WWE Friday Night SmackDown hit the SyFy airwaves last night (July 11, 2014) from Ottawa, Canada, with a taped show featuring all the latest build to the upcoming Battleground pay-per-view (PPV) scheduled for July 20 in Tampa. This one was all about Roman Reigns, folks, so if you're fan, here you go.
Let's get to reacting to it:
Becoming ... god size
How fitting that it's unofficially been "Roman Reigns Week" here at Cageside Seats and it comes to a close with a show that opened and closed with him as the main player.
And we got to see all his strengths and weaknesses.
His promo opposite Rusev and Lana was up-and-down at best. He opened strong, reacting to crowd chants with a dig at Lana -- who responded perfectly to this, with quiet indignation at the chants and an obviously put on smile at Reigns' bravado -- but quickly faltered with his uneven delivery while threatening Rusev.
Like Lady J told us, volume matters. If I'm straining to hear your threats, you aren't convincing me to take them seriously.
The material wasn't the greatest either. "I assess and I attack, and I've assessed this situation and once we get a referee I will attack" is how he ended his promo. Keep in mind, it took him a few minutes to get to this.
The situation? Two guys standing in a ring. That was it.
Really, Rusev stole the segment. Lana was good when I noticed her but if you go back and keep your eyes locked on Rusev, you'll notice he's probably the best performer in the ring. While Reigns was steadily increasing the severity of his words, Rusev was running the gamut of emotions. He went from quiet calm to antsy to anxious to shock and anger that would have given way to furious action had Lana not called him off.
His reaction when Reigns made the crack on Putin is everything you should want from your pro wrestlers. Have we been underrating Rusev?
The match the two had later was every match you've ever seen from Roman Reigns. I can hardly hold it against him that he's got a move set he relies on to get through his TV matches. After all, you would see the same from the likes of Daniel Bryan and CM Punk if they were placed in similar positions.
That said, we're going to need to see more at some point, right? Then again, Hulk Hogan had the career he had without ever progressing beyond a certain point and you could argue Reigns could have a Hogan match right this moment.
If you're a Reigns fan, this was good for you. This was enough. If not, he's got some work to do.
Segment grade: B-
But not least:
- The perils of having too many shows: We've now heard Chris Jericho cut the same promo on Bray Wyatt on four shows straight. Chris thinks Bray is a spider and what does he do to spiders? He squashes them. It's a good line, and the right angle but we're hearing it too much. Because there's so much TV, we want the stories to advance faster but when they do that, we complain they don't give us the slow burn. This feels like one of those times they can't win for losing.
- Jericho vs. Randy Orton was a fine match but the idea of the former, a longtime veteran and former world champion, losing because he was distracted by the lights flickering and a loud noise is bothersome.
- I love that Bo Dallas is working this program with Los Matadores because it means JBL can brag about him winning handicap matches against two guys while he does the Running BoDog off the second rope on El Torito and reacts like he's John Elway winning the Super Bowl for the first time.
- Cameron's actually got a viscious streak within her, one that makes her interesting and gives us a decent match with AJ Lee. It's just too bad we had to get JBL ignoring a decent match to talk about how both women are crazy.
- Well, they finally bothered to bring the Summer Rae/Layla/Fandango story to its logical conclusion. He's a sleazy douche who gets off on his own vanity and they finally realized how stupid they've been to continously degrade themselves over his nonsense. I thought their dancing with each other while Fandango looked on pissed was a nice touch.
- I've never quite been able to put my finger on what bothers me about The Usos so much but last night it hit me: When I watch them, I don't ever get the feeling they're simply being themselves. It feels a whole lot more like they're being who certain people within WWE think they should be and it comes across so fake and forced. As long as they can have entertaining matches, I guess.
- The entire time Jeff Hardy was Willow, you couldn't help but beg for him to revert back. Meanwhile, I never want to see Cody Rhodes ever again. Stardust forever, folks. He's just too good at this.
- Also, how the hell has Goldust aged so well? Not only does he look the same, he's still one of the best workers on the roster.
You wouldn't have missed a damn thing by skipping this show.
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?