I feel like I may have said this before, but then again, I could have been asleep…or drunk…or both. At any rate, I think this pay per view received more build up than Night of Champions did. What does that tell me? One of these two needs to go. Didn’t Night of Champions used to be Vengeance: Night of Champions? I like that…I believe every title is being defended (except for the Intercontinental Championship, since that match is being billed as a grudge match), so why not just have this be one PPV? The least built up match on this card is the WWE Championship match, and even that has some steam, and oddly enough it’s mostly because of del Rio’s antics. The tag match from Monday involving Cole and J.R. was a waste, but I like del Rio’s chances more for this Sunday (aka today…sorry). Tonight we have a mask versus mask match, which, like I said last week should be a PPV bout, but since we’re in Mexico, why the heck not? Alright, are we ready? Let’s get to SMACKDOWN!
Alberto del Rio: Un hombre de la gente (A man of the people, just so you know)
How interesting. I know that it was more of a hometown pop than anything else, but would you buy del Rio as a face? The man said things that logically should get a face reaction, and since we were in Mexico City, they did, but anywhere else, he’d get boo’ed because of his actions. I hope that made sense. Tonight was the first night I thought of Alberto del Rio as a champion and not someone with a title belt, and guess what? There was no mention of “Destiny” whatsoever. I hope this is the first step in a new direction for Alberto del Rio. On another note, Teddy Long is starting to annoy me.
Segment Grade: A
Mark Henry vs. John Morrison
Well, I suppose Henry had to squash someone in order to get momentum towards Vengeance, and with Morrison’s backstage political mishaps, it might as well be him. I’m not gonna lie, I’m over Morrison. Sure, the guy is athletically gifted and he could certainly be a top of the card worker if given the opportunity, but I have absolutely no bad feelings about a worker who’s being an idiot to everyone backstage being squashed and buried. I will say that WWE has done a beyond impressive job of building Mark Henry up as purely unstoppable, even when the opponent can seem to have the upper hand.
Match Grade: C+
U-NO MAS U-NO MAS!
Actually, the prospect of a partnership between Vickie and Christian makes me salivate. How awesome would that be? Dolph Ziggler versus Zack Ryder is going to be AMAZING. I know Ryder can step up when called upon, and I would book this match before the tag match so that Ziggler didn’t have to carry the whole tag match. Don’t get me wrong, Ziggler wouldn’t be carrying everyone else, so to speak, but there’d be other places to focus in the tag match.
Segment Grade: A-
Wade Barrett vs. Daniel Bryan
Hey, remember this guy? That question applies to both competitors. I liked the pre-match interview part and I’m excited to see “The Great BURRAH Uprising.” It’s been too long since we’ve seen Daniel Bryan on TV for his “Look at the MITB case like it’s a curse” to be effective. I like the angle, but it’s been too long since we’ve seen something come of it. Also, with his beard, Bryan is looking more like Grizzly Redwood. I think that if this current trend of Daniel Bryan losing had been completely ignored, it would have been a huge mistake and completely uninteresting. However, if they continue to make an angle of it, then what an opportunity for a couple of people like Barrett! You can use Bryan to build up a worker by jobbing him out, but still continue his angle until it comes to a head and makes something HUGE of Daniel Bryan.
Match Grade: B+
Are we seeing something come about between Vickie and Laurinaitis? Awwwww goodness! The problem with this is that it seemed way more contrived than it did impromptu. However, the idea is fantastic…so keep it up.
Segment Grade: A-
Sheamus and Zack Ryder vs. Christian and Dolph Ziggler
How many of us are saying to ourselves, “Holy crap, Zack Ryder’s internet antics paid off”? Seriously, this kid started Z:TLIS as a joke, and it caught FIRE…now he’s got a United States Championship match. Amazing. Now we see Superstars with YouTube accounts everywhere. I will say I don’t like the new intro for his theme song. Ha, that’s all I got. Another “HA” moment, I popped for the G.I. Bro reference by Cole. Good grief, did Ziggler sell that Brogue Kick?! The tag match was alright for what it needed to do – Ryder did a good job being the damsel, but Sheamus’ immediately dismissal of Christian and Ziggler felt rushed and a little Super-Cena-ish to me. But it builds to Vengeance, so good for it.
Match Grade: B-
WWE.com Exclusive with the Cody Rhodes show
Badass. The bagger that’s with Cody during this interview is Christopher St. Girard, a local guy in Dallas who worked with us at MPX. Also, if you look back at the Sin Cara brawl last week, the guy in the white shirt that got shoved by Sin Cara Negro is my one of my trainers, Kristopher Haiden. Awesome. Oh, and Cody was a badass too, but what else is new? We transition to Cody in the ring. This man’s dynamic on the mic is scary. Cody’s talented in the ring – not the absolute greatest, but definitely an asset, but the fact that he can cut one of the most compelling promos in the business is what pushes him WAY over the top. Meanwhile, Orton’s promos, while delivered very well, just seem to be old hat. I really liked the brawl here with the baggers around, and this match is definitely the one I’m looking forward to the most this Sunday. I think the emotion and storyline built up just in this segment, let alone the last few weeks, makes this match the one with the most investment. Good for Cody.
