Hits & Misses 2/3 WWE Smackdown Hits & Misses: Rhodes vs. Sheamus, Vegan Talk, Natalya Farts, Orton vs. Barrett
Feb 4, 2012 - 6:09:20 PM
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By Jon Mezzera, Torch Specialist
Rhodes vs. Sheamus: This was a pretty good match. It could have gone a bit longer and not over stayed its welcome and it would have made Cody Rhodes, the Intercontinental Champion, look stronger in defeat, but that is a minor complaint. Rhodes looked good here. I liked how he changed things up by hitting the beautiful disaster kick on the outside. His moonsault was also very well done. The fans are definitely responding to Sheamus and it was good to see WWE keeping him strong with this victory.
Barrett vs. Rhodes: A disappointing episode of Smackdown at least had a good main event with the no DQ match between Wade Barrett and Randy Orton. The match went nearly 17 minutes and felt like an appropriate end to this feud. Barrett and Orton worked well together to put on a good physical match that played well with the no DQ stipulation. One thing in particular that I want to point out is how the match appeared to be building to Orton hitting the RKO for a win while he was doing his come back routine, only to have Barrett make a surprise come back with his side slam. It is always nice when wrestlers play around with their normal routine. It made Barrett look strong for being to at least temporarily avoid the loss (as opposed to Dolph Ziggler on Raw) when he made a reversal and retook control of the match. This does seem like the end of their feud, so I'm curious to see what Orton does at WrestleMania. I see three options. The first is that he wins the World Title in Elimination Chamber and defends against Sheamus. The second is that he wins the World Title in Elimination Chamber, is challenged by Sheamus but Daniel Bryan weasels his way into the match (using a lawyer to force Teddy Long to add him to the match to get his automatic rematch) making it a triple threat. The third is that Bryan holds onto the Title, faces Sheamus one on one, leaving Orton on the outside of a top 4 match. At that point, maybe he faces Kane who will also be needing a high profile opponent and they will have several weeks after the Elimination Chamber to shift Kane's focus from John Cena to Orton if they go that route (which would be better than having either of them in Money in the Bank if that hopefully gets added to Mania).
Opening Segment: Smackdown got off to a poor start this week. Teddy Long lied when he said that the Royal Rumble was off the chain. It wasn't a bad show, but really nothing to brag about (not that I expect anything different from WWE, I'm just saying). The real issues started when he announced that Smackdown would be part of the Elimination Chamber. Really? I never would have thought that. He said it as if it was this huge revelation which was ridiculous. He stumbled over his lines the way John Laurinaitis did during Raw's opening, but he didn't have the built in excuse that he was nervous about being fired by the end of the night. Seriously, it didn't sound like he knew the rules to the Chamber match. Mark Henry wasn't as good as usual when he interrupted. I thought it went against his character to start quoting mathematical probability and what not. He is a heel, but he is a badass heel who shouldn't care how many people are in the match. I understand the need for him to be suspended to finally get time off to heel, but this was poorly scripted. Also, Henry made it sound like Laurinaitis had indeed been fired on Raw (a sentiment that was echoed by Daniel Bryan), but if he did, then shouldn't they have made that clear? I did like Sheamus' interruption and subsequent announcement that he will wait until after the Chamber to decide which Champion to face which makes sense. That will add some intrigue as the fans wait to see who he will ultimately choose. However, the segment on the whole was just bad and didn't really build any anticipation for the rest of the show.
Vegan Talk: I ignored the talk about Daniel Bryan being a vegan on Raw since I enjoyed the show so much that I was willing to look past a few annoying things. I did not enjoy Smackdown nearly as much, so I won't ignore it here. I am not a vegan or a vegetarian. I eat my share of animal products. But, I still think it is terrible to have Bryan's veganism (is that a word?) being played up as a heel characteristic. It screams "minor leagues" to me. I would not like this gimmick for anyone on the roster, but for a lower card wrestler trying to get cheap heat I could at least understand it. Bryan is the World Champion. This is so beneath him. Why add this to his character at all? He is doing a perfectly good job playing the over confident, weasely bully character that you don't need to add this stuff to him. I don't get it. A person's diet shouldn't make him a heel and even if it should, it would still be beneath the World Champion. The segment got so much better when he stopped talking about his diet and started focusing on The Big Show. If he had just done that, the promo would have been a Hit.
Natalya Farts (twice): Fart humor is the lowest form of comedy. All it is good for is a cheap laugh. But, I didn't laugh. It wasn't funny. Natalya is very talented and has been totally underutilized in the past few months. Even when her team with Beth Phoenix was strong, she lost every week, despite their big talk. She has been losing every week in less than a minute looking very weak, and now her character development is that she farts really stinky farts all them time. And then Santino Marella smells them and vomits. Really? Is that the best the writers can come up with? They should be embarrassed. The Diva division is so lacking in talent right now after so many talented Divas either left the company, were injured, or went on maternity leave in 2011 (Kharma, Gail Kim, Michelle McCool, Melina, Layla, even Maryse was better than some of the current Divas like Aksana), that it is a shame that the writers refuse to really get behind one of the few left who has actual talent. I like what they are doing with Phoenix, presumably setting up a WrestleMania match against Kharma, but the rest of the division either sucks or is not being well utilized right now.
The Great Khali: I really thought he might be done with WWE after he left recently, but was very disappointed to see him back at The Royal Rumble. I for one wasn't hoping to see his surprise return at that point. I was wondering who would come to Justin Gabriel's defense against Rhodes, Hunico and Camacho and was one again disappointed that it was Khali. I was also disappointed to see him take Mark Henry's place in the Elimination Chamber. I went to last year's Chamber PPV and it was a great show. I am a bit biased having been there in person, but it was definitely one of the top two or three WWE PPVs in 2011. So far, I'm getting the feeling that 2012's version isn't going to be nearly as good.
Jon Mezzera is PWTorch.com's WWE Hits & Misses Specialist, providing his point of view for Raw and Smackdown each week. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For another view from the original Hitlist author, compare Jason Powell's views to mine by visiting prowrestling.NET's "Hitlist" section here.
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