Sorry to all who really aren’t feeling it, but I’m enjoying the conspiracies and angles going on in WWE right now. The David Otunga stuff came out of NOWHERE, and while I completely disagree with his fashion sense (military shirt and a BOW TIE? …now suspenders too? Yikes.) I agree with his insertion into this angle. He’s playing the role he should have been playing and I believe this now distances himself from the God-awful Otunga-cutty crap we were seeing over the last few months. It seems that this alliance of Guerrero’s crew, Rhodes, and Christian could really go somewhere in the long run, and it’s going to make for a huge punch line when it finally comes full circle. This could almost be another version of The Corporation, and while some people may wish for creativity and no recycling of previous storylines, I believe that you can do this successfully in this business ONCE and once only; if they’re able to do it right, then the next few months to a year of television wrestling could be GREAT. Alright, are we ready? Let’s get to SMACKDOWN!
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh mah GOODNESS
Given the previous fifteen years of Mark Henry’s career, I don’t understand how some people can be bored with this. Sure, it’s no Sexual Chocolate, and he’s not fathering a hand, but were you really entertained by that? Or were you shaking your head? This, as I’ve said time and time again, is the role Mark Henry was meant to be in. Even though from all accounts I’ve heard, he’s a big snuggly teddy bear in real life, what else are you going to think when a big man walks in with a pissed off look on his face? I will say I’m still not a fan of inserting “Hall of Pain” into every promo he has. When he mentioned “dominating” I was very much expecting Zeke to come out, but alas, we get The Great Khali.
Segment Grade: A
Mark Henry vs. The Great Khali
I can’t believe that this actually turned out to be mildly entertaining. Khali’s face changed expressions, and Henry actually sold like he was going to be beaten. That’s a great surprise, and while it’s still clear that neither is going to be remembered for their technical skill, this was as decent a big man match as you could get in 5 minutes. Khali’s leg is broken (and conveniently, the only thing in the EMT’s bag was a knee brace that perfectly fit Khali), so what does that mean? Do we get a break from him for a while?
Match Grade: B
Jinder Mahal has the last laugh
This was a good way to keep this angle open ended without running it into the ground. Khali can come back and still have a decent angle with Mahal.
Segment Grade: B+
Evan Bourne vs. Jack Swagger
I’m not a huge fan of Swagger coming out to Ziggler’s music. Swagger was big before Ziggler was, but alas, that’s what happens when you’re elevated then buried. This was a highly enjoyable match here, and I’m only partially surprised that Swagger went over. I say partially because A) We’re in Bourne’s hometown, and B) Someone’s got to prove to be a challenge for Air Boom. This was a very good match, reminiscent of all of Swagger and Bourne’s other matches, and should this be a feud that takes off, I’ll be very interested in all of their future matches. I’m hoping that the match at Hell in a Cell is NOT the final encounter between these two teams. Air Boom and Guerrero’s Guys could have an epic feud. I will ask this question though: What role will Mason Ryan play? Wasn’t that, I don’t know, a bit RANDOM on Monday Night Raw?
Match Grade: A-
Sin Cara vs. Heath Slater
Ah, here’s a squash. Wait, what? Sin Cara squashed Heath Slater? Yikes. Full entrances and all. I suppose it was just a lead in to the after match stuff.
Match Grade: SQUASH
Won’t the Real Sin Cara Please Stand Up?
I loved the fact that they referenced Mistico in Mexico. That gives us a back story to care about, a history to research. Sure, the casual fan might not do that research (but then again, who knows), but a “more-than-casual-but-not-quite-as-savvy-as-us” fan will look it up and take more of an interest in the match. Also, I’ll be rooting for the black mask Sin Cara (I almost said Black Sin Cara…that would have been inaccurate…), as I think that ring gear looks a hell of a lot cooler.
Segment Grade: A+
The Jury Comes Together
Okay, so I’m still working on a good name for this group. The Jury was the first thing that came to mind. So sue me…HA HA HA…ahem. This is a great angle that brings a lot of questions to the table. This is okay for Laurinaitis to be in – randomly introducing the guy that really matters, Triple H, is not. I think a lot of us were expecting a Triple H/Laurinaitis team up, but it looks like we’ll have an internal corporate feud. What’s going to happen Monday Night? It’s after a Pay Per View, so it won’t have an impact on that…this is truly going to be something to tune in to see.
Segment Grade: A+
Kelly Kelly vs. Natalya
As long as Beth keeps doing the talking and Natalya keeps doing the wrestling, I’ll be happy. It’s not that Beth can’t wrestle, it’s more that Natalya can’t talk. Beth is a complete package women’s wrestler. She’s like CM Punk, fittingly enough. She can talk, she can wrestle, and she has an IT factor. I detest that Natalya got the jobber introduction, but I think the outcome was correctly booked to give Beth Phoenix the momentum going into Hell in a Cell. I swear if Beth Phoenix doesn’t win on Sunday, I’m going to…um…drink another shot at the bar I’m watching it at. By the way, Beth’s promo after the match while Nattie had on that ridiculous submission move (WHAT IS THAT?!) was GOLD.
Match Grade: C-
This guy’s promos are always gold. From the ding, ding, ding of describing Orton’s attack to participating in this match under protest, I love everything about Cody Rhodes’ mic skills. Sheamus wasn’t too bad either, but it was Cody that made this segment work.
