WWE: Could There Be Hope For Smackdown Yet?

cesaroorton

Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

http://www.geek-pride.co.uk/wwe-could-there-be-hope-for-smackdown-yet/

Check out my second article for Geek Pride. It focuses on the possible significance of Smackdown’s recent strong showing. I hope you enjoy reading.

Craig

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WWE: Will John Cena help to elevate Smackdown to it’s once loftier status?

cenadonThe new face of Friday Night – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

Thanks for checking out my recap of this week’s Smackdown here on The Real Mid Card. Let’s see if WWE could continue to build some positive momentum after a very eventful episode of Monday Night Raw this past week.

The Shield opened up the show with another promo which heavily hinted at the tension that is starting to simmer within the group. I predicted a few weeks ago that it would be panning out this way soon, and for once, it seems that I was right. Roman Reigns clearly looks like the one to be turning babyface, and I think that’s a good call. Ambrose is far too good a heel to turn. Rollins could do either for me, but he is best to keep doing what he is doing. They have had a good match on Raw practically every week for the last year as a unit, so it’s sad to see them part. It’s coming to an end, but who’s to say that the matches they have against each other won’t be even better?

Ambrose and Rollins faced off against The Usos in the opening match, with Reigns playing ringside enforcer. Big E Langston came down to even the odds on the outside. The offspring of Rikishi picked up the clean win. Roman Reigns wanted to charge across the ring and face all three of those guys face-to-face, like a true Super Cena babyface. His fellow jackals had to hold him back. This was done very well – subtle but effective.

cenakingZeb and co weren’t impressed with Cena’s jokes – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

John Cena came to the ring to cut a rare Smackdown promo, something we will be seeing a lot more of now that he is World Heavyweight Champion. Zeb Colter, along with his Americans, came out to try and recruit Cena. That was awesome. He refused and proceeded to tear them to shreds individually, like the old rapper character of ’02. He pointed out the resemblance which Jack Swagger bears for Back to the Future legend Biff Tannen. He made fun of Cesaro’s huge nipples. He even went in on Colter’s beard – too far! Damien Sandow came out to threaten Cena, and they all combined to surround him. The Rhodes Brothers came to make the save. Vickie predictably booked the six man tag for the main event.

The world tour report was awesome. I can’t wait to go see Raw live in nine days! The Wyatt Family squashed the Prime Time Players after a really cool entrance. They popped up in the ring instantly after a promo on the screen. I hope they do that at the show I go to. Miz TV was so funny. He claimed that Shawn Michaels was supposed to be on the show but he hadn’t showed up. Randy Orton came out and just completely buried the guy, called him irrelevant and hit him with the RKO mid way through his retort. If I cared about The Miz anymore, if anybody did, this would have been sad.

ortonmizThe Miz just can’t catch a break – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

Natalya pinned AJ Lee in a six diva tag team match. Her and Tamina Snuka were a class above the rest in this one, pulling off a couple of well executed vertical suplexes. For women’s wrestling in the modern WWE, it was the equivalent of a Bryan/Punk iron man match. Cena got Swagger with the Attitude Adjustment to win the main event tag match for his team, after a flurry of finishing moves from everyone. This was a really good match, with Goldust yet again looking particularly impressive.

9/10

As always, I will explain my rating. There is one simple reason that I’ve put it so high. For a Smackdown, this show literally flew by!. That’s a really good sign. It says a lot, it really does! Good matches, big names, entertaining promos. What more do you want? Having Cena on the regular roster can only improve the credibility of the show. It’s still a long way behind Raw, but this is definitely a positive move for balance. Smackdown is on the up people!

Craig [Editor]

The Weekly Editorial: Can The Rhodes Brothers be the next superteam?

rhodesbrosThe future looks bright for the Rhodes family – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

I’m here today to analyse the future of the Rhodes Brothers. I’ve been absolutely in love with their recent run, and want to see it continue. That doesn’t stop me from envisaging what may lie ahead for them though.

The return of Goldust has been a revelation. He looks in better shape than he did in his prime. His experience has proved valuable in big matches and his return to action has really elevated his younger brother. Cody was already getting there after his spectacular performance at Money in the Bank and subsequent feud with Damien Sandow. I expect that to be revisited in the future, after he cashes in. But for now, Cody has gold of his own, and has been really galvanised by this run with his brother.

