WWE ‘SmackDown’ Preview – [4/27/12]
These days, most WWE-related talk is centered around the return of Brock Lesnar and the former UFC Heavyweight Champion’s impending match against John Cena at ‘Extreme Rules’ this Sunday. But just because the biggest happs are all going down on Monday nights doesn’t mean there isn’t some fun stuff to catch on ‘Friday Night SmackDown’ each week.
Keep reading for a full-on preview of what we’re most looking forward to about this week’s show, but please remember that SPOILER WARNINGS are in full effect. Then make sure you tell us what you’re looking forward to in the comments and share the preview on all your sundry social media networks. Finally, follow me on Twitter for all my most up-to-date wrestling ramblings.
Good talkers talking
Listen, like most folks interested enough in wrestling to read and/or write about it on the internet, I’d pretty much always prefer that a wrestling show start with, you know, actual wrestling. That said, if an episode of ‘Raw,’ ‘SmackDown’ or even ‘Impact’ has to start with chit-chat, I’d definitely prefer it be a couple guys who are good on the stick.
This week, ‘SmackDown’ will open with some jawing off between the two top contenders for Sheamus’ World Heavyweight Title: Daniel Bryan and Alberto Del Rio. While Bryan gets his shot at the belt this Sunday, ADR has his eyes on the prize for after ‘Extreme Rules.’ Not only are both guys good, interesting, unique talkers, but they’re also two wrestlers that almost always get some kind of reaction from the audience, so the crowd will most likely be pretty hot, especially once Big Show clears the ring helps Ricardo Rodriguez hit his nightly bump quota.
Big Show vs. Alberto Del Rio
Big Show isn’t just a great big man, he’s a great worker sans qualifier, and I’ve always been a fan. This past year has been a particularly impressive one from Big Show as he’s had fantastic matches with a couple of much smaller opponents in the form of Daniel Bryan and Cody Rhodes. While Alberto Del Rio is bigger than both those guys, he’s still dwarfed by Big Show, so it should be fair to expect a match of similar quality when these two step in the ring together on Friday night.
The match ends with interference by Cody Rhodes, which is appropriate given the ongoing issue between him and Big Show, but frankly, it’s a little repetitive at this point. I get that their one-on-one feud has been eclipsed by Show & The Great Khali’s rivalry with Rhodes & Del Rio, but given that Del Rio is in line for the main event picture and Khali is, well, Khali, the whole thing just feels a little bit like WWE killing time.
Nikki’s first title defense
As of this past Monday, courtesy of a well-worked injury angle by Beth Phoenix, Nikki Bella became your Divas Champion. Neither Bella is what I’d classify as a “good wrestler,” but given the current state of WWE’s women’s division, Nikki is far from the worst choice to carry that godawful-looking belt. On this week’s ‘SmackDown,’ she’ll participate in her very first title defense against Alicia Fox, who also isn’t exactly good at her job, but at least the match will be something different.
The dirt sheets are pointing to the entire Beth Phoenix injury angle as a way to bring Kharma back, having her feud with the Bellas, who cut a nasty promo on the former Awesome Kong when she announced that she would be taking a break from the squared circle to give birth to her child. That’s still up in the air, as is everything you read on the dirt sheets, but if it’s true, I’m willing to sit through Nikki vs. Alicia to see Kharma steamroll over both of them upon her return.
Welome Claudio—er…Antonio Cesaro
After appearing in backstage vignettes on previous weeks’ episodes, Antonio Cesaro will finally have his debut match on this week’s ‘Friday Night SmackDown.’ The European wrestler will square off in a “tryout match,” which, seeing as it’s against Tyson Kidd, one of WWE’s most underrated workers, should be a pretty excellent match, even if WWE doesn’t give it much time.
For those unaware, Cesaro has competed for years on the American independent circuit under his real name of Claudio Castagnoli. Though he has competed as a singles competitor, he is best known for his work as part of the Kings of Wrestling tag team in both Chikara and Ring of Honor, alongside fellow indy darling Chris Hero, who now wrestles in WWE’s developmental territory, FCW, as Kassius Ohno.
Sheamus vs. Mark Henry, again
If you muscled up and sat through the entire three hour run of this past Monday’s ‘Raw,’ you got to see World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus take a beating from Mark Henry courtesy of some questionable officiating by his ‘Extreme Rules’ opponent, Daniel Bryan. On Friday, it’s Sheamus’ chance to get some payback as he once again takes on Mark Henry, but this time with a less biased referee.
Seeing Sheamus and Mark Henry square off is certainly nothing new, as they’ve been butting heads intermittently since Henry’s run last year as an absolutely unstoppable heel. Though Henry is no longer positioned as the monster he once was, he’s shown through recent matches with CM Punk that he still knows how to carry himself as a serious threat, so while this is admittedly a somewhat lackluster main event, it should still be a slambang, action-packed wrestling match.