Has it already been a week? Yikes, this past week has been a flurry of activity for me, and this upcoming one looks like it will be, too. MPX was last night and I REALLY have to know how Cody Rhodes went for any significant length of time in this business without elbow or knee pads. Yeesh. Anyways, I was at Raw on Monday, and I gotta say – not terribly impressed. The triple threat was good, the tag match was good, but for three hours? I’m sure the ending segment came off WAY better on TV than it did live, but that segment was a lot like the rest of the show – a bunch of people sitting around in an arena wondering what was supposed to be happening and if the show was over or not. Before the Sin Cara match, we had to sit through a good ten minutes of Sin Cara’s entrance music and God-awful video. His first “Blue” video was so much cooler and did NOT look like a really bad super-imposition of Sin Cara pointing and posing in front of a wall of fire. Ten minutes of video, five minutes of Tribute to the Troops video packages, Make a Wish video packages, “Last week on Smackdown” packages, and then we got a three minute “match” with Tensai. That whole scenario pretty much described my experience at the live, three hour Raw. Sadly, I will be buying tickets for the next time they swing through Dallas, because…I’m that much of a glutton for punishment. Anyways, are we ready? Let’s get to SMACKDOWN!
I understand del Rio coming out and saying his piece. I understand Booker coming out and responding. I don’t understand why Jericho was there, and even when Josh Mathews said that now we know why he was there, I really didn’t. I would have been happier with Booker just telling del Rio that as punishment for his actions last week, he has to go against one of the best in the world. Anyways, we’re starting to see faint glimmers of that old Y2J humor, but only faint ones. This was not an entirely effective segment for me, and del Rio, oddly enough, is the one who impressed me the most here.
Segment Grade: C-
Los Mascaras (is that right?) vs. Beautiful Miz-aster (BOOM)
Yeah, I’m pretty proud of that tag team name for Miz/Rhodes. I’m extremely grateful that they didn’t do the stupid lighting for Sin Cara during this match. The entrance promo by Rhodes was not his best moment, I’ve decided. I also don’t like that they’re calling this whole unmasking of Sin Cara thing “unprecedented.” As for the match itself, Sin Cara still looks like he’s about two steps behind everyone else. I continue to grow into a huge Miz fan, especially as this “no-nonsense” gimmick continues on. Now, if he can continue to wear that sweet ring jacket all the time instead of t-shirts, he might just move into my own “fave five.” I thought the finish was pretty original, with Rey hitting the 619 while Cody had Sin Cara dangling off of the apron by his mask, and I like that Rey is the one that pinned Cody. I think that still leaves the door open for Sin Cara and Cody while giving Rey momentum into his title match with Miz. I don’t see Miz losing the IC Belt at this point as Miz still needs to be built up after returning from his movie shoot and Rey can’t be harmed by losing out.
Match Grade: B-
The Party…Strippers? The Rescue Rangers (anyone who gets why I said that is FROOT)? Um…what…WAS this?
Parents, good luck explaining to your kids, in this PG setting, what Tyler Reks’ other job used to be. On my Twitter (which isn’t @TheChoiceMPX anymore, it’s @RangersAndMPX), I said that my only hope for this gimmick is that Reks and Hawkins presented the idea themselves. They both seem to be rolling with it on Twitter, and I guess they looked like they were having fun? As for the squash, I don’t think the other guy got in the ring at all, and I love that finishing move that Reks and Hawkins use.
Match Grade: SQUASH
Speaking of Other Jobs
Yes. I believe that William Regal’s ONLY job in WWE is to take out the trash. In a suit. He doesn’t commentate on NXT or anything. Nope. What the hell was the purpose of this segment?
Segment Grade: F.
Kaitlyn vs. Eve
You know, for a Divas match, this wasn’t terrible. It wasn’t SHIMMER worthy or anything like that, don’t get me wrong. However, it did last longer than usual, and actual wrestling moves were used, so I can appreciate that. As much as I think it would have been great for Kaitlyn to get more exposure as Booker’s assistant, Eve has to be that wrench in the machine of the Booker/Long administration.
