Hello Bleacher Nation!
The first Smackdown of 2011 is over and it kicked off the New Year in a big way! We have a new Intercontinental Champion in Kofi Kingston and a new #1 Contender for the World Heavyweight Championship in Dolph Ziggler.
Kingston is my personal favorite wrestler and I am glad that Dolph has moved on to the Main Event scene. And to think that all of this action couldn't have even been expected (if you don't read the spoilers) because it wasn't even advertised.
The two Main Events that were hyped up throughout the week were Kane vs. Edge for the World Heavyweight Championship in a Last Man Standing Match and Alberto Del Rio vs Rey Mysterio in a 2 out of 3 Falls Match.
Edge retained his championship to open the show in a very entertaining match that had the superstars traveling through the stands and included Kane making multiple moves that almost knocked Edge out.
The last match had Del Rio get the first tap out with his cross-arm breaker, followed by Rey getting a pin that wouldn't be enough because Del Rio's personal ring announcer, Ricardo Rodriguez, helped keep Rey out of the ring for the final count out.
I loved all of the matches tonight (well except for the divas match but that is to be expected) but it got me thinking of how the roster is shaping up heading into 2011.
I came to the realization that Smackdown only has 10 male wrestlers that appear regularly on the show.
They are Alberto Del Rio, Big Show, Cody Rhodes, Dolph Ziggler, Drew McIntyre, Edge, Jack Swagger, Kane, Kofi Kingston and Rey Mysterio. Out of those 10, there are only four faces: Big Show, Edge, Kofi and Rey.
There are some potential additions that could soon be added into the fold. Ezekiel Jackson has switched brands from Raw and is expecting to make his debut soon.
Christian, Finlay, Joey Mercury, and the Undertaker are injured and will return to the roster at varying times.
Some superstars have not been active in the wrestling portion of the show but make appearances in other aspects. Hornswoggle's character isn't meant to be a force in the ring and his character is now mainly delegated to comedic purposes only.
Paul Bearer hasn't made a showing since his son, Kane, pushed him off a ladder but his role has always been to be just a creepy guy that adds drama to Undertaker's and Kane's storylines.
Vickie Guerrero is solely used as a valet for Dolph Ziggler but she easily draws the most heel heat out of everyone.
Finally, Chavo Guerrero has been doing backstage segments and had a brief feud with Santino Marella, but besides that, he has been dormant on Fridays.
There are also many wrestlers who currently spend most of there time on "WWE Superstars" who could be promoted to the Big League like Chris Masters, Curt Hawkins, JTG, Trent Barreta and Tyler Reks. All of these guys are hard-working youngsters who deserve a chance to make a difference on Smackdown.
And lastly, there is the Diva Division that contains Beth Phoenix, Kaitlyn (once she is ready), Kelly Kelly, Layla, Michelle McCool and Rosa Mendes.
The Diva Championship is on Raw so most of the legit matches happen on Monday nights and Beth Phoenix usually migrates over there to get her face time.
However, the rest of the divas usually get one match a week even though it is always done in five minutes.
So with all of this being said, can Smackdown continue to put on entertaining shows with only 10 legit names right now? The draft isn't coming until April so the WWE will need to look for more creative ways to improve the roster.
The move of Ezekiel Jackson has the potential to be a great transaction for everybody. Jackson was lost in the shuffle and pushed down the totem pole in favor of other guys on Raw and could benefit from the change of scenery.
Also, Smackdown is currently in need of some big names and Jackson is definitely BIG! However, I see Jackson being used as a heel which would tilt the balance of faces and heels even more out-of-whack.
Another way to inject Smackdown with some new faces would be to bring up somebody from "WWE Superstars." My vote would be Trent Barreta. He had a match with Drew McIntyre and kept up with the Chosen One.
The announcers commented on how aggressive McIntyre, was but I was noticing that Barreta's moves were fueled by a lot of passion and strength as well.
He deserves a shot to feud with one of the many heels who currently don't have an established rivalry like maybe Jack Swagger.
Hopefully, Christian returns at the Royal Rumble because he could bring the big name that Smackdown is needed.
He would add some freshness to the Championship chase and could put on quality matches for the audience to enjoy.
Captain Charisma deserves more than a ECW Championship reign in his return to WWE and could gain gold on Smackdown.
So what are your thoughts on how 2011 is looking for Smackdown? Do you have any ideas that could add some sparkle to Friday Nights? Which "WWE Superstar" wrestler would you promote if you could?
I am excited for what is to come with the WWE, but I think they are skating a thin line on Friday Nights with this limited quantity of talent. As always, Kelly Campbell said it best when he said, "It is what it is!"
Thanks for continuing to read my stuff, I have a blast writing and thinking about these articles.