Sunday 29 January 2012

SmackTalk 27.01.12

A week or so ago I experimented with a different approach to recapping RAW. Instead of simply writing what happened and giving my thoughts on it I posted up what I’d tweeted during the show with some extra thoughts afterwards (read that here). It’s not an approach I want to repeat for RAW, but I will try it again for SmackDown.

That’s what this blog is.

I think this approach works better for SmackDown. It’s a show taped on a Tuesday and aired on a Friday. That means there are spoilers out there for several days before it airs, meaning there’s a good chance anyone reading a SmackDown recap is already familiar with what happened on the show. There are enough ways of finding out what happened on the show without me providing one more. View this as a companion piece to enhance viewing of the episode should you be watching it for the first time.

Opening segment, featuring a Big Show, Daniel Bryan and Mark Henry

Tweet 1: It's SmackDown time.
Tweet 2: How many times must we sit through the AJ Death Bump?
Tweet3: Lot of fat lads in the audience sporting Big Show T-shirts. What does that say about how he's perceived?
Tweet 4: Big Show has a "career"?
Tweet 5: D-BRY!!
Tweet 6: "You are no Andre the Giant" - Daniel Bryan to Big Show
Tweet 7: Just when it was going so well... Mark Henry came waddling out.
Tweet 8: Mark Henry's being used as a tweener and he's getting over? What fantasy world have I woken up in?
Tweet 9: Just for once can Daniel Bryan face someone of his size on SmackDown?

Cody Rhodes v Justin Gabriel and backstage segments

Tweet 10: Did Cody just do a jig at the top of the ramp?
Tweet 11: Cole's picking Cody to win the Rumble. We know one guy who's not winning then.
Tweet 12: That match could've been great with another four minutes to play with.
Tweet 13: Yoshi Tatsu booked to bicker with Santino backstage. Why not have him wrestling Bryan?
Tweet 14: This Henry v Big Show feud has been going for six months. That is ridiculous.

Drew McIntyre v Sheamus and thoughts on video packages

Tweet 15: Drew McIntyre needs to get a haircut and some new trunks, maybe introduce a new move. That'd help him stand out. He needs to do something.
Tweet 16: Did Sheamus shout "FELLAAAAAA" after he won?
Tweet 17: This Rumble statistics video manages to be both interesting and tedious at the same time.
Tweet 18: There's so much filler on SmackDown it's ridiculous.

Santino and Yoshi Tatsu v Epico and Primo

Tweet 19: Tatsu will be wasted in this tag team.
Tweet 20: Which one is Epico and which one is Primo? Do the decent thing and write it on your tights, guys.

Daniel Bryan and Mark Henry backstage

Tweet 21: Is Mark Henry supposed to be shadow boxing?
Tweet 22: Mark Henry doesn't like to be touched. He's got father issues.

Randy Orton v Wade Barrett

Tweet 24: That Orton v Barrett brawl was absurd. Security footage. C'mon...
Tweet 25: I did like the ending though, where Barrett thought he'd KILLED Orton and ran off.
Tweet 26: Why are we seeing footage of Orton striding purposefully through a car park? Does he get ready in a production truck?
Tweet 27: Three man job squad holds back Orton. They are RKO fodder.
Tweet 28: Yep. Orton's going to blaze through them all.

 Hunico v Ted Dibiase

Tweet 29: Hunico on a bike!!
Tweet 30: That Hunico wrestles in street clothes is a good thing. Helps him stand out.
Tweet 31: Stand back, here comes charisma vacuum Ted Dibiase.
Tweet 32: Injured wrist on Dibiase? I won't ask how...
Tweet 33: Orange boots, Ted? Not a good choice.
Tweet 34: Hashtag Hispanic heel beatdown.
Tweet 35: I hope they ride the bike up the ramp.

Aksana, Teddy Long and Natalya backstage, DX v Hart Dynasty (From the Vault)

Tweet 36: They're still doing Aksana's random saxophone thing? Dedicated.
Tweet 37: WWE should have kept the Hart Dynasty together. They could have got years of tag work out of them.
Tweet 38: Natalya throws a mean-looking worked slap.
Tweet 39: DX v Hart Dynasty dragged.

