Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Smackdown Blackout

This article contains spoilers for this Friday's Smackdown. If you are avoiding spoilers, turn back now.

On Tuesday, May 3, 2011 at the Smackdown tapings in Orlando, FL, Randy Orton defeated Christian for the World Heavyweight Championship. The show will air this Friday on Syfy, I heard about the title change tonight on Twitter as the IWC exploded with furious rage, but the only emotion I feel is disappointment. No anger, not even surprise, it is what it is. Randy Orton was moved to Smackdown to be the top guy, I just didn't think they'd immediately strip Christian of the title after a true happy ending and throw it onto Randy Orton.

Captain Charisma was defeated by Captain Snoozefest in his first title defense. It's like WWE booked it specifically to kick me in the crotch. I'm not a Randy Orton fan, if you've read this blog at least one time before tonight, I'm sure you knew that. He's honestly my least favorite performer in WWE to watch; I get why people dig him, he just doesn't click for me at all. I have no interest in watching him beat my favorite wrestler, so I won't watch Friday night. And I will not watch until he loses the World Championship, this is the start of the Smackdown Blackout.

I'll still watch and live blog Raw & PPVs, keep up with the Blue Brand through spoilers, and I'll return to Smackdown the minute Orton loses, but you have to vote with your wallet. I'm tired of seeing this guy hog up the show and my viewership is the only voice I have in the matter.

Some might call it overdramatic, but this is me putting my money where my mouth is. When I started Kick-Out!!, I frequently called out wrestling "journalists" who did nothing but bitch and moan about the shows. Why do you watch if you hate everything you see? I don't watch TNA for that exact reason, it simply doesn't entertain me, to keep in line with Kick-Out's mission statement, I simply don't want to watch Smackdown right now.

This blog is about having fun and talking wrestling and there's no fun in me sitting down every Sunday, firing up my DVR and writing up a whine-ridden rant about how much Randy Orton bores me to tears. Instead, look for some weekly column or retro-review every Sunday to replace the missing SD Thoughts.

Hence, the Smackdown Blackout. Feel free to join in.


  1. I applaud your well-thought out response. I'm going to get over my rage, and while I will not outright boycott, I will watch with bated breath and see what they do with Christian next.

  2. I will be joining in as well, Razor. Good post.

  3. Dude, way to stand up for a principle. To tell the truth, I haven't watched anything on NBC or produced/broadcast by the company since Conan got shafted... and since we both know that USA and Syfy are both networks under that umbrella... I haven't watched Raw (aside from a few segments here and there) since that event or Smackdown since the move.

    Solidarity. Solidarity.

  4. I'm at least not going to watch this week, Christians win and the way it was built felt like such a massive moment and it just feels torn down by doing this. They at least could have given him a little time to make a big deal out of it and pump it up a bit before moving on.

  5. I remember one Internet blogger quoting jerico about storylines and letting them play out before critizing,

    In short this could be the best thing to happen to chritian,

    If he gets a return match nxt week than that's it though... I'll join ur blackout

  6. Right on Bro!

    Ya, but seriously though, I haven't watched SD consistently for quite a few months ... hmmm partly because, even though in the past I was busy on Fridays, this time, there's nothing drawing me to smackdown. I'd rather listen to WrestlingJesus say some funny stuff! Anyway,

    ya ... the whole stripping Christian of the title ... Dick move. For the first time in YEARS, it felt like a title meant something, rather than a prop. It felt like Christian had the Shawn Michaels, "boyhood dream" moment, and then it was taken away from him 48 hours later.


  7. I understand that people are upset, and fair enough because this was handled badly, no doubt.

    But what about the other guys on Smackdown that you are de facto voting against with your wallet and ratings? Randy Orton is not going to be blamed for the declining ratings and buys, he is an established main eventer. Its guys like Sheamus, Daniel Bryan, and Sin Cara who would be punished and depushed if the ratings suddenly took a nose dive, and while you may want to be sending a message to WWE about how unhappy you are, these guys' careers are more or less at stake in this.

    Like I said, I understand the motivation behind this whole thing, but it seems to very the very kind of smarkish overreacting that you've championed the fight against.

  8. You've got my support. Though I'm not a fan of titles in general as they're played as meaningless macguffin's too much, they really went out of their way to make Christian's win mean quite a lot. That sort of heightened metaphor being quashed so soon is confusing and likely political.

  9. @Delliott - You're right, this could turn out to be a really interesting story. I posted that on Twitter last night after I let it sink in for a bit. Unfortunately, I know how all Orton stories end: Orton wins. Flawless Victory. Fatality.

