Sunday, October 18, 2009

Smackdown Thoughts - October 16, 2009

JR is not in the commentary booth for this episode of Smackdown, Michael Cole's filling in, leading to all the gossip girls suggesting that Jim Ross is quitting WWE. JR himself says he took his first ever personal day to celebrate his anniversary, which I think certainly warrants a night off. I'll believe JR's leaving when I see it, but based on all of WWE's shake-ups in the booth this last year or so, they're not going to risk losing the voice of professional wrestling.

Team captain of the Smackdown Bragging Rights team, Chris Jericho, opens the show and gets MASSIVE heat from the Lexington, Kentucky crowd. Jericho runs down DX and explains why he will lead Smackdown to the promised land, but the newly announced co-captain, Kane, has something to say about that. Kane and Jericho as co-captains? I dig it, but without the participants of the Fatal Four Way, I don't know how you can really call this "Team Smackdown."

Finlay vs. Mike Knox vs. Dolph Ziggler is the first Bragging Rights qualifier of the night and I just don't get the logic behind not having both Ziggler and Finlay on the team. I'm glad Ziggler won, but Finlay is one of those guys who can fit into any position on the card and it will work. Need a solid talent to get over a debuting Superstar? Finlay. Need someone to round out a big main event tag match? Finlay could work there too. The match itself was great, lots of hard-hitting action, I was worried someone was going to get hurt out there, but that's a testament to how tough these guys are. Good match and Ziggler's a great fit for the team.

Cryme Tyme vs. The Hart Dynasty is up next with the winning team joining Smackdown at Bragging Rights. Nothing new in this match, especially considering we've seen these teams wrestle almost weekly for three months now, but it still was a solid contest. Not surprised to see Cryme Tyme pick up the win, their work with JeriShow during the summer raised their stock considerably and the Bragging Rights main event should raise it even higher.

Eric Escobar vs. Matt Hardy is where things began to fall apart. Seriously, you're going to have a guy get into a PPV main event match just by winning in his debut? And you're going to do it at the expense of Matt Hardy, who is one of the most popular wrestlers on all of Smackdown? Really? REALLY?! Horrible decision and based on what I saw from Escobar in this match, I'm definitely not pleased that this guy is getting PPV time and Matt Hardy is not. Escobar's lucky he's got Vickie Guerrero at his side, because she's the only way I can see him getting any sort of reaction from the crowd right now. Huge thumbs down here, did he only win this match so Team Raw has someone to pin!?

I liked the backstage segment with Michelle McCool running into Mickie James & Beth Phoenix, with talent like this in Smackdown's Women's Division, McCool might actually be watchable.

CM Punk convinces Vince McMahon to give him his one-on-one rematch against The Undertaker next week with the same factors that allowed him to retain the World Title at Breaking Point. I don't like Punk's chances this time around.

The Miz & John Morrison resurrecting The Dirt Sheet for one night only was definitely the highlight of this week's show. Great banter between these two, they definitely haven't lost their chemistry on the mic, now I hope their in-ring chemistry holds up when they're on opposite sides of the ring at Bragging Rights.

Drew McIntyre vs. R-Truth is the final qualifying match and while it had the sickest bump I've seen in some time (R-Truth's back landing on the corner of the steel steps), I still can't find a reason to care about Drew McIntyre. Great, now Team Smackdown has two guys who have a lot of hype, but very little to back it up. Weak.

Rey Mysterio vs. Batista was a great main event, but a little too short. I don't know if these two have ever had a one-on-one match before, but they put on a good showing here. Mysterio getting the win, even with the shenanigans of the ref not seeing Batista getting his shoulder up, is pretty big news. Huge win for Mysterio, and I was even getting the vibe that we might be seeing signs of a Batista heel turn, but I think it's too early to say anything for sure. CM Punk (who's undoubtedly heel), made his presence felt after the match with a hit and run GTS on Mysterio, adding a little more fuel to the fire for the upcoming Fatal Four Way.

Overall, good wrestling, but a disappointing Smackdown due to their extremely weak Bragging Rights team. It's Raw's main eventers and the next generation of the WWE main event scene taking on Chris Jericho and Smackdown's D-list? Lame. Don't get me wrong, I like Cryme Tyme, and they would've made for a fine supporting cast, but they're two of the biggest names on the team! Kane hasn't done anything worthwhile in damn near ten years, Dolph Ziggler's a good fit for the team, but he's been losing every big match presented to him, and McIntyre & Escobar are way too new for anyone to care about. And they're up against DX, two of the biggest names in the history of the business; Jack Swagger, a main eventer in the making; Kofi Kingston, who's riding a huge wave of momentum; Cody Rhodes, who's basically one singles run away from a World Title (even if I don't like it); Mark Henry, who's basically the weak link of the team, but just finished up a huge program with the Unified Tag Titles; and Big Show, the largest athlete in the world.