I don’t see them shaking off the title belts too soon either. I could very well see them having a long reign, in the same way that Team Hell No did. They are the perfect candidates for weekly main event matches in the struggle against authority. That big storyline which is dominating proceedings right now has a spot free for the Rhodes brothers for sure.

In the long run, I see them eventually breaking up rather unceremoniously. You could go about this a number of ways, but the age old technique of having one of them mess up in a big match would do just fine. Whichever way around it occurs, I expect Goldust to turn heel and get a lot of heat. This could give Cody the intense, personal feud he needs to really elevate himself into the main event picture. It would be hard for any fan to not get invested in a story like that, especially involving brothers. It would be a very emotional affair.

For now, I just hope they remain engaging and entertaining. If booked well, their run and eventual demise could make for some memorable moments and incredible matches. Long live Goldust and Cody!

Thanks for reading, and don’t be afraid to leave a comment cursing me out!

Craig [Editor]

Smackdown: The Shield continue to occupy main event status

shieldmainThe pack of jackals – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

Thanks for coming to The Real Mid Card and let’s take a look at last night’s episode of Friday Night Smackdown.

The show started with Team Brickie in the ring vowing to restore order. Daniel Bryan came out to mock them and introduce the new Tag Team Champions, Cody Rhodes and Goldust. Vickie booked the three of them against The Shield and laughed maniacally, as if they were about to face a team, the likes of which they had never faced before.

The Wyatt Family v Kofi Kingston & The Miz: Bray is injured and was therefore occupying his permanent (for the time being) manager role at ringside. His boys got the win after Black Beard delivered a decapitative (I know that’s not a legitimate word) clothesline to Kofi. Bray cut a bizarre promo, and that was that.

Brie Bella v AJ Lee: Brie (shoulder bandage and all) and AJ had a decent match. Bryan must have been doing some teaching. Brie did botch the X-Factor though, but got the win. Good thing pro wrestling is predetermined.

Lilian Garcia was about to announce a match when bad boy Big Show arrived through the crowd. He cut a heartfelt promo thanking all of the fans for all of their support. Maddox and Guerrero came out, and the man with nothing to lose knocked Brad out cold. The crowd went wild – cool moment!

CM Punk v Big E Langston: What happened to this guy? Well this match went a good way to putting it right anyway. It was probably the match of the night. Both guys came out looking real strong and both did really well. Punk won this hard fought encounter, but before he could enjoy it, the Paul E trio were on the stage. Heyman weirdly buried Langston, before bigging up Ryback. I see it the other way around myself, but Paul has to do his job. Punk bit back at Heyman on the mic, and Paul sent his two dogs on him. Langston recovered to make the save and clear the ring with Punk, in a strangely face moment, before shouting “Who’s the rookie now?!” up the ramp to The Walrus, in response to what had been said about him earlier. A good segment that could be a turning point for Langston.

langstonBig E Langston steps up – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

Alberto Del Rio came to the ring with a Mexican flag to do a promo with Josh Matthews. They showed a really emotional and inspirational John Cena vignette, which made me feel like I was six again. What’s happening to me? Josh asked for his reaction. ADR labelled Cena the “Ultimate Gringo” which was hilarious. He mocked and dismissed him, then laid the Cross Armbreaker on Matthews to send a message.

The Real Americans v The Usos: The highlights of this match were the Cesaro Swing which is just about not irritating (not for long), and the incredibly funny commentary offered by Zeb Colter. Los Matadores arrived after he had been slating them all the way through the match. The bull “gored” him twice, which was horrifying to watch. The Usos took advantage of the mayhem and combined well with a vicious kick to the head and a splash from the top to put away Jack Swagger.

bullzebA true wrestling legend with a midget up his ass – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

Daniel Bryan came out for his match. Randy Orton came to the stage to cut a generic “I will win at the pay-per-view” promo, which was weird because that’s usually good for the go home show. What an easy night for Randal!

