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.
Well, what an interesting time in WWE. I’ll just list it like this: Jericho – Suspension. Orton – Suspension. Cena – Injury. Mysterio – Suspension. Alberto del Rio – Not a Long Term Investment. Look, when you have to have John Laurinaitis main event a Pay Per View, you know you’re out of stars. Really the least serious of these is Jericho’s, because his suspension is really just a PR move, and if anything, he’ll be rewarded for going the distance to get heat. On the other side of the spectrum, I wouldn’t be surprised if we have Orton jobbing to Ryback or Sandow when he gets back. This is the time for Swagger, Ziggler, Punk, Bryan, Clay, Rhodes, Sheamus, and even Christian to step up their game and become the next household names. Think about it, Cena is the only household name that WWE has right now. He can try to keep going at top level for however long he wants, but his body is in such bad condition, it’s on the verge of just quitting on him. Who, out of that list up there, is going to be the next “word association” wrestler? Who is going to be the person that even non-wrestling fans know their taunts and catchphrases? Points to ponder as we get into this week’s episodes. Are we ready? Let’s get to SMACKDOWN!
He don’t need no stinkin’ apology
This was one of the most entertaining promos I’ve ever heard Sheamus cut. From all of his talk about Laurinaitis to what he said to Otunga and del Rio when they got out there, I thought Sheamus was just on the money. It’s stuff like this that shows me that Sheamus is ready to be the “new” Franchise Player on Smackdown. I laughed to myself when Cole called Orton that on Monday, because you sure as heck know now that Orton is not going to be the benefactor of that title any longer. And you know what? Good for Sheamus. He’s only three or four years into the mainstream TV audience, but he behaves like a veteran that could take leadership of the locker room. These kinds of promos, and not the cheesy Irish story teller ones, are the ones that make me think of Sheamus as a World Champion.
Segment Grade: A+
Sin Cara vs. Heath Slater
You know, for what it’s worth, Sin Cara was not as botch-a-licious as he usually is. Even La Mystica Version 2.0 looked pretty smooth. Nonetheless, it was a squash match, and part of me is thinking that the reason Sin Cara was so botchy was because he couldn’t see anything in that stupid lighting.
Match Grade: SQUASH
Damien Sandow vs. Ezekiel Jackson
I can’t really call this match a squash, because it was mostly Jackson on the offensive until Sandow went Zero-to-Hero on him. Obviously, the promo was brilliant, but I can only see this whole “ignoramus” schtick going so far. Also, I’d like to see a little more variety in his repertoire of moves as he’s squashing people. Granted, I’ve only seen him squash two people, but a huge series of knees doesn’t speak “threatening” to me. Keep in mind I’m not a usual observer of Sandow’s matches, so he’s probably great otherwise. However, as someone who views this as mainstream audiences do, I’d like to see Sandow do more than just knees, Russian Leg Sweeps, and cut-throat neckbreakers. I did like his pin on Zeke, and the cartwheel celebration afterwards was nice. Here’s a question for all of you: How many enhancement talents does a new talent have to destroy before they’re considered a “threat”?
Match Grade: C-
Ziggler Presents His Case
If there was ever a time for Dolph Ziggler to break out and away from Vickie Guerrero, it’s now with so many “top tier” Superstars gone for various reasons. WWE needs a big heel that’s an actual wrestler. On Raw, they gave that to Big Show. Who’s your big heel on Smackdown? Well, it should be del Rio, but his immediate future is so up in the air. They need someone who is going to stay around long term, someone who can carry the load of being the biggest jerk or slimiest bad guy – and since it looks like The Miz is vacationing in jobber-land, I think Dolph Ziggler should step up. This is how he should progress – after so many displays of arrogance, showing off, and cockiness, he comes to del Rio with a serious proposition. I hope Ziggler can step into this vacant hole.
Segment Grade: A-
Ryback and The Anti-LSU Squad
Again, it’s super fun to watch Ryback squash some jobbers, just because he’s so intense, but I’ll repeat my question above to you here: How many enhancement talents must one go through to be considered a threat? With Ryback’s mindless thwomping of people and Sandow’s arrogance, these two are just begging to be thrown into a feud with each other. I think it would be the first real test for either man, and really, the storyline writes itself with its characters.
Match Grade: SQUASH
Dolph Ziggler vs. Sheamus
What a PPV Quality match! It started out fairly simply, but as it progressed, it just got more intense, and the stakes were raised with each pinfall. It told a fantastic story, and the outcome, while predictable, really meant something because of how much Ziggler gave in this match. From the get go, where Ziggler took the mic away from his mouthpiece, Vickie, and uttered one, no-nonsense sentence, you knew this was going to be an intense fight. Hopefully, Ziggler turned heads with this showing, and hopefully, creative will realize that Dolph is their best option when it comes to filling the holes that are about to be created by either leaving or suspended Superstars. Sheamus gave it his all in this match, too. I always know when Sheamus has had a brutal match because his hair doesn’t perfectly stand up on end – he’s drenched in sweat afterwards. I know it sounds stupid, but really, when he works hard, it shows. I would hope Ziggler has something to do with the World Heavyweight Championship match at No Way Out.
Match Grade: A+
But Wait, There’s More!
