This week has been a very controversial one, as we have had a new WWE Championship unveiled, the mainstream media attention of the Zeb Colter gimmick, and the arrest of Jack Swagger. These issues have divided the community in ways I would not have imagined. The unveiling of the WWE Championship brought us calls of bringing back the “Spinner” Title, talks on the lack of a nameplate, and issues with the main and side panels. The media attention on Zeb was met with universal ridicule by us fans, but has caused uproar in conservative political camps, to the point that WWE has reached out to Glenn Beck to come on Raw. Finally, Jack Swagger’s arrest came at the worst point for him, as he is in the starting phases of a massive push to a World Heavyweight Championship match at Wrestlemania. All of these points have been expounded on and torn apart by the community, myself included. While we may disagree on the finer points of these issues, the debate shows the passion we all share for the sport of professional wrestling. This is what I hope to foster through this blog. So, are you ready? I SAID, ARE YOU READY?
Break it down!
Opening Video- B
While I am not a fan of these videos, Swagger and Zeb’s focus in the video was nice. The reveal of the new WWE Championship and the following attack on Cena was well put together. I just hate Captain Monotone’s voice over!
In ring segement- C-
Alberto pulled out the typical “I’m going to Wrestlemania!” promo, and while it wasn’t bad, we heard an almost identical promo from Cena on Monday night. That just screams lazy writing. The only saving grace to Del Rio’s promo was him saying he like to lay his hand out across Swagger’s face!
Orton’s interruption made sense here, as Del Rio was just talking about Swagger, but did he have to sound like a kid who just lost his lunch money? Orton just doesn’t sound right talking about having a chance taken from him. I will say I was surprised at the pop Orton got. He has been getting very apathetic crowd reactions here lately.
Of course, it wouldn’t be Smackdown without Booker T coming out to make a main event match! The announcement of Swagger vs Orton was very predictable, but I was pleasantly surprised by Del Rio vs Barrett
Social Media Smackdown Announcement- F-
Why do we need this? They fill Raw up enough with tweets, Touts, trends, and the shameless self promoting of the WWE app. This just sounds like another way to fill time.
Sheamus vs Damien Sandow- B
As usual, Sandow was brilliant on the mic! And he gets a great reaction from the fans as well. The match itself was nothing that we haven’t seen before from these two, but they did do a good job of keeping it fresh by varying up the spots in the match. There is a wealth of talent on this roster; the creative team could have easily given us a much different match.
Wrestlemania 30 Press Conference Video- D
While the video was nicely put together, this with the multitude of other videos that they aired tonight bogged down the show.
When are they going to debut him? We have been getting the vignettes for two weeks again, after the three plus weeks worth right before the start of the New Year. Either WWE needs to pull the trigger on him, or make him go back to developmental. And did we really need to see the same video of him twice?
Shield video- A
With this video, the saying “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well” comes to mind. This video was the right length, showcased the dominance of The Shield, and did so without feeling over the top.
WWE Diva’s Champion Kaitlyn and Layla vs Aksana and Tamina- D-
This week on Impact, we had what was arguably one of the best women’s wrestling matches we have seen in quite some time. This was a complete antithesis to last night. First off, WWE didn’t have the respect to give Aksana and Tamina an entrance. Then it the match itself was bad enough that they had to pipe in crowd noise, even though you could easily see the crowd was dead. Finally, they couldn’t even give the Diva’s more than three minutes for the match, but they could air 11 video packages? The only thing that kept me from failing this match is that Kaitlyn hits the Spear well.
Raw Rebound- F!
They recapped this at the top of the show! All this served was to waste the time of fans watching the show.
Backstage Segment- A
Zeb was excellent, and the fact that he went against another heel simply because he is a foreigner shows remarkable continuity. Hopefully we get more of these great backstage segments.
Randy Orton vs Jack Swagger with Zeb Colter- A-
This was a very well paced match that showed the capabilities of both Swagger and Orton. Both of them seemed very in tune and kept up with one another. Zeb also did well to keep out of the match until the very end. Most managers are just as out in the spotlight during a match as some of the wrestlers. While that can be a good thing, the way Zeb just subtly inserted himself into the match spoke wonders. The only reasons why I didn’t give this match a higher grade is the countered suplex towards the end of the match was a bit awkward, and they had Swagger win with a roll up. Sure, he used the bottom rope, but it just doesn’t seem like something a person in a main event match would start using to win matches consistently.
Recap video about Mr. McMahon and Paul Heyman- D-
I know they want to promote this, but we didn’t need yet another recap video about Raw.
Trailer and Backstage segment- C-
While they need to promote their movies, all this served is to see Sheamus and Barrett ribbing each other.
The Miz vs Cody Rhodes- C+
While I enjoyed the match, especially the way Cody honed in on the shoulder throughout the match, I feel like it is Groundhog Day. This is the third time we have seen this match on Raw or Smackdown in the past two weeks. I mentioned earlier that we needed different matches. Why not put Sandow here and have Cody face Sheamus? But I will say that Figure Four Leg Lock was absolutely horrid! Anyone could have escaped it, considering how long it took The Miz to apply it. Also, what was up with that creepy “Lovestache” video? I am really hoping that gets dropped, and quickly.
Zeb Colter on Immigration video- C-
I love Zeb as a character, as I feel he has the potential to take anyone and make them a star, but Swagger mouthing almost everything Zeb said was a real distraction. My question is why did they not show us a different video,as they aired this one on Raw as well.
World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio vs Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett- B+
Jack Swagger coming out onto the stage before the match started showed some great psychology that we haven’t seen a lot of in feuds recently. To my knowledge, this is the first time Del Rio and Barrett have faced each other in a one-on-one match, and it was an excellent match! Barrett pulled Del Rio out of his comfort zone, and I loved it! The rope-held dropkick was superb, and Del Rio hanging Barrett in the ropes for the 10 count elbows in the back followed by a backstabber was a breath of fresh air. And Barrett’s Winds of Change is always impressive. I do want to say that Del Rio is starting to fall into what I call Face Syndrome, where every match has to have that big comeback moment, and I don’t think it suits him. Also, Del Rio is in desperate need of an impactful Finisher. The Cross Armbreaker is an impressive move, but Del Rio does nothing to set up for a submission.
Overall Wrestling grade- B-
Overall Show grade- C-
We had some good wrestling tonight on Smackdown, with a notable exception. But what really bogged the show down was all of the videos they showed us. There were 9 video packages tonight, and when you couple those in with the two backstage segments and the sole in-ring promo, we had someone talking at us every 10 minutes! JBL love to state that Smackdown is where men fight, but apparently it’s where they ramble! Another thing I would like to address is an infographic that was shown tonight. Friday Night Smackdown has been SyFy’s highest rated show for the past 125 weeks. That means that Smackdown, at barely registering a 2.0 most weeks, is even beating their original programming. Vince may see the profitability of the sponsors to be a great reason to keep Smackdown on SyFy, but what they need is to consolidate the shows onto the same network. By having them both on USA, the shows could easily cross promote each other weekly, and it saves them both on negotiations down the line.
Everyone, I would like to thank you for reading this blog. Please, feel free to post below with your thoughts and comments. See you next week for another Breakdown!