Friday, May 2, 2014

The Best and Worst of WWE Main Event 4/29/14: Ore Wa Purowresu-Fella!

I've been busy this week so the article's late. It would probably never have gotten done if I weren't incredibly angry and in dire need of an outlet for it. Tonight's show: SQUASH MATCHES!

Best: Bookend Storytelling

A fair amount of negative things have been said about the seemingly impending break-up of the Brotherhood, as Cody Rhodes showed signs of turning on Goldust in nearly the exact same manner two weeks straight, first after taking the loss in a tag match against the Usos and then in singles competition against Alberto Del Rio this past Monday. The opening match on Main Event this week continued the story, as Goldust got a surprisingly quick, clean victory over Del Rio. Immediately following the match, Renee Young (whom Goldust adorably dubs "Nee-Nee") interviews the duo inside the ring, and asks if the two intend to stick together. Goldust reacts with shock, while Cody jumps to the conclusion that Renee is implying that Goldust is better than him. Eventually Cody apologizes, admits he's been a bit quick to anger recently, and agrees with Goldust that they're sticking together before they shake hands and embrace. What makes this segment cool, to me, isn't the gradual turn of Cody's character, because the tease is kind of ham-fisted. What makes it cool is that Goldust and Cody first started teaming up the exact same way. Cody lost his job after being defeated by Randy Orton, and Goldust came to the WWE to try to win it back for him. The story ended with the Rhodes family triumphant and celebrating together, but here we are half a year later, and Cody is upset that he's fallen into his brother's shadow. The two came together because Goldust was willing to carry on the fight when his brother fell in battle, but now that he's succeeding where Cody fails, it's instead causing resentment.

Worst: I Spent More Time Writing That Paragraph Than This Angle Has Gotten On Television

The problem is that this is happening in three-minute-long segments in the middle of Raw and five-minute-long segments on Main Event, whereas the feud between the Rhodes and the Authority was one of the major running storylines week in and week out back in October. It's incredibly disappointing how Cody and Goldust have lost so much momentum in the intervening time, and there's just not enough time being dedicated to their split for it to build something that can be appreciated.

Worst: Match Stipulations Needing To Be Immediately Changed

On Monday, WWE announced that Dean Ambrose would be defending his United States Championship (I KNOW, RIGHT!?) in a three-on-one handicap match on SmackDown. Because, you know, the Authority hates the Shield. That was altered to a fatal four-way literally less than twenty-four hours after it was initially announced, because someone realized that a championship being defended in a handicap match is really fucking stupid. The fact that the stipulation was made in the first place and then had to be revoked, however, really doesn't do anything to help WWE to shed their reputation for constantly rewriting their shows. Keep in mind that Main Event is streamed live just before SmackDown is recorded, so the stipulation was announced literally a day before it was to take place, and it STILL got changed. Is it really too much to ask for the clowns in charge of these things to plan just one goddamn day ahead of time?

Worst: Sloppy Hair-Pulling

There are actually a lot of good things to be said about Paige's quick win over Alicia Fox. The early hurricanrana onto the floor, the brutal-looking kicks they give each other, the nice roll-up counter that Alicia pulls off, Paige kneeing Alicia while she's draped over the second rope, and last but not least Paige's sick-looking tertiary finisher, the cradle DDT. Unfortunately the girls kind of fill up the entire rest of the match by just pulling each other's hair and screaming, which is about the most stereotypical trait of a standard WWE Divas match. It also looks really sloppy when the two of them are tossing each other around by the hair, because a few times one will jump and flop when the other clearly hasn't done anything to force them to move that way. They're actually phantom-bumping for hair pulls. It's starting to get worrisome that all of Paige's matches are these very rushed, subpar affairs, because aside from looking like a punk china doll, the main thing she hangs her fitted leather jacket on is her straight-up wrestling ability. If that continues to not be showcased, I don't see bright things ahead for her. Fortunately she's got a variety of awesome-looking finishers, and that could go a long way towards distracting from the mediocrity that precedes them.

