Hey friends, and welcome to this week’s Smacking of Smackdown. I’m not Andrew Johnson, but am actually just a very convincing Andrew Johnson android. I’m exactly the same in every way, except I don’t understand emotions and have no genitals. So not that different, really.
Before we get started Andrew programmed me to thank Heather for filling in last week while I was getting upgraded. She’s a real peach, and you should follow her on Twitter and like all of her articles and stuff because she’s fan-freaking-tastic.
In case this is your first time here, you should know that this isn’t like the traditional recap/review that you’ll see on this website. And by that I mean I don’t use star rankings because star rankings are silly. But, since most people need things spelled out for them, I went ahead and split the show up into two columns; Smacked Up (good) and Smacked Down (bad). And in case you’re the type that can’t function unless things are in order, here’s a helpful guide to aide you in the mind-bending world of non-linear writing.
CM Punk & Alberto Del Rio segment
The Usos defeated Team Rhodes Scholars
Alicia Fox defeated Kaitlyn
Randy Orton defeated Christian
Dolph Ziggler defeated Drew McIntyre
Fandango defeated Justin Gabriel
Antonio Cesaro vs. CM Punk went to a no contest
Anyway, let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first.
(Most) images courtesy of WWE.com
Alicia Fox vs. Kaitlyn
You can tell that Fit Finlay really emphasizes on drop kicks in Divas training, because Jesus Christ I lost count of how many drop kicks happened in this match. Don’t get me wrong, drop kicks rule and are great sequiturs in a match, but when your entire offensive arsenal is jumping in the air and thrusting your feet into your opponent’s cranium, it can get a bit tedious.
The other problem is that this just felt like a stall. Let’s be frank; AJ has done way more f**ked up shit to Kaitlyn in the past few weeks beyond skipping around the ring and waving her arms. In fact, isn’t that what Layla is for? To prevent something like this from affecting the outcome of Kaitlyn’s matches? If Layla were a competent valet she would have dropped her ass after she made her second left around the ring.
I don’t know, this whole thing was just kinda dumb. And I can forgive dumb if there’s a semblance of entertainment. You know what this thing needed? Big E Langston just standing on the ramp and looking bored. It would have been fun to see someone wearing the same expression as me on television.
Randy Orton vs. Christian
Here’s the thing about this show; I didn’t have a problem with the wrestling at all. In fact, every match on this episode of Smackdown was pretty high grade. But, that doesn’t mean I enjoyed everything about it. Orton and Christian have this weird chemistry that makes even Randy Orton at half speed seem like he’s top shelf, and Christian is still a machine despite the fact that he’s starting to look and move like a Minnesota Vikings era Brett Farve.
My problem with the match wasn’t that it was bad; it was that it was kind of… unnecessary? I don’t know how to put it. I think part of the reason I didn’t enjoy it was that after Daniel Bryan dropped Orton a few weeks ago and Kane got a W on Raw we were going to see a new more vulnerable Randy Orton that would eventually lead to a heel turn. The whole losing streak gimmick has been done before, but when done correctly it can be compelling. Randy Orton as a character is at best a sociopath, and a streak of failure would’ve been a good way to get him back on the path of full on Lex Luthor super villainy. Instead we have him getting his heat back by beating Christian, and more or less going back to zero. It’s just oddly timed and I didn’t like it.
And go ahead and put away your “You’re just pissed Christian lost because you’re a fan boy” comments because anyone that knows me or has read my columns for the past 3 years could tell you that’s total bullshit. I’m fine with my favorites losing, as long as the loss makes sense and isn’t just a throw away thing to get someone else’s heat back. Yeah, I love Christian and will defend him till the day I day, but that doesn’t mean I approve of everything he does. For instance, I will never ever EVER defend the goddamn spear. I hated it when Edge did it with his gangly frame, and I hate it even more when Christian—who doesn’t even have Edge’s broad shoulders so you can kinda justify it— throws himself into Superstars and crumbles like robot being depowered. Seriously, when he hits it he looks like pasta slapped against the wall.
What A Pointless Mini-Feud
First off, I need to say that I LOVED (with like a million cartoon hearts) that Ziggler was repping his onscreen girlfriend's merchandise. AJ sporting Dolph's shirt isn't that big a deal because she wears other people's merch all the time, but seeing Ziggler afford her the same courtesty... I dunno I thought it was sweet. It's like he was wearing her class ring on a necklace. I think it's important for characters to maintain their consistency, even though they are on the opposite sides of the hero/villain alignment. Seriously, Dolph Ziggler just made my robot heart grow like three sizes, which I'm pretty sure means I'm going to have to get a tune up.
