GOALS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS FOR THE 11/11 SMACKDOWN
By Revin Samuel on 11/12/2011 2:30 PM
Breaking down the November 11, 2011, Smackdown.
My name is Revin Samuel, I’ve been an elite member of PWInsider since Dave and Mike started this site and was also a loyal reader and subscriber at their previous home. I’ve decided I want to start writing weekly columns breaking down Raw and Smackdown if for no other reason than therapeutic purposes. I’ve never been more frustrated with the current WWE product since I started watching back in 1986 than I am right now. One might say stop watching, and that perhaps one day will be the answer, but for now I still watch in hopes that they realize their current vision is slowly eroding viewership. I try to be as optimistic as possible and I do enjoy Smackdown, but when the A show is such a mess it really casts a bad shadow over the entire product. I come from a background of Sports & Event Marketing so I am very big on hype and promotion, which over the last few years WWE seems to have forgotten how to do. To me pro wrestling/sports entertainment is a simple product to tell and when you convolute things as they tend to do, you are throwing money away. The way I see it this company has thrown money down the toilet for far too long and it’s time for them to start recognizing that.
I do want to point out that I try not financially support this company with their current creative strategy. I do not go to their live events and haven’t gone since 2002, but I’d love to order every pay per view, just give me a reason to. If the company makes the product feel special, I have no issue throwing $55 away on one of their shows such as this past July’s, Money In The Bank.
This column will be dedicated to letting you know what I think the goals for the show should have been, what the show accomplished (good and bad) and what the show should set out to do for the following week.
SMACKDOWN – 11/11/11
I liked last week’s Smackdown as I generally do when comparing it to its counterpart, Raw. The progression of the Big Show-Mark Henry feud was logical and consistent with both men’s character. I like the inclusion of Daniel Bryan and it is very important for them to get him going as we head into Wrestlemania season.
Three Goals for this week
• Continue the build for Mark Henry-Big Show. They’ve done a great job with this program so far and I hope it keeps up. On a side note I’m glad WWE didn’t decide to jump this into a stipulation match as they normally tend to in the second match of a program.
•The Five on Five Elimination Match. WWE nonchalantly threw this out there on Raw this week so I hope Smackdown gives this match more focus. Elimination matches can still be a draw if WWE promotes them properly. Key word being promote.
•Wade Barrett’s rise. A couple months ago WWE hyped a John Cena-Wade Barrett match for a Live Tuesday, Smackdown. They then had Barrett trash talk Cena before the match and then Barrett went and lost in three minutes. Now Barrett is getting a push that seems to have come out of nowhere and he is the captain of his team at Survivor Series against Team Orton even though Orton and Barrett aren’t feuding. This is once again terrible storytelling and I am not sure why WWE didn’t just let Rhodes get more on Orton during their brief program so Rhodes could captain the heel team, which would be logical storyline progressions. Since they are going this route, I hope the rise of Barrett continues and they stay the course with his push on this week’s show
•Survivor Series Hype and The return of The Rock. The Rock is wrestling and his first match in seven years is coming up quickly on us. WWE has done an awful job of promoting this and it will be left to Rock on this week’s Raw in Boston to save it, but perhaps that’s the way WWE wanted it. The synergy between Raw and Smackdown was dreadful for a while, it’s been a bit better lately and hopefully Smackdown can hype Survivor Series and make Rock’s return feel special, something the brand he, John Cena, Miz and R-Truth are a part of hasn’t been able to do. It will be up to the incredible WWE production team to give this that buzz heading into next week’s go home shows since none of those performers will be on Smackdown.
- Like most people, I can’t say enough about WWE’s support of the military and that montage at the beginning shows the great class we’ve become accustomed to from this company in that area.
- After writing in my goals for this week’s show that WWE put focus on the Elimination Match the first thing they do is hype that match and that brings a smile to my face.
- Randy Orton’s move to Smackdown has been one of the greatest things for his career. His character has never been more consistent, his matches have never been better; I guess that’s the benefit of getting away from the Raw creative team. I like that Randy in his opening promo right away mentions that he doesn’t play well with others as that fits in with the character we know. It’s a really minor detail, but Randy saying he doesn’t know Jack Swagger well, that’s fine, but Swagger once defended and beat Randy relatively clean for the World Title so there is history there. If WWE played that kind of stuff it would showcase the importance of wins and losses over the years, but I get that they don’t want to spotlight Randy’s losses. I also know this isn’t likely, but I hope they perhaps delve into Randy’s past feuds with Kofi and Sheamus to create tension on Team Orton.
