Mike Tedesco’s Smackdown Thoughts
November 23, 2013
By: Mike Tedesco of Wrestleview.com
The final show before Survivor Series (I refuse to call this show by anything else) kicked off with another excellent match involving the Rhodes brothers. I’m seriously running out of superlatives to describe just how damn good Cody Rhodes and Goldust are right now. It’s incredible. Rhodes has turned into a great babyface, which if you told me he’d be good in that roll six months ago, I’d have told you to silence yourself since you obviously have no idea what you’re talking about. I would have been wrong. And Goldust? Forget about it! You want to talk about a career resurgence? He is out of control good. The intensity and emotion he brings to the match is awesome. He can have you laughing one second as he rubs himself while mocking an opponents taunt, and minutes later you’ll be cheering him on, begging him to tag in his brother because his hope spots are in another dimension. Last night, he was the hot tag, and he blew the arena up when he got in the ring. Goldust is incredible. He’s astonishing. He’s awe-inspiring. And he’s 44! Just… wow.
That was me only talking about one team involved in the match. The Real Americans are no slouches, either. Well, actually Jack Swagger doesn’t really knock my socks off, but he’s becoming more and more tolerable. Antonio Cesaro is the other wonder. That dude is so much fun to watch. He’s an awesome worker, and he’s scary strong and athletic. It takes a lot to leapfrog over Jack Swagger, who according to WWE.com and Wikipedia is 6’7, so it has to indubitably be true, then double stomp a guy without killing him all in one fell swoop. The crowd is definitely into what he’s doing. That Cesaro Swing can really get the place rocking. All of these guys contributed to a fantastic match to kick off the show. The tag team division is quite awesome in WWE at this current juncture.
Ryback was out next, and he’s back to being a full-blown bully once again. Ryback talked about his love of the subject before issuing an open challenge to anyone in the locker room. The Great Khali accepted the challenge, and he lumbered his way down to the ring. The match was short and sweet with an impressive ending. Khali dominated the match a bit until Ryback came back and hit a Meat Hook Clothesline. Ryback then propped Khali up on his shoulders and delivered an incredible Shell Shocked. That was probably one of the most impressive feats of strength I’ve ever seen from Ryback. Khali seems to mostly be dead weight. When he did it to Mark Henry and Big Show, at least they’re athletic enough to give him a boost as he’s lifting them. That looked like a straight up dead lift when Ryback did it to Khali last night. That was damn impressive.
The next match was a follow up to a RAW angle when AJ Lee beat up Vickie Guerrero in short order. For revenge, Vickie booked her in a handicap match against the Funkadactyls where they didn’t have to tag in and out. The match was short and sweet, and it saw AJ take the loss. AJ was great in this. Her expressions and cowardice while trying to get away from the Funkadactyls had me chuckling a time or two.
Rey Mysterio made his televised in ring return at the one-hour mark of the show. Mysterio teamed with the Usos to take on The Shield. Mysterio looked great. I know there was a lot of buzz about him limping on Monday Night RAW, but I didn’t really see any of that on last night’s show. He seemed to be moving just fine. Whatever limp he has may be a result of the numerous surgeries he’s had on that left knee of the last decade. It may just be a permanent thing now. A couple of highly invasive knee surgeries will do that to you I’d wager. I personally don’t think Mysterio has a lot more left to give. That knee, while I’m positive is healthy, is still a liability that could go at any time. If I were him, I’d try to hold out until WrestleMania 30 and call it a night there.
Mysterio is, without question, one of my all-time favorite performers, so don’t take my previous statement as something that was easy for me to type out. It was far from it. There are many luchadors who have been awesome, but not a single one of them has ever made the transition to WWE the way Rey Mysterio has, including Alberto Del Rio. Del Rio is good, but he’s not Mysterio in my opinion. Mysterio is a once in a lifetime kind of performer. The quality of matches he puts on is really top rate. He’s a guy that can go out there with literally anyone and put on a great match. He can make a guy look like a million bucks no matter what size they are. That’s really hard to find in wrestling.
