WWE SmackDown: 5 Talking Points from This Week's Show
After last week’s “social media” SmackDown, it was back to business as usual for the blue brand this week as we continue to travel down the Road to WrestleMania.
Another solid, if unspectacular, showing successfully provided us with some extra build for the upcoming pay-per-view—and though we didn’t witness the kind of major developments that have been saved for Raw as of late, there were some rather interesting storyline advancements nonetheless.
This article rounds up the top five talking points to emanate from SmackDown this week, assessing their potential significance moving forward.
Del Rio's Swagger Parody
This was an all-around strange segment, and I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about it.
Granted I’m probably not a part of the demographic that this humor was aimed for, but I can’t help but feel that Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez’s impression of Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter bordered on the ridiculous.
The mainstream attention that Swagger’s xenophobic gimmick has garnered made this one of the more serious angles that the WWE has seen for a while—for them to then air a segment like this rather detracts from what was a pretty intense storyline.
Perhaps the company wanted to tone it down a little on the extremist front, or perhaps they just thought this was good television.
I may be overly critical, but would you not agree that this put a bit of a damper on what has been one of the more interesting rivalries in the WWE right now?
Another Ryback/Henry Staredowm
After a brief staredown this past week on Raw, Ryback and Mark Henry once again crossed paths backstage on SmackDown.
Obviously, this one looks set to result in a WrestleMania meeting.
PWMania.com reports that WWE came up with the idea in order to “actually let Ryback get a win on pay-per-view”—and one can see the logic behind pushing ahead with this match.
However, it seems a little odd to halt Henry’s momentum, if the WWE does indeed plan for him to lose at this years ‘Mania.
The World’s Strongest Man has been winning countless squash matches since his return, and he was booked very strongly despite suffering defeat at the Elimination Chamber PPV.
Losing to Ryback would effectively end that run—and though it would be a big scalp for the relative newcomer, I had held bigger hopes for Henry upon his return from a lengthy injury.
So is this the right call from the WWE? Or would either Superstar be better utilized in some other capacity at WrestleMania?
Brad Maddox on Commentary
Is there anything Brad Maddox can’t do?
The referee-turned-Superstar-turned-assistant is now trying his hand at commentary—and with patchy results.
Though he did chip in with some occasionally entertaining lines, much of his work seemed forced and unnatural—the kid’s just trying too hard.
Nonetheless, the WWE is obviously pretty high on Maddox, as he continues to be given TV time in some form or another.
I'm aware he's dabbled in the art before, but a slot on SmackDown arguably means more than calling the occasional match on Main Event.
It interests me to see where this one will go, but the biggest question here has got to be why Brad Maddox is now doing commentary in the first place.
Answers on a postcard, please.
There was quite a lot going on in Kaitlyn’s non-title match with Tamina.
The biggest talking point was, arguably, Layla’s intervention. The former champ was ringside in support of Kaitlyn, but she inadvertently cost her friend the match, thus suggesting a possible feud could be on the horizon.
However, we can’t forget about Tamina here, as this was a huge win that should warrant a rematch with the strap on the line at some point in the future.
While these angles could be fused into a Triple Threat match, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Tamina pushed out of the picture as she has rarely been the focal point of the Divas division—despite being one of the most talented women in the company.
As well as this potential match, Cody Rhodes was seen backstage discussing Kaitlyn with Damien Sandow after the match.
Could this lead to the recruitment of a third member to the Rhodes Scholars? It seems an odd collaboration, but this angle is definitely worth keeping tabs on.
The Shield on the Backfoot
The final segment saw The Shield get their comeuppance against the trio of Randy Orton, Sheamus and the Big Show, suggesting that a WrestleMania clash is certainly on the cards.
What I like about this feud is the use of two faces and a heel on one side.
It creates an interesting dynamic, which we saw come to a head in the show’s final moments as the Big Show jumped Sheamus before being hit with an RKO from Randy Orton.
If this dysfunctional relationship continues, then we could be in for a rather interesting contest come WrestleMania, and one that gets all the more intriguing given the recent rumors of a Randy Orton heel turn.
Add the hugely impressive Shield to the equation, and you have a match that looks like it could easily steal the show.
I was sceptical at first, but recent developments have won me over with this one—providing it comes to fruition, of course.
Though no official announcements were made, events on SmackDown seem to point to a number of potential matches that could well take place at WrestleMania.
Add to this the likely inclusion of Intercontinental, United States and Tag Team Championship matches, and the PPV’s card is now really starting to take shape.
But what do you make of the developments that we witnessed on SmackDown this week?
Comment below with your thoughts on the show, as well as the issues raised in the article.