Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Best and Worst of WWE Main Event 5/27/14: Thicker Than Blood

This week's episode of Main Event was very nearly straight Worsts all the way through, so it was tough to build up the motivation to get this out. The only reason I'm posting it now and not, um, Tuesday, two hours before next week's Main Event, is because I wanted to get it out before Payback tonight. Anyhow, more after the break.

Worst: Okay, This Is Getting Ridiculous

Just when it looked as though the Rhodes brothers might FINALLY be done losing repeatedly to RybAxel, WWE chose to follow up on their trouncing at the hands of Evolution by opening Main Event with Cody Rhodes vs. Curtis Axel. Weeks ago I attempted to remain optimistic about the direction of the Brotherhood, but since then nothing has happened to help them progress in ANY direction. A month ago the story was that Cody was sick of losing and was growing resentful towards his brother, hinting at a pending break-up and feud between the two. Now they're both losing, and the only talking point that exists regarding them is that they've been "performing inconsistently." Cody's not lashing out at Goldust anymore, they're just losing clean and then sitting there looking frustrated. The hell is the point of this? Did someone scribble down "Cody Rhodes keeps losing, eventually turns on Goldust" on a piece of notebook paper, but then drop the paper in a puddle so that only the first half was legible? We're rolling into the second straight pay-per-view in which this storyline has been going on, yet the Rhodes brothers aren't even featured on the card. Stop playing with my Cody-loving heart, WWE.

Worst: No.

Continuing his identity crisis gimmick, Damien Sandow came out as "D-Sizzle", a white rapper with fake teeth and a horrible-looking tracksuit, which might very well have previously belonged to Tons of Funk and had simply shrunk in the wash. Sandow has done an excellent job of endearing himself to me in recent weeks in his portrayal of a new 'gimmick' each time he shows up, but this was just lazy. Sandow was very clearly into playing Sherlock Holmes last week, and it was entertaining because of how straight he played it. As "D-Sizzle", Sandow seems like he's rolling his eyes after each line, and the whole thing's just a big joke to him. One thing I learned from my dad is that the humor from a parody doesn't come from the actor deliberately joking around while playing their role and following up each line with a wink to the audience, it comes from them filling the role as well as they possibly can and trusting in the audience to find the humor in the absurdity of the play itself. Sandow did the latter as Sherlock Holmes, but the former as D-Sizzle, and in doing so, it seems like he's playing the two roles for entirely different reasons - D-Sizzle to actively mock the city, but Sherlock Holmes because he idolizes Holmes. It doesn't make sense for him to do both in the same context.

Worst: Also This Match Is Horrible

Aside from Sandow changing up the precursor to the Cubito Aequet, nothing noteworthy happens in this match. Truth hits the ugliest Little Jimmy ever and I roll my eyes and hope these two never wrestle again.

Worst: Just Turn Heel Already, Natalya

On Thursday, Natalya had a match against Charlotte as part of NXT Takeover. It was a fantastic match, and Natalya looked better than I have basically ever seen her before. The thing was, Natalya came off as a heel even when working as a face. She looked willing to break the young up-and-comer Charlotte in half, and even stole the Flairs' WOO, which made her seem like the worst person on the planet. Natalya can be a good heel, but she makes for a terrible face in danger (which is kind of a key component for wrestling as, you know, a face). If Natalya would just hurry the hell up and go full heel already, she'd probably be perfectly passable. Instead we've got her working against Brie Bella, who is danger of being fired, is hitting a string of fired-up babyface offense, and subsequently tapping her out with the Sharpshooter, but then patting her on the arm comfortingly instead of bragging about the win. It's contradictory storytelling. The audience is supposed to feel bad for Brie losing but has nobody to project that negative feeling towards, and because Natalya's a face, you're supposed to feel good for her too. This is something you can pull off on a big, important event, like a pay-per-view, or even a spotlight segment on Raw, but in the middle of Main Event? Following up on a sub-three-minute-long match? There's neither enough time nor motivation to muster up those emotions.

Best: The Meaning Of Family

The Usos cut a pretty garbled, unfocused promo about how the Wyatts aren't truly a family, they're just a cult, although they kind of John Cena'd it by choosing to focus on the Family's masks and catchphrases rather than their more general behavioral patterns. In response, Luke Harper cut an awesome, insightful promo about how he and Erick Rowan were saved by Bray Wyatt, and that gave them a purpose to live for. It's an awesome detail that really helps to make the Family seem special as a group. They aren't heels who work together because it's convenient for them, and they don't work for Bray because they're being forced too. They genuinely believe in him, and they will live and die in order to serve him. Luke Harper is not the most charismatic speaker in the world, but he is clearly comfortable speaking into the microphone, and I love to see the additional wrinkles he adds to his character as time goes by. It seems like he's the most coherent of Bray's followers, and that makes his unfaltering loyalty all the more disturbing.

Best: Usos vs. Wyatts Usos vs. Wyatts USOS VS. WYATTS

Cena needs to stop feuding with Bray just so the Wyatts can feud with the Usos over their tag titles. It's not even worth going over how good they work together because it should be obvious to everyone. These are far and away the two best two-man tag teams active on WWE. They need to be feuding over the tag team titles and they need to be doing it a lot. Evolution and the Shield will be done with their feud hopefully tonight, and that leaves a gap for these two teams to fill. If they aren't having a title match on SummerSlam - and I mean ON SummerSlam, not on the pre-show - then WWE might as well begin and end every show with a subtitle that reads "We care nothing for the tag team division."

Best: The Last Man Standing Match Is Happening Tonight, So Luke Harper Will Stop Counting To Ten Before It Gets As Old As Bray's Singing


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