Sheamus, Vickie Guerrero, & Dolph Ziggler opening promo
Sheamus defeated Dolph Ziggler
John Laurinaitis, David Otunga, & Teddy Long backstage
Santino Marella defeated Heath Slater
Eve defeated Natalya
Cody Rhodes & Big Show in-ring promo
Big Show defeated Mark Henry
Randy Orton backstage interview
Justin Gabriel defeated Drew McIntyre (shock)
Raw Rock Re-Run
Daniel Bryan backstage interview
Daniel Bryan defeated Randy Orton by countout
Kane murdered Randy Orton, because why not----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Alright, now is the part where I talk about the stuff I didn't like. If you took one look at that card and thought "Wow, the 'Smacked Down' column is going to be small this week," then surprise, you're wrong.
(Smacked Down = "I guess I'll do the dishes while this is on.")
Wait A Second, Are You Going To WrestleMania? Better Point At The Sign So We Know For Sure
I like Sheamus and his do-gooder that loves ta fight persona, so I don't enjoy focusing on the things he does that annoy me. I'd like to just write an entire paragraph on how much I love watching him Brogue Kick people, beat his own chest until it's as red as communism, and talk about how bad it is to be a bully, but I have a few problems with his opening promo this week:
1) We get it, you're excited to be going to WrestleMania. Please keep pointing and looking longingly at the sign and mentioning how excited you are, less we forget. For the love of God just take it down, we know it's coming up, it's only the biggest wrestling show of the year. All it does is give WWE Superstars something to point to for some half-hearted crowd reaction. It's just like starting a "USA" chant, only MORE pathetic, if that's possible. The only place the WrestleMania sign should be displayed is like on NXT or Superstars, and not in a "Here is the brass ring, now reach" kind of way, but more as a "Hope you enjoy the pre-WrestleMania dark-match battle royal, because that's as close as you're going to get" reminder.
2) I applaud anytime WWE remembers that their characters have established histories, so it's cool to see Sheamus look back on his career and repent for his formerly evil ways by mentioning he became a bully after winning the WWE title (because I guess that belt changes you into this creature that pushes fat kids in the mud and makes you call your fellow Superstars a bunch of gays), but it's kind of counterproductive to say the only cure for an evil heart is to get your ass kicked by someone bigger than you. I believe the Care Bears defeated evil by giving lots of hugs and showing no one is beyond forgiveness. Sheamus just wants to hurt people, and is using the "Be A Star" campaign as a cover for his desire to beat up vegans.
I'm not saying he should try to befriend Daniel Bryan and make their match a good spirited competition based on mutual respect because that would be boring. Just don't be an advocate for anti-bullying and then say the only way to stop people that annoy you from being a pain in the ass is to beat the f**k out of them. Get it together Sheamus, you're the Celtic Warrior, not Brock Samson.
Santino, Of Course
I've really been trying to make a conscious effort to go easier on Santino lately, but this week's match with Heath The Slack Jawed Yokel was a four minute encapsulation of everything I dislike about him. The stupid speed walking entrance, the cobra sock, and the goddamn split, and this was all within the first few seconds. Granted, Santino does have an organic connection with the crowd that enables him to do literally any stupid thing he can think of and the audience will lose their goddamn minds. But, this doesn't exactly make for thrilling television on a wrestling show, because this was more or less a squash match (if you couldn't tell by Heath Slater's involvement) and the insane thing is that Santino wasn't the guy getting squashed. It's an astounding flip-flop roll reversal that's been going on for the past few weeks. It's like WWE can't make up their mind on whether or not Santino is someone they want to get behind. It's like he keeps getting cheers by pulling socks out of his singlet, and the people backstage kind of lose focus and just roll with it and book him to win, only to have a sudden realization that the guy they're pushing is Santino and they make him lose to D Bry in 20 seconds or team with Hacksaw Jim Duggan. WWE and I are clearly suffering through the same indecision on this guy, but the only difference is that I'm just a dork with a blog who will forget about it after the end of this paragraph, whereas they have to find something to do with him again next week. I officially don't care if he's relegated to comedy shtick as Teddy's assistant or a potential main-event threat with a uni-brow, just make up your damn minds already.
