This is already way later than it needed to be, so just remember that I just came off of a 15-hour shift, 4 hours of sleep, and a 7-hour shift. I’m lucky I know what a keyboard is. Are we ready? Let’s get to SMACKDOWN!
The Peep Show
I already know the title of this talk show is fairly dirty, but I felt even dirtier when I heard Laurinaitis say that he was glad to be part of the Peep Show. Just…ew. Anyways, Christian, gold as always on the mic, hit several high points and made a convincing arguement for his immediate reinsertion into the main event. The problem is, and I have this problem with Jericho too, is that there is no development. I mean, Christian is gold on the mic. Jericho is too. But I am someone that is always looking for something DIFFERENT. Jericho is just re-hashing his old “Best in the World/Do you understand what I am saying to you right now” schtick, and it looks like Christian is re-hashing “One More Match.” Jericho quoted in his first book that he loved reinventing his character and didn’t want to be doing the same thing again. Judgment reserved on Christian for now because he’s just getting back, but I really want to see an evolution of sorts with him.
Segment Grade: B
Kofi Kingston vs. Street Clothes Otunga
Well, there goes everyone’s idea of R-Boom/Hip Hop Express challenging for the Tag Team Championships. That’s a shame, because I don’t feel that the Usos (the only other logical choice to challenge) are ready for a stage such as WrestleMania. That probably means that the Tag Team Champions are going to be a part of Team Laurinaitis, which I am SO against. Aside from my gripes about the implications for Mania, this match was actually pretty good. I don’t know what Otunga did to get this in-ring push that he’s getting, but he’s been showing that he’s not just a one-trick pony. He’s no in-ring general, don’t get me wrong, but he doesn’t suck nearly as much as he did with McGillicutty. The only thing I like about this 12-man tag match idea is that the build up to that match can feature countless quality matches (not counting the squash later in the program). I would still like it if it were an elimination style match, but I suppose the fact that they’re slowly revealing the team members is making up for it. Oh, and “in grown toenail” as a reason to not compete? Seriously? *sigh* OH! Also, who saw the Otunga botch and recovery of the match end? He was looking for SOMETHING outside the ring (his coffee thermos?) and recovered with his belt. Well played, Otunga. Well played.
Match Grade: B+
Daniel Bryan, you’re a d***
There, I said it. AJ looked AMAZING in that dress (although I know they purposely made it a bit bigger in the…bosom area for a reason) and I would have gladly liked her to turn around again…okay, sorry guys, I’m done. The genius in Daniel Bryan’s psychology OUTSIDE of the ring needs to be recognized both here and in the match that follows. He’s a snake in the grass the likes of which we haven’t seen in a VERY long time, and he’s been able to carry it on for quite some time. From the way he schmoozed AJ with dreams of title opportunities to the way he wiped his lips in disgust after AJ kissed him (a sin, by the way), he’s playing this dirtier-than-dirt villain like no other. With the Draft coming up, I could definitely see the um, “user-friendly” Eve causing some havoc in the world of Daniel Bryan/AJ.
Segment Grade: A (just for Bryan’s diabolicalness…not for his treatment of AJ)
AJ vs. Nikki Bella
Seriously, the way Bryan conducted himself in this match, making himself a pseudo-face was just outstanding. Couple that with a not-piss-poor Diva’s match, and we have a nice little five minutes here. Sure, the cross-body off of the top by AJ was a bit…odd, but I’m willing to overlook such a transgression. I love how the crowd doesn’t know to to react to AJ because of her predicament. I hate how they took away that punky-pop theme from AJ (the one that they use to promote Divas matches now) and that they played Daniel Bryan’s theme music when she won. Aside from that, this was better than a couple of other segments in this show. The worst part about this was Booker T trying to make it seem like this entire predicament was a horrible situation for AJ to be in, but really having no case for that whatsoever.
Match Grade: C+
Watch and See
Cody Rhodes seems to have plateau-ed. Of course, after a year consisting of three gimmick changes, I suppose he needs to. HOWEVER, I think that with the Big Show, it marks a point in time that Cody should move on. I remember back around the Rumble that I commented on Cody not being quite done with the Intercontinental Championship yet – now, I think it’s time. After WrestleMania, I think Cody needs to have a shot at the top. His character has flatlined because there’s nothing more for him to do. He’s doing wonders with his promo work against the Big Show, but to me, it just seems like it’s time to move on. Maybe it’s about the fact that this match feels like it’s more about proving that Show is a choke artist rather than being for the Intercontinental Championship.
