WWE SMACKDOWN RANT
May 27, 2011
Hello, again, Scott-a-maniacs! "Great" Scott here with another SmackDown recap. Not only am I going to recap another episode of the show I like to call Randy Orton's Playhouse, I'm going to give you what I've been promising for the last two weeks…
What Vince Can Do To Make The WWE Suck a Little Less
Bring back managers.
Most wrestling fans, even casual ones, remember Bobby "The Brain" Heenan and Jimmy Hart. Good managers made average and crappy wrestlers worth watching. I mean, King Kong Bundy was no Bret Hart in the ring. However, with Heenan selling him, Bundy was a legit main eventer. Guys like Ezekiel Jackson and Mason Ryan would be much better off if they were never given a mic. As it stands now, the only person with any semblance of a manager is Dolph Ziggler, who is definitely more hated because of his "manager," Vicki Guerrero. Matt Striker is a guy that is totally underused that would really serve someone well as a manager. I think the Sin Cara/Chavo angle would've been a lot better if they would've worked their relationship a little longer before having Sin Cara turn on Chavo. Some good talkers would make feuds a little more entertaining.
Define heels and faces properly.
I realize that in this day and age that "good" and "bad" aren't so clearly defined, but this is fiction…a story. While having a few anti-heroes (Steve Austin and DX are good examples) is okay, it gets sorta' tiring when EVERY ONE of your faces is an anti-hero. Whether it's John Cena never coming to help anyone who's getting beaten down or John Morrison screwing R-Truth out of a title shot (and then R-TRUTH turning heel), it's tough to cheer on a guy that's kind of a dick. Guys like Alberto Del Rio, Rey Mysterio, and Christian are awesome because they're good or bad for a particular reason and their actions are motivated by something that is parallel to their character. Guys like Kane and Big Show are getting tiresome because they change allegiances so frequently and it's tough to figure out why they do what they do. One thing that's funny about Kane is that when Paul Bearer came back, Kane was actually a pretty decent (if not horribly interesting on the mic) character. Also funny was the fact that he was the HEEL when Edge kept fake-murdering Kane's father on a weekly basis.
Stop with the pointless and/or rapid-fire heel turns.
This is pretty much a springboard from the last bullet. This plot device is getting just as overused as the belt change plot device and the "fire someone only to have them come back two weeks later" plot device. While I feel relatively strongly about this, the recent face push for Randy Orton (who crowds were booing vehemently just last year) proves that maybe this point isn't all that important. Perhaps I should change this one to, "Get smarter fans."
Restore the cruiserweight division.
I realize that some people think "vanilla midgets" don't get over, but if the WWE marketed the cruiserweight division properly (more fan-friendly), it could really get over, even with the casual fan. Hell, go to Las Vegas and there are about 50 Cirque Du Soleil shows; that's what a good cruiserweight division could be. The WWE already has Sin Cara, Evan Bourne, Chavo Guerrero, Daniel Bryan, and Tyson Kidd; it would be easy to build off of that roster. If they replaced one cruddy PPV (coughOvertheLimitcough) with a cruiserweight-only PPV, I guarantee it would get an equally high buy rate.
Focus on talented divas.
Now that the WWE only airs PG programming, you would think this is a no-brainer. They proclaim, "Smart, Sexy, Powerful," when they should really proclaim, "One outta' three ain't bad!" Seriously, the Divas roster has Melina, Gail Kim, Natalya, and Beth Phoenix, yet the WWE continues to focus on Kelly Kelly and the Bellas (who are really fluff and not much else). Hopefully, with Awesome Kong inserted in the mix, the WWE will push the Divas in the right direction, but I'm sure this'll turn into the same old pretty vs. ugly or fat vs. skinny thing Vince and Co. always turn it into.
Make the belts mean something.
I'm talking about every belt here. Stop having the belts change hands every week. Don't have world championship matches on RAW or SmackDown (I thought that's what the IC and U.S. belts were for). Seriously, winning a belt used to really fuel a feud…now, they mean nothing. It seems as if every new tag team they put together wins the belts within their first three matches. This shows the complete weakness of the writing staff; they have to use the "winning the belt" plot device way too often. This is especially ridiculous in the case of guys like Kofi Kingston, who hadn't won a match in a few months, got thrown into a match with Sheamus, and won the belt…only to lose it a week or so later. Belts used to be a prize or an ultimate goal, now they're just an overused plot device.
The best part? Even when the WWE builds up winning the belt as a real career-changing event (Christian vs. Alberto Del Rio), they screw that up, too. That clearly shows that the WWE doesn't know how to handle the belts anymore.
