First of all there’s the Big Show and Sheamus feud. ‘Great White’ will defend his World Heavyweight championship against ‘The World’s Largest Athlete’ at Hell in a Cell. At this point no extra stipulations have been announced and it seems fairly likely they’ll clash in a regular bout.
The Hell in a Cell would be overkill this early in their programme but that doesn’t mean WWE wouldn’t have them wrestle in the cage if they had no other choice. Should CM Punk end up facing Ryback, for example, then Sheamus and Show would be the natural bout to be bumped up to Hell in a Cell status. With the pay-per-view called Hell in a Cell WWE have to feature the gimmick on the show.
Their rivalry hasn’t produced any enjoyable matches or segments so far and I can’t see that changing before October 28th. I expect them to see more segments similar to this week’s test of strength over the next few weeks. I think they will all be similarly tiresome. At this point nothing has happened to make me think Show will win the WHC and the story seems as though it’s going to be ‘The Celtic Warrior’ gradually coming to the realisation that Show is a threat to his reign.
Another Hell in a Cell prediction is that we’ll see the Rhodes Scholars entering as number one contenders. Sandow’s loss to Sin Cara on SmackDown was designed to make people think that the Scholars will lose the tournament finals on Monday night. They are by far the best candidates to square off with Kane and Bryan for the gold.
I’m hoping that Mysterio and Sin Cara are kept together as a unit for a while longer. Their planned split and ensuing dispute will mean more if they’ve been together longer.
One of the biggest slices of soap opera drama to grace SmackDown over the last month has been the ongoing question of who attacked Kaitlyn at Night of Champions. As Eve Torres benefitted most from the assault, being booked as Kaitlyn’s replacement and defeating Layla for the Divas gold, she is naturally the favourite to be revealed as the assailant.
While having a division’s lead feud hinge on something that happened backstage always strikes me as annoying I do think this is a positive direction. Ignore the talk of a blonde wig and you have a solid title feud situation: Layla wasn’t prepeared for a title defence against Eve, which gives her just cause for a rematch; Kaitlyn has proven that she can best Eve in a match, meaning that if she got a title match there would be no clear favourite (at least in theory); and Eve has risen to the top by being in the right place at the right time instead of earning championship matches, which is the right way to book a heel.
There are enough options to keep a three-way programme bubbling away until Survivor Series. The stuff with Eve riling Teddy Long and Booker increasingly favouring his PA over his senior adviser could also turn into something interesting too, though at the moment it’s pretty boring because WWE don’t seem to have decided where they want to go with it.
Finally, I think the decision to put Jinder Mahal, Drew McIntyre and Heath Slater together as a unit is a good move. I want them to be used as a strong upper mid-card heel outfit and prepped for a title feud, using the Freebird Rule, for later in the year. It’s the best way to use ‘The Chosen One’ and ‘The Punjabi Nightmare’, and it’s something that allows ‘The One Man Rock Band’ to be ridiculous.
True that’s not a prediction but I thought I’d include it anyway.
KO Punch v Brogue Kick challenge, featuring Booker T, Sheamus and Big Show
Tweet 1: SmackDown tweet time! BAM!Tweet 2: SmackDown is Friday night's hottest show. #vintageJosh
Tweet 3: KO Punch versus Brogue Kick challenge will start SmackDown. That seems a stupid idea. It certainly doesn't make this Friday's hottest show.
Tweet 4: #Bookergrammar
Tweet 5: JBL and Josh on commentary with no Cole is probably the best decision the company's made all year.
Tweet 6: "Tonight is all about the Big Show and Sheamus" - Booker T, subtly letting us know the rest of the show is irrelevant
Tweet 7: Boxing statistics. This is going to get the ratings up.
Tweet 8: "Don't boo me. Don't boo me!" Y'all should be booing yourselves!
Tweet 9: This is ridiculous. Kicks are generally much more powerful than punches. That's why they're so popular in MMA. #stupidsegment
Tweet 10: Can Sheamus kick high enough to reach Show's chin?
Tweet 11: What we've learned here is that Show is strong enough to punch a mountain in two while Sheamus is only strong enough to make a cow explode.
Tweet 12: Tensai there, getting a push. It's too little too late.
Segments like this are what makes SmackDown Friday's hottest show
Sheamus v Tensai
Tweet 13: Tensai has the best entrance music in WWE. #fact #somefactsmaybefalseTweet 14: "He's a legend in Japan right now" - JBL on, um, Tensai
Tweet 15: I still think that if WWE had gotten behind Tensai make in April and May he could have been a headliner by now.
Tweet 16: JBL just referenced NOAH and NJPW. Is this an alternate reality?
Tweet 17: Sheamus picks Tensai up for White Noise with ease. Ryback could learn a thing or two from him...
Ricardo Rodriguez and Alberto Del Rio backstage
Tweet 18: SmackDown is being held at the HP Pavillion. Modern arena names make me sad.Tweet 19: Here's a good segment idea: have ADR talk about how unafraid of Randall Orton he is.
Tweet 20: Top that segment off with Ricardo being given a show-long mission to hunt down 'The Viper'. It's a surefire ratings smash hit!
