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I could have also titled this blog, “Somebody Call My Momma,” but there were just so many things that I touched on last week and throughout my blogs that I thought that would be funnier. Anyways, let’s start with the glaring, giant white elephant in the room – or the giant white Funkasaurus, if you will. And yes, this goes out to Professor Rick Craig. Brodus Clay debuting as the Funkasaurus might be the best thing to happen to the PG Era of Sports Entertainment. Let’s rewind about 10-15 years. We had Goldust, The Bushwhackers, The Headbangers, Chavo and Pepe, The Oddities, Too Cool, and Dude Love (OWWWWW!). We might not even have to go back that far for some of these characters and those like them. All were succesful, all were loved, and all had their rightful place in the product at the time, which, mind you, was not PG. In an Attitude Era where sex and violence sold, Austin 3:16 was whippin’ that candy @$$ that The Rock was cookin’ or something like that, and heated blood feuds were the thing, we had that little respite from all the serious stuff. The thing about those ‘silly characters’ and today’s ‘silly characters’ is that the ones from back then were taken as seriously as possible. They were distinct, fun loving characters but could still be legitimate competitors in the ring. Today’s comic characters are in no way believable as competitors, and instead, the obvious strapping of these laughable grapplers solely based on reaction, not on any sort of impressive feat in the ring shone through. Santino as the IC Champ? Why? Because he had Maria and a funny accent? Please. Charismatic, yes, a 3-part Superstar (charisma, ability, and “it” factor), no way. Now, let’s look at Brodus Clay. Here’s a guy that, on Superstars, was squashing your weekly local boy with a loud “Shee-KWAHH” being his only defining charisma. He was a silent mauler. On your main shows, you have Mark Henry, Kane, even Big Show to an extent, people that already have that big, silent, “I’ll kill you” aura about them. Do you need one more? One more big, angry guy who would be doomed to wallow in mediocrity because nobody wants to see more than one big angry man on the same show? No, says I. Instead, WWE decided that we would go against the grain (just this once!), and make a big guy dance. People that have been following the product for any length of time have seen the vignettes billing Brodus as a monster. That solves the big problem of having people take him seriously. Now let’s let his charisma shine through. Brodus Clay is a charismatic guy. His WWE.com exclusive is the only one that I have ever taken the time to look at – and the guy is funny. I don’t think he’s quite turned up the volume on his Pop-meter yet, but he’ll get there. He’s the perfect foil to a “Damnit, this is wrestling, what’s your problem?” character – like Jack Swagger. Would I like to see Jack Swagger take the title off of Zack Ryder and then feud with the Funkasaurus for said US Championship? You bet. Okay, my big essay on Brodus Clay is finished. Are we ready? Let’s get to SMACKDOWN!
The Tables Turn…
Daniel Bryan is doing an amazing job of walking that “Cheer for him…I mean boo for him…or…what do I do?” line. You hate that he did what he did last week, but here comes on Raw and Smackdown, saying that he’s a fighting champion, that he doesn’t want his first defense to end in a DQ. The heartfelt story about what he’ll have to tell his future grandkids (he didn’t even get to the kids part!) was absolutely brilliant. You could even tell that some people in the crowd were like, “Oh…man…yeah, that would suck…poor guy.” And then there’s Mark Henry. Was Mark getting a mixed reaction? Especially when he said he’d face the winner of tonight’s match next week? I think so. So does that mean that Mark Henry is turning face? Or is Daniel Bryan becoming such a freaking jerk that we want someone to beat him up? For now, I’ll go with the latter, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it evolved into the former.
Segment Grade: A-
Justin Gabriel vs. Heath Slater
Okay, so Heath continues to improve in his in ring presence, but I still can’t stand his general gimmick. I understand they’re probably trying to capitalize on his real life persona…but I wouldn’t be able to be stand that real life persona. A guy that thinks he’s a southern rock star? Um…great. Anyways, beyond that, this was a good opening contest. The interference of Hornswoggle (which supports my essay above about comedic characters I can’t take seriously), ensures that this feud isn’t done yet. Justin Gabriel is one of those guys that you don’t necessarily have to have in an angle in order to get over – just put him in the opening contest all the time to get the crowd hot. However, I don’t know how Sting purists are handling his “howling.”
Match Grade: B
HIM?! YOU LOVE HIM?!
Damn you, Daniel Bryan. On top of A.J. saying she loves him, all he can say is “Thanks”?! Grrr. Anyways, the thoughtful gaze on D-Bry’s face is a foreshadowing of things to come.
Segment Grade: B-
Cody Rhodes es muy bueno!
My girlfriend just told me that this form of “is” in Spanish (es, instead of estad) means that the status is permanent. How fitting. Cody Rhodes has another golden promo here (pun intended), and calling out the INS was fantastic. I also liked how he said he would pull an Ultimate Warrior – then quickly stated that he know that could mean a plethora of things.
