So FINALLY after and long and personally taxing week within my house I have gotten the chance to sit down and write this. I'd like to apologize now to any and all fans as well as my Host at Mouth of the South Shore for the delay and promise to avoid this again in the future if I can help it. This is the first SmackDown since the Night of Champions PPV and my how things have changed. What is even more interesting is that even with these changes, nothing really has changed on the Blue Brand. How so you may ask, well come over to the booth because SmackDown is now under review.
We start off this week with good old Executive VP of Talent Relations (whatever that means) John Laurinaitis in the ring, which is surrounded by Superstars. I don't even recognize some of these guys and some I know are NXT guys; so much for SmackDown superstars. Johnny Ace seems so forced and robotic on the mic it is sad, this guy couldn't talk him way out of a wet paper bag in a hurricane, let alone get into a verbal sparring match with anyone. Thankfully Triple H can produce magic when he wants and he seems to be the saving grace on mic (when Punk isn't on) in this story. This is really more now about viewership, If you only are watching RAW than you're missing half the storyline. This is a wonderful thing that I feel the WWE needs to get back to; story lines that transcend the brand gap and give you a reason to tune in both Monday and Friday.
Thankfully we don't have to deal with Laurinaitis long as he introduces the new World Heavyweight Champion Mark Henry. Henry is defiantly a heavyweight and I am not going to argue he deserves to be champion, at least not directly within arms reach of him. He does the "no one believed in me" shtick, which has been working for him really well. On the other side of the coin if I had told you Mark Henry would be World Champ a year ago, I'd have probably been laughed at by most people. His promo eventually leads up to an appearance by the COO Triple H, which Henry shows disdain for until some Creepy Little Bastard interrupts.
Christian interrupting Mr.H is not exactly a bright move but of course Christian thinks he deserves one more match and he's not afraid to let you know. Christian is a great slimy coward heel; hearing him practically beg for another shot at the title, reminds me slightly of Edge and his "by any means necessary" approach to the title a few years ago. Lucky for Christian HHH is a man who understands obsessions with big gold belts and a Lumberjack match is a great way to do something with Christian and Mark that I didn't already see in ECW (if anyone remembers that far back, i sure know the WWE writers usually don't).
The Ginger vs Ginger match was half way decent. If the WWE does a Halloween special they better make these two dress up as Ronald McDonald and the Wendy's girl respectively or I will be very upset. This match really seemed more about making Sheamus look strong and dominant than it was about being competitive, Slater looked like he pretty much spent his time in the ring trying to survive Sheamus, rather than compete against him. If Slater doesn't do something soon to help him stand out a little, I see a personal call from the Executive VP of Talent Relations in his future.
Wade Barrett vs Justin Gabriel sounds like a possible main event match in a few years. Both are very talented and we're the stand out stars of NXT in my opinion. Rather short match for how well these former Nexus members can perform in the ring, but alas, this is SmackDown and not Burger King; i just can't have it my way. Not a bad match overall, but the time constraint didn't let these two shine like they are so capable of doing.
Randy Orton's promo was weird, that is the best way to describe it. Orton has always been a man of few words and it would behoove the WWE to keep it that way. Not to say Orton can't talk, he can do it and very well at times, but he is better off as the "few screws loose psycho" than the deep philosophical Orton.
I am going to lump Christian's recruitment of sympathetic lumberjacks into this one paragraph here. Once again, Christian is the perfect guy to play slimy coward heel. Going for help from Ezekiel Jackson and Sheamus, both of who had been victims of Mark Henry, was not only good way to cement Christian as slimy and a coward, but also doesn't let us forget Mark Henry went through some tough competition to become World Champ. Christian even contemplated swallowing his pride and asking the man who took the title from him in the first place for help. In true coward fashion though he doesn't man up to speak with Orton and at that point in the night, I wouldn't blame him.
I am glad to see Natalya and Beth Phoenix finally win a match even if it is against two NXT nobody divas. Sure its a squash match but with the losing streak the "Divas of Doom" have been on, take what you can get and like it.
Randy Orton vs. Cody Rhodes had to be my personal highlight of the night. While it was neither a epic classic nor did they "put on a clinic", but it was a throwback to the old school in some ways. The match was short and sweet, much of the same formula we've seen out of Rhodes the last few weeks. Having the mask used against him was good, and we may be seeing the end of the "Masked Rhodes" era. It was the post match demolition of Rhodes that made it sweet though. Orton's going crazy, Rhodes can't defend himself, multiple refs are down, and then the ring bell. The amount of blood Cody Rhodes donated to this weeks paycheck was nasty, dare I say it looked like something out of the Attitude Era with all the blood and it came the hard way which make it better. I am disappointed with the edit job the WWE did and the extreme camera angles so viewers saw minimal blood, but if you were in the live crowd I feel you got a treat. This showed Cody's toughness and hopefully this is continuing to set him up for a run near the top cause I can't get enough of him right now.
Great Khali squashed Jinder Mahal, fast. Khali needs to do something better than this, he was a former World Champ although i wouldn't know now. I guess the WWE has given up on Mahal; no harm no foul in my eyes.
Another Sin Cara, Daniel Bryan match, and this week the good Cara started out. Seen this match every week for the last month and was not surprised to see the bad Cara run out and steal the win. Can we remove Bryan away from this and give him something better than being in the middle of a twin fight. He's Mr. Money in the Bank but right now he looks like Mr. Creative has Nothing For Me.
Air Boom vs. The Usos was okay. The Polynesian dance the Uso's did prior to the match was a bit random but they are Samoan so it's okay. We all could figure out who won this match as Bourne and Kingston are too over to lose to the expendables of the tag team division. It's sad I've done so many 2-3 line paragraphs this column due to nothing exciting enough to really comment on...
Finally, the main event Lumberjack match. I noticed Sin Cara was down as a Lumberjack, but is this the good one or bad one. Anyone else see how that story is starting to get confusing?? Mark Henry pretty much dominated Christian the entire match and even when Christian did get some offense in, it didn't look strong at all. Ezekiel Jackson getting payback for Christian's diss to him earlier in the night was well played and they could feud down the road. Mark looked scary throwing the lumberjacks around and he's not gonna stop til he meets someone just and big and mean. Sheamus is the guy they are going with now to go against Christian and that is fine with me. Both of them are all around great both on the mic and in the ring and will play off each other well. Sheamus is next up after Orton for the belt anyway and after the build they've been doing between him and Mark Henry this could be a sleeper feud, lest we forget the lengths Sheamus went to to take out HHH not too long ago.
All in all this week's edition of SmackDown was sad, earning a meager 4/10. While it had a few special moments, a show full of all squash matches (and they all were if you were watching closely) is not good television. Hopefully in the future they will make things a bit more competitive but when you have two weeks to build a PPV, I guess you got to work with what you got