Reviews

Dean Ambrose Steals Smackdown, 12-03-15

 

Daniel Bryan officially throws his hat in the ring

After a long (and somewhat uninspired) journey, Daniel Bryan has finally declared his entry to the Intercontinental Championship ladder match.

This opening segment gave me flashbacks to the last indy show I went to, minus the $4 hooch. Everyone in the ladder match comes out to say a token word about their candidacy, all of it uninspired, and it ends with an awkward 8-way standoff. I expected Kane to break the silence by coming out to make some matches, but instead they just start playing the Smackdown theme song, and they go to commercial. In the words of Booker T, “What. Da. Hayell.”

I think we’re being pranked, all of us, including the wrestlers. Some of the most talented guys on the roster have been booked in one of the most potentially thrilling matches at Mania, but you would never know it. They’re playing it like this:

And we’re supposed to see it as this:

I’m trying so hard to keep it all in perspective. It’s just a wrestling show, they’ve been disappointing us for the better part of 2 years, why get all up in arms (unless you’ve shelled out big bucks for the trip to San Jose). But the bad decisions have really piled up. Failing to plan for their true superstars; shitting all over their Divas; dropping the few promising feuds that they had in hand, without explanation and for no apparent reason; basically chipping away at the WrestleMania brand, when they have the tools at their disposal to put on one hell of a show.

 

There’s Something Happening in the Tag Team Division

I don’t care what it is.

 

The Miz is Awesome

Before his match with Ryback, Miz asks Damien Mizdow to press his pants and fetch him a low-fat extra-foam caramel latte. His enunciation, his intensity, and his gestures are all spot-on. I remember seeing him at a house show last year, and he worked his ass off to get jeers. He has seen every level of fame and misfortune over the years, and he keeps trying. I’ve not always been a Miz fan, but I have a lot of respect for Mike Mizanin. He loses to Ryback. Why aren’t Miz and Mizdow having a singles match at Mania? Why didn’t they just make the Andre Memorial a one-time thing?

 

I Have No Idea Who Roman Reigns IS, But Mark Henry WAS Tremendous

Some days he is a smoldering, monosyllabic beast. Other days, he makes wobbly fairy tale analogies. Then he was the shining, pedigreed Samoan. Tonight, Reigns is the whiny baby who didn’t like what Paul Heyman said about him. “He said I can’t!”

Mark Henry comes out with a Disappointed Dad speech, all “you young punks need some gumption”, an invitation for Reigns to Superman Punch him, then spear him into the timekeeper’s area.

I’m not going to linger too long on Reigns, because it’s a case of try-this, try-that – a term I’ve heard used in engineering for people who don’t plan things out, and just start writing code. Sound familiar? He has the potential, and one day, with patience and care, he could really do the thing. I’m not writing him off yet. (But those ice-blue colored contact lenses are not doing Reigns any favors, when he’s already having trouble connecting with people).

For his part, Mark Henry did exactly what he needed to do. He spoke with eloquence and attitude. He antagonized Reigns, and he fell down like a ton of bricks. Back in the trainer’s room, he was humbled. That young lad really proved himself. My God. There are no depths to which they won’t sink in order to push Roman Reigns. It’s like they ripped the salmon-colored suit off of Mark Henry’s proud torso, and underneath was just a pair of tighty-whities with a Sexual Chocolate logo on them. Oh, the humanity!

 

My Personal Hell Defined, And a Sense of Promise

If my afterlife takes place in the fiery depths of hell, I imagine they will glue a pair of headphones to my ears, and loop the Bella twins’ voices ad infinitum.

Meanwhile, AJ and Paige are catching a spark. I’m feeling it. And the Bellas feel so comfortable in their roles that I’m allowing myself some hope. Is it wishful thinking? Could their match at Mania finally showcase what this combination of women can achieve?

 

Screw This Build, They’re Going to WrestleMania

In what I’d like to call a “tasting menu” for the ladder match, the main event is a 6-man tag, minus R-Truth. It’s well coordinated and full of personality, discrediting my earlier rant to a certain extent. It’s as if the talented guys that I referred to just refuse to let the shitty build get them down. There’s not a lot they can do when given promos-by-the-numbers, but by god they can still wrestle. Barrett is the weak link here, but will still outshine R-Truth come March 29th – which was probably the reason R-Truth watched from backstage.

I hope that this is the last time we’ll see them all clash before Mania, but I suspect not. Daniel Bryan gets the big finish with a running knee on Harper.

 

Screw This Build, My Favorite Word is Turd

Michael Cole interrupts the celebration to interview Daniel Bryan. Before much can be said, Dolph Ziggler cuts in to establish that even though they were on the same tag team just now, it’s every man for himself at Mania. Dean Ambrose takes his turn, and in my opinion, surpasses even the silver-tongued brilliance of Paul Heyman.

“Yeah, yeah, congratulations Bryan, thanks for the help. Great victory. And thanks to you too, Dolph, you stole the show again, like you always do. Like everyone’s been stealing the Intercontinental Championship lately. That was my idea, I started it. But anyways, I think Dolph has a bit of an inferiority complex. I think Dolph is afraid he’s not as good as Daniel Bryan and that really bothers him. And Bryan, you are very good. Everyone seems to think you’re really great guy, and a really nice guy. But me, and a lot of people in the locker room know the truth about you. You’re a turd.”

Mic drop. Music hits. Leaves ring.

Then Dolph comes in again, Ravishing Rick Rude style.

“Wait a second, wait a second, cut the music. I don’t agree with Dean on a lot of things… but yeah. You’re a turd, bro.”

It was the first thing that’s felt fun in years.