Saturday, May 16, 2009

Kick-Out's Smackdown Thoughts - May 15, 2009

At this point, the differences between Raw and Smackdown are night and day. Raw just seems to be running in place with little direction while Smackdown is trailblazing with fresh talent and interwoven storylines. Smackdown isn't just a series of matches and promos, it's a comprehensive show that flows seamlessly from segment to segment.

Smackdown's next big things, John Morrison & CM Punk, kick off the show taking on the apparently reunited World's Greatest Tag Team! WWE, if you're serious about resurrecting tag team wrestling, this match should be the blueprint, it felt like a classic tag match of old. There was a time, not all that long ago, when a tag match could be just as big as any singles match on the card and this match definitely had a big match vibe to it. Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas were working especially aggressive and I think there's money in a potential feud between them and the Colón Bros. Morrison and Punk get the win here after The Guru of Greatness hit his split-legged corkscrew moonsault, which he now calls Starship Pain, which is the greatest name for a finisher ever.

While I'm on the subject of John Morrison, I'm completely sold on the guy's face turn. All it took was a simple show change and a couple matches against some heels, but he's growing into the role quickly and I think it's only a matter of time before this guy is testing main event waters. He's no Miz (but let's be honest, who is?), but Morrison has an incredibly bright future ahead of him.

Chris Jericho's out next, reviving his conspiracy theorist shtick from the glory days of WCW. You know, I think the best part about Jericho's whole anti-everyone gimmick these days is that everything he says is absolutely true, which makes him an even bigger jerk because we don't want to admit it. He was right about Shawn Michaels, who stepped over everyone he could to get to the top of WWE; he was right about John Cena pandering to the fans; with news of Ric Flair possibly coming out of retirement, he was right about the legends who can't step out of the spotlight; and he's absolutely right about being the best in the world right now. Edge interrupts, taking issue with Jericho's claims that Smackdown is his show and tries to take over the segment. Both men call out their Judgment Day opponents, Teddy Long arrives, but instead of going for the predictable tag match route, he sets up Jericho vs. Edge! Whoa!

Jeff Hardy vs. ...Ricky Ortiz!? Well that was unexpected, I don't feel like Ortiz has seen actual ring action (aside from the draft show battle royal) in months. What's even more shocking, he actually wasn't too bad out there and he got a lot of offense in; JR and Grisham did a good job putting him over on commentary as well. There's no shame in losing to Jeff Hardy either, so a good night for Ricky in my estimation.

Jeff follows up with a simple promo, loved that he pointed out the fact that Edge wins a title, loses a title, rinses and repeats. As I said in my Judgment Day predictions, I don't think they're going to have Edge drop the title again, but I honestly hope I'm wrong. With rumors swirling about The Undertaker being out for an extended period of time, that means Jeff Hardy is unquestionably the biggest thing on Smackdown and I'm a firm believer in striking while the iron's hot. Give Jeff the belt, let him get his proper run that he didn't get after winning at Armageddon.

Diva Tag Match was actually really good, I know I've mentioned it numerous times, but the Divas are getting more and more aggressive in the ring and it's really helping match quality. I think teaming with Melina is exactly what Gail Kim needs to get the crowd more on her side, so I'd like to see them together more. I like the McCool/Fox partnership as well, we need more set Diva tag teams, it's something that's never really been done in WWE.

Okay, is it just me or was Jimmy Wang Yang awesome in that match with Dolph Ziggler? Ziggy continues to impress, but Yang was the star of this match
during his brief burst of momentum; he was doing moves I didn't even think were physically possible while wearing a pair of Wranglers... that can't be easy! Ziggler wins with a reverse version of Shelton Benjamin's Paydirt, but please WWE, take note of how good Jimmy Yang can be.

I don't like angry Great Khali, I like fun Great Khali who can't stop laughing through his comedy skits. He's like a 7'4" version of Jimmy Fallon.

Oh my God, R-Truth won a match, at the expense of Mike Knox, no less! Hopefully WWE realizes with Smackdown's flood of tremendous talent, a guy like Mike Knox should be putting over guys like R-Truth, not the other way around. Nothing against Knox, he plays his role well, but they've tried getting the guy over at least four times now and the crowd just isn't all that into him. Meanwhile, a guy like R-Truth has a unique gimmick, a fun catchphrase, gets the crowd fired up and is great in the ring, there's no reason to not push him.

Speaking of guys who should be pushed, why are we wasting Cryme Tyme on this stupid angle with Eve and Layla? Here's an idea, since they all have a hip-hop gimmick of sorts, why not team Cryme Tyme up with R-Truth? Call them R-Tyme or something like that, they'd have the crowd on their feet every week with "What's Up?" and "Money, Money, Yeah, Yeah!" They could even win the Tag Titles and use the Demolition/Spirit Squad rule where any combination of the two can defend the belts. Just a thought.

What the hell was Rey Mysterio looking at during that backstage promo?

Edge vs. Chris Jericho was pretty good, I'd love to see these two get an actual match against each other on PPV sometime, but heel vs. heel on PPV is a huge risk... unless of course you're in Canada. This year's Unforgiven is in Montreal, that would be a perfect place for Edge and Jericho to square off, the crowd would go absolutely nuts for it.

While the match itself was good, the real action came after Jericho got himself disqualified when all hell broke loose. Jeff Hardy, CM Punk teasing MITB again, Umaga, brawling in the crowd, Rey Mysterio attacking Jericho... that's how you end a show before a PPV!

As I said when I started this review, Raw can't even hold a candle to Smackdown at this point. Raw only has two matches scheduled for Judgment Day, and I'd argue that their main event isn't nearly as exciting as Jeff Hardy vs. Edge, Mysterio vs. Jericho or even Punk vs. Umaga. I know I'm starting to sound like a broken record in these reviews, but I really think the Smackdown brand is the best it's ever been. Can't wait for tomorrow night!


  1. I like that one of the recap pieces from...another site claimed that Ziggler/Yang sucked and that the blame should be placed on JIMMY WANG YANG. Yes, the high flyer who has grown considerably awesome since the days of the Jung Dragons is at fault for a possible poor match with Nicky. That said, Morrison vs. Shelton will be awesome, Jericho vs. Rey should be awesome, Punk vs. Umaga could be frickin' great with Umaga's work, and Edge vs. Jeff will be the likely best match of the show.

    I think they realized that with most of this PPV now being Smackdown-based what the truly elite show of WWE is.

  2. One of the stories on your sidebar (from the Baltimore Sun) says they had to rapidly change things up on Smackdown this week because of Mysterio being a little banged up from the Superstars taping, so in essence, we saw what Smackdown can do when they are, in the words of that particular report, improvising.

    They put on a show that awesome almost on the fly. That says everything about Smackdown right now.

    I love the combinations of competitors right now. There are so many angles going on, so many minifeuds, it is just awesome.

  3. I don't know how you could possibly blame Yang for a three minute match that mostly consisted of him getting beat up. Yang did his job and did it incredibly well... he could've went out there and hit a couple clotheslines and called it a night, but he was doing some really unique stuff for a squash match.

    Good eye MC, catching that improv story, I totally missed it. Very interesting stuff and as you said, speaks volumes about just how damn good SD is right now.

  4. I'm guessing Morrison-Punk/WGTT opened because they were scrambling for a main event? If so, goddamn, they really can do a show on the fly and make it great. Mind you, that's the only reason I'm sure we say Ricky O tonight as well.