Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Best and Worst of WWE Main Event 6/17/14: Progression of the B- (and C- and D-) Plots

Last week I missed writing the column, because I was very busy handling a bunch of stuff. I had to deal with a big rush of additional responsibilities and preparations that basically all closed up a few days ago, so I finally got the time to sit down and write this stuff. My break was pretty conveniently timed, too, because last week WWE really sucked, and this week it fucking ruled. Let's get into a bit of that, shall we?

Worst: Seth Rollins' Current Entrance Theme

Holy crap is this awful and generic and ugh. Rumor is that Rollins' theme is purely a placeholder at this team, and it will be replaced soon enough. Hopefully that's the case, because his theme is without a doubt the worst of the former Shield members. Roman Reigns got to keep the Shield's theme, Dean Ambrose has a slightly generic-sounding metal instrumental, but it has a nice tune and fits his character well, and Rollins' just sounds like a band doing a sound test. He would've likely been better off with his NXT theme, which sounds equally production-y, but has the advantage of at least sounding like an actual song.

Best: Money In the Bank At Money In the Bank

Main Event began with Seth Rollins getting a loooooot of time to talk without really saying much, although it wasn't as bad as his promos usually get. Rollins tends to suffer when he doesn't have a whole lot to talk about, because he tries to fill up a certain portion of time despite his lack of material. You can see that come through when he talks about how he was the mastermind of the Shield - he tries to talk for a full minute about how he was the guiding force behind Reigns and Ambrose, and both would be wild and helpless without him, and then throws to the clip of him betraying them, which everyone watching should have seen a hundred times already by now. But he has so much to talk about aside from that, that he doesn't really get stuck in a rut for long this time around.

Oh, and Dean Ambrose came out to attack Rollins, but then Kane came out, and Ambrose ran away before they beat him up. Whatever.

The big takeaway from this opening segment, and the reason it opens the show, is that Rollins announces that a traditional Money in the Bank ladder match will be held at Money in the Bank, in addition to the ladder match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. This, in my mind, was an absolutely critical development. Big ladder matches with a lot of guys are one thing, an actual Money in the Bank ladder match is another. Part of the appeal of Money in the Bank is the actual stakes behind it. Six to nine guys, most of whom wouldn't normally be featured on the card at all, getting the chance to potentially elevate themselves to the main event scene. That's been part of the stipulation's appeal for ten years now, and if there's a silver lining to Daniel Bryan's championship run being cut short, it's the fact that we'll get this match now. I'm curious to see how WWE will handle the Money in the Bank event in future years now that the titles are unified, but for now, it's good that we're getting this second match, which will likely be better than the championship match.

Best: Lana Remembers Rusev's First Name

Before Rusev's match, Lana repeated the hilarious (according to Vince McMahon) photoshop of Mt. Rushmore with Putin, Lenin, Gorbochev, and Rusev's faces. While listing each person's name, Lana actually said Alexander Rusev, and I was so happy. Even if this is a one-off thing, it brings me comfort to know that the one person closest to Rusev, the one person who should remember his full name, does. Definitely beats Jerry Lawler being the only person to remember that Bad News Barrett used to be called Wade.

Best: Get Fucked, Santino

No cobra. No ruining Emma. No comedic hip tosses or split-legged ducking. Kick to the face, camel clutch, done. Love it.

Best: Well This Was Nice

Surprisingly, Paige and Naomi had a very nice, though sometimes sloppy match which resulted in Naomi getting a clean victory with what appears to be her new finisher. And it's the Eye of the Hurricane, too! Oh, oh please start calling it Eye-Patch of the Hurricane...

This made me feel better about the assertion I occasionally make that Naomi has a lot of potential talent as a wrestler. She didn't always appear crisp, but she did a lot of stuff that you don't normally see from her, including a very nifty modified surfboard that she rolled over into a cool-looking cover. I'm going to chalk up a lot of this to her working with Paige, but I'm going to remain optimistic that Naomi will continue to grow and improve, especially now that she seems to be headed in a new direction. Speaking of which...

but also Best: Seriously, The Funkadactyls Should Have Been Done Long Ago

Just how many tag teams have gotten the ax in the past few months? The Shield, The Real Americans, and the Prime Time Players have all broken up, Batista's off to promote Guardians of the Galaxy so Evolution appears to be done with tag team action, two thirds of 3MB have been fired, Aksana's gone so her occasional partnership with Alicia Fox is kaput, and now the Funkadactyls seem to be splitting. If the Rhodes Brothers split had gone through, there'd only be like four tag teams left at all.

On the other hand, however, Naomi and Cameron had to split up eventually, and they probably should have done so as soon as Brodus Clay got benched and Tensai began commentating on NXT. Their entire premise was to be Brodus's backup dancers, which is a position that closed months ago. A repackaging was long overdue.

Best, I Guess: Oh Hey, Another Six-Man Tag Main Event

I'm actually a little disappointed that the Main Event2 was yet another six-man tag affair, because nowadays, they're pretty much virtually guaranteed to be fun and exciting, but always in the same way, so there's not a lot to talk about. Put the Wyatts against the Usos and some random guy and you're practically guaranteed a damn good match with an awesome final sequence, and this was no exception. I'm just sort of used to getting something different for the Main Event2 nowadays, usually a singles match between two guys you wouldn't expect to be main eventing either Raw or SmackDown! This, on the other hand, would have been right at home as the SmackDown main event, so I just kind of shrugged my shoulders at it. The only big note that I have is the final, final moment of the match, where Bray does his running version of Sister Abigail which is so, so wonderful. But not only does he catch Jimmy Uso with it, he pops up into the ring after making the blind tag, and comes in like a goddamn assassin after avoiding pretty much the entirety of the faces' big final assault. Everything else is about what you would expect from this match, though, so you can probably fill in all the blanks yourself.

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