Welcome, everyone, to this week’s Breakdown! I’ve been a bit under the weather, so I asked our favorite Raw and TNA blogger to open for me this week. Take it away, Kendra!
Jesse and I have been trading off a lot of work recently, and he's asked me to open this up for you this week – so you're stuck with me, if only for just briefly. He was going to discuss the Monday Night RAW crowd, something we've been discussing all week. Actually, something almost everyone's been discussing all week. It really amazes me how the post-WrestleMania RAW fans, no matter where they are – New Jersey, Florida, Georgia, Arizona, Texas – the fans from all over the world made that particular RAW into something special. Beyond that, they make moments, wrestlers, chants, and make changes that no one expects.
Going into Monday night I don't think anyone knew that Fandangoing would become a worldwide phenomenon. It's very interesting to think about how that one group of fans changed things for specific people in one night. Obviously they changed the direction of Fandango, and how he will be remembered, but what about others on the show? Where does that leave Sheamus, Orton, Big Show, Ryback and Cena? Okay, we already know that Cena's character is a total mess, and it doesn't seem as though they're going to do anything to help him, change up his character. But what about the other four? Big Show was supposed to be the big bad heel, but the fans loved him. And the fans were disgusted by how boring and staid both Sheamus and Orton have become, but did they do enough to cause a change in their characters? But what about Ryback? They tried to turn him heel on Monday, but they should have known that the fans loath Cena enough that they wouldn't treat Ryback as a heel for attacking him. This past Monday was a very special night, but I can't see the fans taking Ryback attacking Cena as a heel move on any given night.
I'm still in awe over what one crowd can, and has, done on RAW the night after WrestleMania, but some things stay constant, like our issues with stagnant characters, and storylines without direction. I'd like to think that more will come of RAW that the Fandangoing wave that's sweeping the world, but only time will tell.
If you haven’t read it already, Kendra has a great piece looking at the rise of Fandangoing on our sister site WWENews.net here!
Break it down!
Opening Video: 8.5
While I really wish they'd just kept with the opening music montage that they had used last week, this week's video was actually superb. They kept Captian Monotone to a minimum, and they really placed an excellent emphasis on Dolph Ziggler’s title with the video. Now if they keep doing this well for the next few weeks, I could actually stomach these opening videos weekly.
Ziggler’s Celebration: 9.25
Big E Langston did very well on announcing Ziggler out. One thing I did notice as soon as Zigler started talking was fact that he was hoarse. Maybe he did a little bit too much partying backstage of Raw or maybe he coming down with something, but it is very obvious he wasn't at one hundred percent for this promo. Another thing was that Ziggler got a good amount of face reactions when he came out was first starting to talk, but he did a very good job on roping them back in and getting the heel reaction he needed. Zeb's interruption of Ziggler came as a bit of a surprise to me, but it opens up the opportunity for Ziggler to turn face or at least become a tweener. And I honestly would like to see a match between Swagger and Ziggler, as the triple threat match they used to have with Kofi Kingston were always very good. Then Del Rio's interruption helped set up for him to have some time off TV. He seems to have been working hurt for a good month and half, and we don’t need another person working themselves into a state where they need a lot of time off, like it appears Punk has. Maybe some time off will let him come back with a new finisher! But Ziggler had to poke the bear by talking about fighting anyone else that interrupted him, and got Y2J for his trouble! And Jericho proved that he can rile up a group of people better than anyone else, especially when he called AJ crazy! This was a nice, if still predictable way to set up for tonight’s main event, and I hope they keep finding different ways to present it each week.
WWE Tag Team Champions Hell No (Daniel Bryan and Kane) vs. The Primetime Players (Titus O’Neil and Darren Young): 6.5
I noticed that Kane’s ring gear seemed to be a bit more open underneath his arms this week, and had Kendra go back to verify whether or not I was correct. I was and, honestly, I like how it looks, as it invokes a look similar to The Undertaker's. The match was a quick one just so Creative could showcase how Daniel Bryan and Kane were on the same page and it really didn't have anything to stand out from any of their previous matches with the Primetime Players. I will say that Titus O'Neil has been improving greatly over the last few weeks, and is quickly becoming bearable to watch.
