Updated: The Smacking of WWE Smackdown 07/26/13
Android Johnson is in for repairs. We had him serving up lime daiquiris at the 3rd Annual TJR Pig Roast, but one of his wheels got tangled in Lonestar’s toga, and he took a little tumble into the hot tub. So I am covering Smackdown, and Canton is all mad at us because he “can’t have nice things”.
Here is an outline of this week’s show:
~~ RESULTS ~~
Randy Orton pinned Damien Sandow
CM Punk In-Ring Promo
Mark Henry/The Usos pinned Wade Barrett/Prime Time Players
Alberto Del Rio pinned Rob Van Dam
AJ Lee In-Ring Promo
Wyatt Family Members pinned Tons of Funk
Christian pinned Jack Swagger
Damien Sandow Confronts Cody Rhodes
Our Mission at The Smacking is to interpret the results with bias and snark. First I will Smack Down the items I didn’t like, and then I will Smack Up the parts of the show that I enjoyed.
Cody Rhodes Was The Best Part of Orton vs. Sandow
I have heard that it is not polite to say that something “is boring”; rather, one is to say that “I am bored”. I was so totally freakin’ bored by this match, and it was the first match of the show, which is supposed to capture my interest. Even Randy Orton, the poster boy for apathy, kept urging the crowd to cheer. Dammit man, just give them something to cheer for!
In general, the wrestling tonight fell into Andrew Johnson’s rating system of Leaving the Room to Take a Crap During the Match, Even If You Don’t Need to Crap. In the interest of journalistic integrity, I resisted taking a crap that I did not need to take, and watched all of the matches. Do they give out Pulitzers for that? Woo Woo Woo
This match went far too long, given it was a whole lot of punching and side headlocks, and not enough wrestling. Towards the end, I will say the hard-hitting nature of the fight was somewhat remarkable. It was like they really got into the groove of beating each other up. Orton got the pin, after Rhodes came out and distracted Sandow. Then Rhodes casually stole the Money In The Bank briefcase. I really like that Cody has not shaved his mustache, nor has he latched onto the horrendous babyface practice of smiling and pointing to the fans.
Everyone Who Thinks Wade Barrett’s Team Will Win, Raise Your Hands – NOT SO FAST, WADE.
During this match, there was a neat spot where Titus O’Neil spun Jey Uso around by the foot, and Jey clocked him with an enziguiri as he came around. In the end, Mark Henry got the pin, and thus some perceived momentum going into their bout against The Shield on RAW. Because I found even the point of the match forgettable, I am Smacking it Down. Not every match can be Bryan/Cesaro, but I had a sense that all of matches were boring tonight. Upon reviewing my notes, I will admit that each match served some purpose, but the wrestling just wasn’t very good.
Let’s review the parts of the show that were good!
Word to Your Moms, I Came To Drop Bombs
CM Punk has a reputation for being pretty decent on the microphone. When he buys into what he’s doing, he can verbally spar with anyone. But not every promo is going to knock it out of the park, nor should it. Take John Cena, for instance. His promos are all the same, because he tries to knock it out of the park every time. They are so formulaic and loud that the effect is lost.
I feel like CM Punk (and Paul Heyman, for that matter) excel at promos because they economize their words, and adjust their delivery based on the message. Look how relaxed Punk is, holding the microphone. Since the attack two weeks ago, he has regained his composure. He doesn’t say more than what is required to make his point, and that is far more powerful than inserting jokes and catchphrases. His point is this: Paul Heyman taught him to exploit his enemy’s weaknesses, and he plans to use that to destroy Lesnar and Heyman himself. Let me share with you my favorite line: “Lesnar, I am going to kick you in the face over and over and over again until you are an unrecognizable pile of failure.” Specific. Violent. Controlled. No yelling means I actually listen more carefully.
And then Punk does a stupendous double take when Fandango’s music hits. He patiently waits for Fandango to do his entire schtick down to the ring, then hits him with a GTS and leaves. Fandango’s appearance served no purpose other than to provide a physical exclamation point on Punk’s declaration.
If You Love Ziggler, Set Him Free
It’s always bothered me that Dolph Ziggler is exciting to watch when he wrestles, funny to read on twitter, and bland as beige on the microphone. Why can’t his wit and personality shine through? I know for some wrestlers, it simply never translates. But tonight, Dolph was given the time and opportunity to trade taunts with AJ, and it worked! He needs to flesh out the Show Off persona, which he was given the platform to do tonight.
AJ insists that she’s not upset about being dumped, but when Dolph refers to her as replaceable, she loses her cool. After destroying the contents of Dolph’s suitcase, AJ is further distracted by the crowd chanting, “You are psycho!” and does not see Kaitlyn appear. Kaitlyn crushes her with a spear, and Big E gets a Zig-Zag for his troubles. Is it weird that I would like to see Kaitlyn spear Dolph?
