Thursday, 20 December 2012

SmackTalk 18.12.12

Live shows tend to bring out the best in WWE's writing team and in-ring crew. Tuesday's SmackDown, which aired (almost-) live in North America and will be on in its usual Friday night slot in Britain, was a good example of that.
The episode kicked off with an instalment of Miz TV. While I'm not the biggest fan of 'The Awesome One's' "chat show" I thought it was good this week because it had a point to it. That point was to establish the new heel unit of Dolph Ziggler, AJ Lee and Big E Langston.
AJ was given time to explain her actions at TLC and the previous evening's RAW and Dolph was made to look like a man of the cusp of stardom (which he is). Ms Lee's reason for turning on John Cena was that he had toyed with her heart. For his part 'The Show Off' had discovered how passionate AJ could be on Monday night and basically wanted more of the same.
Big E stood there looking vacant. When he was required to intimidate Miz he did so adequately. You can't ask for more than that. Well you can but it won't do any good.
This three person combo has a tremendous amount of potential. Ziggler should be World champion within a few months and AJ looks like she can be very effective as a heel. There are a lot of things WWE could do with the two of them together and adding Langston as an enforcer is a nice move. It's a good way of introducing him to the roster.

A unit with bags of potential
The opening match saw Damien Sandow defeat Sin Cara. The Shield appeared in the crowd during the bout, distracting Cara and allowing 'The Intellectual Saviour' to sneak in his Terminus neck breaker for the win.
After the match Rollins, Ambrose and Reigns slid into the ring and knocked the masked man around. This included Rollins leaping off the top rope and hit a knee drop on Cara's leg. They also tossed a Rey Mysterio mask onto the mat. This was intended to show that they had injured Rey backstage.
That's Mysterio and Sin Cara off television for a few weeks then. I expect they'll be back at or before the Royal Rumble.
After Santino dropped the formerly fearsome Tensai in a comedy outing Kofi Kingston teamed with Team Hell No to take on Wade Barrett and The Prime Time Players. I'm beginning to like the PTPs, mainly because Titus O'Neil has improved a great deal over the last six months and is now a pretty entertaining act. He's carrying Darren Young.
The finish (which looked botched) saw the Players go for a double shoulder tackle only for 'The Big Deal' to be yanked out of the ring. That left D-Young alone with Kane. One choke slam later we had a winning team.
Hour two kicked off with reigning WWE champion CM Punk coming to the ring to complain about John Cena winning the Superstar of the Year Slammy. He threw in a cheap heat remark by insulting a Pittsburgh hockey team too. That's a champ, that is.
Ryback eventually interrupted Punk and announced that he will get his guaranteed WWE title match on January 7th, that first RAW of 2013. I don't expect 'Big Hungry' to win that match. Not unless something goes drastically wrong with Punk's recovery from knee surgery.
Antonio Cesaro entered the arena for his scheduled rematch with 'The Human Wrecking Ball'. The two had clashed on RAW in a short match. This was much better. It went longer and was easily Ryback's most enjoyable offering for months. We have Cesaro to thank for that. 'The Swiss Superman' took the inevitable loss after getting hit with Shellshock.
Backstage AJ attacked Kaitlyn for no logical reason. They brawled. I missed Joey Styles' screams of "Cat fight!" No mention was made of the teased romance between Kaitlyn and Dolph Ziggler on NXT season three.
Kaitlyn then made her way to the ring for a better than expected clash with Divas champ Eve Torres. A replay of the altercation between AJ and Kaitlyn aired, which was strange considering it had only happened about thirty seconds earlier. Kaitlyn won by disqualification after the champion grabbed the official's leg and wouldn't let go.
We were then treated to another backstage segment featuring AJ. She told Ziggler that Kaitlyn had attacked her because of jealousy. 'The Sole Survivor' seemed concerned. Big E remained silent and stared into space. Big Show rocked up and warned Ziggler not to try a cash in. It was typical WWE filler.
Brodus Clay easily toppled Brad Maddox in match number six. He was jumped by The Shield after the match. No babyfaces made the save. 'The Funkasaurus' must be one unpopular dinosaur.
Finally John Cena and Sheamus defeated Big Show and Dolph Ziggler in the main event tag match. It was another bout that resulted in a DQ: AJ ordered Big E to attack Cena mid-match. Before that the match was, at best, spotty. That was to be expected with Cena, Show and 'The Celtic Warrior' involved.
After the bout the heels celebrated. Ziggler posed on a turnbuckle. AJ squated over 'The CeNation Leader'. Langston showed no emotion. It was a good ending to an enjoyable two hours of wrestling, and a valiant attempt at establishing the new heel unit as a powerful force.

