Friday, 4 October 2013

WWE Smackdown 27th September 2013 Review

As usual with Smackdown, this week's edition didn't have a lot in terms of storyline development, with a number of feuds just ticking over to lead into Raw on Monday. There was still a lot of entertaining action on the show, although a lot of it wasn't really given the time it needed to make this a must watch episode of the show.



United States Championship Match: 

Dolph Ziggler 

with Rob Van Dam & Kofi Kingston 

vs. 

Dean Ambrose © 

with Tag Team Champions The Shield


This match wasn't the main event of the show, but it was the one that most caught my attention heading into the show, and therefore garners the headline slot on this review. With United States Champion Dean Ambrose having fellow Shield member Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns at ringside, it looked like it might be a difficult task for Dolph Ziggler heading in, however in a nice touch, WWE had Ziggler bring out Rob Van Dam and Kofi Kingston to the ring to even in the score, after both had taken beatings from The Shield on the previous Raw. Unfortunately, the bout was over before it really started, as after some nice back and forth action between the two including a Fame-Asser from Ziggler for quick near fall, the action spilled to the outside after a Ziggler clothesline took both men over the top, and The Shield attempted to get involved, leading to a brawl at ringside. I thought it was a real shame that they didn't just let Ziggler and Ambrose go at it, as given the time that match would surely have built into a really good television bout.

WWE Chief Operating Officer Triple H then came to ringside to play Teddy Long and book a six man tag team match to start immediately. It did feel a little out of character for Triple H to come out here, especially with The Shield not looking too pleased with the decision. The bout itself was an entertaining ten minutes of in ring action, that had a strong story to tell and told it effectively. The opening parts of the match focused on the injuries Van Dam had received over the last few weeks, with all three members of The Shield working together to work over Van Dam's arm, with Van Dam doing a good job of selling the injury throughout the match. After Van Dam had managed to get the tag to Ziggler, the pattern quickly continued with Reigns especially looking good in the beat down of Ziggler, with his power game coming across nicely, helped along by Ziggler continuous selling.

It was once again Van Dam's arm that came into play in the finish of the match, with Rollins taking time out of working over Ziggler to attack Van Dam's arm, which allowed Ziggler to take advantage and make a tag to Kingston. Of course it was then turn for the breakdown of the bout, breaking out into an allout signature fest, with everyone but Kingston and Ambrose being taken out of the match in an impressive sequence of moves. The finish saw Kingston hit Trouble on Paradise on Reigns, with Ambrose attempting an roll up from behind, with Kingston to counter with a pin of his own, only for Rollins to re-enter the fray and hit Blackout, allowing Ambrose to pick up the pinfall victory for The Shield. I thought this was a solid finish with a lot going on in a sort space of time, although it would have been nice to see Kingston's injured arm come into play in the finish as well.

The Shield needed this victory, after a couple of recent losses, this bout made the team look like an impressive unit once again, which is something they certainly need to do again going forward. I like the direction they are taking The Shield at the moment, with them working as Triple H's security force, but it's important that they don't slip into the role of lackeys, and need to look competitive in their own right. It would be nice to see Ambrose pick up a clean victory in defense of the United States Championship as well, as it's starting to become a bit of a running theme that his title defense will end in either Disqualification or countout, as seen in the earlier defense against Ziggler, and it's making his reign as champion look a bit silly. Personally, I'd rather see him drop the title and move onto bigger and better things, but he could still do with a definitive singles rivalry for that belt to really push him on, in my eyes.


The Miz 
vs. 
Randy Orton


Smackdown kicked off this week, with WWE Chief Operating Officer Triple H coming to the ring to deliver another “Best for Business” promo in reference to the Eleven-on-Three Handicap match that main evented the previous episode of Raw. I was well delivered, but simply a rehash of things we'd heard for the previous couple of weeks with no real development. Triple H was interupted by The Miz to question whether Triple H had been fair and impartial in his actions, with The Game quickly turning the tables on Miz, reminding him of the number of oppurtunity that had been handed his way and how many times The Miz had come up short. I found it difficult to disagree with Triple H, which isn't good seeing as he's supposed to be a heel, The Miz is just come across as a bit of a whiner at the moment, and it doesn't make me want to get behind him as a face any more than I did two months ago. The segment ended with Triple H booking The Miz in the main event against Randy Orton. It was a ropey start to Smackdown, but I looked forward to Orton beating up The Miz again later on, which probably isn't what I was supposed to be thinking.

