Yeah, got to this eventually. Don’t think I was going to let this one get past me.
The WrestleMania recap served its job of reminding me of the SmackDown! WrestleMania stuff, while the commentary hyping up the aftermath of WrestleMania as big and exciting for this show was nicely done.
Edge coming out to kick off the show after winning the title at WrestleMania makes sense, and I love the idea of Del Rio (along with Brodus Clay) attacking him, trying to make a big impact coming off the loss to him at WrestleMania, while also making sure the heat is staying very high in this one. Del Rio jumping into the ring with the world title over his shoulder and starting his promo off like nothing just happened is a really nice way to show off his cocky attitude, not caring that he just beat the shit out of Edge. Del Rio saying he wanted to imagine just what it would have been like to be the champion, thus having the belt with him was alright, especially with the building up from Del Rio that he thought he was screwed. The whole bill thing was great too, showing the real arrogant side of Del Rio by having him, in such a serious time, talking about something like that. Having him try to have Edge stripped of the belt and also offering to pay the bill if Edge hands him the title was clever, showing his desperation to become champion. Edge standing up to him, despite his position had to be done, while Christian coming out to make the save builds for the main event well. A pretty good way to start the show off, building up not just the rivalry here between Del Rio and Edge, but also for the main event between Christian and Del Rio.
Having Trent Barreta being the first man qualified for the six pack challenge is a little surprising considering WWE has been having him do absolutely nothing of note to this point, but I guess the six pack challenge allows you to throw a few outsiders in there and allow them to look good. I don’t mind you signaling a push for him here either, with a solid win over Guerrero, even if the crowd really wouldn’t care all that much about this match due to neither man being showcased at all of late. The match writing was decent enough here too, making for a solid opening match.
Having it known that Barrett is watching the qualifiers is a nice little touch, while this not just hypes up the match for later, but perhaps signals for a more dominant performance from The Corre not just tonight, but from now on. A short promo, but it does have the potential to set the tone for things to come.
Personally, I would have liked to see these six-pack challenge qualifying matches spread out more. Having them one after the other when you have a whole show to work with seems odd, especially considering spreading them out more would maybe keep the concept in the viewer’s mind for longer. I was surprised this match went as long as it did because it felt like you could have just had almost a squash match, but Rhodes still looked dominant, and that’s what’s important here.
Rey coming out to try to brawl with Rhodes is a good way to keep their feud alive, although it felt a lot like the Christian/Del Rio one earlier, with Rhodes bailing just before Mysterio could hit him with his finisher.
Extreme Rules coming soon would be nice, although I know how you struggle for pace with shows.
The Barreta promo showed enough personality, with him talking with his own lingo, plus the attempts to get the crowd behind him were nice. Capitalising on the matches he had with McIntyre earlier in the year is smart, and I certainly wouldn’t object to a feud between these two leading up to Extreme Rules and perhaps after it. It’s a good way to elevate Barreta up and make him seem like he belongs in the eyes of the fans.
Simple but effective way to turn around The Corre’s momentum by having them beat the guys they lost to at WrestleMania. Santino taking the beating makes sense, as he’s obviously the weakest member, while Barrett, as the figurehead of The Corre (despite them being “equals”) picking up the pinfall is a smart move. The post-match stuff works well to allow Show and Kane to go after the tag champs, while the Kofi/Wade thing is hyped up a bit as well. Good booking all-round with regards to The Corre and their titles.
Snooki sticking around? Can’t really say I’m a huge fan of that, as I just can’t see her bringing anything positive to the division. I’m not too sure what to make of this little brawl, as I can’t see Snooki being involved in a feud, although Phoenix being a smiley face really seems a bit weak for her.
I have mixed feelings on this one. Otunga coming out to Edge’s music? A brilliant heel heat tactic. However, at the same time, hyping him up on the preview as a RAW superstar being on SmackDown!, then delivering, well, him, is a huge letdown. I guess I was just expecting someone of interest, but I have to say I’m a little put off by it being Otunga here. The first few lines from Otunga were pretty brilliant, with SmackDown! being “the B show” due to the lack of A-listers. Otunga talking himself up as a real celebrity and thus being too good to be in anyone’s shadow was nice too, while him making an open challenge on SmackDown! seems a little weird, although I guess it sets up the answer from Sin Cara well.
Having Sin Cara shut Otunga up isn’t a bad way to debut him, however, at the same time, I’m not sure Otunga is a suitable first opponent for Cara. What makes Sin Cara impressive is the moves he does, and as such, they should be sold well. Sticking him in there with Otunga, a guy who is awful at everything, isn’t really going to make Cara look as good as possible, and thus he probably isn’t a preferable first opponent. Having him shut Otunga up no doubt gets him some brownie points with the crowd, but I just think you could have picked someone better.
Showing Christian looking over Edge is not just a nice way to remind us of what happened earlier, but it also hypes the main event well.
Really, really not happy to see Michael Cole interfering in the main event. I know he’s meant to be a big heel, but he makes me want to change the channel more than anything else in real life, and I really couldn’t give a damn about him. To see him getting himself involved in another big match really isn’t something I’m a fan of. I’d rather him instead just become a dicky announcer without being involved in anything to do with wrestling. I understand it set the Swagger interference up, and they have their relationship due to Swagger training Cole, but I don’t think the Cole part was needed still. With that said, Del Rio gets his world title shot, Christian is protected, and you have a ready made feud between Christian and Swagger, which are all positives, meaning you’ve shaped the main event scene up well.
All in all, a pretty good first SmackDown!, Melvisboy. A few small things I didn’t like, but you’ve set things up so that you can start to push the guys you want to push and create some feuds of your own. It’s just one show in, but I like the way you’re changing SmackDown! up a bit already. Good stuff.