Smackdown was promised to be super tonight. It was live, it was co-branded, it had a loaded lineup. Other than two parts of the show, it was anything but super. That being said, at least the two parts that were really good were the two most important parts of the show. First, there was the contract signing between Triple H and CM Punk. IT was really, really good. Punk had his A-game back after being off the last two editions of RAW. Last night, he came off as a smarmy asshole who begged to get his comeuppance. Tonight, he acquitted himself better as the folk hero he needs to be to be a fan favorite. He was pitch perfect and with his speech about loving WWE and wanting drastic change, he totally rehabbed the damage on his cred when he went out and imitated Chris Jericho, circa 2000. Triple H was really good here too, a perfect counterbalance to Punk. He was sympathetic in his own right, and he had his own narrative. The more I think about it, the more I think the logical move here is going to an alliance between Punk and Trips, but since that is obvious, it's probably not happening.
The other really good part to tonight's show was the main event. It started off slowly, and it was looking like it wouldn't be the best work between Christian and Randy Orton. However, in the last segment of the match, things really picked up. Christian's avoidance of Orton's signature moves was amazing. The best play came when he hopped on the second turnbuckle to go for his diving European uppercut. It looked like Orton would hit him with the RKO, but Christian stopped short and dodged it. That was fucking cool. This was clearly the least best of the matches between the two I've seen, and the narrative from the announcers about it being a scintillating rivalry was just annoying because it was anything but in retrospect. However, it was still good enough to put a positive spin on the show. Well the match plus Mark Henry splitting wigs afterwards. Dude is rough 'n tumble. I really hope they strap him, let him run to WrestleMania and have the story be the smallest but most skilled man on the roster, Daniel Bryan, be Smackdown's last hope. That won't happen, but hey, it's nice to dream.
Speaking of which, while the Bryan/Sin Cara match was one of Bryan's weakest of the year, it bears noting that with the kick to Bryan in the post match? I really think we're going to see a dueling Sin Cara feud. Could be good.
Other than that, there really was nothing to write home about. John Cena reared his ugly head tonight, not only trying to crack wise, but coming off as utterly unlikable. He suckerpunched Ricardo Rodriguez, and then when Wade Barrett called him on it, he claimed he still owed him payback. Really John? You don't call dropping a million chairs on the man payback enough? The writers and/or Cena really must not think all that highly of the fans for us to forget what happened at the end of the TLC PPV in December. Ugh. The match was a turd too. Too short and too one-sided. I'm not saying this as a pedantic smark who thinks that Wade Barrett should be booked to look STRONG ZOMG. I'm saying this from a standpoint that when I see a match billed as a "MAIN EVENT", I want to see more than just token resistance and squash-like results. Compare to the real main event. No one thought Christian was going over. No one except maybe the most deluded Christian fanboys. Okay, but I think they did a really good job of selling the fact that Christian might just win. Barrett and Cena? It was like the people who laid the match out knew that the crowd knew who was going to win and told them to phone it in because they had to get more plugs, recaps and trailers in.
Yep, when you have a co-branded show, you definitely need more trailers and plugs, right? I mean, it's not like there were guys like Cody Rhodes, the Awesome Truth, Justin Gabriel, Ezekiel Jackson and Vickie Guerrero's traveling dysfunctional circus who could have been there instead of the trailer for Trips' next shitty movie or a recap for the most one-sided main event feud in WWE history... oh wait, there was.
Smackdown was better than RAW was last night, but it still felt very warmed over, not befitting the Super Smackdown label. I felt like I was bored for half the show, but thankfully, the other half of it that was worth watching was at least good. All I have to say though is that the magic WWE had over the summer is disappearing rapidly. Hopefully, this is just a hiccup and when RAW rolls around Monday, we get back to the awesomeness that we've been treated to in July and most of August.