IN LAIMAN'S TERMS #273 - Thoughts on Smackdown Live - 2-28-17
By Marissa Laiman
Mar 2, 2017 - 1:32:14 AM
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IN LAIMAN'S TERMS #273 - Thoughts on SD Live - 2-28-17
1. We start off with our weekly management meeting, where they conveniently look at the worst angle of the controversial match finish from last week. AJ gets challenged by Shane some more, and we're getting Luke/AJ. I dig it. Luke Harper pulls the old "he's standing right behind you" gag, and Luke's wide-eyed face for it is hysterical. He then stares some more before being... polite? Fair enough.
2. The official show starts off with possibly the next step in the WrestleMania 27 rematch everyone didn't expect. Thankfully it's not Cole/Lawler. I hope it doesn't take another five or six years for Miz to recover from this one.
3. Maybe it's my imagination, but Miz seems to have been taking some lessons from early Chris Jericho in his promo style. I dig it, it's working for him. The walking Shopzone commercial himself is the guest, to the surprise of... maybe Ronnie, my new friend who has only been watching for a year. Then again, he's even sick of Roman Reigns, so who knows?
4. Seeing the two of them stare each other down, it's pretty impressive to see how different they look from their previous encounters. The former shadow of Rock and Cena cuts Cena's mic off before he goes on a rant. Miz is getting some of that Talking Smack fire back, and I'm more captivated by him than I've ever been, and I generally dig MIzanin as it is. The thesis of Miz's promo is "not wanting to be the other guy." Is that where he's headed? Yep. Time to address it in less subtlety. Going for the "you're jealous" angle though? Really?
5. It turns back up though when he compares what Cena said about the Rock with Cena's recent run of Hollywood appearances, and it gets the crowd chanting "You Sold Out!" Wow. They were chanting for Cena a few minutes ago. Miz actually drops the phrase "Super-Cena." Oh goodness, the internet ten years ago is LOVING THIS!
6. Miz brings it through once more, throwing the "gifted" title shot as a symbol for the ten years of Miz's career. I feel every emotion in what he's saying, even with the world's worst "WOO!" in history. This has to be the best mic work of his career right here.
7. Cena burns him good in return, and throws a little shade the IWC's way as well. This build-up is already better than most of the WrestleMania hype so far. Cena's awareness is only supplanted by his way of venting about the negativity he gets and yet managing to spin it into positivity. I guess Cena isn't the only one who was hearing a little Chris Jericho, and then throws in Bryan, Rock, AJ, and even some Jaded Hope in there too. I lost the train of thought about who the dude is, but if that's where we're going, would that mean that we get one who abides at least?
8. Is there a burn ward within ten feet of here?
9. Maryse is the one who stops Cena from leaving. She has an accent for a few sentences, but then it goes away in time for a small package joke. Those are some punk cards for someone dressed with Venetian blinds. She slaps him, and Cena laughs about her making the biggest mistake of her life. Nikki Bella's music hits, and in one sentence, she may have won me back after a decade of disdain. That was awesome.
10. Segment. of. the. fucking. year! Wow!
11. Up next, we got ourselves a 2-outta-3 women's match with Steampunk Clementine and Mickie James. Normally I'd say it's a shame they're not saving this for the PPV, but they've got a longer way to go than their sister brand. We get a commercial already, so I imagine we're getting at least two for this match. Ugh.
12. We come back, and amazingly no falls have happened yet and the heel is in control. I'll be damned, anything sure can happen in the WWE! Flying Firearm seemed a little Twist of Fate-y. Hardyz are leaving TNA. Coincidence? Actually, I have no idea. I didn't even know TNA still existed, to be honest. Mickie gets the first fall with a Twist of Tornado DDT herself. And we've already got our second fucking commercial after one fall.
13. Becky ends up getting her first fall with... A subtle fuck-you to Mickie James, if you think about it. The Ultimate 2011 Diva's Finisher. You sly, sly gal, you. Kelly Kelly is suing for gimmick infringement. But oh wait, Alexa Bliss walks down to the ring like she's a foot taller than she is, but she's got some angry face going on like whoa. Despite the distraction, Becky gets the third and decisive fall. A quick pan to Mickie shows her waving for something, and I hope that's not because she's hurt. It's also nice that she's been the veteran who comes back and is willing to put over younger talent at this stage in her career. I've been very impressed with Smackdown's ability to inject multiple names into the contendership of the division. Ahem, RAW...
