DISCLAIMER: THIS IS A BLOG, NOT A NEWS ARTICLE. THE FOLLOWING WRITINGS ARE THE OPINIONS OF A STAFF WRITER OF WRESTLING NEWS WORLD. THEY DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF THE OWNER OR THE OTHER MEMBERS OF STAFF. ALSO: COMMENTS ARE WELCOME AS LONG AS THEY PROVOKE MEANINGFUL CONVERSATION OR CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM. GRAMMAR/SPELLING IS SUBJECT TO RIDICULE.
Well, more and more matches are taking shape for WrestleMania. Instead of a Divas Championship match, we get celebrity Maria Menounous. NOW, I just want everyone to be aware this is not going to be the clusterf— that Snooki was last year. M-Double has a desire to learn the art of professional wrestling – I remember her saying she may want to be a full time Diva. I like how they built the celebrity angle away from WWE and made it more of a mainstream media thing. I still hope for a Kharma appearance. Instead of a Tag Championship match, R-Boom/Hip Hop Express are part of Team Teddy. Will they do like they did a few years ago and make the Tag Championship match a dark match? I just think it’s wrong that so many titles are being left un-defended at WrestleMania. I’m glad that the Intercontinental Championship is being defended. We’re going full speed ahead to WrestleMania, and tonight, only one segment was not dedicated to the big dance. Are we ready? Let’s get to SMACKDOWN!
The Uncomfortable AJ
I went back and forth for a while about whether I liked this segment or not. Rather, I went back and forth on whether I was a fan of AJ’s mic skills or not. After some thinking, I decided that it was a subtle touch to make AJ sound really awkward on the mic – unfortunately, those who have the inability to detect subtlety will not appreciate that. I think what really sold me on it was when Danny Boy (hahahaha) told her to tell everyone about how he was as a lover. I threw up in my mouth, too, Sheamus. I thought the “It’s not Danny, my name is DANIEL” thing was a nice touch. Anyways, Daniel Bryan is turning a very dark corner with his mental and verbal manipulation of AJ, and the best way I can see it culminating is in a powder keg type scenario, where all of Bryan’s B.S. and self-centeredness pushes AJ to the edge. I enjoyed Sheamus’ short and sweet mic work, and the fact that people can now chant Danny Boy (and how did we not see that sooner?) is a plus. These kind of short promos by Sheamus are exactly what he needs to get by – no drawn out comparisons to an old Irish folk tale; we get it, he’s Irish.
Segment Grade: A
Mark Henry vs. R-Truth
I like the build they’re giving to Johnny vs. Teddy. If I were booking things, I would definitely have the 12-Man Tag open the event. The Winning GM should then have some sort of impact on something later in the night (although they specifically said tonight that the Winning GM would start responsibilities on the night after WM). Also, can anyone else see del Rio and Mysterio coming back for Johnny and Teddy respectively? It seems so obvious…anyways, this match, like many matches in this GM War involving Mark Henry, was a foregone conclusion. I was somewhat confused as to why they had to have Mark win this match clean until the rest of the evening’s matches came to pass. It’s nice to see Mark get back to his “Angry, Unpredictable Man” schtick and not his “complain about everything” persona. “That could be you! You could be next!”
Match Grade: B-
Ryder on Team Teddy? I get and support that. Making it that he was only on there because he got Khali to join too? I do not approve. I mean, from a booking perspective, adding Khali makes perfect sense. You’re starting to rebuild and re-introduce him, so getting him into this match is the right move. Unfortunately, he just doesn’t belong in the ring. He can’t sell anything and he has to rely on his opponents’ selling to make him look good. On that note, did anyone else notice that Kofi sold the crap out of the fist bump?
Segment Grade: C
AJ vs. Brie Bella
Again, this match was more about Daniel Bryan’s evolution as a heel character than it was about AJ – which is kind of the point of Daniel Bryan’s heel character. The match itself wasn’t that bad, although the finish was very poorly executed. I had to rewatch it to see what actually happened. I had thought Brie just randomly attacked Nikki but she actually rainbowed (noticeably and purposely missed the clothesline) AJ in what was supposed to look like a miscue. I’m glad AJ’s getting these wins although they don’t really mean anything until after WrestleMania. The post match stuff between Nikki and Brie was just…bizarre. It garnered no more interest in the GM War than I already had.
Match Grade: C
Zack Ryder w/Hornswoggle vs. Jack Swagger w/Vickie Guerrero
This was a pretty decent match and it again builds properly for the 12-Man. I’m hoping that both Swagger and Ryder break out (for Ryder, break out again) after WrestleMania, but I’m more hopeful for Ryder than I am for Swagger. Swagger needs Vickie more than Ziggler does, and I just see Ziggler moving on eventually. If they can keep a main event Ziggler and a mid card Swagger together as a successful team under Vickie, then I’ll be pleasantly impressed and surprised. Back to the match, I wish the ending wasn’t so obvious. If managers get involved, I like for their to be a reason – in other words, I wasn’t a huge fan of Hornswoggle just randomly chasing up Vickie’s skirt, leading to the inevitable distraction. Let Vickie distract Zack, then let Hornswoggle do his thing. I’m just saying it was a little too “duh” for my liking. The match was still good and the right guy went over, especially after the Team Johnny guy won earlier.
