Not every wrestling show is going to be great. I appreciate that. Sometimes there are duff episodes and sometimes you’ll get periods where there are creatively barren runs. Downswings and upswings are part of the nature of the business and always will be.
Just because a company (or show… or brand) is going through a rough patch creatively doesn’t mean those in charge have to make things worse for themselves. That’s what WWE did on Friday’s SmackDown. The company has booked itself into a corner with the Big Show v Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio v Randy Orton feuds. They are a contributing factor to the downswing. I’m not really enjoying either but I can tolerate them because I know that they are happening in part in order to kill time before bigger and better things kick off.
Where WWE are failing to help themselves is in omitting the talent mentioned at the top from shows. SmackDown, as I have written before, should be a show used to highlight and push men and women lower down the card. John Cena and CM Punk, the promotion’s top drawers, do not appear on the blue brand. That makes it the perfect place to give others time in the spotlight.
The Miz looks unhappy. Maybe the state of SmackDown is getting to him too
The Rhodes Scholars, Ryback and Antonio Cesaro have all benefitted from exposure on SmackDown this year. They are part of the reason I watch the show. When they are left off the show in favour of a match pitting babyface R-Truth against babyface Justin Gabriel something somewhere is clearly not right. Both Gabriel and Truth deserve TV time, but not necessarily against one another. Couldn’t that segment have seen the Rhodes Scholars or Three Man Band interrupt the match, igniting a tag team encounter?
Despite knocking the Show and Sheamus rivalry above I thought the tag team main event was a good idea. It kept their rivalry alive and mixed them up with another ongoing programme. I’m always a fan of that happening. I also thought it was good to get Kofi Kingston in such a high profile spot. If a downswing in creativity is what it takes for the writing team to push a man of his ability and charisma then perhaps we should hope for them more often.
Tweet 1: Soooooo... SmackTalk?Tweet 2: This video package about Brad Maddox and the Cena and AJ nonsense is hilariously overdramatic.
Tweet 3: Big Show sounded aroused (sexually) in his Hell in a Cell backstage promo.
Tweet 4: Was John Cena wearing one of his own T-shirts in those shots of him eating dinner with AJ?
Miz TV, featuring Sheamus, Kofi Kingston and Big Show
Tweet 5: Has Sheamus been drinking?Tweet 6: The lighting monkeys are dropping the ball. Is it Kevin Dunn's night off?
Tweet 7: Big Show. The champ is here.
Tweet 8: Two faces and two heels are in the arena. If this segment doesn't end with Teddy Long making a tag match I'm going to be disappointed.
Tweet 9: Had Big Show walked to the ring he would have been winded. There's a reason he's never been in an Iron Man match...
Big Show and Booker T backstage
Tweet 10: Big Show appears to be unaware of the cameraman walking backwards in front of him...Tweet 11: Does Booker wear glasses to look smart? Doesn't work.
Tweet 12: The tag match everyone knew was coming has been made. Teddy didn't make it though. Shame.
Darren Young v Sin Cara
Tweet 13: Darren Young v Sin Cara? Oh God... #botchheavenTweet 14: JBL saying that the PTPs have the potential to be the best tag team in the world is going to be the funniest comment of the night.
Tweet 15: Sin Cara just lost clean to Darren Young. Remember that push he got when he first arrived?
Tweet 16: I've never noticed Titus's eyes do that before. Weird stuff. Freaky-looking guy.
Are the Prime Time Players the best tag team in the world? JBL thinks they could be
Rey Mysterio v Titus O’Neil
Tweet 17: Sin Cara may have jobbed clean but Mysterio won't. He's actually worth something.Tweet 18: 'The Big Deal' jobbed clean. That's more like it. Good work, writers. Keep it predictable.
Tweet 19: I hate Rey Mysterio anyway but I particularly hate him when he's in a tag team. It's all stupid hand signs and hugging.
Recaps of various RAW happenings
Tweet 20: They just showed that graphic of Cena and AJ at dinner. Cena was indeed wearing his Rise Above Cancer merch.Tweet 21: Brad Maddox is confirmed for RAW! That'll get the ratings up! Lucky Birmingham.
