WWE Friday Night SmackDown hit the SyFy airwaves last night (May 30, 2014) from Atlanta, Georgia, with a taped show featuring all the final angles leading into the Payback pay-per-view (PPV) scheduled for this Sunday night in Chicago, Illinois. It was the ultimate in average.
Go back and check out full results with the live blog by clicking here. Let's get to reacting to the show.
Where's the psychology
The main event of this show was a Last Man Standing match between Bray Wyatt and Jimmy Uso. The idea is simple enough: the former has to prove he can defeat the latter in the same gimmick bout he'll be working against much tougher competition in just a matter of days.
That's all well and good.
The issue comes within the layout of the match itself. Jimmy had his brother, Jey, out with him. Jey, for what it's worth, was nursing a rib injury. We know this both because Renee Young called attention to it in an interview -- a foreshadowing tool that didn't end up foreshadowing anything -- and he was rocking the trademark white tape.
Bray, meanwhile, had Luke Harper and Erick Rowan out with him.
Here's where I remind you Last Man Standing matches are no disqualification.
And here's where you watch the video to see NO ONE TOOK ADVANTAGE OF THIS.
We fully understand Bray is going to have to rewrite the game plan if he's to defeat John Cena on Sunday night, yes? If that's the case, why play it straight throughout this entire match against a much lesser foe, one who was totally outmatched? Heels should be smarter than this.
There's something to be said about not completely burying the tag team champions here, but The Wyatt Family should have done one of two things: 1) Completely ran The Usos over in a show of strength headed into the big test this weekend or 2) Found an innovative way to win to tease a deeper psychological understanding of what they'll have to do to defeat Cena.
In the battle of good vs. evil, evil was made to look dumb here. If that's going to happen, fine, just save it for the big match when it matters, not the set up for it.
Segment grade: D+
The new streak that must never end
I was wondering what the first new wrinkle would be for Bo Dallas' character and while I didn't expect it to come so soon, I'm beyond happy it did.
The new streak.
"I am Bo Dallas and thanks to all of my Bolievers I am undefeated since my WWE debut -- 2-0! If you work hard enough, your dreams can and will come true. All you have to do is Bolieve!"
This is perfect. WWE should hammer this home by continuing on its current path and allowing Dallas to rack up win after win after win after win against increasingly difficult competition, all while extolling the virtues of Bolieving. On a long enough timeline, everyone will grow to hate his stinkin' guts, so much so fans will be aching to see his streak broken.
It will be the exact opposite of Undertaker's streak.
If WWE does it right, it could be just as glorious.
Segment grade: B
All the best to all the rest:
- I'm not going to accuse anyone of mailing anything in but that Shield promo was missing ... something. It's difficult to put a finger on exactly what it is but it was more or less just three guys saying things while fans just waited for them to finish. This was the last chance to build hype for the match with Evolution and to that end, it was a failure. No one said anything new, and no one was particularly compelling (outside of Dean Ambrose being, well, Dean Ambrose).
- Actually, props to Roman Reigns for calling out the announce tables in advance of the PPV. The Shield vs. The Spanish Announce Table LIVE this Sunday night!
- Lana demanding the fans stop chanting U-S-A is something that should always happen because it will always get heat. Americans are nothing if not defiant, so they'll eat that up every time.
- Big E started turning over on the Big Ending, and it was the perfect adjustment to make it a serviceable finishing maneuver.
- We're going to feel happy that Big E is defending America here, right? We made fun of WWE for booking Rusev like he was committing hate crimes, now maybe we should give them credit for choosing an African-American to wave the flag around and represent the country. By the same token, if you thought nothing of it and accepted it for what it was that's also a good thing. Equality is beautiful.
- Well, you all wondered if I would have the same reaction if Adam Rose stuck his lollipop in a man's face as he did with Vickie Guerrero. The situations are entirely different and that's important to note, but he did so to Jack Swagger right before a match last night. Here's the determination, with the rest of the match also taken into consideration: Adam Rose is a creepy, weird dude with a creepy weird crew. I'll give you this: He could be more Jason Mewes as Jay than anything else: potentially offensive but blissfully unaware so as not to be morally repugnant.
- That pinfall Jack Swagger took was bad. Like, burial bad. His reaction to it almost saved him. Almost.
- "Gangster, coming through," said Alicia Fox as she went prancing down the entrance ramp to snatch up Paige's Divas championship and take selfies with it on the announce table.
- Did someone check on Kofi Kingston yet? That Cesaro European Uppercut, though.
- Sheamus vs. Bad News Barrett was a good pro wrestling match. And I'll be damned if WWE didn't do what you would typically expect and book a non-finish to a bout between two champions defending their titles in a matter of days. Just Sheamus beating Barrett because he was better in the match. That simple, and oh so satisfying.
- El Torito is a million miles ahead of everyone involved in this ridiculous feud between Los Matadores and 3MB. Maybe one day WWE will just let him show that off instead of making him a joke. HE DOESN'T HAVE A TAIL, MAGGLE, HOW CAN HE EVEN STAND GORE! GORE! GORE! BULLSAULT FIGHT ON FRIDAY NIGHT.
This was your typical SmackDown. Some good, some bad, but by the end you know you could have skipped it and never thought twice about it.
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?