Thoughts on Smackdown 8/26/2011

1. Ain’t No Party Like a Hitman Party

We’re in Calgary, so you know what the means: Bret Hart returns! It’s safe to say that this makes his hometown very happy. Nice explanation as Smackdown GM Teddy Long couldn’t make the show due to unforeseeable events, so C(E)OO Triple H made the call to Bret to fill in for the night; a simple idea, yet an effective one. And don’t worry, Hunter, I’d probably screw up and say “CEOO” every show myself; so, once in month plus isn’t all that bad.

There’s a lot going on this segment from Christian weaseling his way into a rematch with Orton on the Super Duper Live Smackdown next Tuesday. Bret making it a cage match is very fitting for the character; plus it’s Christian’s last name! I really need to get Donnie writing as I steal from him once a column or so. I love Henry coming out to confront Bret over the Christian decision (he did just win a battle royale and the right to be the #1 contender). His line about respecting Bret, but not being able to be held responsible for his actions when he gets mad is quite good. Also, Henry and Sheamus have their rematch tonight!

2. Christian d. Daniel Bryan

Before the match even started, we are treated to a great video package for Daniel Bryan. I don’t think anyone does this sort of thing better than WWE. The video makes me think that Bryan is still on their list of performers to do something with. This is a great way to open up the wrestling portion of the show which saw Christian hit the Killswitch for the win. Again, very good match, but Christian and Bryan are among the best in the company when it comes to that, so who’s really all that surprised? A feud between these two would be very entertaining, by the way.

I know a lot of you will complain about Bryan losing again, but it was to Christian. The only real blip in this losing streak is Barrett as he’s done practically nothing since SummerSlam. That said, Barrett’s a bit of a name and arguably needed that win more than Bryan did at the time (which makes his lack of use since then somewhat baffling). I do agree that the Smackdown Money in the Bank winner needs to start picking up wins soon before people start to lose whatever interest they have in him now. Still, until then, he’s still getting good exposure against main event level guys, not to mention the point I made last week: he’s holding his own with them!

3. Hot European Chick Has a Message

Aksana, who continues with her innuendos, reminds us to watch Super Duper Live Smackdown on Tuesday! That’s a nice thing for the Black Widow to do. I recently read “Ultimates Vol 2” so any woman with an Eastern European accent will remind me of ol’ Natasha for the time being. Also, can we nix the cheesy music that plays every time she appears on Smackdown? That’d be great.

4. Remember That Wade Barrett? Well, He’s Not Happy

Barrett is in the ring and scoffs at the notion that he’s to wrestle some local nobody. So, as any heel worth his salt would do, he just leaves. Poor local guy gets his one chance to be on WWE’s B-show and you just leave him there? What a dick. I like this sort of character development. It’s really old school and fits Barrett very well. I just hope he gets a new finisher soon. Once he does that, he’ll be off and running.

5. Sin Cara d. Heath Slater

For those who have been lost in space, here’s the lowdown. Sin Cara I (Mistico) was sent home from the Smackdown tapings in favor of Sin Cara II (Hunico). It’s said that Hunico will be taking the role from here on out (and who I’ll be just referring to as “Sin Cara” until further notice). It’s also being said that Mistico is on the outs. I’m not overly sure about that, but I guess we shall see. The company does see money in the Sin Cara character (as is evident by the kids wearing the mask now), it’s just a matter who takes up the mantle full time.

As the Mistico situation goes, I think there’s plenty of blame to go around and I’m not even sure that “blame” is the correct word. Mistico has been the highest drawing wrestler in the world the past few years. Let that sink in for a second. To expect him to come into a company without a “Superstar attitude” really isn’t very reasonable. Granted, if these attitude rumors are to believed, Mistico should have done his part to try to fit in better. Also, he should have spent some time down in FCW just to learn how WWE guys work and how to adapt his style with it. That isn’t his fault. A few months would have done wonders for him.

This match is very quick as it was edited and re-taped due to the quality of work these two put in (apparently). I can’t discuss any of that really as I didn’t see it. As for what is seen, this is essentially a squash to showcase Sin Cara some more. This Sin Cara’s finisher is much better than the one Mistico was using (which never made any sense to me), a springboard somersault senton into a springboard moonsault? I like it. Also, I’m not a fan of Heath Slater. Join the club, right?

6. Non-Title: Randy Orton (c) d. Ted DiBiase (Jr.)

Once this one gets going, it’s quite good. Ted hangs with Orton very well and looks believable doing so before eating a RKO for his troubles. Being that I was away from the product so long, the “Super Cena” and “Super Orton” thing doesn’t bother me as much as it does someone who’s been watching this entire time. Suckers. So, yes, I still like Orton and I think he performs very well. This match is no exception. And I do realize that I’m very much in the minority there.

