WWE Friday Night SmackDown hit the SyFy airwaves last night (Aug. 16, 2013) from San Jose, California, with a taped show featuring the go home edition to the SummerSlam pay-per-view (PPV) in Los Angeles this Sunday night at the Staples Center.
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:
- Bray Wyatt continues to impress with his smooth tongue and silky promos. You know what I like about him? He says things without actually saying them. He's not so subtle that you fail to grasp the message, but he doesn't beat you over the head with it. It's the difference between a strong lyricist and the no talent hack who thought he would slap some words on a page and call it deep. I'm going to date myself but I always appreciated lyrics like "chop your breakfast on a mirror," from James Hetfield of Metallica in the song Master of Puppets. He's talking, of course, about waking up and doing cocaine, but it would lose a great deal of impact if he just came right out and said that. If you can entertain me with your sound and make me actually use my brain while you're at it, that's far preferable to something like a Linkin Park song, where the message is always the same and lyrics consist of "you hurt me, I'm in pain, poor me, in the end it doesn't matter."
- I don't care about Christian, I don't care about Alberto Del Rio, and Damien Sandow getting attached to either of them makes me nervous because I think that will make me not care about Damien Sandow. I don't want that.
- AJ Lee now has the Shining Wizard and the Black Widow as her finishers. That's great, isn't it?
- I can get behind Ryback now that he's a bully. And not a bully in the sense that he beats up jobbers like Zack Ryder in the ring, but a bully like he just finds random people backstage and destroys them. He's just viscious enough to make it believable and they always find awesome guys who bump around for him really well. I just hope they remember that they gave him feelings at one point. There are a lot of storyline possibilities with that.
- Here's where I turn into "that IWC dirtsheet believing smark/mark/whatever": reports came out this week that the Wyatt Family are in line for a big push and that they will be taking the spot formerly occupied by The Shield. Well, the Wyatt Family kicked off SmackDown last night with their segment. Then, at the top of the second hour, The Shield's match against Rob Van Dam, Big Show, and Mark Henry was set to take place with The Shield doing their entrance. Then, suddenly, they cut to a video replay of the Wyatt Family segment. Granted, this is while The Shield are entering and they're left in the ring to watch the replay on the titantron while waiting for their opponents to come out. Much ado about nothing? Almost certainly. But there's always that chance that this was a planned shot, either at The Shield, or the dirt sheets, or possibly even both.
- Don't rain on my parade, guys. Please. I know it's crazy.
- Speaking of The Shield, though, their string of awesome matches continues. I still haven't seen a bad Shield match, and maybe not even an average Shield match.
- By the way, RVD pinning Ambrose and defeating the champion in a non-title match before heading to SummerSlam showcased the right way to book that scenario, in a six-man tag with a lot of outside factors leading to his victory that won't be there in a singles encounter. That's as opposed to having Christian beat Del Rio multiple times spanning multiple weeks in singles matches. There's no reason to pay for the same match after we've seen it that many times for free and the result was always the same.
- It's crazy how few times the Real Americans have actually been booked to win. It's even crazier how often they're booked to have one of the two interfere in the other's match leading to an inevitably lame finish that sees the opponent in the ring capitalize on the distraction or use the simply blow through the lone teammate left behind. The Miz benefited from this last night and well, that's just inexcusable.
- Curtis Axel has not benefited one bit from his association with Paul Heyman. Not one single iota. In fact, you could argue it's the other way around. Heyman looks lesser when he's walking alongside Axel, as though he's just some manager to be passed off as though he's just as unimportant as Axel.
- Speaking of Heyman, he's a master on the mic, and one of the best pro wrestling actors in history, but that promo, the last one before the CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar match at SummerSlam, was underwhelming. I guess you can't expect the world all the time, but I expected better than that.
- There are times when overbooking is awful and it just makes everything feel so convoluted and difficult to follow. The Daniel Bryan vs. Wade Barrett match was not one of those times. Actually, this felt like Attitude Era booking and, yes, you might as well have substituted Bryan out for Stone Cold Steve Austin. Vince is out to screw him over but he keeps failing at every turn because Bryan is just that damn good. Speaking of just that damn good, Triple H is also here to keep order, though the way the finish was laid out makes me think he's definitely turning heel at SummerSlam and costing Bryan the match. No matter what, I don't see any way Bryan leaves that event with the WWE title now.
This was actually a pretty damn good show, all things considered. Not as strong as it could have been considering it was a go home episode and expectations naturally go up for that sort of thing, but it was good.
That's it for me, Cagesiders. Now it's your turn to sound off in the comments section below with all your thoughts on last night's show.