Saturday 26 May 2012

Smackdown Review - 25 May, 2012

Everyone knows it, Smackdown is the B show. Its been the B show since 2003, when the WWE finally realised that Scott Steiner and Kevin Nash aren't a bigger draw than Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle. Since then, Raw has been the flagship show, and in many ways, always has been.

But, despite all that, Smackdown can still be enjoyable. It just depends on the way the show is run. Smackdown can go through phases were the roster is filled with one top start, followed by some mediocre wrestlers for him to square off against. The focus is on that main star, and him only, while the rest of the roster fails to impress.

These days though, there's a balance. While Sheamus is tearing it up with the likes of Alberto Del Rio and Randy Orton, we're seeing new stars come through, such as Damien Sandow, Antonio Cesaro and Ryback.

At this stage, Smackdown recognizes it is the B show, but uses that as a way to experiment in many ways. Its a way for them to push people that wouldn't get such a push over on Raw, and a way in which newer guys get that little bit of exposure. As I said, they have that balance.

And this weeks Smackdown is a perfect example.

Randy Orton, Alberto Del Rio, Kane and Eve
Despite my moderate praise for Smackdown, it has to be said that this was a pretty poor opener. It establishes the main event well enough, but just seems to go on for far too long.

Del Rio said his usual stuff, Orton was unsurprisingly super serious in everything he said, while also... talking... in his fairly... slow voice, and Kane also did his generic demonic promo that was meant to intimidate people (I think). Not very entertaining

Christian vs. Hunico
A fine match here, albeit very short. I am really looking forward to the Intercontinental Champion's feud with Cody Rhodes however, as I feel both should work well together.

You could argue that at this stage Cody Rhodes deserves a push for the World title, but at least he's in a storyline with someone, with that certain someone being a former World Heavyweight Champion nonetheless.

The Usos vs. Darren Young & Titus O'Neil
I've said it before, but I'll say it again, Young and O'Neil have real chemistry together. It's amazing how tag team moves and well timed taunts can make them look like... well, a tag team. The same goes for The Usos as well, who I've always liked.

The tag team division is in such a dire state that no one deservers a title shot, so why not just throw these two teams in the title mix? It could make for some really exciting matches.

Ryback vs. Brian Edwards and Kevin Bindle
They may not know what to do with Ryback, but at least his squash matches are fun to watch. Probably the best match of the night up to this point, although that really isn't saying a whole lot.

Its still yet to be seen if he can work a long match, and to be honest, I'm not looking forward to the results of that, so at this stage, I'm happy seeing him beat up unknowns.

Santino Marella vs. Ricardo Rodriguez
I think what’s most funny about this is that these two can actually work. Santino has shown that he can put on a solid bout, while it's known that Ricardo is more of a wrestler than an announcer.

Nevertheless though, these two were put in a comedy match, which was indeed pretty funny. These two actually work quite well together, so I wouldn't be totally against seeing more matches from these two.

The only thing I don't like about this whole thing is that Santino is still the US Champion, and facing a ring announcer isn't exactly going to bring a whole lot of prestige to the title.

Sheamus vs. Jack Swagger
Although I'm not a fan of The All American American, this was a solid match that went longer than expected.

Swagger got a good bit of offence in, particularly by working on the ankle of Sheamus, while the World Champ got his fair share in as well.

This should be a sign to use Swagger in longer matches, because if Sheamus downed him in under 5 minutes than the victory wouldn't have looked half as impressive.

Damien Sandow vs. Yoshi Tatsu
At this point, if you went to the toilet you probably would have missed this match. Especially if it was a numero dos you were doing. It was that short.

While I really liked Sandow's aggressiveness, I still would have liked to have seen more from him. Really, this match summed up Smackdown from the new stars' point of view. A shine of promise from each wrestler, but every time they left you wanting to see more.

Big Show Speaks
If you read my Raw review this past Monday, you'll know that I hate this storyline already. It features a poor story filled with plot holes and two wrestlers who don't work well together.

While Big Show was sitting on that stool, I just couldn't help but criticize everything he said. Like when he said that his cue to come out last Sunday was when Big Johnny made his way out through the crowd, totally ignoring that fact that Cena could have beaten him at any moment. I hated the way he blamed the production team for not speaking up after he was fired (seriously, the production team?) and I hated the way he said that he had no other choice (come on, its known that people are brought back when the heel authority figure is fired).

Overall, this was a bad segment that didn't engage me into the storyline at all. And at this stage, there's nothing they can do to get me into it.

Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio vs. Kane
A decent main event here to cap off the show, but the whole mess with Daniel Bryan just didn't do it for me, and mostly because I think this will lead to a Bryan/Kane feud, which I really don't want to see.

With Bryan already in a feud with CM Punk, is it really best for him to have a grudge with Kane as well?

If anything, the Bryan segment overshadowed Alberto's win, because it was the only thing in the match that was surprising.

Overall, this was a pretty good Smackdown. Most of the matches were on the short side, but at least we got to see some of the younger wrestlers do their stuff. Definitely enough to push aside some of the more boring and head scratching moments of the show.

Stray Observations:
  • How is Randy Orton a “Franchise player of Smackdown” if he isn't the World Heavyweight Champion?
  • Is it really necessary for Ryback's opponents to cut heel promos? I think they've clarified well enough that Ryback is the wrestler that should get cheered.
  • Yoshi Tatsu look incredibly weak last night. He set out for revenge against Damien Sandow and lost in under a minute.
  • I really wish they'd stop saying that John Cena's loss at Over The Limit was the “Darkest day in WWE history.” Even kayfabe wise, there's been A LOT more darker moments than that.

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