Segment Grade: B+
Cody Rhodes vs. The Great Khali
I don’t know what to say about this match, except that Cody worked his rear end off…to get himself over. Khali couldn’t even sell the Disaster Kick right. Oh well. At least they didn’t put Khali over.
Match Grade: C
Orton Wants to Know Why
My favorite part of this segment was Randy telling Kane that the video clip was enlightening and then to shut up and get in the ring. I didn’t really like Kane’s reasoning at first (because the way he was talking I didn’t know where it was going), but if you boil it down to him trying to erase that last gesture of humanity (sportsmanship) from his life, I can get behind that a little. I think it’s a bit funny that both Kane and The Undertaker are having matches this year based off of obsessions and self-redemption.
Segment Grade: B
Big Show vs. Drew McIntyre
To Guy’s point, last week was not the end of the Drew McIntyre Employment Saga. Unfortunately, it hasn’t really gotten any better since last week’s anticlimactic climax. I did love the slow motion replay of the WMD, showcasing Drew’s “Oh hell” facial expression.
Match Grade: SQUASH
Mark Henry vs. Yoshi Tatsu
Well…this proved…nothing. I don’t think we really needed a squash to prove that Mark Henry was a huge factor in the 12-Man tag.
Match Grade: SQUASH part deux
The chemistry on the mic between Jericho and Punk is scary. From what Jericho did on Monday to tonight, both of his promos have been phenomenal. Please note that I still wish he’d do something other than the Best in the World schtick, but I also realize that that’s kind of the building block for this angle. At any rate, this was ridiculously entertaining to watch (as was Punk’s face after Jericho brought up his father – again, really great chemistry), and I’m super excited for their match at Mania. The CM Drunk chant? Brilliant.
Segment Grade: A+
Chris Jericho vs. Sheamus
A really nice match between these two, and from an in-ring competitor’s standpoint, I was really interested to see how Jericho and Sheamus gelled in the ring. I realize that they had that awesome ending to the Rumble, but I wanted to see how a bell-to-bell one-on-one match was going to be. It is my opinion that Jericho respects Sheamus and his work and has a good outlook for his future. He let Sheamus get in all of his moveset and they made each other look REALLY good. My image of Sheamus has been hurt by that string of months where he was just Teddy Long’s “mystery opponent” go-to. The guy can go, and I don’t think the count out defeat hurts him by any means. It definitely adds fuel to the WHC feud, which is something it desperately needs. I feel like of the main events, Sheamus and Bryan is the “weak link” of Mania – that doesn’t mean it’s a bad feud or bad match waiting to happen at all. I just feel like this is the least hyped of the big main events – keep in mind that all of the other main events feature someone from the Attitude Era. Hmmm… Again, props to Jericho for allowing the show to end with him getting his head kicked off by Sheamus. Jericho loses nothing by being laid out. If anything, it plants the seeds for a possible post-WrestleMania feud.
Match Grade: B+
In-Ring Action: B- You only had two legitimate matches on this show, but they were pretty good ones. The squash matches did NOTHING for me, and the Divas contest wasn’t terrible, but it also started up a new path for AJ that could lead to a future title shot. That, or it could lead to another chapter in the Daniel Bryan/AJ saga.
Out-of-Ring Action: B- A lot of building happened in this episode, and while I did like Christian’s Peep Show, I can’t wait for him to actually get back in the ring. I’m somewhat fearful that pro wrestling is evolving (or devolving?) into a bunch of trash talking on the regular shows leading up to a “I can’t wait for so-and-so to get the snot beat out of him” match on a PPV. I want some TV wrestling too, please.
Overall: B- I’m enjoying the build to Mania so far, but I think the in ring action is limited because of who’s involved on the card. As I stated previously in my blogs, I don’t want to see Jericho/Punk come to blows in a one-on-one environment, Rocky can’t get back in the ring yet, Hunter and Taker can’t, Rhodes needs to stay away from physicality with Show, and the Divas celebrity contest…well, yeah. Really, the only in-ring action we can get that will build a WrestleMania match has to come from the 12-Man Tag Participants. Here’s hoping they can carry the shows inside the ropes over the next couple of weeks.
Outside the Blog Zone
I visited another local promotion on Friday night so I could see if I might get a ring announcing job with them. Ring Announcing was always my first passion in this business, so I thought I might see if I could get back to that. Luckily, they’ll have an opening soon. Here’s hoping I can impress them! Anyways, until next week, thank you for making me your CHOICE for Smackdown blogging.