Smackdown Review 2/22/13
Written by Ross Jarvis
Standard SmackDown opening segment featuring Del Rio, Orton and of course, Booker T. Del Rio came out to lay the foundations of his feud with Swagger, before Orton interrupted and reminded everyone of his desires to regain the World Heavyweight Championship. Booker T subsequently intervened and set up two matches for later in the night; Del Rio vs Wade Barrett and Orton vs Swagger. Del Rio has been drawing more of a reaction from live crowds of late, showing that more people are buying into his face turn.
Josh Matthews seems to be learning to ignore JBL’s constant jabs at him; he never has a response ready and makes himself look even more inept as a play-by-play commentator whenever he does reply. JBL picks up on this himself; often his questions aren’t ‘rhetorical’. At least they shouldn’t be. To be fair to Matthews he recognises it too, with the quote of the night; (referring to JBL) ‘As you continue to terrorise me…’.
Good match between Sandow and Sheamus, with Sandow managing to look very good in defeat. The reversal of the Terminus by Sheamus was a nice spot. Although the outcome was never in doubt, both men sold well for each other, and Sheamus should be back in the WHC scene very soon with performances like that. Sandow should also hope for a run at the Intercontinental Championship sometime in the near future.
Strange pre-taped backstage segment featuring Cody Rhodes and Kaitlyn bumping into each other, and from what Rhodes said, they could be setting him up for a possible face turn in the future. Unless of course, Kaitlyn turns heel.
A better than expected Divas tag team match, in which the team of Layla and the Divas Champion Kaitlyn defeated Aksana and Tamina. There were definitely less mistakes and botches than we have become accustomed to in Divas matches, and the fact that we had a match at all in also another plus point. A feud between Kaitlyn and Layla seems to be on the horizon as Layla is pretty obsessed with the Divas belt whenever she’s on Raw or SmackDown.
Another interesting backstage segment, Barrett attempted to compliment Swagger and Colter on their recent exploits, but Colter said that he’s part of the problem, stealing a job from an American. Pretty strange considering both are heels, Barrett played the face in this confrontation.
Definitely prefer everything about Swagger’s new character, including his new entrance theme and titantron.
Great match between Swagger and Orton, which went on for much longer than most matches do on SmackDown, giving both competitors time to put on a show. Swagger was never going to win clean over Orton, but considering that you still expected him to somehow pick up a victory before the match started shows how far he has come in such a short space of time, from returning only a month ago to number 1 contender for the WHC. As every week goes by, it seems more and more likely that Orton will turn heel soon, and for the sake of the rest of his career, I hope he does.
Relatively quick match between The Miz and Cody Rhodes, with The Miz picking up the victory by the figure four leg lock. We have seen this match quite a lot recently, so why we had to see it again is questionable, as is the length of the match. The defeat leaves Rhodes looking very weak, as he cannot even defeat somebody of a similar level to him currently when they have an injury to their shoulder. Both he and Sandow have struggled to gain any sort of momentum since the breakup of Team Rhodes Scholars. The Miz continues to pick up victories, which should continue up until his presumed Wrestlemania match with Antonio Cesaro for the United States Championship.
Excellent matchup to end the show between Del Rio and Barrett. Del Rio was victorious, as was expected, but being a Champion vs Champion match, it should carry an added significance, which it did, thanks to the hyping up of the match earlier in the night. The matchup felt fresh as I cannot remember these two going against each other in the recent past, and the quality of the wrestling was very high and included a perfectly executed tirt-a-whirl backbreaker from Del Rio, and a 360 spinning side slam from Barrett. Charles Robinson was also the right choice for the main event, and is underrated as an entertainer as he brings a lot of realism to matches as the referee. It was nice to see Swagger at ringside to further the feud between them.
Overall, an above average SmackDown, with some great matches and feud progression. Aside from the constant annoying Raw recaps, the quality of the show was much better than those we have seen recently, which will hopefully continue to be the case all the way until Wrestlemania.