Hey. So, I’m back.
Here’s the thing; I don’t want to bore you with the specifics for my absence, because A) You don’t care and B) It’s none of your beeswax. Let’s just treat this like I’m Ron Swanson and you’re everyone else in the world: I was not here and now I am. Let’s leave it at that.
Also, thanks to everyone who emailed/tweeted/Facebook’d (?) me encouraging stuff. It's super appreciated.
Also before we get started I need to thank Heather for filling in last week while I was out. She’s a real peach, and you should follow her on Twitter and like all of her articles and stuff because she’s legit better at Smacking Smackdown than I am.
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.
Vickie Guerrero & Alberto Del Rio in-ring segment
Cody Rhodes defeated Jack Swagger
Big E Langston defeated Sin Cara
CM Punk defeated Fandango
AJ Lee defeated Kaitlyn
Christian defeated Rob Van Dam & Randy Orton
Anyway, let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first.
(Most) images courtesy of WWE.com
God Bless Renee Young
I love Christian with all of my heart, and I’ll defend the majority of the crap he does without hesitation, but this was too much. I have an aversion to WWE comedy as it is, but trying to do a Mel Brooks bit AND include RVD and Randy Orton is enough to make me have stress induced nose bleeds. The only thing missing for this to be a perfect storm would be if Orton to said “I’m going to hit an RKO and become number #1 contender, if I may be so…” only for Van Dam to say “BLUNT!” and point at himself, because he’s a stupid pothead that feeds on simplistic dialogue.
Although, I have to say it wasn’t totally terrible. Because sandwiched between this middle school attempt at an Airplane! joke was beautiful Renee Young who’s presence just lights up my life. She’s so pleasing to look at, and I don’t mean that in a sexual way. I mean that she’s so naturally stunning and charming that looking at her just makes my heart smile. I hope we never have an instance where The Rock comes back, has an interview with her, points at her genitals and metaphorically tells her he’s king of cunnilingus, and ruins her forever.
Show of hands: Who else saw this coming like 8 months ago?
I don’t have anything against Layla, besides the fact that she was teamed with Michelle “Nepotism” McCool forever and a day. I know I’m in the minority here, but I never enjoyed LayCool. There’s just something about watching two pretty girls calling another pretty girl fat in the most malicious ways possible simply because she had more definition and wasn’t built like a runway model. I know they were heels and thus supposed to be terrible, but to me they’ve always represented the thing I hate most about WWE; the idea of what is and isn’t attractive based on the personal opinions of a 65-year-old billionaire, men and women both.
Now that AJ Lee isn’t allowed to have Big E ringside (because of sexism, or something) she needs someone else to help bully Kaitlyn for her larger than normal thighs and muscular frame, and I guess why not go to one half of the masters of making other girls feel bad about themselves? Like I said I get that they’re supposed to be jerks, and I should probably wait and see where this goes, but if it’s going to just be LayCool 2.0 now with more crazy, than I’m f**king O.U.T.
Vickie Guerrero-Smackdown GM
I loved watching Del Rio try to weasel his way out of a legitimate title match by picking Ricardo (WE MISS YOU RICARDO!) and then the Brooklyn Brawler, a guy who in his prime couldn’t beat Virgil. I like it when Del Rio is being smarmy and opportunistic, it fits his character better than “RAH RAH I am wearing American flag, I am one of you!”
As much as I hate the GM role and wish it would die a horrible, fiery death, I like having Vickie Guerrero on my screen in a role of consequence. She’s absolutely wonderful when she’s not trying to be pleasing and just lets the heat gravitate to her naturally, which is what the GM role is supposed to be. Booker T and Teddy Long were two babyfaces bullying the villains under the guise of trying to keep things “fair.” When Vickie is in charge she plays to either her corruptibility or her incompetence, and it makes the GM role work as a foil. It doesn’t work when the guy in charge is someone you like. How many people like cheering for their boss? Waylon Smithers. That’s about it.
I don’t know where this is headed mind you, but Vickie wasn’t trying to be Booker T and appeal to the masses; she was admonishing Del Rio for his choices because they sucked and if she let it happen she’ll get shit-canned. Her motivation isn’t based on crowd support; it’s based on common sense. Vickie was recently fired from her Raw job because the crowd said she sucked, why the hell would she do anything for them? It makes sense, and I love it.
Stay on Smackdown Vickie, and be the first GM to make decisions based on common sense and not crowd reactions or Tag Team Bingo for like, ever.
