Apologies, as I’m a little bit slow on this. Exam time at uni right now, so everything’s a bit hectic.
A few passing notes on Superstars: - Not too sure what’s going on with X-Pac and Tomko right now. They don’t really feel like anything. I guess giving X-Pac a win over Venis on Superstars has them doing something this week, but they really don’t matter at this stage, especially for two guys who just had a title shot on Pay-Per-View. They’re just … there, and that’s kind of a shame for Tomko, who felt like he was going to be big following on from his breakup from Christian.
- Chavo and Crazy teaming up is interesting. They’ve been played up as friends in the past, but I thought Chavo still had beef to settle with Kendrick. I’m not sure you can spread the cruiserweights over both their own division and the tag division right now, because both are pretty weak, and having a bunch of guys who don’t feel over, not doing a whole lot in either division isn’t going to help. With that said, it is good to see you forming teams.
- I feel bad for Victoria having to work with lesser talents on Superstars, but, at the same time, it does somewhat establish Maryse, plus she doesn’t fit into the title plans on RAW right now anyway, so it’s good to see her at least involved somewhere. It tells me that you do have an interest in involving her in the title scene in the future once again.
- For the Skipper/Bourne stuff, I guess you can basically see above. I’m actually a little disappointed Bourne hasn’t made it onto SmackDown! yet, as I really thought he could be the on to spark the cruiserweight division after being built up for months. It just doesn’t seem to be happened right now.
Anyway, enough of that. Onto the big stuff.
Hype for Albright winning the King of the Ring with the opening video package pretty much had to happen. I don’t mind you heeling Cole up, as it adds something to the announce team, although I hope you don’t go to over-the-top with it and basically make him the entire show like WWE did, because it’s starting to feel that way.
You pretty much summed it up yourself – there is no one else who could start this show off, other than Brent Albright. Even though he had his little speech after being crowned the King of the Ring, you feel like he has to command time at the beginning of SmackDown! too to show that he’s arrived. Albright recapping the events of Saturday night are fine, although I find the challenge to Carlito to be odd. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t feel like Carlito has still recuperated fully from his giant losing streak from last year, and that he doesn’t feel like more than just an average midcarder at this stage. For Albright to be involved with him following becoming the King of the Ring seems like a bit of a stalling point for him, despite me predicting it after what happened at Saturday Night’s Main Event. The fact that it’s a tag team challenge is a bit of a talking point though, as that adds something new to it. You could throw Primo in there with ‘Lito, but I don’t think you will, considering it was just a bit ago that Primo was taken out with a knee injury that was supposedly going to put him out for a year, not long after starting his wrestling training (or so you told us). I guess Jeff Hardy is a possibility, although I really don’t have any idea who Carlito’s partner will be. Anyway, moving on from that speculation, having Albright talk up the win over London as huge is good to see, as it really plays up their history and how much he’s struggled with London, while the line about it being The Master Craftsmen’s quest to reclaim pro wrestling is interesting. It certainly seems like they’re in for a big future, but their involvement with ‘Lito seems a little iffy. With that said, having Albright go after Lesnar tonight is a great way to instantly elevate him up a little bit, and I love the ‘Ace of Spades’ moniker, as it seems to fit Albright to a tee. A bit surprised no one interrupted Albright and Haas, but the final line was nice, and in some ways you seem to have these guys set to take SmackDown! by storm, yet in other ways they still feel like they’re not quite there yet. What happens next will be interesting, as it seems like you could do pretty much anything with them.
Both you and Legend coming up The Bash (and then SummerSlam after that) has me very excited. Hopefully you both keep rolling on.
The little promo from Kendrick before this match was nice, hyping up his match with London at The Bash and the whole dual champion thing. The Brian Kendrick becoming his official name is good to see too, as it basically completes his transformation, which I’ve quite liked, even if it feels like it’s come at the expense of the cruiserweight division in a way.
Simple match, throwing these two rivalries together, but it works just fine. Kendrick running from London in the early portions, before jumping in the ring when London was under control, only to lose that control was just some smart psychology, adding that little extra aspect to the match. The faces picking up the win builds their momentum ahead of The Bash, and while either team really could have won, I like that you’re really continuing to build Booker and Burke up ahead of their final shot at the gold.
Good way to get some jobbers who really only glanced over last week’s show up to speed. I may know one of them.
As I’ve said before, Nemeth should prove a welcome addition to the SmackDown! midcard. I’m not sure how exactly you’ll work him in there, but the whole narcissist gimmick should create some natural friction and feuds.
Not too sure what to make of this. I understand Finlay was seeking revenge, but the beatdown also seemed too heelish from him. This also seems like a bit of a thrown together feud for The Bash. It doesn’t look to have a whole lot of legs, and I can’t see it really doing any good for either man, except for maybe recuperating MVP following his loss to Carlito in their feud-ending match.
