#facedeficient: Now that Orton is not only out of the Smackdown EC match but out of action, there is a rare chance for another face to step up their game in Orton’s absence. Who better then the Rumble winner Sheamus? This turn of events makes it all the more likely it’ll be Bryan-Sheamus at Mania. This is because Bryan’s chances in the WHC EC match just went up astronomically because Orton was the only other guy who could have realistically won it. Personally I like potential of that matchup, mainly because it doesn’t feature any of the usual top stars. Second, they should be able to put on a good match and they kind of deserve it since their US Title match at the last Mania got relegated to a pre-show dark match because WWE wanted more time for Snooki and that unsightly 8 man tag match. Lastly it would be a very strong indicator that WWE is committed to building new stars.
#twintowers: Normally I wouldn’t be that excited about a Smackdown tag match since they’re usually not good. However, this one has the two biggest ‘athletes’ in WWE in Big Show and Great Khali going against Cody Rhodes and Wade ‘still have horrible entrance music’ Barrett. Khali is as horrible in the ring as usual, but it kind of comical the way Rhodes tries to attack him and Khali no sells it. On the other hand, they do a good job of masking his shortcomings by having Barrett and Rhodes tag in and out to keep the pressure on him The match was actually looking pretty good until Show came in off a hot tag, cleaned house and planted Barrett with a Chokeslam for the win. Just seemed to be cut short before it had time ot really develop. Show sort of makes up for it when he WMDs Khali post-match, selling the every-man-for-himself nature of the Chamber. The chaos isn’t over yet as Angry Show destroys Teddy’s office, WMDing Mark Henry and even the TV!
#jumpedthehark: I’m pretty sure this DiBiase-Hunico feud has reached that part. There’s no development in it since Hunico started whining that he wasn’t invited to a DiBiase Posse tailgate. Now he comes to the ring spouting stuff that no one can really understand because there is so much booing. It’s even now that Hunico stole this match after some assistance from Camacho and I’m still wondering when he’ll get a match. Or do anything besides be the driver on the tricked out bike.
#uniqueness: That’s what the Usos’ performance of the traditional Samoan war dance is and it’s nothing but a good thing. They aren’t really given any time on the mic to let us know how they are as characters, so this is a unique way for the viewer to get an insight into these two. The crowd sure seems to be cheering them alot. They certainly have alot more personality then their opponents the Penny Champs Epico and Primo who they end up losing to tonight. I mean Rosa is the main attraction in regards to the champs, at least from Booker’s perspective. Both teams can put on a decent match, so there’s some hope for the division. I don’t think they’ll bring back the E&C/Hardys/Dudleys glory days, but it’s a start.
#rolemodel: As Bryan makes his way to the ring, there was shot of a sign in the crowd that read ‘Hey Daniel Bryan, isn’t your belt leather?’ Pretty creative there and showing that the vegan heel persona is working. Bryan taking out both Orton and Show on RAW and then Orton not being on SF because of the injury and Show because he lost it earlier and ‘voluntarily left the building’ shows the WHC’s brillance. It’s a perfect heel move. He’s trying to keep any challengers to his title off their games while taking others out of the picture, if only temporarily. I’m not a fan of WWE wanting Bryan to use his veganism as heel fodder, but the rest of his new persona is becoming better the more he gets used to it. His in-ring promo is excellent and does the job of drawing the ire of the crowd and especially Teddy Long who puts him in a match with Sheamus. Lost in the fact this could be a Mania preview is Josh Mathews calling out Cole for sucking up to Bryan on RAW which might have been the line of the night. The match itself is solid and just a taste of what those two could do at Mania. Bryan’s heel brilliance comes into play again as he continually provokes Sheamus, taking advantage of his notorious temper, to pick up the DQ win.
#afterthoughts: That pretty much describes Ezekiel Jackson and Jindar Mahal who are facing off now. Big Zeke did have a brief run as IC champ, but now he, like Mahal, has no direction character-wise. For the commentators to suggest that either of these two have a chance of winning the Battle Royal later on to determine Orton’s replacement is laughable at best and just plain absurd.
#megapush: I was considering skipping over this Tamina-Alicia vs Beth-Natalya Divas tag match because, well, they’re not all that interesting. However, the push that Tamina seems to be getting has to be mentioned. A pre-match video promo aired that closely tied Tamina with that of her father, Jimmy ‘Superfly’ Snuka. Couple that with the inclusion of Snuka in her name and the way the announcers are talking about her now and it seems Beth’s Divas title is in as much jeopardy as it’s been in her reign. For it to be mentioned how ‘dominant’ Beth has been, when she’s barely defended her title and disappeared from TV for stretches of time, is just a disconnect from reality.
#mrexcitement: As if to try to make up for all the SD talent that shows up on RAW, Mr Excitement John Laurinaitis and David Otunga’s Travel Mug show up in Teddy’s office. Ace describing the charismatic and talented future winner of Battle Royal while Travel Mug is clearly preening since it believes it is him was wasted when Ace did indicate it was Travel Mug he was talking about. It seemed like they were building up for Ace to mention someone else. Still it’s laughable how much the person Ace described is so not Travel Mug. Plus, Teddy gets a dig in at Mug’s toolness, so there’s that.
#overthetop: It’s interesting that WWE has been able to differentiate between the Royal Rumble and any of the regular Over The Top Battle Royales they put on throughout the year since they’re essentially the same match with differing amounts of participants. They do have the history and prestige of the Rumble match to play up in order to make that contrast. Anyways, on to the match and the absurdity kicks off when Cole enthusiastically says that at Tuesday’s live Smackdown one of the men in the ring could be the WHC. The hits just keeping coming tonight, don’t they? Especially since the crowd has no idea who most of the guys in the ring are at all. The match is a mess as is to be expected and the early eliminations don’t draw much of a reaction from the crowd. The first one that is notable is when Primo eliminates his tag partner Epico and goes on to have a nice exchange of near eliminations with Justin Gabriel. Big Zeke gets revenge on Mahal for the earlier loss by tossing him over the rope to get us to the Final Four of Zeke, Santino, Travel Mug and Drew McIntyre. The Scotsman is the first to go, followed by Zeke to make it a battle of advisors and now the crowd gets into it big time. Santino wins the match and Cole loses it. Bryan’s chances of retaining just went up again as we know The Cobra will not win and neither will Khali. Rhodes has on outside chance as does Barrett. Next to Bryan, Show is the most likely to win, so a bit of the drama was taken out of the match with the loss of Orton, but we’ll have to see what happens on Sunday.