Segment Grade: A+
WWE.com Exclusive with Sin Cara Negro and Azul
Okay, now I’m worried that they’re overdoing the .com exclusives. I like them, and I think they’re unique ways to conduct interviews, but shoving them all in one show? Yikes. Also, like I said last week – WHERE WAS THIS STUFF TWO MONTHS AGO?!
Segment Grade: B+
Sin Cara Negro vs. Sin Cara Azul, Mask vs. Mask
I’m realizing as I’m typing this that I don’t really care who gets unmasked here. I’m sure the casual fan is itching for the dark Sin Cara (or Nega-Sin Cara for you Scott Pilgrim fans) to be unmasked, but I don’t think I care one way or another. There are several directions you can go with either one being the loser here. I was also hoping for one split second that Dean Malenko was going to be under the mask of Sin Cara Azul to deliver a beatdown…but then I remembered there’s no way Malenko would botch those moves. Psh. Really though, as this match started, I wondered if they were going to wrestle this in the Mexican style or the WWE style. Based on the slow beginnings, it looked like it was going to be WWE style. I will say it wasn’t exactly pretty. Azul barely pulled off the high flying moves and Negro looked like he was having some difficulty putting submissions on. The psychology was really good in it though and the crowd was certainly invested in the match. Slowing the match down is definitely what both of these guys needed to put on a decently entertaining match. I’m extremely surprised that A) Azul was able to hit La Mistica, and B) That Negro tapped out so quickly. I was hoping that there’d be a little more drama to the ending, but it just seemed like it came out of left field. I do like the after match debacle with the unmasking. I don’t think old homeboy was as hideous as Booker T made him out to be either. Like Cole said, he was pretty normal looking. The match ended up being pretty good…I liked the slow build to the go home sequence, but the go home sequence in itself was pretty lackluster.
Match Grade: B+
The Sisters of Salvation
Beth did NOT look like Beth tonight, I’ll say that. They finally did something to make people boo them (however, notice that once Beth said she dominated in the ring, there was a little bit of cheering). Like the Sin Cara angle above, where was this two months ago? I could have done without the Eve part of this promo, although she’s fairly decent on the mic. What I could have done without more was the all too Lay-Cool part of the S.O.S. promo. I don’t look for Eve to go over this Sunday, but it has the potential to be a decent match.
Segment Grade: C
The Big Show vs. Alberto del Rio
Did they announce Show at 397 pounds?! When the heck did that happen? How in the world does Mark Henry have the weight advantage over Big Show? That certainly makes the “Can Mark Henry lift the Big Show?” angle die. I’m going to give Tony Chimel the benefit of the doubt, but Show does look a lot slimmer. I understand that booking-wise, this match makes perfect sense, there is no way that this match helped del Rio build into a champion. Even del Rio’s comeback, which was actually quite impressive, was completely put out by Show. The cross arm breaker looked even more unbelievable, especially since it was applied wrong. I greatly disagree with del Rio having to be the punching bag (literally) for Big Show’s momentum gain, especially seeing as ADR’s the champion. Like I said in my Opening Notes, the WWE match is the least built up of the matches, and any potential steam it may have had really gotten squashed here. I don’t mind so much the knocking out of Mark Henry, but I still don’t think Show is going over on Sunday. When the mighty reach their highest highs, they have to fall so far, and I think that’s going to be the story with this match on Sunday. Again, I wasn’t a huge fan of this match tonight because it made the supposed top champion, the WWE Champion look like a joke.
Match Grade: C
In-Ring Action: B+ With the exception of the main event, the rest of the wrestling here was okay. The big focus tonight for matches was the mask versus mask match, and yes, that was the Match of the Night. I’m greatly excited to see where they take Hunico and Sin Cara now. I really hope they don’t do anything with them at Vengeance now, but if they were to extend this program to Survivor Series, I would have no problem with that.
Out-of-Ring Action: B+ The WWE.com Exclusives were a very nice touch, but I think they were very over done. I think Jinder Mahal could have greatly benefitted from these segments, but alas, it looks like we’re going to completely forget about him. The Sisters of Salvation segment was the worst part of the promo parts tonight, but Cody Rhodes’ fantastic job more than made up for it.
Overall: B+ Not too shabby for the go-home for Vengeance. Like I said, this card has received a better build up than Night of Champions, and I think the card is more compelling. I’m indifferent on the Triple H/Punk versus Awesome Truth, UNLESS a big return happens or some swerve goes on. I hope Ryder gets a decent chance to shine and that his match isn’t turned into a comedy routine.
Outside the Blog Zone
Hmm. Not a lot to report here, except to say that MPX: Consequences is on November 5th! Alright, until next week, after Vengeance, thank you for making me your CHOICE for Smackdown blogging.