Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Best and Worst of WWE Main Event 4/15/14: What the Hell Am I Doing

Some explanation is in order for what this whole thing is. Background information: there is a guy named Brandon Stroud who regularly does a weekly write-up called The Best and Worst of Raw, in which he breaks down the show segment by segment and discusses it in terms of what he did and didn't like. It's far more entertaining than you would expect from the synopsis alone, and it helps that Brandon actually sounds like a person with individual opinions which are subject to change, rather than 95% of your typical pro wrestling writers out there on the Internurt. The articles have grown quite popular over the years, and the site that hosts them has expanded to the Best and Worst of TNA Impact, SmackDown!, and NXT (also written by Stroud). However, NOBODY HAS STEPPED UP TO REVIEW WWE'S NON-DEVELOPMENTAL C-SHOW!

Let's get something straight here though - I am not writing this in the hopes of getting picked up by that site. I'm not even going to attempt it, because I don't have faith in myself to even write more than one of these things. I already have plenty of other stuff that I like to do with my free time, it just so happened that on this particular week I happened to be inclined to writing this up. And if this should turn out to be the only time I ever write for this blog, THEN OH NO I CREATED A FREE BLOG FOR NOTHING. Anyway, let's get this thing started.

Best/Worst: What Main Event Is, and What It Could Be

Back when Main Event was first starting up, WWE was pushing it a decent amount. Okay so it wasn't getting shilled once an hour every single week like the App or the Network, but it was clear that WWE understood that they would once again be putting a third show on television for the first time since NXT became web-exclusive (NXT Season 3 NEVER FORGET), and so they felt it was important that fans have a reason to watch the show at all. There's a reason Superstars still isn't on television in the US - nobody cares to pick it up because everybody knows you'll be getting B-list commentators calling matches featuring D-list wrestlers. To avoid Main Event turning out the same way, or at least appearing as if it would turn out the same way, early on the show usually featured an appearance by a Cena or Sheamus, though this really only lasted a couple of months before Main Event basically just became the Superstars that was on television.

It's not like it has to be that way, though. For whatever reason (general laziness), WWE has a habit of treating air time that has to be filled with content as a burden rather than an opportunity. Has nobody in the past several years walked into the writer's room and said "Hey, if we have something important happen on Main Event, then draw attention to it on the next Raw, maybe it'll encourage people to actually watch it in the hopes of something cool happening!" ? In fact for a little while it looked as though that might actually happen. Kofi Kingston won the Intercontinental Championship on Main Event one time. When Wade Barrett was the champion there was supposed to be a tournament to decide his #1 Contender that would have aired exclusively on Main Event. There was a promo and everything. Rumors swirled that the Intercontinental Championship would become prominently featured on Main Event, but I guess if that had happened then the IC champ would have to do stuff other than get pinned by people 'above' the title. And yeah, Main Event will never be as watched as Raw, and nobody should set that as the goal for the show because it'd simply be unobtainable. But for a company that has so many performers under employment with nothing to do, they sure fill a lot of airtime by having the same guys wrestle each other multiple times a week. These are not two issues that they should be experiencing simultaneously. I'd personally love an Intercontinental title-centric show, or hell, I'd love it if the Intercontinental Championship was SmackDown!'s featured title and the UNITED STATES Championship was prominently featured on Main Event. Or the Divas title. Or SOMETHING. There are all these allegedly important things floating around WWE right now that are never given the opportunity to actually come across as important because even with three hours of Raw every week, most of them never make it onto the show. Maybe Main Event being streamed live on the Network will change the way things are run. Maybe. (Probably not).

Worst: Oh God Why Did I Decide To Do This

So Main Event starts and all of a sudden it's last Fall and Los Matadores are squaring off with 3MB again. I should let you know before we get into this that even without the absolutely terrifying twist on the old formula thrown into this match, I was not looking forward to watching it unfold from the moment Primo and Epicos' titantron came on. I have a burning and irrational hatred for Los Matadores, which originates from them having done literally nothing. Seriously, they are guilty purely of not showing up in any prominent role for months and months and then suddenly being put into one in the lead-up to WrestleMania when they were stuck in the tag team title picture. How the hell did that even happen!? And WHY did it happen? Why Los Matadores instead of the Rhodes brothers? YOU ROBBED ME OF WRESTLEMANIA CODY AND GOLDUST TAG TEAM ACTION. Pre-show WrestleMania Cody and Goldust tag team action. But shut up. Speaking of WrestleMania Cody and Goldust, where was my Cody vs. Goldust dream match? Also I want it to be for the Intercontinental Championship. And for Cody to win it. In fact, just give Cody all the championships. Yes the Divas Championshp too.

