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    Friday, October 5, 2018

    The MMC With Smark Henry (10/1/18): Trouble in Paradise

    In what can be considered a sad coincidence, the teams that lost in this week's Mixed Match Challenge turned out to be the more distressed partnerships.

    Jimmy Uso needed only to utter one word to distract Lana from pinning his wife: "Milwaukee." From there, Naomi just had to do the finishing touches to secure Day One Glow's first victory this season. This was foreshadowed before the match when Jimmy was interviewed in gorilla and the only thing on his mind was Aiden English's video exposé earlier in the evening.

    Over at the RAW group, Mahalicia is still far from being on the same page. This is a clear contrast to B'n'B—whose sporadic partnership dates back to their NXT days—although there are some semblances of, shall we say, ring rust.

    Proof of this is that there were some miscued spots in the match. In one sequence where Alicia Fox got a hot tag, she entered the ring and Bayley was nowhere to be found. Then suddenly, The Hugger shot into frame and ground-and-pounded Fox. Towards the end of the match, it looked like they had to re-set the spot because Finn Bálor wasn't in place to perform the over the top rope suicide senton.

    They are not botches per se, but the flow was disrupted because someone was not where they were supposed to be. Minute details that do not "destroy" the match, yes, but they are akin to a Shaqtin' a Fool play where you just feel something's not right, or you expect something was about to happen but didn't.

    All in all, what I like about the MMC are its callbacks (i.e. the Bayley and Bálor fan service) and that it creates new tensions and partnerships. Whoever thought that The Foxy One would shine in this environment (although she was supposed to be part of the first season but missed it due to injury), or that Carmella and R-Truth would have chemistry? Or having a pun-laden team name for Mickie James and Bobby Lashley was a missed opportunity?

    Another detail I noticed this week is that the women had more time in the ring and that they played key roles in both matches. Alicia is the anchor and self-proclaimed captain of Mahalicia, and since she was in the driver's seat, she was able to influence the bout in ways no one expected she would. One spot I recall is when she shook the rope so that Finn won't be able to perform the Coup de Grace. That move was taken from a page of The Miz's book of dastardly-heel-acts-in-a-mixed-tag-match.

    Bayley even had to put some effort before she garnered the victory. Maybe because she isn't booked to be the gender-swapped John Cena/Hulk Hogan anymore, and the former NXT Women's Champion has been considerably nerfed since she got called up. But that's beside the point. Video evidence shows that Fox looked strong despite the defeat.

    That Lana versus Naomi dance-off might have been put there just to prolong the fight, but that was a considerable amount of time killing. The actual phrase is time-wasting, but I don't consider it as such since it was actually entertaining, even if we've seen the two in a dance-off before.

    Going back, that was one of the longest, if not the longest, stretch of time between female wrestlers before they tagged out. To top it all off, the ladies of SmackDown Live started and ended the bout. Sweet.

    I can see now that some who read this might disagree with my assessment and scoff that the Superstars of their ilk are just glorified cheerleaders or dancers, which in their previous careers they were. But adding context and perspective, that's the reason why WWE has NXT and the Mae Young Classic or why "serious fighters" like Ronda Rousey or Sonya Deville aren't part of the MMC.

    This then leads to my opinion that Charlotte Flair is a proverbial sore thumb and is terribly miscast/misplaced in this bunch. Unless her role is to provide legitimacy in the program because Asuka nowadays has been relegated to a frantic anime character, then maybe, yeah, I can accept Flair's position in that case. (Which means I just argued myself into a circle.)

    That said, there are three former dancers or wrestlers with dancing skills in the SD Live group. So, dance breaks in the middle of a match? Expect more of those. Especially with the Fabulous Truth, where it's obligatory for them to have a dance intermission.

    Mixes and Matches

    • The pre-show gives the MMC more gravitas, making it feel more like a stand-alone show than a go-home-in-disguise. That explains the 40-minute runtime as well, apparently.
    • A hack I learned: decreasing the browser zoom size on Chrome makes the text smaller and the video frame becoming slightly bigger, due to the text frame occupying lesser screen real estate. Thus, I get to read more chat messages at a time. But now, I have to squint to follow the conversation. Still, gotta love vector-based graphics for not compromising the viewing experience.
    • Why is Kevin Owens wearing a Bálor shirt? You're such a heel, you Team Canada traitor!
    • That MMC group page the commentary team was promoting? My status is still pending the last time I checked. But I can view posts and comments just the same. As long as I'm not blocked from seeing content, I guess I'm fine.
    • Usually women enter first, but not Jimmy Uso. Medyo bad boy.
    • Rusev Day (my umbrella term for the Rusev couple and English) has made Milwaukee more over than Giannis Antetokounmpo or Oscar Robertson have ever done.
    • Rusev doesn't want to Rikishi. Yup, the Usos' father is a verb now.
    • Asuka wins the comment section with the dancing emojis.
    • Was there a continuity error in the AJ Styles/Charlotte promo as some claim? To which I counter: why, can't they pre-record that message?
    • In the post-match interview posted on the MMC Facebook page, Jinder Mahal mentioned that he should be captain because a turban is better than a hat. When you're spending a lot of time with Ms Fox, you just embrace the crazy.
    • After seeing them go up against the Fabulous Truth on SmackDown and lose, why is the organic pair of Andrade "Cien" Almas and Zelena Vega not part of the Mixed Match Challenge? Is the Los Ingobernables founder too humorless to be part of a fun and lighthearted show? 

    Images courtesy of WWE


    JP Abcede, CIS, has an ongoing love-hate relationship with the WWE, depending on what Bret Hart's mood for the day is. A financial adviser and Certified Investment Solicitor (that is what the CIS stands for after his name) by profession, he catches up on his weekly dose of pro wrestling by streaming shows and using them as background noise while he is doing something else. This way, he is able to zone out the boring parts while remaining productive.
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    Item Reviewed: The MMC With Smark Henry (10/1/18): Trouble in Paradise Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Unknown
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