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.
Let’s start this off by saying that the closing segment on Raw, the big contract signing, was probably one of the biggest wastes of time ever. As CM Punk said last year at a contract signing, “Come on, these things always end in violence!” On Monday, there was none. I hold a lot of value in expectation, and since you always expect violence at contract signings, when there isn’t any, it seems like a huge let down. Maybe I would have felt different if something else had raised the stakes, but there was NOTHING that made me more interested in this match. The brawl from a couple of weeks ago was way more convincing. The worst part, however, of this segment, was Brock Lesnar talking. There’s a reason that Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar worked so well together – Heyman talked the talk, Lesnar walked the walk. Listening to Lesnar speak to Laurinaitis on Monday was like listening to a guy who has been whipped by his girlfriend try to tell her he doesn’t want Chinese food for dinner. I could have been watching Smackdown sooner, but instead decided to sit through that whole signing. Brock Lesnar is an ass kicker…not a talker. UGH, okay…now that that’s out of the way, let’s do this. Are we ready? Let’s get to SMACKDOWN!
Question and Answer Time with Daniel Bryan
Boy, I remember when people were highly critical of Daniel Bryan when he first came in because they didn’t believe he had any mic skills or charisma. My, how times have changed. He was gold on the mic tonight, and I think this crowd in Grand Rapids helped. It may have been slightly piped in, but the heat he was getting looked fairly legitimate with people having their thumbs down and whatnot. Daniel Bryan played off of them so well, and his slow motion recap of his count on Monday was great. I was a bit confused when Alberto del Rio came out, but even his promo work impressed me. It was a bit odd since the promo ADR was cutting was basically a face promo, but you know what? The crowd responded in kind, and it was actually pretty good. I love the dueling “SI” and “YES” chants. I didn’t know Show and del Rio had a match until they said they did, so I was even more confused when Show came out. After that though, all of it settled down and Ricardo had been chokeslammed.
Segment Grade: A-
The Big Show vs. Alberto del Rio
As much as del Rio’s earlier mic work impressed me, his in ring work let me down. This was pretty comparable to the last match these two had. Again, I don’t know what del Rio needs to evolve, but it needs to happen. I understand there’s only so much you can do against Big Show, but it’s just all been repetitive for Alberto in the ring. The punchline of course was Cody Rhodes coming down to interfere, and I like that Show has been getting the upper hand on Rhodes after Mania since being dominated by Rhodes leading up to it. I’m not crazy about the stipulation being decided in a pre show wheel spin, because I think if you want to garner interest in matches you just paid top dollar for, you should lay out the cards on the table. Anyways, still a nice bit at the end. Oh, and kendo stick shot to the head? Not something you just blink at. Ouch.
Match Grade: C-
There’s something about this whole Laurinaitis/Long/Eve thing that works for me. I know Laurinaitis and Eve are bullying Long and that’s a bad thing, but the whole thing reminds me of Vince/Trish and someone like Coachman. Just humiliation after humiliation, and I’d be interested to see if Long has any kind of backlash down the road. For now, Eve making suggestions like name tags was funny and hopefully something like this separates her from the “Hoe-ski” chants.
Segment Grade: B
Oh good, we don’t have to wait long for Sandow to debut. If he comes out to “Connecticut Blue Blood” Hunter Hearst Helmsley’s music, he’ll instantly be my favorite guy. Did anyone else notice the calm, passive face turn to the slightest of snarls at the end? Subtlety, I like it.
Segment Grade: B+
Nikki Bella vs. Alicia Fox
FACE OR HEEL?! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD MAKE UP YOUR MIND! Now I don’t know whether to cheer for Beth. After all, she is courageously coming back from a severe sprain 6 days later to try to get her belt back. I still don’t think it resonates with people that there was a heel Bella and a face Bella at Mania. But to have every Diva at Raw, heel or face, cheer for a Bella for no reason whatsoever, and then have that Bella be a heel later that week makes absolutely no sense to me. The match itself was actually a decent match, especially as far as women’s matches go in WWE. This version of Twin Magic was different than their usual execution, which was refreshing. I’ll be interested to see if Beth gets a face reaction at Extreme Rules.
Match Grade: C+
Racism at its finest
Did Titus O’Neil and Darren Young just turn into Cryme Tyme? Just a weird bullying segment here, but I like that they are really pushing the fact that Darren and Titus are a Tag Team. Everything they said to Zeke, that little dance, being in sync – I know a lot of you guys are going to say that was stupid and pointless, but hey, however you can display chemistry between a tag team, right?
Segment Grade: C+
Oy…Michael Cole is actually going to speak my thoughts later on. So now, we’ve acknowledged that Aksana and Teddy’s grandchildren exist in the same dimension. Eventually, some kid that this PG stuff is targeted at is going to ask mommy and/or daddy what’s up with a man who has grandchildren and a girlfriend. This whole thing leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
Segment Grade: D+
Ezekiel Jackson and Yoshi Tatsu vs. Titus O’Neil and Darren Young
I’m taking suggestions for tag team names for O’Neil and Young. O’Young is not an option. This was a definite squash match, as Zeke didn’t even get in the ring. I see big things for The Real Deal and Mr. No Days Off, but I have to see them face some adversity. They need to land their tag team finisher a lot cleaner, though…it has the potential to be devastating.
