4/24 WWE Smackdown Report Card: Alberto Del Rio, Christian, Cody Rhodes, and Rey Mysterio try to polish a turd....and fail.
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 22nd edition of Smackdown.
Special Comment: As is par for the course, I made an error in my Smackdown Live Coverage. I called the crowd "lifeless" during my brief comment about the Kofi Kingston vs. Wade Barrett match. Dot Net Reader Ashley Morris attended the tapings on 4/19 and wrote to let me know that the crowd was, in fact, hot for pretty much the entire show, and that their reactions had been conspicuously muted for the broadcast. She felt the only moment of the show that represented the crowd's true reaction was Edge's entrance. So to all the UK fans out there, I apologize for sullying your good name, and to WWE, WTF?
Angle 1: Christian vs. Alberto Del Rio for the Vacant World Title
This Week's Successes: Alberto Del Rio did his best with extremely bad material this week in Edge's retirement ceremony. Edge made his best effort to save the segment, but even his comments fell flat, as he didn't advance past the juvenile humor that had permeated the earlier part of the segment.
Christian's only involvement in the entire show was a run in at the end to set up the final image of the show, where he posed on top of a ladder with the World Title. Special kudos to Ricardo Rodriguez for his ramp entrance with the motorized scooter. He mimiced Edge doing his pyro while riding the scooter, in what was a legitimately funny moment.
This Week's Failures: Well, where to start. The comedy in this segment was just awful. I think they were going for a Mick Foley/Rock "This is your Life" moment, but the writing just wasn't there. Alberto Del Rio strained throughout the entire segment to keep the crowd interested, and I don't think he ever really captured them.
Edge's music hit, and the crowd picked up big for that, but even the show closing moment with Christian posing didn't elicit the big reaction you would hope for from a feud that is sorrounded with such emotional circumstances, and I think the fact that Alberto's comedy bombed had a lot to do with it. Maybe next week we will see some more compelling stuff when Edge is no longer the focus of the interaction between these characters.
Final Grade: C-
Angle 2: Rey Mysterio vs. Cody Rhodes
This Week's Successes: Cody Rhodes continues to be very good on the mic. His promo this week was solid, I won't call it great, but it was good enough to keep my interest in the feud. They added a personal element last week with Cody talking about Rey's kids, and this week Cody was able to really hammer his disdain for the crowd home.
The match was very good. These guys work well together and it shows. The real story was the post match interaction, and I think it was sufficiently brutal looking to sell the extra physicality of Extreme Rules. It also succeeded in the sense that it put both guys over, Mysterio getting the "surprise" win during the match, and Cody immediately getting his heat back by imposing his will in he post match attack.
This Week's Failures: Falls count anywhere just seems like it's begging for a BS ending at the PPV. I hope I'm wrong. I also wish Cody Rhodes promo would have shown a little more depth than his previous promos, and I think he failed there.
I like him, and I hope he succeeds, but this promo used a lot of recycled material from weeks past. He's going to need to use his success with Mysterio to further transform his character. If his character does not reflect a greater range of emotion, he will quickly become one dimensional, and that's never good for anyone.
Final Grade: B-
Overall Show Grade (not an average): C-
Overall Show Comments: Well, this was a very phoned in edition of Smackdown. Aside from good moment from Cody Rhodes and Rey Mysterio, we saw pretty much a bonfire of bad script ideas shoved in front of us on Smackdown. The Big Show and Kane are being given the keys to the Tag Division, hopefully to help get some of these young teams over, but the way it was handled basically destroyed The Corre, and has left me wondering why they were ever put together in the first place.
LayCool continue to be brutal. This week we saw pretty much the exact same thing we saw last week, except towards the end of the segment we saw Michelle made a case for a lithium prescription by first consoling Layla and then assaulting her. If they do another counseling session next week, we'll be able to confirm that WWE are not supporters of the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
We had another cheap heat segment form Michael Cole, a couple of short matches of no consequence, and an IC Title Match that will make fans of botch videos giggle. I hope we see better next week after the draft, because this show was on life support.
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