Shore's WWE Smackdown Hitlist: Antonio Cesaro impresses, Daniel Bryan excels, Ryback convinces, Randy Orton bores, Teddy Long stinks, Cody Rhodes flunders, and Darren Young and Titus O'Neal bully
By Chris Shore
WWE Smackdown Hits
Daniel Bryan: Bryan continues to deliver solid promo after solid promo each and every week. His opening segment put some much needed heat on his match with Sheamus, and continued to tease an AJ involvement in their match. I thought for some time that he might need to be turned baby face because of his crowd reaction, but he was readily booed in the closing segment with Sheamus, so we may have one of those unique moments where a heel will get some cheers, but people still want him to be the heel, much like Ric Flair back in the 80s. Whatever happens, I hope it is an organic growth of his character that determines his path, not WWE tinkering with him to get what they think we want. Tinkering could lead to damage that totally derails this character.
Antonio Cesaro: A good first impression for the former Claudio Castignoli. The pop-up European uppercut got a good gasp from the crowd, and his finisher was something different. His look is a little nondescript, except for the weird wrappings around his thighs, and his music is the worst. He's also saddled with the albatross that is the Teddy long storyline. None of those things are his fault, however, and I hope he is able to overcome them as he did look very impressive in his short match.
Sheamus vs. Mark Henry: It was a meaningless match that allowed Sheamus to get his win back, even if the loss from before was so tainted it didn't hurt him. I've seen better from these guys, but it was still pretty good. And it was the only match that lasted longer than the amount of time it takes to nuke a hot dog, so there's that.
Ryback: The former Skip Sheffield has certainly been impressive in his size, and his in-ring work has been brutal enough to make me a believer. It's time to move him into a serious feud with someone now, as his killing of jobbers every week is on the edge of getting old. He needs a mouthpiece as cutting promos would take some of the mystique away from this "beast" character, but other than that he is ready to go.
WWE Smackdown Misses
Randy Orton: I almost fell asleep during his promo. The video package they showed did all the heavy lifting for this feud with Kane. Orton's promo actually took away fro that video. Worse, it reinforced the idea that there is no reason to cheer for him. He freely admits to being a psycho who loves to hurt people. This is what passes for a babyface in WWE today? I don't need all the baby's to be good two shoes, in fact I want as few of those as possible. But Orton's character has no redeeming qualities. He's cheered simply because he is Randy Orton and people like to see him. That's not enough to sustain good storytelling, and this feud bears that out.
Teddy Long: Every week I tell myself I'm not going to let the Teddy Long segments get to me, and every week they do. Putting aside the fact that the segments themselves aren't funny or entertaining, the biggest problem is that there is no satisfying pay off down the road. WWE has wrung the last bits of sympathy out of Teddy. There is no more left. So if he isn't sympathetic, then there is no reason to care if he will be able to get revenge on Laurinaitis. So now we are forced to suffer through segment after segment of stupidity, only to have it just end one day with the only joy coming from it finally being over. Why bother?
Cody Rhodes: I still do not understand why Cody Rhodes continues to get buried. He attacks Big Show and gets beat up, and then has to face Khali, who beats hm in less than two minutes. How, exactly, does this make me want to watch him face Big Show again on Sunday? Does WWE not understand how it takes heat off of this match?
Darren Young and Titus O'Neal: These guys are doing fine in the ring. And while I appreciate them standing up to Ezekiel Jackson and not being the chickenshit heels, the cheerleader/schoolyard chant at the end, combined with the poorly done racial insult humor, made this a big miss for this viewer.
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