4/10 Barnett's Smackdown Report Card: Alberto Del Rio, Edge, and Christian highlight a mediocre episode of Smackdown
By Jake Barnett
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 April 8th edition of Smackdown.
Angle 1: Alberto Del Rio vs. Edge vs. Christian for the World Heavyweight Championship
This Week’s Successes: This was a great week for everybody in this feud. It looks as if we are going to see a three man struggle for the World Heavyweight Championship going forward here. Christian and Edge did a good job of adding some tension to their relationship without giving too much away. There was a lot of restraint shown by the writing staff here, because a lot of times it feels like they hot shot feuds within the first couple weeks of them starting up, and then we tread water for a few weeks before the eventual PPV blow off. It was nice to see WWE easing into this potential feud, and I hope we see both guys showcase what they can do together very soon.
Alberto Del Rio also had a very good week. I think he has wisely been able to capitalize on his WrestleMania loss by introducing a new edge to his character. He has lost some of the aloof arrogance that he had in the weeks prior to WrestleMania, and since feeling the taste of defeat has found some urgency and intensity that I thought was missing from his character recently. He picked up a clean victory over Christian in the Main Event to secure a spot in the title match at Extreme Rules, but we’ll have to see what pans out over the next couple of weeks to see if that holds true come Extreme Rules.
This Week’s Failures: My only criticism of this week’s interaction between these three guys is that Edge and Christian did their best to suck even more heat off of Del Rio in the opening segment by rubbing in how many times he’s lost over the past three weeks. It was all true, so that’s probably the most irritating thing about it, but close to the show was perfect so it’s a minor complaint if anything.
Overall Grade: B+
Angle 2: Cody Rhodes vs. Rey Mysterio
This Week’s Successes: Not much to speak about this week. We had Cody Rhodes win another Squash on Trent Baretta, which I can only assume was just a setup for the post-match interaction between Mysterio and Rhodes. The post-match was fine, with Mysterio looking aggressive and Rhodes appearing to challenge Mysterio to some kind of mask stipulation. Rhodes new character continues to be very good, and Mysterio is still Mysterio. These guys have the potential to do something great together, and I hope we see it at Extreme Rules.
This Week’s Failures: These guys seemed confined by the mask and knee brace elements of their feud at WrestleMania, so I hope we see them get a stipulation other than Mask vs. Mask at Extreme Rules, because I don’t think that what we saw at WrestleMania is anywhere near the ceiling of what kind of action these guys can produce together. I was also a little flummoxed by the lack of promos in this feud thus far. Once we got past the original setup with Dusty Rhodes, we have heard very little from either guy, and what we did hear was pre-taped. I hope we see more from both of them heading into Extreme Rules, because I want to feel more invested in the evolution of this feud than I currently am.
Final Grade: C
Overall Show Grade: C+
Overall Show Comments: We had a better episode of Smackdown this week than we did with Monday Night Raw, but overall I felt like the WrestleMania hangover was in full effect on both shows. This show felt like it had more direction than Raw did, but in the end I felt like both shows this week fell kind of flat. Sin Cara was a welcome addition, showing some very high octane offense and very crisp movements and body control.
LayCool looks to be entering a feud together, which makes sense considering they have been the focus of all Smackdown Diva story lines for almost a year now, and they need to transition into something new. The Corre continues to be squashed into irrelevancy, even though they carry 2/3rds of all the belts on the show, which is maddening. Overall, I’m comfortable giving this show a hair better than average grade, because it was saved by the main event feud, but otherwise this show didn’t feel like a must watch.
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