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Wow, well aren’t we all quite refreshed? We’ve had a week and a half to cleanse the evil that was Blast From The Past out of our systems and now…well, now we have our annual trip to London. There were definitely a couple things of note that happened tonight, so let’s get right to it! Oh, before we do it, I’d like to officially state that I’m tired of the Jericho/Punk promos. I know it’s gotten to a point where it should stop when they both said the exact same thing two weeks in a row. The addition of footage showing Punk entering (and exiting…shocking, I know) a London Pub did not up the ante, and now I just want to see them go at it. I will say I’m excited for the match, and a lot of that has to do with the crowd in Chicago. Alright, are we ready? Let’s get to SMACKDOWN!
Daniel Bryan Sends AJ Off The Deep End
One of the drawbacks of being one of the best in the world is that no matter how hard you try, people are going to cheer you, and there’s no amount of TV editing that will drown out the chants of “YES!” everywhere Daniel Bryan goes. And while he got a few boos here and there at certain points in the promo, he ultimately ended up with a face reaction. I will say that I loved the promo, I loved the asking of questions that always ended in a YES! answer, and that’s good because Daniel Bryan needs all of the momentum he can get coming into a match he’s going to lose. The one thing I’m worried about with Bryan is that this match is more about kicking AJ to the curb and not about the World Heavyweight Championship. Then again, that could be the point, and if AJ ends up costing D-Bryan the match, I’ll be okay with it. I think the line to AJ about wishing she was never born was Bryan’s best attempt at getting a heel reaction, and it didn’t even do much for that case. AJ does look beautiful when she cries…but God help me, he’s gonna get his f’n head kicked in (clap clapclapclapclap clap clapclap clapclap) if I EVER see him (in character).
Segment Grade: B+
AJ In The Deep End
Unfortunately for AJ, she got boo’ed coming out when she interrupted Daniel Bryan. Equally as unfortunate, her opponent for this “match” was the current tweener Natalya, who came down the ramp as a heel, got a face reaction for having a connection to Davey Boy Smith, and acted like a face, being concerned for AJ. I thought the two actually went about it quite nicely. I’ve actually been in AJ’s shoes (on the receiving end of a not so great breakup) and that kind of zoned out, staring after the person that just left, completely emotionless and numb stance that she had was spot on. Having her go into Berserker Mode on Natalya was great, and if they continue developing a character for her, it could end up being refreshing for the division. I just wish it wouldn’t have been Nattie – her status right now hurt the overall effect of the segment.
Segment Grade: B-
Alright, this guy needs to debut soon. One, the promos are getting increasingly stale (kind of like Johnny Curtis), and two, I can’t wait to hear what his entrance music is going to be.
Segment Grade: B-
Brodus Clay vs. Hunico
I’m not going to lie, I would enjoy Hornswoggle a lot more in this role. I think if Brodus had Hornswoggle (with a different freaking name, please) along with him, we could have an entourage, and an entourage rocks. But this is where Hornswoggle needs to be – paired with another comedy wrestler who isn’t competing for a title. On top of that, the little dude can dance better than the big dude. As for Hunico, well…he can’t do anything but this stuff until Justin Gabriel gets back from injury. Such is the life of an enhancement talent.
Match Grade: SQUASH
It’s time for the NXT Wave of talent?
I like the pairing of O’Neil and Young. I know just a little bit about these two from what I’ve seen of them on Superstars, and if these two are going to be a legitimate tag team, I’m all for it. The interaction with them and Teddy was a tad bit weird, mostly because of Titus. This segment was a set up for two spots later in the show.
Segment Grade: B-
Orton Says The Same Old Thing
Orton should stick to the ring. He’s like the opposite end of the John Cena spectrum. John’s happy and smiling all the time, and Orton seems to always rediscover that he’s a vicious, mean, sick, twisted blah blah blah.
Segment Grade: C
The Usos vs. Young and O’Neil
And matches like these are why I’m hoping, praying, for Titus and Darren to make it. This was a very nice tag match, complete with solid psychology and decent tag team moves. I love how the Usos work so fluidly together, and now that the crowd is finally getting behind them, it makes their match dynamic so much better. Case in point, people were genuinely shocked when Young and O’Neil won…I was, anyways. It looked like Jey took a really nasty bump on the outside – I thought he broke his arm. Since there aren’t any reports, apparently he didn’t. Anyways, here’s hoping that the tag team division can be rebuilt with these two teams gunning for The Colons.
