Monday, May 23, 2016

Smackdown: Friendship is Magic

The end of Smackdown was lit this week
Photo Credit:
Welcome to the pre-Extreme Rules episode of Smackdown, where the rules were a little less extreme and a little more exactly what you expected.

Best Non-Friendships – The Intercontinental Title Scene
Nope, still not sick of this. I can think of far worse ways to spend Smackdown than watching Kevin Owens and Cesaro throw down in the ring while listening to Sami Zayn be affable and the Miz be indignant on guest commentary. Miz was also in pretty buoyant spirits, acknowledging the skills of his opponents and alternatively cheering on and taunting Owens and Cesaro. He probably figured that being on the sidelines might spare him from getting beat up for once, but of course it was not to be. Yes, the finish was predictable, but did I care? Not really. Let's keep doing this forever.

Best Friends (though not to each other) – Becky Lynch and Dana Brooke
Becky Lynch responding politely in a friendly manner to Byron Saxton when he asked her a question was possibly the nicest thing I've seen on Smackdown in lo these many years. Lynch is now confirmed as the best person on this show.

While Lynch was being pleasant on commentary, Dana Brooke was doing an admirable job stepping into Emma's shoes and taking up the torch in Emma's feud against Lynch's popularity. There's really no reason for Brooke to get in on this other than her friendship with Emma, and for that I applaud her. She took out Paige in a timely fashion and while I hope Emma is back soon, I'll gladly accept her substitute for a while.

Saddest Without Friends – Sheamus
Throughout Sheamus' match against Dolph Ziggler commentary kept listing all of the former's accomplishments, and it was just the saddest thing ever. It kills me that post-League of Nations Sheamus is just twisting in the wind and losing throwaway matches while Ziggler is set to have what feels like his millionth match against Baron Corbin.

I still have absolutely no idea what Ziggler and the right hon. Baron of Corbin are even fighting about. I'm just going to assume that Ziggler has unearthed some sort of claim to the title of Corbin, and the Baron must defend his hereditary rights. While they're occupied, Sheamus should slip in and claim the lands of Corbin by conquest. I'm sure the good citizenry would welcome him. He's got way better hair than their current ruler. (and yes, I am 100 per cent running with this until it's confirmed whether “Baron” is the man's name or title. Why are you so weird with names, WWE?)

Most Nonsensical Friends – The Dudley Boyz and The Vaudevillains
I can accept a pair of time-travelling strongmen looking to enforce their ideals on the world, and I can accept a pair of brash, table-obsessed brothers, but I cannot accept them all together. Why would the Vaudevillians ever team up with the Dudleys? It makes no sense. Bubba Ray did spend a lot of the match apparently shouting at his team mates before he was pinned, so maybe it made as little sense to them as it did to me.

I should probably have similar complaints about the New Day teaming up with Big Cass since you'd think they would be relieved that they won't have to face him and Enzo Amore for a while, but I can kind of buy that New Day would either get a kick out of helping Cass in his quest for revenge or that they're wily enough to let him wear down the Vaudevillains for them before their title match.

Friendship Soup – The WWE World Heavyweight Title Scene
Objectively speaking, I still think this whole thing is the bee's knees. I like the Usos stepping up to help out Roman Reigns even though it mostly just means they take a lot of damage. I like Reigns accepting their help even while he's also keeping himself kind of aloof because he's The Guy and they're, you know, not. I love AJ Styles as the conflicted good guy just trying to do his job and getting knocked around. And I think Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson are doing well in the roles of the devils on Styles' shoulder.

Subjectively speaking, though, I'm kind of over this whole thing? I don't know, guys. Even though I can see that everyone is performing well, the matches in this feud are just doing nothing for me. I like AJ Styles a lot and Roman Reigns just fine, but I don't feel strongly about either of them having or losing the title. I don't at all think it's necessary for a feud to have a ton of history in order to be good or exciting. You can absolutely build something great out of nothing more than, “I want that title and you have it so let's fight,” but it's not happening for me here. Smackdown went off the air with Reigns and Styles furiously rolling off a table together, and I thought that it LOOKED intense...but I didn't feel intensely about it.