I’m realizing that I have almost zero time to watch wrestling anymore. Couple that with the fact that a lot of what’s going on in WWE is barely holding my interest, and I find that I’m losing my passion for the biz…not that I’m losing my passion for being a part of the business and getting between the ropes and doing my thing, but I’m really losing passion for WWE. I don’t know if it’s the lack of quality angles or the fact that certain ones keep getting recycled (see below: Rhodes/Sin Cara), or maybe it’s the fact that in ring skill is SO far from the focus of the higher ups. I know in ring skill has never been been the primary key to success in this industry, but it’s like nobody cares about ring work in the slightest, save for the “smart” cities of Philly, New York, and Chicago. Anyways, I’ll try to find myself again through this blog, but don’t expect anything spectacular. Are we ready? Let’s get to SMACKDOWN!
While the sight of Booker T in a tux really doesn’t shock me, I’m not going to lie that he looked REALLY out of place. I’m not entirely sure that I can buy into Booker “being fair” by making Sheamus apologize when later in the show he bullies Eve around. What I did buy into was del Rio in this segment. Okay, maybe it was just the last couple of minutes, but when he accepted the World Heavyweight Championship match, it had a big match feel to it. I was skeptical about giving away SummerSlam (really throughout the night), but what happened later was acceptable. Oh, another criticism: I don’t want him finishing off every promo with his catchphrase. I can’t dig that, Sucka.
Segment Grade: B-
Sin Cara vs. Cody Rhodes
Okay, Cody’s promo was decent, really, it was. My problem is that they’re recycling the mask angle. And when you have only two Superstars that wear a mask, I suppose you kind of have to, but I feel that this was all kind of out of the blue. Rhodes didn’t have some odd obsession with Sin Cara before this match – he was thrown into it after Booker took issue with him. So really, in my mind, it doesn’t make sense for Rhodes to lose the match because he’s obsessed with taking the mask off. On top of that, it’s Cody Rhodes with the mask issues again. At least give me a different Superstar! As for the match itself, it wasn’t nearly as bad as the Sin Cara matches we’ve come to expect – until the end. Whatever Sin Cara tried to do to get into the sunset flip position looked insanely awkward, and if I didn’t know better, I would have pinned this on Rhodes not holding Sin Cara up. I do know better, however, and I’m sure there was some form of miscommunication. The intent was in the right place, and now it looks like Rhodes and Sin Cara are going to be involved in the Rey Mysterio/Cody Rhodes angle from a year and a half ago.
Match Grade: C+
Who’s mentally unstable?
Ehhhh…I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again – the good thing about a psychopathic monster like Kane is that you don’t need a reason to throw him into an angle. The bad thing about a psychopathic monster like Kane is that you don’t need a reason to throw him into an angle. I know the premise of this “past relationship” (which never actually existed) with AJ is supposed to be the center point, but it really just doesn’t make sense. At least we’ve established firmly that Kane is a face here, and just when I thought AJ was going to end up dropping her “crazy chick” gimmick, she’s still being crazy. Given her new role as GM, I really like that. I’m giving this a higher grade than it should get for the effort that creative put into trying to make this a high stakes match at SummerSlam.
Segment Grade: B
Reks and Hawkins try to get an opportunity
The only thing I took away from this is that WWE acknowledged the fact that Tyler Reks had a surfer gimmick in the past. Win for them. But what was Reks’ other job? Translator for Yoshi Tatsu?
Segment Grade: C
Jinder Mahal vs. NAMELESS JOBBERS
Wow. These two don’t even get a name graphic. So, anybody remember the last time we had two “squash monsters” one up each other? Ezekiel Jackson and Vladimir Kozlov. Where are they? Still, I think it’s a more interesting twist than just having Mahal constantly running away and Ryback trying to chase him.