In the main event, The Miz got a surprsing amount of offense in on Orton, really letting all of the aggression out, sending Orton into the ringpost, I have to say I quite enjoyed this, as The Miz was actually standing up and fighting for himself, instead of just complaining. The match however was cut short after only a few minutes, with Orton moving out of the way of Miz's corner clothesline sending Miz crashing to the mat, to suffer an apparent injury, which was played really well with The Miz doing a pretty good job of selling a shoulder injury and being checked over by a doctor. Of course, Orton saw this as an oppurtuity pulling Miz in for a Rope Hung DDT, before beating on Miz in the corner, leading to the referee disqualifying Orton. Once again, Orton's vicious streak was back in play and everything about him just feels so much stronger than what we were getting six months ago from The Viper. It seemed like that would be it for night, but that wasn't to be the case....

Triple H came back out, and seemingly told Orton of for getting intentionally disqualified, and then going on to restart the match as a No Disqualification bout. I thought this was really well written, with Triple H making it look like he was admonishing Orton, but with The Miz already injured he was just giving Orton permission to deliver more punishment! Straight out of the blocks, Orton set about destroying Miz, putting on an impressive beating sending Miz into the steel steps, over the announce table and into the timekeepers table, there was a brief comeback by Miz with a steel chair, but that was quickly quashed by Orton, who went on to hit a barricade aided DDT on the outside and an RKO to pick up a pinfall victory. It was very entertaining to watch, but did it make me feel bad for The Miz, not quite but that's more to do with a long standing problem with that character, rather than anything that was done around the ring. Did it make Randy Orton look like an arse kicking machine, oh hell yes!

I thought it was interesting to see that Daniel Bryan wasn't on Smackdown this week, and surprising that he didn't come out to save Miz from the beating that Orton gave him to close the show, however letting that rivalry breath a little probably isn't a bad thing, and it's strong enough that they can pick up on Raw without too much trouble. It would seem like that would be the end of The Miz's feud with Triple H and Orton, for now at least, as he can't really come back complaining again after taking such a comprehensive beating, even if Triple H did restart the match in Orton's favour. Miz could benefit from sometime off of television, as he just can't seem to get things right as a face, I just can't bring myself to like him, so maybe a month or so off television, followed by a comeback as a heel or a short face run, could do wonders for the character.


Best of the Rest (In The World)


Paul Heyman was also on Smackdown this week, continuing his run of strong promos. He began by working over the crowd, by blaming them for the beatings that he had delivered to CM Punk, because they cheer for him and spur him on to do things, like attack Heyman on Raw, which lead to a beatdown for Punk from Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel and Ryback. It worked so well because there was an element of truth behind it, and Heyman looked like he believed what he was saying, and every good villain must believe what they are saying! Heyman went on to build up Ryback's match with Punk at Battleground, saying that Punk didn't stand a chance at beating Ryback, because Ryback had Heyman, finishing off by claiming he was the Best in the World. Usually, I would have a problem with someone saying someone else had no chance of winning a match, however on this occasion it kind of makes sense, because the hook for the Battleground match isn't “Will CM Punk beat Ryback?”, it's the intrigue of where the Punk/Heyman storyline will go from there.

In my opinion, Heyman is one of the strongest heels they have at the moment, for one reason, he actually gets booed. No matter what he is solidly get's booed by whatever audience is in front of him. Triple H is supposedly meant to be the biggest heel on television at the moment, yet he usually gets cheered when he heads out to the arena. Heyman is just so good at manipulating the crowd with his promos and actions at ringside, whilst the storytelling over the last three or four months has been impeccable, almost every week. People genuinely want to see Punk give Heyman his comeuppance, which is rare in modern day WWE, especially over the last few years, because everytime it looks like that might be happening, Heyman has another trick up his sleeve and the storyline goes the other way. I wonder how long this storyline can keep going for, but it could run and run, especially with a new face on the scene in Ryback, who has been done wonders by being added to the mix.

World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio was also in action, taking on R-Truth. The bout was over pretty quickly, after a brief flurry of offence from R-Truth, including a near fall after hitting his independent finisher Truth or Consequences, Truth missed a Corkscrew Scissor Kick, allowing Del Rio to hit a Superkick to pick up the pinfall victory. It was a short match, so it's difficult to really judge the action, but it did what it needed to do, in setting up for the next segment. Del Rio continued to attack Truth, locking in the Cross Armbreaker, before Rob Van Dam and Ricardo Rodriguez came down to make the save. Van Dam got the upperhand on Del Rio, beating him down with a Steel Chair, before hitting a nice Skateboard with the chair on Del Rio in the corner. This was to allow for a stipulation to be added for Van Dam and Del Rio's World Heavyweight Championship match at Battleground, with Triple H and Smackdown General Manager Vickie Guerrero, making the bout a Battleground Hardcore match after the segment. I'm much more excited about the bout now, with the stipulation it should give both Del Rio and Van Dam a lot to play with, and hopefully we'll see a definitive finish to their feud.

