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Best: The Very Nerve!
Seth Rollins needs to start wearing a monocle, so it can pop out of his eye half-a-dozen times per show. The guy’s shocked outrage at every minor, totally normal, expected thing is maybe the best thing in WWE right now. Case in point, Smackdown kicked off with Seth being utterly appalled that Kane was on the show. Of course he was, he’s on every show. He’s the only guy with the power to make matches that’s bothered to show up for work in the last month. “Kane?! WHAT? And I have to wrestle A MATCH?! I was just expecting to hang out tonight, maybe play some board games. I brought Ticket to Ride! UGGH!”
Worst: The Biggest Fight of Roman Reigns’ Life
The latest bit of self-delusion from Roman Reigns – after his WrestleMania loss he’s having to scratch and claw for everything, and every match he has now is the biggest match of his life. That’s funny, I could have sworn he was just soft of listlessly floating around, not doing much of anything.
Well, the biggest match of Roman Reigns’ career is now officially an impromptu Smackdown match with Kane. Sorry title match against Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania, your time is over. This match was set in motion by Rollins challenging Kane to prove he’s still The Monster or whatever, but I dunno, this seems like a bad choice. Taking on the most unbeatable guy in the company with no time to prepare isn’t the best way to pick up a quick, impressive win.
As for the match itself, it was definitely a Roman Reigns vs. Kane match. Most of it was just two guys slowly staggering around instead of actually wrestling or selling. After the commercial break, we came back to a Kane bearhug. Eventually it looked like Roman was about to put Kane away with the spear, but Kane was too agile, rolled out of the ring and Roman just flopped comically onto his stomach. Then Kane just walked away. He didn’t make a big show of waving the match off, or teasing coming back. Nope, he just strolled off – he was behind the curtain by the time the ref got to the four count. Good job, buddy. Walk it off.
Best: Ain’t Runnin’ From Nobody
Holy moley, Renee’s dress. Girl’s packed (pacqued) into that thing.
If Seth being blindsided by mundane things is the best thing in WWE, him angrily insisting that he does everything on his own while being constantly trailed by two tiny menservants is also pretty high up the list. I also like Noble and Mercury’s differing responses to Seth saying he doesn’t need them. Noble looks a little offended, but Mercury’s facial expression says “Well, good for you, fly away little bird.”
Worst: Where’s Damien Sandow to Save Us From Damien Sandow?
Poor, poor Damien Sandow. I know the intellectual savior thing was just a gimmick, but this shit has got to be eating him up inside. New Damien Sandow might be the most incoherent wrestling character I’ve ever seen.
The guy comes out forgettable B-grade Street Fighter music they wouldn’t give an NXT jobber and starts mocking tiny, baby-sized Jojo as she tries to do her job. He calls Curtis Axel a pigeon-toed loser, but mimicks his moves, then after winning the match with his old heel finisher, he starts doing Hulk Hogan shtick. What the hell are we supposed to think about this guy? They’ve rounded up every bad, unsuccessful thing Sandow has ever done and they’re making him do them all at once. If he shows up on Raw as Idol Stevens and challenges Jamie Noble to a match, I will not be even slightly surprised.
Worst: Feed Me Food Metaphors
Well, this Bray Wyatt/Ryback feud is going great guns so far. After weeks of mysterious, portentous promos, Bray reveals he’s targeting Ryback, and Ryback responds with the same food metaphors he’d use if he was wrestling The Miz or Fandango. The Eater of Worlds has bitten off more than he can chew! Ryback’s going to devour Bray Wyatt! He’s going to take all his bullshit, open up and…no, wait, that one doesn’t work.
Worst: Ryback vs. Luke Harper
This match was definitely a bit disappointing. Harper has the ability to drag good matches out of guys who have slipped into complacency, but he couldn’t work any magic with Ryback. The match was kind of slow and awkward, and Ryback kept trying to do power stuff, but Harper’s just too big, so most of it looked kind of weak and shaky. Although, I’ll admit, Ryback getting Harper up for a delayed vertical suplex was impressive. It wasn’t a very pretty delayed suplex, but it was still something. I did like the finish – Harper misses his big clothesline, Ryback lands with his, then hits his finish. Simple and effective, although not quite enough to save this match.
