Welcome to the latest Smackdown review! Make sure to post your thoughts, so I can get down and wrangle with you in the comments!
– Likes, shares, tweets, comments, pins, uh, Diggs? Submit this thing to Fark? Do it all!
– Follow WithLeather on Twitter and like it on Facebook. Follow me on Twitter too! If you like this review, I also write stuff every darn weekday for GammaSquad — we’re under “Geek & Sci-fi” on the navigation bar at the top of this page!
On we go! If the skyyyyy turns blaaaack it don’t matter…
Worst: Shut Up Daniel Bryan
Oookay, like, Daniel Bryan came out to the ring to kick off Smackdown, and HMMM, do you want to guess what he did? Did he, oh I don’t know, make a bunch of reeeeaallly witty (ahhhhyeah right) sarcastic remarks, then get all faux intense, then, oh, I dunno, start chanting YES? Never seen that before. Pssssshhh [dramatic eye roll].
See Daniel? Sarcasm isn’t really that endearing. Please cut it out.
Worst: The Wicked Vickie of the West
Speaking of something that needs to be cut out, apparently somebody decided Vickie Guerrero getting ground shaking, Inception boom level heat every time she opens her mouth wasn’t enough and she needed a new thing to compliment “excuse me”. So now (at least on Smackdown) she ends every in-ring segment with a 30-second Wicked Witch of the West impression, even if she hasn’t done anything particularly villainous.
She did it when she made an 11 good guys on three bad guys handicap match a few weeks back, and she did it here when she booked Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes and Goldust, the three guys on the roster who absolutely have The Shield’s number against, uh, The Shield. Geuss who wins the match?
Worst: The Least Creepy Wyatt Family Segment Possible
The Wyatt family roller coaster continues. I wasn’t thrilled when Bray showed up a couple weeks ago to taunt Kofi Kingston with some limply delivered verbal diarrhea, but next week he stepped things up and Harper and Rowan had a good hard-hitting match with the Rhodeses. This week though…eh, shrug. Never have the Wyatts projected a less menacing aura. It wasn’t really their fault though…
a) They didn’t get an entrance. Are you telling me they didn’t have enough time for Bray Wyatt’s entrance? On Smackdown? Come on now. Cut one of the show’s six Raw segment recaps if you need some time.
b) They were wrestling the electrifying team of Kofi Kingston and The Miz. A DeLorean could pull up on stage and prime Rockers-era Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty could pop out to wrestle Kofi and Miz and I’d probably still spend most of the match wondering what’s happening on MasterChef Junior.
c) Any mystique the Wyatts had left was brutally throttled to death by Michael goddamn Cole and his emotionlessly delivered, dry toast Wyatt Factz. I’ve heard people talk with more fire about lunch at the Olive Garden than Michael Cole when he talks about Bray Wyatt threatening to slaughter other human beings like animals.
Better luck next week Wyatts.
Best: Okay, Okay, Brie’s Pretty Damn Good
I admit, I’ve perhaps been overly resistant to the whole “Brie Bella is actually good” thing. I dunno, as recently as a month ago she was her old head-and-arm locking, ref-asking self. It takes a while to reset after five years of TWIN MAGIC inanity.
But yeah, Brie Bella can actually wrestle, like, real matches now. Not just “kill time until somebody rolls somebody else up” Beth Phoenix specials — actual legit matches designed to elicit emotions and tell stories and everything. When she won I actually felt like she was the better woman and had earned her eventual title shot. Crazy! Also, gold star for AJ for bumping around like a tiny, probably much better smelling, Dolph Ziggler.
Oh, and what the heck, a nice big E for effort for Tamina for her, uh, enthusiastic attempt to take Nikki out on the outside…
Worst: Big Show Can’t Find His Seat
Midway through Smackdown angry ousted rebel The Big Show stormed to the ring like a ball a-fire and, uh, well actually he didn’t so much storm as saunter, and he seemed to be in pretty good spirits. Hmmm, let’s try this again…
Midway through Smackdown not-sweatin’-it, Komen-clad, The Big Show casually strolled to the ring like a um, what’s the opposite of a ball of fire? A ball of lethargy?
So yeah, after trundling out, Big Show gets to cut a five-minute meandering promo before anyone bothers to interrupt him, and even then it’s only Vickie and Maddox. No security. No cops to arrest the out of control outsider. So, Team Brickie confronts Show and he’s all, “Got a ticket guys” and Maddox is “What? Who cares? Get out!” and everyone in this dumb segment seems as bored by it as I am, buuuut then this happens…
Best: Weapon of Maddox Destruction
WHAMMO. Services for Brad Maddox will be held tomorrow at the cemetery. He will be missed (sort of).
