So here we are, another week down the road. As of writing this the Hell in the Cell (HitC) PPV will be going on tomorrow night; yes that means in the last 2 weeks we've had 2 PPVs. One has to wonder with all these PPVs so close together, can you still put on good shows with quality matches on free live (read taped for SmackDown) TV while still delivering at the PPVs? After witnessing last weeks debacle on the Blue Brand i feel it is time we investigate and finally got in the booth because SmackDown is now under review!
This week starts with Booker T coming out to interview World Heavyweight Champion Mark Henry. I though Booker was great out there with Mark Henry and both played off each other well. Booker telling Henry that if he insulted Henry "he'd know it" was great and reminds people not too long ago Booker was still doing it and I think still has the ability to go and have a good match. Would Booker vs. Henry be a classic, not really but it would be, in my personal opinion, entertaining. Henry seemed fierce tonight and was believably is a really scary dude who is pissed off and all about his own self. Mark Henry has me buying his hype right now but HitC will be a true test of Mark Henry's staying power as champ.
His match with The Great Khali is what it was, although the huge pop for Khali was surprising if that wasn't post-production "studio magic". This was a giant vs a strongman and the strongman won out this night. Khali looked extra sloppy and his moves are not believable at all, why throw a punch when you're just going to hit him in the head with your forearm? This wasn't the smelly turd I am making it out to be but it was not memorable at all. I am kinda glad Khali got "shelved" at the end by Mark Henry because he needs to either be repackaged as the monster he used to be or he's going to end up joining the Future Endeavored club.
So Swagger and Ziggler are on the same page and tagging; Now THAT is awesome! Swagger needed some kind of boost and Ziggler is hot right now with Vickie Guerrero; Swagger gets a push and Ziggler is doing something he has yet to do while creating a fresh sense within the group. I'd like to see this expand and Vickie's number's grow as she becomes the nucleus of a very dangerous force within the WWE. Swagger is in singles competition vs Evan Bourne this night who is joined by Kofi Kingston. Good match for both of them but this is obviously a build toward a tag match for the titles, of which i am okay with. Both teams do something for me and i believe either could be Tag Champs but with a Swagger win here, it makes them look like serious contenders. Good to see Kofi will defend his downed partner even versus two men, one of whom is fairly bigger than him. Okay match but storyline progression was well done here.
Short match between Sin Cara and Heath Slater under the goofy lighting this week. I guess this means Daniel Bryan is done jobbing for now? Either way the match was so short that i literally missed it answering a question my Girlfriend asked (and for the record, yes she does watch with me if anyone cares.) Slater has to be on his way out the door and i can't say he'll be sorely missed. The real story now is we finally got an explanation for why Bad Sin Cara stole Good Sin Cara's gimmick. Apparently Good Sin Cara stole the Mystico gimmick from the bad one in Mexico so the bad one is doing the same to the good one in the WWE. At least now we know why they hate each other AND we can tell them apart now; Good Sin Cara's wrestling gear is primarily a light blue while Bad Sin Cara's is black color based. We also will be seeing this match at HitC, which i feel is just the beginning of this feud, expect a Mask vs Mask match to end this around Survivor Series in November.
The little sit down promo done with Johnny Ace and and the disgruntled employees of the WWE was amusing. David Otunga is hilarious in that shirt and bow tie and this lawyer thing should stay as his gimmick. He is not the first WWE wrestler to graduate Harvard (Chris Nowinski anyone??) but they are considered the best law school in the U.S. and the WWE would be stupid not to milk that kind of name recognition. Also notice Vickie is there with them, does the wrestlers in attendance not look like a good group of upper-mid card guys who would make an excellent stable if they all got along? Anyone else see where I'm trying to go with this? I think on the next edition of the Mouth of the South Shore radio show I'm going to address this idea in further detail, so tune in.
Natalya vs Kelly Two Times (this is what she will be called going further here) was short, sweet and to the point. Missed most of the match and went back to watch it on YouTube just to realize what i left behind missing the match was better than what i watched. WWE dropped the ball on the "Divas of Doom" and i hope they recover that fumble quick before they lose it completely.
