Saturday 10 March 2012

SmackTalk 09.03.12

WrestleMania Season appears to be having a negative effect on SmackDown. What is normally the most consistent show in wrestling has recently been going through a patch of subpar episodes, less enjoyable than usual thanks to unhealthy amounts of time spent recapping its Monday night counterpart.

I understand that at this time of year WWE feels that recapping RAW is a better use of time than the From The Vault segment. I’d agree. But this week’s SmackDown saw two recaps of RAW, eating up around twenty minutes of airtime together. They could have featured two matches and a backstage segment in the same amount of time, which could have been used for an underutilised talent such as Jinder Mahal, Hunico, Heath Slater or some of the NXT crew.
Between late January and early April WWE should be presenting the best product possible, to prepare for WrestleMania and encourage casual viewers who only watch occasionally to watch more often. If such viewers see the same footage shown twice a week they’re unlikely to tune in more often. WWE should take Jim Ross’s advice and maximise their minutes.

There was some enjoyable stuff mixed in with the incessant recapping. Kofi Kingston and R-Truth had a brief but enjoyable non-title win over tag team champions Epico and Primo. Those four men all deserve some sort of multi-man outing at WrestleMania. Sadly that seems unlikely, unless they get mixed up in the Team Long v Team Laurinaitis match.

Speaking of which, that storyline wasn’t as heavily featured as it could have been this week (especially when you consider there was a show-long storyline in which Laurinaitis was running SmackDown). It’s not a program I’m interested in watching beyond April but it’s enjoyable enough and should get some mid-card guys onto the big show. That’s reason enough to put up with it in my book.

New US champion Santino Marella is a safe bet to be a part of that team match-up as he’s been a supporting character in the story for a while now. His United States title defence against Jack Swagger got this week’s SmackDown off to a great start. It would have made a fine main event and both wrestlers deserve praise for their performances. That said ‘The All American American’ is better than playing the job guy for a popular comedy performer.

My final thought has to be about Sheamus and Daniel Bryan. They’re WrestleMania opponents. Bryan is the World Heavyweight champion and Sheamus is the Royal Rumble winner. But it doesn’t feel like a feud of that magnitude. Both men are doing well in their roles: Sheamus is likeable and wrestles well as a babyface while Bryan is brilliant as an obnoxious, bullying heel. His cries of “Yes!” are one of the nicest touches to any act currently working in wrestling.

It’s the booking that’s the problem. Everything to do with the feud feels staid. The two should either be engaging in spirited pull-apart brawls or Bryan should be ducking his challenger, making it clear that he’s afraid of ‘Great White’. Having both guys being interviewed in the ring is a nice starting point but one that should have been employed several weeks ago.

I’ve been saying this for weeks. I’m fully aware the feud is not going to change now.

Show opening

Tweet 1: Let's tweet some Smack.
Tweet 2: Hype video. #MrExcitement
Tweet 3: Laurinaitis should ensconce himself in a cage at the start of a show more often. Great gimmick.

Santino Marella v Jack Swagger

Tweet 4: Just two months ago Zack Ryder beat Dolph Ziggler for the US championship. The title meant something then. It's worthless now.
Tweet 5: I like Laurinaitis as a TV character but I'm still worried that he's the most pushed man on SmackDown so far this week.
Tweet 6: When did Santino get all of those tattoos? When?!
Tweet 7: Ziggler told to leave ringside. The talent level just went down.
Tweet 8: Jack Swagger is wasted again. Why is he being used to elevate Santino?

Assorted backstage nonsense

Tweet 9: Sheamus and Daniel Bryan face to face this evening? Took them long enough... read this
Tweet 10: That water feature hall they just showed looked like the Bat Cave.
Tweet 11: Kane v Aksana. That match is money.
Tweet 12: Teddy Long v John Laurinaitis! On free TV! They're mad! That match is guaranteed pay-per-view money.

Triple H and Shawn Michaels’ promo from RAW

Tweet 13: Undertaker v Triple H is being billed as "The End of an Era." Because Hell in a Cell and The Streak aren't enough of a draw, apparently.
Tweet 14: How much of SmackDown's air time is going to go to a RAW recap this week? C'mon... Give us a Funkasaurus match instead.
Tweet 15: Triple H and Shawn Michaels are still talking. This is repeat footage. Poor use of television time.
Tweet 16: It's nothing to do with Shawn Michaels being better than Triple H or Triple H being better than Shawn Michaels.
Tweet 17: That's good. Because Michaels is clearly the better of the two. There's no contest.
Tweet 18: If Triple H is in charge of WWE shouldn't he have known Michaels had been made the special referee?
Tweet 19: Also, what's special about Michaels as a referee? Call him a guest referee. Officials aren't special no matter who they are.
Tweet 20: SmackDown got a strong start with that cage match but the momentum has since been killed by a backstage skit and an overly thorough recap.

