WWE Friday Night SmackDown hit the SyFy airwaves last night (Sept. 13, 2013) from Cincinnati, Ohio, with a taped show featuring the fallout episode from the Night of Champions pay-per-view (PPV) that went down this past Sunday night in Detroit.
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:
- Well, we complained that too many shows were ending with Daniel Bryan laid out and the evil corporation standing tall. Now, with help from a few superstars who decided they just aren't standing for it anymore, he's been going over at every turn. The script was flipped completely, and he absolutely looks like an equal now rather than a guy who just couldn't get it done. Nice touch on WWE's part.
- For that matter, I really enjoyed the storytelling in this episode as far as Triple H goes. How he dealt with the uprising from those smattering of superstars who helped Bryan -- 11 is the number they came up with -- would be key and instead of forcefully beating them over the head, he let Vickie Guerrero do it for him before snaking his way into the role of savior who is actually looking out for everyone. That's not true, of course, and that came in the form of stopping The Shield gauntlet but only when it wasn't working out in their favor, giving Zack Ryder and Justin Gabriel a match they would certainly lose against the Wyatt Family, and getting in Rob Van Dam's good graces by granting him a world title shot at the next PPV right before Alberto Del Rio attacked and left RVD lying. They could have handled this with a heavy hand but I far preferred the soft touch it was given.
- Speaking of Ryder and Gabriel, though, they looked like complete donks for absolutely going along with Triple H like he couldn't possibly have anything sinister in mind despite all of his actions to the contrary for the past month. RVD gets a little blame too, but less because he was actually given a shot at the world title at a PPV.
- By the way, I quite liked the idea to do the gauntlet match with The Shield the way they did. Showcases everybody, establishes the hierarchy, makes guys like Dolph Ziggler look like bigger stars than they are, puts over how strong The Shield are, and is generally entertaining both because of the gimmick and the work of those involved. Really, it was just downright fun.
- It's good to put Vickie opposite Bryan on SmackDown because, well, we just hate her fucking guts and love him that much more when he verbally smacks her down. That's one of the other cool things about Bryan: he never does so in an overly abusive manner. He's not the guy to get in her face and scream obscenities, or call her names, or threaten her with physical violence. Yet, he's still smacking her down, calm and collected while firing back with a good point each time she comes at him with an over the top insult or ridiculous insinuation. Really, I can't remember the last time a top WWE babyface was booked like this. It's kind of refreshing.
- Randy Orton is still hard to listen to on the microphone but I liked his promo. Simple and effective.
- Call me crazy, but if Naomi was given more time to develop inside the ring, I don't think I would mind actually watching her work more matches. Quite liked that short little bout with AJ Lee.
- The Real Americans have now both done a job to Santino Marella. The credibility of that tag team is now compromised forever. That's a good thing, by the way, for what I hope are obvious reasons.
- I didn't realize how much I missed Ryback destroying "local athletes" until last night when he got to destroy a local athlete, though I was disappointed in "Nick Nardone". I still long for the days of Benny Camer and Stan Stansky, the two most legendary jobbers this side of the Atlantic. I also loved Ryback's completely made up story of the local athlete being a bully. I hope they do this for at least a couple more weeks so we can see how creative they get with the made up stories. So many possibilities.
- Curtis Axel might have looked his worst last night and that's really saying something. All he did was stand there smiling and laughing. Here's the problem: Paul Heyman was cutting a promo talking about how he owes his life to Ryback for helping him beat CM Punk at Night of Champions, something Axel failed miserably to do. Heyman looks on lovingly and Axel stands there smiling at the two. What the fuck are you so happy about? The fact that you're a failure and your manager is now completely enamored with another wrestler while you're relegated to pushing Heyman around in his wheelchair? Just phase him out already.
- Lastly, I still haven't seen a bad six-man tag match involving The Shield. Gotta keep track so we can mark it down when it finally happens. I'm starting to wonder at this point if it ever will.
This was a good show, nothing spectacular but entertaining enough.
That's it from me, Cagesiders. Now it's your turn to sound off with all your thoughts in the comments section below. How did you feel about it?