Match Grade: SQUASH
THE HIGH(low)LIGHT REEL
Maybe it’s the fact that I watched this episode on an extraordinarily good HD screen, but good Lord, Jericho and Vickie look OLD. I mean, Jericho looks like the Legends he was disposing of a couple of years ago. Okay, this is going to be confusing: I like that they acknowledged Reks’ surfer days – but they did that in a subtle, “Those who know, know” kind of way. I despise it when wrestlers act like their previous gimmicks are alter egos. I understand Jericho can do whatever he wants, but this was just such a cheesy way to fully turn face. C’mon. Y2J is back? I was unaware that Y2J actually left. I’m not a huge fan of the “change of heart” gimmick either. I didn’t like it when Christian did it, and I’m not a fan of Y2J doing it either…alas, it is what it is and at least we have a cemented face and heel. I like the angle, though! I like the “veteran/upstart” angle, and I think it’ll be a fantastic match at SummerSlam. Nice way to end this segment, too.
Segment Grade: B+
Primetime Players vs. The Colon Cousins
Ladies and gentlemen…this episode marks the LAST episode we’ll see Abraham Washington on WWE programming. Oh well. A lot of people can claim politics, but you know, with great power comes great responsibility, and AW – with a live mic – should not have gone anywhere’s near that joke. Then again, I blame the WWE for doing something so stupid as to give a guy a headset mic DURING a match. Oh, this was a match? Uh…right. Weird ending, and I guess we’ll see PTP vs. R-Boom at SummerSlam? Where do the Colons fit in all of this? I like them a lot more than PTP.
Match Grade: C
Antonio Cesaro vs. Christian
Okay, I’m a much bigger fan of Cesaro speaking all of these different languages and then saying that we’re not supposed to understand him. That’s a much better angle to approach him from. On top of that, he had a good match! It was a competitive match, and while that kind of came out of nowhere, I’m glad to see it. The fallaway suplex bridge? Awesome move. It looked like Christian landed Swiss Death in a believable manner, as well. But hey, that’s what happens when you have a good vet like Christian against a guy with a lot of “WWE-style” potential. I’m intrigued by the ending to this match – it seems like Cesaro might have something with Christian before he challenges for a mid-card belt. I’m okay with that.
Match Grade: B+
Eve gets “Fair” treatment
Woo. Kaitlyn and Eve. That’s a show-stealer. Maybe I’d feel different if I’d seen Kaitlyn in a match on a major program. Probably not.
Segment Grade: C-
Rey Mysterio vs. The Miz
So this seems to be the episode for random matches. I suppose I don’t mind that…I don’t have to think about why this person is facing this person and motives and whatnot. It’s like an old school episode of WWF Superstars (on Saturday mornings!). As it is, the ending to this match makes me think that Miz and Mysterio (haha, Miz-terio) will be starting something. I can’t imagine either of these two being without an angle for too long. I liked Miz’ work in this match, particularly his continued selling of his leg, even as he went for the Miz-line. I question the finish of the match though – Mysterio doesn’t need to win with a roll-up, looking desperate. Ah well, more answers next week, right?
Match Grade: B
World Heavyweight Championshi—PSYCH.
Well, that was unexpected…but again, we’ve seen this angle before, right? Fake cops, attempted arrests, beating of thugs? It’s old hat. It did do the trick, however, of raising the stakes and making it about more than just the title. I still am not a huge fan of the cross arm breaker being del Rio’s ultimate finishing move, but that’s personal preference.
Segment Grade: B-
In-Ring Action: C+ I saw a couple of good matches in Christian/Cesaro and Miz-terio, but the tag match, lack of an actual main event, and squash match dulled this down for me. I do like the idea of trying to build new angles in the last half of the year, but I wasn’t emotionally invested enough in these matches to really care that much. As these programs develop, I will be.
Out-of-Ring Action: C That whole bit with Reks and Hawkins was odd, and none of the other segments really got me going except for the Highlight Reel. I felt AJ was a little off of her game, and again, the rest of the segments were just poorly executed. I still don’t like the idea of backstage segments in Booker’s office, and I don’t want to see the mask angle recycled with Rhodes.
Overall: C I’m all for building new angles, but I question the timing. It’s two weeks before SummerSlam…are they planning on cramming these matches in somewhere? Did they realize that they don’t have enough of an undercard to build to their main events? I’d love to see how the go home goes down next week.
Outside the Blog Zone
So, I completely forgot that I’m going to Raw tomorrow in Dallas. I’m glad I already got my ticket. Hopefully, seeing a live event will renew my passion for writing this blog. Until next week, when we go home to SummerSlam, thank you for making me your CHOICE for Smackdown blogging!