The show opened up in a classy way with a picture of William “Paul Bearer” Moody and a dedication to him. Paul Bearer is one of the all-time great managers, and this fan will miss him.
Smackdown opened up with another disappointing interaction between Alberto Del Rio and Jack Swagger. I know that this isn’t a marquee match for the WrestleMania card, but it’s still for the World Heavyweight Championship. Can we get a little something better than what they’ve been giving? We’re less than a month away from WrestleMania and other than the first few promos Zeb Colter cut on Del Rio, there hasn’t been anything new or exciting. They find a way to say the same thing differently every week. Maybe the writing staff got turned off by the way Del Rio blew his lines on Miz TV last week when he gave the most generic, passionless answers to Colter and Swagger’s verbal barbs. I think there might be some weight to my thought because other than the goofy parody video, Del Rio said next to nothing this whole first segment. If he can’t talk, can he at least angrily run down and scare them out of the ring? Can we see a punch thrown to make it seem like Del Rio doesn’t want to be called a job stealing illegal immigrant? At this point I feel like going to an event and insulting his family just because I know he apparently wouldn’t fight me back. I’ve got nothing against his family – it would just be an experiment.
The Team Hell No/3MB match was ok. It got a little bizarre at the end. I’m not sure what happened, but Kane and Slater seemed to have some type of miscommunication because they were stumbling and bumbling around until Daniel Bryan tagged in. They teased a little more dissention between Kane and Bryan with the blind tag, but they came out on the winning end of this one.
Ryback had another stare down with Mark Henry that left me very excited for a possible WrestleMania confrontation. The thought of Ryback giving Mark Henry the Shell Shocked excites me to no end. As for his match against Damien Sandow, it was a simple little enhancement match. Nothing to it really.
Alberto Del Rio and Dolph Ziggler had a fun little match last night. I really enjoyed it. They started out with a little comedy with Ricardo Rodriguez, Big E. Langston, and AJ. I think Big E. and AJ have been ejected from ringside more times than any tandem in the last ten years. They get kicked out nearly every week. They tried to show some restraint this week, but Charles Robinson still gave them the boot. After the commercial break, the match really kicked into a high gear. They were going spot-for-spot, but it was well planned and delivered. The show was kind of dragging at this point, so this helped to pick things up a bit. Daniel Bryan and AJ had a funny little segment backstage to liven things up as well.
Now I called the Ryback/Sandow match an enhancement match because Sandow got some moves in and wasn’t completely dominated. This next match was a squash match. Yoshi Tatsu (he’s still around?) got slaughtered by Mark Henry in very quick fashion. Maybe it’s a message to Ryback saying he can get the job done quicker than he can?
The diva’s had what I guess you could call a match of sorts. How does WWE still feel comfortable putting them out there? Kaitlyn nearly decapitated herself overshooting a cross-body block that I guess was supposed to send her out of the ring. Instead she crashed throat first into the ropes. Those ropes are no joke, let me tell you. I’ve actually been in a WWE ring, and I will never criticize any diva that hits the ropes lightly again. Those things hurt. Kaitlyn is lucky she didn’t really hurt herself.
The main event was very decent. They went out of their way to give a better than expected match considering how it was going to end with The Shield coming to the ring. Sheamus and Big Show had a great feud to end 2012, so this was just more of the same good stuff. The Shield’s attack was well done with Randy Orton running down to help out. Then after they cleared the ring, Big Show knocked out Sheamus and Orton gave Big Show an RKO. I like how they’re playing up that they’re not all on the same side despite having a common enemy. It should provide some fun moments as we get closer to WrestleMania.
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Mike Tedesco is the official recapper of WWE Smackdown for Wrestleview.com.