Previously on SmackDown
The Shield show rolled on, as Seth Rollins vs. Kane and Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan opened the show. While the tag team champions both came out bloodied and bruised, Reigns was victorious following some devil's favorite demon-terference.
Randy Orton was a winner in the main event against Dean Ambrose under similar circumstances. An attack by his fellow hounds saved Ambrose from an RKO, and Team Hell No stormed the ring to leave the groups at a stand-still, setting up Raw's main event.
Damien Sandow was a smarmy jerk, so Sheamus kicked his arse.
Big E Langston defeated Alberto Del Rio in a match that got promoted from Main Event. Curtis Axel defeated Sin Cara, because that's what he does on Friday nights. The end of the week is for beating up disappointing luchadors. On Monday nights, he gets overshadowed by main eventers.
Ryback reminds us that what he does best is beat up jobbers when he kayfabe put Kofi Kingston out of action with a powerbomb through a table.
And Chris Jericho got to hang with the princess of the promo, Renee Young, to rattle off more diseases than the average immunology text book. And then he offered a lesson to the John Cenas of the world when he defeated Cody Rhodes without smirking like it was a big joke when all was said and done.
(NOTE: This show was taped on Tuesday for broadcast tonight. Previews are spoiler free, but results are available here)
The advertised highlight of the show set to air tonight, June 7th, is the most must see talk show in WWE history, Miz TV. The awesome one's guests will be Team Hell No and Randy Orton, the trio who fell (again) to The Shield on Raw. We know who Bryan thinks his teammates think the weakest link is - what will they have to say when posed with the same question?
This being Smackdown, you know that a segment like that has to lead to some sweet, sweet tag action. What exciting new combinations can that alchemist Teddy Long come up with for Kane and his partners? Will The Shield be involved? Will Daniel Bryan steal the show? (Who knows? Yes. And yes.)
Can the Celtic warrior outsmart the intellectual savior of the masses? Or will Sandow finally snap and lay hands on the Irishman first? How happy are we that they stopped calling Sheamus "the great white"?
Monday night was pretty quiet on the Dolph Ziggler front. Might we see or get some news of the World Heavyweight Champion? Has he been sitting at home and sending love texts to Divas champion Kaitlyn, or have we just forgotten all about that juicy sub-plot?
How is it that detective Khali hasn't cracked that case yet?
Back to missing fan favorites, despite a contract being signed by his proxy, we haven't heard much from CM Punk. In fact, the best in the world is reportedly disinterested in the whole affair. Could we get any hints as to Punk's next move as we head toward Payback in his beloved hometown.
And we know that Wade Barrett will defend his Intercontinental title against Miz and Fandango on pay-per-view (PPV) next Sunday. Can we expect any build-up for that, or will they just wait for the go home shows like they apparently are for the rest of the card?
Expect to pop for:
Ryback. I'm a big enough pretend-journalist/internet pontificator to be able to admit when I'm wrong. And I thought that big hungry's heel turn and program with Cena were going to be the figurative death of the guy. And, while I don't want to see him with a live microphone for longer than it takes to say his name - longer than that, and he'll probably at least throw a 'rulez' on the end of it, which is still a dumb catch phrase - I have to say that the former Skip Sheffield has done well for himself since WrestleMania.
A monster needs to look strong, which is how he rose up in the first place. Problem was, there was no step two in WWE's three part plan: 1) Squash local talent, 2) ?????, 3) Main event PPVs.
A heelish monster needs to look a little bit crazy. And showing up in an ambulance to put people through tables makes a bald muscle-head who's dressed like Rob Van Dam look more than a little crazy. Heck, it even makes "Ryback Rules" sound okay. It makes "Finish It" sound downright scary.
If we could just get rid of the middle phase of his career, he'd be an almost Terminator-esque machine. And if we ever saw much in the way of vulnerability from WWE champion Cena, it could have been a mighty fine Superman versus Doomsday kind of tale.
But considering the built-in constraints of WWE storytelling and how the leader of the Cenation is booked, it hasn't been bad at all. And given that all I thought it would be was bad, I'll happily take that along with The Shield matches, Wyatt Family vignettes and Daniel Bryan everything.
The heat is on:
WWE's marketing department. I guess their big events sell themselves. That's a good thing, because otherwise, I don't see how you could promote them.
I guess every WWE show is like a Marlins game with a free concert by the Rolling Stones afterwards - people show up because they know Cena or Punk will be there, depending on where they fall on the casual - hardcore fan spectrum. Or it's a Cowboys game, where you go for the glitz and the spectacle even though you know Tony Romo will probably throw it to the wrong guy or Jason Garrett will mismanage the clock with the game on the line (depending on where you fall on the whole "Tony Romo is an elite quarterback" spectrum). You go for the music and the pyro and the crowd regardless of what's on the card.
Because the card for everything other than the top match or two is up in the air until the week of the show. And that's pretty much how they booked the Granddaddy of them all, too!
It's hard to get excited for shows where you don't even know what you're getting. It may not be effecting the gate, but I bet it impacts buy rates. $50 - $70 is a lot to pay for a show if you only know what an hour of it will consist of, and if you want to plan an evening, have friends over, etc., not everyone has the luxury of doing that on the fly when you announce a third of the matches on Friday.
It has to make it hard for performers and writers to build their stories to what should be a climax or at least big beat on PPV when you're not sure how much time you're getting on a show, if any at all. It has to be a factor in the general malaise of much of the mid-card.
But, at least we have Ryback vs Cena to look forward to next week! And an Intercontinental triple threat featuring guys who were on the pre-show the last few PPVs. Yay?
All they have to do is give us the next chapter of the Daniel Bryan story they started on Monday and we should be happy campers, right? What else are you watching for tonight on Smackdown?
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