Daniel Bryan & The Rhodes Brothers v The Shield: Goldust is so, so, so cool! That had to be said. As for the match, it was a fast paced, frantic and exciting main event. The highlight for me was the incredible underhook suplex from the top rope by Ambrose on Bryan. Rollins was also awesome in delivering a powerbomb onto Cody Rhodes, onto Goldust, onto the announce table! Bryan killed Ambrose off with the Busaiku high knee for the win though, and the faces celebrated as the show went off the air.

7/10

As always, I will explain my rating. I have to say fair play to WWE. They may have blew their load early in the build to Hell in a Cell, and that can sometimes cause the later shows to drag on in anticipation for the big show. With this episode, they did all that was needed. It was fairly predictable, but it held my attention for the most part, and there wasn’t anything really bad about it. Can’t complain.

Craig [Editor]

Raw: Tag Team Title Main Event encapsulates a really great episode!

goldyteamThe Rhodes brothers and The Shield headline – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

Hello ladies, and gents. Today I’m going back to basics. I will be looking at each individual match and segment. Some may be lost in translation. If they were too short or not noteworthy enough to make the pad, that’s too bad. The show on the whole was very pleasing, but some particular highlights stood out. See if you can spot them.

The show opened with Shawn Michaels coming to the ring to cut a promo about how trustworthy and impartial a referee he will be at Hell in a Cell. He was quickly joined by the hometown heel Randy Orton. He teased a little faceness, before reminding HBK that people from St. Louis “aren’t so bright” working the crowd like a true pro. He threatened Shawn, and as he turned to leave the ring, pulled him back and tried to hit the RKO. He was Irish whipped against the rope and just ducked out of the ring in time to avoid the Sweet Chin Music. Then all of a sudden, The Miz bounded down the ramp to beat on him ahead of their match to start the show.

The Miz v Randy Orton: The Viper beat Miz and The Wyatt Family appeared on the ramp to cut a weird promo. The end.

Fandango v Santino Marella: This was a throwaway mid card match with a heel roll-up win for the ballroom supremo.

Los Matadores v 3MB: AGAIN! I can’t believe they booked this match again! I can’t believe that I’m actually starting to like El Torito! He is more over than the team itself. There was some good lucha libre on display here and I am actually starting to warm to these guys. They continued their undefeated momentum after hitting their tag team finisher once again. Jinder Mahal then did the proverbial job for the midget after the match. He must be so depressed.

Triple H and Stephanie came to the ring. The latter spoke of how the two had repossessed Big Show’s house. Hunter pulled off another God-like performance and proclaimed in the immortal words of Mark Twain “Rumours of my demise have been greatly exaggerated” – Then he proceeded to get the crowd all worked up like the Game of Thrones style evil dictator that he is. Daniel Bryan came out and conducted a chorus of “Yes!” chants from the ramp, but was attacked from behind and beaten down by Alberto Del Rio. Stephanie booked the two of them in a match for later on in the night. Triple H started chanting “Yes!” which brought the entire crowd on their feet to chant “No!”

Ryback v R-Truth: This was the first of two Beat the Clock matches. Ryback and Punk would compete in the challenge for the chance to choose the stipulation for their Grudge Match at the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view. The babyface started off the match in humerus fashion by ducking out of the ring to shake all of the fans hands on the outside, goading Ryback into a slapstick chase. After he had managed to waste a bit of time, Ryback caught up with and dominated his opponent. He got the Goldberg chants, the unhelpful Goldberg chants. Jerry Lawler acknowledged them, which I thought was interesting. Then the chanting contest came along: “JBL”, “Jerry”, “CM Punk” – St. Louis is a good crowd! A big improvement on the last couple of weeks. After a good effort from Truth, Ryback put him down and set the pace at 5 minutes, 44 seconds.

Stephanie picked on Brie Bella backstage and booked her in a match to face Tamina Snuka, who would have AJ Lee in her corner. However, Nikki Bella would not be allowed at ringside.

americanssuperheroesThe Real Americans charge into battle – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

Tonnes of Funk v The Real Americans: Be sure to check out my weekly editorial tomorrow, in which I’ll be talking about why I think The Real Americans are due a face turn. More of those reasons why I think that were on display again in this match, but as always, Cesaro was the leading light. He hit the neutraliser on Brodus Clay for the win, and even managed to put the Giant Swing on Tensai. An impressive bout of pure strength again from him in this rare appearance from Clay and his buddy.