Rebuild the tag team division.
Again, this is a no-brainer. Just like with managers, we all remember great tag teams: Demolition, The Hart Foundation, and The Legion of Doom. Some of the greatest matches of all time were tag team matches.
As far as how to do it…rehire Carlito, Shad Gaspard, Caylen Croft, Charlie Haas, and Shelton Benjamin. That'll get things started. You've already got The Hart Dynasty, DiBiase and Rhodes, The Usos, The New Nexus, and The Corre. Take the existing teams and throw in some new ones, have a big tournament, and make winning seem worthwhile. When they put the belts on The Colons, it really seemed like they were going in the right direction…but they blew that, too.
Lastly, stop breaking up tag teams after two or three weeks. Just like heel turns and belt switches, breaking up tag teams takes place waaaaaaaaay too often.
Stop having main event talent lose so much.
This really isn't rocket science, either. First, it's hard to take guys like Mark Henry, CM Punk, and Sheamus seriously as title contenders when we've seen them lose to the likes of Evan Bourne and Daniel Bryan. Now, I realize that guys can't win all the time, but that's why you have guys like JTG, Chris Masters, William Regal, and Yoshi Tatsu. These mid- and lower-mid carders can get victories over each other on Superstars, and then come to the two major shows to "beef up" actual contenders. I realize that having Mark Henry fight lower-mid-carders isn't super exciting, but in the long run, it'll make him seem a little more dominating than he is now, losing pretty much every other week. I think the WWE writing staff (with orders from Vince), feels like they have to "reign in" upper-mid-carders like Christian, Kofi Kingston, Dolph Ziggler (well, up until recently), and Alberto Del Rio, but it really is watering down the talent pool in the WWE. It's almost as if it's John Cena, Randy Orton…and everyone else. While that might please the OCD fans of Cena and Orton, a good portion of WWE watchers are getting sick of the watered down product that this approach is producing.
Stop having world championship matches on weekly shows.
I'm sure nothing pleases a WWE fan more than plunking down $50 on a WWE PPV, only to see the same match on free television the next evening…ESPECIALLY when it's a better match! Better yet, when the guy you've built up for months LOSES the belt in four days! Seriously, WWE PPVs would get much better ratings if they included matches that you couldn't see for free, and I'm not talking about Tyson Kidd vs. Sin Cara dark matches, either. It's cool to have John Cena fight in non-title or tag team matches, but title defenses of world championships should be relegated to PPVs. Hell, that's why you should refocus on the tag belts and make the IC and United States belts worth something again.
Hire better writers.
Seriously…that's really all I need to say for this one.
Stop focusing on the SAME DAMN GUYS.
Honestly, would anyone go see Spiderman movies if he fought the same villain in every movie? People would probably put up with it for a little while, but it would get stale two or three movies in. Yes, the same guys still get pops (The Rock is living proof), but it wouldn't hurt to bump them to the middle of the show and have some new blood in the main event picture. I guarantee that people will cheer for The Undertaker, HHH, Orton, and Cena just as much if they aren't in the main event picture. Just look at the HHH/Undertaker match at WrestleMania…neither of them had a belt and they weren't in the main event…and the match was still awesome. What Vince needs to understand is that these guys won't be around forever. When they go, if he doesn't build up his talent pool…he'll kiss the only successful thing he's ever done goodbye.
Embrace the fact that you're a wrestling company.
Lastly, Vince needs to realize that he made his fortune by being a wrestling promoter. Come on, Vince, just take a look…your attempt at creating a bodybuilding federation tanked, your restaurant tanked, your football league tanked, and your movies go direct to DVD at Wal-Mart. The only thing at which you've been successful is wrestling. If you want to fail at other things, call your company Titan Entertainment, and fail at other stuff while your WRESTLING federation continues to bring in money. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like you want to focus on your WRESTLING company, or at least make it any good, because you've made it PG and watered down so your wife can FAIL at politics. Seriously, Vince, look at your track record. It's the yahoos and the hillbillies that have made you your fortune. Give them the product that they deserve. Make it good, make it interesting, and…okay, you can make it entertaining. You should also, however, make it WRESTLING.
Well, that's enough of that…on to the show!!
The Randy Orton Show starts with champion coming to the ring. In case you didn't know, his theme song is available on iTunes. In a shocking turn of events, Randy Orton defeated Christian at "Orton the Limit"…good for him getting a win for a change. Cameron is right; this makes me want to run in front of a bus.
