Smackdown Thoughts (+ 205 Live & Talking Smack)
Okay, so between three different shows- Smackdown, 205 Live and Talking Smack- that was the best three and a half hours of wrestling viewing I've seen in a long time.
Smackdown was just immense. Came in late so missed the opening segment and the majority of Ziggler vs Corbin, but I hear it was great. I'll have to watch it back in a little while.
The Becky/Alexa/La Luchadora thing is fun. I think I just really enjoy WWE doing a story that's more creative than, "challenger beats champ in non title match, rinse and repeat until the PPV". There's focus, personal issues, and a bit of mystery regarding the final identity of La Luchadora. Otunga dropping a Conquistodores reference was one of his better lines on commentary.
I think Styles, Cena and Corbin all knocked it out of the park on that contract signing. I believed everything all three were saying, or at least believed that they believed it. I'm on Team Styles for the whole thing, but Cena had the passion down too. Styles with a killer line, "You'll never be as good as The Rock in Hollywood, and you'll never be as good as me in the ring." I actually said, "Aww shit," out loud after that one.
Carmella & Ellsworth is a little weird, but I'll give it a chance. I like that they're finding ways to use Ellsworth outside of the AJ feud, I think he's very good on the mic and could excel as a comedy character. Santino 2.0?
The only thing I was negative on during the three shows- American Alpha squashing Breezango in 30 seconds. Vaudevillians and Ascension were busy? Both guys, especially Tyler Breeze, are way too talented to be used like that.
I wasn't keen on Nikki & Natalya either, but it's not that their performances were bad, I'm just not really interested in the feud. Maybe they can pique my interest with the match next week.
Dasha Fuentes was a great ball of nerves interviewing Dean Ambrose before his main event IC tilte match. To be fair, Ambrose was in super intense/angry mode and I think that threw her off. Don't think she was meant to botch her lines, but if I had Ambrose looking ready to snap, I'd probably screw up my verbiage too.
Ambrose and Miz had a very good main event. Miz is so great as a heel, every shortcut in the book. The booking of it was really well done. I like the idea of the secondary belt changing hands on TV to start the year off- would have rather it be Jericho on Raw- but based on Talking Smack after, they clearly have plans in mind going forward.Take a bow, Smackdown, take a bow.
-Baron Corbin is outstanding right now. Talking Smack has always seemed to be less scripted/formatted than other WWE programming, really all their pre-post shows have that vibe, like the time Booker and Lita tried to get Bayley to cut a good promo. So, if that's the case, Corbin is doing an excellent job thinking on his feet. His response to AJ claiming to be the ratings getter was great, as was his retort to Bryan about looking through Cena- "you can't beat me with half your eggs in this basket". Ever since TLC, Corbin has fully made me believe he can be a very good main eventer, and I didn't feel that in his NXT days. I heard Kane was working with Corbin behind the scenes to help him carry himself better as a big man. It's taken a while for Corbin to be having long matches on SD too, for months he was just bullying Kalisto backstage. If what we've seen over the past few weeks has been the result of all that, it was well worth it. Baron Corbin is seriously coming into his own. The confidence, the poise, the verbiage... best heel in WWE bar the Miz. His asshole factor is cranked up to 11. You believe in his arrogance, but he's come so far in the ring that the claims he makes have more credibility. I don't think for a second that he's winning the Rumble or having a title match at Mania, but if he continues to deliver in this way for the next few months, he deserves to be featured in some prominent way at the Granddaddy of Them All. Just excellent.
Carmella and Ellsworth was some entertaining stuff to break up the intensity, some great comedy, Bryan siding with the apparent new lovebirds in a smartass way against the disbelieving Renee Young cracked me up, but then I lost it at the end of the segment when Bryan made a ton of allusions to Ellsworth being endowed. I swear Daniel Bryan earns 90% of his paycheck with his work on Talking Smack.
And then, The Miz came on. Renee was brilliant in her jabs and emphasis on "former champ", Bryan brought up the valid points that needed to be addressed, and Miz was just incredible in his descent to madness. I feel like the rare use of an F bomb is really well done with the Miz especially, because in real life and his character, he's the media guy. On one side, sure, "Hollywood A Lister", but he genuinely does more media and promotion than anyone in WWE not named John Cena. So, for Miz to lose it with the cameras on and say, "I'm sick of this fucking company!", it carries so much weight.
Quick thoughts on 205 Live:
Great to see Tajiri back. Too bad the crowd was being shit just about the whole show, and didn't react to anything, even though most of them stayed after SD. Betting there was a Cena vs. AJ dark match advertised. Mustafa Ali is awesome. One of the best matches 205 Live has had so far, and that inverted 450 is my new favourite finisher. I was a bit sad the other week when Aries called it the 054 and it seemed to go over Mauro and Graves' head. Speaking of finishers, I love that Neville is doing the superplex as a finisher for a few reasons. One, it brings back credibility to that move. Two, it stops him doing the crowd pleasing Red Arrow. Three, shows off his strength. Four, it's like a "fuck you" to the majority of the cruisers- you wanna fly off the top rope? Well, here you go!
Full disclosure here- 205 Live was obviously much shorter than my sections on Smackdown and Talking Smack. Does it mean I love 205 Live a lot less than the other shows? No, dear reader, what occurred here is that your beloved author was a lazy bastard, and comprised this first "Thoughts" blog using a few of my forum posts from today-with some minor alterations. Going forward, rest assured that all my posts will be original content written specifically for this blog, and all shows will get equal, or close to equal, billing. My next post will be about Ronda Rousey, and it is an Arena exclusive!
Until next time, take care,