WWE Friday Night SmackDown hit the SyFy airwaves last night (Aug. 30, 2013) from Las Vegas, Nevada, with a taped show featuring all the latest in the Daniel Bryan & Friends vs. Triple H & Cronies saga.
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:
- Triple H using KING OF KINGS as his new theme should continue for the entirety of this storyline. The lyrics are just right for his character right now. It always felt like ego stroking before, but now it fits like a glove and actually makes sense with the character he's become. Check out these lyrics and tell me this isn't made completely for what he's doing right now:
Behold the King
The King of Kings
On your knees dog
Bow down to the
Bow down to the King
Bow down to the
Bow down to the King
The King grinned red
As he walked from the place
Where the traitor lost both his name and his face
Through the halls and the corridors
Stinging in blood
He tasted his grin and it tasted good
The King took his head
Left him broken and dead
The King left none living
None able to tell
The King took their heads
And he sent them to hell
Their screams echoed loud
In the place of their death
Ripped open they died
With their final breath
They hailed the King
The King of Kings
- They had Big Show sitting in a chair all night long and they didn't use the Big Show chair that was in the running for "Prop of the Year" last year. This was a terrible oversight, though forgivable for what was to come.
- Show's iron clad contract talking point was cute for a minute, but let's not act like his having that is reason for him to go against his bosses. I mean, if you want logic, it's completely logical that an employee wouldn't go up against his employers, iron clad contract or not, because the employers can make life hell for the employees. That's about as basic as it gets. Plus, it was said on commentary multiple times. At this point, it's become a meme that doesn't need to exist.
- Miz TV has been awful for a lot of reasons far too many times but it continues to be an easy tool to help tell stories and last night was perhaps the best example. Everyone gets the chance to talk, but everyone is afraid to for fear of going up against the machine that can and will crush them. Show, in particular, is awesome in a role like this. He's one of the better pro wrestling actors out there. I'm dying for this to lead to a War Games match with Bryan leading a team of Ziggler, Show, and Miz, against The Shield and Randy Orton. I mean, it just has to happen, doesn't it? Triple H reportedly loved the War Games concept, and the Battleground pay-per-view (PPV) would make sense for it, though I doubt they go that direction. If they did, it would kill the Orton vs. Bryan Hell in a Cell match at the PPV of the same name later in the month, and that's where they're clearly headed. A guy can dream, though.
- Can't believe the quality of match we got with Orton vs. Miz. I mean, Miz serves his purpose in WWE and it almost always has nothing to do with what he does in the ring. Last night was different. There was a rough spot late but it was stellar as far as TV matches are concerned.
- I don't have a problem with WWE running storylines in direct contradiction to the Be A Star anti-bullying campaign. I actually tend to agree with the hardline stance the company has taken to it by saying, well, we run stories, it isn't real, and that has to be kept in mind. Plus, the bully always gets his comeuppance at some point. That's why I didn't mind Vickie Guerrero calling Daniel Bryan a bully and booking him against Ryback, who claimed he hates bullies despite being booked like the biggest bully of all time. None of this should upset you, unless you think the children who watch the programming just can't separate storyline from reality, in which case they probably aren't old enough to be watching it to begin with. In a sense I can see complaining about a movie marketing itself as anti-bully and then promoting a pro-bully message within the movie, but that's not really what WWE is doing. It may seem like it at times, but that's because this movie never ends and they have to stretch it over such large periods of time that entire shows come and go without the bully getting his just due. But it does end up happening in some form or another, so this argument should really just be put to bed. It's not stretching the boundaries so much to get legitimately upset about. It's just not.
- I still can't figure out how Rob Van Dam is so over at this point in his second run with WWE. It's no longer about the novelty of his return, nor is it a geographical thing. He's consistently getting cheers like a top star in every city. If I'm WWE, I might actually put the belt on him and have Del Rio win it back later to get some real heat on him. Nothing else is working all that well, plus they get the boost of Van Dam as champion. The relationship with Ricardo Rodriguez still feels awkward and too forced, but I can at least see why they're doing it.
- Not going to complain about Damien Sandow's treatment because, remember, you can job every week as long as you have the Money in the Bank briefcase.