- Were those canned boos for Wade Barrett in his home town? There seemed to be alot of people applauding in the audience. Another minor detail, but I don’t know why WWE wants to control the audience so much. They are in a different country, let us have a unique crowd who cheers their hometown people, it adds a different flavour to the product. Why is Wade saying he didn’t start out as a leader when he did in fact start out as the leader of the Nexus and The Corre? Good to see in the opening promo that Randy acknowledges his feuds with Cody and Christian and Barrett comes out and notes that he and Randy really don’t have a past, but that they are about to. I like that, give us a reason why Wade is suddenly the captain of a team against Randy.
- Christian continues his consistent run as a great heel and they really tightened up a storyline gap when Christian acknowledged why he is not the captain of the team and threw his support behind Barrett.
- Opening segment was great. It filled in storyline gaps and threw hype behind the elimination match and the Survivor Series and I can’t ask for anything more than that.
- Booker T on commentary. Most people hate Booker T as a commentator and I see why, but I view him as unique and I don’t mind him, but I think his commentary style is better suited with a credible lead announcer. The problem is you got a joke commentator with a heel lead announcer and Josh Mathews who probably doesn’t have any respect from the audience just yet, thus I don’t see how the three of them together can do a good job selling the product weekly.
- Christian-Sheamus. A solid match, but what is the point of Christian and Cody if they continue to job to Orton and Sheamus match in and match out. Why am I paying for Survivor Series if two of the lead heels always lose? Major problem #2 with WWE is that no heels outside of Mark Henry can win matches. I like the added touch of Christian going for his neck brace after the match.
- Nice to see a recap of what happened last week with Big Show-Mark Henry-Daniel Bryan. I hope there is more focus on Big Show-Henry later in the show. Loving the Daniel Bryan-Mark Henry seeds for a potential match at Wrestlemania that being said Michael Cole needs to stop ripping on Daniel Bryan.
- Great package on Ezekiel Jackson. Jackson like Barrett has gotten a yoyo push, which is just unacceptable. The audience remembers wins and losses and when you have guys like Jackson and Barrett get pushes then begin losing matches in two-three minutes, only to start pushing them again, it makes it alot harder on the company, the performer and the audience to take them seriously.
- The Aksana-Teddy Long segments are pure garbage. This to me is the epitome of doing stuff to entertain yourself, hiring writers who don’t know anything about this business and not appealing to your audience. On the plus side at least this one lead to some development for the Aksana character.
- Ted Dibase-Jinder Mahal. They keep telling us Dibiase has the “Dibiase Posse” yet we never see any footage of these so called tailgate parties. Just like Daniel Bryan, Michael Cole shouldn’t be ripping Ted Dibiase if the plan is for Dibiase to eventually get over. I do like that Dibiase has gotten a couple wins in a row and they seem to be set on giving him a slight push. Jinder Mahal continues to get squashed week in and week out and I can only assume this might be the same type of yoyo push that Barrett and Jackson have gotten where WWE will try and push him down the road and it will be even harder for him to get over. However the Mahal squashes seem to be worse than most other guys put in that position so perhaps he has found a permanent home as an enhancement character.
- Daniel Bryan-Mark Henry. In addition to Michael Cole ripping Daniel Bryan, we now have Booker talking about how “it doesn’t look like he’s had a girlfriend in his life”. It’s going to be a self fulfilling prophecy when Bryan doesn’t get over like he should, because of nonsense like that. I read a Triple H interview a week or so back where he said he’s been doing this so long that sometimes he goes out there and he’s just trying to entertain himself and I think that same logic applies to Vince McMahon. Vince has been doing this for so long now that he isn’t focused on producing the best television with the best character, but instead making himself laugh at the sacrifice of his own television show whether he recognizes it or not. I am not sure why Booker T keeps saying the only reason Daniel Bryan didn’t back down is because he was trying to impress the girls backstage, but hopefully it’s just planting seeds. I’m going under the assumption that Daniel Bryan getting destroyed by Mark Henry is also planting seeds for down the road. They really took their time getting Big Show down to the ring to save Daniel Bryan.
- It is great drama and builds nicely for their match at Survivor Series for Big Show to slowly enter the ring, while Mark Henry exits the ring, but is it realistic that Show would just punch the chair out of Henry’s hand and then not right away get in the ring and go after Mark Henry? Perhaps I’m just nitpicking as overall the segment was a nice basic build up for their Survivor Series title match.
- More disrespect towards Daniel Bryan as Big Show implies that it isn’t anything special for Henry to beat Daniel Bryan. The initial backstage confrontation with Henry and Bryan was fine, but it was downhill from there for Daniel Bryan. I’m not sure what the end game here is with Bryan and what they did with him this week isn’t helping him long term. The lead announcer and two future hall of famers all buried him on the microphone.
