WWE SmackDown returned last night (Dec. 18, 2012) from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with a super special live commercial free episode featuring all the fallout from TLC this past Sunday night and Monday Night Raw just last night.
That meant lots of The Shield and even more AJ Lee and Dolph Ziggler.
If you missed the show or just want to go back and read the live blog again, click here. But enough with the formalities, it's time to get to reactions:
- Holy shit, The Miz is awful. There is literally nothing good about what he brings to the table other than being spectacularly annoying. Props to that one guy in the crowd who actually bothered to react to his horrible Lindsay Lohan joke by booing. It stood out and made the uncomfortable silence otherwise bearable.
- That said, MizTV served its purpose well last night. It was a good way to finally get an explanation out of AJ Lee. No longer can we sit here and wonder what the hell she's been doing all this time because she basically explained the past six months in one promo. Essentially, she's got issues, no different than anyone else, but she's fallen in love with various men on the WWE roster -- CM Punk and Daniel Bryan chief among them -- who have treated her like shit and pushed her aside for things that were more important to them. John Cena was supposed to represent the opposite of that, a super clean cut guy who has morals and is a good decent man at heart. So she went for him, a completely understandable move considering her circumstances. But she found the situation was no different, at least from her perspective, so she decided that because he broke her heart after toying with her just to poke at Vickie Guerrero, she would help Dolph Ziggler break his. She actually gave up her job as General Manager of Raw to uphold his good name and he wouldn't even let her go out to the ring with him. Damn it all if this didn't make more sense than I ever thought WWE would come up with for this story. This was great.
- Even better? The fact that AJ is now paired with Ziggler. Yes, I'm a fan of both of their work but really, they're perfect for each other. AJ is obsessive over the men in her life while Ziggler is completely vain. He can show off, she can be obsessed with it, and he can be obsessed with her because she's obsessed with him. Even if AJ's original intentions were to hurt Cena, that doesn't mean she hasn't found the perfect fit for her after going through so many guys who weren't compatible. And isn't that really how it works for all relationships? You have as many as it takes until you find the best one for you?
- Also the best? "Earmuffs, babe." AJ's expression when Ziggler let her know it was cool to drop them was the best.
- Big E. Langston as the bodyguard to the power couple? Yeah, I can dig that for sure. The dude has scary athleticism for a guy his size. With muscles like that, he shouldn't be able to move so well.
- I can't figure out a good reason why Teddy Long would make a pitch for Brad Maddox to Booker T to get him on SmackDown. It doesn't really make sense, unless Teddy really wants to book him in an impromptu tag team match alongside his fat cameraman. Which sounds like good comedy relief, actually. Better than watching him lose to Brodus Clay.
- With Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara both apparently being written off television in injury angles, it was brilliantly simple booking to have The Shield be the guys to take them out. I also really liked the visual of Reigns tossing Mysterio's mask into the ring at Sin Cara's feet for maximum effect before pummeling him and knocking him out before leaving like complete bosses.
- By the way, I love the way The Shield attacks its prey, whomever that may be. They don't just show up and throw punches, they launch themselves at their targets with such vigor they almost hurt themselves in the process. One second Brodus Clay was standing there celebrating and the next, Seth Rollins came flying through the air like a fucking lawn dart and blasted into him. It was awesome. Cole described them "like feral dogs" and that's actually a good explanation for what they do. It's great.
- Tell me you didn't have fun watching Santino Marella vs. Tensai last night. Hindsight is 20/20 but now that we've seen it, it seems clear this is the direction they should have gone a while ago. Tensai couldn't get over as the big monster with his new Japanese inspired gimmick, so what's the next step? Make him a comedy act. It's worked wonders for Kane since he brought the mask back. Hell, he's as hot as ever, though a lot of that has to do with his association with Daniel Bryan. But Tensai as the big brute who fouls up in his matches against lesser opponents and gets really pissed off about it sounds like a perfect gimmick to me. Since the fans are still chanting AL-BERT at him, he can start paying more and more attention to it leading to an identity crisis of some sort. There's potential here, WWE just needs to find it.
- Do you guys realize we sat through a segment last night that featured John Cena whispering into Sheamus' ear? That actually happened on live television, folks. Sheamus did his best to save the disaster with his funny facial expressions but he couldn't do it. It was dumb. Just dumb.
- CM Punk has really, really been on fire. I don't know if he's overcompensating because he can't get physical but his promos of late have been outstanding. The dude has discovered his passion again and I'll always get behind any wrestler who gets on the mic and acts like they really give a shit. Maybe it was the wrestling I grew up on but I hate monotone promos when guys speak slow and soft. The only guys who have ever really been able to pull that off have been Jake Roberts and Ole Anderson. Give me a screaming psycho (almost) every time.
- Why did they have to job Antonio Cesaro to Ryback? I don't think it matters all that much, and it's probably not a big deal, but why did they have to do it? Why beat a champion in a non-title nothing match like this?
- Warning: More love for Big Show coming. We've often wondered why Ziggler hasn't taken more opportunity to cash in the Money in the Bank briefcase. Well, tonight looked like it could be a good night with the situation being what it was and Ziggler now running with Big E. Langston. So Show made sure to mention as much and warn Ziggy beforehand that he would knock him into next week if he tried anything crazy. I like attention to detail like that. More, please.
This was another good show from WWE. The lack of commercials was hardly noticeable because the show flowed pretty freely and while there was some unnecessary fluff and nonsense, I enjoyed the good far more than I disliked the bad.
Yes, Cagesiders, that's another good grade for me. Now let me have it in the comments with all the reasons I'm wrong (or right) on that. Just show your work!