The crowd breaks into a "Randy" chant right away. It's awesome to know that if Randy Orton punted The Rock in the head, they would boo him just as quickly. WWE fans are, for the most part, ADD- inflicted, bipolar morons.
Things get a little better pretty quickly, as Christian's music cues up and Captain Charisma makes his way out. In the amount of time it takes Randy Orton to say his own name, Christian gets out about nine sentences. He gushes over Randy's performance at the PPV, but then says he knows he can beat him. Christian asks for one more match, but then the situation gets a whole lot paler, as Sheamus makes his way to ringside. Sheamus cuts the most impressive promo of the group, comparing Christian to a gambling addict, blowing chance after chance…good stuff. I would take him a little more seriously if they'd let him actual beat more than one or two lower card guys in a row.
Mark Henry is the next guy out. Henry, surprisingly, cuts a decent promo, too. He tells Christian to join Edge on the golf course, tells Sheamus that he's not waiting on line for a title shot, and then gets in Orton's face. This is immediately ruined by the appearance of Teddy Long. Once Teddy starts talking, I zone out…the result of his rambling is that Christian, Sheamus, and Henry are going to take part in a triple-threat match to determine the number one contender. If it's for a title shot on next week's show, there's NO WAY Christian will win this.
After the commercials, it's time for anyone who purchased the PPV to slam their head against a wall!
Sin Cara vs. Chavo Guerrero
Yup, let's give away a PPV match for FREE! Seriously, you couldn't have thrown these two into a tag match with two other guys?
Chavo starts off with a cheap shot, but Sin Cara instantly goes on the offensive with various arm drags and kicks. Chavo takes a powder on the outside, but gets back in the ring and runs right into a drop toehold. Chavo regains the advantage when Sin Cara misses a corner charge. Chavo hits a double knee lift in the corner and then starts working over Sin Cara. After a few moves, Chavo grounds Sin Cara with a top overhand wristlock, which is a great strategy against a guy who does nothing but kick. Sin Cara tries to fight out, and does…sending Chavo to the floor again. Sin Cara puts Chavo down with a springboard moonsault off the ropes to the floor. He rolls Chavo back in and downs him with a flying head scissors. Before Chavo can regain his footing, Sin Cara lays into him with a series of kicks, which he follows up with the back elbow off the second rope. After hitting a FrankenCara, Sin Cara charges Chavo, but is backdropped to the apron. Sin Cara lands on his feet and then back brain kicks Chavo. Sin Cara hits a flying cross body to get a two count. Chavo, however, gets a pin attempt in and then take back over…but only for a about a millisecond. Chavo ducks a springboard elbow, but walks right into the craziest looking move I've ever seen (it's sorta' like a crucifix into a flying head scissors into a Crippler Crossface face slam/DDT). Unreal.
Winner: Sin Cara
The match gets two and a half Tony the Tigers; the finisher gets one. This was a good match. Certainly not the best these two could do, but good enough.
Cody Rhodes vs. Daniel Bryan
Wow, two good matches in a row! Nice!
Rhodes takes a quick advantage with a kick, a headlock, and a shoulderblock, but Bryan fights back. Bryan, however, runs into a forearm, and some chain wrestling leads into a clever modified surfboard, double knee stomp. The two men fight over a hip toss, which ends with Bryan getting tossed over the top rope, and then we go to commercials. Damn it!
Bad Teacher looks like it could be one of the worst movies EVER.
When we return, we're treated to Daniel Bryan getting sent to the turnbuckly. Bryan fights back with European uppercuts, but Rhodes catches him with a kick a series of punches. After an elbow to the head, Rhodes goes for a pin. Rhodes lands two knee lifts and then locks on a half nelson/chinlock combo. Rhodes quickly escapes and clamps on a rear naked choke/half nelson combo. He turns that into a body scissors, but Bryan gets to his feet. Rhodes sends Bryan to the corner, but Bryan gets a foot up and follows with a running kick to the chest. Rhodes misses a pair of punches and is hit with a flurry of shots from Bryan, who follows with a running forearm shot. Bryan follows that up with a running dropkick to Rhodes in the corner. Bryan goes to the top and lands a nice missile dropkick that gets him a two count. Bryan tries for the LaBell lock, but Rhodes shoves him into the corner. Bryan, however, gets a roll up for two. A quick exchange ends with Rhodes hitting his leaping kick on Bryan. Rhodes stalks Bryan and locks him in the CrossRhodes, but Bryan flips him around and clamps on the LaBell Lock. Rhodes taps almost immediately.
