WWE SmackDown returned last night (Feb. 1, 2013) from San Diego, California, with a taped show on the SyFy channel featuring the fallout show to the Royal Rumble pay-per-view (PPV) this past Sunday night from Phoenix, AZ.
If you missed the show, or just want to go back and read the live blog again, click here.
Let's get to the reactions!
- Alberto Del Rio and The Big Show continue to ratchet up the stakes in their feud, and it's getting better and better to watch. Del Rio spent all night outside the arena, metal pipe in hand, waiting for Show to pull up. When Show finally arrived, Del Rio acted like an animal unleashed. He tried to beat the tar out of Show, but the giant managed to find a car that just happened to be running and drove off. Show would end up getting the last laugh, though, when he made Ricardo Rodriguez "beg like a dog" and popped him with a WMD to close the show.
- This is usually the part where I would make a smarky comment about Del Rio needing to "Be a Star" and give him crap for trying to assault Show outside. But I have no problem with what happened; in fact, I think it's being played perfectly. Del Rio has never been positioned as a pure face. Hell, he's only been a good guy since TLC (Dec. 16).Del Rio was simply trying to fight fire with fire. Show has now upped the ante again by attacking Ricardo backstage, in a place that should be safe. Show has gone after Del Rio's best friend -- his family even -- and turned what should have been a fight over the World Heavyweight Championship into a blood feud. This thing has been raised to a whole 'nother level. Buckle in, folks. This is only getting started, and I cannot wait to see where it ends up.
- Booker T started the show planning to set up an Elimination Chamber match for the #1 Contendership to the World Heavyweight Championship between The Great Khali, Randy Orton, Kane, Daniel Bryan, Sheamus, and Dolph Ziggler. Then the one and only JACK SWAGGER -- !!! -- returned and demanded to be included. Ziggler would forego his spot in the match because he saw no need to put himself through hell for a title shot when he was carrying the Money in the Bank briefcase. Which...actually makes a lot of sense. Good on you, WWE, for tying that loose end up very nicely.
- So baring any unforeseen event, we have our six men for the SmackDown Elimination Chamber. It's not the worst grouping of talent and should shape up to be a pretty solid match. I'm just tired of seeing Khali constantly pushed into these things. He does nothing but bring the entire show down. The day he's gone from WWE is the day C.J. is a much happier man.
- If you told me that I would have enjoyed Jack Swagger's return, I would have called you a liar and slapped you in the face with a dead fish. But the guy actually looked pretty good in the ring against Kofi Kingston, and certainly didn't crap the bed on the mic. I'm not really sure what the long term plans are for him, but I'm not upset that he's back.
- Yes, Cagesiders, the news is true; Team Rhodes Scholars is no more. The breakup itself was actually perfectly played. They promised to remain best friends, and Sandow quoted French author Albert Camus: "Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend." The pair shared a bro hug, and I may or may not have cried a little bit. These two have perfect chemistry together. It's a shame that they couldn't work together all the time...
- OH WAIT THEY CAN IF THEY HAD JUST REMAINED A DAMN TAG TEAM! Seriously, what the hell is WWE Creative thinking with this? I cannot even begin to comprehend the need to destroy this team. These two are rivaled only by Team Hell No and CM Punk in terms of entertaining segments. That bit with The Rock a few weeks ago? Yeah, I would love to see any other combination of talent perform half as well in the situation. This was supposed to be the team to save the division. This was supposed to be the team to bring us back to the promised land. They were the chosen ones!
- So anyways. Tag team division is dead again. That was a fun run while it lasted.
- I know this is a constant complaint, but it still sucks seeing Paul Heyman's performance review recapped twice in a single show. We get it. He's paying The Shield and Brock Lesnar is back to bring the pain. There's really no reason to keep shoving it down our throats.
- One final point that I feel needs to be made. WWE has no idea what it is doing with Ziggler. Honestly, perhaps winning Money in the Bank was the worst thing for him. He can't chase any of the midcard titles. He can't join a tag team. He can't simply beat down jobbers, but he seems to never be able to pick up a big time win. He is just trapped in his own personal limbo until someone in the back decides to pull the trigger. I want to see better for "The Showoff," but I don't know how that is possible.
- Overall, a solid outing from "The Blue Brand." The good was really good, the bad was manageable, but WWE continues to make me scratch my head.
So tell me what you think, Cagesiders. Am I too harsh, too liberal, or somewhere right down the middle? Let me know why I'm so right -- or so wrong -- in the comments below.