It has been a rough month and a half for WWE in regards to injuries! Punk had to be shelved due to having so many injuries piling up, Triple H a muscular injury coming out of Wrestlemania, Lesnar was knocked out (concussed) at Wrestlemania, The Rock had his hernia at Wrestlemania, John Cena injured his Achilles during the UK tour, and now Ziggler has been concussed on tonight’s Smackdown. And while I would like to say it was the people that they were working with, in most cases it’s because the workers are trying to push too hard. The three part time talents could have been in better ring shape and tried to push through too hard of a match. Punk and Cena both have been the workhorses of the WWE for the greater part of the last two years, and while Cena has been down a couple of times during this timeframe, Punk felt that he had to keep himself out in the limelight as much as possible in order to keep his spot, so he sacrificed his health and possibly years of his career to do so. But Ziggler’s injury, while I have yet to see it (This is my opening after all!), from all I have heard could have easily been prevented! He’s the World Heavyweight Champion, and while I know he needs to be mixed in with the two contenders vying for his belt, after the close call both him and ADR had on Raw I would have kept him as far away from any hardcore actions just to keep from having another top star on the DL. And while I know WWE will take all of the precautions to ensure that Ziggler is back up to his cognitive baseline before allowing him to return to the ring, I am more worried about his long-term health. A severe concussion can cause serious side effects that won’t manifest until months, if not years, later. I know from personal experience how difficult they can be. I had an auto accident in 2006 that I was severely concussed in. Afterwards, my mood changed and personality shifted, I experience random bouts of vertigo, if I get too stressed I will blackout, and while I am fairly coherent in the written word, I have frequent times that I will completely lose my train of thought mid-sentence. And that doesn’t even begin to cover the psychological issues that may arise! I just hope WWE will keep him under close observation, as this is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.
Break it Down!
Opening Video: 3
And we are back to using the stupid Narrator! This has to be the biggest waste of 2 minutes in each broadcast that I can think of. And even though it did a decent job in recapping what happened with The Shield and Hell No on Smackdown last week and the World Heavyweight Title feud on Raw, I couldn’t get into the video thanks to his annoying voice! Next!
Jericho’s Highlight Reel: 8.5
That’s a small Jeritron! I remember when they had one of the 50-60 inch Plasmas that they hung off of cables. Maybe I am the only one who thinks so, but Jericho is the only person I have ever enjoyed in the modern era with these talk show segments. I’ve tried desperately to not to compare Ryback to Goldberg ever since he debuted the gimmick, but the way he is dressed here just evokes that image in me! The leather jacket, the beanie, and the scruff on his face make him look too similar! The crowd was very dead to start the show, and I don’t think the Highlight Reel was the best way to get the crowd into it. It took Jericho prodding the audience to get a reaction for Ryback! Jericho is one of those rare workers who always elevate whomever they are working with on the mike! Well, except that one horrendous segment with Barrett and Miz! UGH! With Teddy Long “in charge” it looks like we are going to revert to all of the trappings that he brought along with the GM role! I know that they are having him fill in while Booker T is out from his surgery, but I honestly would rather hear Vickie’s screech of Teddy Long pulling his “Let’s make a match!” shtick.
United States Champion Kofi Kingston vs. Cody Rhodes: 6
I felt like this was an ok match, but it felt like it was just placed here to make Kofi look good after his loss on Raw. And while he did need it, yet again it was at the expense Cody Rhodes. Cody’s trip of Kofi early on in the match was a bit different! It did look a bit awkward, but I think that was because Kofi wasn’t sure of it. The Trouble in Paradise countering the Disaster Kick was a nice spot, but otherwise I was disappointed by this match. The two of them can put on a match with a major wow factor, but not tonight.
Winner: Kofi Kingston (Pin)
BROCK SMASH! Recap: 6
Why was this recap needed? I guess it helped to serve Lesnar and Triple H’s egos, but otherwise it was a waste of time.
Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter Interview: 9
Colter is gold yet again! I really hope that they can keep him around for a long time, as he has so much he can teach this generation on how to work a crowd on the mike!
