I watched Smackdown! this morning. In some ways, it was a great episode. Those ways are nostalgic though. It reminded of how the shows used to be in the early 2000s when they would be standalone episodes that would have a centralized story and still build to a PPV. We don't get those as often anymore. On the other hand, there was some genuinely bad stuff on this episode - and a lot of it has to do with the story they were telling. I have mixed feelings on the episode, ultimately.
Opening with Bryan Danielson vs. Sheamus lit up klaxon bells in my head. This is the quickest way to kill the PPV business - by giving away the matches you just had on PPV on free TV. TNA has destroyed their PPV business doing it, WCW destroyed their PPV business doing it... This is BAD BUSINESS. Ending with a no contest would have been a bit of a saving grace, but I've seen the whole episode so I know the fail it leads to.
Kingston/R-Truth vs. Hunico/Camacho was a perfectly fine match. The tag division is in such shambles now that it's not even remotely funny. The Brodus Clay/Team Guerrero stuff is starting to wear thin, as well.
Damien Sandow's promo was a genuine bright spot on the show. He's ridiculously good with a promo. And I love that he found Bateman to be beneath him. Ryback continues to impress in these short matches, but ultimately they're going to be face with a Goldberg-dilemma in that he'll have to wrestle longer matches which will just kill his appeal.
Randy Orton/Big Show vs. Kane/Cody Rhodes was perfectly fine wrestling. Randy Orton and Cody Rhodes are so ridiculously good in the ring these days. It's a shame Randy is bogged down in a boring story with Kane, because it brings both men down. Big Show continues to entertain in the role he's in.
So finally the main event. Sure it's a great match, but the business-sense of it is just fail - in multiple ways no less. There's aforementioned PPV-killing. Plus, now that Sheamus has beaten Danielson so many times, what does that if CM Punk loses? And really, why should anyone care if Danielson can beat Punk? He's been jobbed out to Sheamus so badly here, it's almost like it's not a contest. And then if it IS a contest, it makes Punk look like someone who has trouble hanging with the guy that Sheamus has mauled billions of times. I liked the booking at Wrestlemania - it fit the storyline. And having a real feud-ending match at Extreme Rules is perfectly acceptable as well. But when you continue to beat the guy down, all you're doing is beating down a potential moneymaker for you. It's like Zach Ryder. You just know they say, "Well we tried with him and he didn't really work out." Putting him in a ring with Kane and having him get beaten up every week, then get beaten up by Eve, etc. is dooming him for failure. Anyway, /soapbox.
Match of the Day goes to Kane/Cody Rhodes vs. Big Show/Randy Orton.
"Hogan is trying to get Yokozuna into WCW. Remember, he still has a win he needs to get back" - The Wrestling Observer Newsletter: December 08, 1997