Nice little reminder of the events of last week, especially for those of us who have been lazy to start the show with. I like the suddenness of Kennedy kicking off the show immediately, before your rundown of the card with the commentators, which looks quite impressive, I must say.
Giving Kennedy time to talk before the match is a good way to start things off, and the he talked himself up, saying the fans will be blessed, not just lucky, but blessed was brilliant. The way he talked up all of the people he’s beaten as well, bringing up all of those big names, as well as talking himself up as a future world champion and someone Teddy Long can no longer ignore was good too. The way he again talked up the day of the Rumble, speaking about how it’ll be the big day that people will want to mark down was great, leading into his own little personal introduction, before the Kane interruption. Nice little Kennedy promo to start the show off, with the character being spot on.
Kennedy showing brashness to begin the match, getting in Kane’s face, only for Kane to own him is a good way to start a match with these two, playing off their two biggest traits well (Kennedy’s arrogance and Kane’s power). The match from there was fine, taking on the regular shape up until the finish. I don’t mind seeing MVP go for revenge on Kane here, as you had him say in a promo it would happen, and this is a good way to start it. The dirty win works for Kennedy too, because while it mightn’t mean a lot to some, he can gloat about it in a way that will make it seem like a big deal. Good start to the show. The post-match hit with the chair to Kane’s face is the icing on the cake.
Nice little promo from MVP, portraying his anger well. The way you went about him wanting revenge on Kane was good, and I really like him as the last inclusion in the Royal Rumble, as it’ll be a good chance for him to prove himself. Nice little promo.
The Rumble is near. Nice little hyping of the SmackDown! side of the card too.
Nice way to get The Hooligans on the card here with a win over a team who looked good last week, and has some credibility about them in The Extremists. The match writing was good again here, allowing both teams to look good, even if Dreamer and Sabu were on the losing side. The handshake afterwards is a nice little showing of respect between two face teams too.
I’m a bit surprised I didn’t see it coming, but La Resistance attacking The Hooligans and being the team Maryse will be attempting to take to the gold is a nice move, adding another team to the SmackDown! roster, and with Maryse being similar to Ashley, giving them a real feeling of equality with The Hooligans. A very good move to strengthen your tag division.
Nice little promo from Batista, making the big statement to Finlay ahead of their match at Royal Rumble and addressing the big issue of Finlay’s assault a few weeks back well. While it wasn’t exactly full of character, that’s something that really typifies Batista, and I thought you wrote him well.
I have to say, I really like the choice of the First Blood Match here. It’s not something you see often, but it is absolutely perfect in these circumstances. I like the way the match started out as an absolute brawl, because it really called for it. Not so sure about a steel chair becoming involved so early, as you usually like to build a little more to those things, but I still liked Hardy smashing Mercury’s head into anything he could to try to get him to bleed. The brutal nature of the match was done really well, as while the spots were great, I also loved the simple things like Mercury kneeing Hardy in the forehead, trying to get him to bleed. Pulling a trash can and a kendo stick out after using a steel chair previously in the match is a little odd, as it seems like a step back in terms of how hardcore the weapons are, although the spot with them was very nice. I was actually surprised at how emphatic Matt’s win was at the end of the match, but I guess it signals how you rate him over Mercury, and it doesn’t matter too much, as this program has done Mercury the world of good anyway. Hopefully you continue to utilize him in your midcard.
Nice little touch at the start of this promo with the “KING Booker” line at the start of the promo. The contrast Booker created between himself and Undertaker was done pretty well, keeping in character while also having that fit of rage that he does well. I also liked the way Booker addressed the Rumble match, with the little pun of the Royal Rumble being fit for a king used really well. The closing line was clever too, making for a nice little promo from Booker.
WrestleMania should be pretty great when you get there.
Good little promo to promote a future rematch between Regal and Taylor and The Extremists. I have to say that I’m happy that Regal and Taylor don’t look like being merely jobbers, and that they’re actually in something of a feud. The way in which Regal spoke was really nice too, practically perfect in terms of character, which is impressive because you see a lot of people overdo it.
I’m honestly surprised you had Miz against Benoit here, as Miz is only just removed from squashing the lower carders, and this is a huge step up for him. The match did a pretty good job of allowing Miz to look okay here though, while Benoit gets to roll into the Rumble. A bit surprised we only saw Test and that he didn’t attack Benoit, but I guess he’s made his impact.
Ehm … riiiight.
Honestly, Vito getting involved with The FBI is probably the best thing for him, although these segments are very corny. Just a small thing, but I think you overdid the ‘ah’ of the Italian accent, but it seems almost like you were trying to make it that cheesy anyway.
Looking forward to seeing what you do with AmDrag.
@ Helms and JBL on commentary. A bit surprised by how this match went, as Chavo picking up the win and seemingly setting up a heel vs. heel rivalry with Helms seems a little odd. I also thought you could have dragged the issue between More and Helms out some more, but the match itself was still written well.
Nice little segment, showing Long standing up for himself as the face GM, while I also liked the emphatic statement from Finlay that he didn’t need it at the Rumble and that he’d be coming to get it back after as World Heavyweight Champion. Nice little segment.
@ JBL during Finlay’s entrance. Awesome.
I really like the way you built this match, having the momentum swing to the favour of the heels by having Finlay take a cheap shot at Batista, then continue to work the shoulder before the match at the Rumble. Batista and Finlay brawling off is fine, although I’m surprised you gave Undertaker a clean win over Booker so early in their rivalry. It was still a good end to the show all the same, and with Batista and Finlay continuing to brawl, a very good way to end the final show before the Rumble.
Once again, I thought this was an impressive show. You’ve done a very good job of giving it that real go home show feel, hyping everything at the Rumble that required it, while also moving along your other stuff too. Like always, the writing was good too, and combined with the booking made for an enjoyable show. I’m really looking forward to the Rumble now, because there’s a lot you can do, and after the show WrestleMania should no doubt be taking shape. Good stuff, mate.