Monday, June 22, 2015

Smackdown: Friendship is Magic

A new wrinkle in their friendship
Photo Credit:
A New Side of the Friendship Coin – Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns
Smackdown tried to pull a fast one on me this week, but I refuse to play its little game. You can't just substitute Sheamus for Seth Rollins or J and J and act like it's whole new ball game. It's not, it's the same old story, and I'm not going to talk about the Reigns/Ambrose/Sheamus/Kane tag match. However, the (predictable) interruptions of Bray Wyatt did give us a reversal of Ambrose and Reigns' usual dynamic, which I enjoyed. Usually it's Reigns being level-headed and trying to get Ambrose to think straight, but this time around it was Ambrose trying to get Reigns to shake off Wyatt's attempts at mind games. I've often thought that it must be exhausting to be Dean Ambrose's best friend and that he maybe doesn't fully appreciate Reigns constantly standing by his wacky side, so it was nice to see Ambrose actually pay attention to something other than his own preoccupation with Rollins and the Authority in order to check up on his friend. It's a small character progression, but one that I appreciated, all the more so since it gave me something to focus on other than the neverending story of Kane persecuting ex-Shield members.

Most Incomprehensible Friendship – Alicia Fox and the Bella Twins
What the hell is this fresh nonsense? I was actually having a good time with the women's segment on this episode, aside from having to listen to Brie Bella's atrocious entrance theme. Nikki not accompanying Brie to ringside to prove that they don't have to cheat, when Brie, not being the Champion, isn't the one who anyone cares about, was a great heel move. Brie and Paige had themselves a good, hard-hitting match, and I even enjoyed watching the lesser Bella twin for once. Then Alicia Fox interfered on Bella's behalf, cost Paige the match, and posed with both Bellas at the top of the ramp, waving their merchandise around. Just...why? Look, I'm all for Alicia Fox getting more screen time, and I know everyone jokes about how she changes allegiances at the drop of a hat, but there is no reason whatsoever for her to join up with the Bellas. Where was she when Naomi was attempting her coup? Fox certainly would have made a better second-in-command than Tamina. Frankly, this whole thing smacks of being entirely for the benefit of Total Divas, something that really doesn't bode well for the women not on the show. In fact, it gives me the sinking suspicion that Naomi didn't end up capitalizing on her insurrection because she's not on the show anymore.

Best Friend – Bo Dallas
Any time Bo Dallas is on the show he is automatically the best friend: to you, to me, to everyone, bless his inspirational heart. Specifically on this episode, Dallas offered the very sound advice to Lana that Dolph Ziggler is the last guy she should be pursuing a rebound relationship with, given his disastrous past romantic history. Of course, Dallas also lost in pretty short order to Ziggler, but here's hoping his words didn't fall on deaf ears.

Best Clash of Friendships – New Day and Neville and the Prime Time Players
There isn't really a reason for the Prime Time Players to join forces with Neville other than to oppose the New Day, but I'll take it. Neville and Xavier Woods' match was not as long as I would have liked, but I still enjoyed it. Even more so, I'm enjoying the beginning stages of this Prime Time Players/New Day feud. I know every time we get a new tag feud I'm thrilled at first with the fresh match-up and then I get steadily beaten down by seeing the same match week after week, but I really think this one has more staying power than most. The charisma levels of both teams combined are astronomical, and they're also more than capable of putting on solid matches. Here's to future clashes of these battling BFFs.

Best Use of Friendship Downtime – Cesaro
With Tyson Kidd out of commission, Cesaro is kind of at a loose end right now. To kill time, he delivered some Swiss sass to Kevin Owens backstage and then the two met up in the ring for what should have been the main event. The match was a ton of fun, as expected, and Cesaro lost but he looked fantastic. Just a good, long, satisfying match featuring two dynamic performers whom we otherwise might not see face each other. This is what Smackdown should be.