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APOLOGIES – I hit the publish button, and then my browser locked up…when I came back from Slammiversary tonight, I discovered that my blog had not been posted. HUGE apologies to you the readers, and to the staff of WNW.
The card for No Way Out is shaping up nicely as we have four main event caliber matches. We’re obviously not going to see the show close with anything but Big Show vs. Cena, and while I disagree with championship matches not closing PPVs, this angle has had a ton of time dedicated to it. On a B-Level PPV, this is okay. Hopefully, though, by the time SummerSlam rolls around, we’ll have made one of the championships be a part of the MAIN main event. Anyways, are we ready? Let’s get to SMACKDOWN!
Okay, it was a fair opening for the show as we got a few laughs out of Ricardo. I thought that him wearing a white jumpsuit under the clothes to match Sheamus’ skin tone was hilarious. The promo itself was alright, but it didn’t really make del Rio seem like a legitimate contender. His actions of late have been speaking way louder than his words, and maybe with as well as that’s been going for him, he should keep it that way for next week. A nice little beatdown segment and then we find out that Teddy is kind of, sort of in charge of Smackdown again tonight. We’ll have Sheamus versus Kane and Alberto del Rio versus…aw, seriously?
Segment Grade: B+
Alberto del Rio vs. The Great Khali
I forgot about him. This match was highly forgettable and didn’t really serve to make ADR look any more legitimate. That’s not really ADR’s fault this time around though. It seems to me that Khali just goes through the motions now; this is a different kind of ‘going through the motions’ than what he was doing before. This Khali didn’t just look like he couldn’t move well around a ring, it looked like he was just doing things because he was told to. Does that make sense? Like I don’t buy into the armbar submitting Khali because it looked like he just tapped out because he knew it was the end of the match. I get what it was trying to do here, and for the casual fan, that’s great. I need something more out of ADR.
Match Grade: C-
Raw Does Not Get Funky
Uh, so it used to be that we had to tell a Superstar that he was allowed to go to Raw. Now we have to tell them that they’re exclusive? This statement just seemed unnecessary. Or maybe it’s just that the announcement itself was given too much fanfare.
Segment Grade: C-
Brodus Clay vs. Derrick Bateman
Someone remind me what Derrick Bateman is doing over there on NXT? Oy, if I ever get time to myself without having to work a ton of overtime, I’ll start watching NXT. When does all that new “Full Sail” stuff start? I feel like I should be a tad more informed…anyways, it took me longer to write this little questionnaire than it did for Brodus Clay to regress back to SQUASHing people.
Match Grade: SQUASH
Sin Cara vs. Drew McIntyre
Well, Guy, at least Drew was on the show…and it wasn’t really a squash match either! Sin Cara improves more with each match he has – I want to clarify, however. I don’t think the man is doing anything different the first time around, but I think he’s getting more fluid in the ring. He looks more natural, now. Give him a little bit more time to nail everything down, then look for Sin Cara to be stuffed into a mid card program. For now, I’ll be happy if he goes this entire month without botching a handful of moves. That final counter leading into the finish was beautiful. The question is – has the initial impression of Sin Cara already done damage to his future booking? Given the way he’s going over talent (and not just nameless guys, a la Ryback), I think he’s safe…for now.
Match Grade: B-
Tony and Kevin vs. Ryback
I figured it out with Ryback. The only way to keep a guy squashing people fun is if he squashes them in different ways each time out. He’s upped the ante each time. Monday, it was clotheslining two people with one arm. Tonight, it was a fallaway slam INTO the other person. Ryback, who always looked a bit machine-ish, is really just supplying indy workers like me ideas for spots. I feel like I see something new each week from him. I don’t think I’ve ever said that about a guy who’s been squashing people for 2 months plus now. On top of that, it’s a lot more fun to watch Ryback squash people because the enhancement talent TALKS. There’s now a reason to come out and lay waste to these jobbers, and instead of the audience just seeing a guy who’s strong and beats people up, they see a guy to cheer for because he’s going to annihilate the annoying heels in the ring. Not that I want to see Ryback squash people for the rest of his career (although, what a way to earn a paycheck!), but I’m willing to let it go on a bit longer than most.
Match Grade: SQUASH
Peep Show Interrupted
I liked the ‘interrupted’ feel of this little bit, especially with Cody coming down while the Show was still being set up. Also, the role reversal with Cody asking Christian the questions was a nice touch. I, like Cody, think that Christian’s explanation was crap, but hey, the audience bought it, and creative actually took time to explain the logic of something. I’ll take it. These two are doing a great job of elevating the importance of their own program, and while they’re definitely being given time to do so, their emotion and input into the angle is helping it drastically.
