Once again WWE decided that the most pushed story needed to be the feud between Teddy Long and John Laurinaitis. While I don’t think this program’s a bad idea (because I’m assuming it will eventually result in the Brand Extension being officially scrapped) I do think that its prominence so close to WrestleMania is short sighted. WWE should be dedicating far more time making Sheamus (winner of the Royal Rumble and challenger to Daniel Bryan’s World Heavyweight championship at WrestleMania XXVIII) look like the biggest star possible, while also concentrating on promising acts such as Justin Gabriel, Hunico and, of course, Cody Rhodes.
The faux-politics clash between General Managers isn’t uninteresting or poor television, but it doesn’t need to be eating up so much airtime to get the point across.
That said Friday’s SmackDown was the best use of Sheamus since his Royal Rumble victory five weeks ago. He cut his standard “I’ll beat Daniel Bryan” speech before being interrupted by Dolph Ziggler. That resulted in a massively enjoyable singles match between the two. If Sheamus were booked to wrestle matches this enjoyable every week the fact that he has nothing of interest to say in his promos could be easily overlooked.
Hopefully next week will see him progress to a proper confrontation with Bryan. If he keeps treading water he’ll only continue losing momentum. Much longer and it may be too late to get the feud sufficiently heated up.
With regards to Cody Rhodes, SmackDown’s other bright hope for the future, it was officially announced that he will clash with Big Show in Miami. That’s disappointing, but it’s not as bad as it could be. That match will give Cody the chance to prove he can carry lesser workers to entertaining outings. While Show is a useless lump he has at least been pushed consistently for the past several months so this at least can’t be seen as a demotion or filler outing for Cody. Right now, for the first time in years, Show has star aura, even if he doesn’t have star talent.
Hopefully this feud has been designed as a way of establishing Cody Rhodes as a top star. Beating a name talent like Big Show on a high profile card like WrestleMania will give ‘The Dashing One’ something to brag about. He deserves to keep holding the Intercontinental title for a few months more, to get him into the history books as one of the longest reigning champs ever. That will benefit the title as well as Cody.
Sheamus promo, featuring Dolph Ziggler and Vickie Guerrero
Tweet 1: It’s SmackDown time.Tweet 2: This is Orton's second return of 2012 and it's only March.
Tweet 3: And this episode was filmed in February...
Tweet 4: Orton returns more often than the Undertaker.
Tweet 5: Sheamus. Brilliant. I hope he's cutting a promo. #sarcasm
Tweet 6: Is the crowd booing Sheamus for trashing Bryan. Sounded like it. They are in Bryan's home state.
Tweet 7: Dolph Ziggler on SmackDown is a good thing. There shouldn't be separate rosters and he should be on every week.
Tweet 8: "I am not old. I am experienced" - Vickie Guerrero
Tweet 9: Teddy Long! Oh you didn't see th- No. Wait. I did.
Tweet 10: That was yet another generic opening segment. Sheamus didn't look like a huge star. Ziggler was good on the mic but didn't get much time.
Dolph Ziggler v Sheamus
Tweet 11: Next week SmackDown should start with an advertised match. Wouldn't that be novel.Tweet 12: This is the best thing Sheamus has been involved in since the Rumble.
Tweet 13: Booker T thinks Sheamus is the hottest commodity "in all of WWE." Booker T is wrong.
Tweet 14: "He's taken out many superstars with the sleeper hold" - Michael Cole on Dolph Ziggler. Who's he taken out, Michael? WHO?
Tweet 15: FAMEASSER!! #BadAssBillyZiggler
Tweet 16: Sheamus was always going to win that. With that fact in mind they did a decent job on false finishes.
Teddy Long, John Laurinaitis and David Otunga backstage
Tweet 17: How long does it take to recap two Punk v Bryan matches? A long time if you put Michael Cole on it, apparently.Tweet 18: Teddy Long needs to be written off TV. He's stumbly and emphasises the wrong parts of his speeches.
Tweet 19: The best part of that backstage segment was Cole saying "What a vengeful, spiteful man" about Long.
Tweet 20: It could've been topped by an Ace Crusher though.
Santino v Heath Slater
Tweet 21: It should be a legal requirement to put a warning on screen before Heath Slater is shown.Tweet 22: I dislike wrestlers that wear the same tights/trunks every week. That's another reason to dislike Slater.
Tweet 23: Why did that match happen?
Tweet 24: Santino won. Nobody cares.
Natalya v Eve
Tweet 25: Natlaya does not deserve that gimmick. Nobody does.Tweet 26: So they're doing Eve v Natalya. I thought both were heels but Natalya just acted in a very face-like fashion.
Tweet 27: What on EARTH does Sharmell think about Booker's commentary during women's matches.
Tweet 28: Eve's reaction to the crowd's animosity during her top of the ramp pose was one of the best things I've ever seen her do. She's a good heel.
Tweet 29: Natalya is now losing all the time and is no longer associated with Beth Phoenix. That's another potential storyline blown.
Cody Rhodes promo, featuring Big Show
Tweet 30: They just recapped Cody costing Big Show the battle royal. Technically we should thank him for giving us Punk v Jericho.Tweet 31: I may stop watching wrestling if Show defeats Cody for the IC title at 'Mania.
Tweet 32: I think Cody is more than capable of carrying Show to a passable match. I just don't think he should have to.
Tweet 33: The match has been officially announced. I shed a silent tear in form of protest.
Will Cody Rhodes still be wearing that belt after WrestleMania XXVIII?
Big Show v Mark Henry
Tweet 34: Big Show v Mark Henry AGAIN? This needs to stop. The feud has been going for about nine months now.
Tweet 35: As ever I feel the need to say that Show's spear is horrendous. It's basically a shoulder tackle.
Tweet 36: Show beats Henry with a punch to the face. Please can we not see those two interact again for at least six months now? Thanks.
Drew McIntyre v Justin Gabriel
Tweet 37: Drew McIntyre must win tonight or he's fired. I don't care and I can't imagine anyone else feels differently. Click here
Tweet 38: Justin Gabriel could be a solid mid-card act with a bit of work. Putting him against Drew McIntyre will achieve nothing.
Tweet 39: Gabriel is WWE's idea of a high-flyer. They need to watch themselves some DragonGate USA.
Tweet 40: Not only is Drew McIntyre fired but Teddy's doing it via Titantron while he's still in the ring. Logically that should make Long a heel.
Daniel Bryan v Randy Orton
Tweet 41: That Rock-Cena recap replaced From the Vault I'm guessing. Ah, here's the World champion backstage...Tweet 42: Bryan's great. Getting heat on the state of Washington by saying he moved to Vegas is cheap but funny.
Tweet 43: Orton "returns" to SmackDown. He missed two weeks.
Tweet 44: I will "return" to work on Monday after two days off. #Viperstyle #concussionnotincluded
Tweet 45: Yes! Yes! Yes!
Tweet 46: Orton v Bryan should be the 'Mania World title match.
Tweet 47: Cole mentioned that Orton has a history of shoulder problems. He has a history of dozens of problems.
Tweet 48: Kane lumbers out. A very enjoyable match has been stopped short.
Tweet 49: So Orton's lost via count out? He doesn't seem to care. He looks happy to be brawling with Kane.
Tweet 50: Presumably this is a WrestleMania match. That's disappointing. Orton should've been added to the WHC bout.
Tweet 51: Bryan acted like the smart heel he is and ran off.
Tweet 52: SmackDown ends with Laurinaitis telling Otunga that he's making Aksana v Kane for next week. What a ridiculous final segment.