“‘Oui! Oui!’ they said. ‘Oui! Oui!’”

Raw Regurgitated, 4/30

To be completely honest, yours truly fell asleep for the first time in months during an episode of Raw, specifically during this match. Now, that doesn’t mean the match was bad — in fact, it was the match of the night — but that it was the same episode of television we’ve been watching for the last month. With neither of the two seemingly turning heel, these only work as showcase matches and showcase matches only work in multiples if the performances are sincerely epic (which isn’t the same as good, at least in this context, instead meaning capable of being told as a long-form story of heroism) while also warranting increasing  stakes. And the matches between Finn-Seth have been good, if not great and certainly not the type of work you can build an entire chapter of your career on.

Seth, as my t-shirt collection will tell you, has both the quality of performance and the aesthetic I find most interesting in combination on the WWE roster. Having been to indy shows in my younger days, including to shows where a fellow named Tyler Black was on the card, Seth has always been the possible version of a dime-a-dozen indy performer. His flippies and his spinnies have meaning, precision and force behind them, used a narrative tool instead of a magic trick. This match, and the pretty spectacular ladder match from the GRR, allow him to highlight this, with the strategic use of his moveset necessary to counteract Finn having the same kind of ordinance to deploy against him. And even more impressively, he’s learned how to use his otherworldly athleticism only in the most important and opportune moments, like climbing to the top of the ladder with one miraculous jump from the ring ropes or leaping to the top of the turnbuckle to deliver a superplex.

For Finn, it might be his age or, quite frankly, less spectacular athletic ability than Seth Rollins, but his half of the match always remains largely flat with only small amount of anything bubbling from underneath. Peeling back the layers of this match — as opposed to, even, the No Way Jose/Baron Corbin feud from the last two weeks —  doesn’t reveal much about either competitors characters or, to be honest, their in-ring acumen. Styles make fights, and until something changes with Finn, this feud will always feel like two early-2010s Brooklyn hipsters trying to subtly make reference to the most obscure band they know into an unrelated conversation about organic food markets: There’s not really anyone who wins in an argument like that and I’m not sure why I’d care even if they did.

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