Friday, June 24, 2016

Smackdown: Friendship is Magic

Rollins is just jealous, that's all
Photo Credit:
We had David Otunga in place of Jerry Lawler on commentary this week, and he was a delight. He brought insight from his own wrestling experience, was enthusiastic, and had a pretty natural rapport with Mauro Ranallo. I hope he stays!

Most Adorable Friends – Cesaro and Mauro Ranallo
After a hard-fought victory against Alberto del Rio (it's so nice when del Rio can be bothered to care), Cesaro celebrated by leaping into the Cesaro Section and high-fiving Mauro Ranallo twice. Ranallo had the biggest grin on his face; it was adorable. I'm normally not one for the repetitious nicknames and catchphrases that WWE is so fond of, but the utter glee in Ranallo's voice every time he says “there ain't no party like an upper cut party 'cause an upper cut party don't stop” does make me smile.

Also, I feel like I should point out that del Rio accused Cesaro of being “jealous” of him, which, as I've mentioned in the past, is a word usually used regarding the women rather than the men, so...yay for equality? Sexism is totally over now.

Underrated Friend – Sheamus
Sheamus vs. Apollo Crews is a thing that is apparently happening, and what irks me the most about it is that, in spite of WWE's insistence on having two guys exchange wins until a final decision happens long past the time when anyone would have cared, it COULD be a great thing for Crews if only Sheamus hadn't been made into such a nonentity. Sheamus is so good at making other guys look good because, well, he looks like hell after a match. He also commits to being a heel in a way a lot of guys don't. He noticed the crowd was counting along as he pounded Crews' chest, so he immediately stopped, leaving the audience hanging. Sheamus is not here to give you a good time! Crews still looks impressive as hell and can do cool, flippy shit, so Sheamus brutally grounded him so that he couldn't do cool, flippy shit, which should make people WANT to see his cool, flippy shit even more. And yet this feud is based on nothing, will go nowhere, and has zero stakes. Make better use of BOTH of these guys, WWE!

Desperately Need To Learn A Friendship Lesson – The Usos
Usos, how are we having this conversation yet again? What happened the last time you antagonized the Club on behalf of Roman Reigns? What makes you think it's going to be any different doing it on behalf of John Cena? What happens to you EVERY SINGLE TIME you decide to back up someone higher on the wrestling food chain? Look, my dudes, you are nothing but cannon fodder to these people, and they will leave you to rot in the sun. In fact, they have done just that to you multiple times. Also, the Club are not cool. They might look threatening in the ring, but they are not cool (though insincere dirtbag AJ Styles is pretty great). However, in their little backstage interaction on Smackdown, the Usos' cringeworthy banter made the Club look cool. Stop making the Club look cool, Usos!

A propos of nothing the Usos harassed AJ Styles for not being able to fight his own battles... except for that one time just last week when he beat Xavier Woods completely clean, but I guess that didn't count. Styles took on Jimmy Uso, and while the Club did not come to the match with Styles, Jey Uso was at ringside, but I guess that's totally fair because... reasons. Gallows and Anderson did eventually run out to beat up Jey – not Jimmy – and Jimmy was the one who took his eye off the prize, getting involved outside the ring, and Styles won the match. The Club did not attack Jimmy or get involved in the match proper, and Styles didn't do anything to Jey. The whole thing was, of course, framed as “the damned numbers game” just like the Shield used to be, but to me it just emphasized that AJ Styles knows how to use his god damn brain and not allow himself to be distracted. Notice, Usos, that no one else came running to your aid. No one ever does. Learn from your friendship mistakes for once!

I will say, though, that I really enjoyed the match before the shenanigans started. Jimmy Uso looked great on his own, though I don't buy for an instant that AJ Styles would have struggled so much to put him away.

Should Be Friends – Xavier Woods and the Wyatts
After a disappointingly short match against the Vaudevillains, the New Day had a visit from the newly reappeared Wyatt Family, and if this whole “Xavier Woods is hypnotized by Bray Wyatt” thing goes nowhere, I will be very disappointed. Woods should join the Wyatt Family, and then Luke Harper can make his triumphant return as a member of the New Day. Give me this one thing, WWE!

Best Assessor of Friendship – Me
Didn't I tell you guys for weeks that Becky Lynch and Natalya's alleged friendship was super unconvincing? Didn't I? And now the proof is in the pudding and other assorted desserts that my friendship instincts are always, always right. None shall ever question me again! I am the greatest exposer of friendship shammery OF ALL TIME.

Also Sasha Banks is back and pretty rad, even if she's stepping right over poor Becky Lynch's crushed hopes and dreams.

Also, also, WWE, we really need to have a wee chat about these pitifully short women's matches that you've been rolling out for weeks. The thing about patting yourselves on the back for treating your women wrestlers like, you know, wrestlers is that you have to actually let them wrestle.

Jealous Friend – Seth Rollins
I'm convinced that Seth Rollins would reform the Shield in a heartbeat if given the chance. Roman Reigns is the one who clearly could take or leave having any friends; Rollins made a terrible mistake, he knows it was a terrible mistake, and instead of apologizing, he's just doubling down on being terrible because he is a lost, angry child. And I think Dean Ambrose knows it. Don't tell me you watched him follow Rollins out to the ring like the most annoying kid brother ever and you didn't feel like these two still have some kind of bond between them. Of course, we all saw the instant chemistry that Ambrose had with Sami Zayn during the lead-up to Money in the Bank, and I think that enraged Rollins more than anything else, hence his somewhat creepy assessment that Zayn would be the “perfect” opponent for him. There was no reason for Ambrose to run out for an impromptu Ambrose Asylum session other than to protect Zayn and also emphasize what good friends they are, which he must have known would get under Rollins' skin. I'm willing to believe that Ambrose's lackadaisical approach to being WWE World Heavyweight champion is indicative that for him this is just another way to spend more time with Rollins on their way towards reconciliation.

Even without all of that completely accurate analysis (Best Assessor of Friendship – Me. It says so just a few paragraphs up) Sami Zayn vs. Seth Rollins was something that I was very much in favour of, and the match did not disappoint. I would definitely be in favour of seeing them go up against each other again.