DISCLAIMER: THIS IS A BLOG, NOT A NEWS ARTICLE. THE FOLLOWING WRITINGS ARE THE OPINIONS OF A STAFF WRITER OF WRESTLING NEWS WORLD. THEY DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF THE OWNER OR THE OTHER MEMBERS OF STAFF. ALSO: COMMENTS ARE WELCOME AS LONG AS THEY PROVOKE MEANINGFUL CONVERSATION OR CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM. GRAMMAR/SPELLING IS SUBJECT TO RIDICULE.
We’re coming into a time period now where the building of WWE Superstars stops. Given the somewhat depleted nature of household names on the rosters, I’m going to say this is a bad thing. When you look at who stands to benefit the most from winning the Rumble without being a complete joke, Barrett, Ziggler, Rhodes, and to an extent, Daniel Bryan all jump to the top of my list. Let’s face it: As much as we’d like to see someone like Brodus or McIntyre win the Rumble (especially that last one – can you imagine the angle from there?) it’s not feasible and not believable. Cena, Orton, Sheamus, and Punk would not benefit. Even Jericho, who many are picking as a kind of dark horse to win, given the mysterious nature of his latest incarnation, could win to re-establish him, but it wouldn’t make sense! I would much rather see Jericho cost Punk either the title or Rumble – or both – and begin that angle. As for my “Fave Four” previously mentioned, I could see either Barrett or Ziggler legitimately winning. I would like to see Rhodes win and begin his crusade towards being both Intercontinental and World Heavyweight Champion, but I just don’t think he’s finished putting over the upper mid-card yet. That’s not a knock to him at all, I just think that there are many other workers that could benefit from a mid card program with Rhodes. Anyways, those are just my musings. Are we ready? Let’s get to SMACKDOWN!
Big Show came off very strong here. I said before that if anyone could play the part of a small bully to a much larger man, Daniel Bryan could, but it’s not without help from the big guy. He really got the part of downtrodden giant down. The quick outburst of anger just before Henry came out really added to the segment, but Mark Henry’s overall presence and promo completed this package. For those of us that aren’t gifted with being insiders and knowing that Henry’s days and health are winding down, I would believe that Henry was legitimately going to rip Daniel Bryan’s skin off. Sure, having Teddy Long come out and “solve” things was predictable, but I thought that overall, this was a fairly strong opening…as far as Smackdown openings go. It was quite formulaic.
Segment Grade: A-
Cody Rhodes vs. Justin Gabriel
As I noted in my version of the Rundown, this is a good thing. This may not be the most conventional way to get Justin Gabriel into a significant program, but hey, he’s there. The fact that Hornswoggle didn’t rear his midget sized head made things even better. Now, the biggest issue with this contest was that it was less than five minutes. However, since all of the matches tonight were less than or about five minutes, I don’t have to downgrade it based on length. In the time alotted, this match showed a LOT. I was extremely happy with how both of these guys worked together, and if this is the beginning of a feud, then may it last ever longer. Can you imagine a fifteen minute match with these two? I’d love to see it, and I’m loving that Gabriel is getting a significant program. Here’s hoping.
Match Grade: A
Santoshi sounds like a knife…Yoshi-tino sounds like a bad Asian Mafia member…
As it is, both names would be pretty great. However, as Guy pointed out in his comments to the Rundown, they’ll probably go with Santoshi to avoid the censoring. They’re not legitimate contenders yet, but hey, even Kozlov and Santino held the belts. As long as there are contenders and teams, I don’t care who holds them. As much as I like that McIntyre keeps getting ‘chances’ to retain his job, I can only take so much of this “One More Time” stuff from Teddy Long. Even staunch McIntyre supporters can agree that something new has to come up for McIntyre.
Segment Grade: C+
Sheamus vs. Drew McIntyre
My God, two suplexes in one match? By the same person? What’s going on here? Anyways, I like what McIntyre showed here, as he proved he doesn’t have to be a one-style kind of wrestler. Obviously, Sheamus had nothing to gain or lose from being in this match, which kind of rendered it insignificant. I would rather have seen Drew face Sheamus earlier in his losing streak and keep losing to progressively weaker opponents. Instead, he started off by losing to Santino and is now losing to Sheamus. Who can Drew beat now to regain credibility? There really is no weaker opponent on the rosters now than Santino. Drew would have to win against someone with a TON of momentum in order to get the reaction he desperately needs – on top of that, it needs to be against a heel, especially if they want to turn him face. The only opponent I can see Drew winning against that would gain him prestige is Brodus Clay – and he’s busy being a face…I think. More on that later.
Match Grade: B
Santoshi vs. The Colon Cousins
All things considered, this wasn’t a huge failure of a match. I don’t think that Tatsu got enough in ring time to matter, but since it’s their first time tagging together, nobody expected them to win. I’m sure people would have liked for the Tag Team Titles to be given a bit more time, but at least the champions are being used and they’re winning. Primo and Epico aren’t undeserving champions – they’re definitely not Otunga and McGillicutty. They’re at least doing something…on TV, no less. There are two possibilities for a surprise match at the Rumble – Cody vs. Gabriel, and The Colons vs. The Usos. I would rather see Cody and Gabriel. There’s not a hot enough tag team feud for the Colons to step into. Hopefully that changes during/after the Rumble. That’s one of the best things about the Rumble – you can start feuds just by having some person eliminate another.
Match Grade: C+
D-Bry should have gotten his butt kicked.