The only hope Smackdown has is Big Show turning on Raw and siding with Chris Jericho, otherwise this is a glorified squash match. And really, what does it do for Raw if they win? Wow, you managed to beat a team featuring Eric Escobar & Drew McIntyre! Awesome? You can't really have a match to see which is the superior brand when only one of Smackdown's top guys is involved. You want a real match for brand superiority? Give us Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Randy Orton, John Cena, Big Show, Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase vs. Chris Jericho, Kane, Matt Hardy, CM Punk, Undertaker, Batista & Rey Mysterio. Now THAT would be Raw vs. Smackdown.

6 comments:

  1. Although I really like Mike Knox, I didn't see him making it to Team SmackDown. Finlay would have been a great addition, but with the attention WWE's been putting on Ziggler, I figured he'd make it to the team. Not a bad choice, either.

    I would have liked to see either Cryme Tyme or the Hart Dynasty make it to the team, so this was a win-win situation for me. Cryme Tyme has done a little more than the Dynasty, though.

    Eric Escobar making it to the team at the expense of Matt Hardy was sompletely ridiculous. Matt Hardy got a huge crowd reaction, and for this rookie to just jump over him and make it to a PPV so early in his career is just plain stupid. And for a guy who spent four years in Developmental, Escobar didn't really impress me at all in his debut match. Thumbs down to this crap.

    For a time, R-Truth was picking up successive wins and looked like an impressive mid-carder. He hasn't done all that much lately, but he still gets a decent crowd reaction, so for McIntyre, another newcomer, to get past a guy like R-Truth who could really be something special if given enough wins, time, and attention, well, I just see it as another blemish on Team SmackDown.

    I enjoyed the main event. Mysterio and Batista looked good, and the finish was awesome. CM Punk attacking Mysterio post-match just made him seem like a jerk, which is awesome. I laughed at the Double Guns taunt as Batista ran to the ring.

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  2. The finger guns from CM Punk at the end was glorious.

    Was interesting to see a very intense side to John Morrison at the end of the Dirt Sheet.

    During the Batista/Rey match I was hoping that Rey would take that goofy grin off his face and slap Batista to show that he should be taken seriously. Especially after that talk last week where Batista said that Rey gets to be in the ring as he wins the title. Still, I guess the dropkick and leg kicks served the same purpose.

    Also, since you have no Superstars review, I think i'll comment here on what a good show it was. Mark Henry vs Chris Masters was far greater than I or Michael Cole could have anticipated. I did love that line on RAW, "Chris Masters vs Mark Henry....that'll be a fun match to call." Tommy's swollen elbow brought an intersting dynamic to his match with Kozlov, even if Matt Striker was running close to infringing Mike Knox's gimmick at times. Finally, CM Punk vs Morrison was as great as ever and had a cool finish in Miz getting Morrison DQ'ed rather than just hitting him. Plus, Michelle McCool revealing that she'd like to tag with Kane made me think of the potential rant you would make on that teams blandness.

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  3. I don't agree. Team SmackDown is full of younger guys, and we've all been pushing for them to be pushed. Now they are and we complain?

    Agreed, Escobar over Matt Hardy was a ridiculous booking decision. Drew McIntyre getting the place when R-Truth would have probably been better was a tad silly, but when you have, apparently, Triple H and Shawn Michaels backing you, what can we expect?

    Other than that, a good review from yourself.

    And I have to agree with "King Ellis" the C-M Punk finger guns was indeed glorious.

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  4. There's a difference between pushing "younger guys" and guys who just debuted. McIntyre's had two matches, Escobar's had one and they're already getting involved in a PPV main event?

    And to me, it's not so much about pushing young guys as it is about putting new people in the main event scene. I don't care if the guy's 40, if he's over, credible and capable in the ring, a new main eventer is a new main eventer.

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  5. I've made my opinion on Eric Escobar known. For a guy who spent four years in Developmental, I was very underwhelmed with his performance. What did you think about Escobar, given his lengthy training process, Razor?

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  6. That match with Matt Hardy was not a good first impression, but I'm not going to hold it entirely against Escobar. The match was fairly short and I'm not sure if Matt Hardy is even back to 100% yet. But based on this match and the handful of forgettable matches from ECW last year, I haven't seen anything (yet) that's got me excited about him. Maybe he'll impress in the future, but throwing him into this PPV main event seems like a serious case of WWE's infamous "sink or swim" mentality.

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