Big E Langston vs. Jack Swagger: -100
I don’t normally watch a segment 20+ times, but I didn’t want to write on this without having made sure I saw absolutely everything there was in the segment. I was sadly right that Swagger was the one that caused Ziggler’s concussion. And after what Richard reported in Premium about Swagger being reprimanded Monday night after a very reckless usage of the ladder, I am ticked off that it was him! But more than anything else, I am ticked off that it looked like he blatantly tried to injure Ziggler! And while some will say I’m being biased and I don’t know what was going through Swagger’s mind, a person with over 5 years of ring experience at the WWE level knows not to kick towards someone as they are bending over like Ziggler was. But unlike Richard, Kendra, and Alex, I truly think Swagger tried to hurt Ziggler. And I feel that way for a number of reasons. First and foremost was the way Swagger presented himself for the kick. Swagger delayed the onset of the kick, like he was trying to line it up. Second is his attitude that he has had over the years. It is well known what kind of ego Swagger has, and after Monday night I am sure he was incensed. But what makes me even further convinced is the look on Swagger’s face after the kick connected. It was a look of knowledge of what he had done. And while I am furious with Swagger, I want to praise Del Rio. When Del Rio hit him with his fist wrapped in the jacket, he basically just threw a wide punch that made it to where only his jacket connected because he was trying to protect Ziggler from further harm. Del Rio knew that there was something wrong there, as Ziggler was not acting normal by any means. And while I can’t be sure it wasn’t just part of the spot, but when Del Rio tossed the ladder at Swagger it looked to me like there was a twinge of true anger there. After Ziggler rolled out of the ring, you could see AJ pensively go over to check on his condition. And if I didn’t know any better, I would say that it looked like she was crying a bit as the camera panned into Del Rio atop the ladder. Why an official didn’t come in to stop the action here is beyond me! I thought WWE had procedures in place for when things like this happened.
Dean Ambrose vs. Tag Team Champion Daniel Bryan: 9.25
“That Dean Ambrose is something special you guys!”
JBL, I couldn’t agree more! Especially after seeing how WWE has put him in 3 singles matches over the last 3 Smackdown broadcasts, and they were all against 3 huge names in WWE. Ambrose has a bright future indeed! I was surprised to find that Bryan and Ambrose have only faced off three times in their careers in one-on-one action. All three times were while Daniel Bryan was “released” from WWE. But it looked like they had been wrestling together for years in this match! Daniel Bryan’s and Dean Ambrose’s strikes throughout the match were incredible! Ambrose took a hard kick from Bryan early in the match that gave him a cut beneath his left eye and it was looking nasty by the end of the match! The crowd really came alive during this match too! Kofi coming out to attack Ambrose was a bit of a surprise! I hope that they do go for a Winner Takes All match for Extreme Rules. I think that Kofi doesn’t need a strap at this time, and it has been more than long enough to take the Tag Titles off of Hell No. One thing I do want to point out is how Hell No has turned a serious corner lately on TV. Sure, they can still have a goofy moment or two, but they have made a great transition into a serious tag team.
Winner: Dean Ambrose (DQ)
WWE.com Video of Mark Henry Pulling a Semi: 8
While I may not like these Feats of Strength stunts that they keep pulling with Henry, this one actually impressed me! If you want to get all scientific about it, his feat here wasn’t that impressive considering his weight and the friction coefficient, but it still is quite a sight. And while I understand why they had the Primetime Players out there as his cheering section, because they do have some good charisma, why was Sandow out there? I guess it was just a way for him to get a show bonus.
Henry’s World Record Attempt: 10
While I may not have liked Henry’s mike work at the start of this segment, this isn’t about a dang promo! He did something that has never been done before by pulling two semi trucks on a harness! I am utterly shocked that he was able to do it, and I’m even more surprised that he didn’t have a heart attack in the process! To further elaborate on what I meant earlier, the science behind this feat was simple. A 55,000 pound semi’s tires, if properly inflated, have a friction coefficient of at a minimum 0.006% resistance against the ground. That means that Henry needed to be able to provide at least 330 pounds of forward momentum to pull the single truck. At 412 pounds, he should be able to do that. But with 2 trucks he would need double of that force plus approximately 25-40% more for the fact that the weight is no longer linearly behind him but now triangulated. So Henry had to exert a minimum of 825-925 pounds of pull to move the pair of trucks! That is something I think we can all say is superhuman!
