The Good, the Great and the Awesome from SmackDown 1/17/14
While Monday's Raw featured the rise of Daniel Bryan, this week's SmackDown centered on CM Punk and his war with the Authority.
The Best in the World called out both The Shield and the New Age Outlaws but found his greatest opposition in the form of the 7'0'' Big Red Monster, Kane. What would the director of operations have in store for Punk, and how will it affect the major WrestleMania angle between Punk and The Authority?
Just four days removed from losing to Alberto Del Rio on Raw, Rey Mysterio would have the opportunity to avenge the loss by taking on his longtime rival. Would the Master of the 619 get back to his winning ways, or would Del Rio have another chance to brag about his winning streak heading into the Royal Rumble?
The Usos would take on the Real Americans coming off a big win against the Wyatt Family on Raw while questions continued to surround The Shield's perceived dissension.
Perhaps the most newsworthy event coming out of this week's SmackDown was the disturbing promo cut by the Wyatt Family following Bryan's betrayal on Raw. Has the goat-faced Superstar pushed Bray Wyatt to places he cannot return from? What does that mean for the rest of the roster?
What went down Friday night, and what was the good, great and awesome that came from it?
Let's take a look.
Cody Rhodes and Goldust vs. The New Age Outlaws
The opening match of this week's show was incredibly disappointing, yet good enough to wind up in the "good" section of this week's article.
The WWE tag team champions have regularly stolen shows since coming together last October. No matter how bad an episode of Raw or SmackDown or a WWE pay-per-view may be, they have come through and given fans at least one match to really be excited about.
That was not the case Friday night. The action between the Rhodes brothers and the Outlaws was good enough, but the interference by SmackDown general manager Vickie Guerrero really hurt the flow and led to an unsatisfactory finish.
It did, however, continue creating questions as to whether the Outlaws are benefiting from their relationship with The Authority and how that relates to Punk, who has recently found himself in Triple H and Stephanie's cross hairs.
A disappointing match but a sensible follow-up to the story that started Monday night
Big E Langston vs. Fandango
Intercontinental champion Big E Langston was in action against Fandango on this week's SmackDown.
The two Superstars have exhibited solid chemistry with one another, as evidenced by their December 30 match on Raw.
This week's match continued to build on that chemistry, even if it was not as good as its predecessor.
Langston won convincingly while Fandango proved to be formidable competition, and the match kept the attention of the audience. There is not much more one can ask of a largely inconsequential SmackDown match than that.
Rey Mysterio vs. Alberto Del Rio
If there is anything that the years-old rivalry between Rey Mysterio and Alberto Del Rio has taught the WWE Universe, it's that the talented Superstars can deliver a great match with their eyes closed if called upon.
That was evident again this week when Mysterio and Del Rio followed up their match on Raw with a better one on SmackDown.
Mysterio scored the upset win, but Del Rio attacked him afterward and left him lying as he continues to build heat for the Royal Rumble. The Mexican aristocrat will enter the match as one of the more over heels on the roster and is on a collision course with Batista. His antics Friday night should do just enough to fuel their upcoming confrontation.
Dissension in The Shield
Renee Young interviewed Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns and questioned how strongly united they will be come the Royal Rumble.
Ambrose tried to reassure the beautiful blonde interviewer that they would remain the most dominant force in wrestling, but Rollins interrupted, admitting that he would readily eliminate Ambrose if the opportunity presented itself.
Reigns stepped in and assured his teammates that one of them would win and headline WrestleMania but that The Shield would remain intact.
It was a strong backstage promo that continued to put over the dissension that exists within the group. Whether the split becomes more pronounced come the Royal Rumble or not remains to be seen.
The Usos vs. The Real Americans
Throw two of the more talented tag teams in wrestling together, give them a few minutes to have a match on cable television and watch the magic happen.
That is exactly what happened on this week's SmackDown.
The Usos were fresh off defeating the Wyatt Family (twice) on Raw and picked up another big win here, knocking off a Real Americans team that was in the thick of the tag title hunt just a few weeks back. Hopefully that catapults Jimmy and Jey into title contention, because if anyone not named the Rhodes brothers deserves a shot at carrying the gold, it is the twin second-generation Superstars.
Mae Young Tribute
Earlier this week, Mae Young passed away. It was a tremendous loss for the professional wrestling business. A truly special woman whose passion for the sport and dedication to entertaining fans was apparent to anyone who ever had the privilege of watching her perform, she deserved a great tribute from WWE.
She got just that with a video narrated by Stephanie McMahon.
Kudos to the company and Stephanie in particular, who did a really great job of telling the story of Young's career prior to the comedic skits she became known for late in her life.
CM Punk Invites a War
Punk closed out this week's show by running down The Authority and describing his personal issues with Triple H. He said that when he speaks, the WWE Universe listens and that is power that cannot be replicated.
Just as it looked like The Shield and the New Age Outlaws were about to attack, Kane's pyro exploded at the top of the ramp and the director of operations made his way to the ring. He told Punk that the Authority wants him to main event WrestleMania and that he should be treated with respect.
Punk responded by calling Kane a sellout and a suck up. That resulted in the Big Red Monster hitting the ring and delivering a huge chokeslam to the Best in the World.
The angle sets up a potential side rivalry between Punk and Kane to tide fans over until the Punk-Triple H storyline can heat up closer to WrestleMania.
Wyatt Family Promo
"He was given every opportunity to walk with the reapers and now he will burn with the saints."
That is a money line spoken by Bray Wyatt, who delivered an excellent promo on Friday's show. He was, at times, incoherent, and it worked to perfection. It really put over how badly he was affected by Bryan's betrayal on Raw and showcased a side of Wyatt that the entire WWE roster probably hopes it never has to see.
Great stuff from Wyatt, who is so completely invested in the character that fans can buy into everything he says.