As you may or may not know, I have not been keeping up with Raw since it went to three hours. Apparently I’m missing some good stuff over there. In watching the Raw Recaps, I’m enjoying the CM Punk/Cena stuff, somewhat enjoying the Team Hell No (stupid name) stuff, and hoping that Ryback can carry the ball that has been given him. Is it just me, or does the Team Hell No (stupid name) diner stuff look like they were shot by the TNA/Impact camera crew? Subtle shot? Or something different? Anyways, are we ready? Let’s get to SMACKDOWN!
Oh, Big Show’s Still Relevant
All things considered, this wasn’t a terrible segment. I couldn’t help but see this promo as two kids in grade school trash talking each other. “Nobody’s gonna make fun of me…” “I’m a mean guy!” …that kind of thing. Anyone who follows Orton on Twitter would probably have a hard time buying into his “Sadistic and dominant” claim. I somewhat understand where Show was trying to go with the “RKO” “KO” thing, but it came off as awkward. I like how Orton and del Rio are beginning their feud – it’s a very subtle way to get del Rio out of the WHC picture and right into another feud.
Segment Grade: B-
United States Championship: Antonio Cesaro (C) vs. Santino Marella
This was a fairly nice match that hopefully spelled the end to the Marella/Cesaro feud. Psychologically, it did a great job of showing that Cesaro has fought Santino enough times that he is adapting and adjusting to his offense. I thought briefly (when Santino accidentally threw the Cobra away), that they were going to finally separate Marella from that stupid puppet. I thought they would make the lack of a Cobra the reason for the loss, but alas no. Maybe my dreams will come true eventually, but for tonight, this was a very clean, very nice win for Cesaro, and if this is how this feud ends, I’d be happy.
Match Grade: B
Beth Phoenix vs. Natalya
They both get jobber entrances…they’re both technically heels…they both shake hands like faces…it’s in Buffalo. This had all the makings of the special farewell match for Beth Phoenix, although I had NO idea why this match was happening (is it because I don’t follow Raw anymore?). Given the quality of Divas’ matches we’ve all come to expect, I have to agree with the Twitter-verse and say this was a five star match (again, comparatively). It had a nice slow start, the eventual establishment of who was a heel and who was a face, good rest spots, and a great series of false finishes. Again, good tribute to Owen/Bret. I’m sure everyone in the smark community thought that this was how Beth was going to go out when Eve “indefinitely suspended” her.
Match Grade: A+
Reversal of Decision
HA! Joke’s on you guys. Anyways, kind of an odd thing to be the catalyst for dissention in the ranks, but it works. By “it works,” I really mean that it got the point across. The fact that Booker was stupid enough to believe the “Oh, that must mean TEDDY has it in for you!” line just insults (most of) our intelligence. I suppose they tried to build Eve up as a trustworthy character over the past few weeks, but even a child could tell she was up to something.
Segment Grade: C+
Wade Barrett vs. Zack Ryder
This was the first match that I saw Wade Barrett as a different character, a different person. His moveset was slightly different (there was no series of knees in the ropes followed by a boot), there was an increased sense of urgency from him, and just a different attitude. I still think his punching of the air and saying “BOOM” is silly, but a little less so now with this character. I also understand his need to sell merchandise, but I wish there was better entrance gear for him. I still got no explanation for his “open for business” statement three weeks ago, and I didn’t see any Slater/McIntyre/Mahal parts to keep me guessing about it. On the upside, I loved a lot of this match, such as giving Zack a chance to win, and the fact that the finishing elbow is called “The Souvenir” is BRILLIANT. They explained it nicely (something to remember Wade by), but I didn’t need one…the man sufferend a dislocated elbow…this is a great reminder of his first injury on the main stage that is WWE.
Match Grade: B+
Okay, I thought we were trying to stop this whole “Miz is a whiny TV personality” gimmick. This effectively set Mike Mizanin’s character back about four years to the Miz and Morrison days (The Dirt Sheet), and completely reduced any prestige the IC title had regained. I was NOT a fan of that. I WAS a fan of Sheamus continually interrupting everything Miz attempted to say and conducting the interview himself. I liked that Miz talked to build himself up, but in the long run, and for the purposes that this segment was supposed to serve, it did NOTHING. Now to speculation: Will Dolph Ziggler cash in at Hell in a Cell? The brawl was all cool and such, but as a whole, this segment was a pretty big waste of time.