Brodus Clay v Alex Riley and Kane v Zack Ryder (from RAW)

Tweet 40: Regal dancing. #thatscans
Tweet 41: SOMEBODY CALL MY MAMA!! #Funkasaurus
Tweet 42: This gimmick is great. #Funkasaurus
Tweet 43: They need to film more content for SmackDown. Recapping RAW is a waste.
Tweet 44: Choke slam through the stage. Why not?
Tweet 45: I've just noticed Kane has gone back to wearing one glove. I was always a fan of that.
Tweet 46: Another Kane opinion: he should have tombstoned Eve. For lols.
Tweet 47: Children are crying because Zack Ryder has been choke slammed on to a crash mat. Meanwhile viewers are turning over because they're bored.

Aksana v Natalya

Tweet 48: Aksana beating Natalya? Another solid piece of business for WWE's women's division.
Tweet 49: Is Tamina face or heel? It really isn't clear.

Big Show v Mark Henry with Daniel Bryan sitting at ringside

Tweet 50: Main event time. Big Show got the "in the ring" jobber intro.
Tweet 51: AmDrag alert.
Tweet 52: Lots of heat for Bryan. He's great in the smarmy heel role.
Tweet 53: I don't understand why Bryan's out there and not on commentary. That would really add to his character.
Tweet 54: Maybe it's to get heat with "internet fans."
Tweet 55: I love Bryan scampering around ringside. I don't love the finish to the match not being televised. That's bordering on a TNA move.
Tweet 56: SmackDown had a fairly poor ending. It hyped the Rumble match well but not showing the match finish on TV was weak and cheap.

As is usually the case SmackDown was a competent show that accomplished everything it set out to. Ted Dibiase’s babyface push continued, and Yoshi Tatsu made a rare appearance on a main TV show. While the Dibiase push is ultimately going to prove a waste of time (because Ted doesn’t have the charisma to get over as a face) it at least shows that the SmackDown writing team can and will allow mid-card talent the chance to get over. That’s something we rarely see on RAW.

‘The Funkasaurus’ Brodus Clay was used well again. Concentrating on his entrance and booking him in short, decisive matches is going to help him get over. He, unlike Ted Dibiase, has the charisma and presence needed to make people want to see more of him.

WWE has so few babyface prospects that if Brodus can demonstrate the character can work in longer matches against fellow rising stars (such as Cody Rhodes, Wade Barrett and Dolph Ziggler) he should be able to ensure the character doesn’t have the short shelf life many have predicted. I like Brodus and the gimmick and think he’s someone WWE should be thinking of as a future main event star.

The return of Randy Orton was another large part of this week’s SmackDown. Aspects of it seemed odd, particularly that it wasn’t advertised (as far as I’m aware) the previous week. A big star like Orton returning to TV after a hiatus (no matter how brief) should be mentioned in advance as it can help ratings. Seeing ‘The Viper’ walk through a car park directly before his match was peculiar too.

Those are minor quibbles though. The way both Barrett and Orton were booked helped their feud (which I assume will culminate at Elimination Chamber or earlier to free Barrett up to face Daniel Bryan for the World title at WrestleMania) and made Orton look like a favourite to win the Rumble. He was already considered a favourite but reinforcing it doesn’t hurt, especially when nobody else has really been made to look dominant before this year’s show.  

The Mark Henry v Big Show match was the most disappointing aspect of the show because we were simply told Henry had left ringside and been counted out during a break. No footage was shown. ‘The World’s Strongest Man’ was actually injured early on in the bout and had to head backstage because he couldn’t continue working. That’s nobody’s fault but considering the editing technology at WWE’s disposal they could have put something together to excuse Henry form the match for viewers at home. They did record him going backstage after all.

The end of the show saw Daniel Bryan wallop Big Show with a chair before ‘The World’s Largest Athlete’ made a comeback and got the better of the World Heavyweight champion. The original plan was apparently for Mark Henry to come in and splash ‘D-Bry’ after he’d absorbed a Big Show choke slam. Obviously that couldn’t happen. That’s a shame because Mark Henry has grown on me as a tweener. It’s unlikely we’ll see him compete in Sunday’s triple threat cage match so we’ll likely have Show and Bryan one-on-one instead. That’s still not likely to be the best of matches, but Bryan’s talented enough (and Show’s sympathetic enough) to make it work.

For more on this evening’s Royal Rumble read my preview here.

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