Let's take a look at how Smackdown played out tonight by reviewing each segment and talking about the hits and misses.
Vince Starting Smackdown
Hit: I can't remember the last time Vince McMahon was on Smackdown...and Josh Mathews claims it has been at least three years.
Miss: WWE typically claims there's no "B" show, but the fact that Vinnie Mac is never on the blue show, I'd say that claim falls by the wayside.
General Manager Announcement
Hit: Booker T is the new General Manager of Smackdown, putting him into a great role. Doing commentary throughout the entire evening isn't his strong point, but he's good on the mic, and he's still athletic enough that he shouldn't have to back down from anyone.
Miss: Booker T forcing Alberto Del Rio to compete tonight. The storyline with ADR avoiding competition was a good direction for the #1 Contender.
Sheamus vs. Tensai
Hit: Putting Tensai into a meaningful match is a good thing. Not that I expect him to beat Sheamus, but I don't expect him to get walked all over. This match will hopefully help elevate Tensai a bit after he's fallen back a few rungs.
Miss: Tensai's pre-recorded promo... being done in Japanese? How about half and half? They've already sold him as being an American who got famous over in Japan, and when he yells during his matches, it's in English. He could've at least started by saying: "This is to my Japanese fans, my real fans..."
Hit: The match as a whole was great, from start to finish. Not necessarily a 5 star classic, but not what I was expecting when I heard Sheamus was going to have a match tonight. If this were a pay-per-view title defense, I'd be extremely happy with it.
Eve Looking for a Position
Hit: Seeing the lovely Eve in a backstage segment works for me, especially when she's not being annoying. And having Booker T talk about giving her a position if/when one opens up...then offering one to Teddy Long?
Lesnar's Perfect Storm Weather Report
Miss: The fake news weather report commercial for SummerSlam featuring the "F5" Tornado on its way, hyping up Brock Lesnar? I'm not feeling it.
Antonio Caesaro's Hello
Hit: Having International Superstar Antonio Caesaro saying hello to the fans in multiple different languages, as he gets set to face the United States Champion? Brilliant. If you aren't familiar with his work from Ring of Honor, you're in for some good times with the man formerly known as Claudio Castagnoli.
Hit: Caesaro getting a win over Santino Marella and hyping up that he wants to dethrone the US Champ is a great thing for that division as a whole. If the wrestlers don't consider the belt to be important, neither will the fans.
Daniel Bryan Interview
Hit: The hype video recap of everything that has happened with Daniel Bryan the past few months mixed with what's been going on the past couple weeks. Great production, helps highlight a storyline arc.
Hit: D-Bryan's new "No! No! No!" shirt.
Six-Man Tag Match
Jericho & Christian & Kane
The Miz & Dolph Ziggler & D-Bryan
Hit: I realize Kane and Jericho are both turning slightly more "face", but the booking still seems a bit awkward, which can actually be fun in matches like this.
Hit: The interactions between Dolph Ziggler and Chris Jericho during this match were great. It takes a couple of arguments and run-ins they've had, and they really turn it into a feud.
Hit: Having D-Bryan pick up a crafty win with some involvement from Dolph Ziggler was great.
Jinder Mahal vs. Ryback
Hit: Good booking. They met recently, and Mahal walked out on the match. Therefore, it only makes sense that they'd have a follow-up.
Hit: Ryback's pre-recorded promo might've lasted longer than a lot of matches he's had, and it wasn't bad. Gave him an expansion on his "Feed Me More" catch phrase.
Hit: Finishing this match by disqualification and building up a little feud for Ryback is a great thing. This is far more interesting than having him squash random local talent.
Prime-Time Players Merch
Hit: Seeing those guys backstage and getting a better look at their personalities is a good thing.
Miss: Went on too long, because the "Millions of Dollars" part was just so goofy that it had me rolling my eyes and gave a terrible after-taste to the segment.
Darren Young vs. R-Truth
Hit: It's great when the booking of singles matches can help progress a tag team feud. This is twice in the span of a week that they're doing that with the Prime Time Players, mixing it up with the tag champs (Kofi & R-Truth).
Hit: Having Kofi wear a suit to ringside helps give a more "real" vibe to it. Anytime someone involved with wrestling can wear something other than the short-shorts, that's a good thing in my book.
Hit: Whether it's AW & Kofi or direct involvement between Kofi and Titus, action outside a ring involving tag team competitors is excellent.
Hit: Another win by the Prime Time Players over Kofi & R-Truth is helping build up to a match I'm wanting to see on pay-per-view.
Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio
Miss: The booking of a match this big with no build-up on a random Smackdown is beyond questionable. There's no "Win-Win" in this one. Randy Orton should get a couple decent wins, now that he has returned, and it shouldn't come at the expense of the guy who is promised a World Championship match in a couple weeks.
Miss: The ending, with Alberto Del Rio getting disqualified and Sheamus throwing him back in the ring to face Orton's RKO simply sets things up for a Triple Threat match at SummerSlam.
With RAW doing the same thing, that just seems like lazy mirror booking. If they don't go that route, then what point did this match make? That Orton is higher on the food chain than Del Rio? That we're just biding our time until Randy gets the belt back?
Sour taste to end the show.
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