Friday night's Smackdown left me with one major question: Why did I just watch Wade Barrett face Randy Orton?
That's not necessarily a complaint, as I enjoy watching these two share the squared circle, but it's a match we've seen twice on television in the past two weeks. And it was nothing new.
The ending of the match may have been the most disturbing part. In their first encounter, Barrett won because of interference from Alberto Del Rio. In the rematch, Orton got his win back.
Now, in what would seem to be the rubber match, Barrett won again because of a distraction from Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez. So will we see a fourth match to allow Orton to get another win back?
I personally hope these two separate for a while. Orton is part of Mick Foley's Survivor Series team, so hopefully that takes his attention for the next few weeks. Barrett, meanwhile, has nothing scheduled for that pay-per-view, so perhaps it's a good time to give the British brute something meaningful to do.
I wish I could say this was an isolated incident, but it's not. WWE has been repeatedly having the same match happened over and over, often times with no storyline rationale or progression.
If guys are embedded in a rivalry, there are ways to make it compelling and worthwhile, but in most of the cases we've seen lately, it seems to be occurring because it's an easy solution.
There's enough depth on the roster to avoid this style of booking. It's not like there are a shortage of guys who would die for television time.
How long will it be before we see Del Rio face Zack Ryder again?
** The show-opening Miz TV segment with Sheamus, Kofi Kingston and Big Show featured some good mic work from all four involved, but it seemed as if it went on longer than it needed to. It was a solid means, though, of setting up the tag team main event, pitting the united ShowMiz against Kingston and Sheamus. These four worked a good match, though no one should be surprised by that. All four guys are good at what they do, and while it's typical booking to pair guys who are feuding for tag matches (see the Survivor Series main event), it made sense in this case, and it was fun to see ShowMiz back reunited, if only for one night. The Big Show delivered a KO Punch to Kingston, who was perched on the top turnbuckle, which allowed the Miz to pin his rivalry. Smart storytelling on top of strong in-ring action. That's what I enjoy seeing.
** The issues between the Primetime Players and Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara splintered into a pair of singles matches. Titus O'Neil defeated Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio beat Titus O'Neil in matches that were solid but unspectacular. There was nothing wrong with either match, but they were both short and didn't have much time to develop. I'm glad an actual rivalry is building between these teams rather than just having them in random matches, and hopefully it helps build Primetime Players as a top team in the company. It was also a nice touch to see the masked duo mocking the Primetime Players' dancing.
** The match between Barrett and Orton was good before the questionable ending. As I said, I have no issue watching these two go at it, but I just wonder why we're seeing it so much in inconsequential matches. They were given a decent amount of time and made the most of it. After the match, they brawled in the back, and the segment ended with Matt Stryker covered in cake. This Stryker harassment has to be leading to something, right?
** R-Truth and Justin Gabriel worked a short, fun match. They did their best with the time they were given and had a good babyface vs. babyface encounter that saw R-Truth emerge victorious. They shook hands after the match, but it didn't seem Gabriel was too thrilled with losing again. I wonder what a heel turn would do for him, but I worry it would only get him back lost in the shuffle.
** The Great Khali returned to Smackdown and made quick work of David Otunga. Otunga has floundered since John Laurinaitis ended his run as an on-screen character, and Khali has never been a personal favorite. This match filled a few minutes of television. And the tease of a Khali and Natalya relationship does nothing to make the situation better.
** The "Dateline"-style opening to the show was something different than what we're used to seeing. I personally liked it.
Darren Young d. Sin Cara
Ret Mysterio d. Titus O'Neil
Wade Barrett d. Randy Orton
The Great Khali d. David Otunga
R-Truth d. Justin Gabriel
Big Show and The Miz d. Sheamus and Kofi Kingston
It wasn't a Smackdown that will be remembered a year from now, but it was a solid episode all around. I was late watching it because of a prior commitment, but even watching then, it still kept my interest. There wasn't a bad thing on the show (though Khali and Otunga's match would have been close if it had gone much longer) and everything clicked. Next week's Smackdown is airing on Tuesday, which seems odd being it's election night. Guess I'll have to miss out, as the real job will be keeping me busy.
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