Monday, June 29, 2015

Smackdown: Friendship is Magic

Nope, this wasn't doing anything for Lacy this week
Photo Credit:
Least Effective Reunion – Seth Rollins and the Authority
I think I've made it abundantly clear in the past how much I loved Seth Rollins' friendship with J and J Security. Well, on this episode of Smackdown he praised both Joey Mercury and Jamie Noble to the heavens, and I didn't care one bit. Why should I? We've already been down this fight-followed-by-apology road with Kane multiple times; now they've just added J and J to the mix. Nothing's changed. Nothing's moved forward. We've just started the next rotation of the same old story, and the amount of everyone's time that they have wasted is infuriating. You want to be storytellers instead of wrestlers, WWE? Fine, but then TELL ME A FUCKING STORY. Don't just trot out the same plot points over and over, because this is what happens.

My heart used to threaten to crack at the thought of Rollins being mean to J and J and driving them away. Now we've been there, done that, none of it mattered, and I don't care about any of them. My heart actually did break over the Shield dispersal, and I was heavily invested in the fall-out, especially between Rollins and Dean Ambrose. On this episode they wrestled each other and I felt nothing but boredom, not just because we've now seen this match approximately one billion times without it moving anything forward, but also because we've also seen the heavily telegraphed finish (the Authority gets involved, Rollins wins) the same amount of times. Enough of this. Enough of KANE, for heaven's sake (or should that be hell's sake in his case?). I have actually been a fan of Kane in the past, but why is he everywhere? I'm positive that his match against Ryback, my irrational dislike of whom just increases by the week, was made just to bait me. Well, it worked.

Nope – Lana and Dolph Ziggler
Speaking of repetitive shit. Here's a relatively simple story: Rusev and Lana split up, she hooks up with Dolph Ziggler, Rusev is left alone to howl incoherently. End of story, and Rusev can have some time off to recuperate from his injury. Except, no, that's not the end of our story because why do that when you can keep having Rusev try to wheedle Lana back, her rebuffing him, and him screaming at her OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN? This is what makes scintillating television, clearly. Yet another installment occurred this week, and just to make things even better, it occurred while Ziggler had a match with Sheamus, another match-up that we've seen so many times. Can we talk about just how terrible and skeevy this Rusev/Lana/Ziggler thing is? First of all, where did it even come from? It started when Lana threw the towel in on Rusev's behalf because she thought he had given up, but he insisted that he didn't and was angry with her. She made an understandable mistake; he over-reacted. It was a believable quarrel.

But to go from that to, “I OWN YOU, WOMAN?” Where are the connecting dots? Lana was always the one in charge of their partnership. She literally told Rusev what to do all the time and he listened to her because he respected her judgement. She told him when to crush and when to release a hold and he never showed the slightest sign of resentment. Then he suddenly became this sexist brute because they needed the cheapest way to split these two apart and he's foreign and we all know that them foreigners just don't know how to respect women! Not like our good American boys! But if you're going to turn Rusev into a caveman, at least he's clearly the bad guy and we're supposed to cheer Lana getting out of an abusive situation. Yay. Right? Well, not really, because the good American boy she's rebounding with is Dolph Ziggler, whose past relationships have never ended well for the women involved.

But, hey, at least this has been acknowledged and Lana is allegedly going into this fully aware of the circumstances. Yay. Right? Well, no, because look at what's happened to her since joining up with Ziggler. She's not managing him or helping him or advising him. She stands on the sidelines and cheers and smiles and waves. She never talks. She's been robbed of her voice and everything that made her an effective force...but just look at how happy she is! It's totally empowering that she lets her hair down now (when Ziggler does it for her because he knows what she needs). What a Strong Female Character. I'm not even going to get into the Summer Rae/Rusev thing because I am exhausted by this shit.

Friendship That is Still Happening, I Guess – Alicia Fox and the Bella Twins
The Bellas accompanied Fox to the ring for her match against Naomi. That alliance still makes no sense to me, and a reason for it still hasn't been given, but I'll just roll with it. It's best not to think too hard about the women's division. Like, the Bellas are definitely heels now, yes? They've been cheating on the regular and now Fox is also interfering on their behalf. That is baddie behaviour, so Naomi, whose recent actions were undertaken to oppose the Bellas, should be hailed as some kind of folk hero now, right? However, commentary was still chiding her and tut-tutting when Tamina super-kicked both Bellas (the only thing that Tamina is good for). Jimmy Uso, who was sitting in for Byron Saxton, wouldn't even say that he supported his wife's actions (I was so on the fence about this. On one hand, it's nice that's he's changed his tune and apparently now allows her to make her own decisions, but on the other hand, SUPPORT YOUR DAMN WIFE, USO) so...what are we even supposed to conclude from this? Whatever. Fox and Naomi tried to have a hard-hitting match, and I appreciated the effort, but some things definitely looked sloppy. Fox won, and so the dizzying globe that is this division continues to turn.

Best Friends, Best Everything – The New Day and Bo Dallas
And then we had the saving grace of this show. My wish and the wish of many others came true, and Bo Dallas joined up with the New Day. Even if it was only just for this once instance, I don't care. I will treasure it forever. Aside from their delightful interactions, the quartet was also involved in a match against the Prime Time Players and the Lucha Dragons. It was a ton of fun, and the Players are fitting in as champions really well. I've always liked them, but they haven't had a ton of exposure at the top of the division, so I wondered how that would play out. I was also happy to see them team with the Dragons, since after seemingly being positioned as the next champs before the title change, Kalisto and Sin Cara have pretty much been dropped. Kalisto ended up pinning Xavier Woods, after all eight men had done their best to inject some energy back into the show. The New Day swarming Dallas to protect him and pump him up was awesome, as was Woods taking the time to yell, “How's your brother doing?” at Jimmy Uso. Just great heel work, as usual. Overall, this is the kind of quality content I want to see on Smackdown.

Worst Friend – Roman Reigns
So I'm actually mostly enjoying the burgeoning Reigns/Wyatt feud. I think it's just cheesy enough to be awesome, and I like how Reigns is playing it, with the subdued intensity that worked so well for him in the Shield. I also continued to like his and Ambrose's dynamic this week, with Ambrose itching to go after Wyatt and concocting wild revenge schemes, as well as acknowledging his own history with Wyatt. Reigns continued to be tolerant but cautious, wanting to head off Ambrose before any overzealous plan could backfire on them and telling his friend to be mindful of his own problems, since the Authority were more than enough for him to handle without adding a creepy cult-leader into the mix. That was all great, and then Reigns had to ruin it.

After sending Ambrose off, Reigns found yet another charred photo of his daughter and decided to immediately go after Wyatt to finish him once and for all...which is exactly what Ambrose wanted to do. It's one thing to want to keep Ambrose himself safe and away from causing further damage, but then another to immediately go it alone. Ambrose is the guy you bring in once you do have a plan and can just set him loose. You're depriving Ambrose of one his favourite pastimes – revenge! How could you just leave your best friend out in the cold like that? Not to mention also leaving him to fend for himself during his match against Rollins. Reigns got himself expelled from Smackdown for his troubles, and I hope that during his time away he will consider the true meaning of friendship.