In case everyone forgot after that match, we still have a WWE Championship defense tonight. So far, this episode has been fantastic. Punk delivers another stellar promo, and I like the way that Kane has been inserted into this feud. Tweener he may be, but making Kane a “pawn” in the chess match between Bryan and Punk is a great way to add a little spice to this feud.
Segment Grade: A-
The Primetime Players vs. Team Co-Bro
I’m just glad they’re not calling themselves “TEAM (insert name).” Ever since Twilight came out, there’s been Team this and Team that. Anyways, I still want to call them Young Neil. I was a little bit confused by the ending of this match because I thought The Primetime Players were on the rise, but then Big Show came out to eat Co-Bro. I’m still not a fan of using a rising tag team to further another angle, but whatever. I’m also not a fan of the subject of aforementioned angle completely destroying the current Tag Team Champions. Oh right, the match…um…it was forgettable?
Match Grade: C-
Big Show Eats Zack and Santino
Well, I guess Richard was right. This Big Show is tons more entertaining than the cheesy Big Show. I like the way they’re building this monster version of Show. It’s truly a scarier version of Show because his character truly doesn’t give a damn. His dismantling of Clay, Kofi, and Truth on Monday was akin to the debut of The Nexus – somewhere in your head, you knew it was all pre-determined, but if you suspended your disbelief for the duration of that segment, you didn’t really know if Show had gone off of the deep end or not. The same thought process applies here as he laid waste to Ryder and Santino.
Segment Grade: B+
The Crazy and The Nutty
So the saga continues with AJ and Daniel Bryan…all I could think of during this and the end of the Punk/Kane match was “Tori…Lita…now AJ?” Comment if this doesn’t make sense to you.
Segment Grade: B
Cody Rhodes vs. Tyson Kidd
So I can call this a squash match, right? Yeah, I can…I do like the feud between Christian and Cody Rhodes as, if creative does good things, this kind of battle not only will do good things for both men, but it will make the Intercontinental Title more valuable. When was the last time this much attention was paid to the Intercontinental Belt? Even when Big Show was feuding with Cody over it, it was more about Big Show than it was about the belt.
Match Grade: SQUASH
WWE Championship Match: CM Punk (C) vs. Kane
Well, we have a Raw title match main eventing a Smackdown show. Should I complain? No. Because it’s a title match as a main event on TV. I would like to say that it delivered. You’ve got the gifted in ring general that is CM Punk against the tried and true veteran Kane. Kane does not seem like he ever ages. Even when he didn’t have the mask on, as he progressed through the years, Kane aged a lot better than his “brother” The Undertaker. Granted, Kane didn’t put his body through the amount of punishment that ‘Taker did, but still…anyways, this match was another fantastic story telling match. This match did what it needed to do – it made the title worth fighting for. Just like Sheamus/Ziggler earlier, this match made the main title on its respective brand THE prize to win. Tons of falses, high emotion, and two guys giving it their all against each other – that makes for a highly enjoyable match. I’m pretty sure any number of us could have predicted that the WWE Championship match was going to be made into a Triple Threat match, and the whole sequence to get us to that point, from AJ warning Punk of Bryan’s arrival to Kane double chokeslamming his “puppet masters,” this whole build over the last few weeks has been entertaining. Again, with AJ there, I just had this thought of her being with Kane. This was a nice main event, and a great way to close this show to set the stage for a great next two weeks of Smackdown action.
Match Grade: A
In-Ring Action: B Sadly, this couldn’t have been a higher grade because around the two stellar main event matches, we were filled with squash matches. Luckily, the two stellar main event matches made this episode highly entertaining. I’ve been really enjoying the progression of Sheamus’ character, and the way the WWE Title build has been going is unique. I like that Kane is being used as the pawn and is tired of it.
Out of Ring Action: A There wasn’t an overdose of this, which is the primary reason for this getting a high grade. The other reason is that the promo/talking that DID happen was all very meaningful. From building Sandow to Dolph Ziggler’s amazing one sentence promo, someone is getting smart about “Quality, not quantity.” I’m excited to see what Dolph is going to be like without Vickie.
Overall: A- I thought this episode was a greatly entertaining one. In this one Friday night show, three titles were elevated higher than they have been in YEARS, and we still were able to build two stars that are going to have to be the new faces of the company. I’d say if this level of programming continues, then Punk, Sheamus, Bryan, Ziggler, Rhodes, and Christian will be just fine as the future roster stars.
Outside the Blog Zone
I just want to brag for a bit by saying that I was able to put a beatdown on Funaki (with the help of my stablemates). Funaki was a very humble, very cool, very “fit-in” kind of guy. Come to think of it, so is/was Lance Hoyt. On June 30th, we’ll have Kendrick and Hoyt in the same building…in different matches…it’s going to be a HUGE show for us. I *think* I’ll be attending TNA Slammiversary because it’s in Arlington, which is about 30 minutes away from where I live. I’ll also be attending WWE Raw when it swings through Dallas in August. For any of you that follow TNA/Impact Wrestling/Hogan Knows Best Version 2.0, what do I need to be looking out for? I’ll have to go back and read Kendra’s blogs. Until next week, thank you for making me your CHOICE for Smackdown blogging!