This segment is going to be dedicated to the use of Twitter on Raw this past Monday. A lot of people are up in arms about it. Mostly, the response has been negative. However, I am going to be the “voice of the voiceless” so to speak. I like it. Okay, maybe it was a little excessive, but the potential positives for using it during a program are actually pretty wonderful. Think about it: Let’s say you don’t want to hear Wade Barrett talk, or maybe the writers don’t have an extra ten minutes of promo time to write into the show that night, but the wrestler involved in the angle NEEDS to say something in order to get the majority of the audience (the audience, in this case, being the TV viewer) interested either in the character or the coming match. A wrestler’s entrance takes about a minute, given fanfare and all that jazz. You’ve got a 140-character, 30 second bit that basically outlines the wrestler’s intent and mission, and in Barrett’s case, a new direction. You squeeze more action in that way. Do we want to see it for every single match? Absolutely not. But if you need to get someone over with the majority of the Universe (again, the at home viewer, who outnumber the live audience) without a lot of time, Twitter is a great outlet. Anyone who is my friend on Facebook (facebook.com/thechoicemattandrews) knows that I use that to cut promos like crazy. One of my friends called me the status update promo king. Why do I do it? There’s not enough time on our two hour and fifteen minute show to say everything I need to say. If there is promo time set aside, then great, but for people like Barrett, Ziggler, Ryder, etc., this provides a way to get over. So, like with all things, moderation is best for Twitter mentions on WWE Television. I’m telling you, it’s the wave of the future. Alright, are we ready? Let’s get to SMACKDOWN!!
The Cult of Personality
What an awesome feud this would be if it were extended. I’m sorry guys, but some people have already said that CM Punk has become stale, but I’m right there riding alongside. I love watching this guy work. From his facial expressions to his actual talking, to his actual ring work, this man is truly showcasing himself as the Best in the World (RIGHT NOW…if Jericho comes back, then…yikes, I got goosebumps). The rapport between Christian and CM Punk could provide for a legendary feud. What else did I like about this segment? It didn’t take forever. Ten minutes is perfectly acceptable for an opening segment.
Segment Grade: A+
Air Boom vs. Awesome Truth
I’m a bit curious as to why no one but the announcers and the wrestlers themselves refer to them as Awesome Truth. I know that really they’re the only ones that matter, but you’d think the graphics people and Tony Chimel could find a way to reference it. At any rate, it looks like this will be the “new” challenge for Air Boom, and I’m okay with that. In an era where there are only three legitimate tag teams in the division (the Usos don’t count right now, sorry…and neither do Titus O’Neil and Percy Watson), I’m glad that the “re-invented” Awesome Truth is coming back to the tag team scene. With the Rock involved in their match at Survivor Series, that has to be a one off, so for them to come back and challenge for the Tag Belts is perfectly acceptable. Also, by the time the Awesome Truth/Cena angle has worn itself out, Air Boom as Tag Team Champions will have worn itself out, so it’d be a perfect time to strap Miz and R-Truth. On positive notes for Air Boom, they really have made visible the Tag Team Straps, and while they’re not defending them at EVERY show, they’re defending them enough that it makes it a legitimate but not overpowering championship. In my view, they have made it honorable to be a Tag Team Champion again. The match showed excellent tag team psychology, and the explosiveness of Air Boom was very much evenly matched with the methodical/diabolical ways of Awesome Truth. I thought the finish was very nicely done, and neither team was booked to look weak or too overpowering. The post match segment was too short to warrant a grade, but I will say this: I’m glad they realized that they don’t have to say their catch phrase at the end of every promo. Christian being the exemption, catch phrases are overused and seem very forced.
Match Grade: B+
Hart vs. Michaels, Kidd vs. Bryan
Alright, let me say that this feud leaves a lot of us Internet Wrestling Community members drooling. HOWEVER – nobody ever said either of these two could talk. Bryan is only slightly better than Kidd on the stick, and Kidd’s voice alone makes it impossible to take him seriously. That being said, this backstage segment looked really…awkward. Awkward and too planned fits this situation well. Very much a side note here, but what were Curt Hawkins and Johnny Curtis doing here? Aren’t they heels? And maybe I just haven’t been watching NXT, but what’s the “The Ram” shirt on Hawkins? Is that his legitimate gimmick now? Or is it just a call out to the movie “The Wrestler”?
