Shore's WWE Smackdown Hitlist: Poor WrestleMania build; but fun matches rom Alberto Del Rio, Damien Sandow, Antonio Cesaro, and Miz; Zeb Colter, Jim Ross, and Jack Swagger miss; Fandango and Big Show do not
By Chris Shore
WWE Smackdown Hits
Alberto Del Rio vs. Damien Sandow: There was much left to be desired of the way WWE built toward WrestleMania, but putting that aside for now (see below) the match was very well wrestled. Del Rio is not getting over with most crowds, but he wins them over in the ring, and Sandow has serious talent both on the mic and in the ring. Combine all that with the hot finish they had and it was a well wrestled, albeit meaningless, match.
Antonio Cesaro vs. The Miz: WWE really wants this feud to work but they haven't sold it the way they should have. Similar to the Del Rio match, this one was better watched as a match in a bubble instead of a stop along a storyline. Cesaro and Miz have good chemistry in the ring, no question. But it's Cesaro's weak heel character and Miz's poor babyface character that are holding them back. I also liked how WWE gave a fall away during commercials. As long as their sponsors don't get upset about it, I think it's a great way to keep fans engaged.
Fandango: The lunatic formerly known as Johnny Curtis gets a Hit from me not because he has sold me on the Fandango character. We have only seen a split second of it so it is way too early to judge. Instead, the Hit comes his complete dedication to the act. I believed he believed he was Fandango as he talked to Matt Striker, and there's something to be said for that. I may ultimately end up hating this, but Curtis has the stones to pull it off, so if anybody can win me over to an act that should stink out of the gates, it will be him.
Big Show: Big Show continues to impress me each week, but this Hit has more to do with staying the course more than anything else. His knockout punch of Reigns was a great visual on the show, and I actually popped when he just walked over and chokeslammed Orton. It is that sort of "screw everybody" attitude that has made Big Show work as a character these past few months. I don't want to see that derailed, and I was afraid that was happening during the orange paint incident with Del Rio. Nice to see they have righted the ship.
WWE Smackdown Misses
Zeb Coulter, Jack Swagger, and Jim Ross: Like the Del Rio match, everyone here did well with their part. Colter looked crazy, Swagger looked intense, and JR lead the whole act like the skilled craftsman he is. And like the match, I think there are better ways to build for the Swagger vs. Del Rio match than this. The reason why this is a miss then, is the effect on the storyline. Del Rio had a meaningless match. Swagger and Colter turned a corner here, and it was the wrong move to make.
The cultish twinge to Colter's words, and Swagger's actions, in the segment could turn this from the good kind of bad press they have been getting to the bad type. It's one thing to have two ignorant racists running around. It's a whole other thing for a cult leader with a bad mustache ordering a blonde haired, blue-eyed, giant Aryan like Jack Swagger around. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think casual fans will turn away from this act fairly quickly.
WrestleMania build: Did this show do anything to sell WrestleMania? Swagger and Del Rio were in separate segments (minus a couple of sentences from Del Rio). Sheamus and Orton had another Shield moment, but that's just treading water. Kane and Daniel Bryan didn't do much. Mark Henry didn't even appear. I realize WWE has five weeks still to go, and I appreciate a little patience in storytelling, but WWE should be using all of their time wisely, and this show came across as a televised house show. More attention could have been paid to building to Mania feuds.
Hell No vs. Prime Time Players: The question is not "if" Daniel Bryan and Kane are going to break up, but "when." And that leads to the question of who will win the championships. The best answer is the Prime Time Players (barring some angle with the Shield), but could they possibly have been abused more than this week? It's fine to not have tag teams mean much, but don't put guys together with real talent just to cover them in shit. It's so frustrating to watch.
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