Complete Report Card and Predictions Following WWE SmackDown for November 15
Every week here on Bleacher Report, I will take an in-depth look at SmackDown, recapping all of the action, offering analysis and grading the matches, segments and anything else that takes place on the show, as well as provide some predictions on the direction of storylines.
This week's show took place during WWE's European tour, which means we get another appearance by the wildly popular Union Jacks.
OK, so maybe the trio isn't that popular, but the change in character has gotten 3MB some cheers from a crowd that would usually boo it out of the arena.
The show also featured two different Divas matches, with a total of six Divas getting in-ring time and AJ Lee in the corner of her bodyguard during one of the matches.
The show featured six matches, with the only singles match among them being Tamina vs. Natalya. Every other match was either a handicap match, tag team or six-man tag match.
Most of the segments and matches did what they were supposed to do, but not a lot from the show will have people talking for too long.
Let's get right into the action with The Usos vs. Luke Harper and Erick Rowan.
The Usos vs. The Wyatt Family
The opening bout was a little slow at times, but it was a solid match that highlighted two very talented tag teams.
The Wyatt Family picked up the win with Luke Harper hitting his massive clothesline to pick up the pin and the victory.
JBL's enthusiasm added to the entertainment value of the match, as it always does. Going to live events is awesome, but JBL's commentary can make it just as fun to watch from home sometimes.
The match lasted two full segments, and Wyatt delivered a promo afterward that was just as good as anything we've seen from him.
It's hard to think of two more different tag teams, but these four men have good chemistry in the ring, and that could lead to a future tag title feud if either team ever wins the titles.
Some notes from the match:
- Bray Wyatt switched it up and wore a paisley shirt instead of a Hawaiian shirt.
- Erick Rowan always reminds me of The Highlanders. That was a tag team that went nowhere if there ever was one. WWE brought Rory and Robbie in with a lot of video packages and immediately halted their push soon after their debut.
- I really wish Bray Wyatt wrestled on TV more often. I like that WWE doesn't use him in the ring too much, but we do need to see him wrestle sometimes.
Tamina vs. Natalya
I expected more from these two. They are two of the most powerful and skilled wrestlers on the roster, and WWE gave them a short match and very little to do.
Nattie picked up the win with a Sharpshooter, but the win did not make up for Tamina costing her the Divas title.
There really isn't anything else to say about this match. They should have been given more time, and this should have been way more of a "wrestling" match than it was.
The Union Jacks vs. R-Truth and Prime Time Players
3MB has been doing its Union Jacks gimmick all week to play to the U.K. crowd, and it seems to have garnered the trio some fan support.
Heath Slater, Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre still act like heels in their matches, but you can tell that the show of support from some of the fans has been appreciated by 3MB.
This match was short, with R-Truth and Prime Time Players picking up a quick win. The best part of the whole thing might have been Darren Young getting upset that he couldn't dance like Truth after the match.
Some notes from the match:
- I wonder what kind of response 3MB got during its entrance. WWE came back from commercial with the trio already in the ring.
- I kind of hope 3MB keeps the Union Jack gimmick when it returns to the U.S. It would be hilarious if Slater and Co. converted from Southern Rock to Brit Rock. It might get them the heat they need to be taken seriously as heels if they claim to no longer like American music.
- It's easy to forget just how powerful Titus is until you see him take a guy the size of Jinder Mahal and just toss him to the side like it was nothing for him.
The Bellas vs. The Funkadactyls
This was a pretty average Divas match by today's standards, but all four women did get a chance to show off a little during their time in the ring.
The Funkadactyls picked up the win after Naomi hit The Rear View to get the pin. Nobody turned heel and attacked one another after the match, so there is a good possibility we will see this match pop up on Total Divas in the near future.
Some notes from the match:
- Nikki hitting the Alabama Slam was a nice spot. Cameron took the bump well.
- Naomi should appreciate the fact that JBL calls her the best athlete to come along in years. JBL always puts people over really well, but that is a huge compliment.
Khali vs. Hunico and Camacho
I have been asking WWE to make Khali look more dominant in the ring so it could get more use out of him, and winning a handicap match was a step in the ring direction.
Khali has little to offer in the technical department, but his size alone should make him a force to be reckoned with. Using him as a comedy character has ruined what little value he had for a long time, but lately he has been distanced from Santino and Hornswoggle, and that might give him the chance to be taken more seriously.
This was another quick match. It's nice to see Hunico and Camacho back in the mix, but it appears WWE has no intention of pushing them any time soon.
Some notes from the match:
- I wish WWE would acknowledge Camacho's family lineage instead of making him pretend to be Mexican instead of Tongan.
- I kind of miss the lowrider bikes.
CM Punk and Daniel Bryan vs. Ryback and Curtis Axel
This was a solid match to end the show, but it was ended abruptly by the presence of The Wyatt Family. The lights went out, and when they came back on, we saw Luke Harper and Erick Rowan in the ring, but Punk and Bryan were gone.
