Nice little reminder of the major event of last week, reminding us of Finlayís big win, which will surely be crucial for tonightís show.
Starting off with tag title action straight away? I have to say, I quite like how we instantly got it, giving the start of the show a more exciting feel. The commentary at the beginning of the match, giving hype to the card as a whole, while also building up how important the tag title match itself was, was nicely done. The match itself was pretty nicely done, with you showing a real contrast in styles between the high flying stuff from The Hooligans, and the more straight up fighting style of Regal and Taylor. The match built up well to a pretty exciting climax, and keeping Londrick looking strong with a title defense is certainly good to see as they now move off into their Maryse based program.
Iím surprised you had Test state his motives so quickly, as I thought another few beatdowns for a few weeks would have been in order first, but I guess this is just a mini feud anyway. Test talking up what he did to Benoit as his gimmick, making it all about the impact was fine, although I would have liked to have seen him talking about the US Title, which heíll surely be going after Benoit to get. Iím pretty sure thatís what he was building to when Benoit jumped him, but I would have liked for him to say it first. The attack from Benoit is a nice showing of intensity, getting this feud some real heat early.
@ the generic banter of Londrick. The seduction from Maryse was well done too, really drawing The Hooligans in well before the confrontation with Ashley. The talk from Ashley, showing the instant heat was nicely done too, and while this is just a midcard thing, Iím already enjoying what youíre doing here. Itís definitely got my attention.
@ JBL talking about Vito. Academic win for Test here, which while he looks good during, Iím not really sure it was necessary. Heís already had his impact for the night, but I guess you really want to get him over on his new show.
The Rumble card is shaping up nicely. Should be one to look forward to.
The interaction between Long and Helms was pretty good here to begin with, showing Long standing up for himself and not being a pushover, really justifying himself well. The challenge for Helms for this week in Shannon Moore as a new signing, while maybe not that spectacular, is a nice one, as it catches Helms off guard, while itís a good way to keep the thing going between Teddy and Helms, and also allows Shannon to slip back into things on SmackDown! well. Good booking.
Interesting angle. I would have maybe liked Vito trying to justify himself before being jumped, but adding The FBI back to the ranks on SmackDown!, and putting Vito back there instead of as a cross dresser seems a good idea. Itís also a positive to make an angle of it, even if it seems a little weird (as JBL hilariously pointed out on commentary while owning Cole, which I love).
Basic match between Moore and Helms, but really, thatís all it needed to be. I liked the psychology you used of Moore taking control early due to the shock of Helms at having to face Moore, while the finish did its job just fine. It was to be expected, but itís still good booking as Moore looks good on his return to SmackDown!, Helms is protected by the fact it was a roll-up victory and he didnít expect to be in a match, and you also have a title feud now to go with it. Good stuff.
Again, after already seeing a brawl between Test and Benoit, Iím not sure Benoit in action is something you really need. The match itself was fine, again showing good psychology with Mercury targeting the neck of Benoit, which was used well throughout the match. Iím not so sure about Test bating Benoit down after the match now, as while I thought this should have been the go, I also believe that having Test in action or cutting a promo was then needless. A gutwrench powerbomb out on the floor is a big statement too, and I would have thought that it should have slowly built to that, with Test making a real impact with the move, then revealing his motives so we have the feud go from there. This way seems a bit jumbled up, and like it doesnít have as much natural progression, but itís still making for a decent enough midcard feud.
The promo from Batista here wasnít as good as I thought it could have bee. It seemed that you could have really built Finlayís battles with Batista in the past and said Finlayís taken him to the limit, making him a tough challenger, before Batista says heíll be tough to beat for the title and then you can get through the rest of the Finlay needing to bring everything heís got type of stuff. Still, the way you used Finlayís catchphrase to end the promo was a nice way to finish the promo off.
Interesting little tease from Long. While this seems certain to be a challenger for Helms in the future as some new competition (and is likely Bryan Danielson, as youíve alluded to him in your news a few times), Iím not so sure about the timing of this. I mean, I like AmDrag, but I really think that he should be brought in once Helmsí program with Moore is done, and that only just began tonight, meaning it should have some legs, and could probably go all of the way through to No Way Out. Rather than having AmDrag appear now, I thought you could have maybe waited for this after WrestleMania, with Helms defeating Moore in a feud and again having no competition to give you a long-term feud, but with that said, when Helms/Danielson happens I have no doubt that it should be good. I admittedly found the stuff with Teddy and The Sandman a little bit lame, but the ECW Originals making their way onto SmackDown! should be interesting, especially with the line about chaos and violence, no doubt hinting at a storyline coming.
@ JBL. Awesome.
The idea of Booker addressing The Undertaker is very interesting for me, because while they may have had a feud that sucked in 2004, I still think the two could put on something pretty interesting. The use of the ďroyalĒ Booker type language was good early, although Iím not so sure about calling The Undertaker a peasant, because heís meant to be that different, supernatural type of guy. Instead I thought it would have maybe made more sense for Booker to talk about Undertaker as a dragon, and Booker as the king who must slay him for his actions and for the good of the peasants, who are falsely bullied into cheering The Undertaker. Still, Booker saying that ĎTaker was running from him was a pretty nice line, and the way that Booker challenged ĎTaker, in the way of Bookerís language, was great. Iím a bit disappointed youíre giving us the match between the two straight away, but the way in which Booker spoke was great. The end of the promo was kind of where I wanted you to go at the beginning, speaking of slaying The Undertaker, making for a pretty good conclusion to the promo. While it may have been pretty short, in terms of characterisation this promo was really good, and youíve given us a match to look forward to next week.
I would mark if you made it to WrestleMania, tbh.
Good to see you keeping on with the previous week with the hate of JBL for The Miz. Not so sure about Wang Yang being fed to Miz as a jobber, as while the gimmick sucked, Wang Yang was actually one of the cruiserweight in a decent position at this time to always step up and have a competitive match with Helms, so for him to be jobbed out to a rookie here really sets him down a notch. Nice to see you really putting over Mizís aggressive streak in the match, and McCool getting involved is okay, although I thought that should have been reserved for when Miz gets more of a challenge, because having to cheat to win your first match is kind of weak.
Nice use of Finlayís character to show some real aggression here with a small promo, which heíll hopefully back up in the match, as he needs the momentum to look a threat.
Nice to see a little promo from Kennedy about the Rumble as part of his introduction to the main event. A small thing was that I thought that just flat out calling the crowd ďassholesĒ has never seemed like a WWE thing to do, but the promo, however short, was still good at showing off Kennedyís arrogance.
Very nice main event here, showing the usual psychology of targeting a body part after capitalizing on attacking Kane on the outside, before the finish that was done well, giving Finlay some real momentum, while really not costing Batista due to the use of the (second) shillelagh. The ending was great, with Finlay making a real statement, which imo, he needed to do after talking a big game early. Good way to finish the show.
Another pretty damn exciting show here, iMac. While the booking maybe isnít quite on the level of RAW, where your main event stuff is absolutely owning, the show still has that real exciting feel to it that is really making me love this BTB. The booking throughout was solid, and the writing pretty impressive too. I feel youíre doing a good job all the way throughout the card, so really itís just a matter of keeping it going. Good stuff, my man.