The Best And Worst Of Smackdown 5/23/14: Si-Bo-Ling Rivalry

05.24.14 2 years ago • 39 Comments


Bo Dallas (re)debuts this week! Yeah, on Smackdown. I was surprised too!

Pre-show Notes:

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Worst: Hulkacatatonia

Who would have thought returning to the WWE would be the thing to finally snuff out Hulk Hogan’s mystique? At least he, you know, did things in TNA. He was an important part of a nationally televised wrestling program.

Now all he does is occasionally wander out to shout about how psyched he is for awesome WWE products brother, and he doesn’t even do that very well. The dude’s a giant, orange Scott Stanford at this point. I mean, just look at the audience during this segment — yeah, they cheer when Hulk points at them, because cheering when Hulk Hogan points at you paragraph one of the “Being a WWE Fan” contract, but man, the looks on their faces. They couldn’t be any more bored if the opening segment was nothing but Alberto Del Rio silently holding a headlock on Kofi Kingston for 10-minutes.

Best: 500-Pounds of Men on Top of Me

And for the third match in this Batista/Dolph Ziggler series, an actual finish!

I’ve really been enjoying these matches, as Batista has been at his apathetic dickface best and Dolph Ziggler is getting to do something other than wrestle Damien Sandow, so he’s working his sparkly Underoos off. This match in particular was a great example of the physically superior specimen with zero heart vs. the guy with nothing but heart. Batista kept teasing finishers and Ziggler would reverse them time and time again, but none of the reversals could quite get him the pin. Finally Ziggler lost his mind, attempted a running fameasser on the stairs, failed, then ate one big move and lost.

You don’t see matches like this often because now everyone’s a video game wrestler who can only lose once their lifebar is depleted and they’re hit with a special move. Of course in real life sometimes one character has five lifebars and barely functional controls and the other is Viewtiful Joe, but dies in one hit. Oh, and I know you don’t want to hear it Batista haters, but this match was mostly good because of Big Dave. Ziggler is physically gifted, but his matches rarely have any sort of narrative — this match’s depth was likely the doing of the clumsy, sweaty, tattooed dude.

Supplemental Best for Michael Cole being wiped out by Batista, then curling into a ball like a Brylcreemed baby while Batista and Ziggler continued to brawl on top of him.

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Worst: Why Is This House Show Match on TV?

Guys, if you’re in England, haven’t brought the full Divas roster with you and can’t put together anything that makes sense, it’s okay to just give the ladies a break for the night. Or use the random Nikki Bella & Eva Marie vs. Funkadactyls w/ Summer Rae as guest referee thing as a dark match. Cameron and Naomi haven’t been doing tag matches for months, and I don’t really keep abreast (heh) of Total Divas, but haven’t the Bellas and Eva Marie been enemies since more or less scene one?

Randomness aside, the match was just plain rotten with Summer Rae forgetting who’s supposed to be on the receiving end of her heel reffing on a second-to-second basis, Cameron throwing codebreakers that do less damage than punches and Eva Marie screwing up the roll-up finish, because of course.

Best: Bolieve

Okay, I know I’m not the first, and I definitely won’t be the last to say this, but Bo Dallas’ new life guru character is basically a happy version of Bray Wyatt, right? It doesn’t help that Bray and Bo pretty much have the same voice, especially when they’re doing the lilting spirited delivery.

Not that the similarities are a bad thing — in fact, I think Bo’s character, done right, could have better legs than Bray’s. There’s that grain of realism to Bo that Bray has long since chewed up and spit out. In the real world most cult leaders aren’t filth-encrusted swamp monsters. They certainly don’t outright admit they’re evil. The clean-cut, just a little bit too friendly, aphorism-spouting dude is who you really need to be afraid of. The folks down at your local Scientology test center are more Bo Dallas than Bray Wyatt.

For this to really work though, Bo needs to cut down on some of the more overtly goofy aspects of the character. The running around with the thumbs up has to go. I know WWE doesn’t really understand dry humor, but the joke shouldn’t be “Look at this stupid clown!” Bo needs to play this role straight-faced to the point of absurdity. Have him deliver his cheesy truisms with absolute conviction. If Jim Carrey or Will Ferrell had jumped up on Oprah’s couch it would have been forgotten the next day — it was Tom Cruise’s weird, fervent sincerity that made the couch thing a cringe comedy moment for the ages. If Bo can tap into some of that, he can escape the cartoon character mire his brother is probably permanently stuck in.



Worst: Never Stop Trying

So, I like Bo Dallas’ character, but man, as a physical performer he still has some issues. Bo’s not bad looking compared to his brother, but not really in comparison to almost anyone else on the roster. He’s what you’d get if you took a regular, passably handsome guy from the mall food court and poured an entire bottle of baby oil on his head, which is not a good look.

He definitely hasn’t figured out how to play his character between the bells like his brother. He should be all handshakes and friendly pats on his opponent’s back before winning via some underhanded means. Or maybe he should be the guy who turns on a dime and becomes an unexpectedly brutal brawler once the bell rings. Instead, he spends most of the match doing arm-drags and roll-ups, then surprises with a stiff clothesline before finishing with an Acid Drop? It’s all over the place, but then the match is over and he’s back to being great again, shaking Sin Cara’s hand and ensuring him that if he never stops trying, one day he could be like Bo. He wishes.

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