Also, just because he did The Cobra to Slater while he was on the top rope, that doesn't make the move more versatile. He literally did the same thing he always does, his opponent just happened to be at a higher elevation. If you want to make that move look more painful, then have him do it while wearing Wolverine's claws instead of a f**king sock.
Natalya, Embracing The Gas
From day one of this whole "Nattie Farts" story, I've had a feeling that at some point she would just embrace her intestinal disability and start using her new found powers for good. And, since Eve is the resident WWE bitch at the moment, I guess she's the first victim of Natalya's "Justice Fart" or some equally stupid name for her lack of manners that will be trademarked and put on a stupid t-shirt. I have SO MANY problems with this gimmick, and if you want to know them in full I suggest you check the back logs of this blog so that I don't have to go into exhaustive detail, and can just focus on the few that really apply to this segment;
1) I don't know if they are trying to justify their humiliation of Natalya by trying to shoehorn in a "You should be proud of who you are" kind of message by having her see the lighter side of this wind breaking character she's been saddled with, but whether they are or not is irrelevant, because it's horrible. Sure people should be proud of who they are and accepting of their own flaws, but not when one of those flaws is uncontrollable flatulence in public. That's either a lack of couth and self control, or it's a medical condition. If it's the latter then she needs to go to a doctor and get on some medication that will keep her from shitting her pants while she does her job, and if it's the former then she needs to stop it and grow the f**k up.
2) Unless you're Howard Stern, the ability to fart is never seen as a positive (i.e. Fartman). Hell, it isn't even a positive if you are Howard Stern, because seriously, who wants to be rescued by a guy who's only power is nearly pooping his pants?
3) It might not be today, it might not be tomorrow, but one day soon Natalya's entrance music will begin with the sound of a giant wet fart ripping between two cheeks. You watch. You listen. You prepare. Because it's going to happen.
But, the worst was yet to come...
Wrestling Comes Second To Fart Jokes
The entirety of this match consisted of three things, and here they are in order of importance:
1) Fart jokes.
2) Discussion about appropriateness of said fart jokes.
3) Literally nothing else.
In all honesty the match wasn't too bad, even if it was like a minute long. It was probably the best Eve match I've ever seen, although that's not saying much. With the sound off it's actually a pretty enjoyable segment. But, the whole time Eve and Natalya were doing there best to make literally something out of nothing, Michael Cole was making fart noises, Booker T was admonishing Cole for focusing on farts instead of the match, and Josh Matthews just sat there in silence and probably checked his Twitter account for Smackdown hashtags. I know women's wrestling is probably the lowest thing on WWE's priority list, but come on this is just embarrassing for everyone.
I'm not one of those people that dogs on the announce team to excess, because the truth is I like the three man team on Smackdown for the most part, even though Cole has taken the one thing I enjoyed about him (hating Daniel Bryan all the way until Miz said it was okay to like the guy) I think they work well together in a strange way. Booker is the staunch support of everything good, Cole is the aggressively opinionated douche that can't shut up, and Matthews is kind of the ring master that has to balance out these two colliding powers. While they can be grating at times, for the most part they add more to the show then they detract, so I find it easy to forgive their more idiotic moments.
Except, when they are so wrapped up in making fart jokes and having a discussion about the appropriateness of fart jokes, and thinking about their next fart jokes that they forget a wrestling match is going on and before they can even make a comment about what the hell is literally going on in front of their eyes it's over. Wrestling wasn't even an afterthought, it was a NEVER thought. So while Cole was clearly the antagonist in this whole thing and Booker was only making it worse by calling Cole an asshole, the real person to blame is Josh Matthews. It's your job to wrangle these morons Josh, and you just sat there and let this happen to us. I don't want to say you're as bad as those people that stay silent when they see a hate crime occur in front of them, but you really should be ashamed of yourself. Maybe next week Josh could just carry around a bullhorn, and every time one of those two get out of line, he can just cause a lot of feedback until everyone is quiet and he can call the match in peace.
