Friday, July 10, 2015

Smackdown: Friendship is Magic

Reigns helped out Ryback, but what about his buddy Ambrose?
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Most Confusing Friendship Situation - Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns
For a couple of weeks I was happy that Ambrose and Reigns' friendship appeared to be as strong as ever, even as they explored a couple new dynamics and butted heads a bit. It felt natural, and I enjoyed their interactions. However, this week and last week they've been nowhere near each other, and it's weird. This week Ambrose once again had the first match of the show, this time against Bo Dallas. He won, and there wasn't really any reason for Reigns to get involved, but last week Ambrose faced and lost to Bray Wyatt, Reigns' current nemesis, and I thought the two supposed friends might have some discussion about that. Nope. Reigns himself faced the Big Show, and you'd think that the prospect of facing one of the Authority's beneficiaries, as well as the looming threat of Bray Wyatt popping up, might cause Ambrose to be on hand to support his friend. Nope. Not even when Wyatt did indeed show up and cause the match to end in disqualification.

However, Reigns DID rush to the aid of Ryback when the latter, after winning his match against Seth Rollins via disqualification, had to face a post-match beating from both Rollins and Big Show. Aside from having faced Show earlier in the evening, Reigns' story doesn't intersect with Ryback's at all, and Reigns' intervention didn't even amount to much, as Ryback is becoming positively Cena-esque in his odds-overcoming ability (and never mind the fact that the last we saw of Reigns he had been dispatched with a Sister Abigail by Wyatt. Good thing he completely recovered in time to save his good pal Ryback!). It's just strange to me that Smackdown formerly included so many backstage segments devoted entirely to Reigns and Ambrose's friendship and now they apparently have nothing to say to each other, but Reigns is running to the aid of a guy with whom I can't even once remember him having a meaningful interaction.

Most Beneficial Friendship – Rusev and Summer Rae
Barring all of the ranting I've done regarding the Rusev/Summer Rae/Lana/Dolph Ziggler thing for the last couple weeks, this week I actually found a glimmer of positivity. Rusev faced and destroyed Fandango in a quick match, and at first I was annoyed that no one was mentioning the fact that Summer used to be paired with Fandango. However, commentary did bring up her history with him, though with the enraging remark that their partnership had been short-lived “like all of Summer's relationships.” Because why point out that the men she was with were abusive pricks when you can make it sound like everything was her fault for not being able to keep a man? I consoled myself with the thought that Rusev has taken it upon himself to help Summer dispatch everyone who ever did her wrong. Here's hoping Lawler and his sexist comments are next.

Friendship with Room for Improvement – Titus O'Neil and Darren Young
I love the Prime Time Players, but nothing in life is ever without room for improvement. O'Neil faced Big E on this episode, with the match being a predictably enjoyable hoss-fest won by O'Neil. However, Young really needs to up his game at ringside if the Players are going to be able to hold the New Day at bay. Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods (especially Woods) are incredibly good at distracting and interfering when their team-mate is flying solo in the ring. Young's presence kind of pales in comparison, and I'd like to see him shine more when not at O'Neil's side. Their friendship can only get stronger.

Most Improved Friend – Jimmy Uso
Last week I took Jimmy Uso to task for being awful on commentary when it came to the women's match. He's actually been pretty good during other matches, so the blatant sexism and lack of effort when it came to the ladies really stood out. This week I'm happy to say that he actually did his damn job and made some good contributions when Brie Bella and Alicia Fox faced and beat Naomi and Tamina. Actually acknowledging that he and his wife talk about their work-lives, Uso stated that Naomi and Tamina had no plans to join with either Paige or the Bellas. He also talked about how someone like Alicia Fox could be tempted to join the Bellas because of their connections. Pretty insightful stuff from someone who last week insisted that his wife would flip if he took any sort of interest in the women's division because bitches be crazy or whatever. I also enjoyed the match itself, though poor Naomi lost again, even with her sole friend back at her side. Here's hoping that Uso's newfound interest in his wife's circumstances will be of some consolation to her.