Anyway, the match was a good one against the Shield. Mysterio kept the physicality to a minimum, as I’m sure he doesn’t want to push anything 100% just yet. The Usos were great as they always are. They’re fantastic opponents for The Shield. Of course, The Shield was good as always. Roman Reigns was on a tear in this one. He looked like he hit the Usos hard enough with his spear to crack some ribs. I really like that guy.
The Shield just recently marked a year since their debut in WWE, and I’m so glad they’ve stopped hinting at a breakup with them. At this point, that would have really sucked. While all three guys are good in their own right, they couldn’t survive without each other. None of them have a true character that would be able to stand on it’s own. They should be taking this time during the fall and winter months to start developing character and depth for these guys because eventually there is going to come a time when “The Shield” gimmick is passé. They’ll need to have something to work with to survive.
I wasn’t really a fan of the next segment. I like Big Show, but I didn’t really feel like sitting through (and recapping) a speech about why he’s going to beat Randy Orton at Survivor Series. This rivalry has gone on long enough that I think a simple video package would have done the trick. I’m not particularly interested in seeing the match itself since it’s pretty telegraphed that Orton is going to pick up the win since he’s been left lying at the end of almost every meeting with the Big Show.
It’s weird that the two WWE Championship reigns Orton has had since August haven’t seen him featured as the main spectacle in the feud. It seems like every guy he faces is really looking to get after Triple H, and Orton just happens to be the one you have to fight to get to him. It’s just bizarre to me to see the WWE Champion not be the main guy in the feud. He’s sort of just been a lackey these last few months. It’s such a weird dichotomy from how CM Punk was the featured attraction in his title feuds last year to how Orton is now. What a difference a year makes.
The tag match that came after was just a device to show you that yes, Big E Langston is a really powerful guy. Dolph Ziggler got battered around for a quick portion of the match before Langston was tagged in. Langston then made quick work of Damien Sandow, the man who stated mere weeks ago that his sole purpose was to end the John Cena era. How’s that working out for you, guy? Not sure why they’ve dumped Sandow, but it seems they have. Of course, they could just be swerving us, and he interferes in Cena’s match at Survivor Series. Yeah, probably not going to happen.
After that, there was a quick backstage interview with Alberto Del Rio where he stated that he was going to hurt John Cena at Survivor Series and make him tap out. This is what they should have done with Big Show. They should have just done a backstage interview. I would have much rather have seen John Cena and Alberto Del Rio having a verbal altercation than Orton and Big Show. Of course, this is my bias because I’m actually interested in seeing how the match goes. I figure it’s going to be the more entertaining of the two world title matches.
Now it’s time for the main event, which saw Daniel Bryan defeat Luke Harper after a key distraction from CM Punk. Much like two weeks ago when Harper and Bryan matched up, I wasn’t really into the match at all. Neither guy did anything wrong. I’m just sick to death of seeing Bryan getting beaten down and looking completely helpless. Yeah, Luke Harper is a big guy, but Daniel Bryan, the man who beat John Cena clean in the middle of the ring at the second biggest PPV of the year can’t get anything going on him? Come on. It wouldn’t be so bad if Bryan weren’t left laying at the end of every single major show WWE produced for a month and a half. They’ve completely stifled any momentum he had going with that long, lame month and a half. Bryan still gets a good reaction, but it’s not near what he was getting before Summerslam, in my opinion. Maybe I need to turn up the volume on my TV…
Anyway, the Wyatts beat up Punk and Bryan after the match concluded. What else is new? Daniel Bryan is left lying at the end of a show. At least he had company next to him. Still, I am looking forward to this match at Survivor Series. This was a good show that got me amped for the PPV overall. I hope I’m not disappointed, because I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen a really good Survivor Series.
Bump of the Night: Seth Rollins hitting the summersault plancha on the Usos!
Match of the Night: The Tag Team Championship match ** 1/2
Final Rating: ***
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Thanks for reading! Enjoy the Survivor Series PPV!
Mike Tedesco is the official recapper of WWE Smackdown for Wrestleview.com.