Cody Rhodes is up against Sheamus tonight. Good promo from Rhodes before the match; he is really good at this "abused, disgruntled employee" thing. I've personally had three staples in my head from an accident a few years ago but Cody Rhodes had nine of them which you can see in the picture at the top of this article. All I can say is my three sucked to have so I can't imagine having three times as many being any kind of pleasant. Kudos to him for manning up and doing his job with that kind of injury. Like I say each week though, Rhodes has grown on me and impresses me with not only his in ring ability but I think his mic work is excellent too; this is defiantly the seed of Dusty Rhodes loins. Sheamus is also a great player and just like last week with the Barrett-Gabriel match, i think this could be another future headlining match for a major PPV. Sheamus already held the WWE Title twice and Rhodes is well on his way to the Big Gold Strap soon, its just a matter of time. Christians run-in was a disappointing end to a good match but once again, the name of the game this week is storyline progression and progressed it did.
Wait, is this a Zach Ryder match?! WOO WOO WOO, YOU KNOW IT! Ryder is taking on JTG this week which bring up a good question, JTG still has a job in the WWE? I can't remember the last time I saw that half of Cryme Tyme. I think there is still a chance for JTG to be a star but he needs to work with someone, also something i may speak on in the future. In the meantime though Ryder with the clean victory in a short match where we all knew he would win anyway, Bro.
Dual promos with a commercial in between? (Cue The Miz's "Reallys?" here) Nothing irks me more in the WWE Universe than when they just give you a short promo, a commercial, another short promo, AND THAN ANOTHER FREAKING COMMERCIAL! Edge needs to come back and fight against "All thing stupid in the WWE." Moving along though the first promo was HHH with John Laurinaitis (I hate spelling your last name by the way) backstage. Short, sweet, and simple while still progressing the story line with these two. Once again glad they are making it important to watch SmackDown again as a way to follow story lines so Kudos to the WWE Creative team on that. After the first set of commercials we come back to an interview with Randy Orton about HitC this coming Sunday. Orton basically puts himself over as the most sick and sadistic wrestler to grace the WWE since the many incarnations of Mick Foley himself (my words, not his). He also puts over his HitC match experience and, in line with this weeks theme, progressed the storyline. Typical Orton promo, nothing special to see here boys and girls (maybe girls).
And since the WWE promised us a great main event, we now have Orton v. Christian in a match. The only downside to this match is how many times have we seen this? This is starting to look like Cena-Edge or Cena-Orton all over again, where we saw the same match EVERY WEEK and EVERY PPV for MONTHS. I can't say anything about this that hasn't already been said, so i won't. The double count out worked out well and even the cluster bomb of run-ins had a purpose. Cody Rhodes wants revenge on Orton, Sheamus wants to set Christian right, and Henry wants to end Orton's Career, and Christian wants one more last change at the belt. All storyline progression, all make sense, they all did their individual jobs well. Orton finally hitting the RKO on Henry at the end was necessary to make Orton look strong going into the Cell, because up until than all i saw was Henry demolishing Orton Sunday.
Good week this week, a far and away improvement from the prior weeks show. While it's matches and promos weren't the best, everything had a point or purpose and that matters more than anything to me in wrestling. Stories were furthered, things were explained, and it looks like long term plans for a lot of guys are starting to come together. This week I am giving SmackDown a 7/10 based on my reasoning above. Also I am starting something new this week, by handing out a "Match of the Night Award" each week. The inaugural award this week goes to Sheamus vs. Cody Rhodes. This should have been a PPV match up but thank you WWE for giving us it for free.
Also I will now start giving predictions prior to PPVs here, so these are my picks for HitC.
Hell in the Cell winner Predictions:
WWE Title Match: CM Punk
World Heavyweight Title match: Mark Henry
Diva's Title Match: Beth Pheonix
Sheamus v. Christian: Sheamus
Good v. Evil Sin Cara: Good Sin Cara
Any comments or questions can be sent to me by e-mail at [email protected] Also you can add me on either Google+ or Facebook by searching my name (Joshua Hlavka) on there. I do not tweet nor tumbl so don't worry about looking for me on Twitter or Tumblr.