WWE Friday Night SmackDown hit the SyFy airwaves last night (June 27, 2014) from Pittsburgh, Pennslyvania, with a taped show featuring all the final build to the upcoming Money in the Bank pay-per-view (PPV) scheduled for this Sunday night in Boston. That includes a Kane vs. Roman Reigns main event everyone was itching to see. No, really.
Go back and check out full results with the live blog by clicking here. Let's get to reacting to the show.
In your own special way you tear me down
So here's where we're at with The Authority: It consists of Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, Kane (more on that later), Randy Orton, and Seth Rollins.
Evolution is dead, as they've made clear Rollins didn't turn on The Shield to join that crew with Batista having quit to run off to Hollywood for a while. But they're still sort of acting like that's exactly the case.
And now they're already teasing dissension.
This entire arrangement was odd to begin with but we all kind of ignored it because we were so caught up in Rollins turning heel and siding with the boss.
But why is he siding with Orton? What's more, Triple H is doing his damnedest to create a scenario in which Orton wins the WWE world heavyweight championship and Rollins wins the briefcase with a contract that stipulates he can challenge for that very championship anytime he wants over the next year.
If this feels shortsighted and poorly thought out to you, that's because it's almost certainly the case.
Triple H's pitch for both guys to trust each other is because he trusts them both, which is fine, but again doesn't answer how exactly the end result is good for either of them. So they're either so greedy for short term success they're ignoring the implications their actions have on their long term status, or they're blindly following Triple H, whose plan for world domination is just to have the guys he chooses win.
It's like he learned nothing from the 2005 feud with Batista.
Segment grade: C-
Full power up to the point man
Kane vs. Roman Reigns was exactly the match you would expect at this point from both guys. Kane is older, slower, and still Kane while Reigns has fast become a sexier John Cena without the weird tripping in and out of being a hard talking former hip hop star.
His five moves of doom are also much, much better.
So the match is going along just fine and Reigns is about to win because get used to it it's going to happen a lot, and suddenly Randy Orton shows up. This is fine, as he's been building issue with Roman for weeks on end now and the direction looks clear that they'll have a match at Battleground on Reigns' way to Triple H at SummerSlam.
The focus quickly becomes less about Reigns vs. Orton and more about making clear that Kane was, in fact, inserted into the Money in the Bank WWE title match to assist Orton in claiming the title.
That makes sense. No issue there.
Then you realize that they spent months running a story that centered around the silly intrigue behind whether or not Kane was acting on his own when he took out Bryan or if The Authority was behind it all along. Then they just sort of dropped it. Bryan got legitimately injured, and plans changed, and they never bothered to pay off that particular angle in the story.
Now they have.
How underwhelming and disappointing to have a plot point like that glossed over. It was the entire basis of that feud for the duration of it and the explanation comes while they're running a totally different story.
I freely admit I may be the only one who cares about this but it made the entire main event angle on this show fall flat.
Also, Reigns selling a Chokeslam for 10 minutes so we could witness all this play out hurt it that much more.
Segment grade: D+
But not least:
- The Bad News Barrett injury sounded bad when we heard about it but it looked even worse, mostly because HEY SWAGGER, RELAX, IT'S A WORK, GUY. Swagger gives Barrett zero room to maneuver and, in fact, doesn't let go of him until he's driven Barrett hard into the barricade. As reported by WWE, this caused a separated shoulder because I guess Swagger wanted to live up to the reality era tag.
- After Dean Ambrose pinned Barrett in their match, he got up wild eyed and looking out into the crowd while saying "where's my boy?" Dean Ambrose is everything that is right about pro wrestling.
- WWE had one show to build some sort of conflict between Paige and Naomi that didn't center on "you have the Divas title and it's my dream to hold it, so I'm coming for you" -- and that's never good enough for WWE, mind you -- so they decided the best thing to do was create a miscommunication. We're supposed to really want this match now because Naomi BUMPED INTO Paige and now the Divas champion is itching to kick her ass over it.
- Why wasn't Luke Harper always cutting short promos putting over how great Bray Wyatt is as a leader?
- Is anyone else hoping and praying Harper and Erick Rowan destroy The Usos this weekend so we don't have to suffer any more of those unbearable backstage interviews with Renee Young?
- The Usos have done so many runs ins during matches over the past two months that I like to think WWE worried we would be tired of it by now so they had it happen during a commercial break. Best for business.
- SyFy bleeped out Stardust using the term "hermaphrodites", which makes you wonder why they wouldn't do the same on Monday Night Raw or why they would script Ryback to use such a ridiculous insult in the first place. Unless they didn't and Ryback went into business for himself. That's a hell of a thought, isn't it?
- Do we realize that when Brock Lesnar returns to television, Paul Heyman will have made sure his name was mentioned on every single show since he left? Say what you will about that line he repeats in every promo but this is an actual accomplishment. Color me impressed.
- Neutralize all.
- When they finally give Big E microphone time, it's as a stereotypical black preacher.
- If the Summer Rae vs. Layla match ends in any other way than the two realizing how ridiculous it is that they're fighting over Fandango and ganging up to kick the shit out of him it will be a failure.
This episode felt lighter than it should have. They booked two matches for the PPV and featuring a total of seven wrestlers who spent all of two minutes on the program and that was split between one tag team.
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?