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WWE Smackdown 12/16 Review

Not every episode of Smackdown can be golden. Last week wasn’t quite on that level, but it was still a marvelous follow-up to the terrible 3-Hour holiday episode. Since its the Go Home show, one would think that we should be in for a doozy. Unfortunately, WWE’s recent track record with the Smackdown before the PPV hasn’t been getting the greatest marks. Will tonight be the exception to the rule, or will I find myself face-palming all the way to the end?

SPOILERS FOLLOW

It’s nice to hear Booker actually get some mic time in this feud. Cody has been doing most of the lip-service, and Booker hasn’t gotten many words in other than comments on the announcer table. Booker gets a funny little quip in about Michael Cole, and it makes me wonder how someone who’s usually very entertaining on the mic can be so questionable on the announcer table. I love hearing him mess up as a commentator, but not everyone takes to it as well as I do.

Of course, when Cody steps in the room, the bar is raised to a new level. I don’t even have to give you any analysis to let you know that Cody livens up the mic, and no doubt captivates everyone that hears him like he did me. I just suggest that you take the time to listen to what he has to say.

Cody Rhodes v Daniel Bryan(C+): You can never go wrong when you put Cody Rhodes and Daniel Bryan together in a ring. It always manages to produce quality. I said a few months ago that I could watch these two go at it over and over again, and I’m glad to see that WWE is still finding excuses to match them up. Each time they wrestle, it seems they always find a new way to tell their story, and that’s a very valuable quality with wrestling rivals. I don’t even need to tell you that this is a good match, but I can tell you that’s it not as good as their battle last week.

Alicia Fox v Natalya(D+): I love it when two competitors who have fought before remember things from their previous match(es) and act on it. Natalya does just this when she soundly stops Alicia’s corner Sunset Flip. Other than that, the match ends about as quickly as it started. One thing of note, though, is that not only does Alicia actually seem like she has a solid hold on her mic skills, it seems like she can actually pull off being a face better than I originally assumed.

Swagger slowly improves on the mic each time he speaks. Here, he actually puts on a interesting promo…if only he didn’t end it on such an awkward sounding statement.

The Usos(Jey & Jimmy) v Epico & Primo (C): This baby starts with a bang, The Usos showing some wonderful teamwork. Epico & Primo snake their ways around The Usos skilled maneuvers, showing that they two work well as a unit. A fancy-feeling match, it all ends too quickly, though with a wicked finish. Primo pulls off the Back-stabber better than Carlito ever did, and makes it look absolutely destructive.

Big Show v Jack Swagger(C-): Watching Big Show tear apart Swagger was surprisingly entertaining, and he pulled out a trick or two that was a new way to take advantage of being the big man in the ring. Swagger pulls a few fresh methods of weakening Show’s leg, and keeps it weakened from the beginning of the match. Swagger surprisingly gets the Ankle Lock cinched in a reversal of the Chokeslam, but there was no way Show would tap.

Ryder’s interaction with Randy is hilarious, and shows to me that Ryder has a little more range than I thought with the comedy aspect of his character.

Heath Slater v Ted DiBiase (D+): Both men are solid, and Slater’s highly entertaining in the ring(In my opinion). A couple good moments are found here, but its too short for me to have any feelings invested in it. That’s honestly all I have to say about it.

Jinder Mahal v Sheamus (C-): This match, on the other hand, entertains me more for the few minutes that it was given. Jinder and Sheamus have a nice dynamic as two quick, but different-sized men battle it out. Jinder tries to outwit Sheamus, but ultimately The Celtic Warrior bowls him over and makes relatively easy work of Jinder. It still could have had a few more minutes, but since it built off of Jinder attacking Ted after the last match, it doesn’t feel like it was meant to be very long.

Randy Orton & Zack Ryder v Wade Barrett & Dolph Ziggler (): There’s a lot of chemistry between the men in this match. Except for maybe Ryder/Barrett, each combination of opponents sounds like a delightful way to spend X-amount of minutes watching a wrestling match. While you would think that would produce a great match here, it really doesn’t. It’s fun, and the best parts are when Ziggler and Orton are going back and forth, but it seems to just barely miss the mark of a top-tier match.

That’s not me trying to knock it, because it was a fine main event for the night. Perhaps I was just expecting too much out of it? Of course, as I’m typing this, the match gets a shot of adrenaline during the last few minutes, and it becomes much more entertaining. Ryder’s desperate endeavor to tag in Randy is absorbing, and some innovation is shown between Ziggler and Ryder. A great fast-action finish closes the book on this match, and leaves each set of PPV opponents still looking good against each other.

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The stage is officially set for TLC, and a lot of feuds have built fluidly into Sunday. Will WWE’s batch of youth and two legends produce one of the best shows of the year, or will it flop terribly?

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