The purpose of this editorial is to rundown the latest edition of WWE Smackdown by highlighting the top angles on the show, list where I think they succeeded and where they failed, and give it a final letter grade in the traditional grade school format. I will also give the overall show a letter grade. The following Report Card pertains to the May 13th edition of Smackdown.
Special Comment: I would like to take a brief moment and comment on the passing of Randy Savage. Macho was a titan in the sport of Professional Wrestling, and I always had a soft spot in my heart for the madness. As a child, I used to rent old WWE videos from my local video store specifically to watch old Randy Savage matches, partially because I was in love with Miss Elizabeth, and partially because Randy Savage was in most of my favorite matches as a kid. The man nearly carried the ring work for the WWE for most of the mecca period of the 80’s by himself, and that is how I will forever remember him.
There were larger spectacles with Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant, but nobody had better matches or a bigger personality than Randy Savage. He was and will remain a true legend, and my heart pours out to the Poffo family and his wife Lynn. I can’t really add much to what has already been said over the past few days, but I will share a moment from my childhood that stuck with me. I got an autograph from Randy Savage when I was about 8 years old. I approached him backstage after an event in St. Paul with my Dad and asked for his autograph. Being the kind of guy he was, he kneeled down next to me and told me that if I worked hard enough I could drop elbows from the top rope too someday.
I know Randy had his demons, as we all do, but I will always remember him as the guy who took the time to tell a kid and a fan that hard work can make dreams possible. Rest in Peace, Randy. You will be missed.
Angle 1: Randy Orton vs. Christian for the World Heavyweight Championship:
This Week’s Successes:
- Both Orton and Christian both gave very good promos last night in their backstage interviews. Both men appeared confident and took subtle digs at their opponent that sold the match without selling the conclusion of the storyline.
- Christian worked a very solid and very competitive match with Sheamus to open the show. I was very impressed with the selling by both men, and Christian managed to pick up a win without taking a bit of heat off of Sheamus. Well done.
- Orton really impressed me last night with how well he seemed to be connected to the crowd. In the past he has had a hard time being a successful babyface, but he really appears to be coming into his own and has developed his own cool character that gets a babyface reaction without the cornball act of John Cena or other WWE face characters.
This Week’s Failures:
- Somebody will have to explain to me exactly what Randy Orton was doing after he hit his RKO on Mark Henry. I watched it several times now, and the look on Christian’s face was hilarious. Maybe it was a rib. Either way, it was funny and out of character, and it kind of sucked me out of the moment.
- Mark Henry botched a spot pretty bad that had Orton staring at Christian getting beat down by Sheamus for at least 10 seconds. I didn’t think it was bad the first watch through, but subsequent viewings seemed worse.
Final Grade: B+
Angle 2: Wade Barrett vs Ezekial Jackson for the Intercontinental Title
This Week’s Successes:
- Zeke actually cut a pretty decent promo. It was a big coming out moment for him or anything, but he was competent and did a decent job to sell his conflict with The Corre and specifically Wade Barrett.
- The crowd actually reacted pretty nicely when Wade and Zeke were in the ring together during their 6-man tag. I think that’s really encouraging considering how little anyone reacted for most anything all night and how badly The Corre has been treated for the last 2 or 3 months.
- The torture rack is back, and Justin Gabriel sold it perfectly.
This Week’s Failures:
- Zeke used too many catchphrases in his promo. It just felt kind of clunky.
- The crowd didn’t react very strongly for the promo. Thankfully they picked up a bit for the action in the ring.
- Wade Barrett hasn’t gotten much promo time aside from the group promos with The Corre. I wish he would get more opportunity on the microphone.
Final Grade: B-
Final Show Grade: C
Overall Show Comments:
- Chavo Guerrero gets no reaction at all, and my personal feeling was that his match with Daniel Bryan hurt Bryan a bit. I wish they could get Bryan into a program and let him work, as this directionless manner in which he seems to be progressing is a disappointment when you factor in his considerable talents.
- The Divas without a Kharma appearance is a stark reminder of where that division was before she arrived. Hopefully this Sunday is the beginning of a long title reign for her and also allows for the rest of the talent to get rebuilt as well.
- Jinder Mahal and The Great Khali have me interested. I hope this leads for a major push for Jinder Mahal, as he appears to have the size and the poise to have an impact on the WWE. We definitely need to see him in the ring before we make any kind of final call, but so far this has been promising.
Questions, Comments, or Concerns? Contact me at email@example.com or on twitter @barnettjake.