Wednesday, February 22, 2012

WWE Smackdown Review for February 21, 2012

For those of you that come to The Hammer Dialectic for Warhammer and Marxist analysis, I have to apologize for the deluge of wrestling updates.  I promise more Warhammer pictures and thoughts in the near future as well as a more regular column about my explorations into Marxist thought.

Those of you that come here for wrestling, thanks!  I'm so happy to be writing this review.  The WWE has been mediocre to terrible over the last few weeks and I'm glad that last night Smackdown went back to the well and did what Smackdown does best.

Opening Segment
Daniel Bryan starts out by cutting a really great heel promo.  As much as I've managed to enjoy the wormy vegan avenger, and I've enjoyed it quite a bit, I was very excited to see that Bryan Danielson came out last night.  Now that his feud with the Big Show is over, we can finally see him as the plucky underdog who manages to come out on top and be a bad guy for doing so.
The only thing I'm more excited about than Daniel Bryan being amazing is a future in which Daniel Bryan and The Miz form Awesome Dragon and destroy the Usos and Los Colons for years to come.  I'm actually pretty serious about that.  They have so much potential for an amazing tag team division and I would love for Miz and DBry to be a part of it.
Grade: A

Sheamus v Miz
I oftentimes feel as though I'm the one guy in the world who really likes The Miz.  He's a serviceable wrestler, but I think he's just completely hilarious.  Awesome Truth was one of those tag teams that given enough time could have been up there with the Dudley Boyz in terms of tag teams THESTINGER loves.  
Sheamus is also great.  I think his character could be a little more Chaotic Neutral, but I'm just happy he's around.  With all that being said, Miz and Sheamus don't have a lot of chemistry in the ring together but the match was definitely better than any we saw last night on Raw, so I have a hard time being too critical.  Seriously, the Miz has fallen so far from the top that this could have easily been a squash match and I don't think anyone would have been surprised.  That they put on a good match with lots of back and forth gives me hope that Miz won't get lost in the midcard.
Grade: B-

Kofi Kingston & R-Truth v Dolph Ziggler & Jack Swagger
Man, we're over a half hour into Smackdown and I have loved everyone and everything that has come on.  I wish there was a reason for R-Truth and Kofi Kingston being a tag team besides "black guys with nothing better to do".  Even still, I'm enjoying seeing them together so I really can't be upset of the why if the outcome is fun.
R-Truth is one of those people who is really under-appreciated.  He can wrestle, he can be hilarious, and he's just one of those solid people that creates a really strong foundation for everything else.  It's easy for me to gush endlessly about how amazing Cody Rhodes is or how Dolph Ziggler can make grandmothers look lethal, but it's easy to overlook R-Truth.  I'm not overlooking you anymore, Mr. Killings.

With all that being said, this was an entertaining match.  It went by fast and had some good spots.  Dolph Ziggler had a credible offense and Kofi Kingston seemed sharper and better than he's seen in a while.  I really enjoyed this match a lot.
Grade: B


Santino & Heath Slater Being Funny
I have to admit to laughing quite a bit about this last night.  I hate to admit this because I'll lose all my Sophisticated Internet Wrestling Fan Street Cred, but I'm coming around to Santino.  He makes me laugh.  I like how the audience gets excited to see him.  I love how kids love having him around.  I can't help it.  He makes people happy and I don't think he's done anything mean spirited lately.
Just stop using Eugene's music.  Give us Eugene.  Despite having the worst gimmick ever, I really loved Eugene.
Grade: B


Drew McIntyre v Great Khali
Look, I can't pretend to care about this.  I like Drew McIntyre well enough and Khali is Khali.  As I was grabbing screen caps and gifs I noticed this.
There are lots of people who are really excited by Khali.  He's not my guy and I could go on for a long time telling you why he's not in THESTINGER's Fave Five, but some people like him.  A good percentage of my love for Ring Ka King comes from the crowd reaction.  If people like Khali , if he isn't a serious contender for a championship, and if he keeps not hating on women than I'm okay with it.  You're allowed to keep doing what you're doing, Khali.  You're welcome, big guy.
Grade: C


Mark Henry v Big Show v Special Guest Appearance By Raptor Boy
I guess Mark Henry and Big Show are still a thing.  I think Mark Henry is awesome and Big Show managed to have a pretty compelling story with him for a while.  Now it's just treading water.  The good news is that this looks like a match that'll just help cement a Big Show / Cody Rhodes feud.  Yes, I'd rather see a Cody v Golddust match at Wrestlemania because the family drama in the Rhodes family is gripping and important to me, but I'll take what I can get.  If Cody is feuding with Show that means we'll get more Cody and I want more Cody.  Thanks, WWE, I guess.
Grade: C+

