Show opening last night was great wrestling television. Edge came out and gave the fans what they wanted. He put over Daniel Bryan, criticized Randy Orton, and gave Triple H even more heat. This is how you leverage a legend to create new stars. Plus, Edge was smart to bring up all the stars that Triple H has been wrong on in the past – I bet “smart marks” were eating that up. It’s also worth noting that Randy Orton and Triple H look fantastic side-by-side. They’re the kind of power-heel-duo that the WWE has been without for too long.
Likewise, the Cody Rhodes story continued to prove interesting. Back in the Attitude Era, wrestlers got fired on a monthly basis. Since it doesn’t happen as often anymore, the story feels a little more unpredictable, and continues to draw me in as a viewer. And kudos to Cody Rhodes for embracing the spotlight.
Kudos to Goldust as well, who proved once again that he’s a much better wrestler than his gimmick ever gave him credit for. He matched Randy Orton tit-for-tat. The near-falls were incredible, and his subsequent loss was heartbreaking. I’m not arguing for him to return full-time, but I think WWE has missed out on not better utilizing him in recent years. Also, his wrestling attire allows him to effectively hide any signs of body aging (have you seen William Regal lately?), so the fans aren’t quite as harsh.
Santino Marella returned last night, and lived up to his “ultimate underdog” moniker by conquering Antonio Cesaro. Listen, I hate to see Cesaro lose. But, Santino can be a fun character in small doses. Has the ship already sailed on his career ever taking a serious turn? I think he still has potential.
Tag-Team Turmoil was announced for the Night of Champions pre-show. Um, okay. Not saying I don’t appreciate the effort by WWE here, but I think this would’ve been so much bigger had the five competing teams jockeyed for position last night.
Speaking of position, Dolph Ziggler’s position in WWE has about bottomed out. After weeks of losing to The Shield, and Ryback, he came out last night and lost to… Bray Wyatt. Not that I’m opposed to giving Wyatt a big victory, but everything about the match was hollow. Ziggler lost, thus looking weak, and Wyatt barely scraped by, forced to rely on the distraction from his brothers. Come on! Weak booking is weak booking.
Rob Van Dam came out and said stuff like “cool” and “dude,” and Alberto Del Rio said something about… I don’t know, exactly. But I do know I’m completely over this feud, and I’m especially over seeing Ricardo Rodriguez do the “R-V-D!” chant. Their match on Sunday should be fun, at least – especially if Damien Sandow gets in on the action.
I’ve talked a lot about Big Show in recent weeks, and I think it’s worth saying that he still brings a lot to the table in this storyline with Daniel Bryan/Randy Orton/Triple H. He backed off a little bit from his heel-turn last week, and I’m glad. A nuanced character is much more interesting.
Overall show was a roller-coaster ride. There was some really good stuff – the opening segment, and Goldust vs Randy Orton come to mind immediately. There was some in-between stuff, like Heyman’s fake injury angle. And then there were a few segments that fell completely flat… I’m looking at you, ‘Total Divas’ storyline (and I don’t just mean the ratings from Sunday night). Not every show can be stellar, and I understand that. So this one was simply good enough.