Segment Grade: B-
Hornswoggle and Aksana A/K/A Things that don’t belong
Why is Hornswoggle appearing on my Smackdown again? We were doing just fine without him. It’s not like A.J. was here or anything (Damnit). Skipping past the announcement of Ziggler/Orton, where in the world is this Aksana thing going? Could it be any more obvious that’s she’s becoming a sex symbol? Shoot, I wish that music could play alerting me to a hot woman behind me so I could turn around and be a lot smoother than Teddy Long. At any rate, I keep waiting for the punch line to the Aksana angle, but it’s not anytime soon, that’s for sure.
Segment Grade: C-
Wade Barrett vs. Trent Baretta
I wonder if they booked this because it’s Barrett vs. Baretta…anyone? No? Anyways, this pre-match promo is what I think Twitter could be used for. I know it clues in the live audience, but that was a good minute or so that could have been better used for in-ring time. Anyone that’s been in a ring knows that you can add in at least one more twist to a match with another minute. At any rate, it didn’t take up too much time, so I suppose it was alright. I like the redirection of Barrett, but he needs to have some match to make an impact and stop being in these silly “waste of time” matches. The match itself was alright, with just enough offense from the Dudebuster to warrant it not being a squash. I’ve always liked Trent as an in ring performer, and like Barrett said later on Twitter, this guy is going to go places in the future. The transition from the Powerbomb to Wasteland was pretty impressive, and I’m hoping that Barrett gets a legitimate challenge soon to bring him back to the main event level he was at only a year ago.
Match Grade: B-
Dolph Ziggler vs. Randy Orton
What a match. This match was certainly Pay Per View quality, and the addition of Cody Rhodes (with local talent Christopher St. Girard back as a bagger!) on commentary was brilliant. “I’m sorry, did you say something Josh?” Ha…classic. At any rate, this match was very much a candidate for television match of the year, and I’m glad Ziggler hasn’t done anything to piss Orton off during his matches because these two worked VERY well together. If/When Dolph Ziggler takes that next step and is elevated to main event level, Randy Orton is someone I would love to see him feud with. Ziggler isn’t bad on the mic, and his work ethic shines brightly in each one of his matches. That’s the thing about Ziggler – you can tell in his matches that he’s trying to steal the show. It’s not so much a focus of the match, but at the end of his matches, you can say, “Man…that guy put on one hell of a match.” Tonight was certainly an example of that. The after match antics between Orton and Rhodes were pretty great too – Cody talking to the bag and Orton having that “What the hell is wrong with you” look worked great. I think it’s interesting that we have a bit of a reverse Pay Per View Build. Usually you see these kinds of matches begin at “big” PPVs, and the second versions of them happen at the “B-level” PPVs. Here, we started at the “B-level” and are building up to the “Big 4” PPV in Survivor Series. Definitely not a bad thing, but different!
Match Grade: A+
Hunico is Here
Thanks to my girlfriend, I figured out what Hunico said, and I had no idea that “Hunico” loosely meant “only one.” I’m not going to lie, when I saw the mustache/goatee combination with the bandana, I really thought Chavo Guerrero was back. That being said, Hunico is going to have to make his mark quickly and impactfully as there is nothing physically outstanding about him that would make me take notice. If he and Sin Cara can put on some entertaining television and have some good matches with each other, it would be mutually beneficial. If not, then Hunico becomes a literal “once-in-a-lifetime” Superstar.
Segment Grade: A
Daniel Bryan vs. Tyson Kidd
If we get rid of the bullcrap with Hornswoggle and Aksana and just have Guerrero’s men walk into Long’s office and get put in the match that way, we can have more of this match. This match had potential! This match had a lot going for it, but it definitely could have been 5-star material with another five minutes. I like that the announcers acknowledged the cessation of Daniel Bryan’s losing streak, but Daniel Bryan didn’t look at the briefcase like it was a curse. It’s the little things, folks. If you’re going to be selling the fact that you’ve been on a losing streak “because” of the briefcase, KEEP DOING IT. Eh, what do I know, maybe he was distracted by the Shawn/Bret thing. I would love to see a two out of three submissions only match between these two. I think the “submissions only” thing is the only thing that seems a little far fetched at this point. I don’t think it’s unrealistic to see some sort of continuation of this feud.
Match Grade: A-
Damnit, Michael Cole
You know, it may have been entertaining if they were different pictures. These were the same ones on Raw, and Cole tried to play it up like they weren’t. The fact that I gave this segment more than two sentences is appalling.