Segment Grade: C+
The Rhodes Scholars vs. The Usos
Where “Team Hell No” is a stupid name, Rhodes Scholars is FANTASTIC. I don’t understand why we have to put “Team” in front of it…this ain’t Dudleyville. This was a nice short tag match that got Rhodes Scholars over as a legitimate team. I hope they get team entrance music, because watching Sandow come out to Rhodes’ music is weird. I think it’s a shame that The Usos had to do the job in this one…I’d rather see Gabriel and Kidd take the loss as The Usos are a much more established team. As for in-ring notes, did anyone else see Uso completely whiff on the corkscrew forearm to Cody? I mean, BAD. In the Indy World, we’re taught that if someone screws up that bad, don’t sell it. I suppose bad on both Uso and Rhodes for screwing that up. Also, the ending was a bit “slow-motion” for me. It seemed like the one Uso was just waiting and looking for Sandow to pull him out of the ring. Anyways, Rhodes Scholars advances.
Match Grade: B+
Tensai vs. Ryback
This was a defining moment for Ryback. I didn’t see the squash against Miz and I didn’t hear the crowd reaction, but this match was more telling. I know you can pipe in crowd noise, but you can’t edit the crowd’s standing ovation as Ryback picked Tensai up and Shell Shocked him. Good moment for Ryback here, and while he might never get away from the Goldberg comparison, but I think people are starting to separate the two.
Match Grade: B+
Here Comes Randy Ort…DAMN!
Ah yes, the supposed traditional uninterrupted walk to the ring GETS INTERRUPTED! What!?! I feel like this, along with the entire match that follows was just so Randy Orton could get some acting practice in for 12 Rounds Reloaded. I thought the ref who came to shoo del Rio away did just that – “shoo!”
Segment Grade: B-
#1 Contendership Match: Big Show vs. Randy Orton
Did anyone else feel like this was just one REALLY drawn out squash match? The only thing that would have prevented it from being a squash match would have been if Orton had won with the RKO. I felt like it was almost like a Rey/Show match. Headbutts and chops, followed by a punching hope spot, and then a headbutt to cut off. Maybe that’s what they were going for? I found it to be anti-climactic. I don’t know what I was expecting honestly. I wasn’t expecting Show to win, save for the fact that Show came back this week to enter the WHC scene. I’ve said this before about Big Show matches – when the story is that Big Show is a dominating force that nobody else can stop, the opponent will stop him. The question remains: Will Ziggler cash in? Good ending to Smackdown with the hero laying fallen at the hands of not only a chokeslam but a WMD.
Match Grade: B
In-Ring Action: B+ There was a healthy amount of in ring action, and all of it served a purpose. Even the Ryback match, as “Ryback-y” as it was, served to legitimize his appearance at the end of Monday Night Raw. The Divas match was amazingly entertaining. I wish the main event had been slightly more stimulating, but I could just be getting punchy towards the end of this blog.
Out-of-Ring Action: C- I wasn’t a huge fan of the fact that we revisited Raw four times (five?). The MizTV segment wasn’t all that special or extraordinary either. Really, the best “segment” was the attack by del Rio on Orton followed by the rebuttal.
Overall: B- We’ve still got another two weeks until Hell in a Cell, so that’s good enough time to build something nice up between Show and Sheamus. I love the Tag Tournament idea, and like Michael Cole said, “It’s been way too long since we had a tournament of any kind.” I’m wondering if Orton was just written off tonight for 12 Rounds and if del Rio is going away too. After all, without Orton, whom does del Rio feud with?
Outside the Blog Zone
Okay, I thought I was going to be able to announce that not only is Jerry Lynn going to be at MPX on November 10th, but that ROBBIE E was going to be there as well…but Robbie E apparently has an Impact Wrestling House Show, so he can’t…but he agreed to! We still have Jerry Lynn, and I’m a much bigger fan of that. Until next week, thanks for making me your CHOICE for Smackdown blogging!