SummerSlam has come and gone and I, for one, was not impressed with much of the booking or the card. I’m glad we pulled the US belt off of Santino, but I didn’t like most of it. It may have been stellar to some others, but I just wasn’t terribly excited about anything except for Jericho/Ziggler. I remarked to one of my friends that the Lesnar/Hunter match felt a lot like the Orton/Hunter match from WrestleMania a few years ago (after Hunter broke into Randy’s “house”). The build up was huge, the anticipation was huge, but the match itself was a total bummer. With all of the crap that Lesnar and Heyman had done to Shawn, Hunter, and his family, the match felt like it should have been a No-DQ. Instead, they had Hunter tell Scott Armstrong to be REALLY REALLY lenient with the rules. Anyways, that brings us to this blog. Are we ready? Let’s get to SMACKDOWN!
Bertie should have shut up
One of the things I abhor about certain promos that WWE writes (especially, but not limited to, this PG Era), is the cheese-factor. Case in point, Randy Orton’s opening statement of, “I’ve never really been a glass half full guy. I’d rather smash the glass into a million pieces and beat up the person who came up with that term.” …..really? If I’m in the audience, instead of emitting some loud, piped-in sounding cheer, I’m going to stand there and say, “That was really dumb.” At any rate, the whole angle they did where Booker was going to give del Rio his title shot until he came out and talked was refreshing, although totally forseeable. I was also more forgiving of Booker’s catchphrase, because he really directed it at del Rio, and not just a random shout out to the Universe.
Segment Grade: C+
Jinder Mahal vs. Ryback
Two things about non-wrestling stuff here: 1) Not having Josh on commentary scared me. I thought it was going to be a Joey Styles-type announce night, except with Michael Cole. 2) Ryback’s promos should be limited to the Goldman Box. Again, with the cheese factor. Now, as for the match, I like that they gave Mahal a good fighting chance, backed by weeks and weeks of build up to this contest. I DON’T like at all that he really ended up just being a glorified jobber. And where was his turban? Anyways, this pretty much killed the momentum this program had. Why not at least book a DQ finish and keep it going? After twice walking out on the match, maybe Mahal should take a chair to the guy and see what that does? Ziggler did the same thing with Khali a couple of years ago and it worked. Anyways, just an abrupt and underwhelming finish to the match and program.
Match Grade: C+
Layla vs. Alicia Fox
I wonder if this commentary thing was thrown together at the last minute, because Kaitlyn (and later Vickie) seemed to have no idea what was going on in the ring or what the finish was. This match wasn’t a black hole of a mess, but it could have been a LOT smoother. Half of the time, neither comeptitor’s shoulders were on the mat because they kept rolling too far up. They were a victim of their own lack of weight and substance. The flow wasn’t nearly as bad, and the psychology (for a four minute match) was there. I think part of what the Divas matches lack is actual finishes to matches. I’d say more than 80% of the time, Divas will win with something either not their finishing move or something completely out of the blue. What that does, when the match is over, is make the customer feel like they were just cheated out of something. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of other stuff missing from the Diva pool, but when Layla hit that kick and got the 1-2-3, all I felt was, “Oh…that’s it?” Maybe I’m overanalyzing a hopeless division. Then again, Beth gets over, not just because of her in ring ability and strength, but because people know the Glam Slam is coming. Oh, and that end segment with Eve, paired with her flawless preparation of Booker’s records later, REALLY makes you think something’s up, doesn’t it?
Match Grade: C
I rather enjoyed this backstage segment. I am a fan of a champion like Sheamus, because he can go around to Money in the Bank winners and ask them to cash it in on him just because he wants to fight someone. The setup for the match later was a bit on the “C’mon, really?” side, but I can overlook that one, I guess. I also like anytime a person says, “The first pint’s on me.” It makes me think someone’s buying me a beer later.
Segment Grade: B+
Sin Cara vs. Heath Slater
Good Lord, but I can’t see the appeal in Heath Slater. This wasn’t a bad match, but it was definitely just a means to an end, with nothing special needing to happen from bell-to-bell. I was a huge fan of Cody turning the mask around. I don’t recall that ever happening in the Rey Mask wars. Cody on commentary, though? Not so much. On top of that, I still don’t have a clear reason why Cody’s going after Sin Cara’s mask. I can’t for the life of me buy that he’s doing it just because Sin Cara’s ugly.
