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Wow, I feel better after putting that up there. It looks as though that will have to go on top of all of my blogs, as certain people don’t exactly understand that I’m a blog writer; either that, or they don’t understand what a blog is. At any rate, the world of WWE has certainly gotten topsy turvy (timey wimey wibbly wobbly for my UK folks who know what that’s from), hasn’t it? The cashing in of the Money in the Bank briefcase was a complete and welcome surprise for me at the PPV. I don’t very much like how Mark Henry was taken out of the equation, but I suppose that’s what happens when you get injured. I was thinking they had Henry attack Show after the match to set up something in later months and let Mark take some time off. I also thought Ryder was going to have his moment at a big four PPV like the Rumble, but thankfully, the crowd was insanely hot and the US Championship win felt like a big four moment. But really, I’ve got five faces and two heels as champions, and even the heels get cheers sometimes because they’re just that damn good. It’s been a great week to be a fan of wrestling in WWE, and as CM Punk noted on Twitter, this is the change we’ve been asking for. Alright, are we ready? Let’s get to SMACKDOWN!
The Traditional Opening Segment
When will the Big Show/Mark Henry stuff end?! It would be one thing if they had had three stellar matches in a row and left me hungering for more, but I’m over and done with this feud. All evidence points to a Big Show heel turn, and now with the idea floating around that Shaquille O’Neal is ready to make his Wrestlemania debut against Mr. Paul Wight, you have to make the big(ger) guy a heel. I’m okay with Shaq getting in the ring. He is a proven true fan, athletic, and has all the charisma necessary to make it happen. I was good with “The Mailman” Karl Malone getting in the ring with DDP, too…not so much Rodman, but whatever. Anyways, I got off topic there. Daniel Bryan is getting the love he deserves, and I think it’s great that the two biggest guys in the business right now are having to fight over who gets little American Dragon. What happens later is an outrage, but we’ll discuss that later.
Segment Grade: B+
Champion vs. Champion: Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes vs. The NEW-NEW-NEW-You-know-it United States Champion Zack Ryder
It looks like Ryder is getting the love he needs too! I just watched episode 45 of Z: True Long Island Story, and what’s going to keep Ryder on top of the Universe is if he doesn’t change a damn thing to his show. It looks like he hasn’t touched a thing as certain visual jokes, puns, and guest appearances are still happening. That’s a great thing, in my opinion. The ring work here was really nice, and both guys looked strong, up until Booker interrupted. I wish they’d have let Ryder go over clean, but I suppose I can make an allowance this one time for the progression of the Cody/Booker angle. It looks like we’ll have a rematch at the Royal Rumble with these two. If it were anyone else but Booker, I’d be against that, but Booker can definitely still go at a believable pace in the ring. The look on Cody’s face after he lost looked like a hurt and sad puppy, and I hope Rhodes comes back strong next week.
Match Grade: B+
Pushing the PG Boundary
As if the “Sexual Chocolate” chants weren’t enough – and I’m sure someone’s going to throw a fit over having to explain to their kids what that means – the cobra had a few innuendos of its own. By the way, I’d like to point out that in mis-pronouncing Zack Ryder’s name (The Long Island Zack T), he successfully mentioned my brother in MPX, Zach T. Score one more for the good guys. Anyways, these segments with Aksana are getting increasingly pointless except as a gag here for the cobra. It looks like Dolph Ziggler is wasting no time in leaving that upper mid card holding tank and pushing through the ceiling to put himself in the main event picture. All I have to say to that is Thank God. Oh, and someone tell Teddy Long that there’s no music playing.
Segment Grade: C
Big Show vs. Mark Henry…NOT.
Seriously? We’re going with the ‘not medically cleared’ angle again? And why David Otunga? Actually, the question “WHY” pretty much applies to this entire segment. I mean, the punch from Show looked particularly devastating and was the best part of this segment, but why are we doing this? I don’t think we need any more build up for anyone to believe that Big Show would turn on Daniel Bryan, but the matter of annoyance is the only reason I can see for this 5 minute block of time.
Segment Grade: D+ (the + is for the punch)
The Miz? Really?
Alright, readers, how many of you said Sheamus as soon as Miz started complaining about not having anything to do on Smackdown? I know I did. It’s exactly what I’ve been saying the last couple of weeks. If this is a start of a Miz/Sheamus feud, then that’s great…but please give this guy (Sheamus) some direction! The Miz is already going to be in a feud with CM Punk, though, so what is the reasoning for having Miz on Smackdown? Maybe something in the following match will clue us in…
Segment(s) Grade: B-
The Miz vs. The Big Surprise – Sheamus
Or not. I forgot to mention in the above segment that The Miz’ character of “Most Must See” is getting stale. I thought they were evolving him into the guy that takes everyone out? I would have been fine with a “Cold-Blooded” Miz…but instead, after they found out that they didn’t have anyone else that they could write off of TV for a few weeks, they brought his character right back to the obnoxious guy we’ve already seen. Actually, how great of a gig would that be? When someone violates a Wellness Policy, you’re the guy that is written to take him out? Ha, I would be a huge fan of Miz if that were the case. Instead, he’s taking an Alberto del Rio-style turn for the stale. Anyways, this match was clearly not a squash match, but The Miz certainly was made to look like a jobber here. A clean win? Really? Really? Again, what was the purpose for this? It made Sheamus look strong, which he doesn’t need to, and it made Miz look extremely weak, which he doesn’t need to.
