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.
Alright, by now, we’ve all heard of Randy Orton’s injury situation. Luckily it’s since been reported that it may only be a few weeks. Visions were circling in all of our heads of a Wrestlemania without Randy Orton. Some of us rejoiced, some of us worried, but hopefully, we won’t have to deal with that problem. But what if we did? It’s not exactly great news for the Smackdown roster. Let’s look at the top five heels and faces. Your top five heels are (top to bottom): 1) Mark Henry, 2) Cody Rhodes, 3)Wade Barrett, 4)Hunico, 5) Christian. That’s really only four people anyways, which, when I was compiling this list for the blog, felt like a lot more. I think the SuperShow idea has planted the idea that there are more people around to take up the mantle. But look at your top faces WITHOUT Randy Orton – 1)Big Show, 2)Daniel Bryan, 3)Sheamus, 4)Justin Gabriel, 5)Ted DiBiase…that’s really a lot worse. Especially when you look at the possibility that either Show or Bryan are going to turn heel (more on that later). Gabriel and DiBiase aren’t even top midcard workers yet. I mean, I think it’s a great credit to the Smackdown creative crew for being able to keep things rolling in the main event picture for as long as they have, but now what? Hopefully, Sheamus can fill Orton’s spot against Barrett nicely. Okay, are we ready? Let’s get to SMACKDOWN!
Remember the Name of…Dustin?
If not for the fact that Mark Henry were involved in the World Heavyweight Championship picture (which is fairly impressive, given that he’s injured and all), Cody Rhodes would easily be the top heel on Smackdown. I know some of you that would argue that he already is. Anyways, cheesy Booker was kind of dull to me, but Cody brought the energy this segment needed. I admit, I popped when I heard Goldust’s music, and I was even okay with him coming out without his “work clothes” on…but I really don’t like that they brought in Dustin’s past life problems for the angle. I would have much preferred that Goldust just came out to defend his partner’s honor and respect. If they go forward with this angle until Wrestlemania, which I sincerely hope they do, I hope they let Goldust compete under the makeup. Why ruin that? It’s what got him over, and I sincerely doubt people are going to be as excited about Cody Rhodes vs. Dustin Runnels as they would be Cody Rhodes vs. Goldust.
Segment Grade: B-
Jinder Mahal vs. Ted DiBiase
This feud, which actually does make sense, is falling flat fast. I don’t know whether it’s because of clean victories or if this particular match just went really short, but I’m all of a sudden not as interested in it anymore. Mahal has been decent in the ring, DiBiase is DiBiase, and I just think there needs to be more drama added to this feud to make it interesting again. That being said, I’m glad Mahal got the win, as I don’t believe he’s gotten a win since Khali was around. Interestingly enough, Khali is still on the roster page, as is Ranjin Singh. I also find it funny that Mahal went through about two other finishing maneuvers before they just stereotyped him into using the Camel Clutch. Oh well…somenthings you can’t avoid.
Match Grade: B-
Welcome Back – I Might Fire You
Seriously, stop with the Aksana things. I’m over it now. It’s leading nowhere, Aksana isn’t even accompanying anyone to ringside, and she’s a waste of a paycheck and the paper it’s printed on. Getting on to Drew, I do like Drew’s work, but I always felt he was missing SOMETHING. I want to say it’s his crowd interaction, as it just seems to be in limbo. Does that make sense? Like he can’t make up his mind whether he should interact with them or not. He comes out to the ring, screaming and yelling, and then he doesn’t keep jawjacking with the fans. He’d be a great silent type, I think, but this in between stuff needs to go. That being said, if we see an MVP-style losing streak followed by a face turn for young McIntyre, I don’t think I’d be terribly opposed to that. However, I do think he can be a great heel.
Segment Grade: B+
Alicia Fox & Kaitlyn vs. Tamina & Natalya
If there’s one thing I hate more than a heel turn that happened but wasn’t shown, it’s a heel turn that happened, wasn’t shown, AND IS COMPLETELY FORGOTTEN ABOUT. Seriously, didn’t Kaitlyn attack AJ? I just…and then this match…and that God-awful scissors kick…and that ending of the match that looked like someone forgot to take a step or ten…and…ugh. And then what was up with Tamina? Is that a face turn? Or a heel turn from a heel? Don’t get me wrong, that can be done – I’ve done it three times, but it made sense! What was up with that?
Match Grade: F
Wait…Who’s Turning Heel Here?
Is it just me? Or does anyone else see Daniel Bryan turning super cocky and developing a bit of a heel character? If so, I LIKE IT. I realize it’ll be hard as hell to pull off a heel Daniel Bryan against a babyface Big Show, but if anyone can do it, I have faith that Bryan can. Oh, and did anyone else notice that Teddy Long forgot to say why they weren’t having the tag match? Thank God for announcers. But I hate the illogical moves here – Mark Henry is not cleared to compete for Smackdown last week. He’s cleared to compete in a Gauntlet Match on Raw, although it never got to that stage. He’s not cleared to compete for Smackdown. It makes you wonder if David Otunga’s mad he got KO’ed for no reason.
Segment Grade: A-
Hunico vs. Justin Gabriel
For no other reason than to get Hunico over with Camacho, this match lasted less than 5 minutes. In that five minutes, however, I saw A) a great save on a supposed missed spot at the beginning of the match. It looked like Hunico should have landed on the apron in the first place, but they saved the spot. Props to them. B) A killer top rope arm drag, and C) a post-match tag team finisher that I liked! Hopefully, this is the start of another heel tag team that can take on Air Boom. Speaking of Air Boom, didn’t I say Hawkins and Reks were next in line? Winning. Also, Hawkins is looking more and more like Lance Hoyt every week.
