As an undergraduate, I convinced three friends to start watching wrestling. We’d go to Buffalo Wild Wings and watch the pay-per-views. We’d discuss the matches—kicking ideas back and forth. After graduating, I moved away, and it was back to square one. Except, of course, I have my own wrestling column, and many of the readers here have already become regulars.
So, I thought, why not share my initial reactions from SmackDown, down to the time they came to me in the night, and allow you all to add to them. Pick a number—agree, disagree, add to or take away. These are my initial, raw reactions to WWE Friday Night SmackDown.
10. I turn on the TV and see Total Blackout. Steve Urkel and pro wrestling—feels like childhood again (7:57). I’m pretty sure I prefer Family Matters to contestants with spiders on their heads. Still, I’m happy for Jaleel White. Welcome back.
Commercial preview for the show tonight focuses mostly on Daniel Bryan, proving SmackDown is still his show despite the poor choice of taking the belt from him (7:58).
9. YES! YES! YES! The man who I call the MVP for Quality, Daniel Bryan, is kicking off the show (8:03). WWE Magazine named Daniel Bryan “Jerk of the Month” (8:03). I had no idea that award existed. I guess it’s another way to tell the Universe who to cheer. Daniel Bryan cut the umbilical cord and got rid of AJ (8:04). Daniel Bryan says the loss at WrestleMania should go on AJ’s record. Even better, it should go on the record of poor booking, but that is the past.
I am not a fan of wrestlers showing us footage. Breaking up a promo to say "Look at this" has always irked me (8:07). Wow. Daniel Bryan is showing us a second round of footage (8:08). Can we just see this at the top of the show and let promos be promos?
Question and Answer time with Daniel Bryan! (8:09). All the answers are yes!
Alberto Del Rio interrupts Daniel Bryan (8:10). Symbolic. WWE guys like Sheamus and ADR are always interrupting Daniel Bryan. It’s a shame. ADR stumbles through his own Question and Answer time. Apparently WWE will have us chant No at Daniel Bryan or Si for ADR or anything but Yes! for Daniel Bryan.
Big Show leading a chant of his own (8:13).
I like ADR’s manager better than ADR. Too bad Big Show doesn’t. Choke Slam on Ricardo Rodriguez (8:14).
A bit of a confusing kick-off segment. A lot going on, and I’m not sure how it’s connected. The fact that ADR continues to lurk around the Heavyweight Title scene makes me more certain that Daniel Bryan will probably not take the belt back Sunday night.
I would have liked to see more one-on-one time between Sheamus and Daniel Bryan (following WrestleMania) before interjecting others into the title picture. It feels as if WWE had a plan set before WrestleMania, and they refused to let a little thing like crowd protest make them change their plans.
8. WWE is having a spin of the wheel to determine the stipulation for the Big Show-Cody Rhodes match. (8:18). Spin the wheel, make the deal—WCW fans represent! Big Show has been on a roll since last year. His programs with Mark Henry and Daniel Bryan did a lot to boost his status again.
As I said about the Miz in another article, I like the idea of high-level guys in the I.C. and U.S. title divisions. It can really help to elevate other guys, like Cody Rhodes. Speaking of Cody Rhodes, he is being whipped with a belt by the Big Show (8:21). Booker T says Dusty should have done it a long time ago.
7. I just saw a local commercial for Over the Limit in Raleigh. Daniel Bryan is screaming Yes! between every statement made. WWE is pushing Yes! hard off-screen, and doing everything they can to smother it on-screen. Does anybody know what to make of this type of booking? (8:27).
Damien Sandow bashing catchphrases and ‘vile’ theme music. (This may truly work.) Seems he will be on SmackDown next week (8:29). Count me as excited.
I like the outfits the Bella Twins rock (8:30). Seriously. For obvious reasons, yes, but they are also kind of cool. Bella switch-a-roo ends a quick Divas match. (8:32).
6. Teddy Long in frilly maid attire. Somebody ain’t gettin’ no lovin’ tonight (8:40). His former (is it too soon to say former) lady says she never realized how old he was while he was General Manager. Eve is breeding more Eve’s, it seems (8:41).
Teddy Long will be on headset but can only speak when the guy in his ear says so (8:42). If that isn’t art imitating life, I don’t know what is. Right, Mick Foley?
I’m diggin’ Titus O’Neil. I think he has a lot of potential. Any nXt fans have thoughts on Darren Young and/or Titus O’Neil?
5. A Michael Cole exclusive interview with Randy Orton (8:54). I know a lot of you probably hate Michael Cole, but he is one busy man.
