Big Show vs. Lana was more competitive than you’d think.
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Best: The Miz is Really Good at Losing
He is. Granted, I’m pretty into whatever The Miz does these days, but there’s no guy I like to watch lose more. Miz has just enough credibility that you can’t zone out during his matches — once you win the main event of Wrestlemania, it’s conceivable that you could win pretty much anything, but it’s still The Miz. 90% of the time he’s going to be beaten and humiliated in the end, which is fine because The Miz always has it coming.
I’m actually not a huge fan of Dean Ambrose’s in-ring stuff, but again, The Miz’s thin veneer of credibility lent the match some intrigue. Maybe Sandow or Rollins will cost Ambrose the match — it’s possible! Plus, Ambrose targeting Miz’s moneymaker in various crafty ways was far more satisfying than it had any right to be. Also, you could overhear Sandow arguing with Michael Cole throughout the match, which improved the commentary immeasurably. So yeah, never stop winning at losing, Miz.
Best: Stealing the Briefcase
After the match, Ambrose grabbed Rollins’ briefcase and hit the bricks, which is kind of a butthole-ish thing for a face to do, but eh. It adds extra interest to the inevitable Ambrose/Rollins match, and that match needs all the extra interest it can get considering it now might be the main event of Hell in a Cell. So do what you’ve gotta, WWE.
Worst: Come On Guys, Coordinate
I love me some bad guy Dusts, but Cody really needs to invert his face paint colors so he matches his brother’s new look. In fact, the more dastardly they get, the less gold paint they should wear, until their faces are entirely bl–uhhhh, nope, not finishing that thought.
Best: King of Battle Royals
Poor Kofi — I really thought you might have this one, but you were in there with the new King of Battle Royals, so better luck next time buddy. I love that Cesaro is the undisputed best at battles royale because he can just pick up whomever he wants and herk ’em clean over the top. So simple, so pure, no office chair pogo-ing required. Again, sorry Kofi.
Battle Royals are almost always fun, and this one was even a bit more fun than most. Things got off to a brisk start, with your Sin Caras, Xavier Woodses and other assorted chaff being eliminated quickly, leaving Bo Dallas, Jack Swagger, Kofi Kingston and Cesaro as the final four. Kofi’s come so tragically close to winning so many battle royals that you can’t help but be invested in him finally going to distance and Cesaro, being a master of leverage, should, logically, always win. Really, I’m pretty much okay with all future WWE battle royals coming down to Kofi and Cesaro in the end.
Best: Guardians of the Cosmic Key
As you would expect, The Dusts vs. Usos for the tag titles was choice stuff. The injured knee malarkey seems to have been permanently forgotten, so the Usos were blasting around at full speed, and Cody seems to be getting the hang of playing Stardust as a heel. The match also included some unexpected moves, including a weird backwards, ass-first splash to the outside by Stardust and The Usos hitting a friggin’ Doomsday Device. Any tag match that includes a Doomsday Device is pretty a guaranteed Best in my book.
The match ended when Goldust broke up a pin with a tag belt, which was slightly disappointing, but I won’t complain too bitterly. There’s an art to an intentional DQ — it has to happen at that exact point when the tide of the match is about to turn decisively against the bad guys, and Goldust, old leathery vet that he is, understands that.
Worst: Latina Heat!
This match was one long build to a Rosa Mendes hot tag. Who lost within 30-seconds of being tagged in. Yeah. Also, poor Nattie was playing her full-on nutty Total Divas character here, and couldn’t have looked sadder if she had been booked in a match with her dead cat.
The World’s Saddest Tag Team.
Even the involvement of SummerLay couldn’t save this segment for me, although they certainly tried their damndest. Speaking of which, why is Layla not on Total Divas? Why? Layla being on a TV-14 show again is something I need in my life.
Worst: World’s Largest Heart
Hey Show, a real brother from another mother would tell his buddy to go to a doctor and get that world’s largest heart situation checked out.
Best: Dolph Ziggler vs. Cesaro
This wasn’t quite the uppercuts and ragdoll selling fest I was expecting, but I still enjoyed it. There was a lot of submission holds and technical wrestling, which would have been dull if this were, say, a Randy Orton match, but Cesaro and Ziggler are good enough that even “filler” is fairly entertaining.
Eventually things started to heat up, but before things could really get cooking, Ziggler got a three off a roll-up, despite the fact that Cesaro had the ropes. Man, for a show that I really quite liked, this Smackdown had a hell of a lot of screwy finishes. Guess WWE wants to save everything for their upcoming “Rematches in a Big Cage” PPV.
Best: Primitive Language
Why aren’t Renee and Lana on screen more often? Like, say, all the time?
Lana denigrating English as a primitive language amused me. Is that even a thing xenophobic types do? Call languages other than their own primitive? I mean, obviously they like their own language better, but calling English primitive is such a “I am not of this Earth” line. Just sayin’, if Lana turns out to be an extraterrestrial, I will not be the least bit surprised.
Best: Big Show vs. Rusev
This match was, well, it was novel at the very least. Sometimes novel is enough. Rusev isn’t particularly tall, he’s just husky as shit and so far WWE has done a good job of matching the guy up with other beefy, but not necessarily huge guys like Mark Henry and Big E almost exclusively. Based on his push you think of Rusev as a big guy, so when Big Show came out and towered a good foot or more over Rusev, well, it was the first time in a while I was really wowed by Show’s size. Rusev looked like a tiny, hairy baby man compared to Show.
The match itself was no catch as catch can classic, but Rusev being so completely dominated was a unique sight. Also, despite being such a major part of the act, Lana doesn’t really get involved in Rusev’s matches often, so seeing her get involved physically was surprising. Surprising and riveting given the precarious length of Lana’s skirt. So yeah, like I said, this was novel.
And then, just as Big Show was about to unload the knockout punch, Mark Henry hit the ring and turned on his–wait, that didn’t happen? Rusev just hit Show with a flag for the DQ and Mark Henry didn’t show up at all? Huh.
Worst: Saving the Important Stuff For Raw
Man, I was ready to say some really nice things about this Smackdown, WWE. It’s clear you’re trying to make the Smackdowns leading up to the big anniversary show feel more special, but you just couldn’t pull the trigger, could you? This was where Mark Henry should have turned on Big Show, but the thought of not doing it on Raw was just too painful I suppose. I’m sure that 15th anniversary show will have some great clips of cool, important stuff that’s happened on Smackdown — let’s make sure the 20th anniversary show actually has some new clips to add to mix.