Sunday, May 30, 2010

C.M. Punk is smarter than you. (The WWE, not so much.)

I continue to enjoy what the WWE is doing with C.M. Punk on Smackdown. On Friday night, a hot crowd thought they would finally get to see Punk, the cultish leader of the Straight Edge Society, without his trademark hair. Finally, after months of running his mouth, the arrogant purist would get his comeuppance!

However, in a brilliant move, he instead wore a mask to the ring and broke out in a wide, psychotic grin. This was a great decision in my opinion, since it allows Punk to maintain his arrogance, and it keeps the crowd hot for the eventual "reveal" on his hair, which I imagine will happen at the next pay per view.

Unfortunately though, Punk was by far the highlight of the show, as several other aspects of it fell flat to me. The main event was a good match between Mysterio and the Undertaker, but because they're both fan favorites without any existing issue between them, the crowd was pretty mellow on the whole affair.

For a few brief moments, I thought they were going to have Undertaker do a heel turn on Mysterio, but this didn't develop. This wouldn't be the worst thing in the world to me, since Smackdown lacks a #3 heel along the same stature as Swagger and Punk, neither of whom is considered a guaranteed money guy yet. There are some decently developing heels behind those two, in Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler, but neither is established enough to me. Meanwhile, the show has plenty of faces without Undertaker - Mysterio, Big Show, Kofi Kingston, Christian, Matt Hardy and MVP are all guys I can see as credibly involved in the title picture, given their past successes.

In a continuation of an angle seemingly only I like, Laycool mocked Beth Phoenix, and also WWE fans for questioning how they can have two titles. "I've got 99 problems but Beth ain't one!" McCool and Layla are both ridiculously annoying in their current roles, and as such, they're the only interesting wrestlers the WWE has in the Smackdown women's division. (Sorry Kelly Kelly and Tiffany - You're both incredible eye candy, I just wish the writers could give you a personality or a gimmick or an angle, instead of imagining what your naughty bits would look like in a cheerleader outfit.) On Raw, Maryse holds a similar role, although Eve at least has some potential. Gail Kim has been completely buried since coming over from TNA, but I imagine she doesn't mind the paycheck too much.

The rest of the show featured a so-so tag match between Kingston-Show and Swagger-McIntyre, Christian being teamed with Hornswaggle (ugh!), and MVP jobbing to Luke Gallows. None of these were that compelling, so grading on the usual curve for Smackdown, I can only offer praise for the Punk and Laycool segments.

Grade: C

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