Anyway, Los Matadores do their whole bizarrely intricate entrance before Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre show up and announce that to counter El Torito (again, last Autumn), they've recruited Hornswoggle as their new mascot. And they're called 2 1/2MB. Because little people are half-people. Ungh. So this whole thing is happening because some asshole thought it'd be hi-LAAARIOUS if El Torito chased Hornswoggle on-stage during the Hall of Fame ceremony - which the announcers bring up like three times during this two-minute-long match - and somehow we still have no kayfabe explanation for why this happened to begin with, and yet they've got an actual, continuing feud going on.

This whole thing made me so, so sad. 3MB is one of my favorite things in the world. Three incredibly underrated performers, with a fun silly gimmick, who I never have to feel bad for when they lose because they do it so spectacularly and it doesn't matter. And two minutes into watching this episode of Main Event, WWE ruined them for me, devastatingly and irreparably. Forever. 3MB is no longer a thing that I love, because the leader and best member has been replaced by FUCKING HORNSWOGGLE. LOOK AT THAT SCREENSHOT! LOOK AT IT. Hornswoggle doesn't even hold the pose he just starts air-guitaring before Drew can even get the B up completely. He didn't turn 3MB into 2 1/2MB, he turned 3MB into 3B! That's literally a million times worse.

The match barely lasts two minutes before Hornswoggle and Torito run into the ring and start fighting each other, resulting in a no-contest, and in the process of trying to break up the fight Jinder Mahal, Fernando, and Drew McIntyre all get hit in the balls, because ballshots are always funny[Citation needed]. This is all so that the best member of Los Matadores and the worst member of an alliance that included the Great Khali and Natalya can have a pose-down and then roll around the ring ineffectively because Hornswoggle is incapable of doing anything else. So yeah. It was uh. Not good.

Best, though: Drew McIntyre

Drew kept me watching beyond this segment with two remarks that he said loudly enough to be caught by the camera crew. First, not too noteworthy, was when El Torito kicked him in the junk, and instead of just reacting with an over-the-top expression of pain, Drew remarked, "Oh, you've gotta be bloody kidding me!" Then, when the two men of smaller stature were being restrained from fighting each other at the end, Drew used an infallible arguing point to prevent Hornswoggle from jumping back into the ring: "MY KIDS ARE GONE, COME ON!"

Okay, maybe I can still love 3MB. Assuming Hornswoggle doesn't ruin them further.

Worst: R.I.P. Ultimate Warrior

Yeah, still sucks.

Best: BO-Lieve

WWE's blatant misuse of Emma from the moment she had a role on Raw larger than "Girl from NXT who happens to be in the crowd" has used up pretty much all of the good will I held towards WWE in terms of their ability to take performers from NXT and put them on Raw with the exact same characters. And they built up a LOT with the Wyatt Family. I fear desperately for the fate of Bo Dallas, who has undergone an unbelievable transformation over the past year. The trick about Bo is that he's a guy who acts like a good guy and yet is a bad guy, which you can tell because he occasionally goes crazy and does underhanded things to win, then goes back to smiling and acting all goody-goody afterwards...Which means he's a WWE main roster good guy. Yyyyeah, so forgive me for not believing that Bo Dallas can be written well enough that a typical Raw crowd will understand what's going on and react the way WWE wants them to.

That said, these promos for Bo Dallas are just perfect for him. I hope they never stop airing even after he's debuted, because they're so amazing. I can't even really explain why, but every time I see one I get a little smile on my face and my heart feels all warm and light because BO DALLAS IS GONNA BE ON MY TV SOON AND HE'S NOT GONNA SUCK THIS TIME!


Bad News Barrett vs. Sin Cara wasn't particularly long, but it was a nice squash to help showcase Barrett as a wrestler, and Wade looked impressive in a short period of time. Barrett's pre-match promo was unfortunately pretty lackluster, since it centered on the connection between Sin Cara and Scooby-Doo, although it also featured a bizarre quip that Scooby-Doo is a cartoon, and the WWE is reality. Weird.

It took a really long time, but Barrett has become one of my favorite performers in WWE. Some think his gimmick is so bad it's good, some genuinely love it, some think it's childish and stupid and lame, but like it or not, he has what feels like an actual character now, something he's lacked since the Nexus fell apart. On top of that, his ring work is more entertaining now. One of the things that Wade really lacked before he went away for a while was a seeming motivation in the ring, which he clearly has in droves now. He's actually wrestling as a character, which is great, and he's showing that he can manipulate a crowd as well. The whole thing where he starts his own chant is perfect, not just in how he starts it and then tells the audience to cut it out, but the way that he starts it to begin with, which comes off as phenomenally arrogant. Plenty of face wrestlers have their own little signal to the crowd to chant along with them, or at least clap along with them, but Barrett does it in such away that he sounds like a complete dick when he does so. It's one of those perfect things that will piss off one portion of the audience but delight the other, which is pretty much the best possible reaction anyone not named Daniel Bryan can get these days.

