After a solid episode of Raw, WWE hopes to gain some traction with this week’s Friday Night SmackDown, airing just nine days before Hell in a Cell.
The company has been in a creative lull recently, probably due to having to work around two pay-per-views in one month. With that said, both last week and this week’s editions of Raw have been strong, featuring a good amount of story progression.
That makes it more frustrating to see two SmackDowns in a row where not much really happens.
Daniel Bryan has a new ally in his war against the Authority in Big Show, even if basically everyone has forgotten about the WWE Championship.
Then there’s also the Rhodes Brothers, who wrangled the Tag Team Championships off The Shield on this week’s Raw.
What will the backlash be for all of this? Will there even be any? SmackDown emanates from Kansas City, Missouri—full spoilers below (courtesy of WrestlingInc.com).
- The show opens with Vickie Guererro and Brad Maddox talking about Big Show’s appearance on Raw. They say he’s banned from the arena. Then Cody Rhodes and Goldust come out. Daniel Bryan and the Rhodes Brothers will face The Shield in the main event.
- Luke Harper and Eric Rowan defeated the Miz and Kofi Kingston with Bray Wyatt watching from his rocking chair.
- AJ Lee suffered a non-title loss to Brie Bella.
- Big Show makes his way to the ring through the crowd and says he’s filing a lawsuit against Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. Maddox and Guerrero come out to eject Show, but he hits Maddox with a WMD before leaving.
- CM Punk beat Big E Langston in a special SmackDown appearance. Update: Curtis Axel and Ryback attacked Punk after the match but Big E saved him.
- Alberto Del Rio is interviewed by Josh Matthews in the ring about his match with John Cena at Hell in a Cell. Cena appears on the Titantron, which upsets Del Rio, who attacked Matthews.
- The Usos defeated the Real Americans after Los Matadores caused a distraction.
- Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes and Goldust defeated The Shield to close the show.
Recycled content is just a part of life for WWE; it’s got four weekly shows to fill plus monthly pay-per-views, so not every match will be original.
However, knowing that doesn’t make it any easier for us fans to get excited about the WWE product. The two biggest matches on this week’s SmackDown are ones that we’ve already seen!
We got Daniel Bryan and the Rhodes Brothers facing The Shield on last week’s episode of Raw, and Big E Langston vs. CM Punk on the Raw before that.
There were plenty of other directions they could’ve gone in. It would’ve been nice to see Cody Rhodes or Goldust face one of the Hounds of Justice in a singles match, for instance.
Who knows what WWE is thinking. Perhaps they’re saving that for later. Seeing Cody Rhodes and Goldust team together is still enough of a novelty that it’s fine to see that particular match again—because it’ll probably be a good one.
CM Punk vs. Big E Langston isn’t as excusable. It’s a rare appearance by Punk on SmackDown, so why put him in an arbitrary, meaningless match?
And if you are going to do that, at least give him an opponent we didn’t see him wrestle less than a month ago.
Update: According to another report (via PWInsider) Big E saved Punk from Curtis Axel and Ryback after their match. It doesn't make the match a whole lot more meaningful, but it definitely gives us more incentive to watch the show now that something interesting happens after the match.
It'll be interesting to see where this goes; Langston has been directionless for months, so it seems now he'll be given the opportunity to show us some of his potential.
Big Show’s Legal Affairs Equals Ratings?
Firstly, WWE should get props for one thing: It's certainly begun turning its angle with Big Show around.
When he was crying and raging every week, it was hard to imagine really getting behind the character. But seeing him wage war against the Authority has definitely been fun.
One thing that’s definitely not fun is a lawsuit.
One of the few egregiously bad parts of this story is the whole "Big Show is broke" angle. The fine art of professional wrestling is blurring the line between fact and fiction, and angles like that immediately remind you that you’re watching television drama (and bad drama, at that).
Same thing goes with a lawsuit. We’ll have to see how this comes off on TV. It could just be an offhand remark or something small—but if it’s presented like a major part of the story, we could be in trouble.
We know Big Show isn’t broke, and we know he’s not actually filing a wrongful termination claim. When either of those is presented as fact, it makes it much harder to suspend disbelief.
What’s mentioned above appears to provide the bulk of the meaningful programming for this week’s show.
WWE’s booking of Miz is strange here; if it's leading to a match between the Awesome One and Bray Wyatt, why have Wyatt’s lackeys go after Miz? If he can’t take them, what would make us think he’s a threat to Wyatt?
In any case, reports are that it was a strong match, so all is not lost.
Speaking of tag matches, it appears as though that division is heating up with what should be a fun match between the Real Americans and the Usos.
The rivalry between Swagger, Cesaro and Los Matadores that we knew we’d see has finally begun to take form. It’s a good sign that we’ll have a tag team feud that’s not actually over the titles; it’s symptomatic of a division steadily getting healthier.
Oh, and poor Josh Matthews. Getting brutally attacked by Alberto Del Rio. And he’d just gotten over the injuries sustained in the Lesnar fiasco of 2012.
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