That being said...
Look, I enjoy watching Dolph Ziggler Road Runner 3MB as much as the next guy, but the guy he’s supposed to be building heat with is main-eventing with Wolverine-chops and he’s getting himself over at the expense of three dudes who could use a goddamn break. The worst thing is that we all know they will never get the upper hand, and are basically just playing the part of foils to Zigglers’ braggadocious behavior so the audience can be conditioned to cheer for him. Seriously, when did 3MB become the wrestling equivalent of Bulk and Skull?
As pandering as CM Punk can be, I actually enjoyed this segment. Del Rio was fantastically shaken by Punk’s observations that he’s nothing but a confidence trickster using his nationality and Rah Rah Americanism to infiltrate the hearts of the WWE Universe, and when that failed he reverted back to his default mode. I hate when WWE feels the need to explain everything in monologue instead of just letting the subtext settle on its own, but in this case I think it was needed. It’s easy to jump all over WWE for assuming that the fanbase has the short term memory of a beta fish, but by letting CM Punk explain the situation so that we don’t have to assume Del Rio’s motivation they’ve helped me avoid that whole “We didn’t forget he loved America a few months ago” argument/bitchy rant I’m known for.
The Usos vs. Team Rhodes Scholars
I’ve been an advocate for the Usos for as long as I’ve written this article, and while I don’t think they’ve got a shot in hell against Rollins and Reigns, it’s nice to see that they’re getting some appreciation. That’s the thing about tag teams; they don’t have to win the titles to get appreciated. Just let them go out and apply their trade, and win the fans over.
The same can be said about Rhodes Scholars. They had a short but well-paced wrestling match with the Usos full of top shelf wrestling and intriguing in-ring storytelling. And while they are clearly rolling toward dissolution, Rhodes Scholars don’t need to win the tag team titles to cement their legacy. Some of the most popular tag teams in WWE history have never won the gold. The Twin Towers, Furnas and Lafone, The Bushwackers, The Powers of Pain… you’re uh… you’re in… good*… company, Team Rhodes Scholars. So… ya know. Yay.
Fandango vs. Justin Gabriel
Poor Fandango. He finally got some traction (also less important: I finally jumped on his bandwagon and stopped hating for the sake of dancing) and suddenly he gets his head bopped so hard cartoon birds circled his head. The IC title push that was rightfully his was instead placed on WWE’s version of Ann Veal, he lost all of his momentum, and is still stuck with Summer Rae. Long story short, it’s been a bad month for Fandango.
And yet, here he is fresh off his medical hiatus (and countout shaming on Raw) having a great back and forth with Justin Gabriel aka 2013 Evan Bourne. It was a good match and a lot of fun to watch, and it did a lot to remind me that Johnny Curtis is an incredibly talented individual, and while he’s a little down at this point he’s going to rebound. He won’t be down for long.
On a related note, WWE:
The Colter Camp
Antonio Cesaro? Teamed with a pair of xenophobic hypocrites? In a beret?
I AM IN.
Alberto Del Rio vs. CM Punk
Here’s something I want to share with you; I can watch Alberto Del Rio and CM Punk wrestle each other all day. I don’t know why, but I just get really wrapped up in their matches. Del Rio knows how to sell Punk’s offense well, and his defense meshes well with counters for Punk’s offense. It’s not the best match they had, but it was enough to hold my interest. Punk let Del Rio work the arm, told the story of his weakened shoulder, and for real had me on the edge of my seat.
I hated the finish (double count outs are obnoxious) but seeing Punk’s fuse get lit when Del Rio went after Heyman was actually kind of moving; sure they don’t see eye to eye at the moment but Punk still cares a lot about Paul Heyman. It’s going to make Heyman’s inevitable reveal as the Brutus to Punk’s Cesar all that more devastating. I still prefer heel Punk over face Punk, but at least his turn actually has a story behind it, and isn’t just a flip-the-switch alignment change like most.
Anyway, what did you think of Smackdown? Let us know in the comments. If you made it this far, a winner is you. I’m Android Johnson, and thanks for reading.
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