Hey everybody, it’s time for another loveably inept Smackdown report!
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Best: Jack Swagger, Power Technician
I like almost everything about Jack Swagger except his wrestling, which is weird, because the dude could legit outwrestle anyone in the company not named Brock Lesnar. He’s not bad mind you, the guy’s just never really grown past that generic mid-2000s OVW style. Hell, even John freakin’ Cena has added more wrinkles in the past decade.
Swagger seemed to be trying something different on Smackdown though, combining his wrestling ability with the oft-overlooked fact that he’s a massive, corn fed superman. Instead of just working on Bryan’s arm with armbars or stomps or whatever, Swagger would gorilla press him into the post or amateur takedown him onto his shoulder. It was a style I don’t really recall seeing often before — the technical monster.
Of course, there’s a good chance Bryan came up before the match with a chalkboard and told Swagger, “Okay, do this, this and this to me” and we’ll never see any of this stuff again, but at least for tonight Swagger was a true soaring eagle inside the ring.
Best: Cesaro, Punishment Guy
So, after Bryan beat Swagger, Vickie (who still exists in the Smackdown bubble universe) came out and put Bryan directly into a match with Cesaro. Just a couple weeks ago Bryan’s reaction to this would have been a shrug followed by YESing, but on Friday Bryan had to put on his serious, worried face, because Cesaro might just become the new guy general managers sic on people who mildly annoy them.
Now, I know the unmotivated Randy Orton of a couple years ago sullied this position, but it’s a good spot for Cesaro. It’s great for job security — how else to explain ol’ wrestles like a pile of rotten lumber Kane being featured on WWE TV more than maybe any other wrestler in history? Being the scary punishment guy confers instant and permanent credibility in WWE. Plus s–t, wouldn’t you be afraid of getting in there with Cesaro?
Oh, and Bryan vs. Cesaro was a good match (of course). A tad slow, but then Bryan was selling an injury and Cesaro was playing Kane with talent, so it made sense there were a few less flashy touches. Sadly Cesaro had to lose — you know, just in case you weren’t sure if he belonged at #4 or 5 in the Elimination Chamber power rankings — but hey, at least he’s in Vickie’s Rolodex now. Get in Brad Maddox’s and you’re set man.
Worst: Sassy Bray Wyatt
Annnd the streak of good Bray Wyatt promos comes to a crashing halt. Bray was straight up black grandma-ing it here, all sitting in his rocking chair wagging his fingers and doing his most theatrical “Mah stars and heavens to Besty!” voice. Listen, I agree Madea is a fairly terrifying figure, but this isn’t the way to go Bray.
Best: Goldust Reverts
The Wyatts/Rhodeses & Mysterio match was good — not as good as the matches they were having before WWE systematically ground all the confidence out of the Rhodes boys, but still pretty good. I particularly liked the ending, in which Goldust attempted, for maybe the first time since returning, to do his old ball kick in the corner spot, only to be flattened and pinned by a dump truck named Bray Wyatt.
This is the solution to “How do we break up Goldust and Cody?” As it is now, nobody wants another Cody heel turn considering how rotten that last few have been, and nobody’s going to boo scrappy, better than he’s ever been at age 44 Goldust, particularly if the two of them are breaking up over losing the copper penny tag belts.
Ah, but what if Goldust’s brain skips the rails, and suddenly he’s testicle obsessed, stuttering, not acknowledging his Rhodesness Goldust again? When Cody approaches Goldust backstage have him be all, “Who’re you kid?” then wander off to hang out with Booker T. Or better yet, Terri Runnels. Hell, WWE owns Seven now, have Cody have to bail Dustin out for staring in kids’ windows. I dunno — nobody’s going to buy or wants a blood feud between these two at this point, so just have some fun with it. It’s not like there’s not a hefty chunk of truth to a storyline about Goldust being a nutbar who frustrates his brother and dad.
Best: Advanced Shopping Trolley
Hee hee, Emma called it a shopping trolley. You Australians are cute. Well, except in Wake in Fright. And Wolf Creek. And Crocodile Dundee. And everything else. Okay, so Emma is cute, the rest of you scare me.
Worst: If At First Your Dance Contest Doesn’t Succeed, Try, Try Again
Hey, remember a couple weeks ago when Emma showed up and danced badly in a dance contest with Summer Rae and the audience didn’t get it because WWE hadn’t introduced them to the Emma character? Well, on this week’s Smackdown Emma showed up and danced badly in a dance contest with Summer Rae and the audience didn’t get it because WWE still hasn’t really introduced them to the Emma character. Uh, maybe the third dance contest will be the charm?
