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October 17, 2009

Smackdown: Seeds planted for a Batista heel turn?

After watching Smackdown Friday night, I’d swear that Batista is about to turn heel.

Batista wrestled his little buddy Rey Mysterio in a match that started out friendly but eventually became intense. Mysterio got the win when he pinned Batista, who clearly had his shoulder up before the three count, but the referee didn’t see it.

On last week’s show, Batista suffered a fluke count-out loss to CM Punk. It seems to me that WWE is creating a scenario in which Batista’s frustration boils over and he returns to his heel roots.

Smackdown is a little thin on top-level heels ( I don’t count Chris Jericho because he is a member of a tag team), so it would make sense from that standpoint.

Then again, Batista’s DVD is coming out Tuesday, and you would think WWE would want to keep him as a babyface in the belief that it would sell more DVDs. Perhaps a Batista turn is just wishful thinking on my part. His character could use a change, and a heel Batista also would make a likely feud with The Undertaker seem less like a rerun.

We shall see.

Other thoughts on Friday’s show:

It was nice to see the graphic dedicating the show to the memory of Capt. Lou Albano at the beginning of the program, but I wish WWE would have put together a video tribute. He certainly deserves it. ...

I’m looking forward to the match between John Morrison and The Miz at the Bragging Rights pay-per-view a week from Sunday, but parts of that “Dirt Sheet” segment were painful to watch. ...

I can’t help but feel a little sorry for Marty Jannetty, who was a good worker and had a fine career, but whose name has become a synonym for the weak link of a tag team (Morrison and Miz kept referring to the other as “Jannetty.”) While he never came anywhere close to the success that former partner Shawn Michaels achieved as a singles wrestler, Jannetty was a highly regarded worker and had a fine career in his own right. ...

Jericho had some good lines. First, he referred to the new DX book as a “piece of flotsam and jetsam.” Later, he said he wanted “gypsys, tramps and thieves” on his Smackdown team. Anyone besides me old enough to get that lyrical reference? ...

It was like music to my ears when Vickie Guerrero came out on the stage and said, “Excuse me!” It’s so good to have her back on the show. ...

I have no problem with newcomer Eric Escobar getting a push right from the start, but it’s hard to believe that Matt Hardy – who did the job for Escobar in the latter’s first match on TV – has fallen so far in such a short time. Turning him babyface definitely was a bad move. As for Escobar, it’s hard to assess his performance in the ring in a match that didn’t even last three minutes. ...

It was good to see Ziggler come out as the winner of the triple threat with Finlay and Mike Knox to determine a spot on the Smackdown team at Bragging Rights. I’m surprised that there was no follow-up to Ziggler’s breakup with Maria last week except for a passing reference by the announcers. ...

The Rolling Thunder that Finlay performed on the huge Knox was pretty impressive. ...

When Cryme Tyme came out for their match against unannounced opponents in another Bragging Rights qualifying match, I was certain two things were going to happen: 1. CT’s opponents would be The Hart Dynasty (because these teams seemingly have no one else to face except each other); 2. CT would win (because there needed to be some babyfaces on the Smackdown team). Sometimes I really hate being right. It’s a crime that CT beats THD all the time. ...

Another thing that I was certain of was that Drew McIntyre was going to beat R-Truth. McIntyre definitely is on the fast track, which I’m fine with, but I would love to have seen WWE throw R-Truth a bone by giving him a spot in a high profile match. At least R-Truth lost by countout rather than pinfall...

The back bump R-Truth took on the steel steps looked painful.

Posted by Kevin Eck at 6:38 PM | | Comments (26)


Jannetty deserves more respect, for all the "weak link of a tag team" talk I'd counter that isn't very often that Shawn Michaels' come along in this business. I think "Bart Gunn" would be a more apt joke.

Is Curt Hawkins still employed? It seems that he is the Jannetty of the Edge Heads.

Later, he said he wanted “gypsys, tramps and thieves” on his Smackdown team. Anyone besides me old enough to get that lyrical reference? ...

I'm old enough to know that it's a Cher song, so when Jericho included those three types of individuals when he was listing the kinds of people he wanted on Team Smackdown it did make me laugh. I'm not old enough to have heard it on the radio when it first came out, though.

The back bump R-Truth took on the steel steps looked painful.

You're not kidding. At first I wondered if something was botched and if he had suffered a legit injury as a result, but then realized that was how they intended the match to end. I'm glad he didn't get pinned by McIntyre twice in a row, but as the guy who had to take that bump he may feel differently.

I was disappointed with how Team Smackdown turned out. The top guys on the show at the moment are: Batista, Rey, Jericho, Taker, Punk and Morrison. But four of those guys are in a world title match and Morrison's defending his title, making them all ineligible.

So let's compare: Team Raw has got HHH and HBK (two of the biggest stars in WWF/E history), the Big Show (main event level even though he's only had one world title reign), Mark Henry who has been booked as an unstoppable juggernaut when he's wrestled singles matches, Kofi Kingston whose star just keeps on rising and rising, Jack Swagger who is probably on his way to the top along with Kingston, and Cody Rhodes who managed to beat those two aforementioned big stars clean at Breaking Point.