    It could be the best thing that happens to Christian, but Sunday should've been the best thing that happened to Christian. It wrapped up Edge's retirement and story with Del Rio perfectly and he should've gotten the chance to run with that momentum.

    @Cewsh - I don't expect the ratings to take a hit. Wrestling fans talk big, but I assume the dial for Smackdown wouldn't move one way or the other regardless of whether Orton is champ or Christian was champ. This is more personal for me, I'm sick and tired of Orton and writing about a show where he becomes World Champ on night one just doesn't appeal to me. Watching during his reign is just going to make me sound bitter and whiny, which is the last thing I want Kick-Out!! to be. So much like how I simply stopped watching TNA, I'll stop watching Smackdown, at least while Orton is champion.

    @KSP - The optimist in me wants to say that Christian's title win was a "thank you" and a reward he was never supposed to get anyway. The pessimist in me wants to say it's WWE intentionally screwing with a certain portion of their fanbase.

  10. Yeah, I love watching Randy Orton so all of this amazes me.

    It just comes off as melodramtic honestly. So they put the belt on a guy you don't like, big deal? It's not as if Christian was going to be anything but second fiddle to Orton on Smackdown! anyway regardless of who was World Champion.

    I detested John Cena in and around his 2007 reign and still harbour some disdain for him whenever he tries to be funny but I still watch the show because I know he's not going away because other people love him and he's always going to be part of the show until that stops.

    I know you're always going to dislike Orton and I'm not going to change that but to stop yourself watching other top and entertaining talents getting a new start on Smackdown because the big bad wolf took away the Smarks' Wetdream World title reign that was never meant to happen in the first place is OTT to me.

    Should Christian have had a longer reign? Sure. Did he deserve to be treated better? Maybe. To write it off before the story develops and even before the actualy show goes to air is absurd, sorry.

    I'm looking forward to seeing Randy Orton's first World Heavyweight Championship reign in 7 years and first ever on Smackdown anyway.

  11. If Randy Orton is the #1 guy no matter what, then he should always be World Champion. When he's not on screen, people should be asking "where's Randy Orton?"

    This is WWE shooting themselves in the foot, plain and simple. Every time they build up someone new for the main event, they yank the rug right out from under them and run back to same old, same old.

    In just the last two years, they've done it to Kofi, Swagger, Ziggler, Bourne, Del Rio, Barrett, Bryan, Morrison (on several occasions), Sheamus, and now it looks like it'll happen to Christian. It's beyond tiring at this point.

  12. My personal opinion on it is this. It could become a compelling story of a man who's dream was yanked out of his hands shortly after he got it, shortly after he and his best friend (who was forced to retire recently, who he can no longer work with) celebrated it, and he grows jaded and angry at the brass he'd been reaching for so long.

    But at the same time, I don't have that kind of faith in them. I've waited and seen things go sour. Of course, I've enjoyed enough to still follow Smackdown, but this seems pretty sudden. Did they give Christian that beautiful moment just to keep the belt on Smackdown? Will Christian remain in the title picture, or is he going the Swagger route?

    I don't know. And I'm going to watch Smackdown, to see this play out. I changed the channel on the Cole/King/JR stuff, and if it's that bad, I'll do it again. But I commend your initiative, because too often people bitch and then return back to the very product they dislike, bitching and moaning again and again about something that'll never change.

  13. I'm looking forward to seeing Randy Orton's first World Heavyweight Championship reign in 7 years and first ever on Smackdown anyway.

    Michael Cole, is that you? It's not a stock attack on someone for criticizing criticism of the WWE, btw. That's the same kind of weak grandeur that's used to aggrandize things that have happened so many times before in order to put a sheen on them for the fans to gobble up. It's beyond trite.

    As for the original point, if the point is to drive home that Randy Orton is the sole focus of the show, then it's a weak point. A great television show (which is what the office folk in WWE right now so desperately want to be looked upon as) has an ensemble cast. LOST wasn't awesome because it was ALL MATTHEW FOX, ALL THE TIME, but because of great stories and a cast of able actors, from Fox and Terry O'Quinn, all the way down to actors with less screen time like Cheech Marin, Mark Pellegrino and even Katey Sagal, being able to take scenes and make them must-see, even if they weren't the climax of the episode. Through doing this, the WWE is ignoring the power of a varied cast.

    As for the story? You're right, we don't know how this is going to unfold. However, given their track record (and that's a huge, HUGE thing to consider when predicting what might happen), it's not hopeful. What's probably going to happen is that Orton is going to RKO a bunch of people, never lose until he gets screwed out of the title, and then Christian will go back to being an afterthought. Sounds pessimistic? Yeah, it does, but it's the truth.

