WWE: A pretty, pretty, pretty okay episode of Smackdown leads into TLC 2013


ortonsulksOrton doing his best sulking kid impression – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

Thanks for coming to The Real Mid Card to hear about this weekend’s episode of Friday Night Smackdown. Hit ‘Follow’ to get a wrestling article appear on your Reader every single day. We hope you enjoy it.

So Daniel Bryan opened the show again, in his new Kofi Kingston-type placing. He was in another singles match against one of The Wyatts (who he takes on at TLC), this time it was Rowan – Talk about giving it away for free. Things got cool when Bray Wyatt got involved in the match to cause the DQ, and Bryan escaped a handicap beating by turning a baseball slide into a Busaiku kick in his face, and all over his rocking chair.

The Real Americans took on The Rhodes Brothers, and Antonio Cesaro picked up the win for his team with a mean uppercut on Cody. These two teams will be involved in the Fatal 4 Way match for the titles on Sunday. People can’t complain about the tag division anymore, like they used to. Now we have The Wyatts, Real Americans, Rhodes Brothers, Usos, The Shield, and even the lower end teams are solid workers like Los Matadores and Prime Time Players – it snook up on me just how good the division has become. Credit where it’s due!

They showed another beyond epic vignette for the Champion v Champion match. Stop getting me excited with your amazing production values. This match will not be a classic. I can’t help but get goosebumps when I see these things though.

I can’t believe how foolish I’ve been. I definitely won’t be getting any IWC points when I admit this, but I found out yesterday that Hunico is the guy working under the Sin Cara character at the moment. That explains the cool tattoo and the ability to execute wrestling manoeuvres – I feel silly. They re-showed his latest exploit with Alberto Del Rio from Raw. Despite the deafening silence emanating from the crowd, this was a really good match!

After some more bad news from Wade Barrett, we got to see Mark Henry take on Damien Sandow. Actually, we didn’t. The match was stopped early and Big E Langston (taking up his usual position on commentary) chased Sandow through the curtain and into the back.

Natalya was next up at the announce booth to comment on The Bellas v AJ Lee and Tamina Snuka. The voice of the people – JBL – questioned Natalya on why the Divas Champion didn’t pick up the Slammy. This allowed me to once more live vicariously through Bradshaw. Brie Bella tapped to the Black Widow, and AJ continued to be shown as the best wrestler in the division.

John Cena cut a generic never give up/I will win promo. This wasn’t bad, but it was nothing special. Many parts of this show were okay enough, but just didn’t match up to Raw.

cenamicJohn Cena never gives up – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins took on The Usos, and Dean Ambrose joined the announcers. Now don’t get me wrong. I love hearing him on commentary as much as the next guy, but the amount of guest commentators is approaching overkill now. Every episode of Raw and Smackdown seems to have two or three, every week. The work in the ring was as solid as you would expect, but the true entertainment was coming from the announcers themselves. Michael Cole insinuated that there may be dissension within The Shield. Of course, Ambrose vehemently denied this. The Shield picked up the win after combining to perform a half GTS/half spear to dominantly and mockingly go over. CM Punk appeared on the screen, told them that they were going down, and laid a bit of cheek back on to them with the “Vintage Shield” fist-to-the-screen pose.

Bray Wyatt cut a weird crying promo on Daniel Bryan, calling him a “Deceiver!” for not joining the family.

Kofi Kingston was in the main event against Alberto Del Rio. Well that makes my opening statement seem a bit stupid now doesn’t it? Oh wait. The match didn’t even start because The Miz jumped Kofi from behind before he got to the ring – easiest night’s work ever for ADR. This kind of thing is happening entirely too much.

Randy Orton came to the ring to give his apology to Triple H for knocking Stephanie McMahon over at the close of Raw. The segment which the show was basically sold on turned out to be rather anticlimactic, but then again I don’t know what I expected. The loud “Daniel Bryan” chants throughout the conversation were entertaining, so that’s something. The work was decent enough I guess, and Triple H left Randy with a cliffhanger, not really reassuring him or confirming anything. It was a good enough way to lead into TLC,  but it didn’t do too much for me. I guess they did so well with Raw that Smackdown kind of felt like a stepping stone, or actually a giant stone blocking my way to the pay-per-view.

7/10

The show wasn’t bad at all, but it just wasn’t explosively entertaining or memorable. They used too many wrestlers as announcers, and two false start matches is too many for any two hour wrestling show. Aside from that, everything was fairly okay. Given how good Raw was and the fact that TLC is basically all set, I should have known that there wasn’t a whole lot they could do with Smackdown, other than try not to go backwards.

Despite the card looking very weak on paper, WWE has done it again and got me all excited for a pay-per-view. What’s even more cool is that this one isn’t on Sky Box Office (This won’t make sense to non-UK readers), it’s available for free on Sky Sports. Battleground was £15, but “the biggest match in history” is free – I love it when this happens. I shall be watching on Sunday and I look forward to posting a review on here the next day.

Thanks for reading.

Craig [Editor]

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