WWE Friday Night SmackDown hit the SyFy airwaves last night (Dec. 27, 2013) from Corpus Christi, Texas, with a taped show featuring the very last episode of the year. This one showcased a triple main event of The Shield battling three top babyfaces in John Cena, Mark Henry, and Big E. Langston. And it was glorious.
Let's get right to reactions:
- John Cena's promos can be so good it makes it really, really difficult to give him a pass when they're not so good. If we know he can bring that hot fire, we're far less willing to accept it when he throws a bucket of frozen water on us. That's what it feels like when he gets in the ring and gives us what we got last night.
- I still mark out in a big way when The Shield's music hits and they come walking down through the crowd. It feels special, even after all this time, and while the military outfits seemed ridiculous at first, they do lend an air of awesomeness, as Edge and Christian may have put it back in the day, to the group. I loved everyone's reactions to Kane announcing the triple main event set of singles matches.
- Corporate Kane needs new music and he needs to stop raising fire from the ringposts. I can't be the only one who thinks this.
- Didn't expect much of anything from The Usos vs. The Wyatt Family but it was beautifully chaotic right from the get go. Jimmy and Jey are a much stronger team than they ever get credit for. It's also good to see Luke Harper and Erick Rowan look so stunningly effective albeit in a fairly short match that didn't feature a ton of story.
- I like Bray Wyatt, a lot even, but I can't buy him in the main event of WrestleMania opposite John Cena. Not now, and probably not even with a huge push over the next three months. I feel like there's almost no way in hell WWE pulls the trigger on such a match, currently rumored for WrestleMania 30 on April 6, 2014, in New Orleans.
- Really severely underwhelmed by Cody Rhodes vs. Antonio Cesaro. Expected a lot more out of two of the better workers on the mid-card right now, but they were only given so much, so let's give them a pass this time.
- Get Curtis Axel off my television. It really seems like the only reason he's still around is because WWE wants to use him in the tag team with Ryback so Michael Cole and JBL can keep hammering home the talking point that the tag division is so improved from years past.
- That pink patch in Dolph Ziggler's hair is incredibly distracting.
- The crowd was surprisingly low for a Ziggler vs. Randy Orton match, especially considering the fact that these two have such good chemistry. The match was very good but it wasn't treated as such, and that felt strange. Perhaps that's a testament to how hard it is to book a guy like Ziggler the way WWE has and expect fans to still care about him in a matches like this.
- This is probably silly but the post-match beatdown almost made me uncomfortable after that interview Ziggler gave revealing the details of his concussion earlier this year. The man was having headaches three weeks after and thought his career may have been ended. Knowing how bad it really was for him makes it harder to watch him take bigger bumps and not worry, at least a little bit, about his health and well being.
- Daniel Bryan is so fun. Like, that's his appeal. He may call himself a "reluctant hero" but I just think of him as a guy who is really fun to watch. That's all I need him to be, too.
- Of the three main event matches, Dean Ambrose vs. Big E. Langston was the worst, though it wasn't given nearly enough time. Plus, there was too much emphasis on the guys who weren't actually in the match. Ambrose is positioned as the weakest of the three Shield members, and after last night's show, that may be justified.
- Roman Reigns may be even more versatile than we think. While he holds his own in every staredown, positioned like a fellow HOSS, he can definitely play the role of wrestler in peril, a feature needed to be a strong babyface. During that match with Henry, you could buy Reigns as the unstoppable force just as much as you could buy him as the guy who was overmatched and needed to dig deep and overcome the odds to pull out a victory. This man has it, you guys. He really does.
- Oh and that spot where he punches the mat, screams, then delivers the flying superman punch? God, yes. The guy is developing a legitimate moveset that he can get over with in big spots in much bigger matches. I hope they protect that spear all the way up to a match against Undertaker at WrestleMania. I used to hope no one would break the streak. Now I fully support Reigns outright obliterating it. Think of that staredown. It's just such a natural fit all around. Hopefully Undertaker makes it to Dallas and passes the torch.
- Seth Rollins performed about as well as anyone could have expected in a big spot against John Cena. This was a huge opportunity for him to prove to everyone in the back and everyone who may have doubted his abilities as the perceived weak member of The Shield that he's actually capable of being in the main event and tearing the house down. Think of all the great matches this man could have. There are still some issues to iron out, like a character fans can connect with and what not, but once those nuts and bolts are tightened up, this man is a legitimate player. At worst, he's an awesome mid-card hand who will give good matches to anyone he's asked to give a good match to.
This was a fine episode of SmackDown, a very nice way to close out the year.
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?