Beyond 'Great White', ADR, Big Show and 'The Viper' you can’t guarantee you’re going to see anyone when you tune in to the blue brand. While the show is the ideal vehicle for pushing promising acts like Damien Sandow, Cody Rhodes, Dolph Ziggler, and Ryback they’re not guaranteed to appear. Even upper mid-card guys like Daniel Bryan and The Miz aren't always on.
This is part of the problem SmackDown faces on a weekly basis. With less than half a dozen regular cast members there are few reasons for viewers to watch regularly. That it's used more and more to recap the events of RAW doesn't help either. If WWE made sure to include a popular guy like Ryback or Ziggler on every show they'd stand a chance of increasing their viewing numbers (and would help give talent more TV time too). Better yet, they could announce a match for Friday's show on Monday's live RAW. The goal should be to give people reasons to tune in to SmackDown each week, not just muddle through with an average show.
This week’s SmackDown was a perfect example of this stifling approach to booking and talent elevation. While CM Punk made a surprise appearance and wrestled an enjoyable (but brief) match with Dolph Ziggler the Rhodes Scholars and Antonio Cesaro were notable by their absence. They’re acts that need as much exposure as possible if they are to become members of the roster that can be depended upon for carrying the company into the future.
In other news SmackDown’s new batch of feuds currently seem underwhelming. The prospect of an extended series of matches between Alberto Del Rio and Randy Orton isn’t too bad because it’s a relatively fresh pairing and there’s the chance to book ‘The Viper’ against ADR’s associates David Otunga and Ricardo Rodriguez to keep things fresh.
What’s frustrating is that Orton’s dispute with Dolph Ziggler has been dropped prematurely. ‘The Show Off’s’ rise up the ranks would have benefited from another pay-per-view outing with ‘The Apex Predator’, perhaps one in which he was allowed to win. Facing Orton is about the best thing that could happen to ADR but Friday’s segment doesn’t indicate that the feud will be enjoyable. Let’s hope their matches are better and Orton’s free to make a few sporadic appearances while filming his WWE Studios film.
The other new feud over on the blue brand is Sheamus versus Big Show. Just one week in and it’s already shaping up to be just as tiresome as ‘The Celtic Warrior’s’ ponderous dispute with Del Rio. On RAW the two participated in a Q&A session which amounted to them sniping at one another. SmackDown saw them cost each other matches against Tensai and Miz. Hardly gripping television.
The once routinely enjoyable SmackDown has fallen in terms of quality lately. I’d like to see it get back on form. For that to happen there needs to be a greater focus on giving people a reason to watch and using SmackDown as a platform to create new stars.
Big Show promo, featuring Sheamus
Tweet 1: SmackDown. Let's tweet!Tweet 2: What's the best way to kick off a wrestling programme? It's hard to top a Big Show promo.
Tweet 3: They're showing a video of Big Show punching and choke slamming people. What it's meant to prove isn't clear.
Tweet 4: Show just referred to Cena as 'The Franchise'. Haven't heard that for a while.
Tweet 5: Big Show doesn't have time to shake hands. He has to go backstage and eat four live cows.
The Prime Time Players v Kofi Kingston and R-Truth
Tweet 6: Kofi Kingston and R-Truth enter and fans are shown walking towards the bathrooms. Not a good sign, is it?Tweet 7: Truth shouts "What's up?" I wish the audience would reply "Not much!"
Tweet 8: Titus O'Neil is a very angry man.
Tweet 9: Darren Young and his giant knee pads are going to the semi-finals. Excellent. That should ensure Cara and Mysterio have a great match...
Tweet 10: "It's feeding time: next!" - Josh Mathews, in reference to a Ryback match
Ryback v Primo (or Epico)
Tweet 11: Josh, I don't think Ryback "literally" believes WWE is a jungle.Tweet 12: Is Ryback squashing Epico or Primo? It doesn't matter.
Tweet 13: Ryback's finisher is called Shellshock. I don't think I've mentioned that before.
The question is: could Ryback do this to CM Punk?