Segment Grade: A
Cody Rhodes vs. Ezekiel Jackson
Well, I don’t suppose it would make a lot of sense for Jackson to go over after that promo by Rhodes. I don’t know that I could qualify this as a squash match, but it just about equated to that. This was a typical “Get wrestler A” over match, that showcased Cody being clever and finding ways to create victories. By the way, I would like to say that every title now, save for the Divas championship, has regained a considerable amount of value. Just the fact that Cody Rhodes holds up the belt in victory instead of just his hands speaks hugely of the importance of the title. And while I don’t believe he’ll have both titles at any point this year, it’s not impossible to think that he could feud with Daniel Bryan over the World Heavyweight Championshiup before 2012 is all said and done.
Match Grade: C+
The Punjabi Prison Match! …wait, no…
Hey, three cages wouldn’t be too bad of an idea, right? Just ask David Arquette. Anyways, I’m not sure if they’re trying to turn this into an “Assistant vs. Assistant” feud, but I really don’t want to see Santino ask to be a serious competitor, regardless of who it’s against. See above essay.
Segment Grade: C
Drew McIntyre vs. Ted DiBiase
Gee, talk about a disappointment. I was a bit excited when Hunico and Camacho came out to be on commentary, but when they finally got there, it didn’t really seem like they knew what they were doing. And then, we get to my biggest complaint about this segment. If you’re whole reason for being in a feud with someone is that they didn’t invite you to their party, that said person is flaunting their wealth, that said person is richer than you and making it known – THEN DON’T TELL ME YOU PLATE YOUR BICYCLES WITH GOLD AND SILVER. Any believability I had regarding this feud went right out the window with that comment. “Oh man, this dude is richer than us and throws parties that he doesn’t think we’re fit for – let’s go ride on our HANDMADE, SILVER PLATED BICYCLE.” As for the match, well, it was a combination of two angles, and I suppose Drew is going on that painful losing streak. However, since people still boo him, I can’t imagine how they can possibly get the fans behind him unless someone like Mark Henry just obliterates him and he gets a pity pop. The Ted/Hunico angle took a very small step forward, and the Drew losing angle isn’t going to be interesting to me unless they raise the stakes. Right now, it’s like a parent that’s saying they’ll slap their kid with a slipper and never follows through.
Match Grade: C+
Sheamus vs. Jinder Mahal
So why have Sheamus go over clean? This is actually a decently built feud, and even though the better feud would be Barrett and Sheamus, this is a good way to see if Mahal can be in a legitimate angle in the midcard. His mic skills are there, especially since he’s incorporating English into his promos now, and he’s getting more of a chance to showcase his ring work. I don’t think he’ll be a main event caliber talent, simply due to his sadly stereotyped gimmick, I think he’s making a case for being a relevant name now. This wasn’t a terrible match, but it ended a bit too abruptly for my tastes. I wonder what will happen next week…HMMMM.
Match Grade: B
AJ! *in Admiral Ackbar voice* IT’S A TRAP!
How much does she love him? Not nearly as much as I love her. Oh, AJ, how can you be so easily duped by this sarcastic, two faced, brilliant heel Daniel Bryan? Big Show played the part of the resistant angry giant well. I like the way this whole angle is being built up. I like that Bryan is playing the jerk and Show is playing the nice guy role, and they’re doing more with this angle than I thought they could. The match later is good stuff too.
Segment Grade: B+
David Otunga vs. Santino Marella
I was ready to write this match off as a complete joke until David Otunga actually won. Otunga showed some decent offense, good heel psychology, and even a bit of charisma, but I pretty much would have bet that Santino would have won with the Cobra. Had he done so, this match would have no interest for the following week. As it is, Otunga picked up the victory, and now we wonder if Marella is going to back up his big mouth after being the one to ask for this match. Will the Raw vs. Smackdown idea be represented by Otunga and Marella? God, I hope not.
Match Grade: C-
THE FUNKASAURUS vs. Tyson Kidd
As much as I defended Brodus Clay earlier, this match really irked me. I know Brodus has upgraded from squashing local unknowns to actual talent on the roster, but I would have rather seen him do a two move squash on Hawkins than on Kidd. This match didn’t even get to showcase his gyrations and oddities that he displayed on Monday. As it is, the guy got a serious pop when he came out with the Funkettes (yes, I know that was Flash Funk’s thing…but the theme song was Ernest Miller’s…what are ya gonna do?) and I think he can go far. I’m pushing for Brodus Clay and Dude Love to take on Hawkins and Reks (or some other tag team or random combination of two Superstars) at Wrestlemania. I know, call me an idiot, but I’d pop if Dude Love came back and teamed with the Funkasaurus.