- Another solid promo by Mark Henry to put some more drama behind his upcoming match with Show. Henry has been one of the few shining stars for WWE in 2011 and it’s a credit to not only him, but the Creative team for staying with him.
- Nice package on Wrestlemania, always good to make the biggest show of the year feel special far in advance.
- I like the Survivor Series commercial looking back at the history of the event and the return of The Rock that being said I’d like to see more of it and more focus on the history of the event and Rock’s return. I can only hope that this Monday’s go home show for Raw really delivers that.
- Tamina-Alicia Fox. It’s been said by many people, many times and I’ll emphasis it here as well, WWE really needs to put better focus on the divas division or get rid of it all together if it’s just going to be treated like a cog in the machine. Most of the girls mean nothing and get little camera time. Tamina vs Alicia Fox with Aksana and Rosa Mendes in their corners. Aksana is the only one of the four that really has had any character development, yet hasn’t had any matches outside of a battle royal. Alicia has gotten a couple wins, but she turned face without ever having a face turn. Rosa Mendes could definitely have a better use playing the girlfriend of an Alberto Del Rio or another heel; she seems to have a certain charisma about her.
- Nice package on Sheamus showing that he is a true Superstar worthy of being a presenter at an award show and interacting with the likes of Justin Bieber. Another nitpick, but I think it adds something to someone’s aura when the company shows a package on Sheamus giving an award to Bieber, Sheamus himself doesn’t play it up as a big deal or acknowledge it.
- Hunico and Epico vs The Usos. Nice to see the acknowledgement that Epico is Primo’s cousin and a nice debut for the threesome of Hunico, Epico and Primo.
- Good to see a commercial for Punk-Del Rio and the importance of that match at Survivor Series. No real synergy this week on Smackdown to promote anything on Raw or the return of The Rock.
- Randy Orton-Wade Barrett. Good to see Michael Cole talking about the history of Survivor Series and the different types of great performances we’ve seen from the likes of Randy Orton and The Rock. I also like Booker T talking about showing Wade Barrett one of his Wrestlemania checks as motivation for Wade’s recent winning streak. A nice touch to tell the audience that winning equals more money.
- Wade getting the clean win on Randy was good television and now gives Randy a purpose for wanting revenge on Wade. Let’s hope WWE doesn’t give it to Randy during next week’s go home shows. A simple show delivering logically storylines is what Smackdown has been all about recently and I hope it keeps up.
- Good close out line from Michael Cole reminding viewers that The Rock returns next week on Raw.
What was accomplished with this week’s Smackdown?
•They managed to tie together why Wade Barrett is the captain of his Survivor Series team and gave him a clean win over Randy Orton. Take note Raw Creative Team and the presentation of John Cena. I also like the focus that was on promoting the Elimination Match this week.
•Another compelling segment to hype Big Show and Mark Henry for Survivor Series
•Two solid matches with Randy Orton-Wade Barrett and Christian-Sheamus
•The overall hype for Survivor Series wasn’t there. I’d like to see WWE do full card run downs. I think this is an important part of the show. Take time out to make the pay per view feel special and run down the entire card and not just on the go home shows if it’s even done then.
•Raw has done a terrible job of promoting Rock’s return on Raw and at Survivor Series and Smackdown didn’t make the save for them. There needs to be a better synergy between the brands.
•Daniel Bryan the Smackdown Money In The Bank Winner and potential Wrestlemania Main Eventer is treated like garbage by not only Michael Cole, but by Booker T and Big Show. This is a nitpick as I am assuming it’s part of a larger story, but there is such thing as doing too much damage, they aren’t there yet, but they need to treat Bryan with a little more care than what they did this week
What needs to be accomplished on next week’s go home show for Smackdown?
• Survivor Series hype. The history of the show, The Rock’s first match in seven years and the importance of the other matches with a full card run down. Specific and focused promotion with videos and commercials and not just the commentators talking about it during the matches. This company has an awesome production crew and they need to leverage it more to showcase the importance of these pay per views
•Daniel Bryan. It’s bad enough having Michael Cole rip on Daniel Bryan, but let’s not have two top babyface performers doing it as well. Bryan’s character needs a little redemption next week and perhaps needs to pick a fight with The Big Show
• Continued hype for Big Show and Mark Henry and the elimination match without giving too much away. WWE has to resist letting Orton get his heat back on Barrett next week. I also don’t want to see Cody and/or Christian losing clean next week.
Thank You for reading. If you have any feedback, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org