Randy Orton Isn't Super Vipery Tonight
I'm no herpetologist, so I can't tell you what a viper's mannerisms are like when he's giving a promo. If I had to guess, it wouldn't be "look stoned and listless while talking about how much you dislike someone while not seeming genuinely mad at all". I'd probably say it would be "look pissed off and bite a lot of people." Not to worry though, because in two weeks Orton will get injured again, and then they can hype another big "RANDY ORTON RETURNS OMG" for the 80th time this year.
Drew McIntyre's Transformation Into MVP: Week 9
9 weeks. That's how long it took for Theodore Long to follow through with his promise to fire Drew McIntyre. 9. Weeks.
In my last column's comment section a reader said that I should "wait and see" instead of being critical about things, because sometimes stories take a long time to develop fully and they should be given the chance to be judged as a whole instead of as individual moments. This is a crutch a lot of people in the business use instead of just admitting that something is kind of stupid. A few thoughts:
2) How boring would these articles be if I just said "I would like to say something negative about this, but I'll just wait and see what happens"? I'm not here to review story lines and angles as a whole, I'm reviewing a weekly episodic show that has both good and bad parts to it. If I didn't like something I'm not going to wait until the whole story is fleshed out before commenting on it, because that's dumb. Should I watch every episode of "Two And A Half Men" before giving my critical analysis on whether or not I like the show? No, because one episode is enough to tell you that show is a turd.
Am I willing to see where things go? Yes, because I'm going to watch it anyway, I might as well come in with an open mind every week. But, this isn't Christian losing the title to Orton after a two day reign. It's Natalya farting and Santino housing people with a stocking on his arm. And I'm not going to watch Natalya fart and Santino house people with a stocking on his arm and stay silent because I should "see where it's going." I can wait and see and still say if something sucks. I don't care if they have a good ending, the lead up to a lot of the current stories on Smackdown are horrible, and everyone has a right to criticize them for the nonsense that they are.
3) This Drew McIntyre story is a perfect example of how the "wait and see" method doesn't work. For 9 weeks we've been waiting to see this come to some sort of conclusion, and when it finally did, it blew. Teddy came on the screen and fired him, the end. That's something he should have done MONTHS ago for this story to make sense. And, I know that it's probably not over, because Johnny Ace tweeted that Drew will probably get another chance to prove himself, but it's just an example of how little forethought was put into this whole mess. How much longer am I supposed to wait before I make up my mind on whether or not I hate this?
So yeah, I'm sure this isn't the end, but I'm going to pretend that Drew really got fired anyway so that I can write one more MVP comparison in the form of a goodbye message:
Sorry to see you go, Drew. Enjoy getting blown up by MacGruber only to emerge three months later in mid-feud with Masato Tanaka in Japan.
The Rock's Promo Is So Important It Requires A Raw Re-Run That Takes Up Over 20 Minutes Of Smackdown Television
I am not going to talk about a Raw promo on a Smackdown review. But, I will sum it up for you: Rock spent 20 minutes saying John Cena has no balls and is a sweet and sour chicken (or something), John Cena spent 2 minutes calling Rock out for being a phoney and made him look like a chump, a tiny Natalya farted inside The Rock's brain and then he died.
I Guess Kane Is Just Working His Way Down The Roster
I like Kane, but I'm having a hard time coming up with a rational excuse as to why he would attack Randy Orton, aside from the fact the big dance is coming up and neither of them have a date. It's not a big deal, mind you, because I probably wouldn't mind this feud in the long run, but I think there needs to be some sort of catalyst for their interaction aside from "neither of us are doing anything, might as well fight." I do find it comical however that once Kane realized he has no chance of beating John Cena, (or was he more interested in getting him to embrace hate? If that's it, why did he have an ambulance match with him after the hate was embraced? Wow, that story was sloppy) he decided the best thing to do was cut his losses and just look at the guy below him on the list of importance. This shouldn't be too hard for Orton though, because in their feud Cena revealed Kane's greatest weakness: getting his attitude adjusted off the top of an ambulance into a comfortable stack of cardboard boxes and electrical cords. There you go Randy, half the work is already done for you. Badabing badaboom.