Booker T, Teddy Long, David Otunga and Natalya backstage
Tweet 22: Teddy and Booker. Prepare for a tag match...Tweet 23: David Otunga doesn't get anywhere near enough TV time.
Tweet 24: This new spit take gimmick could be easily dropped though. Why WWE feels the need to include weird stuff like that is beyond me.
Tweet 25: Natalya seems to be involved in said weird stuff fairly often. Perhaps she's into it...
Randy Orton v Wade Barrett
Tweet 26: BARRETT RING COAT ALERT!!Tweet 27: I'm a BIG fan of the Barrett ring coat. And the rose. The whole gimmick package really.
Tweet 28: What's random about Josh's questions exactly?
Tweet 29: Del Rio jumps Orton. Whaddavillain!
Tweet 30: There's a girl in the front row having a fit because she touched Randy Orton. If it was the other way round there'd be a court case.
Tweet 31: JBL keeps referring to Michael Cole. I thought we were shot of that guy.
Tweet 32: Perfectly adequate second rope elbow by Barrett, there.
Tweet 33: Barrett gets a win from a rollup. He could at least have been allowed to hit the Souvenir from behind for a distraction win.
Tweet 34: I wonder if Josh will mention Show and Miz's time as tag team champions (ShowMiz). Probably not.
Tweet 35: JBL might though.
Randy Orton and Alberto Del Rio have a brawl in catering
Tweet 36: "Randy Orton is not a biper" - Alberto Del RioTweet 37: No! Not the catering area!
Tweet 38: This backstage food fight is ridiculous. The lack of commentary doesn't help. It's like they want us to think of it as very serious stuff.
Tweet 39: Randy Orton tries to walk through a table. #botchofthenight
David Otunga v Great Khali
Tweet 40: The Great Khali is back on SmackDown. Nobody noticed he'd gone. Nobody would have cared if they had.Tweet 41: Khali's sabbaticals are never explained. I want to know what he gets up to when he's away from the ring.
Tweet 42: I like the idea of him tutoring underprivileged kids from rough neighbourhoods.
Tweet 43: What's David Otunga up to? Posing. Only posing.
Tweet 44: "Great Khali's hands are the size of laptops" - Josh Mathews
Tweet 45: Natalya is watching on a monitor She's happy. Because Otunga is getting beaten and he spat coffee on her earlier, you see.
Tweet 46: Yes, it's the beginning of the Otunga v Natalya feud we've all been waiting years for!
Justin Gabriel v R-Truth
Tweet 47: Gabriel versus Truth feels like an odd match. Presumably some heels will do a run-in. 3MB are my guess.Tweet 48: Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe Undertaker will return to start a rivalry with Gabriel. That'd draw.
Tweet 49: Truth won. No idea what the point of the match was. Literally none.
Tweet 50: No heel run-in. No heel turn. No good match. That was a textbook example of a wasted segment.
Truth and Gabriel adhere to the Code of Honor
Miz and Big Show have a natter backstage
Tweet 51: Big Show is top bunk.Tweet 52: Miz beat Josh and JBL to a mention of ShowMiz. Probably for the best...
Tweet 53: WWE should have Del Rio and Orton face one another in a Boiler Room Brawl.
Tweet 54: SmackDown's live next week? Won't it be about two in the afternoon when the show's filmed in Birmingham?
Tweet 55: The answer you're looking for is yes.
Big Show and The Miz v Kofi Kingston and Sheamus
Tweet 56: Big Show is holding the belt over his head because it won't fit around his waist.Tweet 57: I want Show to work this match without taking the hoodie off.
Tweet 58: Big Show mat wrestling and throwing out random woooooos is brilliant. I want him to do that in every match.
Tweet 59: Charles Robinson looks like a haggard woman of 83.
Tweet 60: "Irishmen love to fight!" - JBL with a massive generalisation
Tweet 61: The heels win, ending the show on a low note. That's why they did Gabriel v Truth. It was designed as a fan pleaser.