WWE SmackDown comes waltzing back into our lives last night (April 26, 2013) from London, England, with a taped show on the SyFy channel featuring a main event of Undertaker vs. Dean Ambrose, the continuing feud between Alberto Del Rio and Jack Swagger, Fandango vs. Justin Gabriel & more!
If you missed the show, or just want to go back and read the live blog again, click here.
To the reactions!
- No use burying the lede: The Undertaker took on Dean Ambrose in a one-on-one match on free television. Let that set in for a moment. Not only did 'Taker face Ambrose, but the match was everything we could have wanted. Although it was short, it still pulled fans in, causing this writer to jump out of his seat for every big spot and near fall. It's amazing how a simple, six-to-seven minute match managed to live up to the hype. It's a testament to the aura surrounding 'Taker, as well as Ambrose's raw talent.
- Yes, Ambrose did lose by tapping out to Hell's Gate. If it was anyone else, I would be flipping tables. The Shield has been built up too much to lose, especially by submission. But this is The Freakin' Undertaker. The Unstoppable Phenom. I'm not going to be that smark who says WWE is burying Ambrose because he lost to a part timer. If anyone you know is really riding that train of thought, please seek help for them.
- Watching 'Taker get speared through the barricade and eat a triple powerbomb through the announcers table was beautifully cringeworthy. How much respect does The Undertaker have for The Shield if he's willing to cut matches off of his career for those spots? Pro wrestling is a simple medium, but someone has to go out there and put their body on the line for our entertainment. Hats off to "The Deadman". I don't know when he's coming back, but I will cherish every last moment we have him around.
- When the hell did Alberto Del Rio and Jack Swagger get some chemistry? I'll admit I missed their match last week (April 19), so perhaps I am late to this particular party. But the No Disqualification Match was a great open to the show. A smart back and forth that got the crowd fired up. Not a single complaint from me. An odd choice to have Swagger go over clean, but an entertaining match does wonders in getting wrestlers over. Sometimes that fact gets lost.
- The strange love rectangle between Randy Orton, Sheamus, The Big Show, and Mark Henry continues for no particular reason other than WWE has no idea what to do with any of them. The main event is far too crowded, the midcard titles are far below them, and each are too strong to enter any feuds with the developing talent. So they simply dance with each other until the cows come home.
- That being said, I have no complaints about the actual matches themselves. Sheamus and The Big Show showed how to execute a HOSS FIGHT. For all the crap people give Sheamus, I could watch him go in the ring with just about anyone. And Show continues to prove he is one of the smartest minds in the business. Mark Henry running in to distract Sheamus, allowing Show to land the WMD, was painfully obvious, but didn't ruin the match in any significant way.
- I was less fond of Randy Orton vs. Mark Henry. I can't point to anything and say it was lacking, but both wrestlers seemed disinterested in the proceedings. I've seen better from these two, but I've also seen much worse. Sheamus running in for some Brogue Kicking payback was, again, painfully obvious, but it keeps the wheels turning on this strange clustermuck.
- Fandango went over Justin Gabriel. The Brits really love to point at the sky and sing off key. In their defense, though, who doesn't?
- Wade Barrett went over William Regal with a single offensive move, The Bullhammer. There's a job, there's a squash match, and then there's a Regal. Used in a sentence: "Daniel Bryan did the Regal at WrestleMania 28." I fully expect this slang to catch on.
- Layla went over Aksana with the weirdest pinning combination I have ever seen. It was a jackknife, then she rolled through and stacked Aksana up. I think? I guess it is better than a standard Divas rollup, so I won't complain about that. The rest of the match, though? Aksana needs to never be in the ring again, and Layla isn't much better. Not a good showing from WWE's fairer sex.
This was a SmackDown which featured virtually no plot advancement, throwaway matches, and left the World Heavyweight Champion off the show. Yet it was an amazingly fun, entertaining show. The final count was seven matches, a single promo, minimum Raw recaps, and no stupid backstage segments. I know WWE can't do this every Friday night. But wouldn't it be nice if we had more of this than the normal crap we get?
What say you, Cagesiders? Was the main event everything you could hope for? Did the rest of the show hold your attention? Or am I simply being a dumb mark? Let me know how right -- or how wrong -- I am in the comments.