In-Ring: Thankfully, they let Cody loose in this match more than they did on Raw, and he got to be arguably the star player even if Sheamus got the pin. He’s a fantastic seller, he proved that well enough and he took one of Big Show’s chops like a gunshot.
It doesn’t hurt that he hit that fantastic double team on Big Show, either, or one of the better Beautiful Disaster kicks I’ve seen. That was an especially nice touch, given Big Show countered one earlier in the show into a choke. Best man in the ring, clearly. B+
Charisma: Let’s get one thing out of the way: Cody’s facial expressions last night to Big Show were flawless and hilarious. The way he sneers at his own jokes and looks so utterly exasperated by Big Show’s promo helps to make him a complete character that reacts organically to things around him.
Sometimes, it seems like wrestlers just stand around waiting for a chance to talk, but Cody isn’t quite that way. He’s always engaged, and he lives the moment. B+
Mic Work: Cody’s delivery is always unique, and it makes for some wonderful promos. He had some ups and downs tonight, and it wasn’t his best: insulting the audience’s attractiveness feels like a step back towards his Dashing days, and he’s usually better than that now.
Still, he also brought history to the ring, as I praised Wade for, bringing up his WrestleMania victory last year and the prestige of a potential victory in the Chamber and how it would make him the first Intercontinental and World Heavyweight Champion. Not to mention that his jokes about Big Show were self-indulgent and hilarious. B
Gimmick: As said, a bit of a backstep for Cody Rhodes this week. His cheap heat jabs are beneath what I’ve come to expect from him, and slinking away from Big Show in the tag match doesn’t suit his recent actions, where he’s been one of the least cowardly heels we’ve had.
On the one hand, Show would no doubt be intimidating for just about anyone to face, but they played it too hard and it weakened what had been a strong heel this week. A shame. C
Overall: While I’m not overly impressed with Cody’s performance this SmackDown from a character perspective, his in-ring is making up for it. With him, Sheamus, Wade Barrett and Daniel Bryan, SmackDown is brimming with young talent, and I can’t wait to see the next generation explode.
If it wasn’t for Randy and Bryan, I’d peg Cody as the star of Elimination Chamber, but he has some stiff competition. Still, even if he lost this particular night, he made an impact. B+
In-Ring: To be frank, Show looked slower and more easily blown up than he did on Raw. His Gorilla Press spot on Cody was impressive, the Sleeper-into-Side slam counter was great, and he hit a fantastic spear once again, but other than that, it was mostly chops and whips and a spectacularly lazy looking tag in to Sheamus midway through the match. He just didn’t look that engaged or inspired. C
Charisma: Big Show is just entirely over at this point in his career as a big-name babyface, and it’s easy to see why. The way that he interacts with the audience on his way to the ring and his relaxed, genial nature simply makes for a naturally likable character on the screen. B
Mic Work: As said in my Raw Rundown, Big Show is a dependable guy on the mic who has years of experience under his belt, so you can count on him for a reliable performance. This week’s SmackDown was no different. He didn’t say anything revolutionary and he got less mic time than the other three, but he made his case for what a good, bigger name match Sheamus-Show would be and that’s a fair assessment.
More than that, though, I have to talk up his commentary work. While he wasn’t the bombastically enjoyable performance that was Mark Henry, he still played a very good role. He managed to talk up Daniel Bryan’s strengths in his intelligence and admitted that he couldn’t beat him, while also making it clear he was a bad guy. Honestly, I would rather have Big Show on the table, at this point, than anyone else actually doing it. Solid work. B
Gimmick: Once again, the Big Friendly Giant was big and friendly. It definitely seems like his feud with Bryan is coming to an end after the Chamber, as how much can Show really talk him down if he doesn’t take the title then and there? Still, it’s been a good run, and he plays of Bryan nicely. It’ll just be good to see them with other people for a while. B-
Overall: Not a great night in-ring for Show, aside from a few high spots, but he brought it on the mic as one of the better guest commentary gigs I’ve seen. Big Show is in a comfortable place in terms of character at the end of the career, and while I would have liked to see him go heel on Daniel Bryan in their feud at the start, I don’t think he needs to change at this point. Just ride it out for a little longer and see where it takes him. B-