Friday, July 1, 2016

Smackdown: Canada is Magic

Cesaro and Rusev, a great Canada Day present for all!
Photo Credit:
This episode didn't air on Canada Day, but this post is going up on July 1, and therefore I will take this opportunity to heartily wish you all a happy Canada Day. Yes, it's once again that magical time of year when the Canada Day Loon flies down the chimney to leave gifts of peace, order, and good government under a festively decorated maple tree, and if you leave out a tumbler of gin, the ghost of John A. Macdonald will appear to fill your stocking with railroads and questionable politics. And all the naughty Canadians are set upon by flocks of Canada geese. It's a good time.

Smackdown only had Maryse, Mauro Ranallo, and Renee Young representing the Great White North this week, and boy did the show suffer from lack of Canadian wrestlers. That's the only explanation I can think of for things being so poorly planned.

It actually started out to be a pretty promising show. Right off the bat we had a four-way match to determine the number one contender for the United State Championship, with the title match to take place later on in the show. Of course, I did wonder why this was happening when I thought that this was Titus O'Neil's thing at the moment. But then I thought, hey, starting Smackdown with a match and not a talking segment? Sign me up for that shit. I'm on board like Laura Secord.

The pre-match talking head segments with Cesaro, Sheamus, Apollo Crews, and Alberto del Rio were short, sweet, and did a great job of making the match looked like it mattered. The match turned out great, with Cesaro eking out a win. Rusev demanding that Cesaro, hurting after a post-match attack by del Rio, face him RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW and calling him a coward, followed by Cesaro sloooowly turning around and gutting out yet another match like a god damn superhero, made for a great story. I also appreciated the symmetry of Cesaro winning via submission only to tap out to Rusev himself.

Unfortunately, later on it was revealed that Titus O'Neil does indeed have another United States title shot coming his way, which was just a baffling decision. Why did we even have the first two matches on this show when O'Neil was apparently just waiting in the wings the whole time? Why wasn't he in the number one contender match? Why does he get another shot after losing his last one? Why start out by making the United States title scene as exciting as the Intercontinental title scene was before the Miz went away and then immediately snatch back that excitement? That's some kind of Mulroney balogna.

Then came the middle portion of the show. Yikes. Dana Brooke had a match against Billie Kay that I think was a terrible decision. We've only seen Brooke as a package deal with Emma or Charlotte so far. There's been no time (or reason, really) to be invested in any solo efforts of hers. And to pit her against someone showing up on the main roster for the first time with no fanfare or introduction? What reason was there for anyone to care about this? Charlotte wasn't even there to cheer her minion on, and even though the match was fine, it definitely brought the energy of the show down, especially since it was immediately followed by a Miz TV segment featuring Dean Ambrose that went on for an excruciating length of time. This addiction to setting up matches via talk show segments has got to stop, WWE. It would have made complete sense to just have a champion vs. champion match featuring Ambrose and Miz. It doesn't have to be complicated. Just keep it plain like Paul Kane.

The hits just kept coming with Braun Strowman and Erick Rowan, the two least interesting members of the Wyatt Family, taking on “local competitors.” The quick squash did nothing to pique my interest. Not even Summer Rae vs. Sasha Banks could save things, though I was ecstatic to see Summer Rae again. I was disappointed that with all of the lip service being given to Sasha Banks and Charlotte's history together, nothing is being said of the history they both have with Summer Rae. Let's get her in there! I love Sasha Banks more than I love poutine, but in their brief interaction it was obvious that Summer Rae is by far the more natural speaker, and I'd love to see her more.

The night ended with the Ambrose vs. Miz match that had been determined by the aforementioned Miz TV segment, and it went exactly as one would expect. They had a decent match, but Ambrose obviously wasn't going to lose, and I was pretty checked out due to the lacklustre nature of most of the rest of the show.

So that was Smackdown, and I hope we all learned a valuable lesson about keeping Canadians off TV. There should be a Heritage Minute on the subject. Toss a few Canucks in the mix and you'll have it on lock like Isaac Brock... which would actually probably not be a good thing since he died in battle. But he was pretty impressive while he lasted, and fleeting moments of glory are the best we can generally expect from Smackdown anyway. Happy Canada Day!