Saturday 7 April 2012

SmackTalk 06.04.12

SmackDown always gets overlooked. It gets a “RAW deal” if you will (I apologise). This is usually especially noticeable the week after WrestleMania and this year was no exception. While RAW saw the debut of Lord Tensai, promos from the company’s two biggest stars in The Rock and John Cena, and the return of Brock Lesnar the most exciting thing the blue brand had going for it was a match between Alberto Del Rio (who returned on Monday’s RAW) and new World Heavyweight champion Sheamus.

That ended in disqualification.

By now the booking of SmackDown as the clear second is nothing new and once you’ve accepted it and lowered your expectations accordingly it’s a reliable source of sports entertainment goodness. You’re not going to get the huge names or the massive matches, but you do get longer matches and wrestlers given what seems to be a little more creative freedom.

Take Daniel Bryan for example. He got over a one word catchphrase to the extent that it’s being chanted by crowds of rival promotions and at basketball games. That’s not something that can be scripted and it speaks not only to the versatility and talent of Daniel Bryan (which is considerable) but also to the creative freedom he has been granted since winning the World Heavyweight championship back in December.

This week’s SmackDown saw Bryan cut a promo that saw him blame AJ for his loss to Sheamus at WrestleMania. He then told her that when he gets his (contractually obligated) rematch he’ll do it “the right way”: by himself.

It looks like the AJ and Bryan pairing may be over. That’s not a bad thing. It frees Bryan up to be moved away from the overly aggressive boyfriend role and continue developing his character. He revealed that he feels like fans are mocking him with their cries of “Yes!” which makes me think he won’t be switching to the good guy side of the fence any time soon, but I’m still expecting a fresh approach to the heel character.

Right now I’d assume the Sheamus v Bryan rematch will happen on RAW or SmackDown next week or the week after in order to free Sheamus up for a match with ADR at Extreme Rules. ‘The Essence of Excellence’ is being lined up as the next major feud for Sheamus. Judging by their match this week that rivalry should result in some enjoyable encounters. It’s unlikely to bring in big ratings though because WWE hasn’t done a good enough job of making either man look like a star. It’s interesting to note that Del Rio is officially a RAW superstar but is getting involved in a program with a SmackDown star over a SmackDown championship. I’ll point out again that he never should have been moved to RAW last year.

The reappearance of Skip Sheffield to TV (as Ryback) was a pleasant surprise. That segment started with the surreal sight of a local enhancement worker (jobber) getting some mic time as Hunico, Camacho, Kaitlyn and the NXT regulars laughed at a monitor backstage before the returning behemoth appeared to squash him. The former Nexus did a good job, exhibiting an impressive selection of power moves and a singlet which, as not many people in WWE go for such a look, will help to set him apart.

I’m hoping WWE follows through on this push because I think if they do Sheffield could get over as a huge star.

The only bad points of this week’s SmackDown were the continuation of two feuds that feel ancient already. Randy Orton and Kane clashed in a no disqualification bout that saw Kane chuck five chairs into the ring. While the match wasn’t bad it clearly existed to set up a chairs match between the two at Extreme Rules. Meanwhile Cody Rhodes v Big Show is painting Rhodes as a snivelling coward living in fear of the Big Show. That’s not the worst thing to ever happen in wrestling but it does feel that a lot of the progress Cody’s made over the last year has been for nothing. Hopefully a line will be drawn under their rivalry at Extreme Rules and both men can move onto something new.

While SmackDown this week didn’t boast big returns or promos by huge stars it did feature several enjoyable segments, new feuds and popular wrestlers. The crowd helped the show too, still being excited enough from WrestleMania to make this show appear more than the sum of its parts. I’ll take that on a weekly basis, thanks.

Promo featuring John Laurinaitis, David Otunga and Teddy Long

Tweet 1: I'm getting my SmackDown on. Right now.
Tweet 2: The Laurinaitis Era. It's "Big Johnny" time according to Cole!
Tweet 3: What the HELL is Otunga wearing?
Tweet 4: Johnny Ace entrance music? This is tremendous.
Tweet 5: I like Laurinaitis's hair.
Tweet 6: Teddy lost but he's still at the show. Only WWE would present that as realistic.
Tweet 7: Teddy didn't dance. Sad face.
Tweet 8: This segment NEEDS to end with Teddy taking an Ace Crusher then being stretchered out of the arena.
Tweet 9: Teddy's acting here is embarrassing.
Tweet 10: What has been the point of this segment?
Tweet 11: Booker T seems disproportionately outraged.

