Monday, May 9, 2016

Smackdown: Friendship is Magic

Styles had layers on this episode
Photo Credit:
Welp, no longer will I spend every episode of Smackdown wondering if Damien Sandow will be on or if this will be the night he is finally put back in the spotlight. Thanks for saving me from that endless cycle of anticipation followed by crushing disappointment, WWE. I really appreciate it. Here's hoping Sandow lands among those who understand what a treasure he is.

Anyway, life goes on, so...friendship and stuff.

Coolest Friend – Cesaro
In case you weren't already aware that Cesaro is the coolest guy in the entire world. Sami Zayn's match against the Miz ended exactly as we knew it would as soon as Kevin Owens sauntered out to sit on commentary. There was interference, a disqualification ending to the match, and Owens and Miz joined together to beat on Zayn. Then Cesaro ran out to make the save and take out Owens and Miz, keeping his sunglasses on the entire time. Awesome. This Intercontinental title scene is the best thing going right now, and even though the matches keep playing out the same way, I'm not going to get tired of them any time soon.

Also, shout out to Chris Jericho referring to Kevin Owens as his “good friend.” It's canon now and you can't ever take it back!

Friend With the Worst Luck – Curtis Axel
I want to be mad that Curtis Axel is still around when Damien Sandow isn't, but he's so weirdly endearing sometimes! He and Bo Dallas lost in short order to the Vaudevillains, after which Big Cass came out to throw around Aiden English and Simon Gotch. Axel tried to celebrate with him, gloating over the Vaudevillains being run off and being all buddy-buddy with Cass...only to be promptly thrown out himself. Normally I would have expected Dallas to be the one to extend the hand of friendship only to be rebuffed, but this is fine, too.

Also, this whole thing of Jerry Lawler incredulously and mockingly repeating every single move that Mauro Ranallo calls is completely out of hand. It's not funny. It is, in fact, unbearable. Like, okay, “ushigoroshi” might sound odd to English ears (though, one would assume, not if calling wrestling moves is your god damn job), but “whirling dervish?” That's not out of the ordinary and it's not even something brand new the Vaudevillains have broken out. Acting like you're not good at your job doesn't somehow make you good at your job. It just makes you REALLY BAD AT YOUR JOB.

Best Professional Friends – Emma and Charlotte
Becky Lynch came out wearing a Natalya t-shirt, which ordinarily would probably have earned the two a Best Friends spot, but when it came to the actual match against Emma and Charlotte, I thought it was the latter two that proved to be the better team: lots of quick tags, working in tandem, and appreciating each other's dastardliness. Of course, in the end there's only room for one at the top, no matter how well they work together, and when Emma tapped to Natalya, Charlotte didn't seem too concerned about her. I don't know if it was intentional, but I really loved the final shot of this segment, which had Charlotte in the foreground taunting Natalya while Emma slunk back down the ramp in the background, rejected and forgotten once again.

Worst Friendship Role Model – Kalisto
Following Rusev's victory against Zack Ryder, Kalisto ran out and attacked his upcoming opponent for the United States Championship with absolutely no provocation. He didn't even stick around to fight it out; it was just a hit and run. This is outrageous behaviour that I will not tolerate. Bad Kalisto! How is Sin Cara going to grow up right if this is the example you set for him?

Most Multifaceted Friend – AJ Styles
At first glance one might not think that AJ Styles could pull off a morally conflicted role like the one he's been given, but he's doing a really good job balancing his friendship with Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, his disapproval of their actions, his desire to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, and his respect for Roman Reigns as the current champion. That's a lot to juggle in an industry where nuance is hardly a guiding force. Of course, it helps that this narrative is benefiting from a shockingly light tough and the audience is being trusted to understand that Styles is being put on the spot by everyone around him, but he's still making the best decisions he can given the circumstances.

Also, I love that Smackdown is apparently this authority-free no-man's land where you can have pretty much whatever match you want so long as you ask for it. Styles just declared that the tag match between the Usos and Gallows and Anderson would be restarted as a trios match, Teddy Long style, and lo, so it was. Why isn't everyone taking advantage of this gap in governance?

To end on a somber note, I'm just going to use what little platform I have available to me to try and do some good. My province of Alberta is kind of on fire right now. The entire city of Fort McMurray and much of the surrounding area was evacuated, with a portion of the townsite already burnt to the ground. Many of the evacuees have nothing to go home to. The fire is out of control and growing and nothing's really going to stop it until we get some rain. Meanwhile over 80,000 people are in need of basic necessities. Any aid for relief, obviously, is much appreciated. If you're in Canada, chances are you already know how you can donate. If you're outside of Canada, you can donate to the Canadian Red Cross by going to, where an emergency Alberta Fires Appeal page has been set up. You can also text REDCROSS to 30333 to make a $5 donation or FIRES to 45678 to make a $10 donation. Our provincial and federal governments have both pledged to match the donations given. No pressure to donate, but if you can, thanks!