Segment Grade: A+
Intercontinental Championship Match: Cody Rhodes (c) vs. Sheamus
Could Sheamus be the next Intercontinental Champion? Would this be the very last feud that Rhodes would enter into before hitting the main event scene? Could the Intercontinental Championship finally be elevated to the level it once was, where you could be a main eventer and it wouldn’t be considered a step down if you won the belt? I do wonder these things. This was an excellent match, and if we did see a feud between these two, I wouldn’t be disappointed. I could see a scenario with Sheamus, after being done with Christian, feuding with Rhodes for the belt, winning that, and then feuding with Christian again before dropping the belt to Wade Barrett. That is thinking WAY too far in the future, however. To build up momentum into Hell in a Cell, Christian’s interference was quite acceptable, especially since it still leaves the IC Title Match open ended. Open ended angles kids – that’s how you build good TV.
Match Grade: A-
Zack Ryder vs. JTG
Um…why? Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the TV time for Ryder, but why was this match here and not on Superstars? It’s just odd, unless they’re going somewhere with this. Smackdown and Raw are usually the main storyline shows, with Superstars having its own reality. They told a pretty decent story in this match, and the go home sequence was nice. It’s good to see Zack hit the Rough Ryder without the set up. If they go somewhere with this, great, but if not, then…I suppose this was just a filler to calm the crowd down before the main. Also, I never want to hear the word “Jizzle” on WWE programming ever again.
Match Grade: B
Orton Preaches the End
I’ve figured out why I don’t get as excited about Orton’s promos as I do others. It’s not that his promos are bad – honestly, they’re spot on. It’s the same problem every one else has had with him, and that’s just that he drones on in the same monotone voice. Actually, most promos about a gimmick match kind of fall flat. Whether it’s ladder matches or Hell in a Cell matches, it’s usually the same “I’m gonna do this to you in there. You’ve never been in there, and you don’t know how badly I’m going to hurt you.” Really, the best promo about gimmick matches were delivered by Mick Foley, and then Chris Jericho had one when he was going in a Ladder Match with Shawn Michaels. It was actually terrible, but it was unique, which is what gets points from me. He described what he was going to do to Michaels, and then did it…to the ladder.
Segment Grade: B+
Randy Orton vs. Christian
You know that if these two were to have continued their feud, it would still be hot. This match proves that. Orton and Christian just have such a good chemistry together that every match between them could be an instant classic (pun kind of intended). I will say that there is one aspect of Orton’s current ring work that I cannot stand to watch. When he goes into his comeback, and gets ready for the powerslam – if the opponent holds on to the ropes, he still rotates. Also, when he kicked Christian after being set up for a back body drop, he did a pirouette. Maybe it’s just a weird quirk and an issue with me, but it just doesn’t resonate with me. I like the double count out, as that outcome really does more for Christian than Orton. Christian now has two of his “One More Match” matches that haven’t ended cleanly – which makes me think that his match against Sheamus won’t either.
Match Grade: A+
You knew Orton was going to have to come out on top here, just because Henry has had the upper hand for so long. They did a great job of making you believe that Orton was getting destroyed again, however. I had to check the time left on the video clip that was playing to make sure there was still something about to happen, because I thought the World’s Strongest Slam was it. I suppose the RKO on Henry would have been more intimidating…had Henry not been conscious after it. That was one of those RKOs that Henry would have kicked out of, because not more than one minute later, he was staring a determined (albeit shocked) hole through the challenger.
Segment Grade: B
In-Ring Action: B+ Between the Squash Cara match and the weird Zack Ryder/JTG match, I couldn’t justify giving this category an A on an otherwise nice night of wrestling. The match of the night goes to Sheamus and Cody, with the main event coming at a very close second. Again, I’m glad that Zack Ryder got a spot on TV, but how random was that? I would have rather seen another Ryder/Ziggler match tonight. That would have made sense.
Out-Of-Ring Action: A- There wasn’t a whole lot of promo work tonight, which is never a bad thing, but what was there was definitely good stuff. I’m glad Beth did the talking tonight, as Natalya just sounds dumber every time she gets on the microphone. In the last year, I’ve heard the words “Settle your tea kettle” and “We’re the vegetables of the Divas division” come out of her mouth, and that just doesn’t need to happen. Beth did very simple things when she spoke. She held the mic up to the screaming Kelly Kelly, who sold that submission like a champ…which she is…hopefully for not much longer…yeah.
Overall: A- I decided to give this the higher of the two grades because it’s the go home show, and it did exactly what it was supposed to do – it built up the Smackdown matches at Hell in a Cell. Sure, there was no Barrett, no Bryan, no DiBiase, but they’re not involved in something this Sunday, so it’s acceptable. I do wonder if Cody Rhodes is going to make an appearance in some capacity. He’s on too much of a roll not to do so.
I finally got to see last week’s Superstars which featured Ted DiBiase and Tyson Kidd in the main event, and yeah, that was a pretty spectacular match. Ted showed spirit and personality, and if he continues this, things could be looking up for him. It got me thinking, since Ted’s actually better as a heel, which Superstar do YOU think would benefit from switching it up to being either a heel or a face? Until next week, thank you for making me your CHOICE for Smackdown blogging.