    I'm not with Razor, in that this isn't enough to make me boycott Smackdown. I still love watching good wrestling, and Smackdown has good wrestling. Booking is less inflammatory to me than it was even a year ago. That being said, I understand the backlash, and the fact that the WWE does this intentionally at worst or is tone deaf enough to their fans that they don't recognize where to call an audible at least is troubling as a fan of the company.

    So yeah, the whole attitude of "Shut up and take it" in regards to Orton's position on the show is weak, almost as weak as that (most likely) throwaway line at the end of the comment about this being some historic event.

  14. You gotta stick with your principles. I continue to boycott Modern Family until Ed O'Neill is off the show because I didn't like what he did 15 years ago. I hear it's good but I'll never know because I didn't like Al Bundy.

  15. Were you more of a Marcy fan?

  16. You realize all that the WWE thinks the IWC doesn't matter, right? If your Smackdown boycott actually worked, Christian would take the heat for it because they'd assume no one read spoilers and that Christian was simply not a draw as champ ratings wise.

    Maybe you should watch SD this week, then not watch it once Orton is officially champ.

    I said the same on Twitter on your hashtag for the #SmackdownBlackout

  17. Al Bundy = best TV dad ever

    Belts don't mean anything anymore. sadly the one person who looked like he gave a shit winning one just lost it. I think with having 0 successful defenses this is going to hurt Christian more than it will help Orton. Orton is so over with the universe that he could have taken fall cleanly and not have had anything to worry about. I feel the WWE believes the only way to enhance a feud is to have a title swap.

    Also good on the boycott, I'm fixing to boycott all WWE related stuff (except Punk and Bryan) and stick with the indies. I can live with poor productions values and no pyro but I can't live with bad / boring booking

  18. I hesitate to use the phrase "boycott," I consider this more of a break. I don't expect to personally move the ratings dial and I don't expect the ratings to change regardless of who's champion, I just don't have any interest in watching the Randy Orton Hour.

  19. To me, this move clearly establishes Smackdown as the B-show of the WWE. They're basically saying, we don't have any main event superstars on Friday nights, so let's bring in a guy from Raw to be champion so we can boost ratings. (Granted, Edge did the same thing last year, but it was at the first PPV after the draft, and it was against an already established star who, frankly, was on his way out (read Jericho)). I would say this title-swapping is insulting to the fans, the wrestlers and the title itself. But the more I think of it, this was probably a quick fix to cope with Edge's retirement, while simultaneously keeping the belt out of Del Rio's hands.

    It's also like they're saying that Christian can't draw the crowd the title demands. Which I'm sorry to say, they're sort of right. The WWE spent so much time molding Edge into the superstar of the decade, that Christian fell to the wayside, and only really flourished in tag teams, or as champion of the C-show (of course meaning the WWE version of ECW). His title defense against Ez J at the '10 Rumble was SICK! Then they give him a great story, then push him back on the side stage because Prom King Orton has to hold the belt?

    Now I'm not expecting a heel turn on an R-Truth level, but I can see a bitter Christian demanding a rematch next week or at OTL. So this blackout may be over sooner than you think.

    On that note, I appreciate that you are standing by your ideals, and as this is your blog you certainly have that right. But this seems like a case of hating the game when you should be hating the player. I'm not a fan of Chad Ochocinco, but if he signed with the Ravens, I wouldn't suddenly start hating the team. I like football too much. And I like WWE too much to stop watching Smackdown just because Orton is champion (sick as it makes us both).

    That being said, I support the ideal of your blackout to the best of my ability. I usually miss the show anyway because of work. But I have that luxury because of your blog. Honestly I come here each week instead of reading the recap at WWE.com because I appreciate your views. A real wrestling fan talking wrestling to other wrestling fans. I really like your blog and I feel like we could be friends, but to ask me to stop watching one of my favorite shows is an extreme request.

    So sorry to say, but when the recap is posted Saturday morning, I will watch the match, albeit with lots of guilt. I mean yeah, Snape kills Dumbledore, but I want to read the book to see how it happens.

  20. i've watched that ladder match over and over since sunday, and i think it's way more likely that christian was really hurt during that match, like one of his arms or maybe he reinjured his pecs. so maybe he had to drop to title for a while to heal and then he'll get it right back? that happens sometimes, right?

  21. You're going to kick yourself, my good man, but main event mindfuckery aside, you missed a top-draw episode of SD.

  22. I agree. This just felt like a punch to the stomach from WWE.