DISCLAIMER: THIS IS A BLOG, NOT A NEWS ARTICLE. THE FOLLOWING WRITINGS ARE THE OPINIONS OF A STAFF WRITER OF WRESTLING NEWS WORLD. THEY DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF THE OWNER OR THE OTHER MEMBERS OF STAFF. ALSO: COMMENTS ARE WELCOME AS LONG AS THEY PROVOKE MEANINGFUL CONVERSATION OR CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM. GRAMMAR/SPELLING IS SUBJECT TO RIDICULE.
Here I was, all ready with a complete diatribe on the many variations of Chris Jericho and how this most recent one hasn’t really done anything for me…and then Tuesday happened. Tuesday, the day we found out The Viper had a concussions. The day that we found out a battle royal would take place at a taped event to determine his replacement. The day that we discovered who his replacement was. The day that WWE acknowledged that Friday Night Smackdown wasn’t really Friday Nights and totally gave you a reason to NOT tune into ScyFy (or however they’re spelling it). Why would you do that? Why would you tell everyone what happened on a show you want them to tune into for ratings? Why would you openly admit that Friday Nights are really Tuesday Nights? I mean, if you’re going to do that, at least have your announcers acknowledge that, but NO…the announcers still believe it’s Friday. Does everyone remember when Michael Cole said “last night” in reference to Raw on a Smackdown show and people gave him crap about it? Well, throw that out the window. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure a good number of people know that Smackdown is taped on Tuesdays, but if that’s the case, why are we still referring to it as Friday Night Smackdown? Maybe I’m rambling, but I think there should be some on air acknowledgement that we’re not in present time when we watch the show. OY. Okay, enough of that, I’ve got a real blog to write – are we ready? Let’s get to SMACKDOWN!
And they said Kennedy was injury prone…
Seriously, Orton was out from a PPV with a concussion less than a year ago. Last month, he was sidelined with some sort of hernia. Now we have another concussion? If anyone here follows Major League Baseball, this right here is a reason you don’t give a guy a ten year contract. Injuries happen. Apparently in Orton’s case, they’ve been happening a lot lately. At any rate, I’m glad Orton got paid whatever show bonus he gets just to sit, stand, and breathe.
Segment Grade: C+
Big Show/The Great Khali vs. Wade Barrett/Cody Rhodes
Alright, I’m not going to say that Khali is improving or that he’s really entertaining me; I will say that I’m more impressed with how everyone else has found a way to work around him and make themselves look good. It’s sometimes said in our business that it’s important to make the other guy look good in the ring, but in this case, I think Barrett and Rhodes made themselves look good by working around Khali’s defects. What I saw from the heel team before the hot tag was really nice stuff, all things considered. I’m not a huge fan of the abrupt finish that saw Show practically squash Barrett and Rhodes. As we go into Elimination Chamber, Big Show has the most momentum behind Daniel Bryan, and given my theory from last week (about the biggest guy being the ‘odds on favorite’ and therefore guaranteed a loss), I’m pretty sure that means D-Bry is retaining. Eh…I like the idea of a title change at WrestleMania anyways. The WMD afterwards to Khali was pretty sick, and I’ll never understand how one takes that without suffering a bit of a headache immediately afterwards (more on that later).
Match Grade: C+
Henry tries to stay relevant
On a side note to this segment: has anyone ever noticed that nobody enters a “backstage office” from the actual door? To make it even more obvious that this office is not an office, the camera showed where the cut out “wall” was with the lights hanging above it. Anyways, those are the small things that bug me. Like I said before, I can’t see how one isn’t legitimately KO’ed with the WMD. It really doesn’t look like Show pulls those punches at all. The notion of Bryan being in Big Show’s head was really put forward here, and that, alongside the fact that they left the office in shambles for the remainder of office segments made this an okay segment for me.
Segment Grade: B
Ted DiBiase vs. Hunico
This is shaping up to be one of those feuds that will never culminate in a PPV bout between the two. Given their status, I’m okay with that. The fact that both of these guys have great in ring chemistry with each other makes seeing this contest again that much more bearable. I liked the promo Hunico cut before hand, and I like that he truly did steal a win from DiBiase – but I have to wonder how these two are going to blow this feud off and move on?
Match Grade: B
The Usos vs. Primo and Epico
“When I say ‘UCE’ you say ‘OH!’ UCE–” And there was nothing. It was a nice attempt. I always laugh when the announcers say “a win for The Usos could put them in the Tag Team Title picture” because right now, Primo and Epico and The Usos ARE the Tag Team Picture. That doesn’t mean I enjoy their matches any less though. This one was quite good actually, and they actually got me, because when Jimmy went up top for the Superfly Splash, I thought the Usos were going over BUT NO…they had a great false and the Back Stabber kept the winning streak going for the Colon Cousins. With the signing of Chris Hero (Kassius Ohno, that KO kid) and the very European Claudio Castagnoli (Antonio Cesaro…still very European), how much longer to we have to wait for these two to debut as a tag team? There are no other true tag teams in contention, and it would be a refreshing move on WWE’s part to introduce a new tag team.
Match Grade: B
The Heel Turn is Complete
I know it seems academic at this point, but this promo was the promo that finally cemented a true Heel Daniel Bryan. Maybe it was the words “I decided to show what I’m really all about” that allowed me to come to that conclusion. At any rate, the purely diabolical look on Bryan’s face on Monday Night shows why he can do either face or heel to perfection. In the vein of complete predictability, the moment that people started questioning who was going to face Bryan in place of Randy Orton, I’m pretty sure everyone here thought Sheamus. The good thing about this, is that the match completely made sense, and nothing was lost as a result of having it.
