It's another week of SmackDown likes and dislikes. Let's get to it.
Like - The Sheamus/Bryan main event match
While I wasn't a fan of the first match they had on the show at the beginning (more on that in a bit), this was a solid performance. It wasn't as good as last Sunday's Extreme Rules match, but it was still above average and I'll never complain about a quality match on free television. The ending saw Alberto Del Rio get involved, though his interference wasn't successful, of course.
It's also obvious that the World Title feud has now shifted to focus on Alberto Del Rio as Sheamus' next challenger. I'm OK with that. I don't think anybody believes ADR is going to take the belt from Sheamus. It's just a feud for Sheamus to win.
Once the Del Rio feud is over, Christian is a likely candidate for a feud as well as Mark Henry or perhaps somebody new like Cody Rhodes or a returning Wade Barrett. There are plenty of opponents in line for Sheamus. Let's just hope they continue to have him fight through injuries like the sore left arm because it makes him a more sympathetic character when they do that.
Dislike - Putting Sheamus/Bryan in the opening match
Did anybody think this match would have a clean finish or be a decisive ending to their feud? Of course not. It's like Raw two weeks ago when they announced the Lesnar/Cena contract signing for the start of the show and instead promoted it for the next three hours.
If the new booking philosophy is to tease things at the start of the show and delay them for later than this is not something that I feel to be productive. It's an annoying way to try to get viewers into the show from the beginning. The problem is if you keep doing it the fans aren't going to get emotionally invested in a big match early in the show.
I should add that I liked the cross body by Ricardo Rodriguez. That was fun.
Like - Kofi Kingston & R-Truth defeat Hunico & Camacho
Holy crap look at that! Tag team wrestling. Actual tag teams having a solid five minute television match is a nice step towards making the tag division credible again. I hadn't seen Camacho work before. He wasn't overly impressive, nor do I feel he's better than Hunico, but he more than held his own in there.
That's what the tag division is for. Put some new talent in the ring, mix them up with some veterans and have their characters grow that way. Booking tag team matches isn't hard at all. It's up to the creative team to show an interest in the division in order for the characters to draw reactions from the fans.
Dislike - Teddy Long is forced to rub baby oil on Antonio Cesaro
Ugh. How many more weeks are we going to have to deal with Teddy Long being tortured as a lackey of the Laurinaitis/Otunga/Eve trio? I'm sick of it. I'm sure there will be a payoff at some point because there always is, but I don't care enough about Long's character to see what that is.
These segments are a waste of time devoted to man in his 60s that could be better used on younger talent that needs screen time to get their underdeveloped characters over.
Like - Damien Sandow chooses not to fight
It was supposed to be Sandow's debut. Instead, he stood on the apron and said he wasn't going to grace us with his presence for his match with Derrick Bateman. I thought that was very unsportsmanlike on his part (I'm trying to swear less or else I'd use another word), which is of course the essence of his character. Hopefully after he rattles off a few wins, this "holier than thou" attitude continues because that's when fans will rally behind a babyface to kick this guy's ass.
Dislike - Two long replays from key Raw moments
We get it. Raw is important. Do we really need a video recap of the Lesnar/Triple H story as well as the Cena/Laurinaitis story? If you combined the two videos, it added up to 7-8 minutes. We know that SmackDown isn't as important because Raw lacks any kind of recap from key moments on SmackDown. I'm fine with one Raw replay. But two? That's too many.
The Raw audience is much bigger than the SmackDown audience anyway, so how many people watching SmackDown didn't know about what happened on Raw? I'd guess it's under 10% of the audience. Television time is important. Using it for replays of things we've already seen isn't the best way to use that time.
Like - Randy Orton & Big Show defeat Kane & Cody Rhodes
This was the typical 15 minute tag match we often get on SmackDown, which is something I typically enjoy because you can tell a good story when a match gets that much time. Three of the guys are veterans who have been in hundreds of these kinds of matches in their career.
Rhodes is the young guy in the group, but he's obviously come into his own in the last year and has shown he can be an excellent performer for WWE over the next decade. The good guys won. My hope is that these feuds, which have lasted over two months, are finally over. All of them need to move on.
Dislike - Another short divas match
I'm glad Layla's back. What I'm not glad about is that we have yet to hear her speak in the three shows since she's returned from reaction. Why should the fans get behind her? Because she's wrestling heels? On this show she wrestled Natalya, who is barely on the radar these days despite being one of the better divas in the company. Their match got just under two minutes, which resulted in a Layla win.
As I've said throughout this column, timing of segments is important. If this match got seven minutes (or even five minutes) it would be better long term than replaying a segment from Raw or giving Teddy Long unwarranted screen time. If characters aren't given significant screen time then the fans are going to sit on their hands during the matches. That doesn't benefit anybody. Give the women a chance. They deserve it!
Like - Eve being used in a non-wrestling role
There are two positives to this with the first one being that she's not that very good in the ring. Don't get me wrong, she can have a decent match if she's carried by somebody as talented as Beth Phoenix, but for the most part her work in the ring is below average.
The other positive is that she's one of the best looking women in the history of wrestling. She should be on-screen. Plus, the business suit look always does it for me. I'm absolutely fine with her getting two or three segments per show. I can even put up with the below average acting. She looks the part.
Dislike - Swagger walks away from Clay
How many times can you book the "heel walks out of the match" finish? It seems like this is an every other week thing on WWE TV. It happens far too often. In years past they rarely did this kind of finish. Now it's all the rage apparently. Clay has beat both members of the Swagger/Ziggler duo a number of times, yet they keep going to it because they have nothing else for Clay to do. I wish feuds made sense. This feels like one of those things that got thrown to the wall while the writing crew hopes something sticks.
There was nothing generally exciting about this show, but it wasn't that bad in any way either. It was your average episode of SmackDown.
I'd rate this week's SmackDown a 6 out of 10.
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