[Douchey Author’s Note: I’ve decided to take a different approach to my review this week. Not necessarily a kinder, gentler one, but a more realistic one. There is a difference between a show that’s booked well according to the “WWE style” and what an old-school

fan like myself might consider a well-booked wrestling show. So we’re going to take this from the perspective of a show that is being booked according to the “WWE style” since that’s what it is, after all. So let’s get into it.]

Segment 1.  Big Show’s in-ring promo.  Booker T interrupts.  Books Big Show vs. Kane for tonight.

  • Once again, Smackdown using the old “set-up the card in the opening segment” routine but they dressed it up well with some impressive acting by Big Show to make thirteen minutes of nothing more palatable.
  • Unfortunately, the pay-off is yet another installment of Big Show vs. Kane.
  • Hard to call this segment a negative, because of how hot the Big Show – Alberto Del Rio feud is right now so I’m giving it a plus thanks to Big Show’s performance on the mic, but just barely.

Last Word:  PLUS +

Segment 2.  Cody Rhodes def. Kofi Kingston

  • Match was a little pedestrian until the final thirty seconds.
  • Cody’s clean win over Kofi is what Jack Swagger’s should have been last week.

Last Word:  PLUS +

Segment 3.  Replays of Brock’s attack on Vince McMahon and the Miz.  Bruno Sammartino Hall of Fame induction video.

  • I was hard on all the Raw replays from last week beacuse I felt like anyone who watches Smackdown already watches Raw so replays are kind of pointless.  I felt like this time would be better spent building Smackdown with perhaps longer matches.
  • But I realize that it’s important for WWE to establish continuity among the shows.  So from that standpoint, the replays do make sense.
  • Any fan who does happen to watch Smackdown exclusively would know based on this segment that Brock Lesnar is an absolute beast and a dangerous man.  He was even more impressive in his destruction of Miz TV than Ryback tried to be months ago.
  • I am personally hoping from some CM Punk – Bruno interaction either at WrestleMania or the following night on Raw.
  • Epic fail of the week goes to Josh Mathews for referring to The Great Khali as a “future of Hall of Famer” when he was introduced for his match immediately after the Sammartino video.  This Muppet needs a Michael Cole heel turn badly.

Last Word:  PLUS +

Segment 4.  Khali squashes Titus.  Mark Henry takes out both.

  • The match was a joke.
  • Thankfully the segment was saved by the appearance of Mark Henry who looked like he hadn’t missed a step.  He’s not a great wrestler by any stretch of the imagination, but he plays the role of a scary, dominant big man extremely well.
  • If this was the point of Khali’s recently “build”, then it was worth it.  Now can we please get rid of this totem pole?

Last Word:  PLUS +

Segment 5.  Mark Henry in-ring promo; calls out Booker T.  Booker responds and books Henry vs. Randy Orton for tonight.

  • I misunderstood this segment to mean that Henry had to beat Orton to replace him in the Elimination Chamber.  I realized during the match though that it was simply to earn a spot.
  • At the time I thought that some kind of swerve would take place to ensure Orton kept his spot and that Daniel Bryan would ultimately be made the scapegoat (pun intended?) and be the one to lose his spot.  Glad that didn’t happen.
  • Funny parking lot segment with Big Show bullying his bus driver.  Show’s acting has really carried his feud with ADR.
  • Kane vs. Big Show part one was the lowlight of this segment and I’m actually surprised they were able to squeeze it in.  It couldn’t undo what Henry had already accomplished though.  His mic work earlier was superb.  And, he came out rocking a cool new shirt.

Last Word:  PLUS +

Segment 6.  Big Show def. Kane.  ADR goes Stone Cold on Big Show’s bus.