Post-match: Cody pretends to help DiBiase up, but hits the Cross Rhodes on his friend/lacky! He even goes as far as putting a bag in DiBiase’s head! Man, after the Christian/Edge deal at SummerSlam and now this, why would you want friends in the world of wrestling?

Seriously, though, Ted needs this. When I returned from my break from wrestling, I was shocked to see him languishing the way he has been. Maybe this could be a platform for him to break out of this rut he’s been in for the longest time. It’ll also give Cody something to do while Orton deals with Henry for a little while. I do like the slow burn to the eventual Orton/Cody fued, too.

7. Divas Championship: Kelly Kelly (c) d. Tamina

Interview Window is back! This time we get a solo Natalya speaking the same lines as she and Beth have been saying the past month or so. It was pretty smart to keep Nattie off screen as I’m sure Calgary would have gone nuts for the Hart Family member. This match happened; that’s all I can really say about it. Tamina didn’t do much at all, either. In fact, I can’t remember anything she did here. I guess the point was for her to look tough while the Divas Champion bounced around (in more ways than one)? I don’t know. Kelly gets the win with the Rockerdropper.

8. Ezekiel Jackson d. The Great Khali

Jackson is very much like Mongo McMichael to me. You older fans know exactly who I’m talking about. They’re both guys who get a lot of crap for what they do in the ring, but the effort is always there with them. They both make me go, “That wasn’t very entertaining, but man, he’s really trying.”

To the shock of no one watching, there’s not too much to note here. I initially thought they were messing with me by putting this match together (since I’ve been saying how good Smackdown has been), but this isn’t all that bad for what it is. I just think it happened too close to the main event; two power matches back to back? I don’t know about that. The end sees Jackson lifting Khali up into the Torture Rack for the submission victory in a pretty awesome visual (and feat of strength even).

9. Sheamus d. Mark Henry

Speaking of feats of strength, the war of brutes continues! I really enjoyed the match these two had at SummerSlam, but I think this one is even better. Some cool spots can be found here, but this is mostly just two big guys that don’t like one another hitting each other with everything they have. The way it should be. These two work well together and they go out there clubbing away every time they fight. I like that.

As we know, Henry won via countout at SummerSlam. This time, Sheamus wins in a similar fashion as he hits the Brogue Kick, sending Henry over the announce desk; very cool. Sheamus throwing a comfy chair on top of Henry is a nice touch, too. If you need me to spell it out, this means that both of these guys have countout victories over the other and neither has yet to earn a decisive pinfall win. To say that this issue isn’t over would be a bit of an understatement.

Post-match, Henry comes back and eventually hits the World’s Strongest Slam onto the ring steps! Ouch! Outstanding camera work there, too. The show closes with Henry standing over a broken Sheamus. This is another good visual and Sheamus sold it like a champ. They’re booking Henry so well right now. He’s the man. How and when did that happen?

10. Final Thoughts

This is a very straight forward show with very little backstage/talking segments and a ton of in-ring action. This is excellent. Christian/Bryan, Orton/DiBiase, and Henry/Sheamus are all good/very good TV matches. Unfortunately for me, this streamlines the show so much that there’s less for me to be somewhat snarky about. I know you all wouldn’t care for reading a straight up play-by-play and I don’t blame you there. Regardless, this has been a great week for WWE as I thought both RAW and Smackdown were superb. My only issue this particular episode is that it feels a place holder for next Tuesday and I think last week was a better overall show. Ultimately, however, this minor as the quality found here is still high.

They continue to make Henry look strong. Again, call me crazy, but I think Henry is going to be the World Heavyweight Champion in the near future. Maybe it doesn’t happen at Night of Champions, but I think it happens soon. They’ve built him up so much the past few months, I can’t fathom that this coming feud with Orton is going to be the end of it. I hope not, at least. I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt nowadays, something that hasn’t always been true in the recent past. Again, look at this: I’m activity rooting for them to do continue to push Mark Henry! What planet is this again?

Next week on Super Duper Live Smackdown on Tuesday: Randy Orton defends the World Heavyweight Championship against Christian in a steel cage! WWE Champion Alberto Del Rio takes on Sin Cara (to continue the story they started two weeks ago)! Fall out over the Henry/Sheamus and Cody/DiBiase situations! Rumors have it for another Cena/Punk match, but that one will probably be for the live crowd only. I’m hoping that this experiment goes well for WWE. I would love for Smackdown to not only go live, but also move away from Fridays. Nobody likes watching television on Friday, right?

All pictures and videos courtesy of WWE, WWE.com, WWEFanNation (youtube) or otherwise stated on individual media items; it is much appreciated.


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