I’m so sorry this is up this late. This will (likely) never happen again, but I’m in the middle of an 11-day straight work marathon. I’m a bit exhausted. At any rate, are we ready? Let’s get to SMACKDOWN!
I wonder how Tony Chimel feels…
I really like “in-progress” openings to shows. It makes them feel less scripted. This was a great time for Rhodes to up the ante on his feud with Booker. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that this is the feud that they put Rhodes in when there are a good amount of other current Superstars that he could be mixing it up with. Later, we’ll see one of those names, but the only way this Booker feud pays off for me is if Golddust comes back to attack Cody. Lilian Garcia is back, and you know, I wasn’t really a huge fan of her work back on Raw, but she really grew on me throughout this episode. I wonder how Chimel felt announcing his replacement to everyone. I would think that’s incredibly awkward. I like that Cody took over commentary work, and in this next match we’ll see that he wasn’t biased…completely.
Segment Grade: B+
Beat the Clock Challenge: Wade Barrett vs. Ezekiel Jackson
I was really under the impression that we were going to get a mucfh bigger ‘re-launch’ for Zeke, kind of like Kane’s getting. But he’s got more hair! At least he doesn’t look so much like Ahmed Johnson. At any rate, I’m a big fan of Beat the Clock matches, and I would love to take part in one, both as a pace setter and as a clock beater. You know that Wade was given a time limit in the first place, probably ten minutes in this case, and then for Orton to basically have to structure his match so that it comes down exactly as close as it does later is a really amazing feat. I have to think that Zeke does well around Wade because this is the best I’ve seen the Guyanese Goliath look. I liked the finish with Barrett hitting the Boss Man Slam as he was running, instead of the other way around. I also like that Cody called it the Boss Man Slam. Cody through this whole match was a much better commentary option than Booker. I think it’s funny that he’s taking a “Legends are washed up” approach to this, a la Chris Jericho. This would lead me to believe even more that Golddust could come back to challenge Cody.
Match Grade: B+
The Mystery Match: Kaitlyn and A.J. vs. Sisters of Salvation
Nope, I don’t know why it was cut either…and I’ve yet to listen to the Mailbag from today. I’m okay with cutting a Divas match, really…but when a heel turn is involved? I mean really, a face or a heel turn is actually a pretty big deal, so for them to cut that is pretty lame. I can hear the counter arguments now, that nobody cares about Kaitlyn, but this is a pretty big rub for her to get to join Beth and Natalya. Will there be an explanation somewhere down the line? I doubt it…I’ll be pleasantly surprised if there is though. Where does A.J. go? The Daniel Bryan program?
Match Grade: N/A
Otunga keeps digging himself a hole
I’m not entirely sure why we’re building up David Otunga and not Michael McGillicutty…not that I’m entirely sold on Son of Perfect either. Oh well…looks like we’ll get “treated” to an Otunga match.
Segment Grade: C
Daniel Bryan and Michael Cole…again…
Okay, so I was actually for somebody or something interrupting Daniel Bryan, because his promo started taking a turn for the worse when he started mentioning his dreams and stuff his father was saying. I think Michael Cole is really the only person that’s ever gotten Bryan properly amped up, and well, if he needs Cole to get to that level, then so be it. His charisma lacks otherwise. I had mentioned earlier that Cody Rhodes should be involved with someone besides Booker T…and here’s my candidate. I’m excited for a Daniel Bryan/Cody Rhodes feud, which you would think that if it’s not happening now that it has to happen sometime down the road.
Segment Grade: B+
Zack Ryder vs. Heath Slater
“Hey Zack, you’re going to be in a squash match.” “Aw, man, are you serious bro?” “No, no…you’re doing the squashing.” “……….Are you serious bro?” …last year, Zack Ryder was the man on the receiving end of some squashes, and now look at him. He gets a squash match all to himself. …I mean, okay, he had some squashes when he first started his Iced Z character, but since then? This is the first squash match that means something for him!
Match Grade: Squash
Jinder Mahal’s Promo Box
Not bad, I say…keep letting him have some English speak, and maybe I’ll get behind him a little more.
Segment Grade: B
Jinder Mahal vs. Ted DiBiase
I liked the booking of this match, as Ted was made to look like he squeaked out a win over Mahal. It was a good plan to rebuild Mahal up as a menacing heel, and luckily, Mahal held up his end of the deal and did what he could to make himself look good. Obviously with the quick finish, this feud isn’t over. I think we need something a little more concrete than “Jinder doesn’t understand why DiBiase doesn’t hold his wealth over our heads…so he’s mad about that.”
