First, I would like to apologize for this being as late as it is. Between work and a show, I really didn’t have time to watch and digest Smackdown and write a blog about it. After having seen Smackdown now, I’m not really sure I want to. Not that I watch TNA, but wow, this reminded me of some promo heavy TNA shows. Yes, Impact Wrestling is their name, but TNA sounds so much better than IW. Anyways, more on that later. I’m wondering if anyone read the question I left in my last blog of (and here it is in bold so you don’t miss it) Who do you think would benefit most from turning either heel or face? I saw Ted DiBiase on Superstars again, and I think he’s so much more natural and comfortable in the face role. That’s what sparked that question. Things on Raw are intriguing and it’s always the little things that make it more so – just like Miz and R-Truth after Hell in a Cell, and the Nexus last year-ish, when you involve the “invisible” people (ring announcer, camera men, referees to an extent, etc.) it makes things more realistic. Obviously the smarter you are, the less believable it’s going to be, but a casual fan seeing a cameraman lay down their camera and walk away from the job is more likely to be going “WTF, mate?” Alright, are we ready for this? Let’s get to SMACKDOWN!
Here comes the Mack Militant
This segment was barely worth mentioning, but I bring it up to say this: I’d like more mention of Zack Ryder being made the assistant to the general manager. Sure, he was on screen with Long, and people who have been following know what’s up, but I’d like him to be mentioned more as the assistant to the general manager. That’s my two cents on that matter.
Segment Grade: B
The Plaintiffs Make Their Case
This entire scenario reminds me of (and here comes the comic nerd in me) the Marvel Civil Wars. Whose side are you on? Will you fight for or against “The Man”? Is this the reformation of THE UNION? …if it is, is that going to be the capacity Mick Foley returns in? Ha…just kidding there. But really, this seems like it’s going to come down to a pro-HHH and anti-HHH angle, or more appropriately, those who will lawyer up and those who don’t care and will fight. Actually, that’s a horrible way of putting it, but does everyone see my point? We’ve already seen the discussions on Twitter from people who agree that HHH should be evicted a COO as well as people who would rather not pull the lawsuit card and would rather just confront the problem personally. I’m not sure how I feel about all five of these guys having a love fest for del Rio. They’re giving him credit for orchestrating the walk out? I would credit Vickie, Otunga, and Laurinaitis before I credited Alberto del Rio. This again seems to be a lacking factor in del Rio as champion. He hasn’t really behaved as a champion/leader. All in all, it’s setting up for Survivor Series. Swagger, Ziggler, Christian, Otunga, and Barrett versus…who? The people who have been supportive-ish of HHH are probably going to be the faces who were absent from Raw during *GASP* “THE WALKOUT.” Oh, and Dwayne. That’s what I’m predicting anyways. However, don’t we have another PPV before Survivor Series?
Segment Grade: A
Alberto del Rio vs. Sin Cara Azul
This was one of del Rio’s better matches, and by association, it also was one of Sin Cara’s. The two actually seemed to flow nicely, and there’s not much a story you need besides how Teddy Long introduced it. Neither man tried to do too much, and while that’s been del Rio’s M.O. (which I discovered is Latin the other week…I’m a bit behind), I think Sin Cara could learn a lot from del Rio as far as adapting to the WWE style. Quit trying to do too much. There was just enough flashy stuff (handspring elbow attempt, tilt-a-whirl DDT) to make the crowd appreciative, but he didn’t overdo it, which reduced the chances for botching. As it was, the biggest botch just had to be the go home sequence, which could have been OUTSTANDING if it wasn’t flubbed. It’s just timing kids. However, as I discovered last night during our show, I have FAR from perfect balance, so…I’ll shut up now. I will say that while the German Suplex del Rio gave to Sin Cara was pretty cool (especially the way Sin Cara landed), the one I took last night was better. HA! Oh, I have to talk about the after match stuff. I was SO not impressed with the Azul versus Negro match at Hell in a Cell. Someone on my friends list commented that it was an awesome match, citing that cruiserweights just move better and that’s why they put on more ‘entertaining’ matches than 300 pound guys. I responded that without a story and psychology, any match will fall flat. That’s what the problem was with the PPV match. It was just a spot fest, and a poorly executed one at that. There were a couple of nice moves, but it did NOT seem like anything was on the line for those two. No falses, no huge swerves, no suspense – it was just a finisher and a pin. That kind of ending doesn’t get me excited for another encounter between these two. To further my point about nothing being on the line in the match, wasn’t the point of the match to determine who the real Sin Cara was? If it truly was, then they should have done something big to emphasize that. Instead, it appears that the loser of the match…still exists.
