Monday, November 30, 2015

Smackdown: Friendship is Magic

They may look fearsome but on the inside...
Photo Credit:
Saddest Friends – The Wyatt Family
Poor Wyatts. This week their descent into the doldrums continued with Erick Rowan and Braun Strowman facing the Dudley Boyz. Because why not keep running them out against old dudes for absolutely no gain? Here's what's frustrating me most about his situation; is Braun Strowman the strongest and scariest man in the entire world or not? And if he is, why would Bray Wyatt throw him away on a match that means nothing? Why not save him for do-or-die situations? And if you ARE going to put him in random matches, maybe don't have Bubba Ray Dudley hold his own against him. Yeah, Strowman eventually overpowered him, but Dudley was still able to go toe-to-toe with the alleged BLACK SHEEP for far too long, and then he and D-Von together were able to shove him over the top rope. That's absurd. The Wyatts should not be coming up short in matches like this. Luke Harper shouldn't have to interfere and get them disqualified. The Wyatts ending up standing over the bodies of the Dudleys after overpowering them four-on-two doesn't erase the fact that they couldn't get the job done the regular way. This is the opposite of making them fearsome. It makes them pathetic. And it's just repetitive.

Better Without Friends – Becky Lynch
I'm not looking for Becky Lynch and Charlotte to end their friendship any time soon, but it's really nice when Lynch gets to shine on her own. Charlotte stayed backstage during Lynch's match against Paige, so we were spared any ringside shenanigans. Lynch looked great, and I really want to see her wrestle solo more. Paige looked okay, too, but her shtick has been wearing thin with me a lot lately, and the roll-up pin to end the match was hugely unsatisfying.

Worst Ex-Friends – Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter
Jack Swagger and Alberto del Rio had a match and I have to write about it. The match itself was... fine. The spark of life that del Rio has found lately seems to be holding, but, good Lord, I do not care about Swagger being bitter about losing his racist uncle. In fact, Swagger continued to be the worst face ever, moving toward Colter while del Rio was indisposed. What was he going to do to the mobility-challenged old man?!? del Rio was disqualified when he went after Swagger with a chair, which in wrestling logic meant that Swagger was totally justified in just WHALING on del Rio with a chair after the match was over. It made me incredibly uncomfortable watching the character formerly all about the white supremacy, who never actually renounced ANY of his racist rhetoric; we were just suddenly supposed to cheer for him, beating on the Mexican who is advocating for unifying Mexico and the United States. Lest we forget that Vince McMahon is real-life besties with Donald Trump.

Worst Friendship Role Models – The Usos and the Lucha Dragons
What was it with the good guys being absolutely terrible people on this episode? Earlier in the show the New Day was doing good work getting us all in the Thanksgiving mood, including us non-Americans. They even made me appreciate the Ascension (you can't bring DESTRUCTION to a potluck, guys!), and all-in-all were pretty harmless as far as supposed villains go. Xavier Woods even dressed as the Gobbledy Gooker to spread Thanksgiving cheer. Big E and Kofi Kingston later had a match against the Lucha Dragons, and it was fine. Not the greatest effort out of either team, but serviceable. Then at the end we were supposed to believe that the New Day would be so thrown by the apparent betrayal of Gobbledy Woods that they would instantly lose the match, and I refuse to believe that New Day would be so easily undone. The Usos then revealed that they kidnapped, stripped, and tied up Xavier Woods, and Jey took his place at ringside as the Gobbledy Gooker. Okay, guys. Prank successful.

But they didn't stop there! After Jimmy dragged out the still tied-up and practically naked Woods in order to further humiliate him, the Usos and the Dragons teamed up to beat on the New Day. But it was okay because...the New Day are sometimes cheating bastards? I know that turnabout is supposed to be fair play, but, again, this mostly just made me uncomfortable. The New Day weren't even a little bit horrible this episode! They didn't deserve this! Is this, like, an American Thanksgiving thing? Do you prepare for the goodwill of the holiday season by getting all the awfulness out of your systems on Thanksgiving? THIS IS NOT HOW YOU USE THE POWER OF FRIENDSHIP.

Best Non-Friends – Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens
Dean Ambrose won a triple threat match to determine the number one contender for the Intercontinental Championship, and I am happy about it. That's pretty much all I have to say. I'm looking forward to Ambrose and Kevin Owens going to town on each other. I wouldn't have been averse to Tyler Breeze winning either, and I definitely think an argument could be made that he deserves to have a shot more, if only to get him on the map. He looked fantastic in the match, and I was more impressed with Dolph Ziggler than I have been in a long time. The match was fast-paced and tense. All three guys just went hard for it, and, as Owens himself said, they made it look like getting a shot at the Intercontinental Title is something that MATTERS. Owens was also a delight on guest commentary, and all of it added up to this being an excellent Smackdown main event.