‘Sup, Lords of Pain? Well my post-SummerSlam holiday is over and it is time for me to get back in the column writing saddle again. Like a lot of fans at the moment, I am very excited by the product that the WWE are producing recently. In fact, I have even been watching SummerSlam religiously for the last few months, something I haven’t done for years. As such, I thought it would be time to get back to my roots as a “Review Guy” (it was The Wrestling Menu from the great Davey Boy that inspired me to get into this column writing business). The fact that there seemed to be a bit of a gap in the market when it comes to the Friday night product gave me an easy in. So ladies and gents, without further ado I bring the very first edition of...
4-4-2 Review: SmackDown 30/8/13 (CPR Productions)
Aug 31, 2013 - 3:40:05 PM
So the deal here is I am putting a bit of a football (soccer to the non-Brits) gimmick behind this new review. For the non-fans out there however, don’t fret, you won’t need to know anything about the game to follow what is going on and it will be readable as a straight up review! So, I won’t waste any more time with the explanations. We come into SmackDown with a bit of a support group developing for Daniel Bryan which I am calling the Resistance. The Big Show and Dolph Ziggler’s comments against authority have found them front and centre and somehow The Miz has been plopped into the middle of it all too. It will be interesting to see what New Corp (a.k.a. The New Corporation) have in store for these guys and whether D-Bry can finally get some momentum going on the road to Night of Champions. So, it is now just about time for...
1’ KICK OFF: We start things off with Miz TV featuring the Resistance. Miz TV is something that in the not too distant past has had the ability to make people tune out immediately after tuning in. Not today though. The recent happenings in the WWE have the potential to breathe some much needed fresh air into a lot of stale and stagnant characters and performers and the Miz is the latest name to be added to that list. Let’s see if he can step up to the challenge.
9’ FOUL: The segment was pretty standard work from Mizanin with The Big Show and Dolph Ziggler resisting the urge to make too many derogatory remarks against New Corp. It doesn’t stop Hunter from coming out and nailing Miz with a verbal knockout blow regarding his relevance since losing the WWE Championship. Ouch indeed. The Game has certainly not needed any time to get used to being a heel again. He lays down the law on the group of rebels, booking Miz vs Orton, Ziggler vs The Shield and forcing Big Show to spend the night watching from ringside in the knowledge that he can’t interfere.
16’ CHANCE: Miz has been pretty lacklustre between the ropes for a long time now. In contrast, Orton has generally had decent TV matches over the last couple of years without much in terms of direction. A convincing win for Orton builds up a bit of momentum as champion whereas a good outing for Miz starts to rebuild his credibility. Can they pull both off simultaneously?
27’ OFF THE WOODWORK: The answer to that last question is pretty much “Yes”. Miz seemed to have that touch more motivation and it is probably his best TV match in a long time. He got in some decent offence and it puts him in a good position as part of D-Bry’s support group (funny the twists and turns wrestling takes). The Shield’s presence gave Orton an edge but the lack of interference keeps him looking like a strong champ, finishing things off with the RKO. Given a few more minutes this might have been a “goal scoring” match.
28’ SAVE: After the match ends, Orton and The Shield go to work on Mr Mizanin. Big Show battled with his conscience at ringside but the cavalry arrives in the form of Daniel Bryan. He makes the save to a thunderous reception. I tell you something, if there isn’t a huge end game for DB in this whole saga, it’s going to take a hell of a lot to get the crowds to play ball. He is as consistently over as I have seen anyone in my 25 years plus of watching and those reactions just seem to be snowballing.
36’ CHANCE: A quiet few minutes which saw Bryan “punished” for his interference by being given a match with Ryback by Vickie is followed up with some WHC upper midcard action. Ricardo Rodriguez (wearing that beautiful t-shirt again) brings out Rob Van Dam and his opponent will be Mr Money in the Bank and the Uncrowned World Heavyweight Champion, Damien Sandow. Sandow cuts a good promo on the way to the ring as he continues to really impress me with his mic work, but WWE booking suggests things won't go his way in a #1 Contender vs MitB holder battle. Hopefully they he will at least get in some offence and a decent amount of time.
40’ OFFISDE: Unfortunately not as RVD wins in pretty much a squash. I understand the need for a title challenger to look strong in the build to a PPV. I even understand the “wipe the slate clean” mentality they have when it comes to briefcase holders. But there are limits. By all means give the holder some losses but mix it up a little and make sure he looks in good company when wrestling guys at a similar level. After all, he is the man you have already chosen to hold your world title in the near future!
HALF TIME: We finish the first half with an Alberto Del Rio promo on WWE’s very own Cheech and Chong, Ricky and Robbie. It’s paint by numbers but pretty well delivered for ADR. I think his trip back to heel has gone well so far. As for overall thoughts of the first half, it was entertaining. Nothing out of this world but nothing awful with seeds being sown for potential fireworks in the second half.
46’ KICK OFF: The second half gets underway with Dolph Ziggler taking on The Shield. The big question right now is whether art is imitating life. Dolph has been pretty outspoken and when you look around, nobody would really be surprised if he was slightly disgruntled. That said, if he really was being punished, you’d have thought it would be a lot further down the card. Either way, when the IWC isn’t sure if it is a work or shoot, it usually equals entertainment. Let’s see if this handicap match will give us any more clues.