Harper and Rowan looked confused, but they ended up turning to rage and taking out their aggressions on Ryback and Curtis Axel.
Punk and Bryan eventually emerged from under the ring and performed a quick hit-and-run before retreating up the ramp.
What really sold the finish was Wyatt's reaction to Punk and Bryan outsmarting them. He did not seem angry at all, but rather happy.
He was laughing and smiling, and you could almost tell that the prospect of having finally met his match excited the man.
Some notes from the match:
- You don't realize how big Harper and Rowan are until you see them dwarf Ryback in size.
- Either WWE edited them out or there was a complete lack of Goldberg chants from the crowd.
WWE had a lot of quick segments on this week's show, so it made sense to put them all on one slide again.
Curtis Axel and Ryback/R-Truth and Prime Time Players
Ryback made it clear to Curtis Axel that he is no longer a Paul Heyman guy, and surprisingly, Axel said he is no longer a Heyman guy either.
This little segment was short and to the point. It didn't have anything special about it, but it worked to set up the tag match we would see later in the show.
The second half of the backstage antics we saw at this point in the show featured R-Truth rapping and dancing with Darren Young and Titus O'Neil.
This segment was random and funny, and that is the kind of thing WWE doesn't seem to do much of anymore.
These quick, goofy segments help connect fans to the personalities of these Superstars. Truth and PTP seem like a natural fit, and this segment highlighted the comedy skills of all three men.
William Regal and Khali plugging WWEShop.com
This segment did two things. It made me realize how much I want to see William Regal on WWE television more often. And it also made me realize that WWE has no idea what to do with Khali.
Regal got a huge pop from the U.K. crowd, but the decision to cut him short and replace him with Khali in front of his own country was confusing.
Regal is someone who has earned a special place in the hearts of WWE fans. He is someone who has done just about everything you could do for WWE, from embarrassing himself to jobbing to being a general manager.
Hopefully Regal either finds his way behind a commentary table or he ends up as someone's manager, because he is just too valuable to keep on the sidelines.
Brad Maddox and Vickie
Maddox was shown backstage with Vickie Guerrero, and he was trying to scare her by saying she would be in trouble when Triple H and Stephanie McMahon return because she put Randy Orton in a handicap match on Raw.
Guerrero said Maddox and Kane are just as responsible because they did not veto the match. Somehow this seemed to make her think she wouldn't be on the hook for it.
This was another short segment that pushed a storyline forward another week but did not stick out as memorable.
John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio Arm-Wrestling Match
This segment was better than I expected it to be. I thought WWE would try to make us think Del Rio could put up a fight against Cena in a test of strength, but it did the right thing by having Cena win decisively, twice.
Del Rio was the one who was standing tall at the end, though. He put Cena through the table they arm-wrestled on to end the segment, making him look very strong heading into Survivor Series.
Cena's arm was still covered up, and Del Rio nearly got Cena's good arm into the Cross Armbreaker, but he settled for a spinebuster through a table.
CM Punk and Daniel Bryan Interview
Renee Young had a quick interview with Punk and Bryan that spawned a new name for the duo, The Beard and The Best.
Punk and Bryan are like a dream team for many WWE fans, and seeing them deliver a promo together is fun no matter how long it is.
They mostly talked about The Wyatt Family, and they made sure to use Bryan's "Yes" catchphrase plenty of times.
Overall this was a quick, solid segment that reminded us of the upcoming tag match.
Final Thoughts and Predictions
This was a pretty average episode of SmackDown, which is a little disappointing since WWE usually makes shows in the U.K. a special affair.
Having two Divas matches was a bit of a surprise, but what was more surprising was that neither of them was horrendous in any way.
This was another week where we did not have many of WWE's top stars included on the show, but in some ways that is a good thing. It gives other Superstars a chance to shine in the spotlight more often.
Punk and Bryan were clearly the most popular babyfaces of the night, and The Wyatt Family has cemented itself as one of WWE's most unique heel groups. This feud is about to get very interesting, very fast.
Survivor Series is quickly approaching, and WWE has planted the seeds for a lot of the feuds that will be highlighted at the pay-per-view.
Hopefully Survivor Series allows WWE to keep fans interested heading into the final weeks of 2013 as we head toward the road to WrestleMania 30 in 2014.
- Punk and Bryan will be taken out by The Wyatt Family on Raw after getting the better of Wyatt on SmackDown.
- Survivor Series will see a big return. Could be Brock Lesnar, could be Hulk Hogan or it could be Undertaker. Regardless, someone is coming back. I can feel it.
- Kane's new direction will eventually lead him to feud with Daniel Bryan. The former Team Hell No partners now have totally different agendas, and since Triple H and Bryan have already been involved in a feud, it makes even more since to add Kane into the mix at some point.
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