Well, finally, Smackdown is off of the Elimination Chamber track and onto the Wrestlemania track. Honestly, this is a much better angle for the show because it stopped trying to bring the stars of Raw over. While Smackdown has still grown repetitive on who shows up from week to week instead of the show that starred some of the people that weren’t featured enough, this week it seemed to try to do something with plot, even if the plot was twisted within the matches, which is how it should be.
4. Cody Rhodes/Kaitlyn Awkward Flirtation
Wow, this couldn’t have been more awkward, which was part of the charm. And someone backstage remembered that Kaitlyn has a thing for mustaches, which worked perfectly into this little segment. It wasn’t much, it was short, but it helped build what could become a great storyline, at least I have faith it could. That is, if Vince doesn’t forget who Kaitlyn is next week or that Cody Rhodes is no longer Damien Sandow’s partner.
3. Miz vs. Cody Rhodes
This may have been the second shortest match of the show (the divas, of course, being that shortest) but it was a well told story in the ring. Miz still has his shoulder taped and suffered through his trials in winning. Rhodes seems to have some of the fervor back that he was missing in matches recently. Together they brought together a four minute match and made it a story worth finding out more about.
2. Alberto Del Rio vs. Wade Barrett
I am not going to discuss what happened with Swagger earlier in the week and what I think it means for his future. I want to discuss what they are doing with Swagger right now, in this episode, and why the Hell they couldn’t have done this sooner? He looks on in this match, adding a hint of malice outside of the ring without him even having to step to ringside. He stands on the ramp and has this look of boredom and calculation the entire time that Del Rio and Barrett fight that you nearly forget that there is an epic match happening in the ring. But forget you do not because luckily for us the camera pans to all of the right angles. As a main event it did everything it should have and there isn’t a dull moment between the two wrestlers.
1. Randy Orton vs. Jack Swagger
At just over 13 minutes I expected to be bored. Instead, Swagger, despite being a heel, has picked up the pace in his wrestling. Orton, to me and possibly only me, is a better wrestler as a face because he has picked up his own speed. He’s less methodical, though he of course has his own moves of doom. However Orton is also willing to lose, or at least McMahon is willing to let him lose. Which is a great part about Orton’s matches. You don’t always go in expecting, “Orton wins, LOL”. And he doesn’t win. There is a great back and forth between the two where each dominate the other for awhile, but ultimately Swagger wins to continue his rise to the top and Orton has another reason to be bitter and anger, possibly, and hopefully, leading to a great story for him instead of his just seeming to be a general menace with no direction.
Special mention to Tensai for having to try to put on a good match with Khali, and poor Natalya…
The match itself wasn’t that great, since it was against Aksana who only knows one move, it’s called “resthold”. Aksana matches are lackluster, and this was 3:29. Kaitlyn, though, does her best to try to sell the match. But she was even better as the diva that’s trying to come off as more of a Beth Phoenix in the backstage segment against the lovely ladies that were congratulating her on her title. Of course this likely means she’ll turn heel because an unladylike woman can’t be a face. But yay Kaitlyn!
3. Epico/Primo/Rosa/Miz Segment
Miz’s watching the match backstage actually lead to something, which was words exchanged with Rosa, Epico, and Primo. And hey, Miz even points out what everyone was thinking as he points out when was the last time they spoke on television? Epico and Primo have great delivery and Rosa was fine until she tried to speak Spanish. With all the time she’s been working with Epico and Primo you’d think some of it would roll off on her. She doesn’t even bother trying to sound like she has an accent.
