Well, I finally saw from last week…and this week! This week’s show, like apparently many fans thought, had an odd flow to it. The segment that I found really weird, and of course, the segment making headlines because of divorces, was John Cena’s promo on Johnny. Under any other circumstances, John Cena would have been boo’ed out of the building for being so completely ridiculous. However, since it was off of Big Johnny, the crowd completely ate it up. This is most certainly more of a testament to how well Johnny has come across on TV than it is an indication that Cena’s old tricks are working again. I’m really hoping that Creative doesn’t see it as the latter. Alright, are we ready? Let’s get to SMACKDOWN!
Johnny B(e) Bad(d)?
This very well could be the best promo that John Laurinaitis has cut in WWE. He stuttered only once, and each of his points had emotion – on top of that, the emotion on his face matched the words that were coming out of his mouth. I think that having to be at this level for some time now has contributed to his improvement, because I remember when I couldn’t stand the guy because he couldn’t form words, and now he’s so over that he can even distract people from the annoyingness of John Cena. Punk was great as always, and while the prospect of a Kane/Punk match doesn’t really excite me, Punk always puts on a great show, no matter who he’s working. Johnny telling everyone to go to hell afterwards was a nice touch.
Segment Grade: B+
R-Boom vs. Young Neil
Booking-wise, this was a very predictable, but correct finish. These two teams weren’t given a whole lot of time, but the mission was accomplished – give the champs momentum headed into their defense. I’ll say that Young and O’Neil showed they could be in this tag title picture, and with a little more exposure and some legitimate building, they could be one of the better tag teams in recent memory. What’s up with Mason Ryan and A.W.? Their continued appearances during tag team/title matches obviously leads one to believe that’s where Primo and Epico will make an impact, but what is Ryan there for? Perhaps they’ll make their splash on the first three-hour Raw. Good match, good work, good finish. Can’t ask for much more.
Match Grade: A-
Damien Sandow “vs.” Yoshi Tatsu
Heh, I remember when people thought Yoshi was going to the top because he won a pre-show battle royale at WrestleMania. Sandow needs a pyro curtain, don’t you think? This was a great way to develop the actual character of Sandow, as we saw tonight that he was clearly not as “civil” as his promos would lead us to believe. I do find it disheartening that I’ve been working on using a double-cutthroat neckbreaker…and it appears that Sandow is using it as his finish. Sigh. Anyways, I was not expecting the color choice of Sandow as he disrobed. Holy Macho Man, Oooooh Yeah.
Segment Grade: B+
Let’s Talk About Him Like He’s Not Here
This promo and segment for me was a bit…odd. It seemed a bit high school-ish, what with the, “Like someone else” lines. Nonetheless, it was a different approach to things, so applause to whoever was thinking outside the box. This leads me to believe we’ll have a face vs. face program leading into SummerSlam, and I’m not totally opposed to it. Of course, this also leads me to wonder who is going to step up, face-wise, against del Rio and Jericho.
Segment Grade: B-
Zack Ryder vs. Daniel Bryan
Oh hey, Zack still exists. This was just above a squash match, as we all knew that Bryan couldn’t lose to Ryder, but Ryder couldn’t exactly look extremely weak going into a pre-show match against Kane. That being said, Ryder made a nice enough showing and worked at “giving it his all” while Bryan showed off his submission prowess. Submission match at SummerSlam with Punk? Oooh, maybe even Iron Man style? What did the games call that, Extreme Submission match?
Match Grade: C+
Punk vs. Kane
Having Daniel Bryan on commentary was a nice touch, as he did a great job of increasing interest in his match at the PPV. He built up Punk and then built himself up as better, which is actually how a really good face promo should work. As for the match, it wasn’t a mess at all. Kane looked dominant and showcased a weak point for Punk to be exploited by Bryan, and neither man, both established, took a legitimate loss. I thought the ending was great, with Bryan hitting Kane and leaving the chair with Punk. Now it’s time to add this post-match beatdown to the video montage that will play before their match on Sunday and see if Bryan wins by exploiting the injury.
Match Grade: A
Santino Marella vs. Cody Rhodes
The only way that I’ll support this feud is if it leads to a unification match and Rhodes taking both titles. That kind of a storyline seems to write itself, yes? We know from Elimination Chamber that Marella can get the crowd invested, and if you want to build Rhodes back up to the level of heat he used to receive against Mysterio, you can do that with Santino. This match was a teaser to a feud that might go through Summer, so there wasn’t much to say about the work; I do not like Cody being put out by The Cobra…I would have accepted a roll-up win, but I just hate the Cobra as a finishing move against established stars. Using it on enhancement talents is fine, but someone like Cody should not be losing to The Cobra.
Match Grade: C+
Randy Orton vs. Sheamus
This was a really strong match by your two top stars on Smackdown. Much like Orton/Christian from last year, a series of matches between these two can be nothing but beneficial to both men. Could we see a heel turn out of this like we did from Christian last year? I say yes, but I also predict that it will be Orton that turns. This is all speculation of course, and knowing my history of speculation, nobody’s going to turn. They might not even go with this feud. Anyways, I like that Orton continued to work the arm, and I fullly expect that to be a factor in the match this Sunday. The go home was excellent, and I like that Sheamus won with a quick roll-up instead of his finisher. After the match, the hand shake was nice, but the RKO was even nicer. I’d have to say that the outcome of the match this Sunday is still very much up in the air. That’s not a bad thing, that’s…a Good thing.
Match Grade: A
In-Ring Action: A- I had to go back and make sure I didn’t miss any little segments in my online viewing of Smackdown, but no, this show was very wrestling heavy! That’s a nice, refreshing thing to see as we go into the PPV. The squash match wasn’t even a match, it was a segment, and it shows, out of all the people they could have chosen to be the squasher, that creative seems more committed to Sandow. They may actually have a sense of direction for this guy, instead of Cesaro or Ryback, who are just senselessly squashing people. The main even was match of the night, but Punk and Kane weren’t far behind. Good work by all involved tonight.
Out-of-Ring Action: B+ I thought the few segments that we did get were nicely played out, and of course, John Laurinaitis set the stage early in the night. It will be interesting to see where that match goes this Sunday. The talking was kept to a minimum tonight, and for all of you that were begging for some wrestling action – well, here’s tonight.
Overall: A- I thought the Blue Crew did a great job tonight presenting a decent go-home show. My one complaint was that neither Jericho nor del Rio were involved in the show in any capacity. Actually, that’s a fairly big complaint, so this Overall now gets a rating of B+ . Come on now, those two are legitimate contenders for the World Heavyweight Championship. At least have them interfere or something. Also, the contenders to the tag titles weren’t involved. I guess it’s “Make the Champs Look Strong” day…but Punk got the short end of that stick.
Outside the Blog Zone
Another busy week in my life. We’re now gearing up for Funaki next week and Kendrick in a month at MPX. I will not be in the live blog tonight for Over the Limit, as it’s my sister’s High School graduation, and I’ll be busy doing all of that. For now though, I gotta hit the gym. Until next week, thank you for making me your CHOICE for Smackdown blogging!