For a second time this week, WWE kicked off the show with CM Punk. And while his promo here against The Wyatts was decent, the follow-up match with Curtis Axel was nothing to write home about. We’ve seen these guys do this exact same thing almost every week. Furthermore, Axel continues to look like a tool for coming out and essentially sacrificing himself at the altar of Paul Heyman every week. The IC title is in bad, bad shape, folks.
Special tip to the guys in the front row with the “Where’s Jericho?” sign: use Google next time.
R Truth paired up with The Usos in a victory against 3MB. I’m sad that The Usos have been relegated to low-card filler after their great series against The Shield. But at least they made the card? The match was decent – or, at least, as decent as any match with Heath Slater can be. The “one man Southern rock band” has got to go.
John Cena has finally (re)dropped his thuganomics voice. That means he’s also dropped any real interest I had in the character. His match against Del Rio was made official for Survivor Series, but I was scratching my head over the decision to leave Damien Sandow out of the mix. Sandow has been the most intriguing aspect of this rivalry, and his confrontations with Cena on television have been money, so I’m really disappointed by the booking direction here. But hey, what’s new?
Great Khali wrestled in a 10 minute contest with Del Rio… can I send WWE a bill for this crap? His newest tagline: “The Punjabi Playboy – hasn’t won a match since 2007, but still gets more screen time than Dolph Ziggler.”
Color me the most surprised when I say that Luke Harper impressed me for a second time this week. I’ve been down on the Harper-Rowan duo, but it’s become apparent that Rowan is really the weak-link. Harper’s match against Daniel Bryan was the best thing about Smackdown, and had me digging future contests between the two men. Big man vs. small man doesn’t always work. Fortunately, Harper is a solid enough worker that he kept his own against a ring god like Daniel Bryan. Good stuff.
Our main event saw Ryback lose to Cena in a decided “meh” segment with a decent final few minutes. Michael Cole said at one point that John Cena always likes to keep it fresh in the ring by “adding new moves,” but does it really count when you go from four moves to five? Similarly, Ryback confirmed that he’s dumber than a box of rocks when he used a spear against Cena. Tidbit to your friends and family: if fans mock you by calling you somebody else, don’t steal that other person’s signature move.
Overall show was alright. The Blue Brand has definitely benefitted from having Cena back on the show, and I’m glad the focus was back on lengthy matches last night. The company still needs to give casual viewers a reason to tune in, though, and without interesting storyline developments, it ain’t gonna happen.