Match Grade: SQUASH
This was just a slightly above average interview for The Viper. He got the point across, but again, didn’t say anything that we haven’t heart before. I liked his little segment with Paul Bearer on Monday, but tonight was just the same old thing. Does anyone else remember when Kenny Dykstra came down and interrupted HHH for no reason other than to try and put himself over and received a Pedigree for his troubles? Mahal = Dykstra, HHH = Orton. I would have preferred if the RKO happened immediately after Jinder said “No,” but what are you gonna do?
Segment Grade: B-
Tyson Kidd vs. Antonio Cesaro
Seriously? That’s what they chose as music for Antonio Cesaro? It sounds like Beaver Cleavage should have come out to that junk. That aside, this was an impressive squash match. Most squashes are filled with generic moves and a finisher, but this showcased a lot of what Cesaro could do. Actually, this was one of the best squash matches I’ve seen. I loved the deadlift gutwrench suplex, and Swiss Death always looks awesome. The finisher was great too, but honestly, one of my favorite parts was early on – a headbutt ON THE CHIN. The post match stuff was great build for Aksana and Cesaro as a power couple, but Long’s reaction was just pathetic. “HE HAS GRANDCHILDREN.” – Michael Cole.
Match Grade: SQUASH +
The Great Khali vs. Cody Rhodes
Well, if we’re going to continue Rhodes’ string of bad luck, might as well cap it off with a job to Khali. Khali can’t sell worth crap, in case you didn’t know, but Cody did his best to make both of them look good. I don’t see Cody winning at Extreme Rules, but I see him giving Show a run for his money, and hopefully, he comes out of it stronger.
Match Grade: C+
All of this stuff with Abe is doing the right things – it’s making me ask questions. On top of that, they’ve given me a timeline to look at. Much like the Damien Sandow character, knowing that something is coming up on Monday or next week gives me an actual reason to tune into the program.
Segment Grade: B
Ryback vs. Jacob Kaye
Out of all of the jobbers that Ryback has squashed, this guy, by far, had the best charisma of them. He cut a really, really good promo before being terminated. He didn’t show any jitters or issues with talking in front of the entire WWE Universe, and while he obviously lacks the size one wants in a WWE Superstar, I could see him being used as an enhancement talent anytime WWE swings through Michigan. Like with Titus and Darren, I need to see Ryback in some sort of adversity. The dude is intense though. Take note Lord Tensai, this is how you make people forget you used to be a laughable character.
Match Grade: SQUASH
AJ Snaps Again
I’m really wanting to see how they evolve this character of AJ’s. I think it’d be great if she showed some more aggression, turned heel, and got back together with Bryan, with him saying he likes her newfound attitude or something like that. For now, we have to delicately handle the (for now) delicate AJ. Oh, and they often say that best friends have the best matches and hit each other the hardest – how about that slap to Kaitlyn??
Segment Grade: B
Sheamus vs. Mark Henry
This was a really nice match. Sheamus continues to show that he is a veteran beyond his years, and Mark Henry is the reliable workhorse. Both of these guys make the other look good, and this match recalled the feud they had before Henry won the WHC. Neither man looked weak in this, and I think that’s especially important for a guy like Mark Henry, who doesn’t really have a program going on right now. He’s still looked upon as dominant and dangerous, even though he’s had crap luck lately. His recent matches with Punk and Sheamus could be included in a DVD of the World’s Strongest Man, and while I don’t think he should hold the belt again soon, he should remain in the top of the card as a top challenge for guys that look to break through. The go-home sequence was great, and Sheamus had to go over here going into Extreme Rules.
Match Grade: A
No! No! No!
I liked this little end promo that Sheamus cut – but what I liked more was a frustrated/annoyed/worried Daniel Bryan muttering “No…No…No…” as the crowd chanted “Yes.” This was also a nice job by Sheamus turning the face reaction for Daniel Bryan into his own face reaction.
Segment Grade: A
In-Ring Action: B- The main event and above average squash match saved this category from being a C-. However, three squashes in one show, plus a Khali match is not a great thing to have in a program. The Divas contest did not drag this down though!
Out-of-Ring Action: B. Like I said, this stuff with Long/Eve/Laurinaitis looks like it should come to a boiling point with a big payoff. Aksana and Cesaro have the potential to be a very interesting heel couple, and the saga of AJ will always intrigue me.
Overall: B. This was a solid go-home show to Extreme Rules, with the focus being where it should be on Smackdown, with the World Heavyweight Championship and Intercontinental Championship. I’m really glad we didn’t incorporate any Raw angles, minus the video packages of Lesnar/Cena. All in all, this was a much better go home than Raw had, and I may go watch the PPV just to see the two-out-of-three falls match – that has gotten the best build up of all the matches involved.
Outside the Blog Zone
Short and sweet – tonight is MPX’ Two Year Anniversary! Mayhem at Midcities III in Bedford, TX will star not only myself and my tag team partner taking on three other teams in a fatal four way for the belts, but since Lance Hoyt had a booking cancel, he’s going to be in action tonight! Woo! It’s show time! Until next week, thank you for making me your CHOICE for Smackdown blogging!