Segment 1. New World Heavyweight Champion Dolph Ziggler in-ring promo. Interrupted by Jack Swagger, Alberto Del Rio, and Chris Jericho. Jericho reveals that he will be facing Ziggler in tonight’s main event.

  • Big E Langston introduced Ziggler “Ricardo Rodriguez style.”  I’m glad they’ve allowed this guy to show his personality.  He hasn’t been just another Mason Ryan or Ezekiel Jackson.  I can easily see him having a top singles run someday.
  • It’s obvious from this promo that WWE is going to keep Ziggler heel.  He shit all over the “WWE Universe” and gave all the credit for winning the World Heavyweight Championship to himself.  Rightfully so, but it was overt attempt to regain some heat after the hero’s response he received on Raw.
  • Swagger interrupting and acting like he was going to challenge Ziggler was an intriguing tease at a possible heel vs. heel match-up.  I think it would work, but I’d be surprised if it ever actually happened.
  • Del Rio got a decent pop but his promo was weak.  He had some good moments, mostly against Big Show, but I hope he doesn’t remain in the title picture for long.  He fills the role of the babyface victim but he isn’t doing anything that someone else couldn’t do.  And possibly do better.
  • Chris Jericho ran through his usual repertoire of catchphrases which popped the local crowd but it was all just to set up the main event for tonight which was kind of a lame pay-off.  There wasn’t another marquee match-up on the show so how does Smackdown even start without a main event?  I get it.  You pop the crowd by revealing to them that they get to see this match, but it’s just such a cheap, uncreative method of booking.
  • This was the first time Ziggler really had control of a promo segment and to his credit, he held his own.  Dueling with people like Zeb Coulter and Jericho can be dangerous.  But “The Show-off” never allowed himself to be overshadowed.

Last Word:  WIN!

Segment 2.  Team Hell No def. Prime Time Players…again.

  • The title of this segment says it all.  How many times are we going to see this fucking match?!  At least they’re getting shorter each time.  This one rivaled Superstar Billy Graham & Ivan Putski vs. Tom Stone & Joe Mirto for brevity.
  • Daniel Bryan gets the win, forcing Titus O’Neil to tap to the “No” Lock.  I would get excited about this but I’m afraid the only reason WWE allowed it to happen was to try to make both members of Team Hell No look strong in preparation for them losing the titles.
  • The Shield appear on the big screen and cut a promo.  As excited as everyone got during Raw at a potential six-man match-up pitting Shield against Team Hell No and the Undertaker, it seems like that was just a one-shot.  The rumor is that the Shield is going to win the tag titles and defend them using the “Freebird Rule”.
  • The Shield winning some gold is fine and doing so against Team Hell No would be a great.  I just felt like this segment was a throwaway.

Last Word:  FAIL!

Segment 3.  New Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett def. Santino Marella in a non-title match.

  • Feels like WrestleMania was ages ago.  These replays remind me that it was just last Sunday.
  • This match was everything it should have been.  Santino is a jobber but he’s a member of the regular roster.  So he should get some offense in and he did.  Wade overcoming that and getting the victory makes him look stronger.
  • It makes you wonder why they had him lose the I-C title in the first place.  There was very little mention of the former champion The Miz.  If you hadn’t watched ‘Mania or Raw and didn’t know the results, it would almost be  like the title change never even happened.  If it was WWE realizing their mistake in having Barrett lose the belt and making good by having him regain it, then I give them credit.  But if the whole point of the title change was just for a cheap pop during the WrestleMania pre-show, then they deserve whatever criticism they get for being so flippant with a championship that could be used in a much more lucrative and meaningful way.

Last Word:  WIN!

Segment 4.  WrestleMania weekend highlights.  Booker T gives Sheamus & Randy Orton a handicap match against Big Show. 

