Monday, April 18, 2016

Smackdown: Friendship is Magic

Emma here showing Paige whose house it really is
Photo Credit:
Best Friends – The Miz and Maryse
Miz and Maryse are still being delightfully obnoxious together. Real life marriages don't always translate to on-screen awesomeness, but these two are killing it, making it harder and harder for me to have much sympathy for Zack Ryder. I wondered why I started feeling stressed as he made his way to the ring after interrupting Miz and Maryse. Then I remembered that the last time Ryder was relevant it resulted in a whole lot of misogynistic ugliness being thrown Eve Torres' way. Sure enough, Ryder wasted no time making a crack about how Miz wears more make-up than Maryse, which is something that she should be ashamed of, apparently. Because women are the only people who wear make-up and is there anything worse than being like a woman? Ugh. Ryder needs to stick with his focus on getting the title back and proving that he can hang on the Intercontinental scene. When he talks about how much having the title meant to him and how much he hated losing it he sounds a lot more sincere and likable. He lost his match this week against Baron Corbin, but Dolph Ziggler ran out to save him post-match, so maybe they can work together on being better friends and not ruining things.

Best Eschewer of Friendship  Emma
Since vaulting back onto the main roster women's division, Emma has just been owning everything she does. If Becky Lynch is the best face in the division, Emma is definitely the best villain, making them perfect foils. Emma's grudge is that she tried and failed to make it as a charming girl-next-door on the main roster (in her words, she was “rejected”) and then along came Becky Lynch with a similar nice-girl character that was immediately embraced and given a spotlight title match at WrestleMania for good measure. Emma's anger is totally understandable, but she's taking it out on the wrong person, making her relateable but ultimately unjustified in her actions, just like a good villain should be. Her determined, steely-eyed promos about taking Lynch down have shown us some of the best motivation in the women's division, and they aren't dissimilar to when Lynch was increasingly committed to taking Charlotte down. THIS is how you do a jealousy storyline, WWE.

It was also kind of fascinating to see Emma take on and beat Paige. The two former NXT foes have both changed a lot, with Emma evolving and improving and Paige seemingly regressing. It's kind of hard to take her “This is my house!” cries seriously when she hasn't done anything to back up her claims in a long time.

Saddest Friends – The Ascension
I mean, Enzo Amore pretty much said it all. The worst thing you can say about the Ascension is that they're the Ascension. I do feel bad for them having come up with the wrong crop of NXT call-ups and getting absolutely no support, but, again: it's the Ascension. They never were exactly lighting up my world. That being said, it was a lot of fun seeing Amore bounce around between the two of them before he and Colin Cassady moved ahead in the tag team tournament.

Better Without Friends (This One Time) – Alberto del Rio
Alberto del Rio showed up for his match against AJ Styles solo, without the League of Nations backing him up, and while I would normally be disappointed by not getting to see Supportive Bestie Rusev, it meant I could enjoy the match without fear of shenanigans. Unlike a lot of people, I never stopped loving del Rio and believing that he can be great. I've been disappointed in his obvious disinterest and lack of motivation at times, but I've never been unhappy to see him, and for matches like this, where he's fired up and into it, I get downright giddy. The match was a lot of fun, with Styles taking the win, and I wouldn't mind seeing these two face each other again some time in the future.

Best New Friends – Goldust and Fandango
I haven't been feeling the Golden Truth thing at all. I do like both Goldust and R-Truth, but this neverending will they/won't they thread has been of no interest to me whatsoever. Suddenly a wild Fandango appeared on Smackdown to team up with Goldust in Truth's stead. Fandango used awkward dancing and it was super effective because for the first time I was heavily invested in what was going on. Such is the power of wrestling. And awkward dancing. The newly dubbed Goldango lost their match against the Vaudevillains (like the Ascension's loss, it was a foregone conclusion), but I still enjoyed it. It was nice to see Fandango in the ring again, and if he can continue to inject some life into the Golden Truth saga, I'm all for it.

Biggest Fan of Friendship – Dean Ambrose
Smackdown's main event featured two Canadians in the ring, one on guest commentary, and one on actual commentary. I'm not saying that the growing number of Canadians on this show is a direct contributor to Smackdown maintaining a consistent quality lately...but I'm not not saying that, either.

Sami Zayn and Chris Jericho were set to face each other, and for the first time in my life I was disappointed to hear Kevin Owens' music hit. I mean, it's Smackdown, where main event interferences are generally in order, plus we already got a perfectly clean match between Styles and Del Rio, so I guess I'm just getting spoiled, but I really wanted to see Jericho and Zayn go at it hijinks-free.

That being said, there are far, far worse things than listening to Kevin Owens and Dean Ambrose on commentary together, and the regular commentary team mostly just let them banter in peace. The two were remarkably cordial to each other given their past...until Ambrose brought up Owens' betrayal of Zayn, his former BFF, and took him to task for it. Owens responded by rescinding his support for Ambrose's talk show. I love that the one thing Dean Ambrose can't forgive is turning one's back on a friend.

Final note: Jericho taking refuge behind Eden, where he could safely yell at Ambrose, after the match had broken down into a brawl was fantastic. Jericho is the best at being the worst.