WWE Friday Night SmackDown hit the SyFy airwaves last night (Jan. 10, 2014) from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with a taped show featuring The Shield continuing their current feud with CM Punk. Oh, and the New Age Outlaws drop in to work another match, for reasons no one is entirely sure of.
Let's get right to reactions:
- This Daniel Bryan joining the Wyatt Family storyline was done not just because Vince McMahon made it happen (possibly to kill those pesky YES chants interrupting important promos) but because the WWE production team just wanted to get their hands on such a great group of characters for cool video packages to open episodes of SmackDown. I'm completely convinced this is the case.
- Thought the Usos vs. Wyatt Family match was well worked, mostly, but the editing was really funky after the match ended and the former team was walking out. They faded out like they were going to commercial before rapidly coming back in with Daniel Bryan and Bray Wyatt attacking. Good idea, odd in execution.
- Reports from fans who attended the taping said the reaction for Bryan was a mix of confusion and upset. They must have piped in the NO chants for the spot with Bryan emulating Bray. It was a good visual, though, and again, will make for a great video package later.
- Randy Orton is tired of hearing the phrase "Best for business". Well, that makes 4,257,345 of us.
- Big Show rolling around with a big goofy smile so shortly after everything that happened is why there are so many cynics like me in regards to the subtlties in WWE storytelling. The fuck is he so happy about? It's not just that he's smiling, he's beaming while walking out, like he just found out he won the lottery.
- I did like how they went the simple route with this program. Show's reason for coming down to get it on with Brock Lesnar? "I don't like him." That works for me. As for the pending match between the two? A HOSS FIGHT is always all right with me.
- I can't believe it took this long for Rey Mysterio, Sin Cara, and Los Matadores to team together. I also can't believe Ryback was involved in the match and didn't suplex all four guys at the same time. That's a crime against the gods of wrestling, punishable by way of a concussion to Dolph Ziggler.
- There was a match last night where a little person dressed like a bull and a xenophobic old cuss were more over than the eight wrestlers working the actual match. And you know what? I was okay with it.
- Outstanding video package looking back on Orton vs. John Cena from TLC and the ensuing fallout leading to the rematch at Royal Rumble. "LET'S DANCE, RANDALL".
- I don't really buy into this idea of "elevating" titles within WWE simply because I'm worried more about doing service to whatever story is being told. If the story is that the Intercontinental champion is good enough to hang with the WWE world heavyweight champion, then it matters. That seemed to be the case with Big E. Langston vs. Orton last night, and to that end it was a success. Langston was not positioned as an equal but rather a stiff challenger who could get better before coming back later to finish the job. That's the good stuff.
- "Fate is a strange beast. She warms your heart with her eyes right before she tears you apart with her teeth." More Bray promos, please.
- I love that Xavier Woods literally stole Brodus Clay's music and two ladies not just because it's a boss move to begin with but because it feels natural, like Woods always should have been the guy doing what Clay was doing and WWE just didn't know it yet. The possibilities with Woods are endless, right?
- Is Fandango destined to stay at that level just underneath a guy like, say, Honky Tonk Man? Actually, a good question to ask is who had the most success with the wackiest gimmick at the top of the card in WWE? Undertaker, yes, but who after him?
- Good promo from The Usos hyping the match against Bray and Bryan on Raw. Actually, the promotion for that match has been nothing short of incredible. It almost feels like a pay-per-view showcase.
- All three Shield members were glorious on the microphone last night, with Dean Ambrose shining like the brightest star with his enthusiastic disapproval of it being legal to own a 10-foot python in the United States.
- Having the New Age Outlaws running around with CM Punk made no sense when it happened at Raw on Monday night but it was "Old School" themed and sometimes you just have to overlook such things. But coming back and having them form a three-man team for a match? I don't get the rationale here. The Outlaws used to run with D-Generation X while their leader was TRIPLE H. You know, the same Triple H who Punk has had extensive issues with and is earmarked to work with at WrestleMania. Beyond that, nothing about the Outlaws says they would run in the same circles as Punk. Overlooking it once, fine. Not twice.
- To make it worse, this might have been one of the worst of The Shield's six-man tag matches since they made it up to the main roster. Also, what was with the weird overdub of Michael Cole saying The Shield were such a cohesive unit and there's nothing wrong with them? Pushing a little too hard, no?
This was a decent show, nothing really special.
That's it from me, Cagesiders. Now it's your turn to sound off in the comments section below with all your thoughts on last night's show. How did you like it, if you liked it at all?