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.
WrestleMania has come and gone, and well…it was very polarizing. I’ve heard some people love it, extoling the End of an Era and Best in the World Matches as some of the greatest bouts ever, and some, like a certain promoter for an Austin based wrestling company, claimed the Pay Per View to be a reason to have low expectations and that Punk/Jericho was a boring waste of 20 minutes. I’m in between, but definitely leaning more towards the positive end of things. Minus the first hour of the Pay Per View, I feel like my money (a $5 cover charge plus food) was well spent. If anyone is my friend on Facebook, I asked this question: To those of you that had negative feelings on WrestleMania, were you watching it as a fan? Or were you watching it as someone that believes they’re God’s gift to professional wrestling? One of my favorite wrestlers to follow on Twitter is “The King of Old School” Steve Corino (@SteveCorino). That man watches each event as a fan and approaches each event like a pro. He still believes and he can still “mark out” when it calls for it. He’s got to be one of the coolest people to watch wrestling with. Now we move from The Rock to Brock – and I’ve NEVER been a huge Brock Lesnar fan WITHOUT Heyman. Heyman was a mouthpiece, and Brock really needs a mouthpiece. But we’ll see where it goes. Alright, we have a new Era on Friday nights, so are we ready? Let’s get to SMACKDOWN!
Okay, the robe that Otunga wore was pretty awesome. I have been wondering how they were going to handle the GM situation over here, and it looks like Teddy Long is going to be put through the humiliation run – although, we never, ever heard what his actual job was going to be. Everyone remember John Cena being owned, literally, by The Nexus? I imagine it will be something like that. Oh, but where was Aksana? Well, we can’t have her in the scene if we’re going to MENTION HIS GRANDCHILDREN. Anyways, I have no problems with kayfabe including someone’s family into roles, because it definitely makes ol’ Johnny Ace seem like that much more of a jerk.
Segment Grade: A
Otunga/Henry vs. R-Truth
Well, this is interesting. Not so much the R-Truth squashing, but the fact that Mark Henry was the one that practically dominated this match and then gave the pin to Otunga plants the seed for…something. I don’t want to say a Mark Henry face turn is on the horizon (as we know, Henry was highly against a face turn), but I have the feeling that all Mark did was push back the inevitable and hurt himself in the process. The match itself was okay as far as handicap matches go, but there’s not really a creative way to book a handicap match – either the plus team completely destroys one guy, or the one guy (usually Cena or Orton) comes from out of nowhere to win.
Match Grade: C+
Randy Orton vs. Kane – No Disqualification
Okay, I liked the finish and the overall work of the WrestleMania match between these two – but shouldn’t it have been reversed? I’d be okay with the No DQ stip at Mania and then the regular revenge match on Smackdown. Out of the two, I think this one was the more solid, more emotionally connected match, but the ending was pretty paltry. I understand nailing your head against the exposed steel (which I did during a training session this week; I have a scar!), but I’m not a huge fan of someone taking the corner Bret Hart style (chest first), and having that be the decisive blow. I know there was an RKO, but it was sold like the exposed corner was Kane’s undoing. Aside from that, this match was everything a great No DQ match should be in this PG-Era. We had a ramp spot, a chair spot, outside spots – it was all inclusive. The only question now is…where do we go from here?
Match Grade: B+
RYBACK vs. Any-Indy-Wrestler-After-Three-Weeks-of-Training-Man
Honestly, that promo by Barry Stevens had to be the most pathetic sounding heel promo since…Colin Delaney? And this was much worse. I think that actually hurt the reaction that Ryback was supposed to get. I don’t even know how to really describe that guy’s promo, so we’ll just move on to RYBACK. This is a lot different than the hillbilly Skip Sheffield. Again, I think Stevens’ promo hurt how Ryback was supposed to come off, and on top of that, I don’t know if the Universe is ready for a monster face that has no build up. I’m not sure what to make of the Superstars laughing in the back, especially since it seemed to be a clip played on loop, but I’m displaying a foolish amount of faith in the Smackdown booking team. I like what Ryback did as far as squashes go, and I like the Muscle Buster-esque finishing maneuver.
