Mike Tedesco’s Smackdown Thoughts
August 24, 2013
By: Mike Tedesco of Wrestleview.com
Coming off one of the better Summerslam’s in recent years and a great follow-up on RAW, Smackdown completed a great week for the WWE with a strong show of its own. The show kicked off with the hottest angle going right now: Randy Orton and the McMahon’s versus Daniel Bryan. Randy Orton came out and cut a promo giving off the impression that he didn’t do any wrongdoing at Summerslam. He claimed to not know that Triple H was going to attack Daniel Bryan, and he only capitalized on the opportunity presented to him. Orton then claimed to be the face of the WWE.
This was a strong promo from Orton to open the show. This is what he’s needed for so long, and I’m glad they waited to pull the trigger on it. He sounds so much more comfortable in a heel role. I’m hoping this is going to be a nice run for him as he battles Daniel Bryan presumably through the fall. Orton has kind of been floating around for a while, so it’s nice to have him back in the main picture. Even more surprising is that he’s involved in such a major storyline (with the McMahon’s nonetheless) with two Wellness Policy strikes against him. There is a lot of trust there, and I don’t think he’ll let the company down.
Daniel Bryan was out next, and he started off with a few lame jokes while talking about Orton’s face and overall beauty. Bryan’s delivery was fine, but I thought they were crumby lines and not overly funny. Bryan gets a pass because he’s been so damn good lately. That’s a creative thing anyway. Bryan then thanked John Cena for a gutsy match at Summerslam before tearing into Orton for having everything handed to him unlike himself who had to fight for everything he ever got. The emotion Bryan showed while delivering that part of the promo was tremendous and real. Bryan wanted a rematch for the title on the show, but Orton said he’d have to wait for Night of Champions. I always get a kick out of crowds that pop huge when the babyface tries to get a title rematch on free TV and how disappointed they get when the heel denies the face. How do they believe it? Orton then tried to RKO Bryan, but Bryan dropkicked him over the top rope. The whole segment was really well done and felt like a big deal coming out of the PPV.
Curtis Axel defeated Cody Rhodes in a decent little match. I figured we might get some Damien Sandow interference to cost Rhodes, but he was nowhere to be seen last night. Rhodes got some good offense in and got the crowd going, but Heyman distracted him, and Axel picked up the win. Heyman then cut a good promo about how CM Punk is on a downward spiral without him. Punk has been off his game whereas Axel has been thriving with him. Axel then challenged Punk to a match on RAW that was later accepted via Twitter. Heyman was as good as he always is on the microphone while running down Punk.
Dolph Ziggler beat Big E Langston in an OK match. Ziggler has really lost a lot of steam since losing the championship. The subsequent angle with AJ has been more miss than hit ever since. Hopefully this match puts the thing with Langston and AJ to bed. It just hasn’t been that great.
Alberto Del Rio took on Christian in a rematch from Summerslam, but the title wasn’t on the line. This was the fourth time these two have matched up in the last month, and they did a great job once again. I thought the Summerslam match exceeded my expectations. I didn’t think it would be as good as the match they had on Smackdown two weeks prior to the PPV, but it was a strong effort. This match was a good way to presumably close the book on the feud. Christian lost cleanly, but he would get physical with Del Rio afterward, so who knows if it’s really over.
After the match, Ricardo Rodriguez came out and introduced Rob Van Dam to the ring. I’m not sure I get the pairing of Rodriguez and RVD. It seems so bizarre, but RVD definitely needs someone to talk for him. The promos he had in the weeks leading up to Summerslam showed that he’s just as bad as he ever was on the microphone. Still, it’s a weird pairing, and I’ll have to see it pan out for a few weeks before I can really wrap my head around it. Christian hit Del Rio with a missile dropkick, and RVD followed up with Rolling Thunder. Like I said before, Christian did get involved in the segment after the match, so who knows if he’s officially out of the title picture? He did beat the champion twice. Does that mean he gets two title opportunities?
Big Show and Mark Henry joined forces to annihilate 3MB. The match actually went longer than I expected it to, and 3MB got way more offense than I expected. The pairing of Big Show and Mark Henry was fine. It’s just another big man tag team. The Shield cut a promo on them after the match, talking about how neither man has really been on his A-game. They insinuated that both are too old before telling them to leave as a new era has dawned. Rollins and Reigns were both fine in this. Rollins still looks a little goofy to me when he’s trying to talk like a tough guy. Reigns was great with his intensity. I’m looking forward to seeing how they match up against Big Show and Henry. They work well with anyone. Let’s see how they do with a team like that.
Darren Young beat Antonio Cesaro in another OK match. Young looked good on offense, and the Prime Time Players got a good reaction from the crowd. It looks like they’re going face as maybe they’ll be future contenders for the Tag Team Titles once Big Show and Mark Henry are done. The win had nothing to do with Young coming out as gay before all the haters start. They are making a solid effort at building up a solid tag team division, so this was a fine match for that purpose.
If you read my thoughts last week, you’ll know I was a fan of Ryback’s backstage segment with the producer that was smiling randomly at something. This week I didn’t like it at all. It was poorly thought out and performed. A guy who isn’t a fan of wrestling just wandering around aimlessly looking for autographs? Even if he worked at the arena, he’d be fired for being so unprofessional. If his kid loves the company so much, why didn’t he bring him to the show or to the backstage area so he could meet some wrestlers? This is a segment where Ryback should have beaten the guy mercilessly, but they didn’t go that route. In fact, Ryback originally signed the autograph for the kid, so how bad could he be? The guy did insult him by not knowing who he is, despite Ryback’s name being written on his vest.
The main event was a fantastic cage match between Daniel Bryan and Wade Barrett. This is the third time in three weeks they’ve faced off, but the stipulations have gotten more and more extreme, so it’s not a bad thing. They match up well, and it gives Barrett some exposure. How can you look bad pushing the guy who main evented Summerslam to his limits? This was a good cage match. Barrett looked good, but Bryan looked vicious. The dropkicks that sandwiched Barrett into the wall of the cage were nasty, and the powerbomb off the top rope was hellacious looking. The crowd was electric during the match, which always adds to the show. Bryan finished off Barrett with that nasty running knee to the skull that he beat Cena with at Summerslam. I like the move. Bryan needed a finisher that could be hit from out of nowhere. Randy Orton was hiding under the ring, and he gave Bryan an RKO on the floor to end the show. This was a really strong show centered on the Orton/Bryan title feud and a great way to cap off a nice week of television for WWE. It also set the tone for some feuds coming up in the fall. I’m excited for the coming weeks of TV.
Bump of the Night: Daniel Bryan powerbombing Wade Barrett off the top rope!
Match of the Night: The Steel Cage Match ** 1/2
Final Rating: *** 1/4
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Thanks for reading!
Mike Tedesco is the official recapper of WWE Smackdown for Wrestleview.com.