(Smacked Up = "Those dishes can wait.")
Nobody Takes An Ass Whooping Like Dolph Ziggler
One of my favorite things about this "Show Off" character that Ziggler has created is that while he's doing overtly show off stuff like crunches in the Elimination Chamber or head stands as he applies sleeper holds, he's also showing off in a kayfabe way. By that I mean nobody, and I mean NOBODY, on the WWE roster sells wrestling moves better than Dolph Ziggler. Every time he takes a move, whether it be a simple clothesline or one of Sheamus's thirty different finishing moves, Dolph reacts to it like he's getting murdered. Selling is hugely important in that it takes something as asinine as professional wrestling and makes it look painful and real, even when it isn't. Guys like Shawn Michaels made a career out of bumping hard and selling their opponents offense, something Ziggler has clearly seen works and has applied it to his overall abilities so well that it makes his already fantastic skill set even better. He doesn't need to do thirty elbow drops and a toe touch to show off. Every single time he whips his head back after getting a punch or when he takes a back breaker and falls to the mat like he's now paralyzed, Ziggler is showing off. He's showing you how great he is at wrestling, and rubbing your face in it.
So I'm not sure if it was just because Ziggler was being Ziggler, but I really liked this match. It's nice to see Sheamus morph into a steamroller so close to the biggest show of the year. He's like a "Road To WrestleMania" character on WWE video games where you have to win every match or you can't advance; slightly annoying, but satisfying none-the-less. Man, it must be great to be Great White.
The Great GM Switch
Next week's episode of Smackdown is being built up to be the greatest episode of Smackdown ever, if only in my head. I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to an entire episode without having to suffer through Teddy Long abusing his station. The only real enjoyment I get out of Theodore Long's appearances anymore is the inevitable dressing down he receives from John Laurinaitis and the head shake of disapproval from David Otunga. I know this feud is going to probably come to a head at WrestleMania with Team Laurinaitis vs. Team Teddy, and it'll end with Teddy winning because WWE hates me, but I'm going to enjoy Laurinaitis for as long as I can before he's relegated back to Raw and my Friday nights get even more sad and pathetic.
Also, good luck with The Raw Deal this week John, because the good guy aka "the guy that gives the fans what they want" booked a match between David Otunga (who is awesome at pretty much everything, but mediocre at best at the whole wrestling thing) and The Great Khali (who is just overall horrible). If Canton didn't hate Teddy before this, then he sure as hell should now.
Cody Rhodes, Of Course
The Intercontinental title has always been my favorite belt, going back to when I was a little kid. At the time I liked it because it was the belt Razor Ramon had, but I grew to respect it for all the reasons everyone else does; it was the workhorse title and all the matches that were worth watching were for the Intercontinental title. But, then one day Marc Mero won the damn thing, and it hasn't been the same since. For years I've had to watch people like Prince Albert, Carlito F**king Caribbean Cool, and Test hold a belt that to me was the backbone of an industry I loved. Test. I don't care if his reign was for like 2 days, he will forever be in the record books as an Intercontinental Champion. You have no idea how much that haunts me.
So part of the reason that I adore Cody Rhodes as much as I do is that he's actually made the Intercontinental title matter again. He really treats it like something worth having, and not just a belt to hold your wrestling tights up. And while his upcoming title match with Big Show at WrestleMania isn't really the ideal feud I was hoping for, it still accomplishes two things; give Cody at real feud at WrestleMania and not just a match, and get the Intercontinental title defended on the show of shows. I don't know how many of you actually keep track of these kinds of things, but the last time the Intercontinental title was defended at WrestleMania, it was when Rey Mysterio beat JBL in like, 4 seconds, so that doesn't even really count. Before that, it was at WrestleMania XVIII, way back in 2002. That's when I graduated high school, and Rob Van Dam was champion. Try and deal with that.
