Monday, April 25, 2016

Smackdown: Friendship is Magic

Gallows and Anderson were at the tip of everyone's tongues this week on Smackdown
Photo Credit:
Most Questioned Friendship – AJ Styles, Karl Anderson, and Luke Gallows
I'll be honest. I really don't care about Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows' maybe/not really alliance with AJ Styles. The only impact they're inducing with me is a stifled yawn when they're on screen. I am trying to keep an open mind, though, so we'll see if I can mine some interest out of Styles looking increasingly perturbed by the actions of his old pals.

At the very least, Gallows and Anderson's actions gave us Interrogator Miz, which was a delight. Smackdown opened with Miz TV again this week, and I was little bit apprehensive because, much as I love the Miz, I feel like opening with these segments week after week will just run a good thing into the ground (and WWE has totally never done that before, right?). However, the moment Miz started getting into AJ Styles' face, all wild gesticulations and “So did you do it, AJ???,” all my worries fell by the wayside. Maryse offering her husband acting notes was just the cherry on top. That segment begat a match between Styles and Miz later in the night, and while Miz tried to bail only to be intimidated back into the ring by Anderson and Gallows, I'm just glad that the Miz is allowed to be a legitimate opponent again, silly though he still is as a character.

Minus 50 friendship points to AJ Styles, though, for knocking down the Miz on his show when the poor man didn't do anything other than ask questions and kiss his wife. I will not tolerate that nonsense. NOT phenomenal, sir. Also, way to prove that you're totally innocent and would never sanction attacking Roman Reigns unawares by attacking someone else unawares.

Should Maybe Just Stick With His Friend – Kalisto
I've changed my mind so many times on what I want for Kalisto. On one hand, I think he is great and deserves a great singles career; on the other hand, I think the Lucha Dragons are great and should stay in the tag division. After Kalisto's match against Ryback, I think I'm back in the “stick with Sin Cara” camp. At first I didn't realize it wasn't a title match, and I was actually a little relieved when I thought Kalisto had lost the title. Since he won it he's hardly been in the spotlight at all, except to get bogged down in this abysmal feud against Ryback that no one cares about. If Ryback had won the title, at least his boring promos and matches would no longer be Kalisto's problem. Alas, apparently we're not done with this yet. #FreeKalisto (from Ryback) (not Sin Cara)

Friend To No One, 'Cuz He's a Lone Wolf, Man – Baron Corbin
In response to the question of why he attacked Dolph Ziggler before their match even started, thus flagrantly flouting the rules, Baron Corbin declared, “Because I CAN,” and if he said anything else I missed it because I was laughing too hard. Everyone watch out for bad Baron Corbin, so edgy that he will not stop even the face of vigorously pointing referees going “Hey, stop that!” Will no one stop this rebellious rebel's rebellion?

Most Beneficial Friendship – Paige and Natalya
Last week I noted how lucklastre Paige has been lately compared to Emma, but teaming up with Natalya this week seemed to inspire her a little bit. Yeah, she was also probably happy to be in her home country, but I like to believe that the power of friendship also had something to do with it. Not so lucky were Naomi and Tamina, unfortunately, and if we're continuing the women's title picture away from the direction of Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks, I'm going to go ahead and toss Naomi's name out there. Give this woman a title already!

Jerry Lawler is a shitty announcer note of the week: Charlotte and Natalya are going to have their respective elderly male relations in their corners during their upcoming match, and Lawler would not stop squawking about how much he hates Bret Hart. It's fine to mention it once, but he constantly kept bringing it back up. Ranallo and Saxton would get back to talking about the match happening in front of them, and Lawler would start in on Hart again. The man has absolutely no concept of balance or restraint.

Confused Friend – Goldust
Goldust served as the referee for R-Truth and Fandango's match. He tried to stay professional and keep the action going (hilariously selling every hit the opponents took), but eventually he was unwillingly drawn into the power of dance, and Truth's victory left him more confused than ever.

BEST FRIENDS FOREVER – Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens
Smackdown's main even actually killed me with its friendship levels. I am dead of the friendship and am writing this as a friendship ghost. It started out harmless enough. Dean Ambrose and Sami Zayn teamed up, so they had an adorable backstage segment bickering about what they should call their team (Dean Ambrose is the kind of guy who absolutely WOULD call his team “the rough riders” and think nothing of it). They faced Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens and had a fun little traditional Smackdown tag team main event.

But then Owens pinned Ambrose for the win and could not stop declaring his victory, culminating with him LEAPING INTO JERICHO'S ARMS out of pure joy and yelling “We're the best!” And then he admitted that “Chris helped, but I beat [Ambrose]!” but Jericho told him he could take all the credit and it was TOO MUCH and TOO BEAUTIFUL. I've been so impressed with these two as they've kept tagging together over the past few weeks. At first they were unpredictable and grudging team mates, and now they're strategising together and celebrating together and giving each other kudos. Ranallo referred to them as the “cantankerous canucks” (A+ alliterative alias assignation there, sir), and I hope they stay that way forever. Mind you, the last time Chris Jericho was super nice to his tag team partner (i.e. throwing himself in harm's way for AJ Styles) it resulted in immediate betrayal. Damn you, Jericho, if you hurt Kevin Owens just when you've broken the walls around his heart down, I will never forgive you!