Best: Side-By-Side Staredowns

Just look at how naturally they're craning their necks to look at each other!

Worst: 'Fella' Is Sheamus' New Verbal Tic

After a recap of the awesome "Bray Wyatt has dozens of children under his control" promo on Monday night, Renee interviews Sheamus to get his thoughts leading into his match against Bray tonight. After a pretty cool little note that he was brought up on Irish horror stories and has come to learn that monsters aren't real, he addresses the Wyatt Family and says "It's tie to foight," then pauses for like three full seconds before tacking on "...Fella." So either Sheamus is treating the Wyatts as one amalgamous entity that can be addressed as a single person, or he just threw "Fella" in at the end because he couldn't think of an emphatic word to close his promo on. Imagine if every superstar with an all-encompassing nickname for their peers did that. John Cena just ends all of his sentences by saying "Jack." Del Rio ends all of his sentences with "Perro." Jerry Lawler ends all of his sentences with a torrent of tasteless sexist remarks. I know it's just a matter of Sheamus not having any catchphrases other than "Fella", but this single sentence made me think of him as a manga character with a verbal tic. Although I could stand to have more wrestlers do stuff like that. Get Big E to just say "Five!" completely randomly at the end of his sentences.

Worst: BAAAD NEWS (No Really, This Was Actually Bad)

Ugh, I can't believe I'm Worst'ing Bad News Barrett. The guy has been so wonderful the past few weeks, it's amazing to think he could do any wrong at this point in time. Unfortunately, that was the case, although this segment wasn't entirely his fault. Kofi Kingston looked sloppier than usual in the match, and for as short as it was, there were a lot of miscues. Barrett's pre-match promo was his most forgettable in a while, as he basically just reiterated the points he made on last week's show but in a less interesting manner. And lastly, the match ends with Barrett hitting the Bullhammer on Kofi in mid-air outside the ring, then awkwardly rolling him back into the ring for the pinfall while a split-screen is being used. I think that's the first time I've ever seen a match finish show during a split-screen, and it looked incredibly unprofessional. Overall the whole thing was just a mess, and it seemed like it existed more to pad out the show than to help build to Barrett's title match on Sunday.

Also Kofi's lime-green sleeveless jacket is hideous. If this guy keeps on adding to his lime-green wardrobe, he'll have to take on a meteorologist as his manager.

Best: Slobberknockers

I honestly have no words to describe how goddamn cool the final leg of the Sheamus-Wyatt match is. The two are just running around the ring laying haymakers into each other, and Wyatt gets a surprising amount of air as he takes Sheamus' offense. One of the unfortunate omissions from the highlight video is the bit where Bray just stoops his head to duck underneath a Brogue Kick, then turns and flies up into an Irish Curse Backbreaker. Each time one guy's on offense, the other seems to be a hundred pounds lighter and is bumping like crazy. Overall it was a really fun match to watch unfold, and it actually made me want to see the two go at it again in the future.

Best: Tag Team Opponents For The Wyatts

Perhaps the most unfortunate consequence of Bray Wyatt feuding with John Cena has been the lack of focus on the Wyatt Family's dynamic as a tag team. Luke Harper and Erick Rowan have been demoted from "Scary powerhouse duo who follow Bray's commands" to "The two tall guys Bray keeps around so they can jump on the apron during his matches." One of the cool things about their feud with the Shield was that every member of the Family was allowed to shine, which can't happen if only one of them is actually part of a storyline. If need be, I say let the Family get involved in two different angles so Wyatt can be doing his thing while Luke Harper actually gets to wrestle, and at this moment there's really no other team to throw them against than the Usos. Plus, the tag division is really beginning to decay. With the New Age Outlaws long gone, the Shield turned face, and the Real Americans split up, the Usos really only have RybAxel to feud with, and that just plain isn't going to cut it. The time is ripe for Harper and Rowan to head straight into a feud for the tag titles, and I'm all for it.

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