Smackdown Review 03/01/13
Written by Ross Jarvis
Welcome to my weekly Smackdown review! Each week I will examine every major segment and match as well as the small things I notice and predictions/aspirations for Smackdown and WWE in general moving forward.
This week was a special ‘social media’ edition of Smackdown; as if we need even more reminders of what’s trending during the show. Aside from this pointless concept, we had a lot to look forward to in terms of feud progression, particularly of that between Del Rio and Jack Swagger, as well as matches involving the other top superstars of the Smackdown brand heading into Wrestlemania such as Sheamus, Randy Orton and Mark Henry.
The first thing you notice is the lack of JBL on commentary. I’ve never enjoyed Lawler as this weird face/pervert and Michael Cole isn’t the same as a face either. At least it gives Josh Matthews a break though. From JBL I mean. He’s still on commentary.
Another difference from usual is that Smackdown is starting with a match rather than a segment with the inevitable Booker T tag team match intervention. However having Sandow as Del Rio’s opponent means an obvious loss for Sandow which is a shame; he’s a decent wrestler and his promos are some of the funniest I have heard for a long time. You get the feeling he’s going to get lost in the mid card pile, rather than working his way up to the upper mid card and eventually main event where he unduly belongs.
Oh so that’s what Ricardo’s bucket is. A ‘spit bucket’ according to Sandow. Love it when he says ‘Your Welcome’ during his matches too, like when Henry screams ‘THAT’S WHAT I DO’. Love it. The Elbow of Disdain also remains one of my favourite moves just for the name.
Prefer Del Rio’s slight change in move set since he turned face; incorporating more Lucha Libre-esque moves, however his actual face turn still hasn’t won me over quite yet. Hopefully a feud against a heel Ricardo turning against him at some point could help put him over as a face more to the parts of the audience who aren’t children.
A relatively good match between Sandow and Del Rio that also lasted a reasonable length, over 10 minutes, which is a rarity for Smackdown these days. The outcome was never in doubt, but Sandow looked valiant in defeat getting about an equal amount of offense in as Del Rio.
Raw Recap number 1. Great match between Cena and Punk though, the best match I have seen on Raw in a very long time, aside from the outcome, but that was relatively obvious. The Piledriver was the highlight for me, and was perfectly executed by Punk. It also seemed really obvious how much weaker the Attitude Adjustment looks compared to the GTS.
Standard segment between Kane and Daniel Bryan that we get each week, along with the NOs from Bryan, setting up another match with the Prime Time Players. This time, however, Kane will be blindfolded and Bryan will have one arm tied behind his back. I’m unsure what this ‘stipulation’ is supposed to achieve, if the PTPs win Team Hell No have an excuse and if Team Hell No win the PTPs look very weak. They seem to have dropped the NO YES NO YES thing for now though which is a relief, as that was getting very tedious.
The next match is a 2 out of 3 falls match for the United States Championship between The Miz and Antonio Cesaro. Glad they have decided to stop bandaging up The Miz’s shoulder, as the same excuse/opponent looks weak problem I mentioned before applied to The Miz’s matches of late. Interesting choice of stipulation, hopefully it means they will have ample time to put on a match of good quality; Cesaro being an excellent in ring performer and The Miz having improved of late.
Enjoyable matchup between The Miz and Cesaro, with Cesaro predictably retaining his Championship via Neutraliser and roll up. The fact that The Miz’s fall was during the break was quite annoying, especially as it’s bad enough that wrestling is the only sport that has breaks during matches anyway. The use of the tights made the ending not entirely clean, but then again that happens quite frequently when a heel picks up a win seemingly against the flow of the match. Whether this was the last match between them remains to be seen, but extending this feud all the way until Wrestlemania is a bit of a reach.
