Sunday, February 13, 2011

WWE Smackdown Thoughts - February 11, 2011

Last week's show was pretty disappointing, but the fact that they were in Green Bay for this show and the Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers were coming, had me pretty excited for what was sure to be a hot crowd. Let's take a look.

And sure, the Packers are Super Bowl champs and all, but there's only one Royal Rumble winner, Alberto Del Rio... but you already knew that. Del Rio had the ring decked out in red to celebrate Valentine's Day, to tell us about all the things he loves, like his cars and DESTINY! He also took a swipe at Aaron Rodgers, saying he doesn't need to pretend to be a World Champion because he's going to be on at WrestleMania!

Kofi Kingston interrupted, understandably a little unhappy about the events of last week and threatened Del Rio with a Singapore cane of his own. Del Rio begged for mercy and it looked like Kofi was going to back off, but wound up nailing the Rumble winner with a few good shots, then destroyed his Valentine's Day celebration. This is what I'm talking about with good guys acting like bad guys, Del Rio was helpless, pleading with Kofi to show him mercy, but Kofi struck him with a weapon anyway. Del Rio begging was humiliation enough, Kofi could've destroyed the set and scared Del Rio away, but instead he struck a defenseless man. I'm sure many will disagree and say Kofi was merely getting revenge, but good guys shouldn't be out for revenge, especially a fun-loving guy like Kingston. Not everyone needs to be Stone Cold, some guys should do the right thing, even when they're dealing with bad people.

Kofi Kingston vs. Alberto Del Rio was our opening contest and I have no idea why they just gave this away when it would make a perfectly fine match at Elimination Chamber. I was hoping for shenanigans or at least a surprise finish, but Del Rio won definitively, even after getting beat with the Singapore cane, so what's the point of giving Kofi another match? The match itself was fine, a little too short for my taste, but the decision to even do it is just mind-boggling. If I had to give a single answer why PPV buyrates are down, it's because WWE doesn't build cards anymore, they rely too much on branding to sell events, but that doesn't really work when every show has its own "hook" now. As of right now, there are three - THREE - matches announced for a PPV that's one week away. Sure, the big matches are the Chambers, but I don't think those alone sell a $50 show, especially when it's sandwiched between the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania, the only two shows that do sell themselves on brand recognition alone.

Clay Matthews & The Green Bay Packers were on hand and they all had their own World Heavyweight Championship belts. Now see, that's smart marketing.

Vladimir Kozlov vs. Justin Gabriel was next, continuing their Tag Team Title feud, and I was pretty impressed with Kozlov in this one. I can't remember the last time I saw him in a singles match, but he showed off some new stuff and Gabriel was the perfect opponent for him. The Corrrrrrrre, of course, played a role in Gabriel picking up the win, but I'm sorry, I just don't find these guys that intimidating when most of these guys went from destroying John Cena, to beating up Santino & Kozlov.

Chris Masters vs. Drew McIntyre was a match I was excited for, but if there was theme to this show so far, it was WWE pissing me off with stuff I genuinely wanted to see. McIntyre dedicated his match to the fired Kelly Kelly, took some offense from Masters, but gained the upper hand with a nice counter into the Future Shock, match was over. That sentence was longer than this match.

Wade Barrett vs. Rey Mysterio was the top of the hour main event, another match that probably shouldn't just be given away on Smackdown. At least we got some shenanigans with Gabriel providing a distraction, but for the most part, it was another PPV-caliber match given away on free TV. At least we got some cool stuff with Big Show, who tried to save Rey from the 4-on-1 beat down after the match, highlighted by Big Zeke suplexing the World's Largest Athlete. That was much more impressive than taking out Santino.

Kane vs. JTG, really?

Eve vs. Layla was next, and Layla trying to get Michelle McCool's attention during her moves was hilarious. It was like a child at the park, "Mommy, look at me! Mommy! Mommy look! Look what I can do!" Unfortunately, that was pretty much all there was to this match, Eve picked up a bizarre win, though she should've won by disqualification seconds earlier.

They really have to get Michael Cole out of the announce booth, he's nothing but a distraction at this point. I was watching some old DVDs this week and was reminded of how good Heenan, Ventura and Lawler were, and Cole's nowhere near their level. His insufferable Type A-hole personality could be amusing, but not when all he's doing is running down the participants in a match and his fellow commentators. The best heels tell the truth, at least to a degree, but Cole is just delusional and obnoxious and he's dragging every show down.

Main Event time! Edge vs. Dolph Ziggler for the World Heavyweight Championship with Vickie Guerrero as the special guest referee. Vickie reminded us that the Spear was still banned and had the crowd livid before the match even started. I wasn't thrilled about this match happening again since I couldn't see a way for WWE to get out of it without making Ziggler look like a choke artist or without giving him a pointless, short reign. After a night of disappointment, WWE managed to surprise me and pull off what I thought would be impossible and kept the belt on Edge in a brilliant way. Vickie hurt herself trying to spear Edge (seriously), Edge nailed two spears while she was down and Clay Matthews of the Green Bay Packers came to the ring in a referee shirt and counted the win. Dolph Ziggler has a legitimate claim to the World Title, Edge keeps the World Title, no one looks like a buffoon... except Vickie Guerrero, who's supposed to.

Unfortunately, that was pretty much the only good part of Smackdown this week. Giving away PPV-caliber matches for free with no build-up and definitive endings, not hyping a PPV that's just seven days away, and pointless squash matches. Thumbs way down on this week's show, but with next week being Smackdown's 600th episode, hopefully they'll do something big. A 12-man tag match featuring all the participants in both Elimination Chambers is good, it'll hopefully force them to fill the rest of the show with hype for the rest of the PPV.

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