Lines like the one in my title are part of the reason that I’m glad John Bradshaw Layfield is on commentary. JBL does such a good job of getting people over – at times, it can be a little bit of overkill, but there’s something in his voice that just lends the idea of getting a wrestler over so much more credibility. Are we ready? Let’s get to SMACKDOWN!
I thought the interaction of Team Hell No with The Miz was hilarious, especially with them silencing each other to handle speaking to the host. Daniel Bryan backing away and moving behind Kane after Big Show threatened him was a nice touch, and Ziggler rounded the whole segment out. I’m pretty sure that Booker legitimately forgot about Miz when he was on the mic,and Miz recovered the segment nicely. All in all, a nicely done, albeit “typical” opening segment.
Segment Grade: B+
The Miz vs. Randy Orton
This was a good, long, exciting opening match. I wasn’t expecting the whole thing to go much past one commercial break and was plesantly surprised when it did. There were lots of nearfalls, and the addition of del Rio in the SkyBox added just that little bit extra intrigue for Orton. I do wonder though if the live audience can hear what Striker’s asking del Rio during those kinds of segments. I’m not a huge fan of “Only Seen on TV” segments, mostly because I feel it cheats the live audience who paid a lot more to come see the show. Orton had to go over here, but it kind of reduced the momentum The Miz had coming off of that opening promo. Hopefully Miz can pick some of that back up next week before Hell in a Cell.
Match Grade: B
The Assistant Plot Thickens
I wasn’t entirely sure what to make of Eve being shown creeping on Teddy Long, but the way they tied it in later was great. Sheamus trying to talk like Teddy was funny, too.
Segment Grade: B
Rhodes Scholars vs. International AirStrike
Is that Kidd/Gabriel’s official team name? I picked it up from Adam W’s results writing. I liked this tag match a lot, mostly because it’s rare that we get to see Kidd and Gabriel on the main shows, and I think those two have great chemistry. Rhodes Scholars does as well, and they hado go over here because of the big match coming up on Monday. I feel like as nice as Gabriel and Kidd perform in the ring together, they could really benefit from having a manager. I’d love to see them with some sort of mouthpiece, or at least another player on their team that could add just that extra bit. Unfortunately, managers have a stigma about them nowadays that they have to be heel, and I can’t see these two being heel just yet. I loved the end sequence with Kidd locking in the Sharpshooter but getting Disaster kicked.
Match Grade: B+
Oh No, She Didn’t!
Like I said before, nice job tying the previous backstage segment in with this. The whole iPad thing is a question mark for me though. Why wouldn’t Eve have, I don’t know, maybe password protected her device? Let’s not get into the whole notion of her just leaving it behind.
Segment Grade: B-
Team Hell No vs. Big Show and Dolph Ziggler
Another strong tag match put on display. Daniel was in there a LONG time as the damsel, and when the hot tag finally came, it was very strongly built up. I’m not sure how I feel about Ziggler tapping out. I mean, I know he’s the “least important” out of the four competitors, but I feel like his credibility was reduced even more because of the submission loss. I would have been okay with him being pinned after a finisher, but tapping out is just more meaningful. I enjoyed how they displayed Bryan’s tenacity by having him tag himself in after having been beaten up for so long. The end segment as Hell No argued about who was the tag team champions was done nicely with the attack by Rhodes Scholars. I feel like maybe that gives away the match outcome for Monday, but oh well…that’s not my show.
Match Grade: A-
Antonio Cesaro’s America
If this becomes his weekly gimmick, announcing Antonio Cesaro’s America, I’m gonna be such a huge fan.
Segment Grade: A+
Antonio Cesaro vs. …Ted DiBiase?
This? This is how Ted DiBiase comes back? As an enhancement worker? I swear I thought some bigger plans were in the works for Ted sometime ago. Was I crazy, or were there big plans for his return? The match was nice, don’t get me wrong, but the fact that it was DiBiase in there instead of say, Alex Riley, really just bothered me.