Team Smackdown? We have Jericho at a time in his career when he seems to do nothing but jobs when he isn't teamed with Show, we have Kane who's just a midcarder these days and only held the world title for a single day, we have Cryme Tyme who are a good tag team but neither of whom is in the same league as DX and Show, we have Dolph Ziggler who is gaining a reputation as a jobber to whoever is currently holding the IC strap at any given time, we have McIntyre who is off to a promising second start in the WWE but hasn't really established himself yet, and we have Escobar who only just arrived.

I'll put it another way: imagine that instead of a seven on seven tag match, that this is a battle royal with every man for himself. After nine guys had been eliminated which five wrestlers do you think would be left? Who do you think would be the winner?

It also hasn't escaped my notice that except for Cryme Tyme, Team Smackdown is all heels.

I posted a comment earlier in the week where I said that this would make for a good match. Forget I said that, because it looks like Team Raw is going to win. (I wonder if it has anything to do with HHH being the captain of that team...nah, I'm just talking crazy, aren't I?) The only way this match could possibly be any good for the fans or the talent is if Team Smackdown scores an upset so that guys like Ziggler, McIntyre and Escobar can be put over the way DiBiase and Rhodes have been. And hey, who knows, maybe that'll happen. But I wouldn't put any money on it.

Here's what I think a good Smackdown vs. Raw match would look like:




John Morrison sure made SmackDown look like the real A show in that Dirt Sheet segment. Making the suggestion that Big Bird would guest host Raw made me laugh out loud.

And let's get this out of the way: I didn't like the fact that SD has 5 heels and 2 faces, while Raw has 4 faces and 3 heels. Unless the following happens: R-Truth gives a trashing to Drew McIntyre so he can't compete, and then in comes John Cena who lost to Orton earlier. Hey, it's Super Cena - not even an Iron Man Match will stop him to represent a brand.

The Smackdown team for the up coming ppv sucks. Escobar who has been with the company for 30 secs and looked pretty ordinary in his match against Matt gets a ppv spot a head of Finlay, Matt and R- truth. Even Mcintyre in there is debatable as his last match in a ppv was received with massive indifference from the crowd. I like to see young talent get a push but you cant just drop them in there straight away and hope the fans accept them. There has to be a period where they have to earn there corn first. Morrison and the Miz were good on the dirt sheet and it would make sense for Batista to turn heel if Cena ends up on Smackdown, as this would make an ideal match for Wrestlemania 26

2 quick things i love since SD has become the better show in the opinion of most that Vince is always on there where as years past if you saw him there once a year it would be a miracle and secondly what is the point of this Bragging rights 7 on 7 match with all of SD Rokies what is even the point of bying the PPV unless you want to see Cena/Orton 235.

best part of the show = cm punks final go to sleep on mysterio.. but then mysterio instantly gets up from it to do his 'yo my brother' big batista hug

my biggest beef with smackdown... and all of wwe these days, is that the wrestling is a bore!
there is absolutley no build of momentum in any match,
matches are stuffed with too many sets of boring submissions holds and the usual 400 pinfal attempts a match = someone lands a dropkick - pinfall!
someone hits a scoopslam - pinfall!
then a 3rd hold in submission, 2 minutes later..
he hits a clothesline... PINFALL!
"oh no a two count"

and just went you think the match is building heat - the 17th add break gets thrown at you

then when finally the match has its climax, not 1 finisher move is used.

i really dont beleive in this "wwe is lacking fresh talent" - its all in the way its run from above. i really find it hard to beleive that all these great rising guys choose to put on boring matches themselves. i swear they are told to drag out thair matches as much as possible, build 0 momentum, and dont do your finisher tonight, we will limit your special moves for PPVs

peace out

Since I pretty much agree with you word-for-word this week, I'll just quickly note my displeasure at the way R-Truth is being used. In terms of pure talent, the guy is in the top ten in WWE, easily. And he has charisma to spare; he gets a huge and nearly universally-positive pop every time. Good worker, over with the fans - why is he being buried!?

RESPONSE FROM KE: You got me. I've been saying R-Truth should get a push since he came back to WWE

Oops, Show's had two world title reigns. My bad.

I thought the Dirt Sheet segment was actually quite good - it made me want to watch their match at Bragging Rights, something that no feud apart from Punk/Hardy has done in a while.

I agree on the Jannetty part - he was an accomplished wrestler in his right, winning the IC title (from Michaels, no less, if I remember correctly) - and with MechanicalBull: a Shawn Michaels doesn't come around very often. If you're going to use the Marty Jannetty analogy, you might as well use Jim Neidhart or Brian Pillman.

I loved the bang-bang thing CM Punk did rigth after he put Mysterio to sleep.

I wonder if a Jericho-Kane team is in the making. They've planted the seeds for the Jericho-Show breakup, and Kane is another big strong guy - the exact type Jericho's character would go after.