Brie Bella v Tamina Snuka: This was a decent match to be fair. In the end, Tamina won with the big boot, before hitting the Superfly Splash from the top rope, and then a wicked powerslam, both after the bell. The deranged AJ jumped in the ring to apply her evil submission hold for good measure.

CM Punk v Curtis Axel: In the first of three really quite good final matches, Punk chased the 5.44 time that Ryback had set in his earlier match. An intriguing encounter concluded after a great piece of psychology. Punk got the win with just 11 seconds remaining, after Axel had performed well. He performed so well that he got a little over-zealous. Rather than run the clock down, he decided to try and pull off a big move to win the match. Heyman was pleading “Don’t try and beat him” – He didn’t listen and got the GTS for being too honest. I could well see this being a very subtle hint at a face turn for Axel, who often seems too honourable for his own good and appears to be starting to annoy his mentor. Heyman is becoming more occupied with Ryback too. That could be an interesting idea for the rookie.

punkpromoCM Punk delivers some news – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

Getting back to the matter at hand, Punk had won and could therefore pick his poison for the pay-per-view match. He decided that it would be a 2-on-1 handicap, CM Punk v Ryback and Paul Heyman. I thought that was a bit lame and it didn’t really make any sense. That’s far too ‘Cena’ a thing to do for Punk’s character in my opinion. That was redeemed seconds later though, when he announced that it would be inside Hell in a Cell! That’s three matches that I can’t wait for now.

Alberto Del Rio v Daniel Bryan: This was another good match, especially in terms of technique and striking. After a lot of old school back and forth, Bryan began to pull off impressive high spots, each sold very capably by Del Rio, until Randy Orton distracted him on the screen. He got his attention, went into the training room that Brie and Nikki were in, and closed the door behind him. Now he is parring off Cena too! Bryan of course bailed on the match and ran to the back, leaving Del Rio lying on the mat to take the Count Out victory. Randy suckered him into the room to attack him from behind. The beating was a little lame, but still a pretty cool predatory moment.

Triple H rallied the troops of The Shield in the office with the news that their upcoming main event defence of the Tag Team Championship would be under No Disqualification rules, giving them a huge advantage. He told them “The gloves are off boys. Finish it!” before planting a big ol’ kiss on loving wife Stephanie.

An awesome John Cena rehab workout vignette. Yes, I like those.

The Shield(c) v Goldust & Cody Rhodes (for the Tag Team Championship) Goldust came out in his legendary wig, but really should have been afforded a longer entrance. As this match started to heat up, I realised how absolutely awesome JBL had been on commentary all night, cracking me up every other minute with his heel banter. I keep saying it but it just has to be said: Goldust is in tip-top shape! WWE have been doing a really good job of knowing which legends are actually fit to come back and wrestle these days. Chris Jericho, Rob Van Dam and now Goldust are a big, big enhancement to the roster.

Everyone involved gave a really strong showing in this match. The Shield eventually isolated Goldust who had to make his own break to escape and give Cody the hot tag. He unleashed a flurry which took out all members of The Shield, who seem to be in the main event every week these days! That’s how you book a good stable. With it being No DQ, you just knew Dean Ambrose would get involved eventually and make it 3-on-2. You thought that put the odds against the Rhodes brothers, but Goldust certainly evened them with an awesome chair attack. Then everything just went wild!

goldychairGoldust helps out his little brother – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

Seth Rollins powerbombed Cody onto the barricade on the outside. Goldust clotheslined Rollins, Reigns and himself over the top rope. Roman Reigns speared Goldust through another part of the barricade. Big Show came out through the crowd and knocked out every single member of the group. Cody Rhodes covered one of them and got the win, and the Tag Team Championship. Triple H came down in a rage after the match. Big Show chanted “Yes!” in the middle of the fans, Cody and Goldust celebrated on the ramp, and Triple H bounded around the ring like a crazed bloodhound. What a way to go off the air!