Teddy Long / Aksana / John Laurinaitis / David Otunga / Big Zeke
I'm becoming increasingly baffled by how anyone could not love everything about John Laurinaitis and David Otunga.  They're hilarious.  Brandon made a point that I think is turning out to be true: Laurinaitis doesn't give a fuck.  People make fun of him, treat him like crap, and otherwise disrespect him and the he keeps a smile on his face and just laughs about it.  The only time he didn't was when he had an emotional outburst and that made me legitimately care about him as a person.  Part of me wishes that the best thing to come out of CM Punk's summer wasn't John Laurinaitis, but I'm having too much fun loving #BigJohnny that I can't be too upset.
David Otunga has benefited a lot from all of this.  I wish I had the words to explain how great Otunga is nowadays.  He's endlessly hilarious to me.  I wish I had more to say, but I don't.  This whole angle is hilarious and fun and that's all I ask for sometimes.
Grade: A

Daniel "Bryan Danielson" Bryan v Chick Magnet Punk
Besides CM Punk's irrational hatred of Laurianitis, which seriously makes no sense as he's been the most fair General Manager I've ever seen on a rasslin' show, he managed to cut a really funny promo.  His Laurinaitis voice was funny.  His referencing Serena?  Hilarious.  No mention of vaginas, testicles, or ovaries?  Great!  I keep talking about how the CM Punk we all loved never came back after Money in the Bank, but I think he showed up last night.
CM Punk has been as bad as Triple H lately in how he's treated his fellow wrestler.  Yes, we know they're supposed to hate each other in various storylines, but Punk has gone after these guys in such a way that makes it hard for people to take them seriously afterwards.  I'm so happy that Punk didn't do that with Bryan.  Instead of talking about how terrible of a person, wrestler, or a man Bryan is Punk decided to just be funny and put on a great match that let Bryan look like a credible World Champion.
Daniel Bryan and CM Punk can wrestle, and that's what they did last night.  It was exciting, fun, and told a good story.  If these two don't get to face each other at a Wrestlemania in the future, it'll be a tragedy.  Last night's match wasn't as good as it could have been but it was thoroughly entertaining and did everything a wrestling match should do.  It was suspenseful, exciting, and told a story and did so while impressing us with their athleticism and in-ring chemistry.
Grade: A-

Summary
I don't want to be a broken record but this is so easy to do.  All the WWE needs to do to keep me interested is to let talented wrestlers put on exciting matches.  If they could cut out all of the mean spirited stories and characters that would help, but if they keep giving me exciting wrestling matches I'll keep watching.  I don't want to have to apologize for being a wrestling fan.  I don't want to have to acknowledge how sexist, racist, and homophobic the WWE can be and still watch despite all this.  I just want to come home from work, watch some rasslin', and talk with my bros about how much fun this all is.  

Smackdown delivered all that last night, and I loved every minute of it.  Last night they seemed to take back so much of the ill will they had created with me.  They made Daniel Bryan look strong, didn't have Natalya fart or otherwise show hatred towards women, gave us the CM Punk that I love, made me laugh with Santino and Laurinaitis, and had some wrestling that was worth watching.  This is so easy, guys.  Just show respect for people and give us wrestling and we'll all be happy for it.
Grade: A


This Whole CM Punk and Chris Brown thing
I have shitty taste in music.  Unless you're affiliated with the Wu Tang Clan or play death metal I've probably never heard your music.  I listen to a ton of NPR and when I'm not listening to NPR I'm listening to Dying Fetus or Immolation or whatever.  What I'm trying to say is that I don't know who Chris Brown is and I don't really care.  He hit his girlfriend and that's really bad.  Don't hit women, guys.  

I don't know, I have really mixed feelings about CM Punk picking a fight with Chris Brown.  On the face of it it appears to be CM Punk picking a fight with a pariah for some cheap publicity.  I'm not trying to say that CM Punk isn't sincere or anything.  I just think if he cared so much about this issue he would be picking a fight with Mike Tyson.

I do food delivery to where homeless people gather pretty.  If, after we hit all of our spots, we have extra food we tend to take it over to a woman's shelter.  When we go, I'm not allowed in because I'm a strange man and they don't want my presence to worry or otherwise intimidate the women or children there.  

I guess my larger feeling has to do with how domestic violence becomes something worth avenging.  I don't want to make excuses for anyone that abuses another person, but those that do so rarely do so out of full control of their emotions.  These are people who are either emotionally stunted or otherwise ill and they take that out on people they should love.  Doing so just damages everyone involved and will perpetuate this cycle of violence.  

I grew up in a really hostile environment where everything turned into a vicious battle.  These battles were emotional more than physical, but the physical altercations really stuck with me.  It's been hard to shake that off and to grow from those wounds.  

I don't know.  I'm sure this Chris Brown guy is a dirt bag.  I just feel that the best thing to do would be to ignore him and to focus on the victims of these crimes.  It's easy to reflexively fall back on violence when you're in the right, but doing so doesn't make life better for those that have been hurt.  It's really easy to hate on a pariah, but I think it's more virtuous to help the victims of these crimes and don't feed the narcissism of one man who has chosen to be an abuser.

Doctor Awesomus says a lot of things I agree with and does so with a lot more clarity than I can muster.  

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