14. Oh goodie, we're getting a Kane promo delivered to light bulbs on the Wyatt set. Harper has new eyes, supposedly, and he's going to use them to see evil. That's it, I knew it! Kane could see no evil, and Harper can see evil. That's the twist!
15. Not to be outdone, we get the remotivated promoing Wyatt and his power-dread tassels of doom.
16. Backstage, we get the brunette interviewer who has the hairbump and the Thanksgiving table cloth, and we get the third fucking Oscar joke in two days from Alexa Bliss. Good JBL. Alexa redeems it though by feigning sincerity with a faux-Oscar speech. Even though that makes it four, at least it wasn't the lowest-hanging fruit again. She gets cut off with a slow clap from... Natalya? She's back to kissing up, I guess. After some passive-aggressive shit talk, she boops her on the nose like her name is Claudette and Alexa is Lisa, and there we go.
17. In another segment, AJ gets an interview backstage where he once again affirms his destiny of being at WrestleMania. Sounding a bit Del Rio-like there, perhaps.
18. Finally, a match again. Can we get some new entrance music for Luke Harper though? I realize everything is going to sound lame after the awesomeness that is the Wyatt theme, but even Edge got a pretty cool one himself after ditching the Brood. I expect this to be good, and I've managed to avoid any and all spoilers, so please forgive the lateness of the column.
19. Zigglesworth is in a chairs match. I think Mr. Laiman woke up for that. They're getting a lot of content into tonight's show, damn. Monday's show was so filled with nothing that they had to make it go 20 minutes late. Night and day.
20. Luke gets to play the power game while throwing AJ around pretty hysterically. Luke's getting the early shine, and I almost thought we were going into a commercial break already. JBL claims that AJ's walking into a buzzsaw. I wasn't aware Tajiri cosplayed as Bruiser Brody. It sounds like Mauro is about to list the people AJ's had legendary matches with, and he can think of John Cena... And that's it. Gee, maybe Miz had a few good points in there after all.
21. Look at Harper doing some sunsets! Damn impressive no matter how many times you see it. Did Mauro just call his dive a "suiCena?" Is that because he got shoved into JBL's hat? The phrase "going to WrestleMania" is used twice in five seconds to take us into the commercial break.
22. AJ gets a fall but Luke's foot was on the rope. They don't call it, but I bet Shane's about to reverse a call here. Oh snap, suddenly that lack of replay comes in handy! Shane restarts the match, because that's a thing for this particular moment and almost no others, even with clear instant replays. Can we get some consistency with these rules please? AJ gets in Shane's face, and Luke superkicks at them and hits Shane instead. AJ takes advantage and does a springboard 450 into Luke's KNEES! OUCH! I bet he's not selling the pain after that pinfall. AJ wins again, I approve of this message! They're really gonna go with heel vs. heel at WrestleMania though, interesting.
23. We get the same pitch last night for the hard sell of the Network. It might help if you didn't give each show the exact same script.
24. Backstage, we get... Cena, Nikki, Carmella, and Ellsworth, who cuts the entire faux-shittalking to the floor. This promo from Team Ali Gold is brought to you by Holden Caulfield. My dislike for the Bellas has never been a secret, but Cena's clearly having fun, and these two play well off each other. I like it, despite myself.
25. Meanwhile backstage, the other authority figure congratulates AJ Styles, but AJ refuses the handshake. No time for that though, because we've got someone else coming out and his name is Dean. We like Dean. I appreciate that Dean's avatar was taken while he still had water on his beater. He walks in and Dirty Deeds'd Curt Hawkins. Hawkins rolls out of the ring and Dean has a mic already for a promo. That was quick.
26. Dean gets more Moxley than he's been in years. I've been waiting for more of this. If he says that Corbin smells like the inside of his mother's purse, he will win HAM of the Year, hands down. It's between Ambrose and Bray for who cuts the most unique promos on the roster right now, but the list is way too short. Ooh, they're in St. Paul? Future home area for yours truly!