9/10

I will explain my rating. I thought Raw was a great show, I have to say. It was logical. There were some really good matches, and a lot of great appearances. All the vignettes were solid and productive. Hell in a Cell is shaping up to be another diamond in the rough, as the company attempt to stop the rot after two poor pay-per-views in a row. Most of all, the incredible main event really made this episode one to remember. Bring on the pay-per-view!

Craig [Editor]

WWE Smackdown: Did Damien Sandow turn face on a very traditional Smackdown?

sandowdelrioMr. Money in the Bank seems different – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

Thanks for coming back for another look at this week’s Smackdown. I was very pleased with this show. Why? Wouldn’t you like to know? Read on then.

So the show opened with a really awesome segment. Vickie Guerrero was cutting a promo in the ring, when Alberto Del Rio interrupted. She suggested that, if he meant the words he so lovingly said on Raw, he would have no problem kissing her. The two of them looked like they were going to laugh for real throughout, because it must have been so fun. A man I haven’t seen much of in a while – Damien Sandow – came down and crashed the party. She booked the two of them against each other in a match later on the show. Sandow seemed to be cutting a very face promo. Then when Del Rio got him with the cheap shot and fled, Sandow actually tried to chase him out of the ring and shouted “Please come back!” repeatedly to him up the ramp. Not very heel. Come to think of it, Vickie hasn’t had a very heel week either.

Curtis Axel then battled R-Truth defending his Intercontinental Championship. This was a pretty good, lengthy opener. Truth seemed to have the rookie beat when the ref counted a three, but he quickly reversed the decision after seeing Axel had made the rope with his hand. He capitalized and got the win. These two told a good story here, an age old story.

Then we were treated to an old school throwback when two hilarious enhancement guys by the name of Los Locales (The Locals) took on the luchadore tag team version of Ryback, Los Matadores. I say took on, I mean were squashed by. That’s 3MB and now some local jobbers. When will the legitimate matches arrive?

losmatadoresLos Matadores with their ridiculous sidekick – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

Brie Bella and The Funkadactyls won a bizarre all face Divas tag team match.

Damien Sandow and Alberto Del Rio had a very good match indeed. The Mexican tried to flee the ring early but was stopped by Sandow. With no title on the line, it’s hard to see why a heel would be so eager to compete. Well, I’m not sure he is a heel anymore. He was more like Hulk Hogan in this match, in terms of story. That’s not a par. I would welcome the change. Sandow was on top for the most part, until the classic heel Alberto started working the arm, taking advantage of Sandow hurting his shoulder on the turnbuckle.

After a shockingly appropriate time selling, the match became very end-to-end. We saw a lot of great moves, great spots and even a rare bit of blood on Sandow’s shoulder. It’s enough to make you think that the Attitude Era is back, isn’t it guys?! Del Rio eventually won with the cross armbreaker. This was a really traditional, captivating match. Top marks to two gents who I don’t always get behind. Really strong performances!

The Prime Time Players teamed with The Great Khali to face 3MB in this throwaway, filler jobfest. Young and Titus are better than this. Maybe Drew McIntyre is too, maybe.

Cody Rhodes and Goldust faced The Wyatt Family in an epic family affair of a main event. I will always adore that famous entrance, even if there is no wig. There was another one of those weird short promo vignettes to begin their opponents’ entrance. Bray is doing great, but the crowds are just dead when he gets into the ring – idiots. It’s best to keep him out of the ring and save him for Kane I think.

goldwyattI want this mask more than you would believe – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

The announcers were kind enough to note how great Goldust is looking – I agree! This was a really excellent, – may I say again – traditional, main event match. They executed perfectly the bread and butter of tag team wrestling. The elder of the Rhodes brothers was fighting from beneath throughout, unable to get to his partner, until Cody got the hot tag for a comeback. He unleashed a rare Harley Race (or in the words of Michael Cole, and every teenage wrestling fan, Triple H) high knee and eventually won with an impressive, acrobatic roll up using the top turnbuckle. This was a great ending – it protected the Wyatts from being buried, and put over Cody and Goldust.

