WWE Live SmackDown 11/29/11 Review: Mick Foley and Co. Fails to Layeth
'Twas a night before Christmas, watching television in the house. Tonight's live SmackDown show was a disappointment. I'd rather have watched a mouse.
Now I may not be Mick Foley, but a mouse can book a better live SmackDown show than what was presented tonight. Safe to say my preview was dead wrong on a lot of things.
Although in all, the show was a disappointment, there were some bright spots here and there that I would like to touch on first.
Cody Rhodes and Booker T
The beginning segment included Mick Foley introducing Booker T dressed up as Santa Claus. I admit, this portion did get a good chuckle out of me. I expected Foley to bring some fun and entertainment to tonight's holiday special. And Booker T got a nice reception from the crowd.
Interrupting the fun was Cody Rhodes, who mocked Booker T for being a former wrestler and being unable to be a title holder anymore. Foley assigned Booker T to face Cody Rhodes in a match.
Later on, during an interview backstage, Booker T was jumped by Rhodes. Rhodes seems to be able to finally show some more emotion and character since getting rid of his mask.
I give the whole Booker T and Rhodes segment a thumbs up. Good way to begin the feud and glad that they saved their eventually matchup for a more appropriate stage where it would have more attention.
Randy Orton def. David Otunga in a Miracle on 34th Street Match
It's good to see Otunga actually being used in a wrestling capacity. In this match Randy Orton again shows that he can be charismatic and somewhat of an entertainer. Often times the criticism of Randy is that he is too dull and too robotic. However, it's good that WWE is showing another side of him while still keeping the essence of his character during this face run.
The match in of itself was a good and entertaining match. Nice use of the props. Otunga didn't look too weak either. I'm sure many were afraid that this would turn into a squash match of sorts. But Otunga got some shots in here and there. He still is pretty green and generic in the ring, though.
There was a short interference by Wade Barrett, but in the end Orton was still able to pull out the win.
Foley wasn't too bad tonight. The backstage segments of the Christmas party was something I expected. I was hoping that he would be special guest referee for the main event and actually get involved with the action.
But the crowd gave him a pretty good ovation. He could've helped the crowd get behind Daniel Bryan even more. Cheap pops are still in for Mama Foley's baby boy.
World Heavyweight Champion Mark Henry def. Daniel Bryan in a Steel Cage Match
The main event for tonight featured Mark Henry and Daniel Bryan in a Steel Cage match for the World Heavyweight Title.
In all honesty, I put this match in this section because of course it wasn't bad. With that being said, the ring-work in of itself was so-so. Henry oversold his injury too much for my taste. I understand making him look a little weaker in order for Bryan have more of a chance, but it slowed the pace and made the ring-work repetitive.
I expected a little more for Daniel Bryan, who finally got center stage in a main event on a live show. He showed off his submission skills with the ankle lock and a LeBell Lock that appeared a tad bit sloppy in execution. I would've liked to see more grapple holds from him. You have to keep the pace up in a match when you are taking on a big guy like Mark Henry.
However, the crowd was into the bout. I believe I heard some cheers for both Henry and Bryan. And nice ending with the World Strongest Slam from the top turnbuckle. Put me in the mind of that awesome Beth Phoenix Glam Slam at Survivor Series.
Not a terrible match. Maybe with more time and development Bryan will bring more to the table in the next bout.
And now, for the bad. And truthfully there was a lot of bad with tonight's show.
I truly believed WWE was finally finished with the whole Hornswoggle nonsense. It's been a long time since I've seen Hornswoggle on live television. But due to tonight being a holiday special and more of a "lite" show so to speak, I guess it was Hornswoggle platform time.
I don't wish to discuss this nonsense any further. He learns how to talk (though Hornswoggle had talked before), and he won some Battle Royal match. Yeah, OK.
Divas Mistletoe Match
Of course when the show is actually live and hyped up, the Divas would get less time and therefore a sloppy and useless match. No Beth Phoenix, though. At least they are showing that Beth Phoenix as a champ and a serious champion is above all of this.
The Bella Twins won and their prize was that up until Christmas they could pick any superstar they wanted to kiss. Of course, their choice was Alberto Del Rio.
I'm sensing that maybe the Bella Twins will move into a valet type of role with Alberto Del Rio. They've been hinting at this for a long time now. It's actually not that bad of an idea. I think it would help somewhat freshen up Del Rio's character a bit by showing that in addition to the cars, he has gorgeous women. And it may help get the Bellas out of in-ring activity for good. Something we can all be thankful for.
Ted Dibiase and Jindrak Mahal
It's time to give up on figuring out what in the hell the creative staff is doing with Ted Dibiase's character. They are obviously trying to turn him into SmackDown's version of Zack Ryder with the whole "Dibiase Posse" nonsense and selling him too hard as a face.
Tonight he interfered in Jindrak Mahal's match and handed out presents. Mahal is another superstar who has taken a downfall.
My assessment of Mahal is that he never really got enough heat with The Great Khali that WWE had hoped for, which is why they were separated so soon and he was on his own. He definitely has the size and the ring skills. But he doesn't have the charisma, and his gimmick is killing him.The crowd has never really taken to him. He's boring and too much of a cliche character that we've all seen before.
I suggest either cutting bait with both of these guys, or move their feud back to FCW or WWE Superstars and re-package them both with new characters and new styles.
Overall, tonight's show was a hot mess. A lot of pointlessness which is expected when WWE tends to put on these types of shows that they do more for fun than for wrestling. They might have killed SmackDown's chances at being live permanently.
This show was an opportunity to test the waters and see if SmackDown still has a future and if it will be live. I believe that every live SmackDown show should be a damn good one. Many still think of it as the B show, and in order to change that perception, showings like tonight cost this show too much. I get a strong feeling the ratings will show the show took a nosedive after the opening segment.
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