  • The match was awful.  First, we’ve seen it way too many times.  But it was clear the guys were just going through the motions.  And I realize Big Show is the guy getting the push right now, but for him to beat Kane clean in such a short match really is a slap in the face of kayfabe.
  • That being said, this is WWE.  No one is going to remember this match come Monday and all it would take is a few impressive wins for fans to believe in Kane again.  Still, for us old-school fans, it just leaves a bad taste.
  • Big Show rushing out to the parking lot to find his bus up on blocks thanks to Alberto Del Rio (who was not allowed in the building after being suspended by Booker T for his hotel room attack on Big Show Monday) then getting doused with a bucket of red paint reminded me of something from the Attitude Era and Stone Cold Steve Austin’s feud with Vince McMahon.  Even the way some of the paint splattered onto the camera lens, partially obscuring the view for the rest of the segment was the kind of finishing touch that can’t be planned.  It felt raw and gave the whole segment a greater sense of realism.
  • Of course the ethnic joke of ADR leaving on top of a tire truck with Ricardo Rodriguez behind the wheel was the cherry on top of a segment that reignited my interest in a feud that at the beginning of the show I felt a little burnt out on.
  • Not sure how these two guys convinced the office to let them do so many outside segments but it has worked extremely well for both of them.  And the fact that this segment took place on Smackdown instead of Raw was a real win for the show.

Last Word:  PLUS +

Segment 7.  Jack Swagger def. Justin Gabriel.  Literacy awareness PR video.

  • Swagger’s win over Gabriel was impressive, but there’s a big difference between beating Justin Gabriel convincingly and beating Kofi Kingston convincingly.
  • This may be one instance in which WWE is regretting their booking from last week.  Instead of the crowd being hot about this match and hot about Swagger, he ended up becoming an afterthought, lost in the shuffle of all the other impressive things about this show.
  • The “Reading Superstar” literacy PR video featuring wrestlers reading to public school kids is the kind of image enhancement that WWE has always been good at and other wrestling promotions can learn from.  Anytime members of your roster interact with the public in a positive way and the cameras are rolling, that footage needs to be a part of your show.

Last Word:  PLUS +

Segment 8.  Fandango vignette.  Tensai DQ win over Drew McIntyre.  Brodus Clay makes the save against 3MB.

  • This is what I meant regarding Swagger.  Following his match with this made what he did easily forgettable because the sight of Tensai dancing with the Funkadactyls is the kind of thing that leaves an impression on the frontal lobe.
  • I’m sure some smarks would rather see Tensai kicking ass, especially those who followed his career in Japan.  But there can only be so much of that.  And with Big Show, Brock Lesnar, and now Mark Henry all playing the intimidating big man gimmick, Tensai could just disappear into quiet irrelevance as a low-level jobber, or get a chance at new life by going the comedic route.  I for one, applaud his willingness to not take himself so seriously.  Time will tell how far he and Brodus will go but so far, it’s paying off.
  • While we may roll our eyes at Fandango’s vignettes, they’re only going to help him when it’s time for him to finally debut.

Last Word:  PLUS +

Segment 9.  Antonio Cesaro def. Sin Cara.  Matt Stryker interviews Randy Orton backstage.

  • Not sure why Sin Cara gets his special lighting in the match when Cesaro is the U.S. Champ.
  • Regardless, it was an excellent match.  Sin Cara got off some impressive spots that made Cesaro’s win even that much more meaningful.
  • Cesaro looked impressive as always.  This was a textbook example of how to use a short match to get both participants over with the crowd even though one of them wins clean.
  • Orton’s promo to hype his match with Mark Henry was lackluster but it couldn’t take away from the brilliance that had just taken place in the ring.

Last Word:  PLUS +

Segment 10.  Matt Stryker interviews the Miz.  Cesaro interrupts, they brawl.  Replay of John Cena, Ryback, and Sheamus’ attack on The Shield from Raw.

  • I personally don’t like the match-up of Miz vs. Antonio Cesaro.  They just haven’t clicked in or out of the ring.
  • I was actually excited about the possibility of seeing Brock Lesnar vs. The Miz at Elimination Chamber.  It would basically be a squash with Miz earning sympathetic favor with the crowd and Brock gaining heat as the ruthless, dangerous heel.  He puts Miz on the shelf and it sets him up for a big return.
  • I know.  Brilliant, right?  But that’s not going to happen unfortunately.  I just haven’t found Miz as a believeable opponent for Cesaro.  As impressive as the U.S. Champ has been, they just aren’t on an even playing field.
  • The Shield match against Cena, Sheamus and Ryback has been set-up well.  I would think it would have to turn into something more than just a standard “good guys win to pop the crowd” match like you might see any week on Raw.  I hope so anyway because The Shield has been booked strong to this point and I’d hate to see that sacrificed just for the sake of three babyfaces who are already over anyway having a pay-per-view showcase.

