WWE Friday Night SmackDown hit the SyFy airwaves last night (Jan. 17, 2014) from Worcester, Massachusetts, with a taped show featuring all the latest build to the Royal Rumble pay-per-view (PPV) scheduled for next Sunday night in Pittsburgh.
Click here to get quick results and the open thread. Let's get right to reactions:
- Can we just get it out there that the Old Age Outlaws weren't very good even when they were still the New Age Outlaws? Billy Gunn could work and Road Dogg could get by with his gimmick but it's utterly insane that these guys are out here in 2014 beating the tag team champions on nothing episodes of SmackDown.
- At first, I hated the Vickie Guerrero interruption, possibly because of watching TNA as recently as last night, but I'm wondering if she wasn't acting on behalf of The Authority and giving the Outlaws a chance to win the match. Daniel Bryan vs. The Authority was the main program late last year but the Rhodes Family had a far more entertaining feud with the machine. I won't be upset if it's coming back.
- Paul Heyman is doing the absolute most with what he's got to work with. That's the best that can be said about this Big Show-Brock Lesnar feud and his trying so hard to sell it. There aren't many ways to do it and even fewer to make it entertaining but he's out there giving it his best. It's not awful but it's nothing special either. That's fine, though, because it's a transitional program anyway. I will not, for the life of me, understand why WWE would use a date of his on this match if all he does is beat Show at the Rumble that's that. We shall see.
- Rey Mysterio is now a pawn for a feud betweent two stars WWE considers bigger than him. And it's a good thing.
- I actually want AJ Lee to hold the Divas title until she retires. Really, if there was someone to do something like that, wouldn't it be AJ in a division like this during a time like this? What's the reason not to do it? It's not like anyone is going to be made by having her drop the title to them, at least not at first. But once her reign gets into multiple years, think of how we'll talk about it.
- Oh dear god, Naomi. She's got talent and she's fluid as all get out but that botch against Tamina was really scary. You wrestle and you learn, though.
- Credit to Miz for his commentary on Naomi's split legged moonsault finisher. His one remark, an emphatic declaration that "I can't do that", did more to put it over than pinning Tamina with it did. This is a former WWE champion who headlined WrestleMania acting genuinely impressed that Naomi can bust out a move like this on opponents and win with it. You would think this stuff should be elementary on WWE commentary, but it's really not. So good job, Miz. More, please.
- That tribute to Mae Young punched me in the heart and made me terribly sad she didn't get to 100-years-old like she wanted to. She is missed. She is loved. Respect, forever.
- Normally, the Raw rewind videos make you want to change the channel. Here, the package that was aired featuring Daniel Bryan turning on Bray Wyatt and the family was amazing.
- Real backstory for Bray? I'll take it. Daddy left him, Sister Abigail saved him, now he's really fucked up. Good enough for me. Awesome delivery, as always.
- While watching Big E. Langston vs. Fandango, it occured to me that Langston does Ultimate Warrior's rope run and splash spot. It's now one of his signature spots, actually. Might be consider him as a potential opponent for Warrior? They did go right into talking about the Hall of Fame and Warrior's induction this year.
- How has it been this long and The Shield have had this little promo time? Less is not more in this instance. Dean Ambrose deserves more time on the microphone. Maybe not Seth Rollins. Undecided on Roman Reigns.
- I love that Ambrose has really taken to wearing the United States championship in his trousers, like it's such a meaningless, worthless piece of leather that he literally just tucks it next to his junk. Hey, if WWE doesn't have any respect for it, why would he?
- Zeb Colter sells injury better than 95-percent of the WWE roster. Because I always hope for chaos, it would have been brilliant had his wheelchair actually gone all the way down the ramp before Antonio Cesaro and Jack Swagger noticed he was out of control. Still a fun spot.
- Michael Cole did something great last night, something he needs to do a lot more: During the Real Americans vs. Usos match, he made mention that the two teams were "jockeying for position" in the now ultra competitive tag team division, especially after the Old Age Outlaws came in and defeated the champions, putting the rest of the division on notice that they're now a legitimate contender. That one comment made this match meaningful and gave fans a reason to feel invested in it. The Miz, who wasn't awful on commentary, did his best to help out wondering where the Usos stand on the ladder of contenders after their success against Daniel Bryan and Bray Wyatt on Raw. Easy storytelling that makes the titles the center of the action. This is what fans mean when they say they want WWE to "elevate" the straps. It helps that the match was good too.
- Zeb's wheel chair death sell was the best thing.
- After what happened on Main Event, it was incredibly disappointing to watch an entire episode of SmackDown that featured so little of Ryback's trolling. And by "so little" I mean none when it should have been every segment. Okay, maybe that's pushing it, but you get what I'm saying.
- I think what bothers me the most about CM Punk still harping on Triple H hiding behind his wife is that it's just not true and never has been. Like, it wasn't true the first time he said it and it still isn't true today. If he was working as a heel, he could get away with saying as much but he's supposed to be the anti-authority good guy.
- If you had big ass Kane wearing a suit running down to the ring screaming at you to "STAND DOWN", wouldn't you piss your pants?
- Kane's actually a really good talker when he's not saddled with that silly "Big Red Monster" gimmick that dictates his weird need to overpronunciate, breathe heavily, and speak super slow. Good to see WWE isn't afraid of actually letting him get physical again. Remember, he's still a big red machine with creepy entrance music and a dark side only detailed in depth in anger management class.
A decent episode.
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?