The new boss was Booker T. He’s not a bad choice for the role. As a former multi-time world champion and headline talent he has the star power to be accepted in the role by fans, and he knows how to cut an effective babyface promo.
Unfortunately it leaves us with the less-than-stellar combo of Michael Cole and Josh Mathews on commentary. There really needs to be a colour commentator present to flesh that unit out. Perhaps WWE will tackle this situation in the coming weeks.
Booker didn’t really get to do very much on his first night as the General Manager. His inaugural speech was interrupted by Alberto Del Rio. He sarcastically congratulated the former five-time WCW champion on his appointment and then reiterated his statement from RAW: that he will not be wrestling again until it’s for the World Heavyweight championship. This naturally brought Sheamus out to the ring.
After telling them that they’d both be in action (Sheamus against Tensai and ADR against Randy Orton) Booker headed backstage to participate in some weak vignettes. Very little of interest happened in these. The most notable moments were Teddy Long being given the job of Booker’s Senior Advisor (nobody questioned why he was hanging out backstage even though he should have been out of a job since Laurinaitis was fired a month and a half ago) and Cody Rhodes being told he will face Sin Cara on next week’s show.
I’m being generous by using the word “interest” there I think.
The quality of the matches was pretty good. The six man tag team match and Sheamus v Tensai in particular were commendable outings for all involved. That said the two biggest matches, the clash between Tensai and ‘Great White’ and ADR versus ‘The Viper’, both ended with disqualifications. That was less than ideal. It didn’t help that one was the first match of the show and one was the last. In an ideal world the running order would have been rejigged and the six man match would have gone on last. Or WWE could have just altered the booking.
Daniel Bryan was, as usual, a highlight of SmackDown
Ryback wasn’t served terribly well either. His mini-feud with Jinder Mahal has not been flattering for the former Nexus member. He is being made to sell too much and wins via DQ and count out do not make him look like the dominant performer he is supposed to be. I hope he gets a decisive victory over the man with the Perspex box next week and then goes back to smashing two (or more) jobbers from there.
While SmackDown this week was not a bad show it wasn’t the best. Booker T being announce as GM by Vince, Daniel Bryan’s interaction with the crowd, the appearance of Antonio Cesaro, and the progression of the Ziggler v Jericho feud were all nice moments but ultimately the show could have been better.
Vince McMahon introduced the new SmackDown General Manager
Tweet 1: Time for Friday night's hottest show. Time for SmackDown.Tweet 2: And here comes Vince McMahon. I was going to wonder when he was last on the show but Josh has just told us. Three years, since you ask.
Tweet 3: Booker as GM. Does this mean he won't be on commentary anymore? That's incredibly disappointing.
Tweet 4: Breaking news, Josh? This is a taped show...
Tweet 5: At least Booker called Alberto "dawg". He’s said far worse on commentary...
Tweet 6: "In my DNA I have the blood of champions" - Alberto Del Rio
Tweet 7: FELLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!!
Tweet 8: The power's going to Booker's head already...
Tweet 9: Orton v ADR on free TV. Why is one of WWE's few fresh matches not saved for pay-per-views?
Tweet 10: Sheamus v Tensai. Another fresh match. This isn't as bad. WWE seem to have given up on Tensai's push.
Sheamus v Tensai
Tweet 11: They just cut to a video of Tensai speaking Japanese. I was hoping they'd play that racist Tout video he put up.Tweet 12: They're recapping Tensai's loss to Tyson Kidd. Do they really expect us to believe he'll beat Sheamus when he lost to Kidd?
Tweet 13: If this were the 1980s Tensai would be a genuine world title contender.
Tweet 14: "Sheamus loves to fight!" - Josh Mathews, telling us what we already know
Tweet 15: Tensai just took a spill off the top rope. Scary bump for a guy his size.
Tweet 16: Sheamus just slammed Tensai! He's now officially more over than Hogan.
Tweet 17: Tensai beaten clean with a Brogue Kick. That's not a surprise.
Sheamus treats us to a bigger than usual punch-in-the-ropes spot
Booker T backstage with Eve and Teddy Long
Tweet 18: Eve congratulates Booker backstage. Booker avoids saying "shucky ducky quack quack!"Tweet 19: Why is Teddy Long still hanging around at SmackDown tapings? HE GOT SACKED!