Match Grade: B-
Eve on the job
Okay, so this was the only “Backstage with Booker” segment, and while NORMALLY I’d be super happy with that, I feel like there needed to be just one more to show some other kind of tension or development with Eve on her first day on the job. Either that or this needed to have one awkward staring contest between Eve and Teddy to end it. When someone says, “I’ll come right back and we can get to work,” I’m expecting to see what that person can do, especially headed into the big summer extravaganza. Maybe I’m being too nitpicky.
Segment Grade: C+
Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton
I like how they billed this as two people with anger management issues. I wouldn’t necessarily say it was an outstanding match, but it was definitely a thriller. The one big complaint I have with this, and it’s a complaint I have with a lot of WWE-style technical wrestlers is that the finishing maneuver takes precendence over psychology. Why in the world would Daniel Bryan go for a win with The NO Lock after working Orton’s LEG the entire match? I’ll have the same problem in the main event. To Orton’s credit, he kept selling that leg like there was no tomorrow. The mind-job ending was very vintage Kane, and their match at SummerSlam, after three straight shows of build up, could end up being a sleeper hit. We know those two have chemistry together, so I’m actually looking forward to their bout.
Match Grade: B-
Antonio Cesaro vs. Zack Ryder
With a foregone conclusion, I went and looked through my Facebook and Twitter timelines while this was going on. Zack, while his character doesn’t really bug me, is WAY more effective and fun when he’s being pushed. I suppose the ending built up anticipation for a US Title change, but I’m not excited about anything with Santino, so…there’s that.
Match Grade: SQUASH
Jericho’s Walk to the Ring
I’m not going to lie, I did NOT see the attack coming. Really nice job of WWE, Ziggler, and Jericho making something that routine into something exciting. Ziggler losing his mind and telling Jericho not to overlook him was great, but I think he backed off just a little too easily when Book came in.
Segment Grade: A-
Alberto del Rio vs. Chris Jericho
Nice booking job here by making Jericho seem like a total hoss in coming out for his match. This match was going along really nicely until del Rio went for an armbreaker. Again, ribs, arms, there’s no difference right? At least he didn’t land it and it was used to get into the Walls. Really though, nice chemistry between these two, good back and forth action, and Jericho again proves that he’s one of the best. He makes you BELIEVE. I like the subtle interference on Dolph’s part, and I really dislike that del Rio’s “impact” finisher is a freaking enziguiri. Oh, that was the issue I had, not the arm breaker. An enziguiri, while a devastating move, has never been a finisher for anyone unless a concussion was involved. So mighty Jericho, who’s had his ribs destroyed all match, gets felled by a common kick? Not a fan. Okay, now I can say the rest of this match was pretty decent. I wouldn’t mind seeing a program between these two…if Jericho comes back. Ha!
Match Grade: A-
I continue to grow as Sheamus fan, especially with these kinds of segments. He’s done a really nice job of balancing the humorous side of his character with his “Get out of the way or get knocked down” side of his character. As far as Booker goes, this would have been a good time to have Eve come out and persuade Booker to let the match happen at SummerSlam. She can still heel it up with an ulterior motive of wanting to see Sheamus hurt and still give the fans what they want. Again, maybe I’m being too nitpicky.
Segment Grade: A
In-Ring Action: B- I couldn’t decide whether to go a notch lower on this, but then I realized we had three fairly decent matches on the card and the one of the two squash matches was used to debut a new gimmick, so we’ll go higher. Good to see the Divas getting *slightly* more face time, but that division still has a LONG way to go.
Out-of-Ring Action: B+ There wasn’t really a ton of this, but the Jericho/Ziggler segment and the ending Sheamus segment did a LOT for the build to SummerSlam, so I can give this category a higher grade.
Overall: B Not a tremendously brilliant go home to SummerSlam, but it is passable. I usually expect more from go-homes to big shows, but the three main programs from Smackdown were highlighted, so I can’t really complain too much. I’m looking forward to what Eve will add to the Booker/Long Adminstration – and hey! Book didn’t say his catch phrase! …he had several opportunities to, though, believe me.
Outside the Blog Zone
One of our newer bartenders just got fired, so I’m going to be picking up some MAJOR OT this week. What that means is that I’m going to be a sleepy blogger come Saturday. I’ll persevere though, to bring you this blog. Until next week, thanks for making me your CHOICE for Smackdown blogging!