2. Kane/Bryan/Orton Segment
First, this really was the best segment Orton’s been in in awhile. Granted, Orton hasn’t really been in many segments of late, either. Orton asks Kane and Bryan if they are going to act like second graders or give it their all in the ring. Kane retorts with, “Both!” Bryan teases about a group hug if they win…
1. Rhodes Scholars & Wade Barrett vs. HellNo & Randy Orton
I was one of the last people to be a fan of Bryan, and Sandow I’m still on the fence about. Sandow can wrestle, but I still am not a fan of how he carries his character. But I even had to admit that this ring was filled with six men who are talented and have star power. Yes, all six. And I was rooting for the faces. I felt dirty. After the match, after the faces won (Orton getting the pin this time) the group hug happened. And Orton was magic. So were Kane and Bryan because, well, they are Kane and Bryan.
Yup. Punk didn’t make it on the list. Deal with it.
4. Natalya vs. AJ
Ziggler and Khali didn’t do much in the ring, which was a good thing because it left time for Natalya and AJ to take over. AJ proceeded to bite Natalya and the woman was so distracted by the bite that she ended up losing the match. Now, while Natalya probably could handle AJ easily, Natalya is a great actress and a team player and helps put over AJ’s character. Plus AJ shows off her bra, and all of the men had to love that.
First, their segment. These men are hilarious. I know, it’s popular to hate Jinder Mahal, but he works well off of the other two and they are widely incoherent as they make their plans, which helps. Then they go out for their fight with Sheamus and both Mahal and McIntyre look like they will jump into the ring but Slater is already down. The crowning moment is the look on McIntyre’s face when he’s just like, “Well, oh well!” and Slater is pinned in 48 seconds.
2. The Rock verbal versus Rhodes Scholars
No penis jokes needed. This was all about a matter of teasing about intelligence. Rhodes Scholars held up well against Rock. Granted, Sandow did most of the speaking, but Cody’s facial expressions are priceless and Rock is, well, The Rock. The Rock may sound a bit repetitive at times, but his delivery is impeccable and Sandow meets him with a vigor that surprised me. I might finally have to admit to being a Sandow fan. Might.
1. Big Show vs. Alberto Del Rio
When a 14:11 match starring Big Show moving slowly makes it onto my list you know someone has to be an incredible wrestler. Del Rio working as a face suddenly seems like he’s ready to just have fun in the ring. Heel-dom is usually the better place for wrestlers, but Del Rio embraces the Face and rocks it in the ring. Ricardo, of course, is always a pleasure to watch on the sidelines as he cheers Del Rio on. Great Smackdown.
Well Smackdown was quite the improvement on Raw. And I feel bad now for expecting it to pretty much be bad. After all, it was filmed after Raw was. That’s usually an immediate sign that nothing will progress. Well, if I wasn’t completely wrong! And I love it! And yes, I realize I’m leaving off Shield, who I scream for every time they come on my screen, but even then they were not the highlight of the show for me. Ugh, I also have to leave off Kaitlyn versus Eve, which was one of the most amazing diva matches in… well quite a while. We’ll say that. They might make it on Top 4 Matches of the Week it was so good, but let’s face it, I love some promos more than matches at times, this is WWE after all. Read the rest of this entry
It’s odd for me to watch a Smackdown and think all of the matches made the show, but that’s how this episode worked out.
4. Layla vs. Alicia Fox
Layla sort of came out looking like now that Kelly was gone she was going to take over as the resident beauty (though she was always more attractive). Her shorts became shorter, her hair became bigger and lighter, and luckily that’s where the comparisons end. She’s still a better wrestler and Alicia Fox made a great partner/opponent during this dance of women. And at 3:31 they didn’t skimp on the time to let them actually show off what they can do.
3. Team HellNo vs. David Otunga & Alberto Del Rio
My favorite part of all of this was Del Rio’s entrance. I love Orton, but seeing Del Rio even try to do the Orton sniff upon walking to the ring had me laughing so hard my cheeks were wet from the tears. Then it rolled into a match with a tag team they are actually at least using and giving time to shine. It’s all so confusing when something is actually doing something it should be. But, predictably, Otunga was the one pinned. WWE gets too worried about protecting certain men that it’s obvious when certain people will lose, and how they’ll lose. Sort of like the next match.