9/10

I will explain my rating. The show was simple but effective, and you just don’t see that enough anymore. It was a throwback to the old school in many ways, hence my overuse of the word “traditional” – It was classic wrestling executed finely by a lot of good workers. My only complaint would be the lack of Antonio Cesaro on such a card. To sum it up, it was an almost perfect “wrestling show”

Thanks for reading.

Craig [Editor]

WWE Battleground: Big Show takes this surprisingly good inaugural event by storm

bryanortonBryan wraps up Orton for the submission – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

The expectations for the first edition of Battleground were very low. I’m a WWE addict and I wouldn’t have watched it if it weren’t free on Sky Sports. However, they delivered an above average show on this one. It joins Extreme Rules, Payback and Money in the Bank on the list of over-achieving pay-per-views since Wrestlemania. Let’s see what surprises it had to offer.

Well the opening video package and the flashy graphics throughout the thing were a nice touch. The hardcore rules match was a good way to open. Van Dam put on another show stealing performance, but tapped out in the end to the cross armbreaker with his arm trapped in a chair. It was very lame to see Del Rio continue to hold the belt, and Sandow not cash in, but you can’t have everything.

Zeb and his boys cut an awesome promo backstage, which was so, so funny! The continuously popular Americans won over their farcical opponents Marella and Khali, after Cesaro defied the odds again to use the “Cesaro Swing” on the giant. When will he and Swagger turn face and cash in on this momentum as the good guy patriots.

Curtis Axel beat R-Truth and retained his Intercontinental Championship – Shocker. AJ stole a win from Brie after Tamina helped with a distraction.

goldyGoldy and Cody stretching Reigns – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

Then we were truly greeted to the highlight of the night – the main reason I stayed up all night to watch the show. Cody, Goldust and Dusty cut an absolutely epic promo backstage before the match, which really fired up the crowd. Cody pinned Rollins for the win after a perfectly crafted tag match which included an old fashioned whipping for Ambrose from The Dream’s leather belt. An emphatic Crossroads was enough to seal the deal, and secure jobs for all three members of the family. The victors were greeted on the stage as they made their way to the back by an army of faces, including icons of the business Dean Malenko, Arn Anderson and Fit Finlay. It was a very touching ending to a special match.

Kofi and Bray Wyatt contested another filler match. The most memorable moment of which saw the enigmatic Bray crawl backwards upside down towards Kofi like a giant spider – creepy as hell!

Punk and Ryback had a very decent match, but the crowd was dead throughout, as they were for much of the night bar the Rhodes match. Both of the guys looked real strong and the ending to the match was interesting. Paul Heyman distracted the referee but it backfired and enabled Punk to low blow Ryback and get the pin on him. This was different to say the least. Ryback came out actually looking strong. He performed well, pulled out some new moves and only lost dirty. Maybe there is hope for him yet.

punkbadboyThe victorious CM Punk – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

As that night drew to it’s conclusion, there were 45 minutes remaining in the show. A convenient power outage in the arena took away ten of those and left me staring at a “Technical difficulties” card for what felt like an eternity. The awesome panel of Miz, Titus and… Tensai gave their views on proceedings. Tensai started a “Yes!” chant which was awesome.

The main event match itself was very good. Both of these men really stepped up and made the bout interesting and dynamic. It ended in controversy when Big Show came down and knocked out the referee, right when Orton looked set to tap to the LeBell Lock. Scott Armstrong was then ushered out, which was hilarious, but Show had a change of heart and knocked him out too. He then knocked out Orton, after The Viper got right in his face for going against his orders. The bell never rang, but he stood over Bryan and Orton in the ring as the show went off the air. It was very good to see the giant finally snap and react, and it wasn’t at all expected.

8/10

I will explain my rating. Overall I thought that the show reached above the expectations it was given by all of us in the pro wrestling community. The matches were mostly decent or very good, there were some real feel good moments for once (e.g. Rhodes, Big Show) and there were a couple of well executed swerves. The direction for the future looks good now. I loved the graphics on the screen, and I also loved the ultra slow motion replays! The main event was outstanding, and summed up what for me was another recent example of WWE massively overachieving with a seriously underwhelming pay-per-view card on paper.

Thanks for reading.

Craig [Editor]