Last Word:  PLUS +

Segment 11.  Main Event:  Mark Henry def. Randy Orton.

  • Not sure I can remember the last time a weekly wrestling show ended with a wrestling match and no extracurricular activity followed.  No one appearing on the TitanTron.  No run-in.  Just one guy getting an impressive win over another guy and the copyright graphic appearing the corner of the screen before it fades to black.  It was a refreshing change.
  • The match was nothing spectacular.  But because Orton is still so highly regarded as a tough man to beat, the clean win by Mark Henry is huge.

Last Word:  PLUS +

FINAL TALLY:   11 PLUS,  0 MINUS

What’s this?  A perfect show??  Yep, I guess it was.  But remember, we’re taking this from the perspective of a show booked according to the “WWE style”.  Let’s explore how that affected the outcome of this review by looking at…

MY POINTS OF PRAISE:

  1. Continuity Counts.  Starting with the good news first this time.  The good news is, everything on this show mattered.  There was not one segment on this week’s Smackdown that felt like “filler.”  Everything was tied to something that had taken place earlier, either on this show or on Raw.  That makes a huge difference in getting fans to care about each individual match, promo, replay, or backstage segment.
  2. The Whole F’n (Big) Show.  Can’t say enough about the way Big Show has taken the lead in his feud with Alberto Del Rio.  He’s taking the bumps, the embarrassment, the majority of the talking, and he’s turning it into something that feels real.  And THAT is what is ultimately getting the fans hooked.  ADR can throw punches and kicks; he can swing baseball bats and smile and wink.  But when he fires up, his English takes a backseat.  That’s automatically going to alienate some fans.  Therefore the responsibility of communicating the emotion in this feud has fallen on Big Show and he has delivered.  And this feud is currently the foundation upon which the entire show is built.  Raw has the big names.  Which means Smackdown has to rely on the Big Show.

MY CHIEF COMPLAINTS:

  1. Already Lost His Swagger?   How do you complain about a perfect show?  The only flaws I could find were minor but could end up being major for the people they affect.  Jack Swagger’s return fizzled because he got a lucky win over Kofi Kingston last week instead of an impressive, dominating won.  Now, he’s basically reverted to the same Jack Swagger that everyone was tired of before he left.  They’re going to try continue to build him, but it may already be too late.
  2. Mizzed Opportunity.  Brock Lesnar embarrassed the Miz.  He beat him down and then destroyed his set.  Miz should be furious over this but instead he talks about Brock Lesnar as if he’s in awe of him and we’re supposed to take this guy seriously as a fighter?  As someone who deserves the U.S. title?  Until you grow a pair of balls and stand up for yourself, how about you let someone else challenge for the gold?  I realize Miz is basically just giving Cesaro something to do and that’s why their being booked together is not a major flaw.  But it could end up hurting Miz in the long run because regardless of whether the fans do recognize when someone’s character comes across as gutless and even though they’ll still cheer Miz because he’s the “good guy” and that’s what they’re supposed to do, all it takes is a little success for them to turn on him because they know he doesn’t deserve it.  Fans don’t mind if their heroes lose, as long as they tried.

So there you have it.  Smackdown knocks one out of the park this week.  Can they keep that moment going?  Who knows?  Maybe it was a situation where the stars were aligned in the favor and everything just clicked.  As a fan though, I enjoyed watching this show and when it comes to any wrestling show, that’s ultimately what matters.

That’s the last word for now, cupcakes.  Until next time, discuss!

[Follow “Handsome” Dan Lopez on Twitter, @DansLastWord.  And check out his personal blog page, “Handsome” Dan’s Last Word.]

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