Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Best and Worst of WWE Main Event 4/22/14: The Battle Of The Century

Well, seems like I'm a masochist, so the nightmare ain't over yet. Best and Worst of Main Event for the second straight week features the worst thing since Emma's Cobra. So the worst thing in half a week. Okay. Still, it's pretty awful.

Best: Big E Is So Happy To Be Here

I have a great love for Big E, and one of the things that irks me about his use on Raw is that he never quite seems to express the same enthusiasm and charisma that he does nearly every other time you get to see him. Big E the person, as in Ettore Ewen, has a great sense of humor and seemingly endless love for what he does, but his personality actually seems to get turned down whenever he has to be your typical midcard face champion. As such, I knew that things were going to be special the very moment Big E came out to the ring with the most ecstatic goofy look on his face. This is the Big E I want to see for years to come, the guy who can't contain how much he loves what he gets to do for a living. Now if only he could make churros magically appear in people's hands...

Best: Getting Exactly What I One Week After Suggesting It

Just last week I brought up the idea of Main Event being used as a showcase for the Intercontinental Champion, and lo and behold the show opens with the first ten minutes being dedicated to the Intercontinental title picture. Big E vs. Alberto Del Rio Part 27 ended with a shockingly strong victory for Big E, which is a tremendous bit of growth for the guy when before WrestleMania Del Rio was pinning him clean on a regular basis. While the bout was a bit sloppier than usual, Big E's decisive win made me very happy. But the real highlight was what came after. 

Bad News Barrett shows up after the match to pretty much completely cement the fact that he'll be Big E's Extreme Rules opponent, and I did not realize how much I wanted this to happen until this exact moment. How awesome a visual is this? The heroic champion, fresh off a strong victory, staring upward at his next challenger as he literally rises before him. Bad News Barrett has gone from cult hero among ironic wrestling fans and lovers of insanely goofy shit (and pretty much all Brits period) to a legit badass since stepping back into the ring. He's no longer merely a jokey side character who shows up to be an asshole to everyone, he's now a brawling douchebag who can talk forever about how much better he is than you, and then elbow your face off to prove it. The elevating pedestal is no longer the ultimate weapon in his arsenal of jackassery, it's now a platform from which he announces his coming, and the tide of doom that brings for whomever stands in his path. As amusing as I found Barrett's schtick in its early stages, it's far more satisfying to hear him say "I've got some BAD NEWS: I'm gonna knock your jaw off and take your title!" than "I've got some BAD NEWS: You people are all pathetic for X reason!" Bad News vs. Big E is going to fucking rule, and you cannot convince me otherwise.

Worst: Hey, At Least It's Not Once In A Lifetime Part 2

The best part of this match was the video package recap of the feud set to epic music, as if the comic filler feud is the greatest battle of all time. The match last week was disingenuously referred to as "The Battle of The Century" and for a couple seconds of the build-up I was actually kind of amused by the whole thing. The Torito-Hornswoggle feud seems to have struck a chord with a whole ton of people watching the show, and it's fairly easy to see why. El Torito is legitimately a lot of fun to see wrestle, and as I mentioned last week, he's easily the most entertaining and talented of all of Los Matadores.

The problem is he's wrestling with fucking Hornswoggle.

Hornswoggle should not be wrestling with El Torito. Hornswoggle is doing these sloppy fucking clotheslines and landing the most pathetic splashes while Torito does all these amazing flips and technical holds, and the stark difference in their abilities doesn't so much emphasize Torito's superiority as it does paint it in a depressing light because it makes apparent just how much that talent is being wasted. I understand that most WWE viewers haven't watched little people wrestling each other very much at all, and usually it's in mixed tag team matches, and almost always for comedic purposes. And that's just really not my thing, so I'll not try to critique the idea of it as a whole. But even when I do that, I can't avoid the fact that I hate the shit out of Hornswoggle. The guy has a remarkable ability to make any segment he's involved with less entertaining. Unless he gets the shit beaten out of him somehow. And I don't mean "Getting knocked over once" beaten up, I mean "Destroyed by Drew McIntyre for five minutes" beaten up, and/or "Shot with a t-shirt cannon" beaten up. Winning a match is basically the exact opposite of that, however, so yeah, I hated the hell out of this.

Best: Beating The Shite Out of Each Other

It's a bit depressing to see both Sheamus and Titus O'Neil middling about in the midcard without a storyline to attach themselves to, as Sheamus has been downright tolerable since his return while Titus really got my hopes up for him once he broke off from Darren Young. That said they put on a pretty damn enjoyable brawl that actually really helped Titus look like a strong competitor. There's something nice about the way Sheamus wrestles that makes it look like his opponents forced him to really work for a victory, even though he rarely seems in danger of losing clean (making Barrett's victory on Monday all the more satisfying). The more I see Titus show his chops against guys you'd think he wouldn't be able to do jack-all too - first actually hitting Clash of the Titus on Big Show and now going toe-to-toe with Sheamus - the better I feel about his chances of sticking around in WWE for a while. Titus's ring work used to be far and away his greatest problem, and it's coming along very slowly but steadily. The shoulder backbreaker looked absolutely killer, and seeing him pull off his regular offense against a guy Sheamus' size was pretty impressive. Ultimately losing to a Brogue Kick OUTTANOWHERE was thus, overall, not too big a downer.

Best: Jimmy Uso, Super Wrestler

Holy crap was THIS an unexpected treat. The Main Eventwas Jimmy Uso vs. Ryback, as a means of continuing the feud between the Usos and Rybaxel. Two years ago Ryback would've probably hauled both Usos onto his shoulders and killed them within two minutes of the match starting, and even six months ago I wouldn't have believed you if you told me he would take on Jimmy and put on a thrilling back-and-forth ten-minute spectacle. Neither of the Usos usually get to show their singles chops, which is fine as they're incredible as a team, but Jimmy Uso looked like an absolute stud in this match. Dude's kicking out of the Meathook, countering powerbombs with backbody drops, superkicking Ryback every which way, and countering a running bulldog off the ropes with a perfectly-timed whirling enzuigiri that looked amazing as hell. It's weird seeing how far down the card Ryback has fallen, but the dude looks better than ever now as a result of it. I wasn't on board with the team of Rybaxel until just this week, and this match has really solidified them as some of my new favorites.

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