Segment Grade: F
The World Heavyweight Championship Situation is addressed…kind of
Um, this wasn’t exactly the official word I was waiting for regarding this situation. Don’t get me wrong, it was a great moment between both of these colossal contenders, and here again we have the reverse build for a “Big 4” Pay Per View, but it wasn’t exactly Teddy Long coming out with a ruling. It was a “Hey guess what Teddy said” thing, and it was a bit lackluster. The actual dialogue work between these two along with the final stand off was very nicely done, and again, I’m looking forward to a match between these two. A lot can be said for intensity in a promo, and the Big Show has a ton of intensity.
Segment Grade: B-
Christian vs. CM Punk
Has CM Punk made waves? He’s main eventing this program, and Randy Orton is not. Say what you want about Orton being in a feud with a midcard worker in Rhodes, but Randy Orton had nothing to do with this main event, and CM Punk was given a special “one night only” match on Smackdown. Here is another match that could have been put on a Pay Per View (without the ending). The announce team built this up nicely throughout the night, plugging them as the best workers in the ring as well as the best talkers. That kind of build can make a match seem like a big deal, and while there was nothing but pride on the line, both competitors made it seem like a great deal more was at stake. I didn’t foresee del Rio or Sheamus coming out to interfere, and I think that speaks more to how spellbound I was by watching two of the greatest of our generation perform in the ring than anything else. That being said, I was surprised when they did and that made the ending part much more enjoyable. I thought Christian was going to win when del Rio came out and distracted Punk (and how about the Brood throwback with the Impaler?) but then it kept going until Sheamus came out. I think that’s the key to multiple run ins and having it not look over booked. If people keep coming out one after another, then it looks overbooked. There was enough time in between del Rio and Sheamus coming out that I thought del Rio was the only one that was going to have an impact on the match. Nicely done, and now I have to think about whether this match or Orton/Ziggler wins match of the night.
Match Grade: A+
In-Ring Action: A+ What an awesome night of wrestling on Smackdown. You can’t go through the card tonight and tell me that there was a crappy match. Mid card, main event, and tag team wrestling was highlighted, and even the Wade Barrett match, which was probably the lowest ranked match, delivered. I think match of the night is going to go to Orton and Ziggler because it was a clean match. Even though Cody Rhodes and Vickie Guerrero were at ringside, none of them became a distracting point in the match.
Out-of-Ring Action: A- Even Michael Cole’s antics couldn’t take away from the fact that there wasn’t a whole lot of talking and the talking that happened was relevant. Also, Cody Rhodes on commentary completely negated the fact that Hornswoggle appeared on my show. I’ve now typed that littler runt’s name three times and I’m disgusted. Anyways, the one person I’m looking forward to hearing more from is Wade Barrett. I’ve always been a fan of how he is on the stick, and I think the second best (Nexus being the Best) is yet to come from the Bareknuckle Pugilist.
Overall: A Excellent and solid showing from the Blue Crew tonight. I think the World Heavyweight Championship matter needed to be a little more formally discussed, but hey it was what it was. Now I know we’re going to see a proper rematch for the title and they’re still giving the angle life so we’re not tired of it. I was a huge fan of tonight’s show, and I hope that this is a good sign of things to come. If Raw can get it straight over there, we could have a pretty decent product on our hands. However, Raw wasn’t piss poor this last week. I liked Zack Ryder being taken out of the equation and Laurinatis telling Awesome Truth to get out. The fact that Johnny Ace got a pop shows you how much Awesome Truth is over.
Outside the Blog Zone
Last night, I wrestled for another promotion called NTWA (North Texas Wrestling Alliance), and let me just say this: Anti-American gimmicks ALWAYS WORK in America. I was recruited to join a stable called the Asian Nation (featuring former WWE Developmental Talent Kenny Li, known down here as Li Fang), and we’re out to show that Asians aren’t just Anime, Chinese Food Boxes, and Godzilla, but we’re able to kick some a–. Next week, the blog might be a little bit late because I have a show, but if I’m off from work, then it’ll be up before 3 P.M. CST on Saturday. Next week, MPX Presents Consequences, and Danny Saint and I will do battle…why? Because that rat cost me the MPX Championship, Damnit! Until next week, thank you for making me your CHOICE for Smackdown blogging.