I apologize for not having blogged last week. I asked Guy to expound upon Smackdown more in his Rundown, but from all accounts and watchings, there wasn’t a lot to expound upon, sadly. I was out of town, and have returned an engaged man. Since my now-fiance reads these from time to time, I hope you’ll all understand that I couldn’t exactly say I was going to go propose. NOW, since I’m back, there seems to be a lot that’s happened in good ol’ WWE, most notably, especially for this episode of Smackdown, we have new tag team champs. I will dub the team of Daniel Bryan and Kane The Psych Ward until a better name shows up. Alright, are we ready? Let’s get to SMACKDOWN!
Livin’ on the Edge
I feel like ever since the Raw Guest Star thing died out, WWE has been taking extra care to NOT make the focus of a show around a special appearance. Thus we have this…thing that happened. Edge’s sole purpose for being here was to be a catalyst for a sequence of events for The Psych Ward. I feel that this segment went on entirely too long, or rather, that Sandow took way too long in coming out to interrupt it. The one shining moment I found in it was Kane saying that he was going to rectify all of the wrong doings Edge did him…and then he embraced him. Okay, fine, if THIS is the direction you want to take Kane, that’s great, just make sure it’s CONSISTENT. On that note, is there any better microcosm representative of what WWE has become than Kane? Inconsistent, strange booking choices, and just when you think things are going to get better and (admittedly) more violent, we get a hugging, Rated-G spot. Heh…G Spot. ANYWAYS, Sandow’s entrance here was sensible, and the man garners so much heat when he arrives that I’m almost afraid that all of his words get lost amidst crowd noise. Then again, all of the crowd noise I heard on MY recording could very well have been piped in.
Segment Grade: C+
Damien Sandow vs. Kane
I don’t know necessarily that I can call this a match, as it was really just a fist fight with one sidewalk slam thrown in there by Kane. I know the idea was to set up the entire episode to be centered around our champs, and this match did do that. I was a bit perplexed by the ending of the match, but in the scope of the whole episode, it made sense. I’m glad Sandow (and later Rhodes) got the win with a finishing move instead of just a cheap roll up.
Match Grade: C+
Again, if you’re going to take this direction with Kane, make sure it’s consistent. It’s painful to watch the man that was once the Devil’s Favorite Demon, a man who used to cut articulate, meaningful promos be reduced to an “Do Not, Do Too” arguement, but it fits with what they’re doing with him now. I thought it was quite odd that Dr. Shelby was stationed right in front of the storage crate that Daniel Bryan used to hide in, but in retrospect, this entire segment was quite odd. Dr. Shelby losing his cool for a second was a nice touch, and it seems that most of the verbal sparring between Kane and Bryan is improvised. Both men are taking to their roles really well and are adding in little nuances that can actually make this more entertaining than I could have ever imagined.
Segment Grade: B
Booker and Alberto
My big problem with this was that Booker made it seem like the tag match was big, breaking news when it had been announced at the top of the show. I suppose the big news was that Booker was going to consider giving ADR another shot if they won?
Segment Grade: C-
Layla vs. Natalya
One of my friends told me that the Divas’ match at Night of Champions was actually something watchable. The last couple of Divas’ matches I’d watched had been watchable. I got excited that this one would be too…and it wasn’t. I guess it wasn’t your usual “duck the line, roll up, win” sequence, but it was not anything special. This is what I would call a “TV Match.” That means it’s a match that you have to watch on TV to get the full effect of becuase of something like Eve on commentary. Not that Eve was stellar on the mic or anything, but her addition made the match a little more sensible. If you’re watching this live, it’s pretty much a dud.
Match Grade: C
Alberto del Rio and Dolph Ziggler vs. Sheamus and Randy Orton
Ah yes, the main event…wait. Just when I thought I’d be done with this blog early, I realize that this is the hour one main event. This was a great tag match, although Orton seemed a little bit too much on the cheesy face side of things than I think is necessary for his character. It’s hard to pick which one of the faces should be the damsel in the match, and Orton and Sheamus were able to do a good enough job to both get a hot tag. With Sheamus getting the pinfall over Ziggler, I’m lead to believe that we may be in for a rematch of both del Rio/Sheamus and Orton/Ziggler for Hell in a Cell.
Match Grade: B+
Daniel Bryan vs. Cody Rhodes
Really? Until the end of the show, I was a bit confused as to this supposed heel/heel matchup, but Bryan can wear many hats, so I guess I shouldn’t have been concerned. Just like the earlier match, this was just a means to an end, and that end was Kane’s pyro. I find it funny that Bryan was able to hold on to the first part of the No Lock for such a very long time before Kane’s in ring pyro pulled him off. On the topic of “little things,” I find it funny that WWE is always able to make a pyro blast one of the most distracting and powerful things a wrestler has to deal with.