Match Grade: SQUASHASAURUS REX
Natalya vs. Tamina
Maybe I need to watch NXT or something to understand that Tamina is seriously messed up in the head because she can’t decide what she wants to be. I like that she’s channeling the Superfly, but given the fact that she’s been an enigmatic heel over the last few months, it just bugs me. Screw it, why am I trying to make sense of the Divas division? At least there were suplexes in this match.
Match Grade: JIMMY SQUASH-A
Wade Barrett Living in Sin
What a great promo by Barrett here. I kind of wish that he wasn’t in ring gear, as it always irritates me when wrestlers make appearances in ring gear when they’re not wrestling. Anyways, I’m sticking by my prediction that Wade Barrett wins the Royal Rumble this year. I’m also kind of shocked that he said his last name without cutting it off short at the end (Barrett instead of Barrah). I’m excited for next week’s encounter between the Barrage and the Great White…expect Jinder to get involved.
Segment Grade: A-
World Heavyweight Championship Match: Daniel Bryan (c) w/AJ vs. The Big Show
The story here was the Chair vs. the Chop. The psychology in this match was pretty outstanding. Normally, you would think that that many chair shots would have some effect on Big Show, but keep in mind the opening minutes of the match – Big Show practically obliterated the champ from the outset. There is no way that those chair shots would be at full strength. That’s why I liked Big Show continually swatting Daniel Bryan away with chops. I like that AJ was an invisible figure until the end…speaking of that: DAMNIT DANIEL, IT’S YOUR FAULT SHE’S OUT THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE! – sorry…I had a mark moment there…anyways, that’s what people are going to boo Bryan for next week. When you can hear people in the audience telling Big Show that it was a mistake, you know things are going right. And props to Show for pulling on his acting background and being upset to the point of tears. I was thinking that they would have Bryan go completely heel by inhumanely attacking Show while he was grieving and not showing any care towards AJ, but I love the fact that the action stopped and attention was given to AJ. AJ just became the most relevant Diva in the WWE Universe with this angle, by the way. That just makes her hotter, in my opinion. ANYWAYS – what happens next week? There was no clear cut winner. Do we have a triple threat match next week? Or do we have Bryan vs. Show part III, and potentially a triple threat at the Rumble? Is it weird that I’m excited about a triple threat with Henry, Show, and Bryan? I wasn’t thinking I would like how this match and this episode ended, but upon further thought, I loved it. I think that maybe the neck brace was a bit much. Honestly, I was thinking that Show was going to miss his W.M.D. and hit AJ with it instead…which probably would have made some people mad, but would have made for AMAZING television. At any rate, I’ll be checking on AJ routinely throughout the week and giving you all updates on Facebook and Twitter.
Match Grade: A-
In-Ring Action: B- Eight matches? That’s awesome. Sure, two of them were pretty definitive squashes, but the other matches were somewhat entertaining. If they weren’t terribly entertaining, they at least posed some questions. I’m okay with Otunga going over on Santino, and I’m giving the Drew McIntyre angle until the Rumble to be deemed boring or not. The main event was a fantastic psychological display of how to successfully have a heel little guy against a face big guy, and as long as they don’t move Gabriel/Slater past curtain jerking, I’ll continue to endorse it.
Out-of-Ring Action: B- This was dominated by the Daniel Bryan/AJ saga. Really, Daniel is truly dastardly since he’s using AJ’s feelings against her and for his benefit. That kind of stuff is exactly the kind of charisma that Daniel Bryan needs. Oh, and if you’re wondering why I didn’t comment on the Aksana bit tonight, well, see my opinions on Aksana from last week. I will say, however, that I woke my girlfriend up this morning because I was laughing so stupidly hard at the “I always bet on black” line. I mean…holy crap…wow. I like that we’re concerned about CM Punk calling Johnny Ace a B**** on Raw, but little innuendos like this don’t faze a soul.
Overall: B- I think that this was a strong show. Obviously, the strongest angle going here is Daniel Bryan/Big Show/Mark Henry/AJ, but there’s a LOT to watch out for with the Blue Crew. Slater/Gabriel/Hornswoggle, Sheamus/Mahal/Barrett, Assistant vs. Assistant, Drew McIntyre, Hunico/Camacho/DiBiase, and of course, where will Brodus Clay end up? When someone finds out, Somebody Call My Momma.
Outside the Blog Zone
A definite successful improv show last night with NextWave Performing Arts (find us on Facebook!). I got a lot of praise from my castmates and my family, as is to be expected, but when a random person comes up and says that you stole the show, that’s what makes it truly special to me. Next week is MPX’ second show this month, and we’re hoping to draw the same numbers we did last week. Regrub and myself, Team Kyle, will be facing off against the guy I beat in a Tables Match last year, Kristopher Haiden, and a partner of his choosing…IF HE CAN FIND ONE! MWAHAHAHAHA….this will be a non-title match, which is good, since I’d rather be defending my titles against people that are worth it. Until next week, kids, thank you for making me your only CHOICE for Smackdown blogging.