Week four! A solid month of Smackdown — how are you guys liking the reviews so far?
– 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…
Best: Another Spin Around The Cul-de-sac Of Disappointment
I’m not a fan of Triple H using his new corporate b-hole character to bury midcard faces, but I’ll make an exception for The Miz. I mean, Miz seemed to be making an exerted effort tonight to prove he deserves every bit of Triple H poop that lands in his mouth, so who am I to argue?
The opening segment started with Miz interrupting Triple H and cutting a “Really?” peppered “angry” promo before Triple H cut him off to drop some truths. Truths like, “We gave you a fair one-and-one match against Randy Orton two weeks ago which you lost in spectacular fashion, and Monday’s Miz TV segment was going fine until you insulted my wife apropos of nothing, so shut the f–k up.”
Watch Miz’s face go from “mildly confident by Miz standards” to “Oh, s–t, oh God, why did I raise my hand? I want to sit down.” during Hunter’s evisceration. It’s wonderful. Then Triple H finally lets Miz get a word in edgewise, and the best comeback he can summon is “I should have changed the W to a B, LOL” and Triple H, a man who tears Paul Heyman’s shirt off and slaps his tits into oblivion every time he even mentions his children, can’t even be assed to get upset. The Miz — too insignificant to anger the most angry guy in WWE history.
Worst: He’s Helpless! Like a Baby! A Stupid, Weak Baby!
Remember when Alberto Del Rio wrestled Dolph Ziggler and Christian a million times this summer and we all got really tired of it? Ah, for those halcyon days.
So yeah, Alberto Del Rio wrestled R-Truth again, and it was totally unremarkable, so I’m going to write a few sentences about Michael Cole being garbage instead. I usually prefer the commentary on Smackdown because Jerry Lawler isn’t there, but sometimes the lack of Lawler isn’t enough to make up for the fact that Cole doesn’t think Smackdown is worth switching his brain on for. On Raw Cole spouts a lot of lines that betray the fact that he doesn’t understand wrestling, but the stuff he says on Smackdown — I dunno. You start to wonder how the guy functions.
My least favorite new Michael Cole verbal tic is him screaming HE’S TOTALLY HELPLESS any time a bad guy has the advantage on a good guy, which is an okay line to use if a dude has been handcuffed to the ropes, or is being lowered into a shark cage or something, but Cole will use it when a guy has just been hit with a regular wrestling move or during a standard issue corner beatdown. No Cole, he’s not totally helpless, and if he is, this fragile porcelain creature probably shouldn’t be allowed in a wrestling ring.
Also, according to Cole, Alberto Del Rio deserves to have chairs kicked in his face because he took advantage of the champion’s advantage at Night of Champions. If the champion isn’t allowed to use the champion’s advantage who in the f–k is, Michael Cole? GAH.
Best: The Antonio Cesaro Giant Swing Tour
A couple months back The Real Americans started commanding the audience to stand and repeat their catchphrase and everyone in Chicago, Philly and Canada went along because they’re smart and ironic and everywhere else did it too because they’re dumb and heard the cool cities do it. I’m sure the idea was fans were going to boo having “We The People” forced on them, but when that didn’t pan out WWE didn’t bother to do anything about it, because who has time to pay attention to what The Real Americans are doing?
Well, I guess somebody finally did, because on Smackdown Zeb Colter made a feeble effort to stem the “We The People” chants by explaining only real, real Americans get to say it. It didn’t work, but at least it’s a sign WWE finally realized their crowds gleefully chanting along with the xenophobic assholes comes off kinda bad.
Of course the real highlight of the segment was Antonio Cesaro pulling off a 20-rotation-plus giant swing on Titus O’Neil, the lankiest, most stumblebum dude in WWE aside from The Great Khali, who Cesaro will probably take for a spin on Raw. Where the Cesaro giant swing tour goes from there, I don’t know. 3MB superglued together? A giraffe in a singlet?
Worst: “Y’know John, Bray Wyatt says he wants to — WHATTAMOVE! — uh, slaughter the innocent and, well, bathe in their blood.”
Bray Wyatt had a match against Zack Ryder on Smackdown and it didn’t exactly transcend expectations of what a Zack Ryder vs. Bray Wyatt match on Smackdown could be. Then again, any Bray Wyatt/Zack Ryder segment that doesn’t end in Zack Ryder squealing like a pig or Wyatt wearing a Zack Ryder-skin mask is a failure in my book. The part where Zack went for his stupid “hurl my crotch at your face” finisher and Bray just alley-ooped him 15-feet into the air onto his ass was pretty sweet though.
Also, not to harp on the “Michael Cole’s is the worst at his job” thing, but the guy should not be allowed to speak during Wyatt Family segments. Any mystique the Wyatts have is instantly negated when Cole dryly recites interesting Wyatt facts in his, “Hey folks, don’t ask me — this is just what it says on the cue card” voice.
“Hey John, y’know, Bray Wyatt talks about how outside of your world, is his world, and y’know, he treats people like animals and if they’re sick and hurt he doesn’t let them fumble around in agony he, well, he puts them down John. Also, John, Sandow calls that elbow the Cubito Aequet, which means ‘the elbow of disdain’ in Latin. More to come as Smackdown rolls on!”
