Welcome to the latest Smackdown review! Make sure to post your thoughts, so I can get down and wrangle with you in the comments!
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On we go! If the skyyyyy turns blaaaack it don't matter...
Worst: Where Were You Expecting This to go Alberto?
I don't have a big issue with WWE being PG, especially now that guys are occasionally allowed to use mild profanity to sell their life-and-death blood feuds, but man, the PG problem still really rears it's ugly head whenever WWE tries to do anything with sex. On Monday Alberto tried to seduce Vickie Guerrero and Vickie, having been down that road one too many times before, turned the tables and declared ADR would be sacrificed and rendered into biofuel to power Super Cena's robot chassis. Not a bad little storyline in a world where sex and normal male-female relations can be acknowledged.
So yeah, Alberto comes out on Smackdown and continues to hit on Vickie, so she calls his bluff and asks for a kiss and Alberto is all "A kiss?! Oh no!" and then she asks for a kiss somewhere else and points to her butt, and Alberto's reaction isn't so much "That's insulting! I'm not kissing your ass!" as "Oh no, lady butt! Yucky!"
Where were you expecting this seduction scheme to lead Alberto? You don't toy with Vickie Guerrero unless you're planning to go all the way. She had her fill of weird, chaste relationships with Dolph and isn't f--king around any more. Did you see how excited she was for you to DO IT LIKE THE MEXICAN? If you hadn't been such a wiener about the whole thing, you could have pulled an Edge and been a 15-time World Heavyweight champion by this time next year.
Best: Sandow Has Game
Thankfully an adult came out before Alberto could declare himself rubber and Vickie glue and erect a cootie shield around himself. Sandow meant business and brought some f--king game, rightfully calling Alberto a phony, then buttering Vickie up with equally phony, but far smoother lines about how he was attracted to her superior intellect and her beautiful schemes. A lesson to you guys out there -- never undervalue your lady's scheming abilities (lest those schemes get turned back on you).
Then the weirdest thing happened -- Alberto hit Sandow with a cheapshot, and Sandow got a fiery comeback and chased him from the ring. Whaaa-aat? Are we going to get to cheer for the intelligent, funny, entertaining, talented wrestler? That...that sort of thing doesn't happen in WWE. I mean, we all love Lanny Poffo's Genius character now, but he was always supposed to be a heel. You know, if it results in face Damien Sandow, I'm okay with WWE totally disregarding wrestling tradition just this once.
Worst: WWE's Stupid Word OCD
Weeeell, Curtis Axel and R-Truth had another match on Smackdown, so hey, let's use this space to nitpick the announcing again!
Apparently Vince McMahon's language OCD has flared up and the word "manager" is again banned in WWE, so JBL, who's been calling Heyman "the best manager in the history of WWE" for years now, had to spend several torturous minutes expounding on why Heyman isn't a manager. He's an agent! He's uh, sort of a coach! Hey, I have a great word for a guy that's an agent and sort of a coach! A MANAGER. GAH.
Also, no Curtis Axel vs. R-Truth match should ever go through a commercial break.
Best: Los Matadores Should Never Wrestle Anybody But Los Locales Ever Again
I was pretty down on Los Matadores last week because, yeah, they've got a little person bull and a Super Nintendo title screen theme for music, but they're still just Primo and Epico. Primo and Epico are good, but I've seen them a thousand times. I wasn't really looking forward to them wrestling yet another combination of 3MB on Smackdown, but then the camera panned around and it turns out they were facing El Locale #1 and El Locale #2, aka Ricardo Rodriguez annnd let's say Tyson Kidd.
So yeah, this match featuring a bunch of masked guys with no reason to give a s--t doing whatever random things they wanted was fun to watch. Every Los Matadores match should just be them beating another two random El Locale-ified WWE undercarders. Hey, it's probably the only way Sara Del Rey is going to get to wrestle on WWE TV.
Worst: The Divas Randomizer Deck
What the hell was this crap? Since Total Divas became a thing, WWE has been putting a little more effort into the ladies' division, and while it hasn't resulted in any good storylines or anything (let's not get crazy), at least they've sort of established an order -- the Total Divas are in one camp, the regular lower-case divas are in another, AJ and Tamina are off on their own and Kaitlyn? Who's Kaitlyn?
Well, on Smackdown we got the Funkadactyls and Bellas, who have shown nothing but contempt for each other on both WWE and E! programming, teaming against plucky hard worker Natalya, bitchy, looking to f--k somebody important as quickly as possible Eva Marie and back from the Phantom Zone Kaitlyn. In the end the Total Divas beat the Total Divas by pinning the one non-Total Diva in the match, then Brie Bella danced to Brodus Clay's music. Who was put in charge of booking this random-ass segment? A 20-sided die?
