Friday, January 2, 2015

Best Coast Bias: Flying Through The Space-Time Continuum

The new champs put a button on Main Event's 2014
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The uniqueness of how the pro graps chooses to tell a story means it is like a novel, albeit a novel without an ending about a funhouse mirror held up to society written by Hunter S. Thompson on salvia.

So sometimes you're a bit surprised to look up from a holiday B-show and find out the past, present and future of Stamford were interwoven throughout the show with the possibility that both from a match quality and storytelling standpoint, the best was yet to come for WWE. You guessed it - NXT had a match on the show.

Oddly enough as the Scroogeian timeshifts played out across the show, the two matches with present main roster holders turned out to be the most middle of the road, and the show kicked off with a somewhat lackluster recapitulation of the past. On RAW, Edge and Christian getting together to put on the Cutting Edge Peep Show leads to a major plot point that returns the McMahons-Helmsleys to power while wishing the last 10 minutes of Survivor Series out to the cornfield. Here on Main Event, it's for Adam Rose to show off his messianic complex followed by a bunch of NPCs bouncing up and down whilst Copeland and Reso strike the Five Second Pose. (Side note: fellas, suing because of the RAW CEPS events is a moment that makes sense. You being fine with the restitution being running ME and Smackdown this week is, how do we say, not.)

Moving up the ladder, the stalwarts of Tuesday night put on perfectly cromulent if not excessively memorable wrestling. Titus O'Neil promised to make '15 the Year of the Gator and backed it up by pretty easily dispatching one of the contenders for WWE's floor, Justin Gabriel. Upon regaining the Tag Team championships on Monday, the Usos immediately went in against the guys who'd taken the belts from them in the Dust Brothers. Watching these guys have the last Main Event main event of 2014 was like having a facepainted superkick-happy version of comfort food; it'll never be a five-star medallion winner in Zagat's or what-have-you, but it still feeds the belly and is more than serviceable getting there. The Usos won off a miscue and Superfly splash following it when Not Cody hit Certainly Not The Disaster Kick but half of the champs ducked and the former Intercontinental champion didn't. Whether that was a one-off or the opening fissure to a deeper rupture is still up in the air.

What isn't is Charlotte's dominance over Sasha Banks. No, you're reading the right BCB: the ladies feud (rivalries generally see both sides win, so that's not the term in play when it comes to these two) got some shine on Tuesday night, and while it wasn't quite up to the standards set in Full Sail by Revolution and the Christmas Day rematch, it was a fine piece of work that honestly could've used some of the extra oxygen the CEPS used in the opening. A short video package pre-match (re?)introduced Ms. Flair to the viewing audience, and for once during the match Cole, JBL, and Booker T left the shtick in Henny Youngman's book and mostly called the back-and-forth. It was encouraging to see the crowd actively into the match as it progressed to the point where a few fellow members of the Everybody In NXT Is A Genius And I Will Die Protecting Their Vision Of Professional Wrestling Even Though I Am An Alleged Grownup cult busted out the Sasha's Ratchet chant.

While not as counters to the counters heavy as their rematch, there were still some on display on the way to a Face Eraser setting up the Natural Selection. Granted, this was in Norfolk, one of the many veritable capitals of Flair Country. But still, hearing Let's Go Charlotte chants and the rhythmic rally-the-babyface clapping as she got out of Sasha's modified Romero Special can do nothing but auger well for the future. For some the Charlotte/Nattie RAW sprint is always going to color the presentation going forward, but a few more of these will go a long way in minimizing that with the hardcores while still giving the general audience the feel goods when Recognition hits the system.

Sometimes the production values are so innate when the E puts their hivemind to it that we overlook them; on a show like this, however, it just goes to further underscore what it can mean when they say Then. Now. Forever.