Match Grade: C+
The Psych Ward at it again
It’s key that Dr. Shelby wasn’t around for this one as Bryan and Kane were able to temporarily resolve their dispute and come together for a brief moment by themselves. Hats off to whoever thought of both of them completing each other’s sentences and then coming together for the “TONIGHT!” challenge at Sandow and Rhodes. Again, as long as we’re limited to this kind of exposure for these two, this tandem can be highly entertaining. All of the anger management segments before, all of the silliness of hugging it out just may very well be worth it if we can get this Bi-Polar Brotherhood over.
Segment Grade: B
Brodus Clay vs. Heath Slater
I’m watching this match, just thinking it’s another Brodus Clay squash-a-thon, and then WHAT THE HECK?! Jinder Mahal, Drew McIntyre, and Heath Slater forming a stable?! Is that what’s going on here? I need some clarification because I’m shocked that something like this could be going on. I’ll be the first to admit that the trio is, in itself, a little weird. It’s no “United Kingdom” a la WWE ’12, that’s for sure. Heath Slater tweeted earlier today “I’m going to take over the @WWE.” All I could think was, “Not with that ridiculous hip swivel crap, sir.” Mahal, McIntyre, and Slater beatdown on Clay like a dominant force…and then Slater ruins it all with his swivelly stuff. Act dominant, look dominant. And with his conspicuous absence this week, one might wonder if Wade Barrett has a hand to play in this?
Match Grade: SQUASH…?
Segment Grade: B
Santino Marella vs. Antonio Cesaro
Very short match that one would think was just filler…except for what happened at the end. I thought that the Cobra being left a little outside of Aksana’s reach was very accidental and that they botched an inconsequential part of the match…then Aksana tumbled into the ring. What a very odd time for Cesaro to dump Aksana – it wasn’t as if this had been teased for a few weeks. I guess it’s one strike and you’re out with him, eh? At any rate, I understand that they probably want to get Cesaro over on his own, maybe to push him further (although I’m afraid he might not be able to at this point), but does Aksana just get shoved to the dark depths of no-booking-land? I guess so…
Match Grade: SQUASH…?
Segment Grade: B
The Psych Ward vs. Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow
I wouldn’t mind seeing a legit tag team of Rhodes and Sandow. Anyways, that’s not what this match was about. I was a bit confused as to why the tag teams were around the ring, brushing it aside as just a way to spice things up since we’ve seen these four three times tonight. They weren’t really lumberjacks because Rhodes was able to get knocked out, go get a chair, and still return unscathed. The DQ finish confused me as well…but all things came full circle tonight.
Match Grade: B-
You and me…so happy together…
I’m not going to lie, this ending segment made it all worth it. Sure, all of the chairshots were to the back and gut, which is way toned down from what ol’ Balls Mahoney and Axl Rotten used to do, but in this day and age? This was GOLD. I suppose that since the average attention span of a wrestling fan is not going to last over the course of three shows, the entire tandem that is Daniel Bryan and Kane came together during this two hour show. The pop was there when Daniel smiled and handed Kane the chair, the tension, the drama was all present as you saw these two come together in perfect, (toned-down) violent harmony. The icing on this cake? They went right back to bickering after the chaos was finished.
Segment Grade: A+
In-Ring Action: B- Okay, so three of the matches involved the same four participants, but since it was all a part of a storyline arc, I can very easily forgive it. On top of that, every single match tonight served a purpose in either building or continuing an IMPORTANT angle. Let me clarify – the Ryback/Jinder Mahal stuff wasn’t really an important angle. This stuff with Clay and whatever Slater’s got going on could be landscape changing. Cesaro breaking off with Aksana is certainly newsworthy. Even Layla and Eve, while definitely a “TV Angle,” was built up during tonight’s broadcast.
Out-of-Ring Action: B Our time with Booker was limited, and except for the opening segment with Edge (sad to say that that was my least favorite part of the show), each of the other Kane and Bryan segments was pretty good.
Overall: B Like I said, the final segment brought everything together for me. What started out as a very lackluster show that I didn’t think was going anywhere turned into one of my favorite episodes in quite some time. I haven’t really had an entertaining show like that since Edge was an actual regular on the program. I’m sure some of you will disagree, but as I look back on what I watched, I realize how I liked that a storyline took over the course of the show, integrated funny promos and decent enough ring work to push the point across. I do wonder where Wade Barrett was, but maybe we’ll see him next week.
Outside the Blog Zone
In my absence last week, I also had to delay my big MPX News. On our November 10th show, Metroplex Wrestling will proudly be bringing CURRENT Impact Wrestling star ROBBIE E to the Dallas area, and, in what will be his final appearance in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, MPX will have JERRY F’N LYNN in the house. That’s huge news for us, and hopefully, we’ll get our biggest crowd EVER. Until next week, though, thanks for making me your CHOICE for Smackdown blogging!