Segment Grade: A
Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan
This may have been the first match that I saw Daniel Bryan as a legitimate threat. It probably helped that he was facing someone a lot closer to his size, therefore he didn’t have to weasel his way out of a physical confrontation. I loved the psychology to this match, and like I said, Bryan was on an even playing field for the first time in his championship reign, and that really helped me see him as a dominant type of champion, someone that needed to be defeated in competition. Against Show and Henry, I saw Bryan as a weakling, a coward champion, but not here. Granted, the finish still had undertones of being a coward finish, but the look on Bryan’s face? No, there was more than just cowardice at work here, my friends. I thought this was a great match, and if these two are alotted fifteen or twenty minutes at Wrestlemania, I’ll gladly pay the price to watch it ($3-$5 depending on where I watch it – HA!) OH! One of the BIGGEST things I noticed was actually a “blink and you’ll miss it” moment. I REALLY hope that Lillian was signing a magazine or something for a fan during that part where Bryan went for his belt. My first thought was that she was doing a crossword puzzle, and that irked me to no end. I’m not asking that every announcer get super involved and invested in the matches at hand (although MPX’ announcer Kate Carroll does a phenomenal job of being an audience member as well as an announcer), but pay attention to what’s going on, please! Okay…rant over.
Match Grade: A
We knew this was going to happen
This whole thing seemed very…scripted. I know how much of a silly statement that is, given that we’re talking about wrestling, but the whole flow of the conversation between these three seemed fairly robotic/video game-esque. Also, when Cody was taking a jab at Barrett because of the loss, did anyone else say, “You were on the same team”? No? Just me? Marking out? Sorry.
Segment Grade: B-
Jinder Mahal vs. Ezekiel Jackson
Wow. What a colossal time waster. I have a feeling that the five minutes this match was given was supposed to go to Bryan/Orton. Really, I have nothing much to say about this. Just as DiBiase and Hunico have good chemistry together, I just don’t see the chemistry between these two.
Match Grade: C
Tamina Snuka/Alicia Fox vs. Beth Phoenix/Natalya
Okay, for the love of God, this flatulence thing has to come to an end. It was bad enough that it happened in backstage segments, but for it to be brought into the sacred ground of a wrestling ring? No, no, no. On top of it being completely insulting and immature, psychologically, it makes NO sense whatsoever. I mean, who else wanted to know why Natalya broke the Sharpshooter? I sure as hell did. I saw her with a weird face and then she dropped it. The next thing I hear is the ref asking why she did it (a foolish question, really, when you have to, you have to), and the announcers had to explain it. If I’m in the live audience, I’m thinking something got botched. Hell, if I’m watching at home, I’m thinking something got botched. Just stupid. I can’t even praise the ending segment with Tamina getting one up on Beth. All of this aside, I’m hoping Beth and Tamina get a little bit north of five minutes for their match at Elimination Chamber – I’m also hoping Beth retains…and then maybe, just maybe, Kharma will come back.
Match Grade: D (should have been a B-, but the finish SUCKED)
You Got a STANK!
Alright, I’ll admit, that line got me laughing. Then again, so did the notion of David Otunga as World Heavyweight Champion.
Segment Grade: C+
The Cobra Invitational
I’ll again ask you, the reader, a question. Was anybody remotely interested in this battle royal, given the fact that EVERYONE knew the outcome? No? Me either. The ONLY interest I had was in seeing who the final four were to see who WWE is going to keep after WrestleMania. That’s it. Everything else was just a foregone conclusion. By the way, Camacho made his in ring debut in this matchup (TRIVIA!) and…did nothing spectacular. I will admit that the crowd rising behind Santino was fun to watch, and the fact that Santino elminated Otunga the same way he was eliminated from the Rumble last year was clever, but that all happened in the last two minutes. Oh, and I’m withholding judgment on Santino being in the Chamber until I actually SEE Santino in the Chamber. If he’s A) gone in 15 seconds or B) one of the last two, I’ll be jumping all over this next week. Anything else, and I’ll consider it a nice little nod to the Milan Miracle.
Match Grade: D
In-Ring Action: C+ Without Bryan/Sheamus, this was just a lackluster WRESTLING show. I understand there was a bit of a scramble because of Orton being out, but the Divas match would have been fine without the stupid ending, the opener had Khali in there, and the battle royal was spoiled on Tuesday night. I enjoyed DiBiase and Hunico, but I have to see more at stake. DiBiase did a good job after their eliminations in the battle royal, but I have to see that something more than a party invitation is at stake.
Out-of-Ring Action: B- 90% of this category happened in Teddy Long’s “Office”, and really the only less than stellar segment was the one with Barrett and Rhodes. The promo by Bryan and the fact that Aksana was completely absent saved this category.
Overall: B- I almost gave this the C+ grade, but then I remembered that there’s not a whole lot of undercard for Elimination Chamber on purpose. Both Chamber matches will take about as long as a Royal Rumble, and we’ve got the Divas match and the Ambulance match. This definitely leaves the possibility for two surprise matches to be thrown in there, so let’s think about the Tag Team Championship and maybe the United States Champion. Anybody else that could be thrown into a grudge match surprise bout is involved in the chamber matches (Miz/Truth, Barrett/Orton, Rhodes, Ziggler, etc.)
Outside the Blog Zone
It’s time for baseball over here in America, and pitchers and catchers reported to Spring Training…I’m a HUGE baseball fan, and I’m fairly sure I’ll be changing the format and name of my Twitter account (@TheChoiceMPX) to reflect this. Expect equal coverage on Twitter of both wrestling and baseball. I’ll spare you the baseball talk on this blog (minus this post obviously), but feel free to discuss anything MLB related on Twitter or Facebook! Until next week, thank you for making me your CHOICE for Smackdown blogging!