Best: Fuck Your Hope Spot, Natalya
But Worst: Divas Battle Royals

Seriously, 'through the ropes' eliminations are stupid. Anyway, there was a #1 Contender's Divas Battle Royal on the show, and it was par for the course as far as those go for about the first half. There are two pretty awful bits that were both edited out of the YouTube clip:

1) Eva Marie actually botched a hip thrust

2) There was supposed to be some sort of spot where Natalya would counter Layla's corner springboard crossbody move with a gutbuster, but one of them screwed up, so instead Layla lander at Natalya's feet, which is about five feet short of where she usually ends up while doing that move. I choose to blame Natalya for this, because I'm one of about five people on the Internet who thinks Natalya's wrestling is unexceptional.

Things did start to pick up when the eventual winner, Tamina, started beasting fucking everybody, even though she looked raw as hell doing it. It all worked out, though, because it just made her look like she had an even greater power advantage over the other girls. And then when Natalya was out on the ring apron and was trying to fight her way back into the match, Tamina just kicked her face off. Awesome.

Unfortunately AJ seems to be taking some time off, so we won't see her get put in the Scorpion Crosslock for a while. Maybe if I cross my fingers and hope REAALLLY HARD, she'll be gone for a few months and then come back in time to build an actual meaningful Divas storyline with Paige heading into SummerSlam. In the meantime, uhh...Tamina pay-per-view match. Hoo boy. Well, at least it's not Eva Marie.

Best: The Exotic Express Is The Stuff Of Nightmares

One of the weird things about Leo Kruger Adam Rose being brought up at the same time as Bo Dallas is that Rose has been around - as Rose - for so little time in NXT. If I'm being completely honest, I haven't actually caught any of his (very few) matches since his debut, and I don't actually know if he's supposed to be a heel or face. But holy shit, this guy had better be a heel because the Exotic Express is one of the most potentially terrifying things you can use in wrestling. There are WEIRD PEOPLE wearing WEIRD OUTFITS with WEIRD MASKS and they're all just kind of bouncing around each other in incredibly cramped quarters while disorienting lights flash over and over again. If you were to drag me in there I would curl up into a ball and cry. I know the idea is probably just going to be that Adam Rose is a carefree party guy who nonchalantly and lazily works his way through fights, but there is potential for a psychopathic character who drags his opponents kicking and screaming onto his party bus and then slowly drives them mad by handcuffing them to the Hungry Hungry Hippos game and forcing them to play for hours on end while OH OH OH OHHHH...WHA AH-OH-OH-OH blares in their ears on loop. Then they're just sitting there with a masquerade mask dropping over one eye and drool running out of their mouth while Adam Rose looms over them cheerily sucking on a lollipop and trying to get them to hop around with his bunny friend.

Please make this happen.

Best: Missing The Swiss

There was a pleasant surprise before the Main Event main event ([Main Event]2?) as Zeb Colter came out and equated Cesaro to Benedict Arnold, Aaron Burr, and Jane Fonda. Personally I would take the Aaron Burr part as a compliment, but anyhow, I really dug this, as it was nice to see the storyline being furthered even heading into a match against a completely unrelated opponent.

Best: Finishing Strong

Let me tell you something, after sitting through one non-match, one squash, and one clusterfuck, it was nice to see a full back-and-forth contest, even if it was inevitable from the get-go that Big Show was going to win. I didn't realize until I watched this match just how much I missed watching Jack Swagger wrestle singles matches, because the dude is pretty damn great. It's easy to forget after half a tear of him being primarily a tag team guy that, oh yeah, he used to do a bunch of set-up for the ankle lock instead of just catching people in it towards the end of a match. The guy might never get past his speech impediment when cutting promos, but when he gets going in the ring he looks like the bigger version of Kurt Angle people have often perceived him as.

I absolutely love the ending of this match, with Swagger pulling out a WE ARE BOTH OVER SIX AND A HALF FEET TALL AND I AM GOING TO VICTORY ROLL YOU setup for the Patriot Lock, and instead of just turning over onto his back and kicking out of the move like everyone else does, Show instead pulls Swagger in so he can grab him by the throat. It was badass. And then he shoves Swagger into the ropes and hits his knock-out punch, gets the win, but continues to sell the ankle lock until the fade-out. I have mixed feelings about Swagger being put in that awkward position where the ankle lock is treated as a deadly, injury-causing move that nobody ever taps out to. It's kind of a blinking red sign that reads MID-CARDER, but it's better than him being perceived as the weaker member of a tag team that challenged for the titles like, twice. In any case, I'm now preparing myself to see a lot of future Jack Swagger matches end with a top baby-face hobbling out of the ring on one leg with their arm raised in victory. Or John Cena dancing around with his dick hanging out while he throws photoshopped Wyatt Family pictures into the air. I might still be the teensiest bit bitter about that.

Anyway, that's gonna do it for this first of many of several  recap. Tell me if you liked it I guess.

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