Afterwards Bray Wyatt attacked Ryback, and yeah, serial killer Bray Wyatt and his moody lighting just doesn’t mix with Ryback and his airbrushed onesie. They should drop all the spooky atmosphere and just have Bray be a regular dude who wrestles for the next month or two, because trying to do a typical Bray Wyatt feud with Ryback is coming off a tad absurd.
Best: Kofi Manpurse
Latest great thing The New Day do – their dramatic pre-match, Power Rangers posedown with the belts.
This was a top notch little match. It wasn’t terribly dramatic, since neither of these teams are treated seriously, but Cesaro and Kidd pack so much into every match. There were significantly more fun little moments stuffed into this match than all the other matches on the show combined. I loved Cesaro “saving” Tyson by getting under him on the apron when he was thrown off the top. It didn’t really make any sense, but hey, nothing pro wrestling makes any sense if you think about it too hard.
Speaking of Cesaro, the dude was on fire tonight. A babyface Cesaro hot tag is a thing of beauty. The dude even managed to swing Big E, which is super impressive considering Big E is maybe the least aerodynamic guy in WWE. The match ended in DQ when Xavier jumped in to break up a pin, but I didn’t really mind, because New Day didn’t sell it like they’d gotten away with something. They sold escaping with their belts as an amazing victory. Actual results don’t matter that much in wrestling, as long it feels like somebody achieved something.
Worst: Girl Bye to You Girl Bye-ing my Girl Bye!
This segment was about a minute long, during which I counted 11 eye-rolls, four hair flips, three Girl Byes a fake yawn, Cameron mocking the Bellas in a squeaky voice and Nikki snapping in Cameron’s face. Oh, and Summer Rae was also there. They hit all the high points is what I’m saying.
Best: Cameron’s Best Match Ever?
So yeah, surprisingly this wasn’t terrible? It’s faint praise, but it might have been Cameron’s best match to date. Most of her offense was competently executed, and she was generally in the right place at the right time. The match wasn’t terribly coherent or anything, and Cameron spent the whole thing screaming her head off, but baby steps. Basically Cameron has ascended to the level of Milena, which is actually a big deal for her.
Of course the real star of the match was Nikki Bella. It feels like it’s been a while since we’ve got to see her really truck through a girl. Nikki hit a pretty nice tackle early on, and I like how she just shoved Cameron down and muscled her up for her finish when she decided it was time to end things. Nikki Bella confidently disposing of the chaff of the women’s division is now and forever my jam.
Best: Clean Your Emotions Up
I still like these Prime Time Players segments, but I haven’t the faintest notion what they’re supposed to be accomplishing. I don’t think Titus and Darren know either. The only thing they really had to say here was “please sell our shirts in the WWE shop”. They said it in an amusing way, but still, it’s kind of odd that WWE turned a minute of their show over to these guys so they could gripe about their merchandise. Within a couple weeks these segments will just be Titus and Darren reading from their Twitter feeds. Eh, what the hell, I’d probably be okay with that.
Best: He Sure Showed You, Kane
As is usually the case when former Shield guys get back in the ring together, Ambrose and Rollins were working a little harder than usual. The match didn’t tell much of a story or anything, but the action was fast, and Ambrose actually pulled out some new stuff, including a pretty nice inverted spinebuster.
Towards the end, the match threatened to become all about Kane, with him teasing chokeslams on Ambrose, Rollins and the ref, but things turned around and we actually got a clean finish. Rollins threw Ambrose into the stairs, hit his new DDT thing and got the win. Rollins’ new finisher badly has to go, but still, the WWE Champion won a match! He didn’t even have an advantage, since Kane was as much of a distraction to him as Ambrose. Rollins has definitively shown he’s better than Kane by beating a former Shield member while Kane couldn’t get the job done, so yeah, can we just move on? Please?
Best: Shield Friendship
Maybe we can. Kane got into the ring looking all mad, but instead of going after Seth, he attacked Ambrose. The Authority were on the same page and the beatdown was on, but then Roman hit the ring for the save. As I’ve established, former Shield members looking out for each other and being friends is always a Best in my book.
The show went off the air with WWE Champion Seth Rollins staring a hole through Reigns and Ambrose. Hmmmm! A three-way title feud between the former members of The Shield. That would probably be pretty fun! Yup. Well, time for another spoon of our Randy Orton medicine.