Best: Alberto Del Rio vs. Damien Sandow
Okay guys, from here on out, this show gets good. ADR vs. Damien Sandow was probably my favorite WWE TV match since Daniel Bryan's early-summer hot streak. First of all, it was a match I don't recall seeing before, and second, it felt like it mattered. I don't know if Damien Sandow is turning face or not, but he was definitely playing one here, and either way it was clear this match was the start of something new for the guy. I was on the edge of my seat thinking Sandow might win, which he didn't, but they clearly wanted us to think he might, which alone is a big step up for the guy.
Aside from all that, it was just a really well worked match, with Sandow taking to the babyface role surprisingly well, and Alberto working in a lot of choice dickish moves. The finish, with ADR kicking out Sandow's exposed knee then slapping on the armbar was perfect pro-wrasslin' -- it made Alberto look like a cagey killer, but was just underhanded enough Sandow didn't lose anything. Go out of your way to catch this one, because there's a good chance Sandow's mini face turn will be retconned by Raw.
Best: The Land of the Five Rivers
More WWE word OCD -- it seems like the announcers can no longer say "India". Both Khali and Mahal are now from THE LAND OF THE FIVE RIVERS. WWE's snake charmer skits can't be racist when the guys involved are all from some Narnia-sounding place like The Land of the Five Rivers! I mean, is The Land of the Five Rivers even a real country? Who knows! Keep tootin' those flutes guys!
Anyways, announcing stupidity aside, this Great Khali and Prime Time Players vs. 3MB match was shockingly watchable. It's often been said it's pretty much impossible for a WWE six-man to be bad, and well, this here was definitive proof of that.
Best: Bray Wyatt Ups His Game
After Bray Wyatt wasted my time (and his) impotently threatening Kofi Kingston with sub-Kaneisms last week, I challenged him to up his game, and hey, he delivered! Ah, the power I wield! Smackdown saw Bray cut a new short pre-entrance promo, and this one was a good 'un. To paraphrase...
"They say I don't belong here, that my intentions are cruel and unjust, they claim I dine with sinners, and run with thieves, but the water is just fine, come on in."
It still doesn't really have anything to do with his opponents, but at least this promo flowed well, made use of some interesting language and imagery and felt like something unique to Bray Wyatt instead of a mindlessly strung together series of WWE pre-approved scary words. It was effectively creepy in other words. Now, Wyatt just needs to take the next step, and apply his well-honed creepiness to promos that reference specific things about his opponents and actually build to something.
Best: The Best Real Family In WWE vs. The Best Fake Family
If ADR/Sandow was my favorite WWE TV match in some time, then this was my second favorite. The Rhodes and Wyatt families were pretty much made to wrestle each other. The Wyatts are all about intimidating opponents with their strange, backwoodsy ways, but that s--t ain't gonna work on the transgender Darth Maul and former mask-wearing supervillain from Texas. I really don't care if Goldust ever gets his hands on Triple H or wins the tag titles or whatever -- for me him punching the goat mask off Erick Rowan was what his latest return was all leading to.
So yeah, with all the creepy posturing out of the way, this just broke down into a good, long, hard-hitting tag match between three guys who are very good and uh, Erick Rowan, who actually isn't bad in an Of Mice and Men, doesn't know his own strength sort of way. The finish was perfect, with Cody Rhodes scoring a roll-up victory and Wyatt storming the ring looking downright pissed for the first time since hitting the main roster. Again, I know the Rhodeses are paired up with The Shield, but I'd be okay if The Wyatts came out and destroyed Cody and Dustin on Raw for poking the wrong beehive. Make all those threatening Bray Wyatt promos mean something.
Best: Good Wrestlers Having Long Matches
Smackdown has never really had much of a point per se. It was originally supposed to be The Rock's show, but The Rock rarely appeared on it, and then he went off to be the Scorpion King and Smackdown hasn't been terribly relevant since. That's not to say Smackdown can't be good or even great. Smackdown is never going to be more important than Raw, but it can get by just fine by doing what it does best -- giving ample wrestling time to talented, established guys who aren't quite important enough to be a part of the rare long match on Raw.
This week was Smackdown at it's best. More talented guys in long matches, and less Triple H buying Big Show's house is what I'm saying.
Also, all future Renee Young, Cody Rhodes, Goldust group hugs need to be put on the actual show in the future...