WWE Friday Night SmackDown hit the SyFy airwaves last night (July 5, 2013) from Topeka, Kansas, with a taped show featuring a whole hell of a lot of solid storyline advancement that still managed to fall a little flat on the blue brand that still looks like the good but not great show it so often masquerades as.
That's enough with the potatoes, though, let's get to the meat:
- CM Punk, and WWE, in a way, kind of buried the world heavyweight title last night. I'm not one to worry so much about such silly things as how important it is for a title to be kept strong or whatever, but it's funny to me that the entire crux of Alberto Del Rio interrupting Punk was to say that he's the world champion and SmackDown is his show when this entire night was built around Punk. First, he said Del Rio may have the world title but that just makes him number one contender to the "Best in the World" title, which was a great line, by the way, and somehow lost in all this was the fact that Punk is in the WWE championship Money in the Bank ladder match. So, really, Del Rio just looked second rate in every way here. That's fine, because it's most definitely the case, but you from a business perspective, you don't usually want to do that. Then again, Punk is far more important and makes far more money for the company, so who gives a shit, right?
- I really liked the closing sequence to the show, though it sounded awful in the spoilers. As a general rule, count outs and no contests in pro wrestling are terrible but they can be done right and last night was a prime example. Punk is being beautifully positioned as a big time babyface. While he's continually trying to break free from Heyman, he's showing that he's still a great friend who will stick up for his former mentor when the time comes, despite the fact that Heyman continually puts him in undesirable positions. This will make it that much greater when it's revealed later that Heyman was behind the Brock Lesnar attacks.
- I say attacks because after that backstage skit between the two last night the Brockness Monster is most certainly going to cost Punk the Money in the Bank briefcase, right? I mean, Heyman begged to be there, Punk told him no, he'll be on the verge of winning and get F-5'd right off the ladder next Sunday night, he'll demand answers on Raw the next evening, where Lesnar is advertised, they'll officially book the match for SummerSlam. It works perfectly.
- I can remember a time when The Usos would do that gimmick where they say "Us" and you say "os" and it would die a quick and painful death. Now, though, they've got the crowd getting behind them, and they work well as a team. Can't complain much, though the face paint, while cool, is masking the fact that they don't really have personalities outside of the fact that they're Samoan and are related to The Rock.
- Let's stop falling for the skipping around the ring during a match schtick. Like getting fooled by someone sarcastically asking "what's that over there" before bolting. You don't want your babyfaces to look like complete numbskulls.
- Am I the only one who laughed his ass off when AJ Lee ran into the Bellas and loudly shouted "SISTER SISTER"? I am? Yeah, okay.
- Also, holy shit, Big E. Langston dresses like his mom is still picking out his clothes. And it's awesome. Dude has a style, that's for damn sure.
- Oh, and it's good to see WWE actually acknowledging the fact that AJ and Dolph Ziggler haven't been around each other much at all lately. They're still dating and in love, you see, they've just got a lot else going on right now.
- Speaking of Ziggler, he played the role of the babyface bully done right, with everything Sheamus does being the babyface bully done wrong. Dolph won his match against Drew McIntyre and then toyed with 3MB, humiliating them before leaving. It worked because they tried to jump him, made fun of him and taunted him, and he made them look like fools for it. That's comeuppance. Nothing over the top, and nothing that wasn't deserved. In other words, great stuff.
- Christian and Randy Orton can still work great matches together. We now know that. Cool.
- Justin Gabriel would have fit right in as a super bland babyface in the 1980s with cool offense who could work well with the likes of The Rockers and what not. He's still good today, he's just got a ceiling. And that's okay. Not everyone is going to be main eventing WrestleMania.
- Final thought: Daniel Bryan not being on this show sucked but at the same time, overexposure is a real thing and it's nice to get a bit of a break from him so we can miss him and all that.
This was your typical SmackDown. Good but not great.
That's it from me, Cagesiders. Now it's your turn to sound off in the comment section below with all your thoughts on last night's show.