Match Grade: SQUASH
AJ is Kicked to the Curb…and I happen to be driving by…
How do you take one of your best heels who’s been getting a ridiculous face reaction, and make people boo him again? You play the break up angle and you turn him into a verbally abusive boyfriend. Or at least you try. Yes, Daniel Bryan got a heel reaction as he was yelling at AJ (and a ton of wrestlers past and present on Twitter showed her some creepy support…including Marty Jannetty), but AJ got the “Na-na-na-na” treatment going out of the ring. I found the display by the former champion to be disgusting, and I will gladly step up and defend AJ’s honor, especially since Daniel made her cry. She was so distraught that Kaitlyn had to blow off an interview for her on Backstage Fallout. Where are they going with this? I would love to see someone else take up for AJ and step up to Daniel Bryan (Justin Gabriel? Trent Barretta? Guy Landau?), but I have a sinking feeling that this is the last we’ll be seeing of AJ for a while. Daniel Bryan has regained momentum after that embarassing 18 second display at Mania, and I like that they’re going to play off of that.
Segment Grade: A+
Big Show vs. Heath Slater
The story here of course is that Cody’s going to be itching for a rematch, which he’ll likely get at Extreme Rules. There wasn’t much to say about this one – a typical squash match to make good ol’ Show look like the champ that he is. The little spat between Show and Rhodes wasn’t anything super interesting, but it lets you know that they’re not done yet.
Match Grade: SQUASH
The new Champ faces adversity from authority
I suppose this was okay for a first appearance by Sheamus as World Heavyweight Champion. Sheamus just doesn’t EXCITE me as a champion. He looks like a guy that should win every single match and there’s not really a person that looks like they should be able to challenge him. After Daniel Bryan and del Rio, who else do we see him against? We haven’t seen Sheamus/Kane…but I really don’t want to. If Christian is healthy, that wouldn’t be a terrible option – but we’ve seen it already. Could this be where Cody Rhodes finally steps up to the main event scene? Now that…is a possibility.
Segment Grade: C+
Nikki Bella vs. Beth Phoenix
Soooo, Nikki’s a face because she was on Team Teddy. Yeah, I don’t think the crowd got that either. At least they didn’t have Kelly being all buddy buddy with Nikki. I suppose we’re getting ready to see Kelly vs. Beth again, just with no Natalya at Beth’s side. Eh. I could care less…until Kharma gets back.
Match Grade: D
What, what, what is this? Sure, we’ve had heels comment on the lower status of people, how they are lesser humans because of their heritage…but to comment on the actual education and morality? Okay, yeah, we’ve seen that before too…but I’m somewhat excited for this – as long as they don’t drop the ball on this like they did with Johnny Curtis, he should be just fine. Never seen him in the ring – does anyone have any knowledge for me?
Alberto del Rio vs. Sheamus
For a guy who hasn’t been in the ring in about six months in front of a TV audience, del Rio did alright here. Once del Rio gets back into the swing of things, I can see this being an entertaining feud. Since the Daniel Bryan stuff isn’t finished yet, a triple threat match doesn’t seem too far out of the realm of possibility. I’m wondering what the refs did wrong this week to earn some beat downs. Lil Naitch gets chokeslammed and Patton gets Brogue Kicked. WWE.com seems to be playing up the fact that Sheamus keeps Brogue Kicking people for no reason, so I’ll be interested to see where they go with it for Extreme Rules. It’s good to see that del Rio can get back in the ring and go again, and hopefully he can go at a high pace so that he can have a meaningful program.
Match Grade: B
In-Ring Action: B- There were a couple of squash matches here, one was to build a champion, one was to build a new talent, but I’m still not a fan of two in a show. The rest of it was actually really decent – I liked the main event and the No DQ match. Hopefully Kane and Orton are through with each other, but I don’t really see where they could go from here – which is usually what battle royals for number one contender spots are for.
Out-Of-Ring Action: B+ I’m higher up on this category because I was looking forward to seeing what programs would emerge coming out of WrestleMania. We’re keeping Big Show/Cody and potentially Bryan/Sheamus, but there are a myriad of possibilities and a whole lot of questions that come from this episode of Smackdown.
Overall: B Not a bad episode coming off of WrestleMania. I’m glad we’re getting right to bringing in some new names, and while I don’t expect them to be terribly relevant any time soon, at least the initiative is being shown. I do feel that the program with Orton and Kane is through, as this seemed to be a blow off match, and the addition of del Rio to the World Heavyweight Championship scene makes for a bit of variance and potentially a smooth transition in programs for Sheamus. There are some questions to be answered though, such as what Teddy Long’s role is going to be, and that’s what a good program should do – it should make you ask questions and want to see what the answers are next week.
Outside of the Blog Zone
Well, another MPX show is next week, but I don’t think I’m booked…that’s okay, because I’m always for coming out and supporting the boys just by being there. Also, I’m glad none of us in Texas died because of the tornados this week. What a crazy week weather wise. Anyways, until WEDNESDAY after the Old School Smackdown Special, thank you for making me your CHOICE for Smackdown blogging!