Sadly the rising stars didn’t get as much exposure as they’ve been enjoying recently on this week’s show. What with it being the final show before a pay-per-view that’s understandable. Antonio Cesaro and Ryback failed to appear, although Ryback did get highlighted with a video of him squashing jobbers. Darren Young and Titus O’Neil got to wrestle the tag champs, but neither former NXT regular will amount to anything of note so that’s not a bout worth dwelling on. It was Damien Sandow who once again stood out in the newcomer pack. He refused to wrestle but did get into the ring to brutalise his scheduled opponent Yoshi Tatsu after Tatsu mocked him. It was a spirited performance and a good indication that Sandow won’t disappoint when he starts wrestling, whenever that may be.
The episode did a good job of highlight Over The Limit’s two world title. Daniel Bryan downed Zack Ryder in a quick match, which may not have done ‘Long Island Iced Z’ any favours but did make Bryan look strong going into his much anticipated WWE championship match with CM Punk.
Bryan stuck around to provide guest commentary on the Kane v Punk match that followed, and did a great job of putting ‘The Straight Edge Superstar’ over as a great wrestler and worthy champion. By doing that Bryan helped build anticipation for his WWE match on Sunday because he deviated from the WWE norm of burying an opponent. By talking Punk up Bryan made it clear that they would have a competitive, enjoyable match and helped enhance Punk’s standing in the eyes of fans.
Meanwhile two of the four Over The Limit World Heavyweight title match participants clashed in the main event. Champion Sheamus pinned Randy Orton with a schoolboy rollup, a counter to ‘The Apex Predator’s’ RKO. It was an enjoyable, if subdued, match that should have done its job of creating interest in the pay-per-view title bout.
The best thing about Orton and Sheamus’s interaction was ‘The Viper’s’ post-match RKO. That got him back on course as the unpredictable character he should always be presented as when a babyface. It helped him recover from his clean loss too (clearly the intention).
So has this episode of SmackDown got me excited about Over The Limit? No more than I was already, I’m afraid. I do think Over The Limit will be a good show (and possibly it will be better than good) but nothing that I’ve seen on RAW or SmackDown has swayed me one way or the other. They certainly wouldn’t have convinced me to pay for the show if it wasn’t free on Sky Sports. One of the reasons wrestling companies have television shows is to give people reason to buy pay-per-views and attend live events. WWE need to remember that.
John Laurinaitis promo
Tweet 1: SmackDown begins with a recap of the Cena and Laurinaitis segment from RAW. WWE should be ashamed that's their top feud.Tweet 2: John Laurinaitis promo to open the show. This is actually happening is it? Making things worse is that there's no David Otunga in sight.
Tweet 3: Big Johnny claims he's approaching 40. He's 46.
Tweet 4: Punk v Laurinaitis is hardly McMahon v Austin. That they just mentioned bosses makes me think WWE are striving to equal that famous feud.
Tweet 5: Laurinaitis is in the ring shouting "You!" over and over at fans. Perhaps he's trying to create his own "Yes!"
Tweet 6: Cole's getting VERY animated about the alleged unfair treatment of John Laurinaitis.
R-Truth and Kofi Kingston v Darren Young and Titus O’Neil
Tweet 7: That entrance confirmed that R-Truth is not as athletic as Kofi Kingston.Tweet 8: How does Cole build up the challengers for the tag team titles? He describes them as very good.
Tweet 9: Swagger and Ziggler are better than very good.
Tweet 10: Kofi and Truth are facing Titus O'Neil and Darren Young. Young is once again sporting his giant knee pads.
Tweet 11: “Oh, he just hit that boy with the rocket” #Bookerisms
Tweet 12: R-Truth won with his finisher. Once again the commentators didn't name it. I'm pretty sure nobody knows what it's called anymore.
Damien Sandow v Yoshi Tatsu
Tweet 13: Damien Sandow doesn't see the appeal of Zack Ryder. He's not the only one. Ryder's popularity has plummeted over the last few months.Tweet 14: Damien Sandow is holding the microphone as though it were a wine glass. Nice touch.
Tweet 15: Sandow doesn't want to face Yoshi Tatsu as he's unworthy. I don't blame him.
Tweet 16: Tatsu just spoke and then imitated a chicken. He sounds like he's mentally deficient.
Tweet 17: We finally get a look at Sandow's wrestling gear. Purple knee pads and pink trunks. That just makes him more entertaining in my view.
Damien Sandow is one of WWE's brightest prospects
Matt Striker interviews Sheamus and Randy Orton
Tweet 18: Sheamus and Orton arguing? But I thought all WWE babyfaces liked each other...Tweet 19: Look at the love in Striker's eyes. He lives to interview Orton.
Tweet 20: I think WWE are preparing to turn either Orton or Sheamus. Orton would benefit from going heel more.
Zack Ryder v Daniel Bryan
Tweet 21: Ryder v Daniel Bryan! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!Tweet 22: That was pretty much a squash match and it lasted less than five minutes but it's STILL going to be the best match of the show.
Tweet 23: Bryan's Yes Lock is my favourite WWE finisher at the moment.
Kane v CM Punk
Tweet 24: And now we get Bryan on commentary for Punk v Kane. I wasn't looking forward to this match so that's a nice bonus.Tweet 25: Bryan understands how (and why) to build up his opponent. That's rare in WWE.
Tweet 26: Those are some particularly limp kicks from Kane.
Tweet 27: That Bryan was allowed to mention the indies is a good sign for the Punk v Bryan match at Over The Limit.
Tweet 28: Comedic run from Bryan there.
Tweet 29: Kane showed a lot of focus after that chair shot. Perhaps he should consider getting hit with a chair before every match. He might win more.
A graphic for Randy Orton v Sheamus
Tweet 30: Is that the Eye of Sauron being used in Orton's graphic?
Santino v Cody Rhodes
Tweet 31: I'd normally be upset with Cody having to face someone like Santino. Not today. I'm just pleased he's not facing Big Show.Tweet 32: Booker thinks the IC title is more prestigious than the US title. He's right.
Tweet 33: This is just an excuse for the commentators to read facts about championships off of Wikipedia.
Tweet 34: Rhodes jobs to Santino. I despair.
Recap of Big Show’s firing
Tweet 35: "For many it was one of the most stunning things they had ever witnessed" - Michael Cole on the storyline firing of Big ShowTweet 36: That was followed by a picture of Big Show crying with "Why?" written underneath. My sentiments exactly.
Randy Orton v Sheamus
Tweet 37: FELLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!Tweet 38: Randy Orton used to do a great dropkick. Every one I've seen him do for the last few months has been sloppy.
Tweet 39: "Randy Orton's been the franchise player on Friday Night SmackDown for a while now" - Michael Cole, polluting the world with his filthy lies
Tweet 40: Orton just smashed Shemus's arm into metal steps. Surely that's a disqualifcation isn't it?
Tweet 41: #tenpunchesintheropespot
Tweet 42: Sheamus's battering ram from the apron (that's what Cole called it) needs work. He's barely clearing the rope.
Tweet 43: Orton's already a nine time champion? WWE switches its world titles far too often.
Tweet 44: Sheamus hasn't told us he likes to foight this week. Poor.
Tweet 45: RKO countered into a schoolboy by Sheamus. Give it a year and that will be the standard counter. Shoving Orton away is played out.
Tweet 46: That show closing RKO to Sheamus was painfully predictable.