WWE seems to be putting a lot of effort into this last leg of the Randy Orton-Kane feud, which, to me, means they are putting a lot into Randy Orton. I think Kane may be on the decline again, if only slightly. They could job him out for a year or so and let him come back without the mask. There’s always that. Then, you know, he could put on the mask again.
Okay, apparently I was wrong, Kane has just now been ‘reborn’ as a monster, according to Michael Cole (9:01).
I think Randy Orton is one of the best in the ring, when he’s wrestling in the ring. His promos are still a work in progress after all this time.
Jinder Mahal interrupts (9:03). He wasn’t speaking English, but I was listening more than when Randy Orton was talking. I think he just prophesied. That would be really awesome to have a wrestler who could maybe see the future. I would go for that.
RKO on Jinder Mahal (9:05). I would say out of nowhere, but it was clear it was coming.
4. Had to take care of something, so I have no idea what happened in the last 15 minutes. I’m fine with this, as long as I didn’t miss AJ Lee (9:20).
3. Looks like I made it back just in time for the Great Khali (9:22). A sarcastic yay to this. At least he is facing Cody Rhodes. I like this new aggressive Cody Rhodes who goes after giants. Maybe one way to make a big name is to take out big people?
We may soon find out.
Cody Rhodes is a bit of a treasure if you think about his family. Dusty and Dustin made so much noise during their time in pro wrestling. Is there any question that Cody Rhodes can’t do the same?
Excellent missile dropkick by Cody Rhodes (9:25).
Wow. Great Khali wins (9:26). Four minutes. Any point in this whatsoever? I guess it makes us think Cody Rhodes can’t beat Great Khali or Big Show, but…really?
A.W. continues to court the tag team champions. Says he needs a decision by Monday (9:28).
Goldberg…er, Ryback walks by (9:28).
I am really hopeful for a strong, potential stable for A.W. Hopefully it will make WWE realize how needed managers can be.
Because Brock Lesnar needs representation before he does any more promos.
2. The jobber facing Ryback is pretty good on the mic (9:34). First one. It is smart to have the jobbers talk and the guys in the back watch Ryback’s matches. If you are going to revive old and done angles, you should at least touch them up.
Big guy does have potential, just for his look and the level of push he is getting. Plus, it seems he follows the law of attraction (9:35). If it was his thoughts that made him that big, and the rest of us were taking our vitamins and not growing, we are the biggest fools of all.
1. Matt Striker is asking one stupid question after another to AJ Lee. I was hoping she’d go off on him like she did Natalya, but we do have the “can’t touch announcers” rule, so instead, AJ takes it out on another Diva (9:40).
As if I didn’t have enough reasons to love AJ Lee, now she goes off on the Diva who is badmouthing Daniel Bryan. For any of us who have ever had a girlfriend whose friends were just waiting for the first time to bury us, thank you, AJ Lee.
Okay, back to wrestling.
The AJ segment was just before the Sheamus-Mark Henry main event. I truly believe AJ will be the wild card in the heavyweight title match at WWE Extreme Rules. There will be a lot of tension in that match if it is done properly.
I do appreciate that WWE is maintaining some of Mark Henry’s momentum by having him have his way with CM Punk and Sheamus. Ultimately he loses the war, but at least they haven’t buried Mark Henry…yet.
Main event begins (9:46). I would expect we’d see Daniel Bryan again before the show ends.
A decent enough match between Sheamus and Mark Henry, especially if you like two sluggers slugging each other (9:55). I still have yet to see one minute of television that has convinced me that Daniel Bryan needed to drop the title at WrestleMania 28. I say that objectively. I just don’t see it.
Where are you, Daniel Bryan? (9:56).
Nice roll-through-into-Brogue-Kick by Sheamus to end the match. They are priming that move.
Daniel Bryan! (9:58).
He is clapping for Sheamus. (He doesn’t mean it.) Certainly a man of Daniel Bryan’s talents could only be mildly impressed with Sheamus.
Oooh, Sheamus threw the 18-second thing in Daniel Bryan’s face. First time I’ve seen that on-air (9:59).
Sheamus called him Danny Boy (9:59).
Sheamus is doing the Question and Answer thing. Daniel Bryan needs to trademark that. He could retire in a year and never work again.
The show ends with Sheamus and the fans chanting Yes! and Daniel Bryan thinking Why am I doing the work of WWE Creative for them? And why is it being used for everyone but me?
Aside from my curiosity as to what style Brock Lesnar will use, am I most looking forward to the match between Daniel Bryan and Sheamus at WWE Extreme Rules?
(Now pay Daniel Bryan a nickel for using that word.)