Iíll get one negative out of the way, because for the most part this was an enjoyable piece of reading. I simply donít get the reasoning for ditching the cage match simply because Triple H got run down on Raw. Yeah, the replacement of Edge versus Undertaker (and Iíll add to that in a second) is a bigger match than Jericho & Dykstra for sure, and I understand that you wanted away from the already announced cage match, seeing as it isnít part of your
vision for Smackdown, BUT, the way about going with the change - the reasoning - didnít sit well with me.
Given the animosity between Edge and Taker, either one of them - or both - could have ended up seriously injured by the other, so, using the reasoning that Linda didnít want any more injuries, booking a match between Edge and Taker?? Not such a great idea - unless youĎre trying to make Linda look incompetent as an authority figure. Plus, the ĎTaker vs. Edge match didnít even happen in the end. So, youíve replaced a cage match (spectacle) with a huge one on one match Ö but didnít deliver it. Not a happy camper.
But, that one big negative out of the way, this was a chaotic, must see episode of Smackdown. Lots of things going on throughout the show with the constant Edge - Taker fighting at various points. Thought the Tombstone to Lita was a little much, a very heel like thing for Taker to do, and personally, I felt that one piece of male to female violence took away from the shocking conclusion to the show. I get that you done it to keep the action between Edge and Taker for the rest of the night, but I donít think a Tombstone was necessary to write Lita out of the night. Edge couldíve saved her, then in a backstage segment couldíve told her to leave the building as it wasnít safe for her to be there Ö or something.
Anyway, that aside, you put over the animosity between the two very nicely throughout the show, surely leading to a match announcement at Summerslam, where they can settle their differences once and for all. Not sure if youíll go with HIAC, given that it happened in real life at the same event, but it WOULD be a fitting crescendo to a feud that really officially began over a year ago. Plus, the ring itself doesnít seem to be able to contain the pair, as evidenced on this show, again making a HIAC match very apt. I expect an announcement of some kind next week Ö
Ö but from who?? Having seen Linda take a stunner (and I use the term take lightly) I wouldíve loved to have seen her take the RKO from Orton. Clearly Orton is obsessed with getting his hands on the title, but unless the maniacal Mr. McMahon takes over Smackdown along with Raw, and in his currently warped mind is impressed with Orton taking out his wife, Iíd be surprised to see him simply get the title shot. He is however, the leading candidate, with Dykstra simply not ready for the opportunity, and Edge & Taker sidetracked with each other.
As I mentioned earlier, the RKO lost a little impact seeing as Lita was Tombstoned at the start of the night (Tombstone > RKO), but had Lita been saved in some way from it, and Linda then made mention to it about how the show was getting too chaotic, I personally feel it wouldíve added to HER being attacked by a male wrestler. I must say, even though it was Linda McMahon involved, the closing stages of her showdown with Orton was tremendously written, suspenseful Ö before leading to the shocking RKO. Glad Linda has been written off television (at least I hope she has been) and now maybe a GM with some personality can fill her shoes to deal with the anarchy on Smackdown.
Outside of the two big angles, youíve suddenly injected life into the tag division by reuniting the Hardy Boys. Pleased that Matt hasnít just given up on Burchill, and while I can only see Matt & Jeff reforming on a short term basis (at this stage IRL, Jeff was right on the cusp of becoming a legit main eventer) itís a shot in the arm that the tag titles desperately need. With the Hardys on board, you can maybe be able to establish some new teams to showcase in the division to help compliment Miz & Morrison. BTW, Morrison offering his Ďservicesí to Linda was brilliant.
Elsewhere, youíve laid a decent little foundation for Chavo and Evan Bourne to develop their issue, and given Guerreros experience, he makes a great first Ďrealí challenge for the newcomer to be tested against. Now Chavo has his shot, I hope you can develop the issue a little further and given Bourne some character development against the veteran who has no respect for the youngster. Iím not sure what the long term future of the divas title will be, as Iím aware you donít really want (or need) two womens titles on the roster, but it still seems like McCool and Natayla will be hogging the limelight for the new title, although Iíd be slightly concerned that youíre going down a similar path to the CW title feud with the heel not respecting the face.
Jericho was slightly underutilized on this show, I felt, but, even though he is the World Champion, itís understandable that he cant be the centrepiece of the show every week. Given that itís the first show in the Ďrebirthí of the thread, it was a lot more noticeable, as you expect the champion to be prominently featured. I expect with Orton targeting Jericho though, heíll be a lot more prominent in the coming weeks.
Overall, this really was a welcome return. Bar a little bit of a lull with the Harry Smith & Burchill back to back squash matches (or at least, what felt like squash matches) the show was a cracking picture of what you are capable of. For far too long, youíve had the same punch lines thrown at you regarding the Great American Bash and the tag team division on Raw - not by me, never by me
- but this show was a showcase in what you ARE capable of Ö and the best of it all, is that this was just a starting point. I would hope that with the coming weeks, everyone will eventually have forgotten about those dark days, and now remember you for what you clearly are - a cracking writer and booker (who was directly responsible for two of MY more acclaimed feuds in recent times). Iím sick of HEARING about Summerslam in this thread, and Iím glad weíre finally getting to see you working toward the biggest event of the summer.
Welcome back, KING.