Antonio Cesaro v Santino
Tweet 20: Antonio Cesaro. Heeeey!!Tweet 21: Saying one word in five languages doesn't prove it but Antonio DOES speak five languages. #veryEuropean
Tweet 22: The US title dates back to 1975. That's impressive apparently.
Tweet 23: Aksana is a real asset to Antonio’s act. #sarcasm
Tweet 24: Cesaro goes over with the Gotch Style Neutralizer... which wasn't referred to by that name (probably because I like it).
Antonio Cesaro says hello to fans while Aksana plays with her hair and looks vacant. She's a real asset
Matt Striker interviews Daniel Bryan
Tweet 25: Matt Striker interviewing someone other than Randy Orton. It's D-Bry!Tweet 26: A "No! No! No!" shirt. #thatscans
Tweet 27: I want to see the back of this shirt.
Daniel Bryan, The Miz and Dolph Ziggler v Kane, Christian and Chris Jericho
Tweet 28: Bryan just going mental screaming "No!" there. Good stuff. I bet this character direction would have been hated in ROH had he done it there first.Tweet 29: So Kane is definitely a babyface again?
Tweet 30: Ziggler hasn't lost his touch according to Vickie. I won't ask how she knows that...
Tweet 31: I hope WWE has a plan for turning Bryan face. He's ridiculously over.
Tweet 32: The Yes Lock is now the No Lock. Still better than the LeBell Lock.
Tweet 33: "The Miz has done it all here in WWE" - Michael Cole, perhaps hinting at a move to TNA for Miz
Tweet 34: Bumping himself to the outside... #classicZiggler
Tweet 35: #nokicks
Tweet 36: This is one of the better six man tags WWE has promoted in a while. Lots going on.
Tweet 37: Bryan screaming "No!" in the faces of children is the highlight of SmackDown so far.
Matt Striker interviews Randy Orton
Tweet 38: "Randy, welcome back. You've been sorely missed" - Matt Striker with some personal comments to Randy OrtonTweet 39: Orton talking about WWE being his life, there. He's got a wife and kids.
Jinder Mahal v Ryback
Tweet 40: JINDER MAHAL'S PERSPEX BOX!!Tweet 41: Ryback v Jinder Mahal again? I just want to see Ryback squash people. I don't want these competitive matches.
Tweet 42: Ryback gave us an almost Ultimate Warrior-esque promo then. He's used to being on the food chain in the jungle and wants to eat WWE stars.
Tweet 43: Yes, he wants to EAT WWE stars...
Tweet 44: Ryback wins via DQ. Poor. Just gradually increase the number of jobbers he faces. Three months and he should be squashing twenty guys.
R-Truth v Darren Young
Tweet 45: R-Truth, accompanied by Kofi Kingston and Little Jimmy.Tweet 46: How many rape gags can AW get into this segment?
Tweet 47: That was a pretty tedious match. Titus and Darren are getting sloppier.
Booker T backstage segment, featuring a phone call, Layla and Cody Rhodes
Tweet 48: RAW recap successfully skipped. Not interested in watching that again.Tweet 49: Who was Booker on the phone to? Kevin Nash?
Tweet 50: Booker puts Cody in a match against Sin Cara. That'll be a boring match and Cody will probably win. Cara's push is dead.
Randy Orton v Alberto Del Rio
Tweet 51: Will we see an RKO, Josh? I'd say there's a very good chance of it.Tweet 52: Albertoooooooooooooooooo Deeeeeeelllllllllll Riiiiiiiioooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!
Tweet 53: There's not enough time left for these two to have a good match.
Tweet 54: If I were booking this I'd have Orton go over clean via RKO to set him up as a contender to the champion after SummerSlam.
Tweet 55: Orton in early with an attempt at the draping DDT.
Tweet 56: "Those chances are few and far between" - Michael Cole on world title shots (clearly he's overlooking house shows)
Tweet 57: Alberto Del Rio won his first shoot fight at the age of seven. He beat a goat.
Tweet 58: Ricardo Rodriguez gets involved just as I begin to notice the similarities between Orton's hair and Tomasso Ciampa's.
Tweet 59: Another disqualification finish. How unsatisfying.
Tweet 60: Sheamus tosses ADR into the ring to take an RKO. Told you we'd see that move, Josh.
Tweet 61: "Are we ready for the Booker T Era here on SmackDown?" asks Josh Mathews. Nobody is ready for that.