Intro video

Tweet 1: 24 hours later, Dave watched SmackDown.
Tweet 2: Cole acknowledging all the call-ups are from NXT will soon become tiresome. Sometimes it's enough that they're just new roster members.

Miz TV, featuring Dolph Ziggler, AJ lee and Big E Langston

Tweet 3: Commercial free. Why?
Tweet 4: Miz TV. Bigger why?
Tweet 5: Based on this entrance Big E Langston's new moniker should be 'Automaton'.
Tweet 6: Just noticed Cole's on commentary. From bad to worse...
Tweet 7: This is a commercial free clips show, is it?
Tweet 8: "John Cena broke my heart" - AJ Lee, obliterating kayfabe
Tweet 9: Langston's finisher is ridiculous.

Booker T and Teddy Long backstage

Tweet 10: Booker T and Teddy Long. The storyline we've ALL been missing!
Tweet 11: Teddy likes his superstars to have social media followings.
Tweet 12: I can't wait for the Teddy Long heel turn. It's going to be amazing.

Damien Sandow v Sin Cara

Tweet 13: Speaking of amazing... #Sandowpop
Tweet 14: Sandow's been accompanied by Magnum TA.
Tweet 15: Mysterio's music but no Mysterio. How... MYSTERIOus!! #pun
Tweet 16: Who's under the Sin cara mask? Some say it's Funaki. Some say Gillberg. Others say it's Essa Rios. Most don't care.
Tweet 17: "Looked like dirt on his face" - Michael Cole on Prince's moustache
Tweet 18: Look at Sin Cara trying to work the crowd. What a cretin.
Tweet 19: Here's the nWo... Whoops, I meant The Shield. They're behind Mysterio's disappearance. And now (hopefully) they're going to batter Cara.
Tweet 20: Nobody told Sin Cara wrestling's a work. He really thinks he's hurt.

Santino v Tensai

Tweet 21: A match based around kayfabe heat from a Slammy award segment? I'M IN!
Tweet 22: Tensai versus Santino will be the best WWE match of the week.
Tweet 23: JBL mangled his recap of Tensai's time in Japan. Deliberate? Probs.
Tweet 24: When Bloom returned to WWE he forgot that US fans, unlike their Japanese counterparts, aren't impressed by fat white blokes who work stiff.
Tweet 25: In April Tensai was given a win over John Cena. He just lost to Santino on SmackDown. Let's take a moment to reflect on that.

Kofi Kingston, Daniel Bryan and Kane backstage

Tweet 26: I think what WWE are trying to prove with this backstage is that Slammy Awards mean more than the ROH world championship.

The Prime Time Players and Wade Barrett v Kofi Kingston and Team Hell No

Tweet 28: Kofi, still being announced from Ghana there. He's from New England.
Tweet 29: No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No!

This guy wants a Slammy

Tweet 30: Instead of wittering on about the Boogeyman why don't the commentary team talk more about the New Age Outlaws?
Tweet 31: This six man tag is competent. There is little to comment on.
Tweet 32: The finish looked bungled but otherwise that was a good match. Would've been a good time to put Barrett over Kofi to set up a rematch.

John Cena and Sheamus backstage

Tweet 33: Bizarre backstage segment in which Sheamus tries to explain Father Ted to Cena. WHAT?!
Tweet 34: Cena says Big E may be stronger than - gasp! - Mark Henry!