2. The Miz vs. Sheamus
Sheamus has now lost 2 matches in a row on television. Before this he was on a 25 match winning streak (televised). I knew Big Show was going to interrupt, I just wasn’t sure how it would cost Sheamus the match. Punching out Miz did it. It was weak, but it wasn’t bad. The match, however, was enjoyable and Miz shows off his talents he’s come across since returning from filming a movie (which they talk about every time he’s out there) and Sheamus, really, is quite the talented athlete. It worked, the ending, not so much.
1. Dolph Ziggler vs. CM Punk
This one is a bit obvious, but it’s so right in so many ways. Earlier tonight I said Sheamus was trying to weasel himself into three of the top four matches of the week (I have yet to watch Superstars at this point) and then this match happened. Punk and Ziggler had a rough spot that they pulled off brilliantly and Heyman is a great addition for Punk. I do agree with the majority, though, that Vickie does not need to be Ziggler’s mouthpiece any longer. I like Vickie, and honestly she can give a heel heat better than some heels can do it themselves, but Ziggler’s there, he’s been there. Now they are using Vickie to keep the fans from cheering for him. Let them cheer and celebrate. He’s worth it.
What a Smackdown. Unfortunately, though, it was not a night of great matches. But the segments were great, furthered storylines, and were just all out hilarious. Hard to not appreciate the work they put into on this episode, and while match length was typical for a Smackdown, at the same time there were too many one to two minute matches.
Despite a match that only last about 1:31 in length, Layla and Eve clearly were able to keep building their characters. Layla showed her frustration with Eve through the match and Eve continued on with her façade of naiveté, which works out wonderfully for her. And despite Natalya being in the ring for a short amount of time, the diva beauty shows off her skills in that short time. Also, props to Aksana. Aksana helped further the Cesaro storyline along again. It will be interesting to see where Aksana’s character will go from here, though I do hope this doesn’t lead to her trying to side with Santino and the Cobra. Time for her to find someone else. And did she, perhaps, sabotage this all on purpose?
3. McIntyre, Slater, and Mahal attacking Clay
Heath Slater again Brodus Clay kind of had me rolling my eyes. (I avoided spoilers all week, I try really hard to do this, so don’t judge me when I don’t know what’s coming!) I’m tired of Slater being squashed. The man is talented. He might have an annoying character, but that’s what makes it a bit endearing. Then McIntyre and Mahal came running out and attacked Clay, with Slater joining in, and my mind couldn’t fathom this. What a mixture of men, with quite the mixture of reactions. And if you haven’t already, go here and watch the exclusive interview that Striker has with the three men after the show.
2. Alberto Del Rio & Dolph Ziggler vs. Randy Orton & Sheamus
This is the only actual match to make it on my list for Smackdown. It does not need a lot of conversation. This match was given the longest amount of time and all four (yes, all four) put their hearts and bodies into it and gave it their all. There were a few good spots, like Orton kicking Del Rio out of the ring, that raised it up to a higher level, and made this not just a good match, but a better match.
1. Opening Segment
Darn you WWE writers for making me actually like Daniel Bryan. I was adamantly against him (not as a wrestler, but as a character). He bored me, I felt like nodding off every time he cut a promo. Then he became Goat Face, stopped being an uptight good boy, or a misogynist who was going to have AJ committed, and now I look forward to his character. And somehow a teaming with Kane works. Wonderfully. I could have just made Kane and Bryan throughout the show number one, but honestly, of all of the segments I’ve seen this week, and possibly past weeks, this was the greatest. This was comedic timing with setting up the story. This teased a possible alliance that isn’t so rocky with Kane and Bryan, and was furthered throughout the show. And look at Edge! Opening up and hugging Kane and welcoming Bryan over. And what a way to get Sandow booed. Sandow’s always had reactions, even if sometimes they are lukewarm, but the crowd was enjoying it so much they flat out booed Sandow like mad (and rest assured, those were not piped in sounds!) I’m perfectly fine with 16 minutes of an opening segment if they can all be done the way this one was.
