother that Naomi had a point and also telling him to get his shit together and not let Miz get under his skin so easily. We ended with Jimmy Uso actually looking thoughtful. Could there be character development on the horizon? Complex motives and emotions at play? I'm not daring to hope that this will continue into next week, but this was a welcome, welcome change and an example of how Smackdown can be used to further the B plots that don't get as much time on Raw.

Best Lack of Friendship – Nikki Bella and AJ Lee
I have to admit, I've finally come around to the Nikki Bella/AJ Lee feud. It's weirdly refreshing to have their enmity based on each woman believing herself to be a more legitimate champion, with nary an “I'm a more crazy bitch” or “You're a more jealous bitch” in sight. Frankly, I'm not even entirely sure if either one of them is truly a face in this situation. Bella certainly isn't playing it like she's a heel, with all her speeches about having worked so hard to get here. Yeah, she's got Brie to help her out, but how much of an asset is Brie, really? Most of the time I like having a clear good guy and bad guy, but I'll take some shades of gray in the women's division. A morally murky character is still better than no character at all. Here's hoping that by the time you read this Bella and Lee will have had the kind of match at TLC that shows they're both capable of being effective champions. I do have to quibble with Lee constantly being on guest commentary, though. She's entertaining, but the focus is entirely on her. Bella had a match against Alicia Fox, but you'd never have known what was going on in the ring.

Best Friendship That Needs Something More – The New Day
A while ago I expressed dismay that the team of Big E, Kofi Kingston, and Xavier Woods appeared to be over before it had even really started. Then the vignettes for the New Day started airing and I got excited. My excitement may have been misplaced. I like all three of these guys, particularly Big E, I like that they have chemistry with each other, I like that that are clearly trying so hard to make this happen...but something isn't happening. I don't know, they just aren't fully clicking. A big part has to be the disappointing stable motivation: “They're soooo energetic and happy!” ...'kay. And what else? Another big part has to be the frustratingly short matches they've had so far. Big E had a match against Goldust on Smackdown and it should have been a highlight of the night, but it ended too quickly to have any impact whatsoever, yet we're now supposed to believe that the Dust Bros. are deeply invested in stamping out the New Day...for some reason. Disappointing all around, but it's really not the New Day's fault. I really hope they can turn things around.

Most Incapable of Friendship – Jack Swagger
Jack Swagger is a robot. That's the only way to explain his total lack of expression in every situation. I'm so sick of his face I can't even deal with it. From his match against Titus O'Neil, his reaction to Zeb Colter being hurt, and the appearance of Rusev I got the same thing: mild exertion. Jack Swagger cares about the things involving him almost as much as I do.

Most Heartbreaking Friendship Break-Up – Luke Harper and Erick Rowan
I'm not getting over this any time soon. Maybe if we just had some closure on the whole Wyatt Family dispersal, that might help. Harper and Rowan were once again on opposite sides, with the former teaming with Big Show and Kane and the latter with Dolph Ziggler and Ryback. They most definitely had a match, and I most definitely was not paying attention. I said the same thing last week, but it's true. Smackdown cannot hold my interest for two hours, especially not with these repetitive main events. Fingers crossed for next week to be more innovative.