Monday, March 23, 2015

Smackdown: Friendship is Magic

They dress the same, why can't they be friends?
Photo Credit:
I missed out on last week's SmackDown, but when I saw the results I felt that my undoubtedly vast and loyal readership wouldn't be too fussed about it because there were, like, four matches and one of them involved Ryback, and no one wants to read anymore about how little I care about Ryback. This week also only had four matches, but one of them was a gauntlet match, which was more like five matches in one and went a long way toward making the show worthwhile. With that said, I'm more than ready for WrestleMania to have come and gone. The build this year has just worn me down instead of hyping me up. Fresh starts are needed all around.

Most Disappointing Friend – Mark Henry
Mark Henry popped in last week to berate Roman Reigns and got speared for his trouble. Now, tough love might be just what Reigns needs to rein in some of his smug superiority, so I was looking forward to Henry returning this week with perhaps another dose of medicine that Reigns wouldn't be able to dismiss this time. Instead, Henry was full of praise for Reigns because apparently attacking your elders is the best way to earn their respect. Now conveniently on Team Reigns, Henry and his new young friend were put into a tag match against Seth Rollins and Kane. This still could have salvaged things, as Mark Henry crushing people is one of my very favourite things. Alas, it was not to be. Henry was instead crushed himself backstage. Not only is Mark Henry doing Roman Reigns no favours by indulging him and giving him more odds to overcome, but he also deprived me of something fun to watch. I am unimpressed. Speaking of Roman Reigns, can we chill with the endorsements from others and the overcoming of odds? Roman Reigns can be cool and entertaining. He's done it before. The obvious hand-holding and micromanaging and prodding him along like he's an action figure and not a live performer is not doing him any favours. In a world that is entirely artificial and constructed, it's necessary to allow for genuine connection. Let the man breathe, and, at the very least, stop switching out his catchphrases every two seconds.

Something Friendship Something – Paige, AJ Lee, and the Bella Twins
I don't even know what to say about this anymore. Paige had a match against Brie Bella, AJ Lee and Nikki Bella were on guest commentary, Jerry Lawler made horrible comments, and we've all seen this before. Nikki and Lee were hardly able to say anything because the match was so short. The match itself had a promising start, with both Paige and Brie coming out aggressively, but then it was over. It might be the same old story with the same players, but I'd still like to see a decently long women's match. I did appreciate the segment later in the show that had several other women in the division talking about the upcoming tag match at WrestleMania like it was an issue occupying all of them and they'd all chosen a side. Anything to make this re-tread seem important and get some other people involved. However, up until now there has been absolutely no indication of the investment shown in that one segment and I'm guessing there won't be again. Just one competently told and developed story is all I want, WWE.

Should Be Friends – Dean Ambrose and Luke Harper
It wasn't much of a stretch to come up with this one when Ambrose and Harper faced each other wearing almost exactly the same attire during the gauntlet match featuring all of the Intercontinental title hopefuls. Aesthetic similarities aside, Ambrose and Harper have also found themselves in similar circumstances since the break-ups of their respective groups. While Erick Rowan and Roman Reigns have both clung to the past, continuing to do what they've always done, and Bray Wyatt and Seth Rollins have sought to become ultimate baddies, Harper and Ambrose are loose cannons, carrying chaos with them wherever they go. Think of what these two could do if they joined forces. On the other hand, their confrontation during the gauntlet match was pretty boss, so I'll be content if they just continue to face each other. I'll also be watching to see if their characters continue to progress along similar lines. I also want to mention how much I enjoyed the gauntlet match in general. It started out fairly inauspiciously, with Ambrose quickly dispatching Stardust and R-Truth (and I am super not okay with Stardust and Goldust not getting a match to themselves at WrestleMania), but then things picked up in a big way and the successive confrontations (Ambrose/Harper, Harper/Daniel Bryan, Bryan/Dolph Ziggler) got better and better. It ended with Bad News Barrett coming out to decimate the competition left standing (including dispatching Bryan with the mic, which is one of my favourite things. It makes such a satisfying *bonk* sound), and after weeks of haplessly having his title stolen he looked like a champion again. The ladder match at WrestleMania is the one to which I am most looking forward by far

Best Continued Friendship – Tyson Kidd, Cesaro, and Natalya
This team is still going strong, with Natalya once again getting the win for her team and all three of them celebrating together. Their match against Los Matadores, including El Torito, was fun while it lasted and could have gone a long way toward making Los Matadores believable contenders to the titles...if only it hadn't been billed as an “interspecies” match. I feel like no thought whatsoever was put into this. Either El Torito is literally a bull, which is silly even for wrestling, or people with dwarfism and women are different species than human, which is awful. And either way, why is it okay for a woman to face a literal bull or a little person, but not human men? What are the parameters here? Also, Natalya defeating El Torito for the win was cool, but it was played off as a comedy bit. They are both legitimate competitors. Treat them as such.