I love how short-term WWE is, nowadays. They see the ratings spike for Raw 1000 and get all giddy, thinking that their plan is going to work…what they failed to do is put on a fully entertaining three hours. There were moments, but look, 2/3 of it was all for people of an older generation. It was nostalgic. Any old fans that watched it to see what would happen won’t tune in next week because those older guys aren’t going to be there. Any new fans that watched it didn’t understand who the older guys were and there wasn’t enough current material to keep interest. Now, the idea of AJ as the GM is probably the most refreshing thing we’ve seen in awhile…but it all depends on how they execute the angle over its lifespan. The Anonymous GM, whilst completely unrealistic and annoying, was actually innovative. One of those “looks-good-on-paper” kind of things. I, for one, am interested in seeing how Daniel Bryan gets used. Alright, are we ready? Let’s get to SMACKDOWN!
I’ve been meaning to say this for a while, but Miz looks a lot more AWESOME with the five o’clock shadow and a full head of hair. He looks more matured and less like a punk kid who’s being a poser in the ring. I like how we got right down to the action, and as the announcers mention during the match, I like that Miz did no crying, no whining about having to defend the belt.
Segment Grade: A-
Intercontinental Championship: The Miz (c) vs. Christian
This match was fantastic. I think some time away might have been just the spark Miz needed to kick it into another gear. That, or a program with Christian, who can make anyone look good. You saw a more focused Miz, and I think the more you can stray away from a certain gimmick and get heat without having to force the issue on the audience, the easier it is to wrestle a great match. Sure, a little showboating here and there to get the crowd riled up is good, but when I think of Miz’ earlier matches, he was whining to refs, trash talking to opponents during matches, showing off, etc. This was just a face and a heel having a great match. It helps to have as good a face as Christian in the ring, too. Now, I would have switched the finishes from Raw and Smackdown, had Miz win the title dirty and then get the clean win tonight to firmly establish him as champion. Alas, this will do, as at least Miz kept the title. Also, Christian sold that eye poke like he just had acid poured on his eye didn’t he? Yikes.
Match Grade: A
Jinder Mahal vs. Ryback
What? A Ryback match that wasn’t a squash? I like it. Sure, the outcome was pretty obvious, but I like that they at least gave Jinder a fighting chance. The fact that Ryback is being taken off of his feet is already signs that he’s not fully inhuman. I loved the counter from the Camel Clutch to the Backpack Stunner as I think that move really only works as a counter. Mahal getting a countout victory is intriguing as that means we’ll probably see these two go at it again next week…and maybe Mahal will have a different strategy.
Match Grade: B-
Also, to hell with Tout. Twitter is already fairly annoying…God knows I don’t want to hear you make a complete idiot of yourself.
Tout Grade: F
Sheamus ZINGS Daniel Bryan
Yikes. If you don’t know the double entendre of this joke, then wrestling is still real to you. I, on the other hand, thought it was HILARIOUS.
Segment Grade: A+
Sheamus vs. Cody Rhodes
Cody Rhodes seems to be in limbo. Because he hasn’t really been relevant since he lost the Intercontinental Championship, it’s hard to see him get launched back into the main event scene legitimately. Maybe a better way to phrase that is, “Gee, this is a random match.” I think Sheamus, on the other hand, has really embraced his role as a face of the company, being World Heavyweight Champion, and still maintaining the integral parts of his character. He’s legitimately one of my favorites to see perform. Cody, for his lack of angles, reminded us that he can still and should be in the main event picture. That missed moonsault though was scary as all hell. I like Ziggler coming down and being a distraction to both competitors, and Cody even acknowledged him by saying, “I do all the work?” There was a nice tease at the end with cashing in, but again, we’ve seen this type of angle with the briefcase before. All in all, this was another strong match. The post match stuff with Jericho was just enough (espeically with Chris wearing Dolph’s shirt) to make us want to see more between these two.
Match Grade: A
Santino Marella vs. Antonio Cesaro
By the way, get Cesaro new music. Um, I’m not really sure what to make of this match…it was random, senseless, and did nothing to help the United States Championship or Champion. Cesaro hasn’t been seen in about 2 months, so…just…whatever.
Match Grade: F
Damien Sandow vs. Yoshi Tatsu
This match I can at least call a squash. That little extra push was given when Sandow got in Tatsu’s face and screamed that it wasn’t a good day. We also get one more dimension to Damien’s character with him proclaiming himself to be a martyr. With all of that in mind, Damien Sandow needs to start having legitimate matches.
Match Grade: SQUASH
Fatal Four Way for the #1 Contendership: Rey Mysterio vs. Kane vs. Alberto del Rio vs. Daniel Bryan
I had my serious reservations about this match, just because Fatal Four Ways generally tend to be giant clusterf—-s in the first place and you had two heels, a face, and a tweener. After seeing the match though, I was left in awe. These four were able to put on a Big Four Pay Per View worthy match complete with temporary alliances, broken partnerships, and a TON of false finishes. Also, how absolutely SSSIIIICCCKK did the drop kick by del Rio to Rey who was being held by Kane look? I woke my girlfriend up because I popped so loud for it while I was watching it. I’m okay with the booking of the finish, as really del Rio is the only guy with the momentum to properly challenge for the World Heavyweight Championship. Kane wouldn’t have been the right call, Bryan’s preoccupied, and Rey’s a face…that does beg the question, however, of where to put Rey now? He had a built-in program with del Rio all set to go. Luckily, we have the fact that Ricardo pulled Rey out of the ring to let Alberto get the pin. Triple Threat match, anyone?
Match Grade: A
In-Ring Action: A- We had three extremely solid matches to build to SummerSlam, and really the most negative part of the show from this category was the Cesaro match. All of the other matches had a role in building programs and building intrigue as we head to the Summer Classic.
Out-of-Ring Action: A- One of the refreshing things about not having a GM on this show is that we don’t have to go to backstage segments NEARLY as often. The one backstage part we had was short, sweet, and funny as hell. Everything else, from Miz/Christian’s opening promo to Sandow’s martyr speech was pretty much right where it needed to be.
Overall: A- Great episode…I think this episode of Smackdown did more to renew my interest in wrestling than Raw 1000 did. Props to the Blue Crew for putting up an entertaining hour and a half of wrestling and promos.
Outside the Blog Zone
Hey, it’s freaking hot in Texas. Wrestling in 106-110 degree weather sucks…but to the fans around the world that support independent wrestling, Thank You So Much. We truly appreciate that you appreciate us working our rear ends off. Ugh, I’m being too face-y. Until next week, thanks for making me your CHOICE for Smackdown blogging!