WWE Friday Night SmackDown hit the SyFy airwaves last night (June 28, 2013) from Columbia, South Carolina, with a taped show featuring any and all stereotypes on anyone getting a big enough push for the powers that be to care about stereotyping.
And now the blue brand is back to its "good but not great" groove.
If you missed the show, or just want to go back and read the live blog again, click here. That's enough with the potatoes, though, let's get to the meat:
- Sheamus is usually at his best when he's got a big hoss to work with, but every now and again an established worker with a special set of skills can get a fine match out of him, like Daniel Bryan did at Extreme Rules last year. That's why it was encouraging to see Damien Sandow more than hold his own in their Dublin Street Fight last night.
- That being said, there were two things wrong that stood out with this match: 1) WWE is the worst with stereotypes, and while I'm not necessarily sitting here offended by the way the folks in power choose to portray the members of their roster, it would be nice if there was some intellectual depth every now and again. And 2) At one point in the match, Sheamus grabbed a sack of potatoes, took a bite of one, and spit it in Sandow's face. I'm not okay with guys presented as squeaky clean babyfaces doing this kind of thing. You want Sheamus to be that guy, book him like that guy. He would probably make for a good heel if someone like Triple H mentored him enough.
- I realized during Kane and Bryan's backstage interaction that it's entirely possible the former is headed for another heel turn and another run as "The Big Red Monster." And you know what? That kind of sucks, if that turns out to be the case. It would make sense within the story, sure, but I like comedy Kane more than monster Kane, mostly because monster Kane doesn't have much depth to his character.
- I'm still no fan of The Miz and generally find every single thing about him to be grating and difficult to digest while watching whatever program he's on, but his Star Wars stuff with Paul Heyman and Curtis Axel worked. The reference was dated, yes, but it was a clever little way to dig at Axel by calling him out for not being his father. It was great because, well, it's true. Axel was terrible last night, by the way. His work on the mic was terrible and he's now badly overcompensating for the fact that he doesn't come off as a legitimate tough guy. He would be better as the smarmy, sneaky heel, not the domineering one.
- BREAKING: Kaitlyn did something mildly entertaining that didn't include one of her titties popping out. More at 11.
- No but really, her impression of AJ Lee was about as good as AJ Lee's impression of her. And is it just me or is AJ the best salesperson on the WWE roster? I know Dolph Ziggler bumps like crazy and that's great and all, but AJ takes offense and makes it look awesome when it's being delivered by some seriously mediocre talent. Big E. Langston having to drag her lifeless body to the back is becoming a favorite thing of mine.
- I'm really not looking forward to the Teddy Long vs. Booker T feud once the latter returns from injury.
- Daniel Bryan's commentary before and during the Kane vs. Randy Orton match had me wishing we could get an entire show of just Punk and Bryan on commentary. Can you imagine what that would sound like? I won't waste time fantasizing too much, but that's a dream team. Best in the world.
- I may have turned a corner on both Chris Jericho and Ryback. Jericho because his act is starting to feel not only stale, but beyond juvenile. And it's not the fun kind of juvenile that it was when he was running amok in WCW back in the 1990s, it's more of the annoying teenage little shit thinking he's funny when really you just want to punch him in the face. Ryback, meanwhile, actually showed some range with his pro wrestling acting. He's hurt both physically and mentally at the state of his career right now, and he's managing to show as much despite the fact that he's supposed to be a wrecking ball. I love depth of character.
- That being said, if this goes too far, it won't be long before we put the pieces together and Ryback goes from a guy who was built into a legitimate draw on pay-per-view to a guy who never lost but never won, killing most of his heat, and ended up with a gimmick that calls for him to be crybaby, which should effectively murder whatever heat was left over. You almost feel bad for the guy. Then again, Jericho may have been called in to finally allow "Big Hungry" to get a big win over a (still) relatively big name. We'll see.
- When I did spoilers for this show, The Shield's loss to The Usos and Christian seemed like a terrible idea, for various reasons. When a group is built up strong and their never losing is played up on television week after week, it should feel special when they do lose, and it shouldn't happen on a nothing episode of SmackDown. But this was a fairly good match that came across really well on television, and the crowd seemed to legitimately go bonkers for the fact that the babyfaces went over. It also established the fact that Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns will be feuding with The Usos while Dean Ambrose is headed for a program with Christian. Those mid-card titles are actually worth something now, folks. Soak it up.
- Not sure there's anything to say about the Fiesta Del Rio. More bullshit stereotypes, a stock break up of the party by the other half of the feuding party, show going off the air with balloons flying all around the arena. This was just dumb.
SmackDown very much settled into its groove as a good but not great show that you can watch and mostly enjoy but quickly forget about the next day.
That's it from me, Cagesiders. Now it's your turn to sound off in the comments section below with all your thoughts on last night's show.