Granted, they tweaked a few things in this second dance contest, but that only made things worse. Now Emma does more than one dance, which just seems to be confusing the issue. They also tried to make Summer look as goofy as possible, I guess in hopes that Emma would look better in comparison, but that shouldn’t be the goal. Emma is supposed to be bad at dancing. That’s the point. Also, Summer Rae called Fandango “baby boopsie” at one point. I don’t care if it was supposed to be an annoying heel line — I will not tolerate people being referred to as baby boopsies on my television.
Anyways, is this really that hard WWE? It is? Really? Okay fine, I’ll walk you through this — Emma needs to lose these dance contests. She needs to lose, and have Summer Rae and Fandango be very mean to her, which will cause her to make cute sad faces. She vows to train her hardest and outdance Summer Rae, but the harder she tries, the worse she gets, but it doesn’t matter because the audience is falling for her. Finally, the audience votes for her to win one of the contests and Summer Rae is so appalled that she attacks Emma, but Emma Muta locks the crap out of her because she’s actually a pro-wrestler who knows her s–t. Lecherous Santino Marella is not involved in this storyline. Ta da, you’ve made Emma work in an “entertaining” WWE main roster sort of way.
Worst: Sure, Let’s Wait Until After The Olympics To Debut The Russian Guy
Okay, fine, he’s Bulgarian, but who the f–k knows anything about Bulgaria? I’d wager the folks running WWE don’t. He’s supposed to be Russian. So why, when the eyes of the world are on Russia, is Rusev and his beautiful main roster perm wasting time on these pointless backstage segments? He needs to be blasting his way through a cardboard bathroom door and chasing a stray dog down to ringside with his board, like, now.
Worst: When Jobbers Feud, There Are No Winners
Woof. Thought I was being too pessimistic about Titus and Darren’s prospects when they broke up a couple weeks ago? I direct your attention to this segment. Darren’s on commentary being aggressively bullied by JBL, while Titus wrestles in front of a crowd mostly made up of librarians based on the noise levels, then Darren distracts Titus and he’s rolled up by Dolph Ziggler, the man with the least momentum in the company.
Initially I thought one of these guys was going to “win” their feud and get at least a small push, but now I’m pretty sure they’re planning to rig the ring with springs so that both Titus and Darren are shot through the roof like Perfection pieces once their Elimination Chamber match is finished.
On the plus side, I’m rounding up here, but Darren Young looks approximately 8000 times less dorky now that he’s trimming the sides of his hair.
Best: Old Man Dogg
Not much to say about this Road Dogg vs. Uso match, other than I continue to enjoy Road Dogg as the old guy who doesn’t like getting hit, lifting things, moving faster than a mosey or really anything other than sitting in his favorite chair in a weed haze. This Outlaws/Usos thing needs to culminate in them covering the ring in turf for a literal “get off my lawn” match.
Best: Desperate Christian
A couple weeks back I declared Christian my favorite WWE good guy, but I may like him as a heel even better. Desperate heel Christian is a great character, and one that most “top” WWE guys wouldn’t get to do, due to top guys always having to be invulnerable superstars. Christian on the other hand, is a top guy, but, you know, not really, so they’re okay with Christian admitting he’s held together with worn out shoelaces and used Band-Aids, and that every match could be the match he finally explodes into a cloud of mummy dust. John Cena can be covered head-to-toe with weird baseball-sized bulges and still has to be all “Imma fight, fight, fight!”
Desperate heel Christian is a bad person, but he ain’t a bad guy, if you know what I’m saying. He isn’t your typical heel — he doesn’t gloat or taunt the audience when he does something evil. Christian, underrated actor that he is, always makes it seem like he’s committing these dirty deed reluctantly, but that doesn’t make him any less dangerous. I love how Christian has lost every match leading up to the Chamber, and yet he’s left a trail of destruction behind him, injuring both Bryan and Sheamus. Wrestling doesn’t do these kind of spoiler villains enough — the guys who know they can’t win deep down, but are out to make sure the heroes don’t win either.
So yeah, I liked Christian vs. Sheamus a lot. Credit where credit is due, Sheamus was also great — for a guy his size and level on the card, Sheamus is remarkably willing to scream like a baby when being worked over.
Worst: I Miss You Big Dumb Gold Belt
Sigh. I know unifying the two World Titles into one title that means something was a good thing in a big picture sort of way, but I am a bit sad the era when guys like Christian could become champ has drawn to a close.
Not that Christian as champ drew money or ratings or sold replica belts or whatever, but we’d be out a really interesting character if it weren’t for the World Heavyweight Title. Mark Henry would still a guy who never lived up to his potential without that title. Hunico would probably be playing Rey Mysterio now without that title. Jack Swagger would be Frankenstein walking to the unemployment office without that title. You deserved better big dumb gold belt.