Winners: Hell No (Sub)
Shield Video: 8.75
The Shield showed just how much planning they do on their attacks. They are probably the single most tactical unit to have ever invaded the WWE, and it makes it to where they have a very unique aura about them. Coupled with their big main event level wins against on the top talent in the WWE, they are poised no matter what happens to be at the top of the card after they break up.
WWE really needs to look at placing Hell No and The Undertaker versus The Shield on Extreme Rules, as it would be a huge draw and moneymaker to have Undertaker on an event other than WrestleMania. WWE was extremely impressed with how the buyrate increased with Brock Lesnar on the card last year. Just imagine how well it will do this year with The Undertaker! But I digress. If you really want to know my thoughts on this possible feud, then you need to read my article located here.
Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett vs. Santino Marella: 6
So, Wade Barrett wins back the title on Raw and is now facing a glorified jobber in Santino Marella? Why not give Wade a more credible opponent, such as R-Truth, Kofi Kingston, or at least someone who has wrestled in the mid-card in the last year? And Santino really should not try to do a Kip Up. It just looks bad when you fail twice in a row. And when he finally does it, it was to start a very short comeback that by that point wasn't needed, as no one thought he was going to win the match. Honestly, I could have done without this match.
Winner: Wade Barrett (Pin)
Video of Superstars during WrestleMania Week: 8
Honestly, I can't bash this, as it showed a good side of the Axxess/WrestleMania week experience. I know that the closest WrestleMania will ever get to me is next year in New Orleans, and I just hope that I'm going to be able to do something with it. It's just a shame that we've had to hear the negative reports come out of the actual Axxess experience. I just hope that they learn from it this year.
Backstage segment: 8
Teddy and Booker's tension is really starting to boil! This may honestly be one the more interesting things exclusive to Smackdown right now. Now why couldn't Booker or Vickie have set this match up on Raw? It would've made a lot more sense than the crap they threw at us with the face vs. face snooze-fest that caused the crowd to erupt into the most random and awesome chants I have ever heard! Sadly, though, tonight's crowd seems to be a little bit on the dead side.
The Bella Twins and Tamina Snuka vs. The Funkadactyls and Divas Champion Kaitlyn: 5.5
Honestly, this match drained my hopes for tonight’s show. It was rushed, and felt like it was forced into the show to just further the Dactyls and Bella Twins “feud”. This match did show one thing, however. It showed that the Bellas really have no place in the divas division. They are very lackluster in the ring, they can barely talk on the mike, and honestly are only there because of their look. And tonight’s match just showed how poor they look in comparison to 4 Divas that can actually work the ring. Naomi yet again impressed me with her pacing and abilities, and even helped bring the Bella Twins up some.
Winners: The Bella Twins and Tamina Snuka
Triple H interview segment: 7
With those sunglasses on the ramp, Triple H really looked like Kevin Nash! I will say that I'm getting tired of people interrupting the legends as they're trying the talk about their WrestleMania moments this week. First we had The Shield come down to attack The Undertaker now we get 3MB trying to pull the same on Triple H? Sadly, no one in their right mind would find this believable, as they have been booked as the weakest jobbers on the planet over the last few months. Please, WWE, don't give Heath Slater a mike like that again! Thankfully though The Shield showed up to take care of the 3MB problem! Of course, Hell No had to show up to chase The Shield off, which further establishes the feud that they’re trying to set up for Extreme Rules. But this does give them some flexibility for the third man of the team.
Backstage segment: 8
The tension between Teddy Long and Booker T was so thick in this segment that they could practically cut it with a knife. I hope they pull the trigger on this storyline soon, as delaying it out too much further will make fans grow disinterested. I felt like big show was phoning it in here to a point. He really did not seem believable, but at least we didn't have to bear through him holding and playing with his chest again in one these segments. Booker, though, showed just how frustrated he’s getting with the talent around Smackdown, as he was more forceful and aggressive with Big Show then he has any other superstar to date.
Two-on-One Handicap Match -
Sheamus and Randy Orton vs. The Big Show: 5
Honestly, to quote the fans from Monday night about Cena, this match was the same old stuff from Randy Orton, Sheamus and, Big Show. And after the debacle from Monday night between Sheamus and Orton, I would've thought that they would try to put on a more exciting match. Sadly, though, we got more the same and I honestly couldn't care less of this point about this.
