Friday, January 30, 2015

Smackdown: Friendship is Magic

The end of a friendship
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Smackdown was live this week due to weather. Since Raw had to be canceled, Smackdown also became a sort of proto-Raw for the week, complete with talky segment after talky segment to set things up for the next pay-per-view, and only four matches. Yes, four matches in two hours, and only one lasted for any length of time. Smackdown, I never want you to be suddenly important again.

Desperately Needs His Friends Back – Roman Reigns
Oooof. Roman Reigns' match against Big Show was not what it was meant to be. In any other context, it would have been perfectly serviceable, but as a means to convincing us all that Reigns is the greatest thing that could have possibly happened to us, it was pretty cringeworthy.
First of all, it came 15 minutes into the show, after Triple H had already been doing a lengthy spiel in the ring, making me restless and bored. The match itself was slow and largely without impact or drama. Reigns kept tossing Show over the top rope (look, everyone! Reigns didn't actually NEED any help at the Rumble! He's totally capable!) and Show kept working Reigns' leg (which he sometimes remembered to sell). It was repetitive and, worst of all, Reigns did not look strong (if you'll pardon my use of everyone's favourite joke). The crowd wasn't into it at all and the desperation was palpable in the commentary team's efforts to sell us on Reigns. I felt intensely sorry for him. The Rock didn't show up to make him feel better this time (because the Rock is a terrible friend), and clearly the only solution here is to bring back what formerly made Reigns so cool: his role in the Shield. There's got to be a way to get the band back together. Seth Rollins can even bring Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury along and they can all be one big happy family together and everything will be all right and nothing will hurt anymore.

Best Friendship Pay-Off – Tyson Kidd and Cesaro
Since teaming up, Tyson Kidd and Cesaro have been putting on awesome matches and inspiring us all with their friendship. On Smackdown, Kidd won his match against Jey Uso and it seems like Kidd and Cesaro are finally moving up the tag team ladder. The match showed off how dynamic Kidd can be, though it could be that I was just so fucking thrilled to have an Uso face off against someone other than Goldust, Stardust, the Miz, or Mizdow. Either way, it was a fun, if short, match, and the victory could put Kidd and Cesaro on their way toward holding the the Tag titles. Friendship: Good for your soul and your material gain!

Friendship in Danger – Goldust and Stardust
Goldust and Stardust showed some dissension in the ranks during their loss to the Ascension, and this was following Stardust's attempt to eliminate his brother during the Royal Rumble match. Given how slowly our stories seem to plod along these days (the Miz and Mizdow have also been threatening to break up for a while), I don't see it happening right away. Personally, I'd like to see a quick, clean break. I have never stopped loving the Stardust character and the Dust Bros. as a tag team, but I think I'm ready to have Cody Rhodes back. The brothers have been treading water for ages now, and with Cesaro and Kidd bumped up to the next tier in the division, and the apparent inability to generate a story for more than a couple of teams at a time, it looks like everyone else is going to remain stuck where they are. If that's the case, I'd much prefer a Cody Rhodes/Goldust feud leading into WrestleMania, which will guarantee us some killer matches. Also, then I won't have to deal with commentary constantly running the Dust Bros. down. This week Cole scoffingly requested Saxton's “unique” take on the team, like it was absurd to think that anyone could find something to like about them. Um, they're a team that looks interesting and also they're two amazing wrestlers?

Putting a Nail in the Coffin of Friendship – Daniel Bryan and Kane
See what I did there? I AM THE BEST AT PUNS. For those who didn't watch Smackdown and are therefore confused, Daniel Bryan and Kane had a casket match, and we were promised that this would put an end to their feud. Man, I hope so. I admit that I wasn't looking forward to this match, first because I'm so sick of these two facing each other, and second because I don't find casket matches that thrilling. Lawler was trying his hardest to sell us on the terror, but come on: if you lose you just have to lie down in a comfy box for a few minutes. Now, if one of the combatants was claustrophobic, or if the casket was filled with scorpions, I could see what the fuss is about. However, with all that being said, damned if I didn't get sucked right into this match. It was tense, interesting, compelling, and had a great pace to it. When Bryan finally won, it felt like a victory that really meant something. It was, in short, what the Roman Reigns/Big Show match should have been.