|Hard lessons temper friendships|
Photo Credit: WWE.com
My notes for this episode of SmackDown primarily read “recap recap recap” and “THAT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE.” To cover the nonsensical elements first: We had Kane ONCE AGAIN being put in a position where he can mess things up for Seth Rollins even though ONCE AGAIN he showed that he can't stand Rollins. It does not make sense for Kane to be constantly put in a position to thwart the Authority's plans! Stop threatening to take his job away and just take his damn job away! This was the go-home show before the Payback pay-per-view, and how did we hype up the Fatal Fourway match for the title? Roman Reigns fought Kane for the millionth time and it was as exciting as always.
Seth Rollins was set for a match against Ryback (Kane was specifically told that Rollins' success is a priority, yet he still put the champ in a position to be weakened before his title defense and why is Kane still being allowed to make these decisions?), but when the Big Guy was attacked by Bray Wyatt the match still went ahead, only with Ryback staggering around and being useless. Of course, he still managed to keep kicking out and hitting his power moves, refusing to just let things end. It was agonizing. Randy Orton wasn't even on the show. Dean Ambrose was the only one to have a good, interesting match against Sheamus, though apparently Kane just made the match on the fly. Shouldn't he have made matches for all of Rollins' opponents if he was at all on the Authority's side? How is his loyalty seriously even a question? MAKE SENSE, SHOW!
At any rate, Ambrose vs. Sheamus was the kind of match one can expect from these two men – very physical and with much tumbling to the outside. Unfortunately, it was the first match of the show, and any momentum it started was quickly squandered. The only match with the potential to wake people up came along when Tyson Kidd faced Kofi Kingston, but their bout was quickly ended with Kingston tapping out. I don't understand any of these decisions. I expect pre-pay-per-view shows to be repetitive and somewhat stagnant, but this was pushing things a bit far for my taste. However, I did enjoy the ongoing Ambrose and Reigns narrative.
I like that Reigns knows Ambrose well enough to expect him to get caught up in the moment and to fight for himself. And I like that Ambrose tried to be a tough guy, stating that he likes being alone, but also admitted that even though he loves Reigns like a brother he still wouldn't apologize for his actions and was open about the fact that he'll go all-out for the title on Sunday. And Reigns still loves and forgave that wacky so-and-so, but he, too, is going to fight hard for what he feels is owed him. There's a continued understanding and affection between them, but also some tension and uneasiness to make things interesting. I really appreciate character stuff like that, and I just hope that whatever happens at Payback, these two will still be friends. I couldn't deal with yet another nail in the coffin of the Shield.
Should Be Friends – King Barrett and Bo Dallas
During Dallas' match against Neville, Barrett was on guest commentary and he made the offhand remark that he may knight Bo Dallas one day and now I need that in my life. Sir Bo Dallas would be the greatest thing ever. He was amazing during his entire segment, from being SO EAGER, in the most backhandedly malevolent manner, to help us all through the five stages of grief over Daniel Bryan's announcement, to being completely out of his element against Neville. Hearing his hapless shrieks in the background (“HE'S BREAKING MY FACE”) while the camera was focused on Barrett had me in stitches. Every king needs a faithful lackey; who better for our oft put-upon new ruler of the ring than a peppy motivational speaker who'll take a beating and then pop right back up again? Also, props to Tom Phillips for mentioning Neville and Dallas' NXT history together. I appreciated that.