Chair Shots: Analysis WWE Smackdown spoilers for March 16
By Wayne Carter
Mar 14, 2012 | 1:47 PM
Regular readers know that it's been a while since I've blogged about Smackdown. That's because between the time I get home Friday night and when I come back to work Monday morning, I try to dedicate as much time possible to my family, especially now that I have an infant daughter.
That doesn't mean I've stopped watching Smackdown. On the contrary, I watch it "live" on Friday night's more often than not now. It's just I usually do it with an infant falling asleep in my lap, and I go to bed right afterward. Or, I watch the show at 7 a.m. on a Saturday morning before she and my wife wake up. Bottom line, by the time it's over, my priorities aren't on writing a blog about the show.
While I am a religious watcher on the blue brand, I'm also a religious reader of Smackdown spoilers online. I've tried to not read them, but curiousity gets the better of me. And honestly, I have to imagine there are a lot of fans like me who read spoilers even if they are regular watchers of the show.
So with all that in mind, I've decided to try to start blogging about Smackdown on Wednesdays, after reading spoiler reports. Obviously, I won't be able to comment on the quality of matches, but if you read my Raw and PPV blogs, I tend not to focus on the quality of the matches anyway -- unless they really blow me away -- as much as the way storylines and finishes are booked. Hopefully, this will get some conversations going early on. Feel free to comment below, or hit me up on Twitter @CCTChairShots or on Facebook.com/CCTChairShots.
Usually, I look at a couple of Smackdown spoiler reports, just to make sure there are no inconsistencies with what is being reported. Some reports are more detailed than others, obviously, so I'm going off the best reports I can find. I'm basing analysis today a couple of reports found on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, LordsofPain.net and ProWrestling.net.
Here are the highlights:
Christian is officially part of Team Laurinaitis for WrestleMania 28. Smackdown opened with Christian hosting the Peep Show with John Laurinaitis and Teddy Long as his special guests. Basically, Christian asks each of the GM's to convince him to join their team, but we know how this is going to end, since Christian showed support for Laurinaitis at Elimination Chamber. To put the cherry on top, Christian asks both who will give him "one more match" for the World Heavyweight Champions. Long says he'd have to earn it, Laurinaitis says he'll get it as long as his team wins at 'Mania. Makes sense to me, and Christian would actually be a good first opponent for Sheamus, assuming he wins the title at 'Mania. They have an unresolved feud from the fall when Christian got hurt.
Long tried to put Christian in a match, but Laurinaitis stopped it from happening. I don't know how he has that power, but OK. My guess is they don't want to risk Christian re-injurying himself before WrestleMania. Instead, they make Team Long member Kofi Kingston vs. Team Laurinaitis captain David Otunga, who was still in dress pants and a sweater vest. Kingston won, and Otunga apparently tore his pants up the middle halfway through the match.
Daniel Bryan continued his role as jerk boyfriend in a backstage promo with AJ, who then beat one of the Bellas in a Divas match. Apparently, Bryan makes a crack about AJ's outfit looking better on the mannequin, then apologizes. I still don't like that the focus is on AJ here. Much like the "alcoholic father" angle between CM Punk and Jericho, I think this could've been saved for post-WrestleMania. Let's make the WrestleMania matches about the titles and the opponents, not the extraneous stuff.
Speaking of Jericho and Bryan's WrestleMania opponent Sheamus, they were announced for the main event of the show. I'm surprised this was booked for Smackdown. To me, this was a match that should've been on Monday Night Raw where more people would see it, and it probably should've taken place on the go-home show March 26. I wrote about this in my Raw review a few weeks back. That match is kind of a big deal and to derail either man's momentum prior to WrestleMania seems dangerous, but if you do it on the very last show before 'Mania, it adds intrigue (there is no Smackdown before WrestleMania, as all of the talent is in the host city for Axxess and they just show highlights of build-up).
Bottom line, I do think the finish to this match is booked correctly. Jericho wins by count-out when Daniel Bryan got involved. Sheamus has been running through upper mid-card talent like the Miz, Mark Henry and Dolph Ziggler, etc. in recent weeks. Having him lose by count-out doesn't hurt him too badly, especially with the interference. Meanwhile, Jericho -- I don't think -- has been booked especially well since his return. Getting a win over Sheamus -- no matter the means -- is a big deal. I'd like to see Jericho pick up a few more wins against the likes of Kofi Kingston (whom he's apparently been tearing the house down with at house shows) and maybe Big Show, with an assist from his WrestleMania opponent Cody Rhodes.
Jericho apparently cut a strong promo before the match (no surprise) and tried to get a CM Drunk chant started.
Post-match, Sheamus Brogue kicked someone, I'm not sure if it was Jericho or Bryan. It should be Bryan. Nothing should be done to really derail Jericho at this point. Everything being done right now should be to make the heels look like they are going to win, since WrestleMania is usually about babyfaces going over.
Rhodes also cut a promo before his match, again insulting Big Show, then defeating Great Khali. That's smart booking. Having Rhodes pick up wins against another giant babyface makes a lot of sense. Rhodes is a bit undersized even when he's not in the ring with a giant, so making him a "giant killer" heel might be a good gimmick if he beats Show at WrestleMania (I think he will.) Rhodes is apparently nursing some injuries and some reports indicated he was hurting pretty bad after this. Keep him out of the ring until 'Mania, no reason to risk an injury.
Big Show squashed Drew McIntyre later in the show, then Mark Henry squashed Yoshi Tatsu. That's about right. No word on if there was advancement of the McIntyre is fired by Long, rehired by Laurinaitis angle. Maybe it will be put over on commentary.
Perhaps the most talked-about development of the tapings, however, was the official announcement of Kane vs. Randy Orton at WrestleMania. I think we've known for weeks this was coming, however several fans seemed to wonder why exactly these two were feuding. Most assumed that it was because neither had anything else to do at 'Mania. That might still be true, but WWE did find some historical perspective for this. In July, Orton and Kane had a No DQ match on Smackdown that was actually quite good. Kane had promised he would become his monstrous self again during the match, as he thought he had gone soft. When the match was over, he offered Orton a handshake out of respect, something we had never seen from Kane before. Then Mark Henry showed up and destroyed Kane, putting him out of action for months.
At the tapings, Orton cut a promo saying he wasn't John Cena and he already embraces hate, so he wants to know what Kane's deal is. Kane showed the clip of him shaking Orton's hand and said how doing so made him sick and weak. That's why that Kane is gone, and this ressurected version of Kane wants closure.
So has this been the plan all along for Kane and Orton? If so, WWE did a really nice job planting the seeds for it so subtly. If it wasn't, then good for whoever remembered this happened and making a storyline out of it deserves some credit too. Either way, I'm glad they've pulled a reasonably decent storyline out of this, and now, I'm actually looking forward to the Kane-Orton match.
By the way, here's the end of the No DQ match this all stems from. It's actually pretty good. The handshake comes around the 6:45 mark.
That's it for this week's spoiler analysis. If anything I missed strikes me when I watch Smackdown this weekend, I'll tweet it @CCTChairShots or mention it in the Raw review next week.