Saturday 17 March 2012

Smackdown Review - 16 March, 2012

Last week I said that the real hype for WrestleMania has been on the flagship show Raw. Raw has been the only brand that has hyped up all of their matches very well, emphasizing the fact that all of these matches will be taking place at WrestleMania.

I think that's where Smackdown has come up short. As well as not having a good a build up as Raw, they are also failing to mention that the biggest show of the year is just around the corner. Raw has the buzz of WrestleMania season, Smackdown doesn't. It's as simple as that.

Through all this however, Smackdown was still a solid show. It had some decent action throughout and also featured some stand out promos from the likes of Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes and Chris Jericho.

One storyline that is getting a lot of attention on Smackdown is the one between Teddy Long and John Laurinaitis. This is a storyline that has gone on for a fairly long time now and been built up at a nice pace.

The show kicked off with the focus on this storyline when the returning Christian hosted 'The Peep Show'. Seeing Captain Charisma return was a great way to kick off the show and thought he did a superb job when talking to both Teddy and Johnny. What's so great about Christian's heel persona is that he still considers himself a good guy who's all about respect. Seeing him give Teddy the opportunity to convince him to join his team was very entertaining, as was him sucking up to Laurinaitis. He's just a joy to watch.

This was then followed by the Team Johnny captain David Otunga taking on the newest member of Team Teddy, Kofi Kingston. Otunga was actually pretty impressive against Kingston, as he executed some rather nice moves throughout the match. The ending was the smoothest however, as either Otunga turned around to early to receive the Trouble in Paradise or Kingston was too late delivering it.

Although Daniel Bryan wasn't in action (unfortunately) he still had a good bit of air time on the show. His first segment of the evening with AJ came off so well, as Bryan came across as a total asshole towards AJ, completely degrading her with every sentence. Like Christian, Daniel Bryan is great at coming across as totally self-centred, while still thinking he's a good guy who's simply misunderstood.

He got even better when he followed AJ to ringside (but of course, had to come out to his own entrance music) as she took on Nikki Bella. The match was fine, but only really got entertaining afterwards when Daniel Bryan came into the ring celebrating as if he had won, totally taking away AJ's big moment. Seriously, that bit had me laughing out loud.

Big Show and Cody Rhodes both made quick work of their opponents as Cody defeated The Great Khali and Big Show downed Drew McIntyre. The matches were nothing special, but nonetheless, the build up for this little midcarder feud has been quite good.

We finally got an explanation as to why Kane attacked Orton, but still just seems like a weak excuse to me. I know the idea for this feud was only thrown together a few weeks ago and so couldn't really build anything up, but you still got to wonder if they could have come up with something better. I never liked this feud and don't expect their match at WrestleMania to be any good, so really, there's not much else to say.

Last January at the Royal Rumble, Jericho and Sheamus put on a fantastic 'last two' battle in the Royal Rumble match, the best one since HBK/Undertaker in 2007. That's why going into this match I was expecting an entertaining bout, and thankfully wasn't disappointed.

Jericho and Sheamus have really good chemistry together. The matches featured some nice spots and the pace was top notch throughout. Also, having Daniel Bryan at ringside was a nice touch, and played a good part in the ending of the match. I thought it was smart to have Jericho win the match relatively cleanly, as it keeps his momentum going into the WrestleMania.

Seeing Bryan cost Sheamus the match was something that was needed in this feud as well, but unfortunately this is the most the feud has gone in terms of tension between the two. I think the most we can hope for is that in the next two weeks both of these men get into some kind of brawl, because this feud has had no heat whatsoever.

Stray Observations:

  • It's great to see Christian back on Smackdown, he was sorely missed.
  • I seriously can't wait to see Team Johnny win at WrestleMania. He's undeniably better than Teddy Long in every way.
  • Not good seeing Drew McIntyre lose yet again, but at least this loss goes along with the storyline of him (probably) joining Team Johnny.
  • Daniel Bryan is hands down the best heel on Smackdown. This week alone he showed that he has the charisma, the mic ability and the mannerisms of a terrific heel. And not only that, but he's great at attracting heat as well.
  • Yeah, I don't get it. The dress just looks so much better on the manikin.”

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