Cody Rhodes vs. Jack Swagger
I think the ship has sailed on Jack Swagger in general, and no amount of repackaging is going to save him at this point, so having him job to the stars and still have a compelling character works for me as long as he isn’t taking up main-event space anymore. He wrestles really well, and when he tries he makes his opponents look crisp. Cody was on defense for the majority of this match, but he never looked like he was in danger of losing. It worked for me, mostly because Cody Rhodes got the W and is now getting the push he so rightly deserves.
The break-up of Rhodes Scholars has been done so amazingly well, and Cody is so naturally charming that he’s making this face run work. He’s not as charismatic as his dad or as out-of-the-box creative as his brother, but Cody has his own strengths and he plays to them well. The biggest upside he has on his dad and brother is that he’s incredibly handsome, but he he’s also faster and way more intense. I’ve been saying it for years, but Cody Rhodes is a f**king star, and it’s great that other people are finally starting to see what I’ve been writing about for 3 years.
Alex Riley, Surprisingly
Long time readers know of my disdain for Alex Riley and pretty much everything he does, but even I have to admit this new role is working for him. At first he started to remind me a little too much of Matt Striker for my liking, but as the show went on he got more comfortable and really started to work well with Cole. For me the best kind of color commentator is like the music you listen to while working. It doesn’t require the focus, but it adds to the experience and makes it better. Riley isn’t really there yet, but he’s knows when to reference his own past to enhance the story (such as comparing his role as “Keeper of the Case” for Miz as Sandow wanted for Cody) but he also didn’t go over the top as say, Tazz, who is just super surprised about everything that happens (I have very little respect for someone who marks the f**k out for Magnus, even in kayfabe).
Look, in the end WWE could have picked someone way worse, and I’m just for anything that keeps Alex Riley out of a wrestling ring. It’s kind of win-win if you think about it.
Big E Langston vs. Sin Cara
As fun as the next two matches were, I think this one was my favorite of the night. I love watching Big dudes wrestle high-flyers, because it’s just so much fun to watch the Hoss throw them around. Sin Cara might just be Mistico with cement shoes but he’s still impressive, and his offense can play to Big E’s strengths, aka mainly his literal strength.
I don’t know if I say this enough, but I love Big E Langston. I see a lot of people comparing him to Ahmed Johnson and Ezekiel Jackson because of either “muscles” and/or “black”, but it’s bullshit. Big E has so much more going for him than either of those guys ever had, because not only is he a brick shit-house but he’s intelligent and knows how to play his character. The guy is money, trust me.
Now if he shows up in a few months wearing like 50 red pads and goes down with 5 injuries a year, I’d be willing to revisit this conversation.
CM Punk vs. Fandango
Aside from that superplex that was turned into the Anaconda Vice (which was f**king art) I thought this match was just okay. I have a problem with the CM Punk “Best in the World” moniker—mainly that it’s a lie— but it really shows when Punk can’t consistently go through a full match without me checking my email. His finishes are usually very good. Hell, the last 2 minutes of pretty much any CM Punk match are worth their weight in gold, but the problem is that Punk has these like 15-20 minute matches with guys like Fandango that aren’t compelling enough as characters to get me as invested as say, John Cena, and those middle minutes can sometimes feel like a chore.
I don’t want to take anything away from Fandango, because he’s a very good wrestler who with time is going to be great, but if you’re going to call yourself the “Best in the World” you better be able to have the best match on the goddamn B show, no matter who you’re wrestling. By those standards that makes Daniel Bryan the real “Best in the World,” because he is. I don’t care if you have mutton chops and a surely disposition, Punk. Hell, I don’t care if you pop adamantium claws from your hands. I know Wolverine, and you sir are no Wolverine.
I Love Triple Threat Matches
Okay, finish aside I was genuinely surprised with how much I enjoyed this match. I have a well-documented dislike of Rob Van Dam, and I’ve cooled on Randy Orton so much in the past 12-months that if I licked him my tongue would stick, but they were entertaining as hell in this match. I don’t know if it’s just the triple threat aspect or maybe they both just woke up simultaneously, but they managed to entertain me thoroughly.
I’m a pretty big mark for three way dances, and even though TNA is trying to kill that love by overusing it in their X division with dudes that have no idea how to wrestle a triple threat match, when they’re done right they’re awesome. Orton and RVD’s reversal of each other’s dumbest moves was appealing to the hater in me, but the obvious best part for Andrew Johnson was the way Christian walked out with not only the W but the respect of his peers. I hate the mat-stomping set-up to the RKO, but it worked here because it alerted Christian to Orton’s intentions, and while he was distracted with RVD he was able to get it together enough to pull a fast one. It was glorious, and now that Christian has finally pinned Orton 2 years later, he can move onto the big boss aka the aristocrat that is NOT going to lose his title, no matter how much I pray for it.
Either way, I’m pretty excited.
Tumblr: Andrew Johnson Is A Robot