Winners: Sheamus and Randy Orton (Count out)
Backstage Segment: 6
Oh yeah! It doesn't matter how big and strong you are, until he is taken out by the World's Strongest Man! Seriously though, where they can go with this? Have Henry team up with The Big Show? So we get yet another monster tag team that will break apart at the first sign of issues between the two of them.
Antonio Cesaro vs. Kofi Kingston: 8.25
So they both got a jobber entrance? While I don't oppose that with Kofi, as he has been booked so poorly lately, Antonio Cesaro, being the United States Champion, deserves more respect than that. This match was pretty impressive to start with then that European uppercut Cesaro pulled when Kofi was in midair was just sick! These two are very talented and are some of the most misused talents right now in the WWE. I will say that I was incredibly surprised by Kofi picking up the win, especially after the year he's had so far. Maybe this will be a step in the right direction, as he needs to pull out of this slump. For a bit more on my opinion of Kofi, you can read my latest Where Did They Go Wrong here! That does beg the question what has Cesaro done to be in Vince's doghouse so bad that he is now losing to Kofi? Hopefully Cesaro will turn around before it gets out-of-control again!
Winner: Kofi Kingston (pin)
Raw Rebound: 7.5
They are trying too hard to turn Ryback heel here, and I feel it is going to bite them in the backside in the lead up to Extreme Rules. Ryback is too over as a face, and Cena has too much of a mixed/heel reaction, especially after wrestlemania, for Ryback to be turned by going against him. If they wanted Ryback be turned heel, they should have had him go after someone who gets a better face reaction. Maybe have him join with the Big Show against Sheamus and Orton, as Sheamus is one of the more over faces at the moment.
Your New World Heavyweight Champion Dolph Ziggler vs. Chris Jericho: 8.75
I know this was just one night removed from the awesome crowd on Raw when this was taped, but it amazes me just how over Fandango was with this crowd. I know I've already plugged it once during this blog, but Kendra has a fantastic article up on Fandango on WWENews.net.
First off, I have to agree with JBL that Ziggler showed some serious disrespect for the World Heavyweight Title by wearing it over his rear like he did when he made his entrance. Maybe I am a bit too old-school in my thought processes, but to me that was almost as bad as him actually wiping his rear with it. As far as I can remember, he has never treated any other title like that, so why start now? Either wear it right, or carry it to the ring.
Now that that diatribe is over, this was actually a pretty good match. There wasn't really any standout moments in it, but the work of the men in the ring really didn't need a standout moment. JBL and Josh Mathews arguments during this match did take away from the overall feel. We typically get enough of this from Cole and JBL to begin with, and with one more person adding to the conversation, it soon became a muddled mess. Zindler stealing the win here just really cemented him into being a heel yet again. The post-match beatdown was fairly predictable, as Ziggler and Langston had to prove their point that they were the dominant men there. And Fandango's beatdown was expected to but the little bit of craziness the he added to his personality there just sent him over the top! After both WrestleMania and Raw, he is finding an incredible wellspring of confidence and I hope that it continues to show his work.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler (pin)
Overall Wrestling Grade: 6.75
Overall Segment Grade: 8.0
Overall Show Grade: 7.75
This week’s show was a very good mix of segments and matches. While the matches were below the quality I would've expected for a post WrestleMania show, the segments more than lived up to my expectations, with the exception of one. I will say that I was hoping for a lot more of a rowdy crowd, thanks the crowd reaction at Raw, but I know that that crowd was the exception rather than the rule. As we continue to build towards Extreme Rules, I do hope that they keep emphasizing Ziggler in the main event of the show, because that was something that I felt Del Rio's championship reign sorely lacked. With The Shield being the only other primary storyline on Smackdown, this is the time to start building new stars and start bringing back the prestige to the mid-card titles. However, the ball on this one is solely in the Creative’s court, and we do know that they have a poor track record of doing what's best for the company.
Since we only had one response to last week's trivia question, I'm going to repost it again this week. If no one gets it this time, I will post the answer in next week's Breakdown. I will save everyone some trouble as well, and post last week's incorrect answer, which was Kizarny.
Who has had the shortest career in WWF/E? Tryout matches and one off jobber appearances do not count, but time in developmental does. They must have made at least one appearance on WWF/E TV. HINT! He is no longer an active wrestler, but he does make occasional appearances in the Indies, although only once as the character he portrayed in WWF/E.
Until next week, thank you for reading!
Jesse and KB