Match Grade: B+
Air Boom tells it like it is
See, here’s the people that are supportive-ish. They walked out, and they believe they’re doing the right thing, but they’re a little squeamish about it. I suppose these two could be on the “pro” side if other Superstars are doing something.
Segment Grade: B
Air Boom vs. Guerrero, Inc.
Hey, Air Boom finally got their own music! Too bad they were cut off before it got a chance to get going. This was an example of a good storytelling match. Kofi brought it with the determination and fire required once it was basically a handicap match, and Dolph and Jack did a great job of being the dominant, smarter, wilier team. Did Swagger look completely blown up (out of breath) to anyone else after a couple of gut punches by Kofi? Can’t blame him, I suppose; he hasn’t been in a real match in quite some time. I would have liked to have seen more of a struggle between Evan Bourne and the medical staff before he broke free and made the hot tag. It was a great moment, and quite uplifting, but I would have liked to see more of a tease to get Kofi crawling to the corner and Evan struggling before being cut off by the heels. Ah well, as it is, the hot tag moment was nice, and the ending of the match was appropriate. I would not mind seeing another championship match between these two teams.
Match Grade: A
Beth Phoenix vs. Alicia Fox
Well, squash…but who didn’t see that coming? I think WWE finally has started to see the light with the Divas of Doom angle, and what they did to Kelly on Monday and Alicia tonight was awesome stuff…but is it too late for this angle? The timing may not have been absolutely perfect, but the fact that they started the domination once Beth won the title works too. It just doesn’t work as well. I hope they get Eve next – it’s been far too long since something bad has happened to Eve Torres.
Match Grade: SQUASH…but the aftermath gets an A
The Big Show can Act!
Hey look, I don’t care what anyone says, Big Show as a face is entertaining. Who doesn’t like to see a giant guy with a smile on his face come pumped up and running to the ring? I think it’s the perfect foil to the angry Mark Henry. To my question above, I think Big Show does happy better than Henry does, and vice versa. I will say I think the emotional part of Show’s speech was a tad bit too cheesy, and a healthy amount too long. However, as evidenced by the Hornswoggle thing later in the show, it looks like they needed to kill some time. Henry and Show talk with each other SO well, they provide a great build up to a championship match. And while it’s true, we may not have a five star match from these two by ‘traditional’ standards, let’s try and look at it in terms of big guy matches. I’m excited for this match, because there’s a good back story to it, both guys are excelling at their roles, and they both bring the perfect emotions to their matches. Come on, you know you guys are going to be marking out when you see Big Show’s entire head shake before he fires up on Mark Henry during the match. Henry’s done such a good job of getting people to want his ass to be kicked, we’re getting a glimpse of hope with Show. People want to see Show beat the crap out of Mark Henry. This has and will continue to be a long, healthy run for Mark Henry. We may not see Vladimir Kozlov or Khali back to take on the man that disabled them, but we know we’ll have another couple of matches with Show, and then we’ll get Kane back. By that point, it’ll be time for Wrestlemania build, and perhaps we’ll get a retirement match for Mark Henry.
Segment Grade: B+
Orton Has His Own Idea for One More Match
I like that there is acknowledgement of moving on. Too many times we get a feud moving on to another feud with no explanation as to why Superstar A isn’t mad at Superstar B anymore. With Henry saying he was done with Orton on Monday, and Orton tonight taking the face high road of waiting it out, we get a nice transition…but to what? Where is Orton going now? The Intercontinental Championship does carry a bit more prestige now that Rhodes has it, but it is still a far cry away from still being an accolade to Orton’s career at this stage.
Segment Grade: A
Jinder Mahal vs. Ezekiel Jackson
I was about to shoot someone when we got our third consecutive mic segment, but then Zeke came out and saved the day. I really liked the “shhh” from Jackson, although the transition from Mahal speaking to Jackson coming out felt a little…odd. Maybe that’s just me. I appreciate the back story to this match, and psychologically, the pieces were there for a decent match, but Zeke’s moveset was a back body drop, something like six body slams, and the torture rack. Neither man impressed me in this match, and I think the crowd really needs something more from both to be invested. You can only get over on the non-English thing for so long, and Zeke is NOT wrestling to his full potential.
