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It appears that explanations are scarce in WWE these days – explanations of contract signings and bonuses, explanations of face and heel turns, and explanations of, well, logic. Actually, let me clarify – it’s not that there’s a lack of explanations, it’s that the ones we have are ridiculously lackluster. For what it’s worth, the goof by John Laurinaitis was covered as well as it possibly could have been, but really, what would have been wrong with no pre-existing contract being announced and Big Show being rehired on Monday? Look, we can blame Johnny all we want for goofing up what he said on Monday, but the point is, the show itself was written based on the fact that Show was already re-hired before Raw. It would have been more compelling television to see Big Show come out on Raw and ask for his job back, citing what he did at Over the Limit as being his final plea. However, since patience is wearing thin and tension is high in the writer’s room, I’m going to guess that other things were on people’s minds. Anyways, I’ll get more into random face and heel turns later in the blog. Are we ready? Let’s get to SMACKDOWN!
A “Teddy-Long-Era” Show Opening
Really, we haven’t had this kind of continuous interruption of Superstars since Long was in charge. But here we are, and since nobody else seems to be stepping up, we’ll have a triple threat match to determine the number one contender. I was confused as to why Kane was in this (even his logic behind why he needed to be in the match was a little far fetched), but later on, we’ll see the other shoe drop. Besides Kane (and not that he didn’t deliver it well, it’s just the speech itself was a bit weird), I thought everyone did a nice job on the mic to set up the main event.
Segment Grade: B+
NEW Intercontinental Champion Christian vs. Hunico
So, here’s random illogical turn number one – Christian. In one of the most blatant cases of WWE completely rewriting or erasing their recent history, we’re supposed to forget how Christian came out in support of John Laurinaitis, how he blamed all of us for his physical ailments, how annoyed we were by his pleas for “One…More…Match,” and how he (Big Show style) didn’t give a damn about anybody in the WWE Universe? Now he’s leader of the Peeps again? He’s “By the Peeps, For the Peeps?” He doesn’t get to wear his odd-looking Killswitch shirt? He turns face simply by virtue of hearing Cody say some pointed jabs at him and going out there to prove him wrong. Because obviously what we need on Smackdown is more faces. Okay, my rant on that is over – to the match! It wasn’t a squash, and it’s a good thing, too – I would not want a newly crowned champion squashing anyone out of the gate. I want to see my champion in some form of adversity, having to come back, and putting a display of all of his moves on. This wasn’t a five-star match by any means, but it served its purpose to build Christian back up as a legitimate superstar and champion. It was a decent showing by Hunico and Camacho, and I wouldn’t mind seeing Hunico in this Intercontinental Title picture for a brief period of time. I think these two could put on a very good, story telling match. Oh, and I like how Christian’s bringing back the TNA-Frog-Splash. What I don’t like is Cole saying that wrestlers “add moves to their arsenal” as if to say that Superstars have only a video-game-like series of moves that they’re allowed to use. …wait, they do.
Match Grade: B
Rhodes and Christian? I’ll see it again!
But let’s not forget about rematch clauses. If we see Rhodes against Christian at No Way Out, that’ll be fine by me. These two had a great match at Over the Limit, and the promo Rhodes cut here was good as well. My biggest problem is that Rhodes is coming off as obsessed with the Intercontinental Championship – that does great things for the prestige and honor of the belt, but hey, all of those guys that he listed in his promo? They had to move on at some point to bigger and better things.
Segment Grade: B
Young Neil vs. The Usos
Two jobber entrances? I’M CONFUSED. The short video package from “earlier today” was good – I was afraid WWE was just going to let Young Neil be completely goofy in promos, but I like that The Usos get to call them out on it. I’d be good with seeing a feud between these two teams over a number one contender spot. Building stories between teams is a good way to restore the division. It’s a shame they weren’t given more in ring time, because I think they could actually put on a great tag team match, but the idea here is to build up Young and O’Neil, and that’s what it did. Now, we’re going to run into the problem of who else gets to be built up as potential challengers eventually. Young and O’Neil are running roughshod over people lately, and while The Usos put up a good fight tonight, I feel like it was a foregone conclusion that they were going to lose. Also, where was A.W. during this match?
Match Grade: B-
Just when I thought Ryback was going to start facing some actual roster members – we get this. I will say that the performance tonight was inspiring – black eye and all, Ryback really was inspiring to me. Let’s face it, the guy is jacked, intense, and stiff as hell with everyone – he’s a bada**. When he does move on to bigger and better things, it will hopefully be in a great feud with someone established. I would love to see him face some adversity for once, because I think he’d get the kind of feedback necessary from an audience to make for an emotional match. Also, we need a name for that finisher of his. It was pretty impressive seeing him put both jobbers on his shoulders and do that. Not nearly as impressive as John Cena putting Show and Edge on his shoulders, but, then again, Cena didn’t stomp around the ring like Ryback did.
Match Grade: SQUASH
Santino Marella vs. Ricardo Rodriguez
Really? I’m not even going to waste my time analyzing this match, except to say one word: Ridiculous.
Match Grade: SQUASH
Gee, nobody saw where this one was going. Expect there to be reprecussions on Raw as a result of the promo tonight. I’ll say this though, it’s fun to hear Sheamus talk about kicking someone’s arse or calling someone a huge arse. I think I’ve gotten over the fact that he’s supposed to be a fighting Irishman and comedy shouldn’t be part of his schtick. This may have to do with the fact that Sheamus is impressive in all facets of his trade. As far as Vickie goes, it still astounds me that the woman can get this kind of heat.
