Coming off a solid episode of Monday Night Raw and WWE looking to start 2015 with a bang, Friday Night SmackDown hit the SyFy airwaves last night with a taped show from Norfolk, Virginia. Things may be looking up for the company headed to the Royal Rumble later this month but this show was a disappointment to say the least.
This reeks of something, but it's not awesomeness: Edge & Christian are good for sophomore hi-jinks and what not, and there's a place for that on a pro wrestling show, but the complete lack of reaction to anything they did on this show made me feel old. It made them both look out of date, too, a watered down version of what used to pass as cool and now looks childish nonsense. J&J Security can be fun, and maybe I'm a bit of a crank here, but none of the gags they ran with even made me chuckle.
Bray Wyatt vs. Erick Rowan: I don't understand WWE sometimes. The Wyatt Family were a major part of its television programming for well over a year and the first time the leader of the group takes on one of his disciples takes place on a random SmackDown after the opening segment? They at least bothered to tell a story they can come back to, however, and if this Bray-Dean Ambrose feud is wrapping up on Monday like they're teasing, perhaps the plan is to go back to this. They certainly left it open with Rowan attacking, then apologizing, then getting beat for it. Even if it goes somewhere, I don't understand putting it here.
Stardust & Goldust & Adam Rose vs. The Usos & R-Truth: Six-man tag matches in WWE aren't what they used to be, that's for damn sure.
Ryback vs. Big Show: The psychology in this match was fine. Great, even. THE BIG GUY revealed he broke his leg in two and had multiple botched surgeries for it so Big Show targeted that knee. The problem? Ryback immediately disregarded all Show's work once he made his comeback. It killed the entire match. Then they went with the "babyface is too stupid to realize he's being distracted by heel foe" finish to cap off how bad this was.
Cesaro & Tyson Kidd vs. Los Matadores: I now dream of a world where they don't write angles for this Cesaro-Kidd pairing, instead allowing them to wrestle their way to the top to take the tag titles and defend them on the basis that they're just great wrestlers who hold the titles because of that. Not because one guy got into another guy's head using his wife, just because they're the best wrestlers and that's that.
Happy new year hell: I quite enjoyed Dean Ambrose murdering Curtis Axel and his promo on Bray Wyatt was fine for what it was but gimmick matches in 2015 aren't what they were 15 years ago. He can say he's going to run Wyatt over all he wants, that doesn't mean they're going to do anything close to that in the actual match. That's not to say I want them to do something like that, necessarily, just that there was a time when everyone was trying to one-up everyone else and gimmick matches like this meant something insane was going to happen. It was reason to tune in. Now? Not so much. Not at all, actually. "I'm going to send you on a one-way trip to a happy new year to hell" was also the a closing line so cheesy even Dean Ambrose couldn't make it work.
Ride the lightning: You could argue that WWE did the right thing acknowledging the link between The Ascension and the Road Warriors/Demolition. Or you could argue that they're now destined for failure because they'll always be operating under a shadow they'll almost surely never match up to. I do like the Fall of Man as a finish, though.
Roman Reigns vs. Rusev: Not surprisingly, they had a pretty damn good match that was completely ruined by a Big Show run in. At some point, WWE cannot have its cake and eat it too. We're supposed to be impressed with Reigns for clearly having Rusev beat before Show interrupted the pin but next week we're supposed to be equally as impressed with Rusev for never having been pinned since he was called up to the main roster. This is the kind of booking designed to protect everyone that actually kills everyone and ensures nothing means anything ever. And, again, no one on Earth wants this Reigns-Show feud. My only feeling here is they plan on asking Reigns to work double duty at the Royal Rumble to build sympathy.
Not the best way to kick off 2015. By the way, yes, we did notice that the only woman who appeared on this program was Natalya and her role was to get blown off by her husband.
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?