Sunday 11 March 2012

Smackdown Review - 9 March, 2012

When it comes to WrestleMania, normally the buildup is better than WrestleMania itself. It's filled with flashy hype videos, strong promos, engaging storylines and two generally solid PPVs in Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber beforehand. In many ways January to April is wrestling season.

This year however, the blue brand has failed to capture the essence of the Road to WrestleMania. It's come to a point where you literally could have skipped Smackdown from January to right about now and not have missed anything special. Sure, we've had someone from Smackdown win the Royal Rumble, but there hasn't been anything groundbreaking in terms of storyline development or promos that make you go 'Wow, I can't wait to see what happens at WrestleMania'.

Smackdown has three stages right now, all of which are focused on three WrestleMania matches (or soon to be matches) that haven't really taken off in any way, shape or form.

Funnily enough, all three of these happened to take place in the last twenty minutes of the show as Daniel Bryan, The Miz and Cody Rhodes took on Sheamus, Randy Orton and Big Show.

It all started off with both Sheamus and the World Champ in the ring with Michael Cole. I actually found this segment to be pretty enjoyable, with Bryan playing his character to perfection as usual and Sheamus coming across as the hungry challenger. Unfortunately though, the segment ended just as it started to heat up. This feud needs more heated exchanges and this week is was just taken away for no real reason. It all makes me wonder why they didn't have this segment start the show. That way they could talk longer, maybe have a physical altercation and then have it blow off in the main event.

It was after this segment however, when the three stages all seemed to blend in together. With the exception of The Miz, everyone had their WrestleMania opponents in sight. Bryan and Sheamus had their brawl, Big Show and Cody Rhodes had their brawl, and Randy Orton and Kane had their brawl as well after the match. While watching this all unfold I couldn't help but think how similar all these feuds are. And not only that, but how weak they are as well.

If I didn't know any better, I wouldn't have thought that WrestleMania was just around the corner. There was simply no spark this week. We don't see any of the match cards pop up throughout the show and we don't see many references to WrestleMania enough from the people on the card and we don't. Instead, it just looks like Raw is hosting WrestleMania, with Smackdown being a minor feature.

Through all this ranting however, I have to say that the show wasn't that bad. The six man tag main event was fairly solid, as was the rest of the show.

I liked the Steel Cage match from Santino and Swagger. There weren't any big spots, or many highlights in general for that matter, but the ending was pretty good as the underdog Santino got the lucky escape. I was a little worried that Swagger would get back the US Title, but thankfully it looks like it'll be Santino's for another couple of months at least.

John Laurinaitis continues to be as exciting as ever. The story this week involving Aksana wasn't very good, but seeing John warm up in that ridiculous attire more than made up for it. Seriously, him and Otunga have been pretty great since they formed.

I expect R-Truth and Kofi Kingston to get a Tag Team Title shot against Primo and Epico at WrestleMania. Truth and Kingston are both fine (as was the match by the way), but I'm just not digging the tag team. Despite their lack of quality in the ring, I still feel that they should be singles wrestlers looking to get a better spot on the WrestleMania card, or even a better spot later this year.

So, another week and another missed opportunity to really hype up WrestleMania. It was still an improvement from last week however (especially with Bryan and Sheamus), but it still feels like they haven't kicked into another gear. Instead, they seem content on strolling casually to WrestleMania.

Stray Observations:

  • A lot of possible WrestleMania match ups being indicated this week. Will we see both Santino and Primo & Epico defend their Titles against the people they faced this week? I guess we'll find out soon enough. 
  • Drew McIntyre has his job back. Nice to see I guess, even though this whole losing streak storyline has made him very boring and uninteresting in the process. Good job WWE. 
  • Are Orton and Kane just going to brawl from now until WrestleMania? They really haven't done anything else. 
  • What was The Miz doing in the main event this week? He really looked out of place. 
  • "AJ, shut up."

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