Match Grade: B-
Dolph Ziggler vs. Sheamus
This was probably the best match of the night, but with these two, it seems like that’s old hat for them. Dolph seems to have good chemistry with everyone. That being said, this match, too, was a means to an end and nothing spectacularly fancy happened during the match. The DDT on the apron was a nice touch though. The finish is what the match was all about, and I really liked it. I thought the assault with the briefcase was the end of it, but then Ziggler got that look in his eyes and I started getting confused as to why I hadn’t read anything interesting on WNW lately regarding this. I also liked that when Sheamus was coming to, Ziggler took the briefcase and ran. He’s creating some really tense build ups for his cash in opportunities.
Match Grade: B+
TOO. MUCH. CHEESE.
Okay, why haven’t the white coats come to lock Santino up? Everyone points at AJ and Daniel Bryan for being nuts, but this guy talks to a sock covered hand. No, I know, Mankind did it, too, except everyone knew Mick Foley was off his rocker. Santino is going about this as if it’s all legitimate, that everyone should try to interact with the Cobra. On top of that, nobody seems to be taking note that he’s the one making the Cobra…ugh, I’m wasting too much time on this. Thank God Antonio Cesaro has new music, and I popped for it being Swiss R&B. The “Wha-PA Wha-PA” gun thing with his arms is kind of ridiculous, but whatever. Um, I guess we’re going to keep going with this feud until Santino gets a rematch.
Segment Grade: C-
The Colon Cousins vs. R-Boom
This was a fairly standard tag team match. To be honest, I’m just glad that the tag champs are wrestling again. I’m happy that they’re facing a vastly underrated team in The Colons, and I’m happy that the PTP are getting some spotlight time. Having the tag team champs go over was the right booking call here, and the finish was smartly done. Titus and Darren aren’t getting on my nerves as much as they are some of my other friends, and I find their gimmick to be refreshing. They’re NOT Cryme Tyme. They’re two obnoxious jocks with a mission to prove they’re worth the money they say they’re worth; Cryme Tyme was two brothers from the hood with a chip on their shoulders who weren’t really impressive in any form.
Match Grade: B
All the Tag Teams? Together?
Woo! It looks like it’s time for some Tag Team fun over the next few weeks. To recap, we had R-Boom, The PTP, The Colon Cousins, The Usos, and Kidd/Gabriel (do we have a name for them?). I wouldn’t mind seeing Curtis/McGillicutty thrown in there, too, but shoot, I’ll take what I can get!
Segment Grade: B+
She Looks Good To Me…
That statement has more to do with her business with Booker, not so much the paper towel she was wearing. Anyways, it seems that the immediate future for Eve will be centered around the question, “What’s her ulterior motive?”
Segment Grade: B
Randy Orton vs. Alberto del Rio
This was the same old stuff with these two. Alberto works the arm, Randy hits his usual spots. Orton didn’t exactly sell the arm towards the end of the match, i.e. punching the mat with the injured arm. Okay, let’s all just fast forward to the end of the match, because that’s where the news happens – Orton tapped out. Orton tapped out? And it wasn’t like a huge, drawn out, “Oh, he grabbed the ropes, but got dragged back out” kind of tap out. It wasn’t even the Lesnar/HHH tap out; Orton’s tap out was pretty immediate actually. I was shocked. Is this another bit of punishment for Orton? I can’t remember if Orton’s ever tapped out as a face. It seemed like a definite commitment to taking the del Rio ball and running with it. The post match stuff was a great combination of del Rio/Sheamus’ shoe storyline along with Ziggler trying to cash in the briefcase. I really liked how Orton cut Ziggler off though. It really came out of nowhere. I’m sure this will set up del Rio/Ziggler vs. Orton/Sheamus next week.
Match Grade: B+
In-Ring Action: C+ A lot of this week’s matches were used to set up angles leading up to Night of Champions. I’m okay with that for THIS week. I’m especially excited to see what their plans are for the tag team division.
Out-of-Ring Action: C+ We were looking a lot at what the Booker administration was doing. Teddy advising matches like Ziggler/Sheamus and Eve getting things organized for the tag division. Then there’s the tension between Teddy and Eve. Also, Santino’s Cobra schtick has gone WAY too far now, and Ryback shouldn’t speak on a microphone.
Overall: C+ Like I said, this week came off of an angle-ending PPV and it’s time to start some new programs headed into Night of Champions. The true test is going to be how these angles and feuds progress over the next few weeks.
Outside the Blog Zone
WORK. WORK. WORK. I’m trying to find time to write this and watch wrestling (especially NXT, because I’m digging what they’re putting out). It’s difficult. MPX is going back to two shows a month starting in September because the temperature has “cooled down.” In Texas, that means it’ll be 89 instead of 109. Woo. Anyways, until next week, thanks for making me your CHOICE for Smackdown blogging.