Match Grade: B+
Alberto del Rio vs. The Big Show
Well, just when you think a little bit of a break would be beneficial to del Rio, he comes back as the same old del Rio. Sorry guys, I’m not buying into him; when the most entertaining part of you is your ring announcer, something’s gotta change. I’m not saying it wasn’t a decent match, but it definitely was the same old Alberto. The story of this match, however, was Cody Rhodes at the end. I’m wondering if the time is going to come when angles and feuds actually die at WrestleMania and we don’t have to have rehashed versions of the same matches. As has been said, I just paid $60 to see this stuff, and now you want me to pay another $40 to see the same stuff? I wonder what the stipulation is going to be for the rematch, though. If it’s another version of a No DQ match, I’m not watching the PPV.
Match Grade: B+
Ryback vs. Momma’s Boy
Aw, how cute, he dedicated his match to his mom…not very heel-ish. I’m still not entirely sure of how they plan to incorporate the people that are just looking on in the backstage area. Anyways, Squash Soup was on the menu for Ryback. I’m just a little bit weirded out at the “Feed me more!” catchphrase.
Match Grade: SQUASH
A Very European Debut
Maybe it’s that I haven’t seen him in a while, but Claudio Antonio Castagnoli Cesaro looks different. Anyways, it’s interesting that they’re pairing him with Aksana, who apparently, after this segment, is a heel now. I am okay with this debut, pending what happens over the next few weeks. Could Cesaro be getting a Drew McIntyre type treatment in being Laurinaitis’ chosen one? Hopefully he’ll end up doing better than Drew is now.
Segment Grade: B+
The Great Khali Big Show vs. Daniel Bryan, Mark Henry, Cody Rhodes
Thank God Khali got taken out. I was thinking about how random it was that Khali was in the match. I can understand not wanting to put Kane in – he doesn’t play well with others (although, Randy Orton doesn’t either, according a promo from last year or so). Khali seemed super random, but when Rhodes took him out, I knew Big Show was coming out. I really liked how this match went. Each face had a turn playing damsel. I think the right outcome happened as the non-title holder who has a match at the PPV went over on the non-title holder who doesn’t have a match at the PPV. On the note of Mark Henry, this is definitely the best he’s looked in a long time. I think he gels well with each of the men he faced, and with his tag team partners doing more of the flashy stuff, Mark can just be his dominant self. I thought the go-home sequence especially was nice, with Big Show’s two WMDs and the RKO.
Match Grade: A-
In-Ring Action: B+ I thought about the two squash matches, and the fact that there were only three legitimate matches and all were good, and that led me to this letter grade. I thought the main was the match of the night, but the tag match wasn’t shabby. I look forward to seeing more of O’Neil and Young and hopefully Cesaro and Sandow will make their debuts after Extreme Rules. I know we have a three hour RAW this Monday, but it’s not been advertised as the WWE Draft, which is something I’ve been looking forward to. If creative is smart, all four of the aforementioned stars will remain on Smackdown to build them up…that’s IF creative is smart.
Out of Ring Action: B- Most of the out of ring stuff revolved around Teddy and Johnny and Bryan and AJ. I’m interested in where AJ will go and how Antonio Cesaro and Aksana will play off each other.
Overall: B This was definitely a better episode than last week’s disaster, but the problem with these episodes of Smackdown is that there’s nothing to look forward to. Extreme Rules, ever since it stopped being One Night Stand, is one of my least favorite Pay Per Views, because it’s a huge rehash of Mania. Really, for me, the only match worth seeing is going to be Lesnar and Cena, and I’m not even looking forward to that because I’m not a huge Lesnar fan. I’m tired of Punk and Jericho’s verbal back and forth, I don’t want to see anything less than a Ladder Match between Show and Rhodes, and Sheamus and Bryan seems to be more about AJ. I like two out of three falls matches, though, so hopefully Sheamus and Bryan can put on an entertaining twenty minutes or so.
Outside the Blog Zone
I’ve been so freaking busy lately. Between improv shows, MPX stuff (Our two year anniversary show is next week!), and work, I’m almost ready to just spend a week sleeping. I’ve got a vacation coming up in June though, so I’ll be definitely looking forward to that. Anyways, with one more show before Extreme Rules, let’s hope that something exciting happens. Until next week, thanks for making me your CHOICE for Smackdown blogging!