WWE Friday Night SmackDown hit the SyFy airwaves last night (May 23, 2014) from London, England, with a taped show featuring all the latest build to the Payback pay-per-view (PPV) scheduled for early next month in Chicago, Illinois. And because this is SmackDown, it was a fairly ho hum offering.
Go back and check out full results with the live blog by clicking here. Let's get to reacting to the show.
Then I saw his face ... now I'm a Boliever
When Bo Dallas first got a shot on the main roster, he was a plucky underdog you couldn't help but dislike because -- and I know this sounds bad but it's just the way it is -- something about his face and his general presence inspires hatred.
This is not a bad thing.
Actually, it's a really good thing in the world of professional wrestling because it means he can be a big money heel. You look at his face and want to see a guy like Daniel Bryan kick his head in. If he can match that with his personality, that's a top of the line mid-card career. If he can enhance it with complete dedication to a character he's perfect for, that's a headliner for years to come.
I'm getting ahead of myself here, but this debut was as close to a home run as it could be.
Fans weren't entirely certain how to react but that's fine because they'll catch on soon enough. When you actually look at it, you can't miss it. He's a dick who thinks he's endearing. He's condescending but thinks he's inspiring (this man actually encouraged Sin Cara not to stop Bolieving DURING their match). He's cheating to win but thinks he's just reaching for the stars to achieve his goals.
And it's all because he Bolieves.
This character is perfect. He is John Cena but you can feel really good about booing him and he's going to do a lot more jobs.
Segment grade: B+
Where's your crown, King Nothing?
Let's print this promo out because, well, that's Bray Wyatt at his best:
"The Cenation has infected our world like the plague. And all it will take is one very simple little 10 count to eradicate John Cena and everything that he stands for. And I know, John, I know you're feeling the pressure too, man. That's why you're up and went and recruited the Usos to be your new pawns. But you forgot to tell them the fact that you are just go going to throw them on the front lines and watch them fall and right behind them you will be riding oh so valiantly on your horse making sure your crown don't get too dirty.
"Tonight, tonight my brothers are going to teach the Usos that the bond of cause can never be broken and that you cannot tame a beast that does not fear. The Usos walk oh so blindly into this deadly alliance and tonight they were learn the fact that there are worse things in this world than dying.
"When your city burned, I was there. When the plague swept your city streets, I was there. And when John Cena falls and his Cenation crumbles, there I will be standing. I am forever. I will always be, and I have always been."
It's at this point he starts speaking in tongues and somehow that just added to it.
This was really well done, though the threat of eradicating Cena with a simple 10 count is disingenuous at best. Then again, Wyatt is a false prophet, so that's kind of the point, isn't it?
Segment grade: B-
I am not okay with this; you should not be okay with this
This might seem like I'm picking on Adam Rose at this point and I'm really not singling him out for any reason other than this segment happened and he was the one involved in it.
This segment was awful and you shouldn't be okay with it.
Here's what happened, written out because maybe that will help get across how inexcusable it was.
Vickie Guerrero stands in the ring and says she knows how to party and have a good time. She says this to introduce Adam Rose, a new character to SmackDown, where Vickie is General Manager, who likes to party a lot. When Rose gets to the ring, Vickie respectfully calls him "Mr. Rose" before personally welcoming him to the show, handing him the microphone, and politely clapping before getting out of his way.
He stops her from leaving and asks the crowd if she's a lemon or a Rosebud. They respond negatively because, well, they don't like her, and Rose plays into this while sucking on his lollipop. Guerrero, now very upset after she was so welcoming just seconds before and was mistreated despite it, tells Rose to leave.
Rose's response is to stick his lollipop in Guerrero's face.
Vickie is, of course, appalled, and demands he stop. He does so briefly, but only to suck on it some more before once again thrusting it back in her face, this time with such force that it knocks her off the apron and into the arms of the Rosebuds, Rose's group of weirdos, who proceed to carry Guerrero around the ring while she's kicking and screaming and demanding to be let down.
Everyone completely ignores her wishes, with many fans actively cheering it on, and she's taken to the back still screaming and wanting to get away.
In this situation, Rose is portrayed as the good guy you should cheer and Vickie the heel you should boo.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?
Whoever wrote this segment should never write again.
Segment grade: F
All the best to all the rest:
- Remember when Batista talked about WWE wanting him to run through Daniel Bryan in a match years ago but he went against that and gave Bryan plenty of offense because he thought the guy was talented and he could have a great match with him while helping him along in his career? We can't be certain, but that could very well be what played out last night with Dolph Ziggler playing the role of Bryan. Batista let him get far more offense in than necessary. In fact, the entire match was basically Ziggler kicking ass and making a late mistake that cost him the victory. Big Dave would have been better served to take this a different direction but he chose this route and dear god, Batista might be even more awesome than we thought.
- Hulk Hogan's promo basically consisted of his saying, "Hi. Rock 'n' Roll London. Jimmy Hart is on Legends' House on the WWE Network and it's cool, but you can't watch it yet. But you will be able to later. Deuces." Then he just left and that's all there was. WWE is paying this man a lot of money essentially just to promote his name and play his theme song. I'm eagerly awaiting the time when he comes out, poses in the ring, and just leaves without ever saying a word.
- With Summer Rae having joined the cast of Total Divas, WWE is feeling the need to shoehorn her into storylines based on the show as it airs on the E! channel and this is bad because she's got something legitimately interesting going on with Fandango and Layla outside of all that and, actually, a story that directly goes against Total Divas stories. The need to consider the reality show is there, sure, but let's not waste time with silly things like Summer playing referee and fast counting Eva Marie and Nikki Bella because they feuded on the show two weeks ago.
- Here's a weird thing: Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio was a good enough match that it was legitimately annoying when Cesaro interfered, though that did bring an end to Paul Heyman and Michael Cole bickering, something that has become so grating Heyman on commentary is almost no longer worth it.
- The Usos and John Cena should stop beating their chests and humming. Maybe someone should simply show them video of their doing it so they can see how monumentally stupid it looks.
- The main event of this show was underwhelming but not because there isn't potential for something special in a match between The Wyatt Family and The Usos. There's an easy jump to make from Bray Wyatt legitimizing his words by beating John Cena to gaining credibility through his underlings winning the tag team titles. Their victory would be his gain.
This wasn't a great show but it had plenty of redeeming qualities despite the few issues working against it. Kind of a textbook episode of SmackDown, actually.
Overall grade: C-
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?