Segment Grade: A-
Christian vs. Dolph Ziggler
This was a great match! Dolph is quickly becoming “that guy that can work with anyone,” and I sincerely hope he gets a major program to involve himself in. The fact that he came out sans Vickie is quite encouraging. (I didn’t finish watching Raw…did he finally dump her?) The most amazing spot in the match came with Dolph’s Rocker Dropper (or Fameasser, but whatever). Ziggler and Christian definitely did not have the right positioning to execute that move correctly, but Ziggler, being the athletic freak that he is, kicked his leg high enough above Christian’s head in mid-air to land the move. I popped for it. Christian was no slouch, and it’s hard for me to imagine Christian as one of the “old guys” he’s being portrayed as in the angle. The same goes with Edge when he was still going. Both of them are/were getting up there in years, but not only do they look great, they perform at the top level every single time. Obviously Christian had to go over here, but Dolph again made a good showing of himself. Now if he can get a victory…
Match Grade: A
Kidd to the rescue?
I keep forgetting that Tyson Kidd is a face. I hear he and Gabriel had a nice match against Johnny Curtis and Heath Slater on NXT. Anyways, this segment was an abomination until Sandow came out to save us. I was looking forward to him beating the snot out of Hornswoggle, but I’ll settle for a series of knees and the double cutthroat neckbreaker to Kidd. By the way, what should we call that neckbreaker until he gets a name for it? Anyways, a small program (that means it has to last longer than 3 weeks…not just 2 like with Yoshi) with Kidd and Sandow will do good for both of these Superstars. Let’s see what they do with it.
Segment Grade: C+
AJ’S A CREEPER YOU GUYS. (and I like it)
I don’t like the angle their giving Kane for this match. I think that Kane caring about the WWE Title humanizes him more than it should. I’d prefer the revenge angle, wanting to destroy both men who used him as a pawn. Anyways, there’s that AJ girl…Shucky Ducky Quack Quack. Note the CM Punk shirt and now Kane-like pants. CLEVER.
Segment Grade: B+
Jimmy Uso vs. Antonio Cesaro
Really? You’re going to make Jimmy Uso the enhancement guy? Nevermind that the Tag Team division needs to be highlighted. Uh, I know they didn’t want to label this as a squash by having Uso get the upper hand on Cesaro to open the match, but even I’m not going to give this one that benefit. Squash…and not really an impressive one at that.
Match Grade: SQUASH
Sheamus vs. Kane
Again, just a nice match between a veteran and a guy who acts like a veteran. I’m finding Kane to be a lot more enjoyable now than he was a year or two ago. I don’t know if it’s this particular rebirth with the mask or what, but his matches to me are just a lot more fun to watch. Sheamus again makes a strong case for being the next “household name” in WWE. His theme music now draws about the same reaction as Punk’s music does, and since it looks like they’ll be the top two guys around here for a bit, that’s a good thing for Sheamus. If he can keep his nose clean (and his veins), I’m sure Sheamus will have no problem taking over the Randy Orton “Franchise” Tag. I could have done without the DQ finish, but I suppose neither Superstar could look weak in their respective programs. One could argue that Kane could have lost and not be harmed by it, but the DQ was fine. I liked AJ coming out to distract Kane for just a bit – one has to wonder now if AJ is taking an odd interest in Kane, or if she’s going to distract him for just long enough that Punk can retain? She’s nuts, and I like that she has her own little part in this WWE Title picture without being too much of a focus.
Match Grade: A-
In-Ring Action: C+ Three squashes, a beatdown segment, AND a match with Khali?! Not cool, Blue Crew, not cool. The two great matches were Christian/Ziggler and Kane/Sheamus, but two out of six isn’t a great run.
Out-of-Ring Action: C+ I wasn’t a fan of the del Rio open, just because it did nothing to enhance his character. It did more to enhance Ricardo than Alberto. The Kane promo was too human, and the Sandow segment should have been a match.
Recap: C+ It was a really up and down episode this week. It had its good moments and then its real stinkers. Focus is being placed on the correct programs though, but I wish they wouldn’t let the rest of the show go down the toilet. Where’s my Tag Team division? Where’s A.W.?
Outside the Blog Zone
Since I’m out of town next week, I’m going to have to email Guy about taking over the blog for the go-home Smackdown…or he could read this and let me know…either way I’ll find a replacement for yous guys. When I come back, it’s time for The Brian Kendrick MPX Show! Until then, I’ll be in Chicago, watching a LOT of baseball. So until two weeks from now, thanks for making me your CHOICE for Smackdown blogging!