Hopefully they will pull the trigger and turn Batista heel at Bragging rights or a couple weeks after. If Batista turns heel Im figuring he will feud with Mysterio, if that is the case what is going to happen with the WHC scene? I love Punk's work right now, but this feud with Taker is just not working out. Hopefully he won't get lost in the shuffle and forgotten again. They desperatley need to elevate someone to a top babyface role, so there can be some beliveable feuds.

I hate to disagree with you, but Vicki Guerrero is one person I never wanted to see return to WWE! She's obnoxious, fat, ugly, etc. Her only claim to fame was Eddie, and he's been gone for quite a while. Why DOESN'T she stay home with her kids? Or does she need more money for food to feed her FAT face?

I must say that Matt Hardy had the biggest pop of the night. I was at this event and Between ECW/Superstar/Smackdown and, dare I say it, the dark match between Taker and Punk. Why they are still punishing Matt for Jeff's situation is just ridiculous.

As far as the SmackDown team I believe they just stuffed it with a whole bunch of greenhorns so it looks like they have no chance to win. Then there going to have show srew the raw team. That's my thought on it.

They shouldn't plan ahead for anything related to Batista, the guy is so freaking injury prone and out most of the time. Bet he will get injured getting out of bed before too long.

Hi Kev

Just wanted to ask your opinion. With Team Smackdown looking so disappointing compared to Team Raw, if you could make a 7 on 7 match from all the superstars from each brand from the past 10 years (since Smackdown has been on), who would you have on each team? I realise that due to all the drafts and superstars appearing on both shows that it's sometimes difficult to seperate them into specific shows but I was just wondering what you think?

RESPONSE FROM KE: LIke you said, with everyone switching, it would be impossible.

Hell, even a blind man can see Big Dave turning, and it's something that's needed.............

If nothing else, Jannetty was part of the Rockers---and back when there were *great* tag teams working (Road Warriors, Steiner Brothers, etc.), the Rockers could stand with the best. They were miles above any tag team working today.

Am I the only one who thinks that the Miz is one of the best guys on the mic in the whole of WWE? Only Jericho and Vicky Gerrero get close to the amount of negative response that the Miz gets, and that's the sign of a good heel to me.

Two things I can always bank on in a Kevin Eck Smackdown recap:

1. Why is Cryme Tyme being pushed?

2. Why is R-Truth being buried?


No doubt that Batista is turning heel. I completely felt it that way too and I can't wait for that to happen. I think he has what it takes to make a better heel than face.

I didn't mind the dirt sheet. Finally Morrison enters a feud as a man, not a child (Mr Ziggles...). He is better on the mic with that kind of material anyway. "Your mother bought one of those by the way" was a pretty sharp comment.

Eh everybody, wake up. Yes team Raw looks way stronger than team Smackdown. But am I the only one thinking (knowing) that Show is going to turn against team raw? And that will pull the upset and launch the DX - Jerishow program.

Keep up the good work!

Am I the only one who thinks that the Miz is one of the best guys on the mic in the whole of WWE?

I think he is too. He's sort of the opposite of Morrison in that regard; he's a great talker but is only decent in the ring, whereas Morrison is great in the ring but just adequate on the mic.

Two things I can always bank on in a Kevin Eck Smackdown recap:

1. Why is Cryme Tyme being pushed?

2. Why is R-Truth being buried?

I don't think it's been so much about Cryme Tyme being pushed as much as it is a question of "Why is it that they just keep on wrestling the Hart Dynasty over and over?" That isn't a push; that's using them to bury Smith and Kidd without doing anything to advance their careers.

Pushing Cryme Tyme at this point in their careers would mean having them win some gold, which WWE inexplicably has not done.

As for R-Truth, they should start him feuding with somebody else and end this thing with McIntyre.

Turning Dave heel is much overdue. Like you said Kev, it would make matches fresher. Same thing would occur if HHH flipped heel.

R-Truth should be sent to ECW to take the top babyface/champion role once Christian leaves for Raw or Smackdown. Let's see what the guy can do!

Breaking Point is an awful concept....couldn't they wait 1 month until Survivor Series to do Team Raw vs. Team Smackdown....just seems pointless to me.

Hey Kev, we are less than 3 months away from the Rumble.......if you had to pick somebody right now to win who do you think WWE should give the Rumble victory and main event at Mania spot too???? Christian is my choice, but knowing WWE they will have Batista, Trips or Cena win the damn thing. Jericho, Punk, Christian, Morrison - something new please!!!!!!! (Any chance Michaels since he might be retiring soon???? I wouldn't mind seeing him getting the one last run he deserves). If Taker wins it I quit.

I'd love Edge to come back and win the rumble as a babyface.

It would probably mean bringing back Jericho on the championship race for Mania.

If not, Kingston or Morrison.

"But am I the only one thinking (knowing) that Show is going to turn against team raw? And that will pull the upset and launch the DX - Jerishow program."

No. You are not the only one!

I guess we now know why there were all the references to Marty Jannetty.

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About Kevin Eck
The Baltimore Sun's Kevin Eck blogs about professional wrestling.
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