Match Grade: C
That is NOT Aksana.
All I have to say about this is I’m tired of Laurinaitis, as he once again served NO purpose tonight. The ONLY, and I mean ONLY, reason that he could have possibly been here would be to plant the idea that Teddy Long needs to choose a side as well.
Segment Grade: F
No really, that’s it.
Segment Grade: F
Christian and Cody Rhodes vs. Randy Orton and Sheamus
We didn’t even get any mic work from Christian or Rhodes pondering the absolute stupidity of that previous segment. I was scared to death that Hornswoggle would have something to do with helping Sheamus, but it didn’t happen. Kudos to Orton for playing damsel in this match and allowing Sheamus to get the hot tag going. This match was actually fairly bland. They weren’t necessarily going through the motions, but like the Sin Cara match at Hell in a Cell, nothing really seemed to be on the line. It was suitable for a main event and if something had been at stake, if something was driving these two to get the victory aside from the mere fact of getting a victory, it would have been a great main event. As it was, I just wasn’t emotionally into it.
Match Grade: B-
The Answer is NO…unless Teddy Long says YES.
Again, this kind of build emphasizes the conflict between these two. I want to see this match. I do think the Championship is taking a back seat to the personal issue between them, but I’m willing to overlook it because basically, this match is four months in the making. Every time the announcers or Henry would list the Big Show’s name as a member of the Hall of Pain, you had that thought of, “Oh yeah, that guy’s gonna come back pissed!” Thus, here we are. I would love to have been a security guard that got the crap beat out of him by Show. Those local workers are super lucky. Honestly, if I could either get squashed by someone like Brodus Clay or annihilated like security was tonight, I would consider my wrestling career complete. Call it shooting low, but I know my limitations. This was a well executed segment, and it still feeds in to the idea of “Chaos Reigns in the WWE” with Show taking out the guards and Teddy Long really struggling to contain him. For the first time in a while we see Mark Henry on the defensive, and for a casual fan, there is hope that Mark Henry can be stopped.
Segment Grade: A
In-Ring Action: C This category gets a C this week because there really wasn’t a lot of decent in ring action to speak of. We had three legitimate matches (one of which was a bit blah), and two basic squash matches with a TON of talking and video work in between. I think I’m giving match of the night to Air Boom vs. Guerrero, Inc, which was really Kofi vs Guerrero, Inc., because it told a great story and there was high emotion running through it.
Out-of-Ring Action: C This category gets a C because there was just too damn much of it. Really, it should get a D because of the crap with Hornswoggle, but I’m feeling generous after a good match last night. We were bookended with promos tonight, and we had a part of the show that was squash, promo, video, promo right next to each other. That’s not good TV.
Overall: C The biggest thing to come out of tonight was the return of the Big Show. They made a decent ordeal of it, and we now have the groundwork for a good big man feud. Everything else was kind of flat. I’m still waiting for Cody to defend his belt against someone that makes sense (and I’ll agree with you all, Daniel Bryan would be a nice Choice), and I’m still waiting for del Rio to mean something to me. I like how the Tag Division is shaping up, but I’d still like to see more teams emerge. If Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins can move their act to Smackdown, I’d be curious to see what they can do.
Outside the Blog Zone: Last night we had High Anxiety over at MPX. I fought in a Fatal 4 Way Elimination matchup that featured a decent amount of spots and a fantastic go home sequence…but Danny Saint…”Center Stage” Danny Saint…he eliminated me first. That was a poor Choice on his part…I’d like to make him pay for that, so when November comes around, Danny Saint and I will butt heads. ALSO, be on the lookout this Friday for one of my buddies, Kristopher Haiden. He’s a tall guy with sideburns, a goatee, and no hair on top. He potentially could be one of Cody Rhodes’ baggers. I wish I were going to attend it live, but I currently have no funds with which to see Smackdown. Maybe if Richard Gray did something cool and got me tickets to it…eh? Eh?! Until next week, thank you for making me your Choice for Smackdown blogging.