Saturday 21 April 2012

Smackdown Review - 20 April, 2012

I recently attended a Smackdown house show in Dublin a couple of weeks ago. Although it was a good show, it was still your standard affair of average matches with the good guys gaining the victory so the crowd can go home happy.

The past few weeks of Smackdown have felt like house shows. And while I said the Dublin house show was good, it doesn't mean that it's acceptable that an episode of Smackdown has such a feel to it.

Last week we saw the legends return in grand old fashion, and later celebrated with the World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus before the show went off the air. Overall, it was a (brutally awful) show that left the fans going home happy.

This week felt much like the same. It featured some less than engaging action and also served up a jolly good end (sorry, I just had to) to the show. With Extreme Rules just around the corner, you'd expect these WrestleMania rematches to have a bit more of an edge to them in terms of build up. Sadly though, they're all falling flat.

Daniel Bryan and AJ segment
To totally contradict myself here, I have to say that this was the one segment that was actually engaging. Daniel Bryan is going from strength to strength in terms of his mic work. He showed the same tenacity that he's shown in the past couple of weeks, and also came across as a raging dickhead while verbally abusing AJ with a smirk on his face.

With Bryan being really over at the minute, it's only expected to see Bryan say such nasty things to try and stay heel. Really, the fans (or should I say, the WWE Universe) has no reason to cheer Bryan, considering he's such a foul mouthed man towards AJ, but if the fans (or should I say... wait, said it already) cheer him anyway then there's really nothing else they can do but accept it. I know they could always edit out the 'Yes' chants on Smackdown, but if Cena is shown getting booed every week then shouldn't they just leave the 'Yes' chants as well?

Anyway, back at the topic at hand, I thought this was a really strong segment, and once again proved that Bryan is the best thing going on Smackdown at the moment.

AJ vs. Natalya
You also got to give AJ credit for her role in this storyline with Daniel Bryan. She has sold the degrading words from Bryan exceptionally well and this week she just kept it going.

The beatdown on Natalya wasn't the most convincing, but everything leading up to that was spot on. It's good to see the AJ character slowly evolving.

The Usos vs. Titus O'Neil & Darren Young
A lot of 'new signings' this week on Smackdown, two of which which were seen when the Usos faced Titus O'Neil and Darren Young from NXT.

If this is the team to strengthen the tag team division then I am both extremely disappointed and extremely worried. Young may be from the original Nexus, but he still hasn't exactly come a long way since he made his first debut on NXT two years ago. And as for O'Neil, he's just another athlete who isn't really a professional wrestler.

I don't see this tag team going far, even if they do win the tag team titles at some point.

Alberto Del Rio vs. Big Show
Nothing much to say here match-wise. Alberto gets the win over the giant to give him some momentum, and Cody costs Show the match to give him something going into their match at Extreme Rules (which is more than likely happening).

My only concern is how Cody's involvement hasn't done much for him at all. He's been buried so much since WrestleMania that pretty much all of his credibility against Show has kind of disappeared. Let's hope this feud ends after Extreme Rules because Cody deserves better.

6-Man Tag Team Match
The picture on the Smackdown page of explains everything about this match really. This was a fairly pointless match that's sole purpose was just to send the fans happy. That's all well and good... if it happens at a show show.

As I said above, things need to be applied differently on TV. Yes, the main faces on the brand can win, but not when there's nothing to gain from the victory. Big Show gets another victory, Mark Henry loses again this week (even though it took 3 finishers to do so) and Sheamus continues on with his hot momentum, leaving us with absolutely no belief that Bryan can recapture the gold at Extreme Rules.

The match was fine, but I sat there on my couch wandering why they decided to play it so safe. That match alone has defined Smackdown in the past couple of weeks. With the exception of Bryan and AJ, Smackdown has been one, big happy brand where nothing seems to go wrong.

Stray Observations:
  • Why do people boo when wrestlers push Hornswoggle to the ground? Considering he just gets in people's way and annoys them I think it's fully acceptable for wrestlers to push him out of the way.
  • Good to see Antonio Caesar called up to the full roster so soon. I can't wait to see him in action and hopefully European Uppercut's the shit out of everyone.
  • Ryback continues to do his usual thing. Now it's just a matter of waiting until he actually gets used. 

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