WWE Friday Night SmackDown hit the SyFy airwaves last night (Sept. 12, 2014) from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania with a taped show featuring all the latest build to the upcoming Night of Champions pay-per-view (PPV) scheduled for later this month in Nashville.
Click here to read the live blog. Let's get to reacting to all this madness:
- SmackDown was, for the longest time, and maybe still is, known as the "wrestling" show. That is to say they don't run as many angles, instead focusing on the product in the ring. That was never more evident than simply starting a show with an eight-man tag match like what you see above. This is one of those matches that is a lot more fun for those in attendance than it is for anyone watching at home.
- For that matter, let me put my mark hat on and once again decry the current incredibly sad state of Bray Wyatt's career on screen. He may have the backing of important folks backstage but I'll be damned if that comes across on TV. Should we start exploring the end of The Wyatt Family?
- Can we collectively acknowledge how batshit insane you would have sounded had you said this Bo Dallas-Jack Swagger feud would be happening right now even just six months ago? This is a real feud taking up real time on your television each week.
- For that matter, shouldn't we be hating Swagger and Zeb Colter once again now that they're no longer representing America opposite Russia in the Rusev feud? Wasn't that the only thing earning them any good will? Why the hell is anyone cheering for this two anymore?
- The new Bo promos are a lot better for the less abmigious heel character. He's not playing nice the whole way anymore, he's outright telling you how bad you suck while selling you on converting to his life philosophy to find a success he never has. I like it.
- I firmly believe they did this Paige vs. Summer Rae match just to get AJ Lee on commentary and she treated it like she wasn't at work so much as a relaxing day at the pool. Look at her chilling with her feet up and using her indoor voice like there isn't an arena full of people there.
- AJ's Paige Turner > Paige's Paige Turner.
- "STOP IT, I'M TRYING TO SHOUT AT YOU!"
- Can we celebrate that Mark Henry acted like an actual babyface here with a legitimately strong response to Lana's harsh reality heeling? When faced with the condescending reminder that he failed at the Olympics, Henry's response was to acknowledge as much before saying he's grateful that he gets the chance to fight for his country again, an opportunity he never thought would come back around. That's a solid angle that doesn't resort to cheap nonsense.
- While Henry was the clean cut babyface here, willing to take on all challenges, Rusev and Lana were the perfect dirty heels, not good enough to win but despicable enough to cheat and call it victory. This might be the best old school pro wrestling feud we have going right now.
- I'm not sure I have the words for this segment. WWE ran a comedic segment involving someone's skin color that wasn't offensive in any way. In fact, it was utilized to great effect with R-Truth and Dolph Ziggler using Twin Magic and everyone acting as though it was totally legitimate, including the referee. This was stand-and-clap level awesome in what would have otherwise been a mostly meaningless tag team match on a mostly meaningless SmackDown.
- Seriously, how fun was this? Truth did well hitting all of Dolph's spots and let's not even get started on Damien Mizdow, who has managed to get himself over simply because he's been cast as a stunt double and his reaction to as much is to quite literally mimic The Miz's every move. That's good on paper and in practice.
- You know what else this does? It elevates Ziggler and Miz as important mid-card acts without devaluing the lower card jobbers used to prop them up. This was a win all around and the highlight of the show.
- Nikki Bella is a much better talker than Brie, so it's no real surprise she's getting a big push but did anyone else get the sense that she's winning the Divas championship at Night of Champions after this interview? And does anyone else feel awful about that based on watching both AJ Lee and Paige come in and steal the segment with their brief interaction?
- Or, and how much worse would this be, Brie could cost Nikki the match and we could just get a Fatal 4-Way at the next PPV.
- This was such a stock main event, there really isn't anything to say about it. They worked like they were at a SmackDown show in Wilkes-Barre in early September. They were tight and it was fine and it progressed all the issues it was supposed to but again, this capped a show that probably would have been fun live but was mostly uninspired on TV.
- Also, never book Roman Reigns to be a hot tag on the same show you book Dolph Ziggler to be a hot tag, especially if it's the shorter show. Rememeber when Daniel Bryan put himself over so much more than he was with live crowds because he was always the hot tag and he would completely tear ass every time during his tag team run? And how Ziggler has done the same each time he's been in a tag match? Reigns looks like he's operating at half the speed and it's not a great look.
Another show. Just another show.
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?