Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down on this new "Bad News" Barrett character? The jury is still out for me, but I am leaning toward thumbs down. I believe the WWE might concentrate on this gimmick so much that it will just be another inclusion in the vault of flash-in-the-pans. It kind of reminds me of Big Bully Busick from back in the day.
Anyway, SmackDown was presented from Tulsa, OK, and it featured a main event of one of the biggest rivalries of 2013—WWE Champion Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan. Although Bryan wants to refocus on becoming champion again, the Wyatt Family had other plans.
Fandango vs. Big E. Langston
Poor Fandango. He is next to completely irrelevant now, and the only elements that are keeping him on television are Summer Rae and his theme music. I was never sold on the gimmick anyway, and he falls into the list of people that Chris Jericho put over—that never got very over. Ask Evan Bourne and John Morrison how that worked out.
Big E., on the other hand, is clearly starting to get the reaction he received when he was a babyface on NXT. I do not believe that we will see the "5!" chants again, but the WWE needs to spend a significant amount of time developing his character into a top guy. Him feuding with Mark Henry will help significantly.
Big E Langston (@BigELangston) December 8, 2013
Goldust/Cody Rhodes vs. Curtis Axel/Ryback
I was not in favor of Curtis Axel and Ryback getting a clean pinfall victory on the Rhodes brothers. In fact, beating people clean in non-title victories is not the best option in certain circumstances to merit a title shot. Not only does it take away some steam from the champions, it does not help the contenders much because they are going to lose.
I am okay with the Curtis Axel/Ryback team, but they would have gained more steam but winning a number one contenders match. The team is not even over enough to beat the champions cleanly. Regardless, it looks like we will see this match at TLC, and Goldust/Cody Rhodes continue to drastically improve the tag team division.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Kofi Kingston
The WWE Universe can go on and on about what the company should do with Kofi Kingston. The bottom line is, until that happens, he will continue to be the resident whipping boy. He has once again been relegated to jobber status, and the WWE giving him a brief taste of a midcard title is actually starting to lower the stock of each belt when he has them. Alberto Del Rio showed just how important Kofi is right now in the WWE. On a positive note, I am sure he is thinking about how he is going to perform his now-annual innovative Royal Rumble spot. At least he will get a few minutes of our time then.
CM Punk vs. Dean Ambrose
This match would have been much better suited as a US Championship match on the TLC pay per view. Not only would it have been a great opportunity to bring back the prestige of the midcard title, but it would have been more anticipating than CM Punk vs. The Shield. Both competitors showed how much a proper build of this match would have lived up to its expectations, and could have been a show-stealer at the PPV. Something needs to be done with that US title. Fast.
Natalya vs. Tamina Snuka
Sadly, Tamina Snuka is starting to become AJ Lee's proxy jobber. She deserves better. Natalya is finally getting her chance to win the Divas Championship after over three years, and this feud is developing quite well. The emphasis should not be so much on the Total Divas show, but more on both of their abilities to wrestle in the ring.
The Real Americans vs. Rey Mysterio/Big Show
I suppose Big Show was a good choice to be the mystery partner of Rey Mysterio. The match was good, but I am a bit confused on Big Show's state right now. Apparently he is no longer in the angle with the Authority (good), and WWE Creative has rescinded the concussion storyline they were commencing after the punt. Big Show and Alberto Del Rio seemed like they were going to start a filler feud, but ADR loses cleanly to Sin Cara on Raw. Yep, I am lost as well.
Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan
This match should not have ended in a clean finish. It may have happened to make Bryan even more of an underdog, but it was unnecessary. He is already going to be in a three-on-one handicap match at TLC. That is underdog enough.
This recruiting angle is very intriguing, however. In fact, it has developed to be one of the best angles in the WWE right now. Should the handicap match be booked for TLC? Similar to CM Punk vs. the Shield, no. Bray Wyatt alone would have been a better match, and we may not be able to see that match on a pay-per-view anytime soon with the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania season approaching. With the exception of the handicap match, this recruitment element of the feud is coming along quite well.
Sound off on the Barrett gimmick and the TLC booking below.