Match Grade: B-
Heath Slater vs. Brodus Clay, The Redneck Sea Monster That Can Dance
Ask and you shall receive, eh? 3MB now with matching gear to go along with their gimmick! Drew’s looks great, and Mahal…well, Mahal still seems like the odd man out (not that there isn’t anything odd with this group in the first place). Like the last match, I wasn’t a fan of the opponent here. I understand needing Slater to face adversity so that 3MB can jump in and save him, but Brodus doesn’t need to be the scapegoat for that. Now Brodus has been reduced to an enhancement talent – why not have Zack Ryder or Santino in this match? Anyways, the positive on this is that 3MB gets build up a bit more. They should probably have different entrance music though, as the current piece states quite clearly that “I’m a one man band.”
Match Grade: B-
Pay the Man
Okay, so I’m still a bit confused about Wade Barrett’s gimmick. I get that he’s a bareknuckle fighter, but is he also a mercenary? Is he in this for the thrill of the fight? Or because it nets a bigger paycheck? I feel like it’s the latter, but I haven’t seen him (victorious) in enough high profile matches to get that concept over. The interview was nice though.
Segment Grade: B+
Layla vs. Natalya
The match wasn’t anything special, but I was too distracted by Eve on commentary, trying to cram everything she needed to say into a short period of time, for that to make a difference. Obviously we’re building the Layla/Eve rematch, but outside of these three, what other Divas are making an impact?
Match Grade: C?
More with the iPad
Yes, let’s take picture of the iPad? We do have a question of what’s on there that adds intrigue to the storyline, but the whole taking pictures of the pictures looked a bit weird. Who’s going to belive that, whatever it is?
Segment Grade: C
Lumberjack Match: Sheamus vs. Wade Barrett
As far as lumberjack matches go, this was actually quite tame. It seemed like someone realized that lumberjack matches all were the same: they randomly attack the person as they get out of the ring. Thus, we have the lumberjacks doing exactly what they were supposed to do originally: Throw them back in. It takes away the chaos that usually is a Lumberjack Match, but at the same time, it’s nice to see them doing only what they’re supposed to do. As for the match itself, this was another good contest between these two. I like seeing Barrett and Sheamus match up, and should Sheamus walk out of the PPV with the title still intact, I wouldn’t mind seeing a feud between them for a while. I don’t like that Wade went for Wasteland though, as I feel he needs to build up The Souvenir more. Eventually, the lumberjack breakdown happened, and Hell No came out to chase down the Rhodes Scholars. Sheamus had to go over here, and now I can’t think of any of the last three encounters they’ve had where Barrett goes over cleanly. I’d like to see him with some sort of pinfall victory in a high profile match.
Match Grade: A-
Yeah, I wasn’t expecting Dolph to try and cash in. The end was nicely done with Big Show just turning him around and decking him from the apron. A good, serious promo by Show caps the night off.
Segment Grade: A
In-Ring Action: B+ We had a few good matches and a couple of confusing ones. The quality of the work in each of them tonight, though, wasn’t bad at all. Psychology wise, the Divas match didn’t click with me, but the match itself looked pretty. I liked the tag matches and the lumberjack match.
Out-of-Ring Action: B The Teddy Long segments became increasingly poorer as the night went on. Teddy’s just not a fantastic actor, I suppose…he’s good as an authority figure, but everything else seems very forced.
Overall: B We’re continuing our road to Hell in a Cell, and hopefully next week’s go-home can knock it out of the park. We’ve got Miz/Kofi for the IC Strap, Sheamus/Show for the WHC, Rhodes Scholars/Team Hell No unofficially for the Tag Belts, Orton/del Rio in a grudge match, and Layla/Eve for the Divas Title. That’s a lot of matches, and that’s just on the Smackdown side! Let’s not forget the mystery of Ziggler and whether he’ll cash in or not.
Outside the Blog Zone
Outside the Blog Zone, I’m going to be late for work, so until next week, thanks for making me your CHOICE for Smackdown blogging!