Well, we’ve had a promo heavy build to WrestleMania. Purists are probably not that thrilled with this prospect, but I choose to be an open minded blog writer. For the first few weeks, I don’t mind a promo heavy build. For the Rock/Cena, it’s a special situation because Rock shouldn’t be in the ring prior to the big show. For Punk/Jericho, I wouldn’t want to see them thrown into some random partner tag match – I want to see all of their one-on-one glory by itself. In fact, I would love to see a Pick Your Poison type of build leading in to their match. By the way, did anyone else notice Cole and Punk sharing a bit of an insider’s joke last week when mentioning potentially facing Khali at WrestleMania? “I wouldn’t want to face Khali at WrestleMania…for a variety of reasons.” Bahaha…anyways, the Sheamus/Bryan match is about the only match I want to see some sort of physical build up to. I think there needs to be some sense of Bryan weasling his way into victories against Sheamus in a variety of matches. I don’t want to see them one on one, but this is where a random partner tag match would be appropriate. Rhodes needs to keep running away from Big Show, and it’s obvious that Hunter/Taker won’t have a physical build up. So are we okay with a bunch of promos? For now, I am…at least, as long as the quality of the promos is that of Punk/Jericho this last Raw. Okay, are we ready? Let’s get to SMACKDOWN!
Be a S.T.A.R.!
Ah yes…the big, burly, “I’ll kick your arse” Irishman is a humble, big, burly, “I’ll kick your arse” Irishman. Meh…I don’t want to see Sheamus talk – another reason why I’d prefer some physical build up to Sheamus and Bryan. I’m not really a huge fan of his promos (please note that I think he has some great one liners), and he’s best suited to just beating people up. That being said, I wasn’t a huge fan of Ziggler and Vickie coming out to have to counter him with another promo…I would have been just fine with this being a randomly made match to open the show. I don’t need a reason to see these two against each other except for building momentum towards WrestleMania. This is the one time of year that these kinds of matches work.
Segment Grade: B-
Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler
So, as much as I didn’t like the way this match was put together on screen, I thought the match was fantastic. I remember thinking halfway through that Sheamus has really gotten to be a cookie cutter kind of wrestler and that his moves were becoming more predictable each time he was out. After the go home sequence, though, I threw that notion out the window. Sheamus can still tell a great story with his matches, and when a great story is told in a match, the fans are invested in it, and each false pinfall means more. Ziggler is also great at doing this; I mean, did anyone else think the match was going to be over after Ziggler hit the Rocker Dropper (which looked great, especially considering how he hit it)? I know Ziggler’s been on a bit of a losing streak as of late, but his matches are so top notch and people love to hate him (and Vickie) so much, that it doesn’t really seem to hurt him. People are invested in Dolph Ziggler, and that’s why he can lose and keep his heat. Now, if the situations were reversed with Swagger and him, I don’t think Swagger would have as much success. Success you say? A losing wrestler successful? Yes…who’s on TV more? Oh…and White Noise? Really? Really?
Match Grade: A-
PUT SOME STANK ON IT!
I can’t pull off saying that saying out loud, by the way. Thank God for the internet. Um…just a small bit of build between the GMs here…I’m glad it didn’t dominate the show like it has the last week and a half. I am now sure of the fact that there’s going to be a GM Representative vs. GM Representative at WrestleMania…and Otunga will likely be involved…but who will be Smackdown’s hero? I liked Zeke being the guy, but I’m really not wanting Khali to get a spot on the card.
Segment Grade: B-
Heath Slater vs. Santino
I still don’t like Slater. The guy had a couple of good matches on Superstars against Justin Gabriel, but aside from that, he still lacks the right kind of charisma to get him over. If you all remember my previous notes on Slater, I can’t really tell what it is that I don’t like about him, but I’m sure it’s a combination of things like his look, his voice, his catchphrase, etc….I’m not sure what the purpose of this match was, and normall I wouldn’t have too much of a problem with that, but I really think that shows around this time of year should be 100% WrestleMania concentrated. I did appreciate the different Cobra strike.
Match Grade: C
Alright, this is where the STANK is.
Maybe I’m not watching NXT, maybe I’ve missed something else, but are Tyson and Natalya faces again? Also, I don’t know if anyone still watches Superstars, but two weeks ago, McGillicutty teamed with JTG as a face team, and last week he was a heel singles wrestler again. So…if any of you guys follow NXT…am I missing something here? Natalya becomes a face because people identify with flatulence? I don’t get it…
Segment Grade: D
Eve Torres vs. Natalya
This was actually not a terrible Divas match. I was horribly distracted by the commentary at ringside talking about IBS Inheritance and The Anvil’s problems with it or something like that. But the match itself wasn’t a total waste of time. Eve is still settling into her heel persona, and as long as something involving Kharma happens with the Divas Division, I won’t mind seeing this kind of Divas match each week.
Match Grade: C
A Predictable Match Announcement
See last week’s blog regarding my feelings about Big Show and Cody at Mania. One more note about it – I’d be okay if either man wins. I’d be MORE okay if Cody were to knock off the Big Show, but having Show win the IC Belt and continuing to feud with Rhodes over it would not be a bad decision in my book either. Rhodes is just the kind of character that can be obsessive over something such as losing the IC Belt against all odds. Again, I’ll say though that Rhodes winning would be the better choice.
