Mike Tedesco’s Smackdown Thoughts
January 15, 2015
By: Mike Tedesco of Wrestleview.com
It feels so good to be recapping this show on a Thursday rather than a Friday. This is the day Smackdown belongs on. I never understood why when they switched to SyFy in 2010 they didn’t go back to Thursday night. You’d think just for ratings that it would be stronger on a Thursday. We’ll see if that rings true when the ratings are revealed for this week’s episode.
As usual, I’ll be writing these thoughts as I see the show, so these are instant reactions.
I really liked Daniel Bryan’s interview segment with Byron Saxton to open the show. Bryan’s star power is head and shoulders above anyone else on the roster at the moment. That’s not a knock on anyone; it’s just the facts. His promo work has gotten a lot better. Bryan is able to get himself over, his opponent over, and get the people behind him. It’s really neat to see an entire arena getting behind one guy rather than the mixed reaction someone like John Cena gets. I love listening to the crowd buzz when Cena comes out, but sometimes I feel the top babyface should be able to get the entire crowd around him, not just a section of the crowd. At this moment, Bryan is doing that. Bryan comes off as a likable good guy and a great underdog.
Well, it looks like Daniel Bryan passed the first test for his neck. It held up fine in his match against Kane. I got a little nervous when he was on the top rope because I figured he was going for that missile dropkick where he takes a flat back bump, but he changed it up and connected with a cross-body block instead. I thought that was wise. Bryan doesn’t need to be doing huge flat back bumps every night just because it’s part of his comeback sequence. It’s good to change things up to benefit you in the long run. I thought the match was fine with the story being Kane was working the neck, but the crowd buzz really made it something special. They’ve got a great crowd tonight. I have no problems whatsoever with the DQ finish because it leads to the main event. It’s amazing that on his first night back since May that Bryan is booked for two matches.
That wasn’t a bad six-person tag match. The Miz and Damien Mizdow continue to be a really fun duo. The interactions with Naomi and Alicia Fox weren’t bad either. If I had to guess, I’d peg them to be one of the pre-show matches for the Royal Rumble. I also have to say I’m really enjoying the new commentary combination. Jerry Lawler sounds like he’s happy to be there, and Byron Saxton isn’t as annoying as I thought he would be. My only qualm is I think we’re on Michael Cole overload. I thought Tom Philips did a superb job when he was the lead for Smackdown over the last few months. I’m not sure why they kicked him to the curb here.
That was an absolutely fantastic segment between Paul Heyman and Seth Rollins. Heyman was his usual brilliant self, but I have to say Rollins really surprised me here. Rollins hasn’t been as bad on the promos as some people have been making him out to be. I think the biggest problem is that he’s been asked over the last month or so to carry segments that go on for a half-hour. I’ve said before that I don’t think The Rock and Steve Austin could hold an audience for a half-hour of just talking. Rollins was tremendous in this segment. I loved the way he got in Heyman’s face and took control on the microphone. It’s seeming more and more apparent that Rollins will be a Paul Heyman Guy sooner rather than later. Everything from the content to the emoting was spot on. For some reason, I had flashes to The Emperor from Revenge of the Sith when Heyman was screaming about power. I suggest you take a moment, find this segment, and watch it.
I’ll categorize the Divas match as “eh.” It was there, and it happened. I don’t know why they don’t just announce that they’ll fight at the Royal Rumble with the title on the line already. I’m glad at least we’ve got ten men announced as being in the Royal Rumble match itself. Up to this point, hardly anyone other than the main guys have announced they’d be in it.
I don’t think the finish to the Intercontinental Championship match between Bad News Barrett and Sin Cara was ever in question. I’m just happy to see them follow up on a simple storyline such as Sin Cara pins the champion in an upset, so he gets a title shot. It was quick and painless as well as being time filler that makes sense and doesn’t insult the intelligence.
I really enjoyed the main event. It wasn’t anything really out of the ordinary from your usual six-man tag main event on Smackdown, but the buzz created from Daniel Bryan’s return really made it special. Bryan was the star of the show here and came off looking great. I really like the hook they made for next week’s Smackdown. Bryan has to face Kane again. If he loses, he’s out of the Royal Rumble match. It’s nice to have this show back on Thursdays. It seems like they’re making a concerted effort to make this “must see television” over the next few weeks. This was a very good show.
Bump of the Night: Dean Ambrose drops an elbow on Rollins and J&J to the floor!
Match of the Night: The main event ** 1/2
Final Rating: *** 1/2
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Thanks for reading!
Mike Tedesco is the official recapper of WWE RAW and Smackdown for Wrestleview.com.