51’ GOAL!!!!!!!!!!: The first goal of the episode and the series, and it comes courtesy of great teamwork by The Shield. A battling and brave Ziggler loses in short order to a brilliant one-two from New Corp’s security team. Rollins gets the assist with a powerbomb throw into the top turnbuckle and it is finished off with Reigns and that devastating spear. A great finish that didn’t give us much of an answer to the Dolph question. It was quick but the numbers advantage makes that extremely feasible. He also got in some offence and showed some heart. A large part of me thinks the WWE is mind fucking us here and I really hope that is the case.
58’ YELLOW CARD: We have Paul Heyman and Curtis Axel in the ring but it is the client who holds the mic… What’s up with that? You don’t give a guy that can’t talk a great mouthpiece only for him to cut his own promos. To prove my point it is quickly followed by a Raw recap where Paul E hurls some brilliant trash talk in Punk’s direction whilst Axel overenthusiastically shouts the phrase “he’s a Paul Heyman”. Interestingly, when we come back from the recap, Heyman has the mic. He cuts a decent promo which becomes great by the end, talking about what awaits Punk in their handicap elimination match at Night of Champions. Heyman really is a one many hype band right now (hi Shane!) and could probably sell coals to Newcastle.
68’ CHANCE: We go threw a quiet period again as Tons of Funk become Wyatt Family fodder. The entrance was longer than the match and it leaves me wondering just where the Wyatt’s are going and how quickly. It is something I will actually be addressing on The Right Side of the Pond in the next week or two. This was the weakest part of the show so far but still not enough to warrant a goal against.
75’ CHANCE: The fans treated to some classic Mountie vs Bret Hart action on the big screen before we head into the night’s main event of Daniel Bryan vs Ryback. I am not sure if Ryback has the chops to succeed at the very top but he is certainly better than the booking he has received over the last year. Here he has the opportunity to put on another strong match with Bryan.
84’ GOAL DISALLOWED: The chemistry was there between the two once more, but then again, when isn’t it when Bryan is involved? A good TV main event comes to a slightly premature end thanks to interference from the WWE Champion.
85’ HANDBAGS: Tensions spill over as Orton and The Shield prepare to give Bryan his bi-weekly beatdown, Big Show has seen enough and steps in the ring. This brings Hunter out once more to order him to the back. Just like on Raw we have a brilliant exchange of facial expressions between the two. Show overdoes it a tad as he walks away but the position he has placed himself in has made him more interesting than he has been in years. When the moment comes where he finally unleashes that WMD onto Triple H’s chin, it could well generate the biggest pop of his career. I really hope that they can drag out that tease for a few more weeks yet.
89’ GOAL!!!!!!!!: Orton spray painting the word “No” onto Bryan’s prone body post-beatdown brings the second goal of the night at the death. Not only was it a nice bit of revenge for DB messing with his car on Raw, but also a nod to another uber dominant faction, the nWo.
FULL TIME: And that is all she wrote. The score of 2-0 means we had a couple of very strong moments without anything that had me reaching for that remote to change the channel. There was lots of entertaining action in between as well. What we take away from this episode is some nice build towards the next chapter in Punk-Heyman feud and some more character development in New Corp vs Resistance storyline. Miz was formally made a part of Team Bryan and it already seems to be helping him become relevant again. Big Show finally finds himself on the right side of interesting again, although it wouldn’t be a huge shock to see him turn once more and join Hunter et al. Talking of Hunter, it is great to see him doing what he does best again. For some of you, it might be two years too late (or even longer) but Evil Trips is just so much better that Good Guy Hunter. The same can be said for Orton who is already showing off those little touches which make people rate him extremely highly as a bad guy. The Ziggler conundrum is becoming interesting. You’d have to think that the end result will him finally have a longish world title run. The question is whether it will be in the WWE or TNA. Finally we have Daniel Bryan. The more he is getting beaten down at the moment, the more people seem to get behind him. He should really swap March of the Valkyries for a spot of Chumbawumba’s Tubthumping as his entrance music. Of course the big question behind this is where it takes him. That is not a question for today however. You can check out the latest edition of the Right Side of the Pond on LoP Radio for my co-hosts’ Joey Shinobi and Plan’s thoughts on this (link at the end of the column) and it should be the subject of a Smarks Court very soon. All I can say now is that is making for the most entertaining wrestling on TV in years. I think there is a big match player I am missing here though….
MAN OF THE MATCH
The first 4-4-2 Review Man of the Match award is shared between the three members of The Shield. This huge angle has been a blessing to many of the key players involved, and Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns can definitely count themselves amongst that group. Nobody was quite sure what direction the group were heading in before SummerSlam with rumours of backstage heat and de-pushes flying around the internet. But here they are as executive security and they are absolutely embracing the role. It’s not just the beatdowns and the in-ring performances that work in their favour either. Obviously I was very high on the finish to their match with Ziggler this week but they are in full character all the time. The little touches go a long way for me in wrestling and the glances they share with Orton and Hunter since they became part of New Corp just add another level of intrigue to the story. It just gives you the feeling that one day they might stop playing ball with the bosses and go back to their rogue, renegade roots. If and when that day comes, it is bound to be extremely entertaining.
And there we have it for the very first edition of the 4-4-2 Review. I shall hopefully be back around the same time next week (providing I don’t receive lots of comments saying how much it sucks). A big shout out to LoP Hall of Famer Prime Time for knocking up this banner for me. If you haven’t been following his Monday Night Wars series in the CF, do yourself a favour and read the latest edition >>>HERE<<<. Also keep an eye out for a new Smarks Court soon where the whole Daniel Bryan debate will be put under the microscope. And of course, make sure you check out the latest episode of The Right Side of the Pond on LoP Radio where the Brits of Lords of Pain discuss all things wrestling. Links to that and a bunch of social media is below. Catch you next week. Peace!
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