Short segment between Sheamus and Orton, with Sheamus offering to watch Orton’s back during his match with the Big Show in case The Shield get involved. If this is leading to a match between those two and one other against the Shield I won’t be complaining, yes we’ve seen it before but the Shield deserve a chance to showcase their talents on the Grandest Stage of Them All. An Orton heel turn could even occur during the match, which would be nice to see. On a side note, strange that Orton was wearing a plain black t shirt with the just the WWE logo on it.
Can’t wait for Fandango!
Having Jim Ross conduct the interview between himself and Swagger and Colter was a nice touch, any excuse to have Good Old JR back on TV is fine in my book. JR has been a very vocal supporter of Swagger’s recent run on his blog and Twitter, obviously with the two of them having a long history together, and the fact the interview was in Oklahoma added another depth to the interview.
Have to add in how much I prefer his new music and titantron; really makes him seem more of a main eventer than his old entrance. He may not be the most popular of wrestlers, current gimmick or not, but you cannot argue he possesses significant in ring prowess.
Excellent segment involving JR, Swagger, Colter and Del Rio later on, but was let down slightly I felt with Swagger pushing JR around just to garner some cheap heat. It was a great verbal exchange between JR and Colter, with Swagger’s talking being kept to a minimum, and Del Rio’s intervention was short and to the point. The segment as a whole successfully furthered their feud and even added a little more intensity and passion, meaning that by the time we get to Wrestlemania their Championship match will feel a lot more important than World Heavyweight Championship matches at Wrestlemania of the last few years.
Next up is the tag team matchup between Team Hell No and the Prime Time Players. Whatever the outcome, the result will feel less important due to the stipulation. Hopefully the PTPs can pick up the win to give them a bit of momentum back having been on a losing streak of late.
Raw Recap number 2, showing the previous match between the teams on Raw.
Michael Cole on commentary; ‘Baaaa’ (in reference to the goat on Kane’s blindfold which is apparently supposed to be funny). No Michael. That’s a sheep.
Fun match between the two teams with the PTPs managing a slightly surprising victory. Both teams played their part in making the match enjoyable to watch, obviously with the handicaps to Team Hell No and the PTPs being they usual funny selves. Daniel Bryan’s ability to wrestle with one arm was pretty impressive too.
Enjoyable backstage promo from Fandango (Fahndahngoo). Hopefully this will be the break that Johnny Curtis deserves; after all he is the Best in the World. He’s solid in the ring, has great charisma and WWE managed to retain some of his ‘weird’ gimmick and incorporate it into a unique ballroom dancer character. Whether he is a success, however, hinges on his matches and whether he is booked against better opponents than the usual jobbers, as well as his reaction from the crowd, which needs to be loud if he is to be a successful heel.
Raw Recap number 3. The fight between Lesnar and Triple H was enjoyable, especially the realism added with Lesnar’s legitimate cut to the head from his collision with the ring post. Seeing half of his head covered in blood was something not seen on WWE for a very long time due to the PG rating.
Relatively lacklustre match between Big Show and Orton, lacking any real excitement. The interference by The Shield was expected but still nice to see as they didn’t appear on last week’s show. Quite why the Big Show decided to knock out Roman Reigns considering they’re both heels was strange, but his attack on Orton was not. The segment ended with a Brogue Kick by Sheamus to the Big Show, which he managed to sell well for someone of his size. I just hope it means that another Big Show face turn isn’t on the horizon, because every time he turns it just lessens the impact of what he’s trying to achieve.
Overall it was another good edition of Smackdown on the Road to Wrestlemania, but I am unsure what difference the ‘social media edition’ had on the show; I didn’t notice it whatever it was. As I said previously, it was good to see the Shield appear since they weren’t on Smackdown last week, as was Fandango finally debuting after weeks of vignettes. There were no Divas matches or segments, not that anyone else probably even noticed. The main positive to take away from the show was the feud progression between Del Rio and Swagger; if they can keep the intensity up for the next 5 weeks then we should be in for a great Championship match come Wrestlemania.