The Orton promo is simple, but it works fine, continuing to try to build towards the match at The Bash with Lesnar, as well as reminding us of the whole New Wave situation. Have to say, I really liked the clever little line at the end about Cade and Doane being at SmackDown! next week, although Lesnar may not be. It’s just a clever little line that really won’t get much recognition (especially with the disgustingly low number of reviews you get these days when pretty much everyone in the section should be reading these shows), but it shows what I love about your writing and booking – it’s just intelligent.
The squash victory for JBL works fine, building him up ahead of his big match with The Undertaker at The Bash. No one believes he can win at this stage, and perhaps rightfully so, so you have to do what you can to make him look like a threat.
The promo after the match does a good job of that too. By having JBL being so sure that he’s going to win, talking up the fact that he’s not scared of The Undertaker, at least it’s built up to be a big match in his mind, and that leaves you feeling like he maybe could win … even if he won’t.
Batista calling Edge out seemed a little random at first here, as he didn’t give any reason as to why he wanted to get his hands on him early. I understand you wanted to keep Batista’s part short and sweet because he’s a bit weak on the mic (well, as a face at least), but it just seems odd for him to call Edge out without any real reasoning being given. At least there was some reasoning given to it after, when talking about whether or not Edge fears Batista with the whole spearing him when they were on the same team thing, but again you didn’t really point out that that’s why this segment is happening, thus making it seem a bit random, despite the fact that these two are feuding. I’m not sure if the whole “whether the spear was intentional” thing really matters, but I did like Edge asking if he looked scared, only for Batista to respond that he should be looking scared. Batista laying Edge out is probably a good idea too, because it gives you the sense that he really does belong with him in the main event, moving Batista well and truly up from the midcard, where he was before. The little line at the end from Batista was nice too, capping the promo off well.
I expect a top notch card for the Australian portion of this world tour.
I like the fact that you’re having Noble step away from the whole JBL suit thing back into his old self, as it gives him that real feel good type thing – he’s a guy who’s proud of who he is. Having him chasing Kendrick is good to see too, as it actually brings some focus upon the Cruiserweight Title, which we probably haven’t seen enough of. The little three way confrontation at the end didn’t feel necessary, but I guess you are trying to keep Kendrick somewhat involved with the cruiserweights, being the champion and all.
I’m really glad to see you giving the cruiserweight match so long. As you know, I feel like the division has suffered since WrestleMania, but giving them more TV time is the perfect way to allow them to shine again. Jamie Noble is exactly the type of guy who could really rebuild the division too if he’s put in a big feud.
As I’ve said before, SummerSlam is looking like it’ll be a huge show, capped with the big Angle/Christian main event. Not too sure what to expect on the SummerSlam side, but I guess we’ll see after The Bash.
I’m not too sure if JBL and Booker have history in this thread, but throwing them together for a match next week isn’t the worst idea. Granted, it won’t be the best match, but the crowd should be into it. The idea that they’re both possibly going to have their careers ended at The Bash being used in the confrontation was nice too.
The Belfast Brawl gimmick was always going to come after the ending to the matches these guys have had over the past few weeks, but I can’t say I’m too excited for this feud. I’ll explain later.
Nice to see you taking time to hype The Bash card, even in recap, although things like Cole walking out and taking attention away is the type of overbearing stuff I was talking about earlier. I don’t think he needs to be too over-the-top to be an effective heel.
I really liked that you had a long match between Albright and Lesnar here, really letting Albright hang with Lesnar, albeit through help from Haas. The fact that he won, even with the interference, is great too, as it keeps his momentum at a high and almost makes him feel like he belongs in the main event immediately. Lesnar obviously isn’t hurt from the loss either, due to the interference from Orton, which only builds their issue. The ending was very interesting too, really announcing The Master Craftsmen by having them stand alone at the end of the show, looking like their own men. Very nice ending to the show.
As always, this was well written stuff, Wolfy. While I’m at it, I also thought I’d give you some thoughts on the card for The Bash. Generally, I feel like the card is a little lacking. From a wrestling perspective, things look pretty good – Orton/Lesnar, London/Kendrick and the two tag matches promise a lot, while the Edge/Batista match should be quite good too. What the card lacks is that edge. None of these feuds really feel that explosive. Edge/Batista is almost there, but Orton/Lesnar, which feels like it should be big considering it involves the two biggest stars on the show, really doesn’t feel that big. Maybe it’s because Lesnar was cost the title by the sledgehammer at Judgment Day and thus you feel like he’ll probably lose in the same fashion again, or maybe it’s because there’s other guys who could have a more heated feud with Orton (Jericho, Van Dam, Flair), but it just lacks that big thing. Things seemed to pick up a little this week, and Albright’s involvement in the main event is fresh, so maybe things will change by then, but The Bash card just seems to be lacking that pop.
RAW, on the other hand, has no such problem. I’m really enjoying basically everything that’s going on there, and the card this week looks great again. Looking forward to it.