  • This segment was basically a throwaway.  In case you haven’t realized by now, I hate hate hate booking segments in which the card is made up during the show.  The announcers are perfectly capable of letting the viewing audience know which matches are on the card and who made them.  Watching them play out backstage is not entertaining to me.  If used once in a while for unique match-ups, yes, these segments can be effective drama.  But when they’re used all the time like this, it just reeks of laziness and a lack of creativity.  I’d much rather watch JTG and Alex Riley in a competitive undercard match.

Last Word:  FAIL!

Segment 5.  Bella Twins & Tamina Snuka def. Divas Champion Kaitlyn & The Funkadactyls in a six-woman tag match.

  • Brutally short match.
  • The divas are so entertaining.  They aren’t the greatest workers, but you can tell when they’re in the ring they’re making the most of their time.  That type of passion is palpable and transmits to people watching at home.  It’s easy to shit on them for their lack of wrestling ability, but I will continue to support them and criticize WWE for not taking advantage of what could be a very lucrative portion of their roster.
  • The purpose of this match was basically to further the feud between the Bellas and the Funkadactyls.  Although, Divas Champ Kaitlyn looked very strong, dominating the opposition until she tagged out.  I was very glad to see that.  I was not a big fan of hers at first but since winning the title, she’s really sold me on her persona.

Last Word:  WIN!

Segment 6.  Triple H in-ring promo interrupted by 3MB.  3MB attacked by The Shield.  Team Hell No chases The Shield off.

  • I like the concept of 3MB but I don’t like the members.  Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal are just god-awful.  I know they look good and they’re good athletes but they just don’t connect with the crowd at all.  I wish they could repackage 3MB with a couple of guys who actually know how to entertain.
  • I don’t think 3MB needs to start taking themselves seriously.  I like that they’re goofballs.  But I have to admit, I got a little excited when they came out to challenge Triple H.  Mostly because I’m tired of seeing part-timers come out of retirement just to work with other part-timers instead of elevating younger talent.
  • The other reason I was excited to see 3MB being of course, that they spared us another rambling Triple H promo.
  • This whole segment just turned into another staredown between the Shield and Team Hell No.  Seeing as how we had already visited that feud earlier in the show, I felt like this time could’ve been put to better use.

Last Word:  FAIL!

Segment7.  Randy Orton & Sheamus def. Big Show by count out in a handicap match.

  • I never understood babyfaces competing against one heel in a handicap match doing anything to bolster the babyace’s standing as a hero.  This seems like a bully tactic and supposedly, WWE is against that (Be a S.T.A.R.).  Forcing one person to compete against two is the kind of thing a heel would do and if offered to a babyface, they should refuse.  Orton and Sheamus should’ve responded with something like, ” As badly as I want to get my hands on Big Show, I want to do the right way.  One on one.  So I’ll step aside tonight IF you promise me that I’ll get my shot at Big Show next week.”  But instead, to be excited about the chance to beat up on Big Show in an unfair situation, I don’t understand why fans would pop for that.  To me, all this segment did was elevate Big Show.

Last Word:  FAIL!

Segment 8.  Sheamus & Orton backstage.  Mark Henry attacks Sheamus.  Kofi Kingston def. United States Champion Antonio Cesaro in a non-title match.

  • Mark Henry just beat Ryback clean as fuck at WrestleMania.  Now Ryback is apparently challenging for the WWE Championship against the guy who couldn’t beat Mark Henry clean on Raw, John Cena.  So the next logical move for Mark Henry to make is to attack…Sheamus??  As I recall, Henry crushed Sheamus in their one-on-one feud last year.  So what does he have to prove against the “Celtic Warrior?”  Nothing.  This is the guy who couldn’t keep his title against Big Show, who apparently can’t beat Big Show without Randy Orton’s help and  can’t beat The Shield no matter who he’s teaming with.  Why would Henry even waste his time with this chump?  Seems to me he should be pissed off at being completely overlooked as a contender to the WWE title.  I know that it’s pro wrestling and not everything is going to make sense but this was just a little insulting.
  • Speaking of insulting, Cesaro jobs again in yet another non-title match.  I know Kofi has a lot of fans, but I think we’ve seen his best already.  It’s time to move on.  We have yet to see Cesaro’s best.  I hope he goes over in this program.  Either way, I’m tired of seeing so-called champions lose.