So yeah, I'm happy with this, even though Cody didn't have another "Embarrassing Big Show WrestleMania Moment", because seriously, where do you go after you've already mentioned the sumo wrestler and the boxer? The only thing worse then those losses is when he spent WrestleMania XVIII at WWF New York with Billy Gunn. That's a much bigger loss when you think about it.
Mark Henry Is DANGEROUS
Mark Henry's character has been wildly inconsistent lately. On Raw, he's as gentle as a lamb and gets trounced in a few seconds of punch/kick fighting, but on Smackdown he's a dangerous lunatic that will throw steel steps at your head. The only excuse I can find for this is that Mark Henry is Fire Nation, and every time he's on Raw there's an eclipse. It also explains why it took him 15 years to be a powerful monster, because Sozin's Comet only shows up like once in a lifetime, and I guess it was here from May until about December of 2011 when he was running over everybody.
I'll be honest, I really can't tell if I'm upset about Mark Henry's current slump, or I just really miss "Avatar". Probably both.
Justin Gabriel's Low Camera Angle 450 Splash
Daniel Bryan: Cheap Pop, Cheap Heat, All Great
I'm really glad that AJ is as forgiving as Rhianna, because if she weren't we wouldn't get to see those sexy little looks when Bryan is talking about how he doesn't have a TV and meat is for morons.
It's weird how much I'm against people using cheap comments to elicit a crowd reaction, but I'm totally cool with it when it's Daniel Bryan. In one promo he got the cheap pop for mentioning he was in his home town, got the cheap heat by saying he moved away the first chance he got, and it worked just fine because he didn't need it. A lot of times when a wrestler does that it's because they have no other personality traits to hang their hats on, but Bryan has tons. He's not doing it for the cheap reaction, he's doing it because Aberdeen Washington can go f**k itself. Who doesn't want to tell their home town to go to hell? You? Pfft, whatever, I bet you live in Seattle.
Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan Is Always Welcome
First off, how great are those signs?
While the ending of the match might have been a let down, I really don't have, nor will I probably ever, have any real complaints about Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan. I enjoy the chemistry they have, and seeing Bryan wrestle someone that isn't either 7 feet tall or 7 feet wide is really refreshing. The thing about Randy Orton matches that I like so much are how they tend to flow organically, and don't really get stuck in the "okay this spot, now that spot" kind of motif that a lot of other guys do. Don't get me wrong, his matches aren't always perfect, but I always enjoy watching someone put themselves in a situation to be dangled on the ring ropes and dropped on the top of their f**king skulls then see Orton set them up for it. The higher the skill set of his opponent, the better the match flows, and Daniel Bryan is all kinds of crazy good.
Another cool thing is that while Bryan was acting like he could beat Orton clean, everyone knows that isn't even in the realm of possibility. This is the WWE, not Ring Of Honor. In WWE, Daniel Bryan isn't going to make Randy Orton tap to anything. I don't care if his arm is literally torn out of it's socket and Bryan is pulling it with his legs and holding a gun to Orton's head, WWE Superstar Randy Orton is never going to tap out on WWE television. He's not exactly Super Cena, but he's so protected that it's cool to watch them wrestle, but you know the match is going to end in some sort of cluster f**k (see about 7 paragraphs up). I'm not really dogging this mind you, because Bryan still gets a win in Daniel Bryan fashion, and Orton gets a feud. I'm just saying I'm aware of it.
So yeah, this was cool, but it ended in a bummer, but I can forgive it because the show ended with a wonderful image...
John Laurinaitis and David Otunga, Watching Smackdown And Plotting For Next Week Like A Couple Of Pimps
They really are.
Well that's it for me. If you made it this far, a winner is you. Thanks for reading, and I'll see you guys next week.Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgTwitter: TheAEJohnson