Segment Grade: B-
Mark Henry vs. Big Show
Cody’s another guy that could have a run as commentator when his in-ring career is over. Obviously Show can’t lose here after the promo that just transpired, but I’m not a fan of him constantly kicking out of the World’s Strongest Slam. I can’t remember the last time that Henry won with a (single) World’s Strongest Slam. Even against Orton it took two. It really goes to show how far Henry has fallen from his Fall dominance. I’m torn on the finish of the match – I liked it because it was Show’s WMD, and it always looks like it legitimately knocks someone out (Henry takes it perfectly, by the way), but I don’t like how long it took Show to get over to cover him. However, it would have looked entirely unbelievable if Henry kicked out of the WMD, something that’s supposed to KNOCK YOU OUT. Ah well…beggars can’t be choosy?
Match Grade: C+
Groundhog Day for Drew McIntyre
Yes, again, if Drew doesn’t win he’s fired. When I saw this segment, I thought of a parent who continually uses the threat of counting when their child doesn’t immediately do something he’s been asked to do. Eventually the child learns that the parent really won’t do anything when they reach five, and thus the effect is lost…this comparison goes out the window however after the next match.
Segment Grade: B+
Drew McIntyre vs. Justin Gabriel
Maybe it’s a character thing right now, but Drew doesn’t even look like his heart’s into it. I mean, I understand, if I were being used that way, I wouldn’t really be into what I was doing either, but it really looked like a lazy match for McIntyre. I had hopes that maybe he’d win this one tonight, but alas, no. And now Drew’s really been fired. The fairly small response for Drew’s dismissal shows that nothing has really worked for him at all in his tenure here in WWE. Oh, there was a small vignette that was a WWE.com exclusive up on the website, and I watched it because I want to know where this is going. I still have questions after watching it. He says that it was his dream to wrestle, he’s on a green card, and he doesn’t know what he’s going to do. After threatening to punch the (terribly annoying) interrogator, he promises to make a few calls. Would he go back to Raw?
Match Grade: C-
Time to pay the
Eh…short, sweet, to the point…but nothing really amazing about this promo. I can’t remember the last time a Randy Orton promo really made me go wow.
Segment Grade: B-
Bryan Lives in Vegas?
Well, it’s typical heel stuff to insult your own homestate – and if you’re not willing to do that, then you get left off of the card or you have to job when you’re there. AJ was particularly silent tonight on all fronts…I really don’t think I saw her open her mouth once. She had one toothy smile, but everything else was very tight lipped. The WWE Universe account on Twitter noted that she wasn’t cheering on her man in the match that follows – so would they make an angle of this? Or was this just a random noting by a meaningless Twitter account? Yeah…that last one’s probably right.
Segment Grade: B-
Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan
That same WWE Universe account tweeted out the sign(s) of the night being the Five “YES!” signs in a row that was prominently displayed on the hard camera. I am in agreement. I thought it was pretty funny that Booker made it a HUGE deal that he wasn’t going to call Bryan “D-Bry” anymore. This was not the match of the night by far – it wasn’t an absolutely terrible match, but it was just so…predictable. The match was used to rebuild Randy Orton since he’s been out twice in three months with injuries (they didn’t even have to change the “The Viper Returns!” screen shot!), and so he hit his Five Moves of Doom…and not much else. Of course, the big story here is that Kane came down and scuffled with The Viper for exactly the same reasons that he came down and laid waste to the tag team division on Raw. I don’t think I’m all for a Kane vs. Randy Orton feud leading into WrestleMania. A few counterpoints to this, however: 1) It’s hard to imagine WrestleMania without your longtime, veteran workhorse, Kane. That being said, who else is he going to feud with? 2) Is Orton being somewhat punished for being “injury-prone”? Could he have been removed from the title picture because he screwed plans up at Elimination Chamber? and 3) Why is Kane just beating up people, and is Orton going to be the Savior of the WWE? I could just be rambling because I said a “few” and I wanted it to be more than 2. Really, that first point about who else is Kane going to face was the biggest point to make. I am glad that Kane has been around as long as he has and that he has been a workhorse for the company, and so I think he deserves to be on the card – but he’s got to have a right opponent. Apparently they’re not ready to release Zack Ryder from his wheel chair yet, so you kind of have to go with Orton. It’s a shame, though, because I wouldn’t have minded a triple threat match between Sheamus, Orton, and Bryan. I WILL mind a fatal four way. Four’s a crowd – that’s how the saying goes right?
Match Grade: C+
In-Ring Action: B- I loved the opening contest, but aside from that, it was another lackluster wrestling night for Smackdown. Like I said, the build for WrestleMania has been very promo heavy, and I can only hope that the next month’s worth of programming will see rivalries start to heat up and things will have to come to blows.
Out-of-Ring Action: C I was happy to see the GM program not dominate the show. I thought Show and Rhodes had strong promos, and Bryan’s promo was very good. Rhodes’ work on commentary was very nice as well. I was NOT a fan of having the entire segment from Raw involving Rock/Cena being played, although I understand that’s kind of what has to happen when a legend returns. That also means that next week, the entire segment featuring HBK on this coming Monday’s Raw will be played on my show.
Overall: C+ Well, it’s still the beginning of the build to WrestleMania. I think Bryan and Sheamus need more interaction, Show and Rhodes are good right where they are, and I’ll reserve judgment on Kane/Orton until it progresses further. The Drew thing will hopefully have a good payoff, and the GM Angle, as long as it keeps on at this pace, will be just fine.
Outside the Blog Zone
MPX has another show next weekend, but since I have Friday and Saturday off from work, I should be able to get this blog up at some point on Saturday morning. Baseball’s first Spring Training game was today and even though I was slammed at work, I got to enjoy some of the Phillies (Steve Corino’s favorite team, btw) and the Yankees. Um…there’s not much else that anybody really wants to hear, except that I think people should go to my Facebook page and check out the most recent picture I posted up there. It features the initals WWF (World Wildlife Foundation) and one panda bear about to hit another with a steel chair. Epic. Until next week, thank you for making me your CHOICE for Smackdown blogging!