World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) brought its latest live Super Smackdown special to SyFy last night (July 3, 2012) in Corpus Christi, Texas, with a gimmick Independence Day show aptly entitled "The Great American Bash." It's still unclear why they decided to use that name, but whatever.
Let's not waste any time with small talk and get right to reactions to the show. To check out full results and the live blog click here.
- The Great American Bash name was sullied with this show last night but that's not what's important here. What's important is the always insufferable Zack Ryder was the superstar chosen to win the 20-man battle royal to be named General Manager of Smackdown next week (only Smackdown, not Raw as previously thought). I enjoyed the way they booked the battle royal, with each major feud hit upon and everyone getting their proper time. Hell, Ryder even got to eliminate Kane last, which was a nice bit of continuity considering how miserable Kane made Ryder's life for a few months earlier this year. But it's still Zack freaking Ryder and the thought of an entire Smackdown with his in a position of power, even in kayfabe, is unbearable.
- Normally, I would call out WWE for bringing the racism because, well, that's what everyone should do. But Alberto Del Rio walking around the ring and demanding to see papers from planted Mexicans while accusing them of being illegal aliens had me and my lady friend who isn't even a pro wrestling fan cracking up. Her thought was that it was so outrageous it was awesome. The plant shouting, "This isn't Arizona, this is TEXAS" was also on the money. I was probably wrong to be so entertained by this but Del Rio can be a phenomenal performer at times. This was one of them.
- He was also good brawling with Sheamus up the ramp and you know, actually using one of the cars he drives out to the ring with. The fact that WWE didn't shy away from showing Sheamus bleeding added a nice touch to the segment. That they played it out further by keeping him out of the battle royal later in the night capped off what was another good night for Del Rio heading into his big singles match for the world heavyweight championship. He won't win but they're doing a good job now of presenting him like a credible challenger, something they've failed to do in times past.
Thoughts on the rest of the show after the jump.
- Teddy Long was classy with how he handled Eve on Raw, simply giving her a name tag and blowing her off like he didn't have time for her kind. That was a nice way of handling the situation with grace. You know, like a babyface of Teddy's particular incline would do. Instead of letting it sit there, though, they booked Eve to get punch thrown all over her while everyone pointed and laughed while she cried. R-Truth even attempted to clear her up a bit and was rebuffed by Long, who wanted to keep the party going, playa. This sucked. Isn't this supposed to be a pro wrestling show anyway?
- I'm sure I'll get flak for my reaction to this and told I'm just being too sensitive and she deserves it because of how she treated Long during her time in power with John Laurinaitis. Maybe that's true, I don't know. But with WWE, I don't get the feeling that they craft stories that see the heel act dastardly so the babyface can triumph in the end while giving said heel his/her comeuppance. I get the feeling WWE crafts storylines as a way to justify allowing its babyfaces to act like bullies and feel righteous for it. And that makes sense when you think of the man running the company. And that kind of sucks.
- Great Khali still shouldn't be anywhere near a ring and when he is going over, even if it's just with a tag team, on Antonio Cesaro, it's not a good day. It's not a good day at all.
- Cody Rhodes and Christian had one of their worse matches last night, thanks to this repeated trend of wrestlers going for pinfalls when it isn't warranted. Maybe I'm the only guy noticing/giving a shit about this but it really bugs me that these guys think it's appropriate to go for a pin after a simple clothesline about 45 seconds into the match. And if you try to pin a guy and he kicks out at a soft two, don't immediately try to pin him again. That's just stupid and illogical.
- Alex Riley and Dolph Ziggler, on the other hand, had a fine match though they were given less time to work with. And Ziggler doesn't even deserve the lion's share of the credit this time. Riley was awesome in there with him, properly teasing that he just might pull the upset as a surprise entrant into the Smackdown Money in the Bank ladder match. Instead, Ziggler went over -- as he should have -- and now it looks like he's the favorite to win. Well, either he or Cody Rhodes and it's fun to think of which one.
- One of the most troubling parts of last night's show came when Michael Cole interviewed AJ. Well, he didn't so much as interview her as he did get her in the ring to spit some hot garbage at her. His general theme was what had me shaking my head while wondering just what in the hell WWE was thinking when scripting this. First, Cole remarked that AJ is "nothing more than a teenage little girl living out a fantasy between two guys." Okay, whatever, that's fine. Then, not more than a few sentences later, Cole proceeds to hit on her in an attempt to get her to sack up with him. Are you fucking kidding me? She's a "teenage little girl" and then you're hitting on her? This was creepy and pathetic and stupid and all involved should feel dirty for it. I know I did.
- Past that, however, AJ continued messing with CM Punk and Daniel Bryan's heads. Punk finally struck the right tone by saying AJ clearly has some issues that she needs professional help for and he doesn't want to take advantage of her. He should have said that from the word go instead of the "I dig crazy chicks" bullshit but they they're trying to move merchandise, and I get that. The issue I'm beginning to have now is that Punk and Bryan both look pretty stupid to be as caught up in this entire mess as they are now. That's a minor grievance, though.
- The less said about Santino Marella, Sgt. Slaughter, Jim Duggan, Hunico, Camacho and Drew McIntrye and that abomination they had last night the better.
- Ryback was fed more and it came in the form of an actual singles match against someone employed by WWE, one Curt Hawkins. And they had a decent little match with each other. Nothing big, nothing too complicated and Ryback went over again. The progression is slow, and the chants of Goldberg still ring throughout arenas, but I'm digging the dedication to getting this over.
This was a solid show, as far as Smackdown goes. It was mostly enjoyable and I had a good time watching it. Can't ask for much more than that, right?
B+ from me.
But that's just me, Cagesiders. I'd like to hear your thoughts on the show in the comments section below.