Barnett's WWE Smackdown Hitlist: The Fatal Four Way angle impresses, The Tag Titles are put over, Cesaro continues to excel, and the lower card still struggles
By Jake Barnett
WWE Smackdown Hits
Fatal Four Way angle: WWE has managed to really put a focus on the fatal four way match for Sheamus’s World Heavyweight Title in a very short period of time. I’m impressed at how this unfolded on Raw and Smackdown, and it’s the first time in recent memory that a competitive and compelling four man title match has developed organically on WWE TV. The performances on Smackdown were good from all four men, and it’s refreshing to see the heels and faces have tension with each other rather than pair off coexist per usual. Jericho and Sheamus’s match also deserves mention, as they had a very good main event that didn’t give away too much going into the PPV. They have one more week to build this match, and I hope they can these guys cut at least one memorable promo together, because I think the work of selling the animosity in the ring is pretty much over.
The Tag Titles were put over: The WWE Tag Division has languished for what feels like a generation, so it was good to see at least some lip service paid to the titles by a few teams on Smackdown. They announced a Tag Team Title match for Over the Limit, and two other teams also announced their intentions to be the next WWE Tag Team champions as well. I really hope they continue down this path, as the Tag Division is a great way that future singles wrestlers can hone their skills and make a name for themselves without spending extended periods of time playing the role of jobber to the stars.
Titus O’Neill and Darren Young: These two continue to look very impressive in their short but high energy tag matches. They also cut a decent, if not comical, heel promo after the match where they announced their intention to take the WWE Tag Titles. These two feel like a genuine team, and have some nice double team offense to compliment their high impact style. If they can work out some of the hiccups on the microphone, they have the charisma to be an interesting Tag Title contender.
Antonio Cesaro: Cesaro had another impressive performance against Alex Riley. They are leaning on the rugby gimmick heavily, as he grabbed Riley’s ear during the match to mimic a rugby scrum and wore a rugby jacket to the ring, but so far it seems to be working fine for him. He’s looked sharp thus far and seems to be settling well into his role of torturing Teddy Long by stealing Aksana from him. I just hope that story is over soon so we can see him get into a real feud with an actual ring talent.
AJ and Daniel Bryan: Daniel Bryan continues to be a dastardly ex-boyfriend, further twisting the knife in AJ’s back each week with sleazy and hurtful promos. Last night was no different, as he ripped AJ’s heart out again by first teasing an apology and then telling her he was moving on to Kaitlyn. The look on AJ’s face was picture perfect crazy ex girlfriend, and Bryan’s asshole smile was perfect as well. These two are by far the most interesting characters on WWE TV right now from a pure drama standpoint, and they have yet to disappoint when given microphones.
WWE Smackdown Misses:
Short Maches: There were 9 matches on Smackdown last night, and only 3 of them were longer than 3 minutes. I understand the need to try to advance as many stories as possible heading when they have a quick PPV turn around like this, but 50 second matches do nothing for anyone. It may be necessary sometimes for someone to get a quick fluke win, but when it happens constantly it feels like the wrestling is taking a backseat to the drama, and most of the drama just isn’t good enough to hold people’s interest at the moment.
Brodus Clay vs. Hunico: 50 seconds and this one was over. It started out promising when Camacho floored Brodus with a cheap shot, but Hunico got squashed anyways. The Brodus act is hanging on the end of its rope creatively at this point. They did a great job of hooking everybody in with the entertainment portion of his act, but we haven’t really seen Brodus to anything of meaning yet in the ring. It’s a shame because there are a lot of young heels on the roster that could be used effectively against him.
Ryback: Ryback got his first “legitimate” contender this week in Heath Slater, but I’m not sure he even qualifies at this point. He hasn’t been in a competitive match in ages, and Ryback crushed him in the same amount of time it took him to grind the local wrestlers he had been facing into paste. Ryback needs to start facing tougher opponents, or at least get a mouth piece to start threatening prominent wrestlers on his behalf.
Announce Crew: The three man announce booth is better than it was with Cole doing his outlandish heel act, but on the whole this team still takes more away from the show than it adds. Cole and Mathews would probably do fine, but with Booker T on the end of the table Mathews doesn’t get a chance to say much and Booker’s mouth diarrhea is completely nonsensical. Booker’s act just doesn’t mesh well with either Cole or Mathews and what they end up producing is a show where both men have to correct Booker quite often and Mathews really only gets to do promotional work.
Do you have questions, comments or concerns? Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @barnettjake.
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