Match Grade: B
The Titanic Confrontation
I liked the mic work of Show here, but I feel like Mark Henry is taking his character in a direction it doesn’t need to go. Why is he being so underhanded and sneaky? He doesn’t need to be. Back when he first started his dominance, I thought about how long it had been since we had just a pure, dominating, no gimmicks needed bad guy. It’s been a while. So I’m not a fan of Henry being all scared to get in the ring with Show or needing Show to promise to not lay a hand on him. It was just weak. I did like the sucker punch though at the end, and I liked Big Show getting the upper hand. All in all, a positive segment, but Henry needs to go back to just being a dominating guy.
Segment Grade: B+
Sheamus vs. David Otunga
I don’t know if this was really just used so that Hornswoggle could get some talking in. The sad thing is that I can’t really call this a squash, because Otunga got just enough offense in to qualify it as a true match. Um, yeah, aside from getting Hornswoggle some talking time, and to further the idea that Otunga is an idiot, I don’t see why this match happened.
Match Grade: C-
Daniel Bryan vs. Cody Rhodes
Yup, just as I thought, this match was going to be strong. These two clearly work well with each other, and I could see a match for the IC Title or the Money in the Bank briefcase between those two. Daniel Bryan and Cody Rhodes are two people who you look at where they are in their career and in their pushes and you say, “Yeah, these two should face each other.” I’m okay with the DQ ending, as we should build the Cody/Booker feud since it’s happening, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see D-Bryan and Cody cross paths again.
Match Grade: A
TLC for Cody Rhodes
The only reason I like that this match is for the Intercontinental Title is because the Intercontinental Title hasn’t been defended in FOREVER. I really wish it wasn’t against Booker T, because A) he doesn’t deserve the shot; he hasn’t done anything to earn it, and B) it makes the outcome of the match at TLC that much more predictable. I won’t say that I’m betting 100% that Cody will win, but I’m there about 99%. Oh well, it’ll be good for nostalgia purposes. Also, what was up with Aksana at the end? Taking an interest in Cody?
Segment Grade: B
Orton will make it quick
Nice interview with the Viper here. I’m not sure how much more I can say about this, because usually, Randy’s promos are pretty spot on. It’s a good lead-in to the main event.
Beat the Clock Challenge: Randy Orton vs. Dolph Ziggler
Like I said, I would love to be in one of these kinds of matches. From a worker’s perspective, it makes you appreciate doing things on the fly. Obviously, the RKO was the fixed ending to this match, which is good since it’s a move that can be hit out of nowhere and as long as you keep an eye on the clock, you know when to hit it. If the pacing of your match is too fast, you can always spend some time looking at the clock, and vice versa if you realize you’re going too slow. My biggest problem is that when Randy looked at the clock, he seemed mesmerized by it. He would spend about 5-10 seconds staring at the tron and the ticking clock, while even smart marks like me are going, “DUDE DO SOMETHING.” Actually, I felt the same way when Barrett ran in on Orton’s match last week and Orton basically just went, “Welp, screw this match.” It didn’t even seem like he was totally invested in getting after Barrett. This kind of reaction is fine, but when the bell rings and he turns around like, “What the?! Really?” I don’t buy it. Eh, maybe I’m just talking out of my rear because I’m trying to get this blog up quickly. Anyways, as for the match, it was great. Again, I was very appreciative of the timing and ability of the two to create a continuously entertaining match within the time limits.
Match Grade: A
In-Ring Action: B- Well, not a lot to write home about, but the last two matches were definitely the highlight. I’m not thrilled about the Divas match being cut out, but that’s not so much for the in-ring work as it was for the storyline turnout. I can’t believe Zack Ryder got a squash match, and Jinder and Zeke impressed me a bit this week.
Out-of-Ring Action: C Eh…the best stuff was from Cody, but that’s not a huge surprise. Jinder Mahal will impress me if he keeps talking in English for just a minor part of his promos. I didn’t like Daniel Bryan talking until Cole interrupted and then D-Bryan took it to another level.
Overall: C+ I wasn’t a huge fan of this episode of Smackdown, but it definitely laid the groundwork for TLC. This was for sure a lot better than the crap they put out for the Holiday special. The worst part is that the Holiday special took away from one week’s worth of build up for TLC. Hopefully, next week can redeem the Blue Crew. So far we have Cody and Booker, Show and Henry, Orton and Barrett, and Ziggler and Ryder. Technically, does that last match belong on Raw?
Outside the Blog Zone
Well…I’m bushed. Oh, I did win the MPX Tag Team Championship on that Saturday after the Holiday special, and that makes me the first man to have held both titles in Metroplex Wrestling. History maker? That’s me. HA! Anyways, I gotta get going because the life of a cool guy like me never stops…who am I kidding? I’m not cool. But you guys still read my blog, so that’s something, right? Right? Until next week, thanks for making me your CHOICE for Smackdown blogging…I’ll make the deadline next time, promise.