Winner: Daniel Bryan
That was a straight up good match. A little bit slow, but really good back-and-forth action.
After the match, Rhodes beats up Bryan and puts a paper back on his head. I'm hoping that this feud goes for a while. I think, if given the chance, these two could put on a hell of a match.
A segment for Capitol Punishment…that is agonizing.
Heath Slater vs. Ezekiel Jackson
I guess I couldn't hope for three good matches in a row, huh?
Booker T makes the Comparison of the Night by comparing Ezekiel Jackson to The One Man Gang. Seriously? Other than their speed of movement, I can't think of anything these two guys have in common. That would be like comparing Sin Cara to Skinner.
In the ring, Heath Slater gets on shot in before Ezekiel Jackson beats the shit out of him. Jackson signals for his lariat, but Slater gets his feet up and actually gets some moves in, including a nice seated dropkick. Jackson eventually escapes from a chinlock by smashing Slater in the corner, but Slater goes right back on the attack with a leaping forearm in the corner. Slater, unfortunately, misses a leaping punch and Jackson beats the crap out of him some more. Two huge bodyslams set Slater up for the torture rack, but The Corre comes down to draw the DQ.
Winner: Ezekiel Jackson
Okay, that match wasn't horrible…considering who was in it. I can't believe they can't let Jackson get a clean win over Slater. Having Jackson hold back all three members of The Corre makes them look super weak. Having him just beat one guy would at least allow them to save some face, but what do I know?
In the back, Christian lets us know that he was a four-time CKC (Canadian Kickball Champion). I learn something new everyday!
Oh boy, this match is getting shitty INAHURRY! Kane and The Great Khali are NEXT!
I actually watched RAW on Monday (since Chuck is on hiatus)…it was so damned weird. Some good stuff (Alex Riley going off on The Miz), some bad (Kharma acting stupid…I knew they would ruin her), and some a complete waste of time (END THE MICHAEL COLE ANGLE NOW).
The Great Khali (with Runjin Singh) vs. Kane
I don't care enough about Khali's translator/manager to look up how to spell his name, so you'll have to deal with that. This match is going to move at the speed of erosion.
Slow kicks, slow punches, and slow clotheslines abound until Khali locks on the old Umaga nerve hold. Kane fights out and more slowness ensues. Kane tries for a brain chop that whiffs by a mile and the two men fight over a chokeslam. Kane ends up outside…but comes back in with his leaping clothesline. Somehow, that's enough to mercifully end this car wreck.
Winner: Kane (and no one else…at all)
That match was a mess.
After the match, Ginger Majal (Yes, I realize his name isn't Ginger, but I don't care to look up what it is.) comes out and slaps Khali again. The three men speak gibberish for a few seconds before Khali locks his translator in the brain vice. Khali leaves with Ginger. Fun!
After the commercials, we get a recap of the beginning of the burial of Alberto Del Rio. A feud with Big Show does nothing for your career's momentum; just ask CM Punk…he still hasn't recovered. The fact that Del Rio doesn't even have the IC or United States title is a complete travesty. That would be like have the Joker be the second-fiddle villain to Calendar Man in a Batman movie.
In another awesome dose of WWE logic, Kane and Big Show drop the straps to David Otunga and Joe Hennig when CM Punk and Mason Ryan couldn't beat them. That would be like beating the Hart Foundation and losing to The Bushwhackers.
Oh, hey, Booker T is in the ring next. I don't like where this is going. He calls Michael Cole in the ring and I IMMEDIATELY hit fast forward…I see a quick flash of Michael Cole with Jerry Lawler's foot in his mouth…and not much else. PLEASE do not have Cole feud with Booker T.
After that waste of time, we head to the back for a Sheamus interview. Dude, this guy is funny on the mic. He gives a good interview mocking Christian and Mark Henry (one fluke championship between two guys with 33 years in the business…ouch). He slams the door in Matt Striker's face to end the interview. That was the best thing in the last 45 minutes of this show.
On the RAW rebound, Awesome Kong looks like an idiot…way to drop the ball AGAIN WWE.
Tamina and Alicia Fox vs. AJ and Kaitlyn (with Natalya)
This match is pretty terrible. Kaitlyn is raw, but shows at least a little potential. Tamina only gets in for about three seconds. End comes with Alicia Fox hits Kaitlyn with her axe kick finisher. Ugh.
Winners: Tamina and Alicia Fox
Man, that was rough. Tamina is the only one with a wrestling pedigree and she doesn't even get in the match legally. AJ and Kaitlyn both showed flashes, but Alicia Fox…ugh.