Tweet 21: So Ricardo hears what is meant to be a snake noise and is worried it's Randy Orton? Yeah, because Orton's famed for his snake impressions.
Tweet 22: Oh wait. It's just Santino. #hilarity
Team CoBro v Jinder Mahal and Heath Slater
Tweet 23: SLATER COWBELL!Tweet 24: I like Slater's new tights. It'll be another year and a half before he wears something else...
Tweet 25: Slater promos = ratings
Tweet 26: Team CoBro. #scans
Tweet 27: I love the paper, rock, scissors gimmick to decide which member of a tag team starts a match. Very New Age Outlaws. #Billyalwayswon
Tweet 28: The Slater Freebirds need matching gear.
Tweet 29: Slater's weird cutter-DDT finisher should be called the Cowbell Buster.
I think we all know the highlight here is Jinder Mahal's expression
Dolph Ziggler v Kane
Tweet 30: Ziggler takes to Tout to challenge Kane to a match. Remember a time when that would've happened in a backstage interview?Tweet 31: Ziggler v Kane. I'd rather see Ziggler v Bryan. #bestintheworld
Tweet 32: I preferred Ziggler's pink T-shirt. It featured the colour teal. #isthatateal
Tweet 33: Ziggler's getting the ridiculous bumps in early. He just flew across the ring after being punched.
Tweet 34: Ziggler skinning the cat needs to be done at least half a dozen times in next year's Rumble. At least.
Tweet 35: FAMEASSER!! #BadAssBillyZiggler
Tweet 36: That was a decent match. Ziggler getting DQed is rare. He's usually just jobbed out. Maybe that title win's getting close...
Daniel Bryan and Kane confrontation, featuring Matt Striker
Tweet 37: Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!Tweet 38: Guess who's in the ring...
Tweet 39: "I saved you!" - Daniel Bryan to Kane
Tweet 40: No Lock to Striker!! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!
Tweet 41: "I never liked Matt Striker" - JBL, with a comment which is probably true
Tweet 42: "That's not an announcer, that's Matt Striker" – JBL
Ricardo Rodriguez continues hunting for Randy Orton
Tweet 43: Why is Ricardo asking people questions in Spanish when it's been confirmed he speaks English?Tweet 44: "I'm coiled... to strike!" - a Randy Orton toy
Big Show v Kofi Kingston
Tweet 45: Miz and Kofi are feuding for the IC title? Good move, writing team!Tweet 46: Big Show v Kofi Kingston. Something tells me this match will be less than thrilling.
Tweet 47: Why doesn't Show use the choke slam anymore?
Tweet 48: Also, where's Ryback?
Tweet 49: How long until Main Event becomes a Superstars level job show?
Daniel Bryan talks to Alberto Del Rio
Tweet 50: I hope this vignette is setting up a Bryan v ADR bout. Bryan has some slick verbal skills.
Layla, Kaitlyn, Eve, Booker T and Teddy Long backstage
Tweet 51: Layla and Kaitlyn are STILL wittering on about the injustice of Kaitlyn not having the Divas title match she deserved.Tweet 52: And here's Eve. Lovely Eve. I can't wait until Teddy gets written out of storylines.
Tweet 53: Layla needs to keep her mouth shut. She sounds like an East End fishwife.
Damien Sandow v Sin Cara
Tweet 54: SANDOW POP!!Tweet 55: Sin Cara is wearing that white outfit he got injured in last year. But never mind that, here's his special lighting effect!
Tweet 56: 'The Sovereign of Civility' is probably the greatest new moniker of 2012.
Tweet 57: Cody Rhodes is sent backstage. Ringside gets a little less dashing.
Tweet 58: Sin Cara just beat Damien Sandow, a decision designed to make us think the Rhodes Scholars will lose on Monday. I think they'll win.
Alberto Del Rio v Daniel Bryan
Tweet 59: Albertooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo Delllllllllllllllll Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiooooooooooooooo!!Tweet 60: Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!
Tweet 61: YEEEEEEEEES!!
Tweet 62: Loving Bryan destroying signs. #niceSandmanTshirtasshole
Daniel Bryan is the tag team champions!
Tweet 63: I want Dr Shelby to be used more often.
Tweet 64: This is the best Del Rio match I've seen for months. Thank you, Daniel Bryan.
Tweet 65: Randy Orton hasn't been sighted yet. Guess that means he's on run-in duty.
Tweet 66: Cross arm breaker in the ropes is a great little spot. That needs to be booked more often. It could be like Tajiri's Tarantula, y'know?
Tweet 67: ADR wins via submission. Nah, don't book one of your most over babyfaces strong. Why on Earth would you want to do that.
Tweet 68: "Randy Orton will not show up tonight" - Alberto Del Rio, moments before a Randy Orton appearance
Tweet 69: Orton just appeared lying down in the ring. #unintentionalLOLfactor
Tweet 70: ADR's taking a table bump is he?
Tweet 71: Ah, Ricardo interfered to help Del Rio escap. So RR is taking a table bump. Should be a highlight of the show. Ricardo takes great bumps.
Tweet 72: Table didn't break. Rodriguez now has a broken neck and a job with no pension. Thanks, Randy. #Thandy