Monday, March 21, 2016

Smackdown: Friendship is Magic

Ziggler and Miz are total frenemies
Photo Credit:
There were only four matches on the show again this week. Normally one of my selling points for exclusively watching Smackdown is that I can still get all the important RAW plot points without having to actually watch RAW, but these lengthy recaps and talking segments are getting ridiculous.

Best Friends Who Are Not Friends – Dolph Ziggler and The Miz
If WWE could figure out if they want Dolph Ziggler to be important, that would be swell. You can't have him going from single-handedly taking on the Authority, to being all but forgotten, to exchanging words with Stephanie McMahon, to exchanging wins with the Miz. He flip-flops on relevance more than he flops while selling. That being said, I actually enjoyed his bout against the Miz on Smackdown. They played off against each other really well, and for two guys who have faced each as often over the years as they have, it's pretty amazing that I can still get invested in a match between them. Unfortunately, due to the aforementioned lack of definition in his story, Ziggler's hard-fought win was a little hollow, but this was still more than I've enjoyed watching him in ages. There are worse things Smackdown could have than good matches of no real consequence.

Should Not Be Friends – Goldust and R-Truth
I'm genuinely baffled that this Golden Truth thing is still, well, a thing. Does anybody actually care about whether R-Truth and Goldust will form a tag team? Given that Goldust was beaten fairly quickly by Bubba Ray Dudley during their match and that Truth, when he ran in to help, was also quickly taken care of and that their backstage shenanigans have been pretty painfully unfunny, how is anybody supposed to work up any enthusiasm for this? With a roster thinning out due to injuries, they could have thrown Goldust in against anyone – Neville, Kalisto, my beloved MIA Damien Sandow, or, hell, STARDUST – for some instantly great matches, and instead he's wasted on this go-nowhere garbage.

Least Competent Friends – The League of Nations
I'm really not sure why the League of Nations is getting a title shot against the New Day at WrestleMania when the New Day have already beaten them pretty soundly at both singles and tag matches. I know the selling point for it is that the match will be four on three -- Oh noes! Except that the League can't even out-cheat the New Day when they have three guys on the outside of the ring as opposed to two, as demonstrated during King Barrett's match against Kofi Kingston. The League looked pretty pathetic here, to be honest. Their apparent incompetence and inertia combined with the fact that all four of these guys have been kind of a big deal in the past makes me feel genuinely sad about the League. On the other hand, they do seem to genuinely have a good time together. They're always hugging each other and cheering one another on, and that's a level of friendship I can get behind, win/loss records be damned.

Best Friend Forever and Always – Bo Dallas
I would be remiss if I didn't mention the brief segment involving the Social Outcasts hanging out on the ring apron and chatting about the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale, like they just got out of school or something. Weird premise notwithstanding, precious wrestling raindrop Bo Dallas once again proved that he is too good for all of us when he fervently looked forward to all four of them wining the match TOGETHER. Then, when his team mates each selfishly expressed a desire to win individually, Dallas nodded in support of each of them like a damp angel.

Then Dean Ambrose swung by to scatter the Outcasts and invite Brock Lesnar to Smackdown next week, both actions which I took as a personal betrayal. That's a level of ruinage that I would expect from Dolph Ziggler, Ambrose. Be better than that. Be like Bo Dallas.

Also, grumpy weirdo Adam Rose is becoming a real favourite of mine.

Most Dedicated Hater of Friendship – Kevin Owens
Have you been recently betrayed by your bitter enemy turned best friend turned bitter enemy? Why not have a match against a guy who hates friendship and everything else? AJ Styles' match against Kevin Owens was a pretty great reason to watch Smackdown, even though Styles fell victim to the classic distraction blunder. Owens' disdain for everyone and everything continued to give me life, but I was sad to hear him barking at Mauro Ranallo like he was Michael Cole. How could you turn your back on a beautifully Canadian friendship like that? Oh, Kevin Owens, is there no one you can love?
Speaking of Ranallo, I might as well get in my weekly jab at Jerry Lawler's shitty commentary this week. Ranallo called Styles pulling off an ushigoroshi, after which we were treated to Lawler braying about what a weird word that was and mocking Ranallo for daring to know any non-English terms. Way to elevate the discourse, you racist fuck.

A final note: Evil Jericho has been putting together the douchiest looking ensembles, and I kind of love it. I was pretty damn impressed that he was able to pull off a codebreaker while wearing the tightest pants known to man.