WWE Friday Night SmackDown hit the SyFy airwaves last night (March 7, 2014) from Detroit, Michigan, with a taped show featuring all the latest build to the WrestleMania 30 pay-per-view (PPV) extravaganza early next month in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Click here for full results and the live blog from the show if you missed it. Let's get to reactions. These were written as the show moved along with real time reactions to everything that occurred hour-by-hour.
- Opening SmackDown with replays from Raw? Yeah, that sounds about right. Stephanie McMahon doing the "YES" chant was delicious, though, wasn't it?
- Batista's attire: Skinny jeans, leather vest, sunglasses, piercings and bad tattoos everywhere. This guy is begging to be hated. He is Douchetista at his best. He might be the first character in history who actually has redeeming qualities but is still utterly impossible to like. Go ahead and try to like him. You'll find something to hate really quickly.
- That's what makes it work so well when he comes out and asks where all the real men have gone. Because while I don't necessarily agree with it, you won't find many people who see a dude in skinny jeans and think "now that's a real man, right there." It doesn't matter how big the muscles are, that man looks like a jacked up gay bartender. And there's nothing wrong with that, but he's presenting like he's not. Actually, this is why I love Douchetista. He is all that is right with a heel in pro wrestling.
- Good on Daniel Bryan for actually keying in on the skinny jeans, and the rest of Batista's attire, by the way. It's low hanging fruit, sure, but get that pop, D-Bry. The babyface should absolutely be saying what everyone else is thinking. Let us live vicariously through you.
- Big Show is the last guy I want saving Bryan from anything. Didn't like how they loved and hated each other last year, don't like how they never resolved any issue, don't like Show running to the ring like his legs are going to explode from the pressure.
- Show & Bryan vs. Batista & Kane as a SmackDown main event is fine, but for those tuning in for the first segment, how many bailed right after that was announced?
- Dolph Ziggler hit a Stunner on Christian at one point during their match. That's a thing that happened and was fun. It was also fun to see him counter Christian coming off the ropes with a dropkick with perfect timing. These are the things that make matches like this fun. It's nice when the crowd appreciates it, too. One thing the WWE Network has done, though, has made it easy to hate the lack of storytelling in today's WWE. Watching old 90s shows really illustrates how everyone on the card seemed to have something going on EVERY match was booked for a reason. This felt like just a match. It was good, yeah, but why have it? It was just there. There's a lot more TV to write for these days and I get that, but we need more than just "one guy works other guy, interference from other guy against guy he had match with".
- Alberto Del Rio on commentary: "Hi, JBL. Perro. Christan. Perro. Dolph Ziggler. Perro. WWE. Perro." Enlightening as this was, let's never do it again.
- Having Curtis Axel on my television has almost always proven to be a bad thing. Yet, he's acceptable if only because his presence almost always means THE BIG GUY is also on my television. That said, they get the jobber entrance and that's not acceptable because it means Ryback has less time to cultivate his tweet tweet delete character. I love me some Usos, don't get me wrong, but I prefer some more depth to my characters than "Samoan guys who had family who also wrestled so take them seriously".
- Ryback's TIIIIIIMMMMMBBBBBBBBBEEEERRRRR splash spot is way too fun.
- Interestingly enough, or maybe not so much, when they replayed Paul Heyman's promo from Raw they referred to it as a "pipe bomb" but avoided all mention of CM Punk. I don't disagree with this strategy or anything, but I would like some real closure wth WWE just coming right out and saying he's gone and not coming back. I understand the reasons not to but the man made his decision. Let's move on.
- More backstage interviews with Kane, please, preferrably when he's upset but too not much. Enough that he's fiery but not so much that he's screaming and saying dumb shit.
- It's too bad Eva Marie is so very bad at pro wrestling because she has just the right look to be a WWE level female pro wrestling star.
- Going back to the Natalya vs. AJ Lee well? Wasn't that terrible the first two times they tried and failed? Hey, at least the Sharpshooter was held in place long enough to give AJ time to tap to it!
- "Before you open your mouth, I hope you thought long and hard about what you got to say." - Roman Reigns, pantydropper and the real man's man Douchtista claims to be but is not.
- I wish I had more to say about the segment with The Shield. I'll just say this: At my house, we had visitors who were just dropping in to pick someone up. Once they watched a couple seconds of Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, and Roman Reigns working out their issues, they were glued to the TV until the segment concluded. One of the people is a non-pro wrestling fan who claims to have never understood the appeal. He was downright enthralled. There was some criticism of Rollins' flop fall on Ambrose's first push, but it was made up for with how stiff the ensuing shots were when they traded punches.
- Put simply, The Shield are awesome at pro wrestling. Great in the ring, strong characters, and they've all got range. I want to see more from Reigns on the microphone, but other than that, no complaints. They're phenomenal and WWE is far better off for their being around.
- Alberto Del Rio was working incredibly stiff with Sheamus in their match. I believe there was a time a while ago that it was being reported that Vince McMahon wanted Del Rio to work a lot stiffer to sell his offense better. If last night was any indication, that mission has finally been accomplished. It helps that Sheamus, non-hoss who works HOSS FIGHTS, was the guy in there with him. Surprisingly good match between the two. Highly enjoyable. Stay stiff, Alberto.
- WWE is right to do pre and post shows for its major television programming. That being said, I, personally, get absolutely nothing out of them. There is zero reason to tune in. Anyone feel differently? If so, why?
- It's so disappointing that Bryan is just the next in a long line of babyfaces who continue to try to get at Triple H by claiming he hides behind his wife Stephanie's skirt. It's just not true, and it's silly to keep saying.
- "Respect the Beard, Fear the Giant" is quite possibly the worst tag team name in history.
- At what point will Bryan become enough of a star that JBL stops referring to him as "a goat", as if this is some sort of positive connotation?
- Here's how great Batista is as a heel: When the SyFy broadcast returned from a commercial to Show doling out punishment to Batista and Michael Cole told us Batista had taken a ton of chest slaps on the WWE App, it made me immeasurably happy. The best part was that he had to take those awful chops on the App.
- Can someone convince Bryan to stop doing the missile dropkick off the top rope? It's a high risk, low reward move that he could cut completely out of his moveset and no one would miss it one bit.
- Need a GIF of Big Show freaking out in anticipation of the hot tag.
- Despite the fact that the main event was highly unappealing when announced, it actually turned out to be a decent enough match. Nothing special, mind you, but good enough for a SmackDown. The visual of Bryan doing the "YES" chant on Big Show's shoulders felt like a nice clean babyface spot where everyone just feels good and is okay with that.
This was an enjoyable enough show. Helped this sick writer not think so much about not being able to breathe or see.
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?