R-Truth v Mark Henry and David Otunga

Tweet 12: R-Truth v Otunga and Mark Henry. That's a fairly subdued first match. They should've added Kofi and given us something decent.
Tweet 13: Alternatively Laurinaitis could've announced Little Jimmy as Truth's tag partner. That would've given a reason for the handicap at least.
Tweet 14: On the back of R-Truth's trousers: "You gonna get got."
Tweet 15: David 'The Flex' Otunga.
Tweet 16: Here comes Kane. The audience seem to care, but I don't.

Randy Orton v Kane

Tweet 17: Kane v Orton. I really don't care about this feud. Style clash, you say?
Tweet 18: Orton should get a mohawk.
Tweet 19: The DDT onto the steel ramp was a nice spot.
Tweet 20: They're back in the ring. Guess Orton recovered from that DDT, eh?
Tweet 21: "Beautiful dropkick" - Booker T on a shoddy dropkick by Randy Orton
Tweet 22: Kane has brought five chairs into the ring. I'm assuming that means these two will have a chairs match at Extreme Rules.
Tweet 23: "He is... the ticket! You gotta love it" - Booker T on Randy Orton
Tweet 24: Drop 'The Viper' and bill him as 'The Ticket' Randy Orton.

Ryback v ‘Promo’ Barry Stevens

Tweet 25: Barry Stevens promo time! FINALLY.
Tweet 26: Ryback looked good. I like his ring gear and the arm band. Good look and solid strong style moves.
Tweet 27: Vince McMahon apparently once thought Ryback could be the company's number two babyface. I'd agree with that.

This man could be a huge star

From the Vault

Tweet 28: From the Vault featuring Rey Mysterio. This stands a chance of being very good.
Tweet 29: Mysterio v Undertaker. This should be excellent. Not sure why we're getting intros though.
Tweet 30: Notice how Undertaker is walking to the ring quicker than he did at last weekend's WrestleMania. That's what a TV time limit will do.
Tweet 31: This match is superb. It should have been on pay-per-view.
Tweet 32: Part of what's making this match so good is that 'Taker is willing to sell for Mysterio.
Tweet 33: What a rascal Batista is. He ruined that match by interfering.

Daniel Bryan promo, featuring AJ

Tweet 34: Daniel Bryan! Yes! Yes! Yes!
Tweet 35: YES!
Tweet 36: Great wrestler. Great person. Great lover?
Tweet 37: I love the "Yes!" chants.
Tweet 38: “Daniel Bryan” chant. Awesome.
Tweet 39: #effeminatehandonhip
Tweet 40: Eighteen seconds! Eighteen!! The worst part is that he only had till five...
Tweet 41: The kiss of death comment made me LOL.
Tweet 42: You all know this is going to end with Bryan slapping a submission hold on AJ, don't you?
Tweet 43: The next Daniel Bryan T-shirt to be released will feature a picture of him making a cheeseburger tap out.
Tweet 44: The fans have turned on AJ. That's unsurprising. Bryan is stupidly over with the fans.

Is it over? I'd say... Yes!

Big Show v Heath Slater with Cody Rhodes on commentary

Tweet 45: Cody's entrance was cut from TV. His push has officially been downgraded.
Tweet 46: Big Show v Heath Slater. #moneymatch
Tweet 47: Big Show v Heath Slater. #squashmatch
Tweet 48: Hopefully Cody will regain the IC title at Extreme Rules and get another few months as champion. The belt's wasted on Show.

Two random tweets

Tweet 49: Regarding this Punk and Jericho RAW recap: I've seen Punk's enemies "force him to drink" so many times that I no longer care.
Tweet 50: John Laurinaitis and Sheamus are currently having a tedious conversation backstage.

Beth Phoenix v Nikki Bella

Tweet 51: Beth Phoenix v Nikki Bella. Something tells me this will not be a classic.
Tweet 52: Kelly Kelly. Real name Barbie Blank. No comment.
Tweet 53: Nikki Bella gets a win over 'The Glamazon'. WHY?

More random tweets

Tweet 54: Who was that smarmy guy cutting the generic heel promo? It looked like Aaron Stevens.
Tweet 55: Recap of Cena's RAW promo. May as well plug this: click here 
Tweet 56: The WWE Universe, according to Michael Cole, is to be thanked for the return of Brock Lesnar. #nonsense

Alberto Del Rio v Sheamus

Tweet 57: Albertooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo Del Riiiiiiiiiiiooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!
Tweet 58: Nimble top rope antics from Sheamus there.
Tweet 59: Del Rio's kick to Sheamus on the apron was very impressive.
Tweet 60: I'm assuming ADR will win this match via shenanigans to set up a title match at Extreme Rules.
Tweet 61: Del Rio grabs a chair. It's chair night on SmackDown.
Tweet 62: Ricardo screaming ADR's name over and over again is great heat.

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