Shawn Michaels and Triple H cannot be contained on RAW alone

Drew McIntyre’s triumphant return to SmackDown

Tweet 21: The Drew McIntyre saga continues. It's a modern day epic.
Tweet 22: McIntyre can get his job back by winning. He's on track to get rehired. This storyline is predictable and boring.
Tweet 23: Speaking of predictable and boring here's The Great Khali!
Tweet 25: Hornswoggle gets a TV match. There are dozens of guys under contract who deserve the spot over him.
Tweet 26: This match could be saved if McIntyre shot on Hornswoggle. I appreciate that's unlikely...
Tweet 27: Khali just chopped Drew in the head. I assume he did that so he can eat Hornswoggle without interruption.

Aksana and Teddy Long backstage

Tweet 28: Aksana's going to end up turning heel on Teddy. In other news Teddy thinks he can show he's a good GM by competing in a match.

Ezekiel Jackson v Mark Henry

Tweet 29: Oh good. Ezekiel Jackson.
Tweet 30: And he's facing Mark Henry. This gets better and better.
Tweet 31: Henry scoop slammed Big 'Zeke! He's a spot stealer, that's what he is!
Tweet 32: "Look here, 'Zeke, I got somethin' for ya!" #Bookerisms

Teddy Long v John Laurinaitis

Tweet 33: I will mark out if Laurinaitis connects with an Ace Crusher.
Tweet 34: Don't do Kane v Aksana now! Save it for WrestleMania!
Tweet 35: Orton RKOs Kane. Kane takes it poorly.
Tweet 36: Laurinaitis shouted at Orton after his interference. Not because Orton attacked Kane but because he stole the Ace Crusher.

Kofi Kingston and R-Truth v Epico and Primo

Tweet 37: Kofi Kingston. Why not?
Tweet 38: Epico, Primo and Rosa Mendes. They should be reunited with Hunico: read this
Tweet 39: Booker is now calling everything beautiful.
Tweet 40: Rosa Mendes knows how to jiggle. That's what they teach in FCW.
Tweet 41: Primo and Epico v Kofi Kingston and R-Truth v Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler could be a good WrestleMania addition.

Michael Cole interviews Sheamus and Daniel Bryan

Tweet 42: They're showing RAW footage again?! This seems pointless.
Tweet 43: They kept the recap short. They need to keep airtime free for Michael Cole...
Tweet 44: When I started watching wrestling there was no WrestleMania sign hung in arenas for wrestlers to stare at during promos.
Tweet 45: It was a happier time.
Tweet 46: Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!
Tweet 47: I'm not sure whether the AJ character is meant to be a heel or a face.
Tweet 48: Sheamus has firmly engaged Humble Babyface Mode.
Tweet 49: “AJ, shut up” – Daniel Bryan
Tweet 50: That promo segment was basic but it got the job done. They should've done it weeks ago and Sheamus should be getting pushed harder now.

Daniel Bryan, Miz and Cody Rhodes v Big Show, Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan

Tweet 51: Miz’s new T-shirt? Awesome.
Tweet 52: Cole claims Orton and Rhodes started together. No. Just no.
Tweet 53: Right now I'm expecting Sheamus to beat Bryan for the World title at WrestleMania.
Tweet 54: Knee from the apron! Yes! Yes! Yes!
Tweet 55: Miz's running boot to a sitting Sheamus looked really nice.
Tweet 56: Bryan shouting "Yes!" as he kicked at Sheamus: hilarious.
Tweet 57: "GI Bro was a one hit wonder" - Michael Cole
Tweet 58: Sheamus was booked as the isolated face. Orton should have been stuck in the ring and made a hot tag to Sheamus.
Tweet 59: Designated jobber Miz falls to an RKO. He's inherited Drew McIntyre's losing streak gimmick.
Tweet 60: I am uninterested in the Kane and Orton brawl.
Tweet 61: SmackDown went off the air as Kane lamped Orton in the face and 'The Viper' fell over. I LOL'd.

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