The People’s Column: WWE Smackdown on USA Reviewed

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WWE week continued on USA last night with the first ever live Smackdown on USA. It’s pretty crazy that it has taken this long for a Smackdown episode to make an appearance on USA, but it has. Eleven years after its debut, Smackdown appeared on WWE’s flagship network.

This show was really well hyped going in. WWE was smart in promoting it all the way through Raw and the TLC pay per view on Sunday. They made this show seem like a major happening. On top of that, they used many segments on Raw to entice viewers to come back the following night for a healthy dose of Smackdown. If WWE had this kind of synergy more often, maybe Smackdown’s ratings on SyFy would not be suffering the way they are.

Going into the show, I was excited to see Randy Orton vs The Miz in a regular match. I’m always happy to see The Miz in the ring because I cannot think of a superstar that has developed more in the last couple years than him. It seems like every night he raises his game to another level. Last night was no exception. Orton and Miz tore the house down before the screwy TV ending we all knew we would see. I enjoyed this match getting over the fifteen minute mark before the non-finish ending. We were treated to a PPV quality main event on a major show. If Smackdown had just been that match, viewers definitely would be coming back for more next week.

Sadly, Smackdown then featured 45 minutes worth of silliness and short, inconsequential matches that made the Orton vs Miz match a distant memory. The rest of this hour just dragged on and on. We had Santa Big Show, a replay of the horrid Vickie Guerrero and John Cena promo from Raw, Santino in action and more to just fill time on a major show. This was the lowlight of the show and sadly it was almost half of it.

Moving on to a little bit better, I enjoyed Edge’s promo a lot. It meant a lot for him to put over the TLC match as a match that one is still hurting from days after. No one seemed to do that coming out of WWE’s “most dangerous” show of the year and it really hurts the concept. Edge did do that and made his victory and the men he defeated look more legitimate in return. Nice work from Edge and Kane here to begin setting up the ultimate ending to this feud.

Things really started to heat up again with an excellent tag team match from Kofi Kingston, Rey Mysterio, Alberto Del Rio and Jack Swagger. It’s no secret that all four of these guys can gowns they showed that here. This match was your basic house show attraction with the babyfaces getting the better of the heels. I woke the crowd up and provided some spectacular spots for us watching at home. This was the second best match on the show. With crowd reactions like this, I wonder why WWE seems to believe that tag team wrestling is dead. The formula they used here would be great to see weekly or even monthly on PPV. Tag teams bred some of the biggest star a in WWE history, it seems silly to turn their backs on them.

In the main event, we had John Cena beating Dolph Ziggler and Vickie. This match was nowhere near as strong as their Raw match on Monday. It seemed that they just couldn’t get into the flow of things on Tuesday night. The match is not as important as the actions after it though. John Cena was about to give the Attitude Adjustment to Vickie when CM Punk once again rushed Cena with a steel chair and laid him out. I love the way they are building this feud. Punk as a just avenger who points out the hero’s flaws makes him a relevant justified heel again (something that has been missing from his act since Jeff Hardy left). It also allows Punk the opportunity to get into a main event program after being destroyed by Big Show so often on Smackdown.

All in all, not a bad show with two standout matches. I don’t know if the brand is reignited or if this special will reap rewards in the form of new viewers, but we got to see two great matches. I hope you’ve had fun reading this little recap. I’ll probably be back later in the week with more thoughts.

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