I can’t deal with all the Rob! Van! Dam! and the thumbs, especially after so many years. And I was certain that RVD would be giving another exhibition of all his greatest hits; it was just a question of how well he’d pull them off before getting a non-title victory over the champ.
Trust me, this was heading straight into Smacked Down territory, because Del Rio kept dilly-dallying around the ring, enough to avoid both wrestling and being counted out. My frustration mounted when he pulled the classic heel trick of cowering in the corner so that the ref would count RVD every time he went in to strike. As the referee was reprimanding Van Dam one more time, Del Rio struck from behind, and rolled him up for the win. The whole point of this match was to lull us into a state of boredom and annoyance for the surprise pin. In the words of Bobby Heenan, “I LIKE IT!”
Good Night, Sweet T
Luke Harper and Erick Rowan almost literally squashed Tons of Funk, and then Bray Wyatt came into the ring for a Sweet Abigail on Tensai. Billed as the Wyatt Family’s in-ring debut, it was short and to the point.
This gets a Smacking Up because Harper and Rowan did exactly what they needed to do, and looked suitably intimidating. Bray Wyatt urged Kane to “come and get me”, while he knelt with his hand resting on the back of the fallen Tensai. As he finished his sermon, he grabbed a little handful of Tensai’s singlet and let go, an interesting tactile gesture. Bray Wyatt is awesome. I’m okay with him not participating in a match yet. This is tantric wrestling at its finest.
I’ll Say It, I Was Wrong!
A Christian fan was disappointed a few weeks ago, when I disagreed with said wrestler pinning Dean Ambrose. I respect that we do not all like the same guys, but I stand by my opinion of that finish, and my shrugging acceptance of Christian’s wrestling.
That being said, Captain “Charisma” had a great match against Jack Swagger tonight. I really like the militant neanderthal version of Swagger (who must have read my tweet saying that I lost interest in him when he stopped doing push-ups during his entrance – because he did one ON Christian). Christian got all of his moves in, but the match felt fluid and easy to watch. The Killswitch engaged and Christian got the duke. I can’t say anything bad about it. Smack it Up!
“Stop! You nitwit!”
The idea to continually show Damien Sandow searching for Cody Rhodes throughout the night should be filed under Boring On Paper But Sandow Will Make It Work. Each time the camera goes to Sandow in his quest to find Rhodes (and hence his stolen briefcase), Damien is more and more upset. He accosts backstage workers and the likes of Sin Cara, Booker T and Mark Henry. He uses the word “absconded” and eventually ends up in the ring again, demanding that Cody return his prized possession. It’s pretty entertaining as is.
Then Cody comes up on the tron, and he is dangling the briefcase over the Gulf of Mexico. Wow, this again? How many times have WWE superstars littered the waterways of America? But guess what? It just so happens that the Gulf of Mexico is across the street from the arena, so Sandow marches right over.
This is the kind of stuff that I find hilarious, like the Gulf of Mexico being RIGHT THERE and the camera following Sandow in real-time through the arena to get there and it takes WAAAAY LONG, and then a minivan honks and has to brake for him to cross the street and he’s all “Stop! You nitwit!” either completely still in character, or the minivan was planted which might be even funnier. I am also hugely entertained by the fact that these two men are dressed all nice, standing beside the raging waters in the dark of night, Sandow pleading with Rhodes, “You carried me! You’re smarter than me! You have better facial hair than me! YOU’RE MORE HANDSOME THAN I AM!” Even so, Cody hurls the briefcase into the water, Sandow jumps in yelling, “I can’t swim!” and re-emerges spluttering and twitching all over the pier in his nice clothes.
And then it gets even more ridiculous, as they play and replay each portion of the scene over again, in silence, to signify the gravity of the situation, as we see the Money In The Bank briefcase slowly sink from sight. We go to credits with the image of Damien Sandow lolling around on the cement. I know, we’re welcome!
Sign of the Night
This guy, the one wearing intercourse repellent gloves, made it into the WWE.com photo gallery. I am far more interested in what the sign behind him says. Nobody Gives “A Crap” About RVD? Nobody Gets “High” Like RVD? I am always fascinated by how people use quotation marks, so it’s kind of killing me that I’m too lazy to review the whole show in hopes of figuring it out.
Even though the Smacked Ups far outnumber the Smacked Downs, I am having a hard time recommending this episode. Watch Punk’s promo, if anything for the double-take to Fandango (it’s got to be hard for wrestlers to come up with inventive ways to react to interruptions). I suspect they will show the Rhodes/Sandow confrontation several times on other shows, but it too is worth watching in its entirety because Damien is so comical in his pursuit.
Let us all wish Android Johnson a speedy repair, because the 4th Annual TJR Pig Roast just won’t be the same without a robot butler who tells us to F—k Off every time we order a drink. I appreciate him asking me to cover for him; I am very honored and this is lots of fun.