Wow, this show went from really good to complete pile of dog shit in the span of about 30 minutes.
After the commercials, Mark Henry makes Matt Striker look like a little sissy bitch.
After that, we're treated to a Randy Savage video tribute. I guess I can share a story about Savage. My favorite wrestler, bar none, was "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig. When Ultimate Warrior douched his way out of the Survivor Series main event with Savage against Razor Ramon and Ric Flair, Savage needed a partner and picked Mr. Perfect. (Check out the pre-match interview here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmT3T7HB4WI. The post-match promo is EVEN better…Hennig and Savage are a little later in the clip. Check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQSRmeoRlVM&feature=related. Awesome.) I'll tell you, I've never marked out so hard when Mr. Perfect finally accepted and teamed with Savage. That was one of my favorite matches ever. Savage was one of the most intense and entertaining performers ever to step in the ring…he'll be sincerely missed. At least Vince wasn't so much of a dick that he didn't even acknowledge his passing.
After another commercial break, it's time for our main event.
Sheamus vs. Mark Henry vs. Christian (#1 Contender's Match)
Christian tries to start by punching out both heels, but that doesn't work. The heels take over, with Sheamus doing a lot of the beating. Eventually, Christian slides out of the ring, but Sheamus follows him outside. Christian, however, drops Sheamus into the ring steps and rolls back in to take on Mark Henry. Henry gets a two count off of a backdrop-type throw and continues the beating. Henry does the fat guy stand-on-the-chest move, but then ends up on the floor after Christian pulls the top rope down. Immediately after that, Sheamus slides back in with a quick pin that gets two. He follows up quickly with a double axe handle. Sheamus tries to end things with the Brogue Kick, but Christian moves and splatters Sheamus with the Kill Switch. Christian gets a two before Henry pulls him out of the ring. Then, because nothing on SmackDown can be worthwhile, Randy Orton comes out. Sweet Jesus! Really? To make matters worse, I get to sit through some commercials with Randy Orton's lobotomy look on my mind. In case you were unclear, I HATE Randy Orton.
Shit, Randy Orton is even in the COMMERCIALS!! My Randy Orton limit has been reached.
When we return, Mark Henry is standing on Christian again. It's funny how Orton doesn't sit with the announcers and add some of his prophetic insight to this match. Mark Henry locks in a bear hug, but breaks it when Sheamus gets back in the ring. Sheamus punches away on Henry until Henry snatches him up and tosses him out of the ring. Christian tries to take out Henry, but Henry mows him over with a shoulderblock. Henry continues to beat on Christian until he misses a splash. Christian downs Henry with a pair of second rope dropkicks, but can't get a pin. All of a sudden, Sheamus runs in and beats up both opponents. Sheamus tries to superplex Christian, but Christian punches him down and then tries for a flying cross body on Henry. Henry, however, catches Christian and lands the World's Strongest Slam. Sheamus makes the save, ejects Mark Henry, and then goes to work on Christian. Sheamus sets Christian up for the High Cross, but he escapes and nails Sheamus with the flipping corner kick. He follows with a tornado DDT, but only gets two on the pin attempt. Outside the ring, Mark Henry shoves Orton, sealing his loss in this match. Inside the ring, Henry tries to press slam Christian, but he escapes. Christian spears Sheamus and Orton comes in to RKO Henry. This, unfortunately, distracts the ref, so he doesn't make a timely count for Christian. Christian turns around just in time to get punted out of his boots by Sheamus. Sheamus wins.
That was a pretty good match. I'm not a fan of Randy Orton being involved in any way, but it does set up Christian's heel turn a little more logically.
Well, another show in the can. Let's wrap up this recap and blow this pop stand.
The Really Great Thing of the Night: The beginning and the end of the show were really good. Extra kudos go to Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes, and Sheamus for his interviews.
The Not-So-Great Thing of the Night: Too much Randy Orton (even though he didn't wres…err, entertain) and about 45 minutes of some of the worst show I've seen.
THE TWF "MENTAL WELLNESS TEST!"
With Christmas just around the corner, what better way to spend your few remaining dollars (left over after the seemingly infinite line-up of fucking pay-per-views ) then on the following "quality WWE merchandise!" After all, if they don't move this stuff, and fast, stockholders just might get time to figure out what "plummeting domestic buyrates" means!... and well, I don't think they need to tell you what that means! (Seriously. They're not telling you. Everything is fine! Ahem.).