Match Grade: C+
Happy Christmas From Wade Barrett
I was really afraid this was going to be another pointless segment, but then Orton came out and the brawl was on. For a minute or two, I really thought I was watching WWE ’12 as they went into the parking lot. Ha…anyways, could we see the return of the good old fashioned Parking Lot Brawl? Oh man, I’d mark out huge for that. We haven’t seen a Parking Lot Brawl – or really any kind of gimmick match that isn’t in the ring – for quite some time. My one thing about those though: Don’t Wear Your Wrestling Gear. If it’s not a wrestling match, then don’t wear your wrestling gear. Jeans are perfectly acceptable in a Parking Lot Brawl…trunks, kneepads, and wrestling boots are not. I’m getting ahead of myself – here’s hoping the Parking Lot Brawl returns.
Segment Grade: A-
Kofi Kingston w/Evan Bourne vs. Primo w/Epico and Rosa Mendes
Did anyone see the Superstars match between Air Boom and Hawkins/Reks? Good stuff. The Tag Team Division is getting highlighted again here, even though it’s a singles match, and it’s another example of this place getting turned upside down. I’m a huge fan of tag team wrestling, and while we only have four viable teams, it’s a lot more than what we had in the “Nexus Era”. I’m giving this match a tentative high grade because I’m hoping that it leads to another, more built up encounter between these two teams down the road. It doesn’t necessarily have to be at the Rumble, although that would be ideal, but I would not mind another confrontation between these two teams. If it leads to nothing, then my mental grade of the match will go down. Other than that, fairly good stuff. I’ve always been a fan of Primo, and I’m glad that he’s getting another push. The ending was a little weird though…did someone miss their cue? Primo looked distracted by something on the outside that wasn’t happening. Anyways, hooray for Tag Team Wrestling. Now, bring back The Headbangers and The Godwins, and we’ll be square.
Match Grade: B+
Dolph Ziggler vs. The New World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan
I have to grade this whole main event separately. Here we are, treated to a wonderful, old school style wrestling match between the next faces of the brand. Even the walk-ins were somewhat old school – no music, pointing, no big interference. Then…then, to my disappointment, Swagger attacked Big Show for literally no reason, and that little brawl spilled into the ground that Ziggler and Bryan were making sacred, which caused…
Match Grade: A
Swaggler/The All-American Show Offs vs. Daniel Bryan and Big Show/Team “This is Awkward, Huh?”
…a tag match. From this point, things started to go downhill, although the ring work was still above average. Now, here is where ye olde booking team backed themselves into a corner. You want to have some tension between the Unlikely Champion and the Man With the Shortest World Heavyweight Championship Reign in History. Ideally, you’d love to have some of that tension cost the Awkward Team the match. Unfortunately, you also have to build up your weakest (charisma-wise) of your champions. Two conflicting forces will not come together and make for a harmonizing match. You had to pick one or the other. I’m glad they went with building Daniel Bryan up. I suppose the little “Blind Tag” deal from Bryan to Show served as the dissenting moment, but Big Show didn’t really sell that up. Hopefully, it means that this feud will be slow burning – but with Shaq potentially looming in the distance, you’ve got to be in and out with this program.
Match Grade: B-
In-Ring Action: C+ Nothing to write home about really on this episode. The best work you got was from Ziggler and Bryan, and the other matches didn’t really seem to serve much of a purpose, except for the opener. Yikes, I’m realizing that we only got four matches. Two of them were pointless at face value. That being said, Smackdown usually does this coming off of a PPV. We got a little bit of build for future programs, Ziggler and Barrett both threw their name into the main event hat, and it looks like we’re getting that reverse build again. We intensify the feud (i.e. Orton/Barrett) on a B-Level PPV then blow it off at a Big 4. I think that’s how it should be anyways. The most important part of a feud should take place at a more important PPV.
Out-of-Ring Action: B- Good for Daniel Bryan showing some charisma, and good for Ziggler and Barrett cutting some fairly killer promos. I’m not sure why the Miz made an appearance. The David Otunga stuff was weak. But I think the combined promo power of the first three mentioned saved this category.
Overall: C+ I went with the weaker grade here because it was a weak episode. Four matches? Not cool, Blue Crew, not cool. The best part of this night was the new World Heavyweight Champion going over clean for the second time this week. If I’m a part of the Pro Wrestling Academy of Arts and Sciences, I’m putting Daniel Bryan at the top of the Power 25. Too bad that thing is FAKE.
Outside the Blog Spot
Well, I’m off to get ONE MORE present. To all of you who read my blog, Happy Christma-Hannu-Kwanzaa-Kah, Merry Holidays, or Have a Great Weekend. Until next week, thank you for making me your CHOICE for Smackdown blogging.