The Good, the Great and the Awesome from SmackDown 1/10/14
Most weeks, Thursday Night SmackDown is a secondary show on which storylines are rarely advanced, and most of the action, though good, is largely inconsequential.
That was not the case this week.
A major match between Brock Lesnar and Big Show was set up for the Royal Rumble. The only advertised match for Raw, which will feature the Usos taking on Daniel Bryan and Bray Wyatt, was set up nicely thanks to an opening tag match and post-match beatdown.
Big E Langston's abilities were tested to the highest degree as he took on WWE World Heavyweight champion Randy Orton. Would the current Intercontinental champion be able to thwart the offense of the Viper and score the biggest win of his career, or would WWE's Apex Predator down another victim with the RKO?
The New Age Outlaws returned to action on SmackDown for the first time in 13 years as they teamed with CM Punk to take on The Shield. Would it be a happy return to the blue brand, or would Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns continue to ride the wave of momentum created by Reigns this past Monday night?
With the show in the books and Monday Night Raw rapidly approaching, here is a look back at the good, the great and the awesome from this week's SmackDown.
8-Man Tag Team Match
Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara teamed with Los Matadores to take on the team of Curtis Axel, Ryback and the Real Americans in an eight-man tag team match this week on SmackDown.
WWE seems to have figured out a formula that includes throwing a bunch of really talented wrestlers into the ring with each other in multiple-person tag matches. That formula worked again this week as the match started slow but picked up significantly by the end.
The false finish at the end involving Swagger, Mysterio and Sin Cara was really well done, and the babyfaces winning a match of this type is never a bad thing.
It did nothing to further any storylines, but the match itself was a fun way to burn a portion of television time.
Miz TV with Big Show and Paul Heyman
As is the case with everything he is involved in as of late, this week's Miz TV featuring The Big Show was lackluster when it should have been great, given the announcement Paul Heyman would make.
Big Show was lethargic on the microphone and said nothing of interest, other than that he does not like Brock Lesnar. He challenged The Beast to a fight, but Heyman interrupted and reminded everyone that Lesnar does not fight when Big Show wants and does not fight for free.
Heyman was his typically great self, but the whole segment was incredibly underwhelming for one featuring the announcement of a huge Royal Rumble match.
The Usos vs. The Wyatt Family
The opening tag match of this week's show was a hot, frenetically paced match that continued to spotlight the highly talented tag division that has been responsible for some of the best matches on free television over the last year.
It also served a purpose, as it puts more heat on Monday night's bout between the Usos and Daniel Bryan and Bray Wyatt. The beatdown on SmackDown shows that Bryan and Wyatt function as a unit well and will be a dangerous element of WWE programming in the weeks and months that follow.
It was a good way to kick off the evening, with the double countout ending being the only thing keeping it from landing in the "awesome" section of this article.
WWE Title Video Package
The video hyping the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match between John Cena and Randy Orton did more to put over the bout than anything creative has pulled off in the weeks following the TLC pay-per-view.
Big E Langston vs. Randy Orton
Intercontinental champion Big E Langston has had some big matches against some top-level competition, including those against John Cena, Daniel Bryan and Kane, but Friday night's match against Randy Orton was the first real big test of his babyface turn.
He lived up to the moment, delivering a very good, high-quality match against the WWE World Heavyweight champion and never once looked out of place in there with a seasoned veteran like Orton.
Of course, Orton caught him with an RKO and picked up the win, but Langston should feel very good about himself following his performance Friday night.
Raw Main Event Hype
I mentioned it earlier in this article, but the way in which WWE hyped this coming Monday's Raw main event, featuring the Usos vs. Daniel Bryan and Bray Wyatt, was fresh and did a lot to make the otherwise uneventful tag team main event seem that much more special.
The backstage promos cut by both teams should have fans excited for the bout, but kudos go out to the Usos, who showed great emotion and really put over their frustration and anger with the Wyatt Family.
CM Punk and the New Age Outlaws vs. The Shield
As a mark for the Outlaws, this writer was destined to set aside impartiality and see to it that their match ended up in the awesome section of this article.
And I did, so deal with it.
The fact that it was a really solid wrestling match makes it a bit more forgivable.
The Outlaws looked good in their first really extended tag match in years, and Punk and The Shield did a great job of holding the match together and accentuating the positives and hiding the negatives of their co-workers.
The spear from Reigns was awkward because of the position of Billy Gunn, but by pinning a future Hall of Famer, he continues the momentum he had coming out of Raw and, hopefully, rides that wave into Royal Rumble.