As I sat in anticipation last night for the new era of Smackdown to begin, I was just hopeful it wasn’t going to be like RAW. Raw threw out just about everything they had and it still fell short (and put me to sleep literally). Not trying to bash RAW because I hope the WWE as a whole succeeds. Enter SmackDown.
From the second the cameras started rolling to the sign off, I enjoyed pretty much every minute of it. Even the tiny details were excellent. From the new camera angles, to the beginning segment from the gorilla position, 2 hours!!, and even the longer that normal in ring segment standoff between Dolph Ziggler and WWE Champ Dean Ambrose, it was clear Smackdown has “stole the WWE show”. This show did what RAW hasn’t done for many many years…. Make you excited to tune into Smackdown next week! Here’s a few aspects that stuck out for me.
THE ANNOUNCE TEAM:
The RAW squad has lots of repetitive mistakes. Byron Saxton and Corey Graves are still learning the ropes. Because of this Michael Cole is having to juggle his play by play and teaching at the same time. I’m not the biggest fan of Corey Graves either. He seems to me like he’s the type of person that steps on others to make himself look better. Having said that, he’s the “Heel” announcer, I get that. It just comes off really bad.
The SMACKDOWN squad however, is lightyears ahead. LIGHTYEARS! JBL after all is the presumable heel announcer of Smackdown. For a while there, I couldn’t stand JBL’s nauseatingly over the top heel approach on RAW. The lack of covering what was going on in the ring by all three previous RAW announcers was disturbing. That all changed when JBL’s honest comments came forward following the Cena/A.J. Styles match at Battleground. Here’s why I now love JBL. The passion is back, the no nonsense approach that made him an incredible Champion is back, and he is becoming more and more honest on air. It also seems like he is loosening up a bit and having more fun. The two go hand in hand. If something great is happening in the ring, calling it like you honestly see and feel it, is a positive for everyone, not ignorance. How perfect and fitting to have Mauro Ranallo beside him. This guy is special as is his enthusiasm. Time will tell with David Otunga as he’s new. But this chemistry will slowly manifest into a helluva team more and more each week. As you all know, the announcing crew is severely important to the success of any wrestling show. These guys are in your ear for a few hours a week, and they are almost equally responsible in telling the story in the ring. Great job guys.
I’ve never liked this guy. Ever. But damn, he has stepped up his game and has grown on me. Making his opponents look like gold in the process too. He’s really came into his own lately. There’s no other WWE star that deserves to be IC Champ at this point in time, in my opinion. Randy Orton is being eased back into the swings of things and the Miz aided in catapulting him to where he needs to be for his battle at Summerslam with Brock Lesnar.
APOLLO CREWS AND DOLPH ZIGGLER:
Now I may be a bit biased here because I have always enjoyed Dolph Ziggler’s work as well as been a big fan of Apollo Crews for some time now. But seeing how enthusiastic and ecstatic Crews was following a huge victory in the opening battle royal was AWESOME and deservingly so. While Ziggler seems to have finally starting to find himself, which is indicative from his post SD interview https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdnIlgRH7C8 .
Like I wrote in my previous article https://camelclutchblog.com/how-wwe-smackdown-not-raw-hit-a-grand-slam-for-the-wwe/ These types of genuine and positive reactions are exactly what we can expect more of from Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan going forward. The best part of the show for me was sensing that every single WWE star seemed to really enjoy preforming tonight. No jealously, no anger, no hate, just a bad ass wrestling show. The sense of unity from the SD locker room is the secret to this recipe. Every guy and gal wants each other to be successful. Happy employees =Success. And what comes with success? As Shane McMahon’s entrance song perfectly sums it, “Here Comes The Money”!