Worst: GEE, I WONDER WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN
So, out comes Dean Ambrose for a title defense with Rollins and Reigns in tow even thought he usually does the US Title stuff on his own, and then Ziggler, who we all know has no friends, just so happens to have RVD and Kofi Kingston with him (despite Kofi being his eternal rival). GUYS, JUST BOOK A TAG MATCH IF YOU WANT TO HAVE A TAG MATCH.
Best: The Shield vs. Team Silly Putty
Uninspired setup aside, The Shield vs. Team Silly Putty (because they’re stretchy and bouncy and their pushes always dry up quickly, ha ha!) was great entertainment. The most motivated, on their game killers in WWE vs. the least motivated, off their game, flippity-flopping dishrags in WWE! Let the massacre begin!
The match was chock full of delights, but the highlight was definitely Roman Reigns picking Ziggler up like a squirmy kitten, toting him over to the corner upside down, dumping him on his ass then having to crack up over his own awesomeness. Ziggler, man, I know selling is your thing, but Jesus — have a little dignity dude.
How was this shot even achieved?
Best: Backstage Interview Segment of the Year
Ah, this backstage Big Show/Triple H/Renee Young thing — how I loved it. Let me count the ways…
– Big Show’s apparently on the verge of tears at all times now. Big guy rents a car, drives from town-to-town, puts on his gear and just shlumps around backstage quivering his chin and welling up. I dunno what he’s so sad about frankly — sounds like good work if you can get it.
– Renee Young was the tiniest, most adorable Polly Pocket person ever standing in between Show and Hunter. I want a Renee Young backstage interview playset that folds out of a plastic microphone.
– The fact that this Big Show story hinges on the idea that extraordinarily large, muscular, physically talented people are unemployable freaks. Thank God WWE’s been around to provide much-needed employment for poor underprivileged hosses, monsters and giants over the years.
– Hunter’s fake crying, because seriously Show, you’re a grown-ass person. There are facilities for adults who can’t stop publicly sobbing.
Best: WWE Remembers Tamina Exists Again
Hey, Tamina’s back! Did you guys know she’s the daughter of WWE Hall of Famer Jimmy “The Superfly” Snuka? That’s the kind of sharp insight that landed me this Smackdown B&W job.
Tamina isn’t actually any good in the ring, but she does have a talent for standing very still and looking stern. She was good at standing behind Vickie looking stern last year, and now that she’s traded in her leopard print jumpers for a sweet new leather vest, I think she’s going to be even better at standing behind AJ looking stern.
The match between AJ and Cameron was also kind of shockingly decent. I hesitate to say it, but has Cameron secretly become the better Funkadactyl? Yeah, Naomi “sure is athletic”, but she’s kind of the Kofi Kingston of the Divas division. Sorry Naomi — you still look better in the silver tights than Cameron (or Kofi Kingston for that matter).
Best: Paul Heyman Says Nothing in an Entertaining Manner
I like the current cocky, exuberantly obnoxious Paul Heyman — he’s certainly better than the shell-shocked, scraggle-bearded Heyman we got leading up to Night of Champions. And Paul’s delivery was great here, but nothing he said escalated his story with CM Punk one iota, which is fine, but if you’re going to have a segment that achieves nothing, I’d rather that nothing was achieved via guys suplexing each other.
Worst: Oh God, This Is Rotten
Man, this thing. Santino came out to face Heath Slater and brought The Great Khali and Hornswoggle with him, which is bad enough, but then Santino went for the cobra and Khali and Jinder Mahal hit the apron with flutes. Oh dear.
Maybe I should have seen it coming, but I guess I wrongly assumed I lived in a society where, “Hey, this guy has a snake gimmick, let’s get the two Indian guys on the roster to charm it with recorders!” couldn’t still happen. I felt like I was watching one of those banned Looney Tunes where Bugs Bunny is in blackface or filling watermelons with dynamite — you’re fascinated for a second that this thing even exists, but then you just feel gross. So yeah, I’m officially banning this segment from my brain. Let us never speak or think of it ever again.
Best: Sometimes Raw Re-runs Aren’t Such A Bad Thing
A good portion of any episode of Smackdown is repeats of stuff that happened on Raw, particularly the bad stuff that happened on Raw. If R-Truth and Curtis Axel have a scintillating encounter on Monday, odds are you’re going to see it again on Smackdown with an extra five minutes added (just to really give the chinlocks room to breathe).
But hey, I’m not going to complain about re-runs when they involve Randy Orton DDT-ing Miz off every raised surface in the arena. In some ways the beating on Smackdown was even more cruel than the one on Raw a couple weeks ago — at least on Raw Miz’s parents were there to remind us that somebody loves him. Or at least his mom probably does. The Miz Sr. seemed somewhat indifferent. On Smackdown The Miz was alone, so very alone, as Randy did terrible things to him and his tender thorax.
Mmmmm. Guys…is…is it wrong to love hating somebody this much?