I feel like this was a response to Daniel Bryan not getting totally squashed last week. They were like, "you looked too strong, we have to kill you this week to start the show."
Objections to Daniel Bryan's treatment aside, Mark Henry still looks great, he's still the scariest guy on the roster, and this was actually a strong way to set the tone. Part of the benefit of Mark Henry as champion, is that he's good on the mic, but because he keeps things simple. His character is not one carry on for 30 minutes. He distills his passion into a 1 minute sound bite, barks it and moves on to kick more ass. Right now that's significantly more appealing than the normal Triple H/CM Punk/John Cena/Randy Orton coming out and filling 15-20 minutes of time by chatting everybody up.
SIN CARA vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER
|That face says, "What am I doing here?"|
JACK SWAGGER vs. MASON RYAN
What the hell is this doing here? Oh because they're in the Orton/Barrett Survivor Series Match. Wait... why is Mason Ryan in that match? This isn't as bad as those Kane matches from a while back, but the fact remains: Mason Ryan is not very good. He's not in the moment. He's not selling, he's thinking about what comes next. It's just poor wrestling, and I don't know what you do with him.
CHRISTIAN IS A MAN NOT MEAT
Really good promo from Christian talking about his recent injuries. Christian is still one of the best personalities and ankle sprain or no, you really need to utilize him in some capacity. It looks like they may escalate his issues with Teddy Long, which could be a fun way to use him while he's out.
TED DIBIASE JR. vs. DERRICK BATEMAN
Bateman isn't exactly a great personality but it's interesting how he loses any aura he has on NXT when he gets on the Smackdown. DiBiase put in another solid quick squash. It's a good way to get the crowd used to him being a threat to people. Hopefully they come up with some type of story for him that can develop a personality that people can latch on to.
BIG SHOW IS PUMPED UP
Pretty good go home promo from Big Show, but it's nothing really new. Henry broke his leg, Big Show wants his title. Still he's better at delivering his words than 75% of the roster so I'd rather it be him than Mason Ryan or Zeke Jackson.
KOFI KINGSTON vs. HUNICO
Hunico is good stuff. He does some interesting work on Kofi's midsection that I really appreciated. I think he needs to figure out how to take some of those more complex moves and make them more into a show so that the crowd can understand what's going on. Something else he'll need to figure out is how to make himself feel biger than he is. He cuts a good pace, and his work is solid, he just needs to fill up the room with his character to take it to the next level. There's definitely some potential for him and his character.
Kofi really was kind of forgettable. He gave Hunico a lot and managed to make him look strong even while defeating him, but like much of his Smackdown run, he feels like he's going through the motions.
|GROSS....But kind of hot.|
One of the better Diva matches you'll get. AJ is a strong personality that I feel is being underutilized. She's one of the handful of Divas that actually looks like she's having fun out there. And better yet, she can actually work. Beth and Natalya are both great, but really they feel like they're holding back to work with the less experienced Kaitlyn, who took up the bulk of the match. That Sharpshooter on AJ was sick.
SHEAMUS & RANDY ORTON vs. WADE BARRETT & CODY RHODES
I kind of miss Cody Rhodes in the mask, but it looks like he's moving into a more Patrick Bateman American Psycho kind of character, which I think will work as he continues to move up the roster.
Wade Barrett has really come along. When he came on NXT he had a great personality and strong confidence. He felt like a main event guy. The only problem was that his wrestling skills weren't up to that level. He was mediocre. Now it looks like he's putting it together and I'm kind of excited for his future. He comes off very old school in the way he presents his work, the way he shows his punches for example. I dig it.
The match isn't anything more than a teaser for Survivor Series, but with everyone putting in solid, clean work, it does its job in getting me excited for the people involved.
So here's to all the survivors out there.
Have an awesome weekend. Kick some ass.