I am really underwhelmed with the output of the Blue brand at the moment. When a significant part of the show (at least as broadcast in the UK) is taken up with Raw recaps and matches from the vault, that’s a sure sign that this is not the premiere brand to watch.
The brand has the talent to do much, but at the moment there is not that much of a difference between the quality of their output and what TNA Impact churns out. That should be a problem, but because of how TNA don’t know how to make the most of a good thing, and there’s a gear that SmackDown can kick up on, there will not be much to worry about presently.
Yet in the meantime here are some reasons why their output at the moment isn’t really firing on all cylinders.
Edge vs. Alberto Del Rio
To be fair this feud has only just started to pick up the pace with ADR’s recent attacks on the Rated R Superstar. People complained that Christian’s involvement at the Elimination Chamber PPV were not properly followed up on the recent SmackDown. Yet they’ve been dragging out the end of the feud with Dolph Ziggler and his manageress/lover Vicki Guerrero. Now Vicki has done an outstanding job with her role in the whole scheme of things. She is a tremendous heel authority figure and has a way of engaging with the crown that is to be the envy of most male performers.
Yet in dragging the feud further they haven’t begun to properly build this feud with ADR other than establishing ADR as the heel above all heels on the roster at the moment. Edge is currently cruising as a face and runs the risk of being too bland with some of his endearments to the crowd singing goodbye both to Ziggler and then to Guerrero. So it’s a matter of waiting to see how they can crank this one up, but already it looks to be the lesser feud on the WrestleMania bill with the top feuds on Raw already having a lot of heat behind it.
Lets be honest, Edge is not WWE’s go-to-guy to headline the big deal and this fight won’t be that much different to the match he had with Chris Jericho in the last WrestleMania – it was important, but not that important. It’s not a match or a feud that people will be talking about in five or ten years time, as opposed to the Rock’s involvement in Cena vs. Miz and the epic Triple H vs. Undertaker match.
That is one reason why SmackDown is so underwhelming when the top feud isn’t that important in the larger scheme of things and doesn’t feel that important as yet.
Rey Mysterio vs. Cody Rhodes
Of everything else going on in SmackDown at the moment, this is the best thing going. The involvement of the American Dream Dusty Rhodes recently was a good touch and worked a treat to heat up this feud. Rey doesn’t have to do much in these kind of feuds because it’s a straightforward case of being the beaten on victim who will then mete out his vengeance at the biggest stage of them all.
So this is a chance for Cody Rhodes to shine and so far he is playing his role to the hilt. It is one of the few things I enjoy watching the show for. This could really propel Cody to be considered as a serious player in this wrestling game and also mark him out as a title contender on his own steam after paddling about after the Legacy deal.
Of course that depends on the writers seeing it that way as well and pushing this one like they could push it. The scene of Rhodes taking Mysterio’s mask off was a great touch in seeing how this brother is taking the fight seriously.
… And The Rest
Big Show vs. Ezekiel Jackson … (stifles yawn). Talk about filler. While Show goes through Corre we all know who he’s waiting for and Jackson likewise is made to look eager to get his paws on Show. This, however, comes across like filler. No one gets elevated from it – Corre can look like SmackDown’s dominant faction by carrying on with the development of Gabriel and Slater as a top tag team, letting Barrett loose as the singles talent that he is and Zeke just being the bully of the side.
Kofi Kingston vs. Jack Swagger – yeah that is an Intercontinental title feud, these are top performers who should be pushed higher, but I get the impression they’ll be treading water and this won’t even make it to WrestleMania. Don’t know how much they’re playing on an ‘injury’ to Kingston, but I would have thought it would work for this to be part of a Money in the Bank dela if they are going to have one of those again.
Undertaker appears to be doing his feuding mostly on Raw with helpful repeats on this brand. Drew McIntyre’s possible progress appears stunted especially regarding him and the Kelly Kelly deal. Outside of that is there really anything else on SmackDown worth writing about. Therein lies the problem with the brand at the moment. Still, they’ve got over six weeks to make me care – let’s see how they go.
Look out for the next Wrestle Watch Monthly covering TNA, Raw and Smackdown, at the end of March.