WWE Friday Night SmackDown hit the SyFy airwaves last night (July 19, 2013) from Providence, Rhode Island, with a taped show featuring the fallout episode from the Money in the Bank pay-per-view (PPV) that went down this past Sunday night at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Click here to read the live blog with full results from the show. That's enough with the potatoes, though, let's get to the meat:
- After watching the match Daniel Bryan had with Wade Barrett, the one that was originally scheduled for Raw this week but was pushed back to this show, I'm really glad it was cut. It's not that I don't think it would have gotten over in front of that crowd in Brooklyn, but I think it worked much better hiding Bryan out and not making him look vulnerable in the slightest. For the big announcement, it was a much better story telling tool to tuck him away and reveal him in time to revel in his big moment. It wouldn't have been that way had he had the match with Barrett, especially like he did last night. It was short and mostly a waste of time anyway. Barrett got too much offense in to feel comfortable with if it had happened on Raw, so this worked out great.
- Also, Providence was awesome going along with continuing to make Bryan look like a big star. At some point I'm going to be able to stop saying "look like a big star" and just start saying "is a big star." They may come as early as later this year when the SummerSlam buyrate comes in.
- I don't know what to do about this whole Mark Henry being a babyface thing. Quite frankly, I'm not sure he can pull it off, not because he's not a good performer but because he was so good as a heel, whatever nuances he brings to his good guy character aren't going to measure up. I hope I'm wrong. Maybe the idea is to have him be like Miz. Not necessarily change anything about his character, just have him fighting bad guys now. That might work.
- I want Vince McMahon on my TV every week and I'll put up with silly General Manager storylines to get it. Teddy Long is unbearable, so I don't mind seeing him humiliated by Vickie Guerrero but Vickie is just as unbearable, so SmackDown just went down a notch now that she's in charge. It also means she's probably going to be on Raw trying to make decisions playing off Brad Maddox which, in fairness, is where she can be accidentally entertaining, as Triple H put it.
- Really, McMahon should have made Maddox GM of SmackDown. And Superstars, for that matter.
- Dolph Ziggler is a bonafide good guy now and, no different than Henry, I'm not sure what to do with it. I just don't know if he's good enough to pull off a likable character. I'm not even sure how he could tweak it to do that. Any ideas, Cagesiders?
- A tease of a relationship between Big E. Langston and AJ Lee is only natural, I guess, seeing as Langston is her best friend, always there for her in her time of need, and Lee is vulnerable right now after her break up with Ziggler. But I liked seeing Langston not take advantage and actually prove himself to have a moral core. And, really, it makes him look like the best friend a girl could ever ask for. He might have been the best guy for AJ all along and she just didn't know it.
- Enjoyed Paul Heyman's promo, mostly because it was a beautiful set up for Punk to overcome the monster that is BRRRRRROCK LESNAR. Good storytelling, simple and effective with Heyman's trademark awesome delivery. Miz even did a great job playing off him, making him look like the biggest piece of shit this side of the Mississippi. Or the other side. Or the world, even.
- Chris Jericho's exit match with Curtis Axel wasn't anything special and, in fact, wasn't really all that good. This after I publish an entire article talking about how great he was throughout his latest run. I was also underwhelmed with the way they wrote him off. That Ryback attack was too stock for me. They couldn't have Ryback put him through a table and really send him out? That would have made "Big Hungry" look much better than simply kicking Jericho while he was down.
- This Damien Sandow angle with Cody Rhodes is a perfect set up for Cody to turn into a modern day version of his dad, right? I mean, sure, he hasn't ever really been presented that way, but they could easily come up with a great explanation for that. Sandow is the snobby, stuck up, well dressed, perfectly articulated number one contender in waiting, and he had to do next to no work to get to that point. Rhodes, meanwhile, busted his ass to make that match and win that briefcase only to have it taken from him by the man, the snobby asshole who thinks he's better than everyone else. See what I mean? Hard times, daddy. If we could get something even kind of close to this again, that would be even better.
- Is Rob Van Dam a big deal again? Because it kind of seems like he's kind of a big deal again.
- Can anyone tell me why, if Alberto Del Rio is a heel, he's doing babyface gimmicks like slapping his arm to get the crowd behind him when his job, as the heel, is to make sure the crowd isn't behind him but behind his opponent in the match, Randy Orton? It's stuff like this that murders his character, muddies the waters, and makes it impossible to appreciate his work. And that's not even on a conscious level, where you outward notice little things like that that torpedo a guy's ability to get over. These are the issues holding him back, or at least they've got something to do with it.
- Orton, meanwhile, appeared completely fine and if he did suffer a stinger, you can hardly tell. He was grabbing his arm at one point but that was after a Cross Armbreaker attempt, so it appeared to be a normal sell. Actually, that might make Orton even better at his job, to mask a legitimate injury that way. Either way, he looked fine and I wouldn't expect him to miss any shows at all.
This felt like a normal SmackDown with a main event that didn't do anything for me and, in fact, seemed like WWE just treading water. Del Rio is a bust as champion, Orton is carrying around a briefcase for the title that is never featured on this show, and now Vickie Guerrero is in power.
Not their best effort, especially coming off Money in the Bank and building towards SummerSlam. But that's just me, Cagesiders. Now it's time to hear from you with all your thoughts on last night's show.