This latest evolution of Mark Henry is my favorite. He’s not hugely, monstrously intimidating, but anytime someone the size of Daniel Bryan or Michael Cole chooses to mess with him, there’s this sense of “Come on, man” that goes through your body. That’s how I felt when Daniel walked into frame. Now, as much of a fan of Henry as I am, I don’t want to see a ‘forced’ babyface turn. I don’t want him actively doing something to make people cheer for him. I’d rather see people cheer him because the guy has a legitimately awesome presence. I’d want to see an almost Randy Orton-style face turn. Remember? Randy didn’t actually DO anything…the fans just started to cheer for him because he was cool to cheer for.
Segment Grade: B-
Barrett/Orton takes another step
I mentioned this little segment in my Rundown this morning. You can’t have a referee out there who wants to break up a fight that was SUPPOSED to happen. Again, it’s one thing if Barrett and Orton never went into the ring – but they did. At that point, the match should have started. Tons of referees and superstars coming down to break up a scheduled match looks absolutely stupid. I understand they wanted to make Orton look strong after being thrown down the stairs, but did they really need to build up THE VIPER? Barrett’s look of sheer horror as he made his way to the back did that all by itself.
Segment Grade: D+
Remember when Katilyn was a heel?
Sure, of course we…do? I wonder what they were going to do if they actually had shown Kaitlyn’s heel turn! Talk about a butterfly effect. Anyways, I don’t know that I can continue to give segments like this a high grade, even though Daniel played his part perfectly – it’s so transparant and obvious that he wanted to play both sides.
Segment Grade: C
Hunico vs. Ted DiBiase
Props to DiBiase for competing despite his physical problems lately. Is he becoming the next Matt Hardy? It seems that the short matches are getting progressively worse, and while we can’t really fault DiBiase or Hunico, this match kind of just fell flat. The after match stuff was far more interesting. It gives DiBiase a reason to take time to heal and come back with this feud still intact (with new music!) and it puts Hunico and Camacho over. I don’t know what the plan for the Barrio Brothers is while DiBiase is out, but if they don’t do anything with them until he returns, their momentum is killed.
Match Grade: C
Again, I noted in my Rundown that jokes like “Whack Job” and “Betting on Black” can make it by the censors, but we have to stop a match to stop some bleeding. I’m sure I’m not meant to understand it, but I sure wish I did get the creative process. And for those of you that didn’t hear the fart from Natalya, you probably did think it was just Cole snorting, and now you have to go back and watch it again. This was horrendous.
Segment Grade: F
Alex Riley vs. Brodus Clay
What are they trying to do with Brodus? I mean, are they plotting to have everyone he squashed in the past two weeks in the ring with him at the same time in the Rumble so they can ambush him? Why squash Alex Riley? He’s not the absolute worst there could be. I just did not see the reasoning behind this. I would be able to deal better if Clay was only on one show a week, but to see him twice, doing the same thing? It’s over exposure. We get it. He can crush people. Let’s get him DOING something.
Match Grade: D
Why do we need to see the ENTIRE Kane/Ryder match?
Video Segment Grade: F-
That’s Seriously Aksana’s Music? That’s SERIOUSLY How Her First Victory is Going Down?
‘Match’ Grade: F- or N/A
Big Show vs. Mark Henry
So how was this match SUPPOSED to end? I mean, I guess it looked like Bryan saved the match/segment by getting a jump on the post-match festivities, but from the timing of the whole segment, it looked like it was supposed to be this way. Henry unfortunately just made himself look like an idiot for saying he could work through an injury, and then injuring his LEG while PUNCHING someone. How will this affect the title match on Sunday? I’m willing to bet that no matter what, Daniel Bryan retains – unless they’re planning on making AJ the next Lita and having her do something seriously high risk from the top of the cage…but I doubt that. I have a problem with Bryan getting out of the ring so quickly after the chokeslam, as that should have completely decimated the much smaller World Heavyweight Champion. I suppose the segment itself accomplished what it was supposed to, and ultimately made Show look strong going into Sunday, but I thought the chokeslam ended up looking weak after Bryan scampered away. The look of shock and terror on Bryan’s face was completely priceless though.
Match Grade: N/A
Segment Grade: B
In-Ring Action: C The first two matches were the best of the night, and those were ten minutes TOTAL. For the go-home show, this is unacceptable. What’s even worse is that none of the matches garnered interest in the Rumble itself. DiBiase had to be written off, Mark Henry had to be written off, the Divas aren’t involved in it, and Brodus had a senseless squash. There was no match, not even the Sheamus match, that had me interested in who was participating in the Rumble.
Out-of-Ring Action: C The biggest focus of this show was the craftiness of the World Heavyweight Champion. Even Bryan seems to be more concerned with Big Show’s actions towards AJ than in retaining his Title. The angle involving Drew McIntyre’s losing streak gained more attention than the actual Rumble match itself, and that’s definitely not good.
Overall: C This was a terrible go home show. What happened to building up the Rumble? What happened to this being one of the most unpredictable, exciting events of the year? The same question goes for Raw. I would have appreciated something from one of the champions or challengers saying that they would win their match and then go on to the Rumble and win that match and challenge for the other belt. How awesome would that be? It wouldn’t happen at all this year, but that would have me intrigued in who was going to win the Rumble. Honestly, I care more in who’s going to be a surprise entrant than who is going to win, and for one of the biggest matches of the year, that shouldn’t be the case. I want Barrett to win, I think he’s going to…but I don’t care one way or another if he does or not. The winner of the Rumble is supposed to change the landscape of the WWE and Wrestlemania. I don’t feel like they will this year.
Outside the Blog Zone
Um…not much is going on, except I’m about to head towards our MPX Champion, “The Headbanger” Gregory James’ birthday party. Ha…I hope you’ve enjoyed your double dose of Choice Words, and until next week, thank you for making me your CHOICE for Smackdown (and Rundown!) blogging.