Sunday 23 September 2012

SmackTalk 21.09.12

Any show that sees Bryan 'Daniel Bryan' Danielson wrestle twice can't be all bad. This week's SmackDown saw just that happen, with Bryan tackling Cody Rhodes in a singles match before teaming up with tag team championship partner Kane to face Rhodes and Damien Sandow.
Predictably both matches were very good although they suffered from mildly disappointing finishes. Kane's pyro distracted 'Goatface' while he was trying to apply the No Lock, allowing Dusty junior to recover and connect with the match-winning Cross Rhodes. This was done to even the score after Bryan had cost Kane his show-opening singles clash with 'The Intellectual Saviour of the Masses'.
The main event tag battle saw Bryan and Kane survive the (non-title) challenge of the heels with the Usos, Gabriel and Kidd, and the Prime Time Players stationed at ringside as lumberjacks. Post-match the champs obliterated the four other tandems. This shouldn't have done WWE's pedestrian doubles division any but somehow it did. By having Kane and Bryan bicker throughout the show they were shown to have vulnerability as a unit, while their battering of the other teams gives a clear motivation for rematches in the near future.
I was surprised Epico and Primo we're excused from lumberjack duty. Perhaps Rosa Mendes was unavailable for the taping. Omitting former champions R-Truth and Kofi Kingston was a smart move though. They need to be kept strong in case fans sour on the Bryan and Kane act and the titles need to be switched in a hurry.
The Divas division was given a glimmer of hope when an actual, proper feud was hinted at. New champion Eve was stationed at ringside for the (frankly embarrassing) match between Natalya and Layla, with the previous champion clearly not being ready to overlook her "shocking" loss of the title.
While Layla has been an utter bore since returning from injury in April Eve has proven to be one of the best female performers at WWE's disposal. I'm convinced that she could create interest in a programme with anyone on the roster, even someone as tedious as the former LayCool member. The prospect of a series between Eve and Kaitlyn, a woman with solid ring skills, a fair amount of personality, and a proven ability to connect with fans, is something I'm looking forward to also.
Unfortunately I can't say I hold the same amount if hope for the split between Antonio Cesaro and Aksana. Pairing 'The Swiss Superman' with her helped him to stand out as a heel act and also have the limited Diva something to do. I'll reserve full judgement until we see where it's going but right now it feels like a mistake. It's entirely possible they will reunite in the near future.
Something that raised my interest, and provided a genuine surprise (rare in 2012 WWE) was the beatdown of Brodus Clay by Heath Slater, Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal. Teaming three dregs such as these is likely an experiment. It'll be interesting to see whether they're given a genuine chance to succeed. I believe that factions are a good way of using lower-card guys such as these so I hope this proves a success. If it leads to 'The Funkasaurus' recruiting a gang of his own (perhaps Zack Ryder and Santino) then so much the better. 'The One Man Rock Band' in particular deserves a higher spot on the card.

Why didn't Cameron and Naomi make the save?
Amazingly the show featured yet another clash between Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio. Their bout at Night of Champions, which saw 'The Celtic Warrior' down 'The Essence of Excellence’ for the third pay-per-view in a row, felt like the natural end to their programme. You know, that programme that hasn't delivered any memorable matches and has been going since April. Their tag outing alongside Dolph Ziggler and Randy Orton was decent enough but it was a far cry from feeling fresh. WWE desperately needs to elevate some new acts to avoid these constant reruns.
I assume the ADR and 'Great White' will clash again at Hell in a Cell. I've been advocating new opponents for both men for months now but at least a Hell in a Cell clash would provide a fitting end to their lengthy run together. I always feel the super cage is best employed to end lengthy rivalries, which is certainly what the WHC combatants have had.
Finally, it was great to see Edge again. While his appearance didn't achieve a great deal and didn't appear to happen for any particular reason it was nice to see him. His interactions with both Kane and Daniel Bryan got the show-long storyline off to a nice start. It did make me wish we'd seen a series between Bryan and 'The Rated R Superstar'. Sadly, we never will.

Edge promo, featuring Daniel Bryan, Kane and Damien Sandow

Tweet 1: Josh Mathews provides us with a particularly banal opening statement. I can't even be bothered to type it for you all.
Tweet 2: Take my word for it. It was bad.
Tweet 3: Nice to see Edge. One of my favourite wrestlers ever. That said I have realistic expectations for this opening promo.

