I’ve digressed a bit. SmackDown, by whatever criteria you choose to employ was a horrendously disappointing slice of television. That’s why I made a point of mentioning it was WWE’s first meaningful broadcast of the year. That they couldn’t cobble anything impressive together, or even bother to try, is a perfect example of why the company has struggled with ratings over the last year.
Of the five matches that took place one was good, one was passable, and three were atrocious pieces of filler. The opening segment was uninspiring too. While it was nice to see Antonio Cesaro rubbing shoulders with headliners Randy Orton, Sheamus and Big Show it was clear from the start that he would be looking at the lights in the inevitable tag team main event.
What was surprising about the segment was how ham-fisted WWE was at foreshadowing Orton’s impending heel turn. The tension between he and Sheamus came from nowhere and was based around the age old concept of both men wanting to win the Rumble. Surely WWE could have come up with something more special for two of their bigger names?
Maybe it was deliberately shoddy. Perhaps ‘The Viper’ will stay a good guy and it will be Sheamus that turns. ‘Great White’ could do with a refresh too, but we’d still be watching the same two men feuding. It wouldn’t be that revolutionary.
Thankfully Wade Barrett and Kofi Kingston were on hand to provide us with a fun Intercontinental title bout. While it slowed down in places the action was always crisp and there were some excellent false finishes. There was a great near fall sequence around two minutes before the match finished that was the highlight of the entire show. It felt entirely possible that Kofi would regain the gold. SmackDown, and RAW for that matter, needs matches like this on a far more frequent basis.
Tweet 1: Let us SmackDown.Tweet 2: Andre being the second guy in the montage, after Cena, always strikes me as bizarre.
Tweet 3: Are they doing ADR v Big Show at the Rumble? That's not a worthwhile undercard for a Rock v Punk main event.
Tweet 4: Also, that video seemed to be hinting that Orton will be the leader of The Shield. Or was that just me...?
Randy Orton promo, featuring Sheamus, Big Show, Antonio Cesaro and Booker T
Tweet 5: Garcia's mic is house show quality poor. This is meant to be a TV show, WWE. Get your act together.Tweet 6: Is this the long-awaited Orton heel turn? On a taped episode of Friday Night SmackDown? I hope so.
Tweet 7: "Not too long ago SmackDown was my show" - Randy Orton, talking about a period that occurred eighteen months ago
Tweet 8: Orton and Cena in the Rumble! Shocking stuff!
Tweet 9: T’under. #Sheamussayswords
Tweet 10: This is probably the most unsubtle heel turn tease in WWE history.
Tweet 11: "I'll be happy to step on the snake" - Big Show with a possible euphemism
Tweet 12: Antonio Ceasro!! Heeeey!!
Tweet 13: Cesaro is brilliant. Well done for putting him out there with three main event guys, writing team.
Tweet 14: I think Booker T's shrinking.
Tweet 15: Wade Barrett is the new Intercontinental champion. Why do a title change on a pay-per-view when you have a perfectly good taped TV show?
The Miz v Heath Slater
Tweet 16: SLATER COWBELL!!Tweet 17: Drew McIntyre's performance here is irritating.
Tweet 18: Slater v Miz is happening because 3MB interrupted Miz TV at TLC. That was three weeks ago. So PPVs are setting up TV now, is that it?
Tweet 19: The one "great thing" JBL mentions from WrestleMania's near three decade history is Hogan slamming Andre. Maybe mention something recent...
Tweet 20: Miz is displaying some impressive crowd working skills.
Tweet 21: 'Party Starter' Slater.
Tweet 22: I am astonished at how long this match is getting.
Tweet 23: It feels like it's been going for two hours.
Tweet 24: Miz grabs the predictable win via an SCF.
Matt Striker interviews Wade Barrett
Tweet 25: I like the fact that Barrett beat Kingston clean for the IC gold. Heels don't win clean often enough in WWE.Tweet 26: "I don't care where you wanna take me to, Matt" - Wade Barrett, apparently giving Matt Striker a signal
Great Khali, Hornswoggle and Natalya v Epico, Primo and Rosa Mendes
Tweet 27: Oh Christ, it's the Great Khali...Tweet 28: Khali can't even walk convincingly!
Tweet 29: Khali thinking he's a plane there.
Tweet 30: "Tag! Khali in!" - The referee, debuting a completely pointless gimmick
Tweet 31: Why are we getting so many lengthy matches featuring comedy performers on this show?
Tweet 32: Khali is, at best, ECW entourage material. He has no place being a regular wrestler.
Matt Striker interviews Kofi Kingston
Tweet 33: Oh good. More Matt Striker.Tweet 34: Kofi is coming across as a sore loser. You lost the belt clean, mate. Get over it.
Tweet 35: Crisp and clear, if insubstantial, promo from Kofi. As reliable as he is he doesn't get pushed heavily because he's not a good enough talker.
Intercontinental championship – Wade Barrett (c) v Kofi Kingston
Tweet 36: BARRETT RING COAT ALERT!!Tweet 37: This match is being shortchanged by the fans. It's the best thing on the programme so far and they're not reacting to it.
Tweet 38: Barrett may have started elbowing people but he doesn't have Mitsuhara Misawa's elbow pad.
Tweet 39: "He reminds me of Stan Hansen" - JBL on Wade Barrett
Tweet 40: That near fall sequence was the highlight of the match so far. I doubt they'll better it.
Tweet 41: That was a solid encounter. SmackDown should be like that more often.
Tamina Snuka v Kaitlyn
Tweet 42: Tamina Snuka is from the Pacific Islands. She is also a "big challenge" and a "test". Solid insight from Josh Mathews.Tweet 43: Tamina has abandoned the leopard print outfit. She's forgotten her roots.
Tweet 44: I hate this match. I hate the women for being involved in it. I hate WWE for booking it.
Tweet 45: Kaitlyn's STILL the number one contender?
Big Show and Antonio Cesaro v Sheamus and Randy Orton
Tweet 46: Show has stopped wearing his hoodie. I miss it.Tweet 47: Something tells me Orton and Sheamus won't get on during this match...
Tweet 48: I've predicted that they'll clash at WrestleMania, perhaps for the World title. The feud is just getting started.
Tweet 49: One way of looking at this match is two bald guys against two guys with ridiculous facial hair.
Tweet 50: When Randy Orton hits 40 I think the best word to describe how he looks will be "distinguished".
Tweet 51: Cesaro's stream of tips is amusing.
Tweet 52: Sheamus happily buries designated jobber Cesaro by waiting far too long before covering him.
Tweet 53: It was from an RKO I suppose, and established finishing move, so it's not too bad.
Tweet 54: The starting point of the Orton v Sheamus rivalry is a blind tag during a tag match. Not an awe-inspiring start, is it?