Last Word:  FAIL!

Segment 9.  Raw Rebound chronicling John Cena’s ‘celebration’, the challenge from Mark Henry, their match, and Ryback’s attack.  Fandango’s intro.

  • Nothing wrong with recapping what happened on Raw, but when the entire segment is devoted to that and an intro, it just seems wasted to me.
  • It was clear that this crowd in Boston did not have the same energy as the crowd in New Jersey for Raw just one day before.

Last Word:   FAIL!

Segment 10.   Main Event:  Chris Jericho vs. World Heavyweight Champion Dolph Ziggler (non-title match), Part One.  Fandango at ringside.

  • First half of the main event is unremarkable.

Last Word:  FAIL!

Segment 11.  Ziggler def. Jericho with help from Fandango and Big E Langston.  Fandango beats down Jericho after the match.

  • It was nice to see Ziggler get the win even if it came with a lot of help.  The match itself however, was rather pedestrian.
  • I was also glad to see them continue the feud with Jericho and Fandango by having Fandango get some revenge for Jericho’s attack on Raw.

Last Word:  WIN!

Final Verdict:  This week’s episode of WWE Smackdown is a FAIL!

POINTS OF PRAISE:

  1. The Champ Is Here.  After a year of losing, it’s finally Dolph Ziggler’s time.  This being his first chance to spread his wings as the new World Heavyweight Champion, WWE could’ve easily had him fall flat on his face but they didn’t.  He held his own on the mic during the opening segment, showing the swagger and confidence of a champion.  And even though an assisted win isn’t the most impressive first time outing, it’s still a pinfall victory, which is a lot better than what Ziggler’s been getting the past year and it’s a perfectly acceptable way for a heel champion to win.

CHIEF COMPLAINTS:

  1. Continuity Counts.  Or should I say, a lack of continuity kills?  Mark Henry attacking Sheamus made absolutely no sense.  Aagain, I realize it’s wrestling and sometimes storylines have to be pieced together creatively but that’s the problem.  This didn’t seem creative at all.  It was just so random and out of the nowhere that as a fan I felt sort of like Sheamus did after the blindside attack.
  2. Magic CAN be Manufactured.  The letdown from Monday to Tuesday wasn’t just in the lack of enthusiasm from the crowd.  The fans in New Jersey I’m sure we’re still running on the adrenaline from WrestleMania weekend but WWE did a good job of feeding that adrenaline by giving them something to mark out for.  The title wins of Barrett and Ziggler did as much to contribute to that electric atmostphere on Raw as anything else.  I realize not every show can be like that but this show could’ve been helped tremendously by giving the fans something other than unneccessary booking segments and a bunch of video highlight packages.  WWE has a deep roster of talented people that fans would appreciate seeing as long as they’re given the chance to really show what they can do in the ring.  It doesn’t mean you have to suddenly promote the undercard to main event status.  But give them more chances to work with each other and you’d give the fans something they can really get emotionally invested in and excited about.

So after four hours, a lot of technical difficulties, and frustration nearing Jack Nicholson in The Shining, there’s your Smackdown review.  Bottom line, WWE often teases with things that most fans will agree is completely awesome.  And we’d all like to see them keep it going.  But unfortunately, sooner or later, it all returns to status quo.  And that’s what this Smackdown was a perfect reflection of.  Because in the end, it’s easier to stay the course and do what people have come to accept as “normal” than it is to get creative and risk and idea or a character not working out.

Not that the show was a total loss or that the product can’t be enjoyed for what it is.  But there are just a few areas in which WWE seems to be keeping the lid on, when they should be cracking it open.  In some cases, it’s as simple as booking a match and just letting these people who are paid to entertain do what they can do.

And that’s the last word for now.  Until next time, freaks…discuss.

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

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