No gimmick shirt for Edge. He wears his own gear

Tweet 4: Bryan and Kane are a great act. Good use of a long running act and a nice way of keepign Bryan hot without a world title.
Tweet 5: Bryan and Edge promo time. They could have had a GREAT series of matches if Edge hadn't had to retire.
Tweet 6: Daniel Bryan: fan of pronouns.
Tweet 7: Rare acknowledgement of an old storyline there.
Tweet 8: They've not explained why Edge is on the show. It doesn't matter. Anything makes a change from the regular opening Sheamus promo.
Tweet 9: I remember all of those Edge v Kane feuds. None were good.
Tweet 10: #threewayhug
Tweet 11: Sandow is another nice deviation from the norm.
Tweet 12: "I am a thinking man, I do not resort to measures of physical means, thank you" - Damien Sandow

Kane v Damien Sandow

Tweet 13: And now the show (or serial as Sandow refers to it) has morphed into a match between Sandow and Kane. How exciting!
Tweet 14: Damien Sandow is clearly a fan of the Russian dissident look.
Tweet 15: Sandow has pinned Kane, but in such a way that he is not really elevated. Good work, writing team!
Tweet 16: As wrestling monikers go 'Mexican Aristocrat' leaves a lot to be desired.

Kane, Daniel Bryan and Dr Shelby backstage

Tweet 17: Dr Shelby! Awesomes.
Tweet 18: They might as well stop this vignette. Bryan hiding in a bin cannot be topped.
Tweet 19: Cole and Mathews have matching hair. How sweet.
Tweet 20: The Del Rio v Sheamus feud is STILL rumbling on? Please stop it. Please.

Layla v Natalya

Tweet 21: The Divas title being on Eve is promising. She's one of the few women on the roster with an actual character.
Tweet 22: Layla's reign, which lasted around five months, is completely unmemorable.
Tweet 23: "Nice shoulders" - Michael Cole, perhaps waking from an Alan Partridge-esque daydream

Alberto Del Rio and Dolph Ziggler v Sheamus and Randy Orton

Tweet 24: Ricardo Rodriguez, not satisfied with stealing Joel Gertner's personal ring announcer gimmick, has also taken to wearing a neck brace.
Tweet 25: Albertoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo Delllllllllll Riiiiiiiiiooooooooooooo!!
Tweet 26: Those red leggings aren't doing Vickie any favours are they?
Tweet 27: The kid in the (dated) CM Punk T-shirt is not a fan of Dolph Ziggler. That 'The Show Off' doesn't appeal to kids makes me a bigger fan.
Tweet 28: Orton is standing on the pink rope. In a way he is standing on WWE's efforts to fight cancer.
Tweet 30: When did the tag rope become a regular feature of WWE matches? I don't like them. It wasn't used rigidly when I first started watching.
Tweet 31: Orton gets tagged in and immediately gets his team back on track. If WWE wants to get Sheamus over as lead face the roles should be reversed.
Tweet 32: Ah, here we are. The heels are in charge again. Orton will eventually make the hot tag to 'Great White'.
Tweet 33: Orton and Sheamus victory, now with added post-match hug.

Cody Rhodes v Daniel Bryan

Tweet 34: No... No... No... No... No... No...
Tweet 35: Cody is looking particularly orange this week.
Tweet 36: Bryan's being booked as a face now. I like that. Should have happened months ago. The next step is for him to embrace the "Yes!" chants.
Tweet 37: Kane looks like Al Bundy.

Not a happy camper...

Kane, Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow backstage

Tweet 38: "You belong in a petting zoo!" - Kane to Daniel Bryan
Tweet 39: I wonder what Sandow and Rhodes were discussing. Tanning tips? Ring robes? Pros and cons of facial hair for wrestlers? Endless possibilities.

Heath Slater v Brodus Clay

Tweet 40: How is this gimmick not stale yet?
Tweet 41: Heath Slater is a 21st century version of the Honky Tonk Man. They should bring Honky in as his manager.
Tweet 42: Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal have interfered in the match, perhaps hinting at a new incarnation of the JOB Squad.
Tweet 43: "I didn't know they knew each other" - Michael Cole on three men who share a locker room
Tweet 44: Was this premeditated, Michael? Clearly it was. Your questions are stupid.

Antonio Cesaro v Santino

Tweet 45: Antonio Cesaro... Heeeey!!
Tweet 46: Cesaro's "new" entrance music has grown on me. It suits him better than his old track did.
Tweet 47: Cole seems to think Cesaro visting all fifty states as US champion is likely. When was the last time WWE put on a show in Alaska?
Tweet 48: Q: How does losing to Santino help Cesaro? A: It doesn't.
Tweet 49: Cesaro has rid himself of the dead wood that is Aksana. Maybe he'll bring in Sara Del Rey in her place.

Kane and Daniel Bryan v Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes

Tweet 50: WWE are trying to fool us into thinking they have a tag team division by placing three units at ringside. LOL much?
Tweet 51: Why aren't Kofi Kingston and R-Truth lumberjacks?
Tweet 52: Epico and Primo have been snubbed too. It would have been nice to see them... Mainly for Rosa Mendes I admit.
Tweet 53: Chair one-upmanship is soooooooo PG.
Tweet 54: Bryan and Kane just jobbed out three other tag teams. WWE will probably book a four-way between them all at Hell in a Cell.

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