There isn't much about the problems created by the brand split, or lack thereof, that hasn't been said.
But as preparing for Sunday's Hell in a Cell, there have been a lot of theories floating around, and one of the prevalent ones has left me shaking my head.
It doesn't directly relate to tonight's Smackdown, but it highlights one of the problems of the not-really-split split brands.
Dolph Ziggler's Money in the Bank contract allows him a World Heavyweight Championship match at the time of his choosing. Repeat: A World Heavyweight Championship match.
How, then, are fans speculating that Ziggler will cash in against the winner of the CM Punk vs. Ryback match for the WWE Championship? Do fans really not understand the difference?
While talking on last night's episode of From the Rafters Radio, we brought up the idea that Vickie Guerrero, as managing supervisor of Raw, could amend the contract, but that's a bit complex of a storyline for WWE to offer at this point.
In follow-up discussion today, we were talking about why people have the mindset that can even happen, and I came up with one of the most logical and likely answers: Ziggler and the story of his briefcase has been told as much -- if not more -- on Raw as it has on Smackdown, where the World Heavyweight Championship is allegedly the top prize.
It's understandable WWE wants to expose Ziggler and the storyline to as many people as possible, and Raw obviously has more viewers. But when Sheamus, as the Smackdown champion, and Ziggler, as the Smackdown Money in the Bank contract holder, appear so frequently on Raw, the lines are blurred and the doors are open for confusion.
It's a grey area, and I'm not sure what the best way for WWE to handle the situation would be. But apparently there are fans who have trouble deducing these types of things, and WWE may need to somehow become more proactive in making it clear.
Of course, at the same time, sometimes it's up to the fans to follow the most simple of concepts. The red briefcase is for Raw; the blue suitcase is for Smackdown.
What do you think: Does WWE need to hold fans' hands or is it reasonable to expect fans to understand the simple storytelling?
** The Tag Team Champions and their Hell in a Cell challengers met in a pair of singles matches to preview Sunday's match. Kane and Cody Rhodes had a good fun match, which Kane won with a chokeslam. Later in the show, Daniel Bryan faced Damien Sandow in another good match. This one saw Rhodes interfere, allowing Sandow to pick up the victory and fueling the theory that Bryan is the weak link of Team Hell No. Having Rhodes Scholars win the number-one-contender tournament was certainly the right call, as these teams work together and should put on one of the best matches at Sunday's pay-per-view. On a side note, the combination of Bryan and Sandow on commentary during the Kane vs. Rhodes match was phenomenal. They helped make a good match even better. Kudos to them and to WWE for putting them together.
** After a horrible week of losing the Intercontinental Championship and getting killed by Ryback, The Miz regained some momentum by defeating Yoshi Tatsu. The match was clearly designed to rehabilitate Miz, and it did it's job. He looked really strong coming out of the match. No matter what any critics want to say, Miz is a guy with a bright future in the business. He is a quality worker in the ring, owns on the microphone and knows how to get the crowd going. Hopefully he gets another world title reign someday in the not-so-distant future.
** Alberto Del Rio hired Wade Barrett to assault Randy Orton during the opening segment, which led to a match between Orton and Barrett later in the show. The two had a lengthy match that was really good and a lot of fun to watch. Del Rio caused a distraction, which allowed Barrett to hit his Souvenir Elbow and pick up a big win. Del Rio tried to attack after the match, but Orton fought him off. Orton and Barrett have good chemistry in the ring, and I'd like to see more from them working together as we move ahead toward the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania.
** With Eve denying she ordered Aksana to attack Kaitlyn at Night of Champions, Booker T took a page from Teddy Long's playbook and put those three, along with Layla, in a tag team match tonight. He also booked a triple threat Divas Championship match for Hell in a Cell. Thanks for playing, Aksana. The tag match was better than a typical divas match and ended with Layla accidentally kicking Kaitlyn, building heat for Sunday's title match. It was solidly worked match and sensible booking. Can't ask for more.
** Sheamus and Big Show had their final showdown before meeting at Hell in a Cell. Separated by a mass of security guards, they exchanged words before Sheamus made a rush at Big Show and made their issues physical for the first time in their rivalry. On paper that match-up doesn't do much for me, but both are hard workers, and I'm sure they'll bust their butts to do something special.
Kane d. Cody Rhodes
The Miz d. Yoshi Tatsu
Wade Barrett d. Randy Orton
Eve and Aksana d. Layla and Kaitlyn
Damien Sandow d. Daniel Bryan
Tonight's Smackdown was pretty good. I can't complain about anything. The Miz was rehabbed heading into his Intercontinental Championship match, the Tag Team Championship rivalry took center stage and Sheamus and Big Show had an appropriate final push to their match Sunday. And the Divas Championship match was set ahead of the day of the show, which is always a plus. Overall, that makes this Friday night spectacular a success.
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Ring Posts’ Adam Testa has teamed up with My 1-2-3 Cents and All American Pro Wrestling to bring you From the Rafters Radio, a weekly pro wrestling talk radio show airing from 8-10 EST every Thursday on Monster Radio 1150 AM in Southern Illinois and streaming worldwide on wggh.net.