- Thank god for GIFs because that Roman Reigns Spear on Dolph Ziggler is worth watching over and over and over and over and over. Also loved Seth Rollins spreading his arms as if to survey the destruction while looking out at a fuming Big Show, who still wasn't willing to break down and go against his employers despite witnessing Ziggler get destroyed, no different than Miz was about to before him. Although I do wonder why Bryan decided to help Miz and not Ziggler. Either way, Show was awesome in his anger and inner anguish throughout all this.
- Paul Heyman's job last night was to deliver a promo that gave us a reason to think he and his protege, Curtis Axel, have even the slightest chance in hell of hanging with CM Punk at Night of Champions. That's exactly what he did. His argument was simple: Punk is going after a man who was like a father to him and every time they've gone up against each other so far, it's ended the same way. That's true. Punk has to look up and see this man he was so close too bearing down on him and chiding him for his wayward ways, which aren't so wayward but we're hearing this from Heyman's perspective. That's a psychological roadblock. Then, Heyman tells us if he's gone to the lengths he's already gone, which include that painfully uncomfortable but emotionally compelling kendo stick beating on Raw this week, what will he do when he's truly backed into a corner with no other choice but to do whatever he can to get out? This was everything it needed to be and more with Heyman's trademark awesome delivery.
- I think Bray Wyatt and his family getting slotted the way they have been lately isn't so much an indictment against them as it is the depth of the roster right now. SmackDown is an incredibly well paced show, and while he and his family certainly weren't featured, they definitely weren't forgotten. Really, they're getting time to get their act over and fine tune the gimmick for the larger WWE audience. Plus, Erick Rowan and Luke Harper are getting some much needed time to work in shorter matches so they can improve beyond their current capabilities, which, admittedly, don't seem to be much, while protecting them from having to do too much. But that's what is so great about the roster depth. They don't need to do too much, at least not yet.
- When they aired the replay of the AJ Lee promo from Raw this past Monday night they couldn't edit out the Bella Twins unbearable screaming and shouting? The best promo from a Diva in years and we're forced to listen to shrieking like three velocidraptors were getting violated by a t-rex.
- It's so hard to discuss Daniel Bryan without just mindlessly singing his praises but he's such a versatile worker that he deserves it when he's consistently gotten such good matches out of Ryback, one of the most mediocre workers on the entire roster. That was a good match last night with great psychology considering the circumstances. The run-ins from Orton and The Shield were also great because overbooking done right is highly entertaining and that's what this was. That pop for Big Show finally getting out of his chair like "fuck this, I'm not standing for it anymore" was thunderous. His standing over Bryan like a big ass bear protecting his cub while everyone else in the ring cowered couldn't have made him look strong despite what was being done to him. This was a perfect balance of give and take.
- Triple H, for all my bashing of him on Raw where he was just grating, was the exact opposite last night. He played his role to perfection. He is just the biggest asshole corporate overlord, and his running down to berate Show and all but push him to the back was enough to bring out the inner mark and hope Show popped him with the WMD, consequences be damned. That's great heeling. Fantastic, actually. And I gotta say it again, I'm a mark for a suit wearing tough guy simply nodding his head at cronies to order a hit job in the ring. The fact that The Shield are those cronies makes it that much better. I was dying for them to have some sort of tangible storyline direction, something we can really sink our teeth into and this was the best possible outcome. They're perfect for this. They aren't Hounds of Justice, and they never were. They've been mercenaries all along, and it's glorious now that they're working for the equally badass corporate overlord. Orton, for his part, has settled into his spot rather nicely.
- Everything about the final sequence, from Big Show jumping the ring and standing over Bryan, to Triple H berating him for his actions, to Trips nodding for the hit, to the triple powerbomb, to Seth Rollins handing Orton the spray paint, to the spray painting itself, to Dean Ambrose handing Orton his title and The Shield bailing to the outside to look tough as the secondary group while Orton held his belt up as the clear number one in the ring over the defeated babyface who just can't seem to overcome (yet), was perfect. Just awesome stuff all the way around.
Holy hell, this was an awesome show. Pacing was good, storytelling great, angles were fantastic, and the matches were ranged from solid if unspectacular to downright awesome. Even the commentary was good. Everything I like about pro wrestling was featured here in some way or another.
But that's it from me, Cagesiders. If you disagree with that grade, or anything else I had to say about last night's show, you know exactly where to tell me (and everyone else). What did you think of SmackDown this week?