Segment Grade: B+
Sheamus vs. Jack Swagger
It’s kind of sad that nobody expects Swagger to win unless it’s through a screwy finish. The match itself was really good, and flashbacks from Swagger’s more dominant time in WWE shone through. Swagger just needs that opportunity to get back into a singles title scene, and unfortunately, I feel like he needs to break away from Vickie and Dolph to do that. How long as this stable been running? Practically a year now? At least? I say we give Dolph and Jack one more shot at the tag team titles and then turn them loose in solo matches. Vickie may even be able to stay with them, but they’ve got to go solo more often and without the other at ringside. Okay, with the match, I was perfectly content with everything that happened here except for the Brogue Kick finish. With Sheamus having had his leg attacked the entire match, he shouldn’t have been able to hit the Brogue Kick with any amount of strength, let alone land on his feet and cover him convincingly. Alas, that could just be one writer overthinking things. It’s not how I would have booked the finish, but then again, I’m writing this laying in bed, so who am I?
Match Grade: A-
Damien Sandow vs. Yoshi Tatsu
It’s getting so that Sandow’s promos are becoming part of his matches. Anyways, I’m slightly surprised to see creative bring this back as a return match – it’s an actual storyline now. The opening to this match was great because Sandow kept up his clear speaking and civlized tones (somewhat) as Tatsu was accosting him. I loved that he shouted “Do your job, please, referee.” The Russian Leg Sweep was impressive, and I like the double-cutthroat neckbreaker as his finish. What’s next for Sandow? I’m still begging for a Ryback/Sandow feud.
Match Grade: SQUASH
Big Show Finalizes His Heel Turn
I’m thinking that Show and Christian switched places. Here we have Show in the “I don’t care about you” position. I did like his line about drowning and not caring where the lifeline comes from. That’s one of those rare lines in WWE promos where you go, “Whoa man…that’s deep.”
Segment Grade: B+
Kane vs. Alberto del Rio vs. Randy Orton
Here’s illogical face turn number two – Kane. This one may not be as blaringly obvious as Christian’s, simply because Kane’s a demented character who needs no logic to do the things he does. That being said, it sets him up perfectly for being the ultimate tweener. When he went up against CM Punk last week, we boo’ed him. When he goes up against Daniel Bryan, we’ll cheer him. Kane can pull off both without really doing much of anything but performing the way he’s booked. I liked that Bryan did come out and do what he did to Kane, as it further builds his petulance and vengefulness as a heel. Some people don’t like that the program with Punk was interrupted, but hey, this whole Kane/Bryan thing was orchestrated, basically, by Punk. The average storyline in WWE has a 3-4 month long lifespan before we say it gets old. Give it a break and revisit it later – say, at SummerSlam. Now, to the actual match. As far as triple threats go, this was as good as any we’ve seen lately. Now, the incident with Jericho in Brazil happened after Smackdown was taped, and with a one month suspension, this now leaves Orton without a program. I wonder if del Rio still would have been booked as the winner if the suspension had happened before Smackdown. I’ll be interested to see where Orton ends up on Raw. Del Rio was more impressive than he has been, but he still wasn’t as fantastic as I’m pretty sure everyone thinks he should be. I know we have the SuperShows and all of that, but realize that del Rio is basically Smackdown’s top heel right now. Yikes. I’m not sure how I feel about Kane not completely going after Daniel Bryan. For a guy that, at his core, should only care about vengeance and destruction, I think he showed that he cared a little too much about getting a title shot. At any rate, the job was carried out, and Kane took the pinfall, which was the right call. With Jericho out of the picture, do you risk making the World Heavyweight Championship match a triple threat after you just had a fatal four way? It doesn’t appear that there’s much other choice if you want to keep Orton on the No Way Out card.
Match Grade: A
In-Ring Action: C+ This would have gotten a higher grade, but we were subject to two squashes and a comedy match. Unfortunately, I think we had to endure those because other talents that could have been used were on the international tour. With Ryback and Sandow squashing, it’s a good thing we didn’t get Brodus and Cesaro in tonight. Out of the three other legitimate matches we got, I think they all delivered.
Out-of-Ring Action: B Again, I think that we were hurt in this category by the lack of stars available. I did not want to hear Big Show tell us again about his actions. That, however, seemed to be the only “time-waster” promo. I liked what Rhodes had to say, and I like that they kept the Usos/Young Neil bit to a short video clip.
Overall: B- It was an average show. We came off of a Pay Per View, it’s time to build to the next one, and we’ve got a couple of new programs in place. Now it’s time to see how the Blue Crew responds next week in building this next Pay Per View, No Way Out.
Outside the Blog Zone
Not too much to say here except that NUMBER ONE SMACKDOWN ANNOUNCER FUNAKI is going to be performing at MPX tonight! He’s also going to be conducting a clinic, which unfortunately, due to working at a hotel during Memorial Day Weekend, I cannot attend. It’s okay though, because there are other guys on our roster that will benefit more from a clinic with a WWE Talent Scout. Until next week, thanks for making me your CHOICE for Smackdown blogging!