Best: CM Punk vs. Big E. Langston
I quite enjoyed the Punk vs. Langston match we got on Raw a couple weeks ago, but this one was ever better, largely because it was a better showcase for Langston. Punk has apparently been on a strict air and water diet for the past couple weeks and Big E. spent most of this match just hurling Punk’s Little Spike Dudley ass around. Punk won in the end because he’s wily, too stubborn to stay down and has the most violent, effective finisher in WWE, but until the very end, this match was all about Langston.
Then things took a turn for the awesome…
Best: F–k The WWE Pecking Order
One of the most dispiriting things about modern WWE is the horrible, stultifying pecking order everyone’s forced to obey. Triple H or John Cena come out and call The Miz or Dolph Ziggler a stupid, stack-of-dimes geek and they just have to hang their heads, kick at the ground and take it because Cena and Triple H are above them and thus have license to treat them like garbage. Yeah, I know that’s how it actually works behind the scenes, but it makes for terrible TV. These guys are supposed to be larger-than-life, take-no-s–t superheroes. In WWE’s world, Batman vs. Superman would just be two hours of Superman mocking Batman’s lack of powers and implying the Batmobile is rented while Ben Affleck makes “Aw shucks, now why’d you have to go and say that?” sad faces.
So yeah, when Paul Heyman came out and called Langston a “marginally talented rookie barely out of NXT” I figured it was just par for the course. Granted, it seemed a little strange coming out of Heyman’s mouth — he’s usually smarter than that, and it seems like Langston would be right up his alley — but still, having to eat the s–t of those above you is just the way it is in WWE.
But then Ryback and Axel came down to beat up on Punk and HERE’S LANGSTON TO CLUBBER THE SPRAY TAN OFF THEM, BECAUSE F–K THE PECKING ORDER, YOU DON’T CALL BIG E. LANGSTON MARGINALLY TALENTED. It was wonderful. I’m sure some people will complain the turn wasn’t built up enough, but it didn’t have to be built up. It was just a guy (who happens to beat people up for a living) reacting like anybody with an inch of pride would react if someone decided to send condescension egg farts in their general direction for no good reason. I look forward to watching Langston grind Axel into clapping dust.
Best: God’s Gift To Humanity vs. Super Gringo
Oh man, Alberto Del Rio is so happy he’s wrestling John Cena at Hell in a Cell. He’s going to lose of course, but a humiliating failure against Cena is still better than a victory over Rob Van Dam. It took winning four world titles and the Royal Rumble, but finally Alberto gets to main event a pay-per-view (because John Cena came back early and the title that matters is still held up in an unfinished storyline).
So yeah, Alberto’s joy at having an actual opponent for his world title translated into the kind of wacky, scattered, steam-of-consciousness promo you don’t hear very often anymore. We’re all gringos and Cena is SUPER GRINGO, but Alberto is God’s gift to humanity, but John Cena actually isn’t super, he’s soft, but he also has the world’s biggest ego and now it’s time to beat up Josh Matthews! Told you it was scattered, but hey, wrestling promos are supposed to be garbled nonsense.
Best: Freeper Madness
The Real Americans vs. The Usos was just an excuse for another Cesaro swing, because WWE never met an incredible physical feat they couldn’t make routine. More interesting than the match itself was Zeb Coulter on commentary. You get the impression Zeb is the rare performer who has to turn his personality down to play his character. Zeb Coulter is Dutch Mantel at like, maybe a 4 or 5. You probably wouldn’t want to see an 11.
Zeb’s usually restricted to making “sneaking” fingers and Italian food puns, but they briefly let him off his leash on Friday and it wasn’t long before he was accusing Los Matadores of being “of a different breed” and on the run for child support. He didn’t quite lapse into full-on Free Republic insanity, but listening to him dance along the line of acceptability was compelling it’s own queasy-making way.
Best: If You Liked The Main Event of Raw…
Then buckle up, because you’re going to love the Smackdown main event. Don’t get me wrong, the Raw main was damn good, but it was hampered by a crowd that hadn’t yet received the “We’re actually doing something with Cody and Goldust” memo, and I could have done without the Big Show interference.
The Smackdown main event on the other hand was an unadulterated, tooth-and-nail scorcher in front of an audience who had seen the Rhodes Bros. win the titles on Raw and felt safe cheering them. This is how you make titles mean something — have good wrestlers try to kill each other over them. Pretty simple really. Every Rhodes vs. Shield match erases a dozen champions losing non-title matches from the history books forever. .
On Raw the Rhodes Dynasty won the tag team titles, but they f–king earned them on Smackdown.