There was also tag team action on Smackdown with The Real American's Jack Swagger & Antonio Cesaro, accompanied by Zeb Colter, taking on The Prime Time Players. It was a decent few minutes of tag team action, with Cesaro and Swagger spending most of the match working over Titus O'Neil, with quick tags and under handed tactics. Cesaro once again pulled out the extended Giant Swing, impressively managing to spin O'Neil for a long time, with O'Neil's following dizziness looking hilarious and really selling the effects of that move. After O'Neil made the hot tag to Darren Young, followed by an explosive comeback from Young, including a impressive Northern Lights Suplex, the match began to break down. Swagger took out O'Neil with a clothesline over the top rope, Cesaro managed to make the tag, unbeknownst to Young who managed to hit Gut Check on Cesaro, before Swagger snuck back into the ring to lock on the Patriot Lock to pick up the submission victory for the Real American's. I thought this was a strong finish with a lot going on, but it would seem WWE is cooling the push of The Prime Time Player's for now, which seems strange seeing how over they are with the audience.

In women's action, Diva's Champion AJ Lee took on The Funkadactyls' Cameron. Lee was accompanied to the ring by Tamina Snuka, who is according to Lee will be acting as her bodyguard from now on, it makes storyline sense for the two to pair up, and any reason to get Snuka back on television on a regular basis is good for me. It would appear Cameron needs to spend more time working on her wrestling and less time on her dancing, as almost every move she went for in this one looked botched in one way or another. The finish saw Lee having words with Naomi at ringside, with Snuka doing her duties and destroying Naomi with a clothesline, the distraction however allowed Cameron to get a near fall with a School Girl Roll Up, with Lee breaking free and hitting a Shining Wizard to pick up a pinfall victory. The finish could have done with being a bit slicker, but it did it's job in setting up the relationship between Lee and Snuka, which I'm interested to see going forward. 

In a ridiculous comedy encounter, Santino Marella took on 3MB's Heath Slater, with Slater accompanied by his 3MB cohorts Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal, and Marella accompanied by The Great Khali and Hornswoggle. The opening part of the match was actually pretty good with some nice wrestling between the two and then it seemed like WWE became Chikara. With Santino getting ready for The Cobra, Mahal pulled out a flute and began to charm the snake, yes, you read that correctly. After some back and forth snake charming from Mahal and Khali, including The Cobra (Marella's own hand) turning on Marella, Hornswoggle pulled Mahal off the apron and eventually Marella managed to hit Slater with The Cobra to pick up the pinfall victory. It's difficult to criticise what was a really funny match, it wasn't Bret vs Shawn, but it was at least entertaining.

The Big Show/Triple H storyline was also kept ticking over on Smackdown, with a backstage interview with Big Show conducted by Renee Young. Whilst The Miz comes across as a whiner with his problems with Triple H, Big Show seems to have a legitimate gripe with his job being held over his head, as he is forced to knock out various co-workers. Show continued to play his role astonishingly well, with Triple H interupting him, saying if Show didn't want the job he'd help him find another, with a few funny references, as well as taking the piss out of Show's emotional state. The tension built up nicely, looking like Show might finally snap only for him to simply growl at Triple H before walking off. The moment Show finally snaps on Triple H is going to be something to behold.

Elsewhere, Bray Wyatt took on Zack Ryder in what was pretty much a squash match. With The Wyatt Family throwing Ryder into the ring to start the match, Wyatt went to work on Ryder, mauling Ryder with a series of strikes and powerful crossbody block. Ryder did get some offence in, getting as far as a Broski Boot, but of course missed the follow up Rough Ryder, with Wyatt sending Ryder impressively high into the air. Wyatt went on to finish off Ryder with Sister Abigail for a pinfall victory. It was short little match, that did it's job in keeping Wyatt's presence on television, as he awaits the return of Kane, which must surely be just around the corner. 

Finally...


My final thoughts on this week's Smackdown.

1. Dean Ambrose needs a definitive rivalry for the United States Championship.

2. The Miz could do with some time off television.

3. Paul Heyman is the best heel that WWE has.

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