27. Corbin cuts a Titan Tron promo while still shifting his weight back and forth. Is that just his thing? Corbin steps it up more than usual. Maybe working with Ambrose will make him raise his game in that department.
28. I hear growling and swearing. Either Dolph Ziggler just came out, or they remade Home Alone with Joe Pesci's part being rated R. Apollo attacks from behind, making it the first interesting development in this feud, and hopefully we can see some new character progress from Apollo Crews here. Let me rephrase: Let's see if we can see the FIRST character progress for Apollo Crews here, at least since NXT.
29. Otunga compares Crews' size to Mark McGwire, which is probably not the best character to evoke in wrestling, considering the Wellness Policy and everything...
30. USA is pushing Semi-Pro like they just got exclusive rights to The Godfather or something. Holy shit guys.
31. Doing a backflip onto a steel chair has to be more painful than the receiver, doesn't it? Crews nearly hit his finisher on a chair, but then Ziggles does a drop toe hold onto the side of the chair? Oh shit! That's nasty! He follows it up with an atomic drop on the same rim, and Ziggler wins again. I just heard a string of swear words worthy of "Bad Habit" by the Offspring. This is my favorite part of watching wrestling anymore.
32. The "Shut Your Whore Mouth, JBL!" timer clocks in at 12 seconds this week. He didn't even make it until Wyatt got to the damn front stage.
33. Bray goes from cult preacher the whole way into JBLdamn poet, even though he says he comes from a place where Randy Orton is right now. Orton appears on the screen with... The Boogeyman's cafeteria? Orton makes the turn, fuck. I was really into this angle too. No heel vs. heel after all. I'll give him credit though, this is the most emotion I've ever seen Orton show. He brings up Sister Abigail and where she was put to rest? Shit!
34. Then we get Randy talking about a corpse being eaten, and I'm a little disturbed. Bray is selling this like hell, and this is amazing. Orton then decides to commit arson for at least the second time in his career, and he makes sure to pour gasoline on the rocking chair. Will this invalidate AJ's win, make it a triple threat, or will this be why there's a Shane match? More kudos to Bray for his work here watching. I do feel the need to remind everyone that the guy committing arson and burning essentially a tomb to a real person is the good guy here, but wrestling is weird sometimes.
35. Randy holds a giant match in his hand while there's still gasoline clearly visible on his hand. That could've been bad. Orton does the old pose in the fire while Wyatt has a meltdown. I said it earlier in the show and I'll say it again: NIGHT and FUCKING DAY compared to RAW.
36. That was one of the best episodes of wrestling I've seen in at least three years, holy shit. Both the beginning and ending promos were excellent, even with the moral gray areas. Harper/AJ was good, Becky/Mickie was good, everything but the never-ending Ziggles being a douche thing... All good. RAW nearly put me to sleep, Smackdown had me engaged the entire time, and I know there's a commenter that points out that Smackdown gets praised constantly and RAW gets the shaft... Well this is why. With a smaller roster, shorter run time, and every effort to make it the secondary show, it comes out superior by a landslide in storytelling, consistency, having actual wrestling, promo of the characters, and pace.
HAM OF THE NIGHT
Honorable mention to John Cena and Randy Orton, but Wyatt's meltdown was epic.
2012 - Daniel Bryan
2013 - Paul Heyman
2016 - Chris Jericho
1-2-17 - Kevin Owens
1-3-17 - Jack Gallagher
1-9-17 - Shawn Michaels
1-10-17 - Dean Ambrose
1-16-17 - Sami Zayn
1-17-17 - John Cena
1-23-17 - Xavier Woods
1-24-17 - James Ellsworth
1-30-17 - Mick Foley
1-31-17 - Daniel Bryan
2-6-17 - Goldberg
2-7-17 - Daniel Bryan
2-13-17 - Chris Jericho
2-14-17 - Alexa Bliss
2-20-17 - Lana
2-21-17 - Maryse
2-27-17 - Mick Foley
2-28-17 - Bray Wyatt
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