Case in point: this week's episode featured a six man tag team match putting tag team champions Team Hell No and Randy "I've got a beard and I'm not afraid to use it" Orton against Wade Barrett and The Rhodes Scholars. We've seen variations on this bout for well over a month now, with the Scholars, Kane and Bryan providing the regular backbone of the bouts. Wade Barrett’s joined them at least once before. It makes for dull programming.
The reason WWE’s booking these six man tags is sound enough. It’s to keep the feud between Team Hell No and the Rhodes Scholars bubbling away. It’s not a bad way of keeping things going it’s not a particularly good way either.
More variety with the singles guys could help but what would be even better would be for the two tag teams to be booked in in-ring promo segments. All four are perfectly good enough to make such a segment work. With RAW still chugging away with its bloated three hour run time it’s not as though there’s no place to fit something like that into the schedule.
The same problem is occurring with hints at Randy Orton’s heel turn. This week’s SmackDown got two little additions to that upcoming event. The first was the group hug he endured after his six man tag win. The second was a verbal disagreement backstage with Sheamus.
A slow approach to someone turning heel is a good thing. I’m not complaining about WWE foreshadowing the turn and presenting compelling and logical reasons for ‘The Viper’ to go bad. What I am against, however, is every TV show they promote adding to the story. It feels forced.
It wasn’t all negative though. Alberto Del Rio did a great job working a more fan friendly style and encouraging fans to back him. The interaction between he and Dolph Ziggler in the tag team main event were particularly enjoyable too.
Tweet 1: I'm going to watch SmackDown. Join me!Tweet 2: Tonight on SmackDown.... The Rock. Again.
Tweet 3: And... Alberto Del Rio holding a belt. Can you bear the excitement? Can you?!
Fiesta Del Rio
Tweet 4: Fiesta Del Rio. Is that a car?Tweet 5: SmackDown should start like this every week.
Tweet 6: Albertoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo Delllllllllllllllllll Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiooooooooooooooooooo!!
Tweet 7: Something I've noticed about ADR: his hair never gets any longer or shorter. He's been on TV for two years and he's never had a haircut.
Tweet 8: Will Del Rio's Latin hero gimmick make him a heel in Canada? I hope so.
Ricardo is rocking that bow tie!
Tweet 9: Ziggler needs to take better care of that briefcase.
Tweet 10: Big Show's not wearing a hoodie. He's got a tent stapled to his head.
Tweet 11: Sheamus isn't walk in a straight line. I'm taking that as a sign that he's drunk.
Tweet 12: Del Rio's a face now so Sheamus has forgiven him for attempting to crush his skull with a car bonnet. #WWEbabyfacearmy
Tweet 13: I'm beginning to think Booker's have a match with Big Show sometime fairly soon. I can't imagine it will be pleasant.
Tweet 14: A tag team match being made by the SmackDown GM? #revolutionary
Tweet 15: That segment was excruciatingly bad.
Antonio Cesaro v Kofi Kingston
Tweet 16: Antonio Cesaro. Heeeey!!Tweet 17: #flagheat
Tweet 18: Nice spot to get into the Neutralizer there. What's happened to Kofi's push?
Tweet 19: The most he can hope for right now is to be booked to do a handstand in the Rumble. Oh wait... that happened last year.
The Great Khali v Tensai
Tweet 20: Khali can't even walk convincingly!!Tweet 21: What point did Big E prove, Josh? He proved he could beat a midget. He's a powerful man!
Tweet 22: How is Tensai v Khali like watching two Transformers fight?
Randy Orton and Team Hell No backstage
Tweet 23: Randy Orton is interested in pain. Lots of pain.Tweet 24: Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton hugging? I don't think SmackDown can get much better than that.
Tweet 25: Daniel Bryan has the best entrance of the current WWE roster.
Tweet 26: Josh has just claimed that the winner of the Royal Rumble match will "headline WrestleMania." That's not happened for years.
Tweet 27: That was a pretty quick six man. They could easily have done another five minutes. I suppose they need to make space for a Ryback squash.
Tweet 28: The group hug. Another step on the road to Randy Orton's heel turn.
Tweet 29: So when they said Rock would be on the show they actually meant they'd repeat his appearance from Monday's RAW? #cheap
The Miz v Primo (or Epico…)
Tweet 30: Forget what I said about Daniel Bryan's entrance. I think Rosa's is better.Tweet 31: So who is Miz facing? Primo? I think Josh just said Primo.
Tweet 32: If they're going to push Miz as the new Flair he needs to be given championships. That's what will make the shtick stick.
Tweet 33: I think Primo just had a longer match than Orton, Bryan, Kane, Barrett and the Rhodes Scholars.
Tweet 34: And since when do people tap out to the figure four? Is this 1976?
Kaitlyn v Aksana
Tweet 35: Eve's left the company so there's no pay off to the months of storyline time devoted to her feud with Teddy Long.Tweet 36: How do you get your new Divas champion over? Put her in the ring with a limited worker who wrestles once a month.
Tweet 37: And there we go. Kaitlyn wins. How thoroughly predictable. I'm looking forward to Layla's inevitable heel turn.
Tweet 38: Nice Hall of Fame video for Mick Foley.
The Shield video promo
Tweet 39: Remember when Dean Ambrose was going to get called up for a singles feud with Mick Foley? That idea’s been recycled into The Shield push.
Tweet 40: Why did The Shield leave their camera lying on the ground? It'll get stolen.
Big Show and Dolph Ziggler v Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio
Tweet 41: No televised entrance for Dolph. We know who the stars are...Tweet 42: FELLAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!
Tweet 43: Albertooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo Dellllllllllllll Riiiiiiioooooo!!
Tweet 44: El champ is really embracing this Latin hero gimmick. I like the red, white and green gear. Nice touch.
Tweet 45: How do you know Del Rio is definitely a babyface? He's wearing white boots. #goodguyswearwhite
Tweet 46: I think ADR just did the most unconfident moonsault I've ever seen. I liked the backward roll recover though. Nicely done.
Tweet 47: Big Show is a stupid ring name. He should change it to Papa Rhino.
Tweet 48: Well... his boots are mostly white.
Tweet 49: Well... they have white on them.
Tweet 50: When is Papa Rhino going to buy new ring gear? He's had that camo singlet for years now. Change to something neon...
Tweet 51: To say Sheamus loves "being in the heat of battle" may be taking things a little far.
Tweet 52: Big Show jumping off the second rope reminds me of a Thwomp. Y'know, from the Mario games.
Tweet 53: ADR throws water over Big Show. WHY? And why did Ricardo have a bucket oover water at ringside?
Tweet 54: Papa Rhino walks out in disgust after having water thrown on him.
Tweet 55: The babyfaces win via count out. It is perhaps the stupidest match finish of all time.