Monday, January 5, 2015

Smackdown: Friendship is Magic

Edge was a good friend on Friday
Photo Credit:
It was the first Smackdown of the new year. I was so ready for it. So full of hope and enthusiasm. Then I turned on the TV to find that Sportsnet 360 (the channel that gives us Canadians such fine WWE programming) has unceremoniously changed their airing schedule. I was still able to watch it on Saturday, but I have to admit my enthusiasm was dampened. You're a bad friend, Sportsnet. A bad friend!

Most Subtle Friend – Edge
Edge and Christian were there throughout the show, making matches and engaging in shenanigans with J and J Security. Edge wore a Cesaro shirt, a small gesture that I appreciated. He also refrained from putting Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury in a match against Ryback. Contrast this with all the times someone like Paul Heyman has been put in matches as a form of revenge or as a means to get to Brock Lesnar, and you can understand what a breath of fresh air it was to not have to watch the lackeys futilely struggle (yes, Noble and Mercury are both wrestlers, but have not been in the ring for quite some time and certainly haven't been presented in their current vocation as being much of a physical threat). It was a small point, but a welcome one. So thanks, Edge, for once again justifying my eternal love for you.

Most Lamented Loss of Friendship – Bray Wyatt and Erick Rowan
Bray Wyatt and former Wyatt Family member Erick Rowan had a match against each other, and Wyatt's statement that “We're not meant to fight. Don't you remember me?” broke my friendship-loving heart. Wyatt kept the emotion up throughout the match, in the end finally manipulating Rowan into showing mercy, only to completely level his former disciple. Of course, the match was immediately spun into yet more fodder for the Wyatt/Ambrose feud, but I'm still much more invested in why the Wyatt Family was disbanded in the first place.

Least Inspired New Friendships – The Usos and R-Truth and Goldust, Stardust, and Adam Rose
New year, same old fatigue regarding Usos/Dust Bros. matches. On this episode, the Usos teamed up with R-Truth, while Goldust and Stardust partnered with Adam Rose. The results were underwhelming, to say the least. Jey Uso ended up pinning Rose for the win, but the addition of a couple new partners really didn't help this tired match-up.

Best Non-Friendship Continuity – Big Show and Rusev
Big Show and Ryback had a match that wasn't terribly enthralling. It ended when Ryback was distracted by a the Russian flag suddenly unfurling over the ring and Rusev and Lana walking slowly to the ring. Rather than just finish his business with Show while Rusev took his sweet time, Ryback suffered a loss. I wondered if anyone was going to mention that it wasn't that long ago that Big Show was the one tussling with Rusev and being distracted by flags. No one did, but Big Show didn't react to Rusev at all, didn't celebrate the collusion in his victory, and walked past Rusev and Lana without so much as a glance in their direction. I'm taking that as a win for continuity. I have to take these victories where I can get them. Thanks, Big Show.

Best Friends – Cesaro and Tyson Kidd
Cesaro and Tyson Kidd's tag partnership/friendship is so firmly established that they have their own joint entrance video now! If Cesaro is going to be continually denied a dominant, lengthy singles run, I'm perfectly happy for him and Kidd to inspire us all with their team work. Their match against Los Matadores was by far my favorite of the night. For a match that had no story and no stakes, it had me compelled and engaged. That's the power of friendship...and also the power of good wrestlers rising above. Kidd celebrating their victory by ignoring his wife and leaping into Cesaro's arms was the icing on the cake.

Needs a Friend – Curtis Axel
Poor Curtis Axel was quickly dispatched by Dean Ambrose and then left to languish. His former good buddy Ryback was nowhere to be found. Axel can just never seem to hold on to a pal. Aaaand at this point in the show I had to leave for early birthday cheesecake, which, shockingly, took precedence over the remainder of Smackdown. However, the Ascension appear to be pretty with-it as far as friendship is concerned, and I assume that Roman Reigns continued to be a terrible friend. Join me next week, when I will once again attempt to negotiate the fickle whims of Sportsnet.