There are some weeks when I write this column where I have five things I liked and five things I disliked from WWE Friday Night SmackDown. This week I have five likes and three dislikes. Why? Because it was a very good show.
This isn't a full recap of the show. It's not even in order of the events on the show. It's just a series of thoughts on the key moments from this week's telecast. Let's get to it.
Like—Sheamus Defeats Dolph Ziggler
This was the top of hour two match. I really enjoyed it. I also liked how Ziggler grabbed the microphone from manager Vickie Guerrero before the match. He cut her off from one of her annoying speeches to say that he was going to beat the world champion. She didn't seem too happy about that.
The match received 13 minutes of TV time with a commercial break thrown in, too. The crowd was hot for most of it. Yes, it was the legit crowd and not the piped-in noise that sometimes hurts SmackDown. They were really into the match.
I also liked that Ziggler had a more serious approach to the match rather than showing off too much. The announcers did a nice job of putting that over, too. Ziggler took control of the action after the break until Sheamus made his big comeback. Like I mentioned, the crowd was really into everything they were doing.
I think the spot of the match was the top rope X-Factor by Ziggler. It came out of nowhere, yet it really worked and felt like a special move.
Sheamus countered the Zig Zag, hit his White Noise move, and then after Jack Swagger's failed attempt to help his partner, Sheamus destroyed Ziggler with the Brogue Kick for the win.
I'd rate the match at three-and-a-quarter stars out of five. Is it too much to ask that we get a TV match at least that good on every Raw and SmackDown? I don't think so. The wrestlers have the talent. They just need the opportunity to show it.
The Ziggler loss was caused, in part, by Swagger's botched interference. Hopefully that is something that is followed up on because that's a feud I really want to see in the near future.
Dislike—The Show-Opening Promo
Can we have a week where there isn't a promo to open the show? This week it was David Otunga interrupting Sheamus. He was there to tell Sheamus that he had to apologize for bumping John Laurinaitis on Raw a couple of weeks ago. At least they didn't book Sheamus like a loser that had to cry because his boss was mean to him. Then Alberto Del Rio came out to talk trash. It felt like a waste of time.
The Sheamus/Del Rio match doesn't seem like a big deal to me. It should be when you consider it's for the world title.
Del Rio seems to be just another guy now, though. Fans aren't going to want to pay to see just another guy getting a title shot. It needs to be a viable contender. Del Rio doesn't give off that vibe anymore. That's a shame.
I like that they promoted this match as a big deal because it was the first time the WWE Title was defended on SmackDown in four years. I assume that info is correct. I'm not about to go check the archives to see if it's true. Sometimes when WWE says four years, it's really three years and two months, but in this case I'll throw them a bone so to speak.
It was a three-star match that was booked very evenly. Each guy was on the offensive for a good amount of time.
The finish happened when AJ (in a CM Punk shirt) and Daniel Bryan got involved. Punk had a number of good nearfalls on Kane following big moves like his roundhouse kick as well as a top rope bulldog. Punk wasn't able to finish him off with a GTS because of how big Kane is, so Kane was able to get control until Punk countered Kane's top rope clothesline with a dropkick.
When Punk was on the top, AJ jumped on the apron and pointed out Bryan running down the aisle. Punk went after him. When Kane got the momentum back, Bryan interjected one more time with a dropkick on both guys. That led to the disqualification finish. Kane ended up hitting a chokeslam on both guys at the same time.
Post match, John Laurinaitis announced that at No Way Out it would be CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Kane for the WWE Title. I think we all expected it to go that way.
My assumption is that they added Kane to the mix as a way for Bryan to win the title from Punk without pinning the champion. Don't be surprised if AJ is the reason for Punk's loss. Either she'll accidentally cause it or we'll find out she was working for Bryan all along. Right now I'm leaning towards Bryan becoming the WWE Champion at No Way Out.
Dislike—Cody Rhodes vs. Tyson Kidd Only Gets 2 Minutes
I'm a big fan of both guys. I'm not a fan of them receiving under two minutes to have a match. It doesn't do a whole lot of good for either of them. I realize it was done to put Rhodes over as a threat to Christian's Intercontinental Title, but he was already getting the rematch anyway.
Kidd is somebody I'm very high on. He needs to be given a chance to show how awesome he truly is.
Like—Big Show Destroys Santino and Zack Ryder
After Santino and Ryder won their tag match, Big Show showed up. The beatdown he gave them was entertaining because it looked like it was legitimately hurting the guys. See the punch he did to Santino? It wasn't to the front of his head while he was standing up. He did it while Santino was already in pain in front of him and Show punched him in the back of the head.
Who will win WWE Title match at No Way Out?
Dislike—Ryback Beats 2 Jobbers…Again
I can remember writing about a month ago that I enjoyed Ryback's destruction of two guys at once. I wrote that because I thought by this point they would have him beating actual WWE talent that have a little more credibility than a couple of local guys who the announcers are laughing at.
Instead, Ryback is doing the same thing he's done for the last month. Where's the progression? Something new needs to happen soon.
Like—The Return of Sin Cara Was Refreshing
I am not a Sin Cara hater. I never have been and I likely never will be. I think his athleticism brings a different element to WWE that is exciting, especially to the younger fans out there.
After severely injuring his knee at Survivor Series, he made his return to house shows last week and to SmackDown this week. The fans seemed to be very receptive to him. He beat Heath Slater in about three minutes.
There were no botched spots like some fans like to point out with him. Then again, SmackDown is edited, so that always helps. I think his return is a positive thing for WWE. Now it's a question of whether they give him an actual feud or if he continues to win three-minute matches weekly without doing much else.
It should be noted that his look has changed to a red and white outfit (is he Canadian now?), and his intro has changed too. Instead of using the trampoline to jump into the ring, he now slides under the bottom rope. I guess they've wished the trampoline the best in its future endeavors. Or as Homer Simpson once referred to it, a trambopoline!
My biggest gripe about this match was that the Sin Cara lighting style still exists. I don't think it adds anything to the matches. They need to ditch the mood lighting idea.
Like—Titus O'Neil and Darren Young Are Named the Primetime Players
I'm very intrigued by the tag team division and where things are headed. For fans to truly believe in it, they need to see that there are actual full-time teams as part of the division. The introduction of O'Neil and Young to SmackDown over the past couple of months has been a breath of fresh air. This week it was announced that their team name is the Primetime Players, which works for me.
I like their chemistry together. Of course, the same week where they got an actual name, they lost to a part-time team like Santino and Zack Ryder. But at least you can tell that these guys are one of the teams that the tag division will be built around going forward.
- The Damien Sandow victory over Ezekiel Jackson was another dominant win for the polite man who says "you're welcome." Much like Ryback, he'll need an actual feud soon before the act gets stale.
- There was a video package for Antonio Cesaro. There wasn't enough time to put him in a match, so the video was a fine replacement. It reminds fans of who he is even though he wasn't a part of the actual broadcast. I'm okay with quick videos like that.
The Sheamus/Ziggler and Punk/Kane matches were very good. They carried the show and made it above average in my mind. There was nothing too bad this week.
SmackDown beat Raw this week in my eyes. Better booking. Better in-ring action, too.
I'd rate this week's SmackDown a seven out of 10.