CM Punk and Paul Heyman backstage
Tweet 14: CM Punk on SmackDown? I'll take that.Tweet 15: And he's looking for Dolph Ziggler's room. Even better. Why does Dolph still have a SmackDown room? He's a RAW guy now.
Alicia Fox v Layla
Tweet 16: Layla has the most inappropriate entrance music in WWE.Tweet 17: "Layla still fuming over losing the Divas championship" - Josh Mathews as Layla skipped, danced and smiled her way to the ring
Tweet 18: I miss Booker T's commentary.
Tweet 19: Northern Lights botchplex.
Tweet 20: Alicia Fox with a 1970s style leg submission hold there.
Tweet 21: Layla with a garbled post-match promo. Her accent flitting from British to pseudo-American didn't help.
CM Punk and Dolph Ziggler backstage
Tweet 22: Bad news: Punk and Ziggler are having an argument. Good news: Booker T is around to sort it out.
Wade Barrett v Unnamed Enhancement Talent
Tweet 23: BARRETT KLAXON.Tweet 24: Barrett has stolen Ryback's gimmick of beating nobodies. The nobody in question has stolen a pair of Perry Saturn's trunks.
The Miz v Sheamus
Tweet 25: World champ Sheamus didn't get a televised entrance. IC champ The Miz did. Peculiar.Tweet 26: They need to stop wittering on about this being champion versus champion. If neither title's on the line it doesn't matter.
Tweet 27: Cole just referred to Miz returning. Hasn't he been back since July?
Tweet 28: Sheamus wants to use the Brogue Kick? Isn't that banned? No, my mistake... That lasted all of five minutes.
Tweet 29: This Show v Sheamus feud is AWFUL. We have at least another four weeks of it.
David Otunga promo, featuring Alberto Del Rio
Tweet 30: "My name is David Otunga" - David OtungaTweet 31: Otunga is praising Alberto Del Rio for attacking Randy Orton on last week’s show. If you're not watching you're not missing much.
Tweet 32: So has Orton's feud with Ziggler ended? If so I'm disappointed. That could and should have gone for a few months.
Tweet 33: Del Rio has really gone downhill. I'm bored of him. It feels like he's done evertthing he ever will. Future endeavor him.
Tweet 34: You can tell Teddy long is storyline mentoring Booker T: a tag match was just made mid-segment.
Alberto Del Rio and David Otunga v Team Hell No
Tweet 35: ADR and Otunga seem like weird opponents for Hell No but who cares? It means we get to see Daniel Bryan. All together now...Tweet 36: Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!
Tweet 37: #Otungaflex
Tweet 38: Bryan needs to do the Hogan pose routine during every match.
Tweet 39: "Here comes the big red monster" - Josh Mathews, undoing his trousers
Tweet 40: Otunga's on job duty. Again.
Tweet 41: Apparently Daniel Bryan is the tag team champions...
Tweet 42: Kane disagrees.
Another week another argument between Kane and Daniel Bryan
Eve, Teddy Long, and Booker T backstage
Tweet 43: More GM related shenanigans. There are (still) troubles brewing in the Booker T administration.Tweet 44: Booker's always talking about having business to take care of yet he never actually seems to do any work.
Tensai v Big Show
Tweet 45: It's finally time for the hotly anticipated heel versus heel match between Tensai and Big Show.Tweet 46: Tensai: WWE's most blubbery jobber.
Tweet 47: Big Show hits his iffy-looking spear. He doesn't go for the stomach, he spears the shoulders.
Anyone else think this looks like Tensai is falling backwards on to Show?
Dolph Ziggler v CM Punk
Tweet 48: SmackDown: the home of heel versus heel matches.Tweet 49: Punk and Ziggler are two of the best in WWE. Even with only around ten minutes I think they'll produce something enjoyable.
Tweet 50: I like the way Michael Cole says diesel.
Tweet 51: Ziggler never hits the Fameasser anymore. #BadAssBillyZiggler
Tweet 52: Punk loves standing on the announce desk to cut a promo.
Tweet 53: He's still not facing Cena at Hell in a Cell. Something tells me he'll change his mind...