Match Grade: B-
Big Show vs. David Otunga w/ Mark Henry
I’m really glad that when Otunga went to the outside to consult with Henry, Mark just went “I don’t have to do nothin’!” That redeemed his character a bit in my book. Anyways, if I didn’t know any better, I’d say Otunga was positioning himself as the face in this match. He showed some great vigor and tenacity for being basically a jobber. Daniel Bryan again with a bit of underhanded tactic to distract Mark Henry, and what happens later is awesome stuff.
Match Grade: B-
Ezekiel Jackson vs. Drew McIntyre – Proving Ground Match
See, and moments like these are why I think Drew is so underrated. Much like when he was pursuing Kelly Kelly, Drew was apologizing for being underhanded, which is unique, and I love that aspect of his character. I’m a fan of wrestlers struggling with something internal and outwardly displaying that in a match. I thought the psychology in this match was spot on, and the way that Jackson went over I liked only for the effect on Drew. I don’t like that Jackson used the tights. I think a different way could have been found, say a foot or hand under the ropes. At any rate, the story here is Drew being screwed, and I like the direction it’s going.
Match Grade: B-
Drew with his own Are You Serious Bro moment
Down here at MPX, one of our tag teams (Zach T and BC, Cash and Carry…I mentioned them last week.) is pulling off an “Occupy MPX” movement, citing unfair treatment of talented workers as their grounds for protest. I bring that up to say I wouldn’t mind seeing Drew pull that off. Ha! Shame on Teddy Long for being such a dolt.
Segment Grade: A
Sheamus gets the ball rolling on the Royal Rumble
In a time of the year where we’re just kind of waiting on January to get here, it’s nice to see one person get things going on the build to the Royal Rumble. I’m glad it’s Sheamus, too, as this guy needs some direction. With the absence of Randy Orton looming, one would hope that we actually get a Sheamus/Wade Barrett feud, especially leading up to the Rumble. It’d be perfect! Barrett claims he’ll win since he disposed of the most dangerous man in the Rumble, Randy Orton. Sheamus comes out and says that he doesn’t think so, fella, and thus it begins. I did find this entire segment to be corny…but really, not in a terribly bad way. I think it had to do with the puns. R. Kelly? I believe I can fly? From Sheamus? Awesome.
Segment Grade: A
Sheamus vs. Heath Slater
Well…good for Heath. He showed some fire in this match, but I’m still not sold on him as anything more than a jobber. Maybe it’s the name “Heath.” Maybe it’s his One Man Southern Rock Band schtick. I don’t know. I was confused a little bit though, since I’m pretty sure I heard some “Let’s Go Slater” chants. There was no other choice but to have Sheamus go over here. Here’s hoping for a good build for The Great White Celtic Warrior towards the Rumble.
Match Grade: B-
Big Show Gets BURNED
No, that’s not a Kane reference. Instead, how great was it to see Bryan diss Show and then just walk away. Again, it looks to me that Bryan is the one that’s going a little heel. That prospect has me excited.
Segment Grade: A-
Randy Orton vs. Wade Barrett: Falls Count Anywhere
Okay, so it’s not the Parking Lot Brawl I was hoping for. But it was a pretty neat fight anyways. Okay, you’re hearing it from me here, I’m calling Wade Barrett to win the Royal Rumble. I usually call both a wrestler and a number. I’m calling Wade Barrett or number 23. There, it’s officially down on paper/screen, so I can’t go back on it now. Anyways, like I said, the fight was good here. I have to imagine that all of those RKOs over the course of this year that were executed on abnormal things like steel steps, tables, and cars had to have some effect on The Viper’s back. The spot in the elevator was phenomenal, and the only thing that possibly could have made it better would have been if the ref had made it into the elevator, made a count, and got knocked out there and stranded in the elevator. C’mon, you guys would have marked out huge for that. The fall down the stairs looked nasty from the port hole in the door, and yes, the ending did seem abrupt, but hey, the guy’s injured. Great props to Orton for taking a few nasty bumps here, and to Wade Barrett for continuing to step up his game.
Match Grade: A
In-Ring Action: C+ Honestly, this wasn’t a strong point again for Smackdown. I think again, that with these last two weeks being basically waste weeks until we get to the three week build for the Rumble, this category has been suffering. I wish Hunico/Gabriel would have gone longer to really build up Hunico, and the Divas match, if it was known to be that kind of travesty going in, shouldn’t have happened. Next week’s in ring stuff should be a lot better.
Out-Of-Ring Action: B+ This week was really more about continuing the momentum from existing feuds and programs. All three major promo segments were strong and delivered what they needed to. If they let Goldie be Goldie, that feud will be perfectly built. Sheamus as the fan favorite going into the Rumble is a good way to give him something, and the Daniel Bryan stuff is more than intriguing.
Overall: B- Okay, two subpar episodes in a row, and you have to believe that the first episode of 2012 will be fruitful. I’m ready for Booker and Cody to be over and Cody and Goldie to begin. I have faith in Hunico and Jinder Mahal to climb one more rung up the ladder. I don’t think they’ll hit the top midcard spot, but I think midcard with a meaningful feud is in the cards for their 2012. Here’s hoping for a great start to the New Year.
Outside the Blog Zone
Working an Improv Comedy show and a Comic Book stage adaptation along with work hasn’t left me much time for the ring. With MPX going to two shows a month starting in January, I’m looking to step up my game. My resolution isn’t going to be to lose weight, as any of you who have seen my profile pic or pictures on Facebook know I don’t have much to lose, but I’m looking to get defined. Could I make a splash here in Texas by this time next year? Let’s hope. One step at a time, but make every step count. I hope everyone had a great holiday, and I hope for everyone’s continued health and success in the New Year. Until next year, thanks for making me your CHOICE for Smackdown blogging.