As is typical with Raw and Smackdown, Raw was fun and entertaining, but Smackdown had a lot of “meh” moments. There was 25:41 in match time, which isn’t bad for Smackdown, but the matches themselves were not the most entertaining, for the most part. There were 6:58 in recaps on the episode, though, which is plenty of time to have added something else, including a diva segment preferably. The divas have been getting a storyline, but when Smackdown has another agenda the divas get scrapped, then they wonder why no one cares. The divas are treated more poorly than the tag teams, and we know how the tag teams are treated!
4. Wade’s Return
The match itself wasn’t highly entertaining in the fact that I don’t typically prefer glorified squash matches. I said during the match that Wade should have been coming out for a feud, not to prove he’s still got it after being out for however long. Luckily he saved it all by saying he pretty much needed to do just that himself and he was now “open for business.” While women everywhere fanned themselves off people took attention again. I hope next week is a better display of actual “Barrett”. Read the rest of this entry
Was not a bad night for wrestling and unfortunately I could not put every match on the list, nor could I put every segment (kudos to Vickie Guerrero though). I left off Sheamus and Sandow, Rhodes and Mysterio, and way too much time in recaps. However, on the bright side, there were long matches on this episode of Smackdown than there was last week. We tipped it at 28:07, which is about 8 minutes longer than last week. If the 14:55 of recaps had been cut down a bit more (yes, the Anger Management segments were hilarious, but were they necessary in full again?) we could have used it for segment time, or matches. Yes, I’m still hoping those recaps can get cut down more.
4. Prime Time Players vs. Tyson Kidd & Justin Gabriel
Any time Tyson Kidd gets on television is a good time, even if it’s against Titus O’Neil and Darren Young. Kidd and Gabriel are going to be the underdogs in the tag team division, and underdog in the literal sense of the word. They will be used, because they are a tag team, but you know they aren’t getting a title shot. What proved it further is that DURING THE MATCH they showed a Tout from the Usos. Seriously? There is wrestling going on, there is an 88 minute show airing, and you couldn’t find any other time but during the action to show this Tout? For shame, WWE, for not recognizing the talent of Kidd and Gabriel, or recognizing it to put over someone else. Still a decent match for the 3 minutes it was allotted. Read the rest of this entry
What an underwhelming show for matches. There were seven matches of the night, only two of them went over three minutes. Kind of makes it hard to rank a match highly when even on other shows, that are about matches, struggle to get five minute matches and I think those are too short at times. I don’t think matches need to be ten minutes to be good, but I do think recaps need to be cut down. That’s over five minutes of show that could have gone to more wrestling, even if it had been spread out over those five matches. Anyway…
4. Ryback vs. Jinder Mahal
I have to say, even though it was interesting to see Ryback have a near storyline, I hope this was the end. Not because it was awful, I had a few chuckles out of this, but because where do they go? This is an instance of possibly writing themselves into a corner, unless they flesh it out more (ha!). If Ryback continues to win their push to make Mahal a legitimate opponent dies, if they let Mahal win their push for Ryback to be nearly unstoppable dies. Of course, since I don’t believe they have long term plans when they going into a storylines, this could continue for the next three months.
Look at Eve trying to steal Smackdown. Since she started with this “assistant” role back at the beginning of the year with John Laurinaitis the woman went form being an internet joke to someone people are beginning to look forward to. Sure, there are still those out there who hate on Eve, but she’s been a great character from kissing up to Booker T and making Long look bad to coming out and holding Layla and Kaitlyn’s arms up awkwardly. Oh, and let’s not forget a sudden appearance of the tag teams. This was a blatant reminder that, hey, WWE does have other tag teams. Now, let’s do something with them. But Vince will likely be bored in 2 weeks and forget again.
2. Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler
This is a good match all together, even if it’s better in the end when Ziggler threatens to cash in the briefcase yet again. However, it’s probably time to start watching out how often he goes for that cash-in, as he does it again at the end of the show. There is no reason to continually make Ziggler look weak and like a coward. But the match itself was entertaining and at over five minutes given a proper amount of time to be good while not being overly excellent.
1. Alberto Del Rio vs. Randy Orton
The match itself could have been better. Orton’s not been up to his usual self since his return, which is a shame. I like Orton, even if I’m still one of the last, but even I have to admit his in-ring performance is suffering. Del Rio is brilliant in the ring, even if I stand nearly alone there as well, but together there wasn’t enough sparks. What helped make this match make it to #1 this week is one thing, Orton tapped. No one believed it. Honestly, go back and look at the last year of Orton’s career. Orton is the one face most likely to lose cleanly, but to tap out to Del Rio, it still shocked everyone when they saw it (or read it in the spoilers).
All-in-all this was an underwhelming Smackdown, but it had it’s highlights. For the record, I nearly gave the segments number 1 or 2 just because at least I had no real complaints about those, but let’s give it up to the hard working wrestlers.
Looking at the numbers I would have thought this Smackdown couldn’t have worked. Total match length time equaled a horrible 14:53 for five matches, though the Jinder one wasn’t much of a match nor was it supposed to be. There were only 5:39 of recaps for the night, also not bad. So what was Smackdown filled with? Segments. And I’m not complaining. In fact, it made it really hard for me to get a Top 4 because I liked every segment, even the Jinder Mahal and Ryback segment. It’s putting Ryback in a feud and everyone loves to hate Mahal, so why not? I’m also pained slightly because I had to leave AJ and Kane off of the list (and Bryan, God, I still hate saying that I like Bryan segments), but it had to be done this week.
4. Chris Jericho Highlight Reel
The man has the smoothest delivery of anyone in the WWE. He makes everything flawless and manages to change with the times. I’m going to miss this man when he’s gone again, but I don’t care about that right now. Right now I have the highlight reel, and he manages to insult Vickie Guerrero without sounding like a prig. I like Vickie, and I still laughed at Jericho’s insulting her.
3. The Booker T segments
Who’d have thought that I’d be this behind Booker T being a GM? I’d be even more behind it if they added someone to that Smackdown commentator table, because I can’t keep listening to that much of Mathews. Eh-hem, anyway, my point is that Booker T works wonders with Eve and Kaitlyn in one segment, creating a match where one of them will be his assistant. I like new Eve since she became the corporate-climbing lady, but boy will I be rooting for Kaitlyn. I love the divas, and okay they aren’t wrestling much, but it proves that they make great eye candy and lead to fun segments. The other segment that deserves a nod is the hint that something is going to change for Reks and Hawkins as they try to talk to Booker T. I’m a NXT Redemption mark, so when they talked about that “other job” I so hoped it would be the security thing again. When the Del Rio thing happened I was crossing my fingers they would end up being one of the cops. But, alas, we are still in the dark, but we know anytime Reks and Hawkins are on screen I get a little happy.
2. Sin Cara vs. Cody Rhodes
The match lasted 3:45. Not great time, but Sin Cara and Cody Rhodes don’t need it. The two of them know how to wrestle an entertaining match (at least now for Sin Cara, his return has been a lot better). It also started an interesting storyline. I’m always down for unmasking storylines, and loving that Cody Rhodes is showing glimmers of Dashing again.
1. Antonio Cesaro vs. Christian
For those keeping track at home, this match lasted 4:06. Proving great matches can come from a short amount of time, but they better not be slow and plodding. Cesaro has grown on me since his FCW days where I didn’t care much about him one way or another. There is a slight botch in this match, but it works for the match. It was a good excuse for Christian to have gotten the upper hand.