4/18 WWE Smackdown Report Card: Edge Retires, Christian takes his place, and Cody Rhodes gets a promo!
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.
Special Moment: Edge's Retirement
This was a heart breaker for me. I have watched Edge since his debut in the WWE, and have always appreciated his skill set. There is the cliched statement of you don't know what you have until it's gone, but I think this is one example that fits that mold. There is so much that Edge does well, both obvious and subtle. Both his ring work and mic skills are superior, and I don't think I need to do much explaining to anyone who reads this site to make that point.
His excellent facial expressions and subtle mannerisms are probably something that a lot of people overlook, but they are an integral part of what makes his character such a success. Edge was able to communicate to fans and to the television audience without saying a word, which is a talent all great wrestlers possess to turn blah moments into entertaining ones and turn memorable moments into extraordinary ones.
Edge's retirements speech on this show was one of those extraordinary wrestling moments that conjured a lot of memories and tugged at your heart strings. His Mom being present was extra special, and the close of the show with Christian was great as well. If you get an opportunity, go find the post show celebration, because it was even better than what we saw on the TV Broadcast. Also, don't forget to call your Mom and tell her that you love her.
Final Grade: A
Angle 1: Alberto Del Rio vs. Christian for the World Heavyweight Championship
This Week's Successes: Alberto Del Rio was excellent in the opening segment of the show. Edge's retirement speech hung heavily over the broadcast, and Del Rio was able to successfully put over Edge's career and accomplishments while reiterating his desire to obtain the World Heavyweight Championship. He showed great range of emotion and clarity of thought, and was able to get in an effective promo without going for cheap heat or attempting to overshadow the moment that would happen later in the show.
We saw Christian take Edge's place in this feud, and I think everyone agrees this was the obvious way to go. He won a Battle Royal that Teddy Long made earlier in the show. Knowing what we know now, I think its safe to say that Christian's earlier heavy involvement in this feud was due to Edge's injury, and this was ultimately where they were going when they mapped out the worst case scenario for Edge. Christian is the logical choice, he's a veteran and a top level talent, and no matter the outcome at Extreme Rules we will get a very special moment from these two on PPV.
This Week's Failure's: I wish we would have gotten a Battle Royal with fewer guys. This felt like a garbage match until we were down to about 6 guys in the ring, and in a #1 Contender's match I think it's important to put a spotlight on guys who might actually be in that spot at some point in the future. It could have been just as long with fewer guys and accomplished much more from a storyline perspective.
Final Grade: B+
Angle 2: Rey Mysterio vs. Cody Rhodes
This Week's Successes: Cody Rhodes promo was exactly what his character needed. His conversion from the cocky heel to the broken mirror narcissist has been a lot of fun to watch, and it has allowed Cody to exhibit his range and show us that there is more to him than "smoke and mirrors". Going forward, we are obviously going to need to see this character progress, and I'm excited to see where it goes. The early evolution of this character was the shattering of Cody's confidence and the outbursts of rage that come from narcissistic insecurity. I think it's important that the character continue to evolve once Cody picks up important victories and how his new dark character deals with success.
We saw him confront a bit of that on Friday when he spoke about his WrestleMania victory failing to fill his emotional void, but his character will lose credibility if larger accomplishments continue to be met with the same reaction. At some point, he will have to get his swagger back, and how he merges his old character with his new one will determine how far he moves up the card.
Rey Mysterio made a brief appearance at the end of Cody's promo to attack him after he made mention of Rey's kids, and I think it worked. I'm hoping this feud continues this way, with Cody doing the majority of the talking, and Rey trying but failing to put him out. People should want to see Rey kick Cody's ass, and teasing it without delivering is how you sell PPV's.
This Week's Failures: Cody needs knee pads. It's not a deal breaker for me as to whether or not I dig his character, but it attracts attention to his rather feminine looking legs, and I don't think it does his new dark character any favors.
Final Grade: B+
Overall Show Grade: B-
Overall Show Comments: The Rey Mysterio and Drew McIntyre match that was on this show is worth going out of your way to see on Hulu if you have 15 minutes to spare somewhere in your schedule. It was intense, both men gave a great effort, and it really allowed a young guy to shine in a long TV match that is so rare in this day and age on WWE broadcasts. The rest of the show was pretty bland. The other two matches were throwaways that weren't even worth the 5 minutes they took up on the show.
The only positive I can say about the time LayCool gets is that it appears to be setting up them splitting up and heading in different directions. They have been together beating the same dead horse for a couple of years now, and I'm glad we are seeing them develop their own characters again and let some of the other girls on the roster get a storyline, especially with the impending debut of Amazing Kong and the opportunities that she will present for the division.
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