CM Punk promo

Tweet 35: Punk's not wearing his own merch. Isn't that violating the company's dress code?
Tweet 36: No, my mistake. He's wearing a yellow GTS hat.
Tweet 37: Punk is going all out to make people hate him. This is brilliant.
Tweet 38: "Who tied your shoes this morning? I'm sure it wasn't you" - CM Punk to a fan at ringside
Tweet 39: Punk, another former ROH champion, is also upset at his lack of a Slammy Award. Kevin Steen's ultimate career goal is to win one too.
Tweet 40: "I am a real man. I am the gold standard" - CM Punk, maybe hinting that he's going to lift a gimmick from William Regal or Shelton Benjamin

The end of this rivalry is in sight

Ryback v Antonio Cesaro

Tweet 41: Ryback thinks he'll win the WWE title on the January 7 RAW. He won't. If WWE were going to put the belt on him it would've happened by now.
Tweet 42: Antonio Cesaro. Heeeey!!
Tweet 43: Cesaro, a former ROH tag champion, wishes he'd won the Slammy for newcomer of the year. Believe me yet?
Tweet 44: Ryback with a Mark Henry-esque splash there.
Tweet 45: C'mon, this is WWE. As if a babyface isn't going to answer a ten count.
Tweet 46: This is Ryback's best match since Hell in a Cell.
Tweet 47: 'The Swiss Superman' couldn't overcome the might of the Muscle Buster.

Kaitlyn and AJ backstage

Tweet 48: Kaitlyn and AJ add to their collection of awkwardly performed backstage segments.
Tweet 49: The audience don't seem to care. I can't blame them.
Tweet 50: The two women scrap, rolling around on the floor. It's not the same without Joey Styles shouting "Cat fight!"

Kaitlyn v Eve Torres

Tweet 51: I think Eve's my favourite Diva.
Tweet 52: Did Eve just try to hit a tumbling senton. I like her but she needs to leave that move alone.
Tweet 53: I think Eve was trying to put the ankle lock on that referee. Don't know why.

Dolph Ziggler, AJ, Big E Langston and Big Show backstage

Tweet 54: Big Show has a punch that can rip a hole in TIME. That's impressive is that.
Tweet 55: The unit of Ziggler, AJ and Big E is looking promising. I really don't want WWE to mess it up.

Brad Maddox v Brodus Clay

Tweet 56: Brad Maddox likes to say his own name. Who doesn't?! Say it aloud. It's a fun name to say. #GeorgeCostanza
Tweet 57: Maddox needs to come out to a recording of him saying his name over and over again. He should NEVER get entrance music.
Tweet 58: Brodus is wearing Taz's colours. Is he going to start throwing Funkplexes?
Tweet 59: "Vintage Teddy Long!" - Michael Cole upon seeing a shot of Teddy Long
Tweet 60: "Call my momma!" - Brodus Clay, desperately trying to prompt a reaction from the crowd
Tweet 61: Oh look, it's The Shield again.
Tweet 62: Ambrose should've given Clay a Razor's Edge.

John Cena and Sheamus v Big Show and Dolph Ziggler

Tweet 63: So is Vickie Guerrero a face now?
Tweet 64: Hey kids, never give up, 'kay? #CeNation #nonsense
Tweet 65: I hope Cena hits another FrankenCena...
Tweet 66: This match, like most Big Show matches, is painfully slow.
Tweet 67: That I'm expected to support Sheamus only makes matters worse.
Tweet 68: Fameasser! #BadAssBillyZiggler
Tweet 69: Dolph 'Bump Machine' Ziggler.
Tweet 70: Blissfully sloppy AA from Cena to Ziggler. He doesn't care about the safety of lesser Superstars.
Tweet 71: Big E attacks Cena, causing a DQ. There is no heat. The crowd literally do not care anymore. They are tired of the endless John Cena saga.
Tweet 72: Not even a kiss between Ziggler and AJ can get them to react. I think wrestling just died.
Tweet 73: The highlight of this show has been the blank expression of Langston. Nothing makes him show emotion of any sort.
Tweet 74: The show ends with the new heel unit standing over Cena. As I said earlier, I really hope WWE doesn't mess this up.

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