Match Grade: B+
Cody Rhodes at 1:09 PM
I may be the only one covering Smackdown (announcer included) that noticed that Cody said he had a plane to catch. I don’t know if that was just a made up excuse by Cody to end the interview (it didn’t seem like he had this speech written down beforehand, if you know what I mean), or if the announce team didn’t catch it. They didn’t mention it later on either. Anyways, the rest of the promo was decent, with the April Fool’s reference and all.
Segment Grade: B+
Kane vs. The Big Show
This was a lot better than their match on Raw (was that when that was? The less than 3 minute blah-fest? The days are blurring together). Double clotheslines as a double down suck, but this one was even worse. Anyways, the match did have more ups and downs, and it seemed to do a better job of putting both men over as legitimate monsters and threats. Monday’s match seemed way more about Big Show. So, here’s where that whole “catching a plane” thing comes into play. Cody comes from out of nowhere and nobody seems to realize that Cody should be gone or something. I’m looking back and I’m probably overreacting to this, but it’s just a little annoyance that played itself out strangely. I’m okay with the DQ finish, and I’m glad both programs got built up here. Randy’s been getting the advantage over Kane a lot lately, hopefully at some point next week, either Raw or Smackdown, Kane fires back in a big way leading up to WrestleMania.
Match Grade: B-
Heath Slater vs. “The Funkasaurus” Brodus Clay
It’s a shame that Clay has behavioral issues backstage, because I like the his demeanor. I like the idea of his opponent getting in offense and that triggering the old monster Brodus, and then after the match, he goes ahead and plays around. That’s what a guy like Brodus needs to be able to be taken seriously. This match had just enough offense from Slater to not warrant it a squash, although that’s really what it amounted to. It seems like Clay’s last two opponents have been able to get more than a few shots in before falling victim to his body mass. With Vince’s constant mind change around this character, I don’t think you can put too much into that. On another note, I was not a huge fan of the cross body being used as a finisher, and I’m even less of a fan of a jumping splash being used. With Yokozuna being inducted this year (one of the most agile and ring savvy big, and I mean BIG, guys), maybe Brodus can take a few notes.
Match Grade: C+
The Great Khali vs. Dolph Ziggler
Usually I wouldn’t be okay with the weird double screwjob ending, but since we’re building up even more tension between GMs, I’ll accept it. Um, there’s not much to say about this match…Ziggler did his darndest to make Khali look good, but if I didn’t like a jumping splash as a finisher, I don’t like the fact that Ziggler sold the Brain Chop like it was a bowling ball to the skull. Oh well, it got the angle across.
Match Grade: D+
CM Punk and Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan and The Miz
I loved this match. Great tag team psychology and very well put together. I wouldn’t expect any less from these four, and I have to give props to Punk for letting Sheamus get the win on Smackdown. It’s those little things that I’m sure garner respect – it does no good for Punk to go over on Miz, and Sheamus should not get the win on Bryan before WrestleMania. On top of that, it’s Smackdown. CM Punk literally was a guest star on Smackdown, and he was booked as such, which was a good move. I wish Bryan and Miz had had a little bit more tension, since Bryan’s made no bones about the fact that he still doesn’t have a liking for his former NXT Pro. On the note of The Miz, he’s doing a great job being the WrestleMania-build jobber. I really wouldn’t be surprised if Miz gets left off of the card and ends up doing some ridiculous segment – or, that aforementioned GM Spot? I can see Team Johnny winning and then Johnny putting Miz in somewhere.
Match Grade: A
In-Ring Action: B- In ring action wasn’t terrible this week! A lot of it had to do with building WrestleMania (even the AJ thing, which had more to do with getting Bryan heat), and they weren’t stupidly short. Even the Khali/Ziggler match, which from a work standpoint wasn’t stellar, had a decent ending booked out of it. Four WrestleMania matches were built in-ring tonight, and for a two hour program, that’s pretty solid.
Out-of-Ring Action: B- This area wasn’t bad for the Blue Crew tonight either. The opening promo and the “earlier” interview with Cody went well. The Bella thing was just weird – so was the Team Teddy segment, but at least that accomplished something.
Overall: B- This was a very acceptable episode for two weeks away from WrestleMania. Like I said, four matches were built up in this program, and each was given the appropriate amount of time due to their place on the card. I’m now looking forward to the WHC match, and I think it’s now up there as a legitimate main event and not some undercard feud.
Outside the Blog Zone
There’s not a lot here to mention, except that MPX’ next show is the night before WrestleMania! Until next week, thank you for making me your CHOICE for Smackdown blogging!