By the way, could anyone ID who that was in the orange tights cheering Henry on? I thing that was Hawkins, but I’m not sure.
Be A Star with Diddy: 9
While I may not entirely agree with the WWE’s involvement in an anti-bullying campaign, I know that bullying is something that has grown in intensity over the years, as parents these days can’t seem to teach their kids what is socially acceptable. And add in the fact that these kids are learning technology faster and being allowed to be online unsupervised, and we see just how awful things are getting. I just hope that all of the different organizations that are popping up can raise the proper awareness and help curb at least some of the hate. And I may not like his music, but Diddy seemed like he really is passionate against bullying in this PSA.
Raw Rebound: 5
I didn’t like this segment when it aired on Raw, as it felt completely over the top and cheesy on Cena’s part and Ryback stumbled a bit too much for me. And this recap of it, while cutting a lot of the bad segments, still didn’t feel like it was anything to watch. Add in the recap of the aftermath of Ryback’s match and I was bored stiff.
Orton Interview: 2.5
My how the mighty have fallen! Orton really fell flat here, and I wouldn’t doubt it if that was a piped in crowd reaction for his promo. This really does not seem like the same man that was cutting promos that I thought was on par with some of the better talkers over the years. Orton needs to find that fire for his work again.
Big Show vs. “Sweet T” Tensai: 5
I absolutely loved the extremely aggressive side of Tensai! I know that they are they dancing bears of WWE, but this makes me hope that Tons of Funk will make a serious transition like Hell No. I do like that Tensai has gone to a less serious gimmick, however. He seems to be falling back into the groove and stylings he had as Albert, which I feel is a comfort zone for him. I even saw him try to go for the Baldo Bomb on Show! But really? One punch and it’s done? Way to bury a guy, Creative! I know it is supposed to one of the most powerful punches in WWE, but it just feels unrealistic that Tensai would go down like that when Big Show had no offense up to that point. And that spear by Big Show was lazy! Of course, Orton had to come out to hit an RKO. Yawn. Who didn’t see that coming? I really hope that they blow this feud off at Extreme Rules, as both Show and Orton are getting lazy to the point that I am surprised the casual fans aren’t noticing!
Winner: Big Show (Pin)
Kaitlyn’s Admirer: 0
WHAT IN THE FIRES OF MORDOR DID I JUST WATCH?! NO! NO! NO! The only positive to this whole segment was that AJ got to trade a few catty barbs with Kaitlyn, but please never let me see Khali impersonate Rey Mysterio or Cody Rhodes again!
Chris Jericho vs. Ryback: 7.75
Whenever Jericho is in the ring, I expect a superior wrestling match. And while this wasn’t a bad match by any means, it wasn’t up to Jericho’s and even Ryback’s standards in my opinion. Ryback posting Jericho was just too much of a blatant heel move for him. He is a recently minted heel and while I could see him using a chair or another foreign object, but I always feel that going to a extremely heelish move too quickly diminishes the turn. I was surprised that Josh turned heel tonight! His intense defense of Ryback and mocking of JR were both a great contrast to Cole’s determination that Cena will unequivocally walk out of Extreme Rules as the WWE Champion. I do hope that we hear a bit more of this edgy Josh Mathews going forward.
Winner: Chris Jericho (DQ)
Overall Wrestling Grade: 7
Overall Segment Grade: 6.5
Overall Show Grade: 4
And I am being very generous with the show grade, all things considered. And maybe it is just my opinion, but this show was Swagger’s third strike in my eyes. If Ziggler is out for more than a month and Swagger isn’t given the Kennedy treatment, then Vince is an idiot. But even beyond that, this show plodded along for the vast majority of the broadcast. It took almost an hour to really get started with the Ambrose/Bryan match and then they slowed it back down with Henry’s Truck Pull and the following segments and matches. When they finally got to the main event, I was ready for it to be over. I hope that WWE pulls their act together for next week’s show.
This week’s trivia question is an easy one, but it might stump quite a few of you!
Wrestling has seen a number of people who have played the persona of an intellectual including Lanny Poffo, Damien Sandow, and Bob Backlund. But who is the smartest wrestler in the history of all of the various promotions, as verified by standardized IQ tests?
Have fun, and I will see you next week!