Shore's WWE Smackdown Hitlist: Fandango hangs with CM Punk, Alberto Del Rio Hits as a heel, Layla's heel turn flops, Dolph Ziggler watches Big E Langston, RVD vs. Christian vs. Randy Orton, and more
By Chris Shore
WWE Smackdown Hits
RVD vs. Christian vs. Randy Orton: This was a Hit both in match quality and in who won. I was genuinely surprised when RVD wasn't the guy chosen, but I think Christian is the right guy here. Orton has the briefcase and doesn't need to be involved in the World Championship picture (though it could be a good story), and RVD doesn't feel like a main event act. Not that Christian has been positioned that way yet, but Christian can have good talking segments with Alberto Del Rio, and I'm not sure RVD can.
CM Punk vs. Fandango: The artist formerly known as Johnny Curtis showed that he belongs in a WWE ring with this match, and even though Punk didn't really gain anything from this match, it was still a Hit. Fandango is not a main event act, and it doesn't have to be right now, but it is an act that is over and has room to grow. Fandango showed that he could hang with the "best in the world" even with a cheesy gimmick. Imagine what this match could be if he had a serious character. Punk did the kid a solid. If you have doubts about Fandango, watch this match and see if your opinion doesn't change.
Alberto Del Rio: Del Rio's return to heel status was a big enough Hit, and this week showed why. Besides his guacamole line at the end--which I laughed at fairly hard--his opening work had the crowd eating out of his hands. His babyface run was not good, and the second half of his last heel run wasn't anything to write home about either, but this is a good return to the Del Rio that debuted and won me over as a legitimate heel.
WWE Smackdown Misses
Layla's heel turn: Yes, you could see this coming from a mile away, but that isn't what makes this a miss. The thing that AJ and Kaitlyn had going for them was they were actual characters. Sure, Kaitlyn was a bit of a dumb character to fall for the catfish gimmick, but it was still a character you could identify with and understand her motivations. Layla hasn't had a character in years, and that makes her actions on the show virtually meaningless. While they may be able to give her a character quickly and turn this into a Hit, their first offering was a sure miss.
Dolph Ziggler and Big E Langston: Langston had an OK match with Sin Cara, but WWE seems to be confused about this feud. Dolph is feuding with AJ, not Langston. Langston is merely the proxy for AJ in the ring. When you take AJ out of the equation, the feud loses all its steam and becomes a miss. This is especially true when the total interaction is Dolph staring disapprovingly at Langston on a video screen.
Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow: WWE seems to be telling two stories at the same time with these two. On the one hand, there is the hapless Damien Sandow who was shown coughing up water from the Gulf of Mexico while silly classical music played, along with Cody the smiling fool who wrestled Jack Swagger. On the other hand, there's the brutal beating that Sandow delivered to Rhodes backstage. I'm not trying to imply that a story has to be completely serious all the time, but the disjointed nature of the storytelling in this feud makes for missable moments like tonight.
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