Another Friday Night Smackdown! comes and goes. And, for whatever reason, when the only things I can say is “Really? Really? (Sorry Miz) that’s how the show struck me. I’m not even sure if the London, England crowd was as hot for the show as the sound quality made it out to be. This has a few high spots, but for a show that should and has prided itself on more pure wrestling product than is seen on Monday Night Raw, it fell short.
Note: All columns analyzing the television products put on by WWE and TNA are done from an entertainment standpoint. While “insider” terms such as “face” and “heel” may be used, commentary stated is focused on the storytelling and characters – just like any other TV show we’d critique.
Like Sands Through The Ring…
FNS kicked off with an homage to Days of Our Lives – as the never ending saga of romantic angst and hate continues between Daniel Bryan and AJ. The segment began with Bryan being interrupted by former girlfriend AJ. Bryan delivered a pretty good promo that set up his rematch for the World Heavyweight Championship at Extreme Rules with current champion Sheamus. The back and forth between the two was a little interesting at first (when the audio seemed to be piped in to drown the “YES! YES! YES!” chants), but, when Bryant decided to kick AJ to the curb once again, blaming her for his loss at WM28….I sat there saying “Wonder what she’ll do if she has a match?” Of course, Natalia (YES! YES! YES SIR!) comes out and gets a woman’s beat down from a distraught AJ before she runs off in tears.
Man. That was….a…waste. Moving on…
Brodus Clay came out with new Funkasaurus brother Hornswoggle. I really dig Hornswaggle, but what the WWE has done with him is just pointless. But, no matter what he’s asked to do, he does it with the very best he’s has. Of course it was the usual ten to fifteen second match (Thought the staff only planned those for World Title matches) with the strip club dancing being the real show. And, for the love of God…NOBODY CALL MY MAMA!
Later in the show, Teddy Long had to muster up the strength of another week as John Laurinaitis’ “Many Longday,” this time putting him in a Guardsman’s Palace uniform and making him stand there silent while other prospective “Superstars” come by and make fun of him. The angle between Long and Laurinaitis was hot in the weeks leading up to WrestleMania 28, but the actual match lead and subsequent fallout has been absolutely dreadful. What once held promise is now nothing more than a weekly segment for Laurinaitis to make a fool out of Long. If the show was to drop this storyline, I’d be a very happy viewer.
Next up, Intercontinental Champion, The Big Show wrestled the newest member (or should I said returning) of the Smackdown roster, Alberto Del Rio, in a non-title match. Del Rio picked up a much needed victory that is hopefully the first of the many he’ll need to get him back on course since returning from an injury. Del Rio’s victory over Show came to fruition thanks to former IC champion, Cody Rhodes. This is another storyline that has cooled since Mania, when Big Show defeated Rhodes (who whould have won) to win the championship. Instead of transitioning both to new storylines, it seems like Rhodes will just keep interfering in matches until he gets a rematch (a standard practice in WWE unfortunately). That’s what happens when there’s no series of rankings to determine the contenders. Should Rhodes regain the title what’s next? Will he then take the next step and focus on the World Title while continuing to defend the IC championship? Doubtful. Mark this as yet another weakness in storyline direction within WWE.
All of that nonsense lead to the main event, which featured a six-man tag team match, pitting former Daniel Bryan, Mark Henry & Cody Rhodes against Sheamus, Randy Orton & The Great Khali. Before the match began, Rhodes attacked Khali, taking him out of the match, which set up The Big Show as a replacement teammate. I know they wanted try and push multiple stories in this one match, but I think viewers knew the eventual outcome even before the bell rang. For all its hype in the beginning of the show, the match was rather uneventful and served no real purpose other than to send the crowd home happy. The show ended with Team Sheamus standing victorious over Team Bryan.
Overall the show was not what I expected. There were a couple of re-debuts (NXT mainstays Darren Young & Titus O’Neil), new faces (Antonio Cesaro), and re-packages (Ryback) that may pay off in the long-run for Smackdown, but did nothing for me last night as a viewer.