That barrier has finally been passed. No, I am not talking about that. I speak of the new year that has begun, and with that comes many promises that will be forgotten. What will not be forgotten is the Royal Rumble, which is coming around the corner. Now that we're stepping out of the holidays and looking forward to the rest of our mediocre lives, we can at least hope that WWE programming will be refreshed with excitement as we prepare for the annual event that some look forward to more than WrestleMania itself. Of course, with the hype of Royal Rumble comes the official beginning of the Road to WrestleMania...so ladies and gentleman...without further ado...welcome to WWE 2013*.
*Note: This sounds incredibly underwhelming in retrospect.
Now that he has returned, it's only natural that Randy Orton would open Smackdown. Many will be quick to jump on his promo skills, but I will say one thing: he's not as bad as everyone would have you think. He's just incredibly boring most of the time. After an announcement that he'll be the second person announced to be in the Royal Rumble, Sheamus comes out and sort of makes things a little more interesting. The important part is for once, they kill the newfound "friendship" between two faces, considering Orton and Sheamus have a history of hating each other. Whether they are babyfaces or heels, the past should not be forgotten without reason. Before physical action can break out, Big Show appears to gloat and declare both men will fail if they even come close to his championship. Enter Cesaro, cue anti-American rhetoric, hit Booker T's music.
Right here, I give you three options. Does Booker T:
A) Strip The Big Show of the World Heavyweight Championship?
If you said, "B," good guess, but the answer was obviously C. Not that I am complaining. It gives Cesaro an opportunity for victory over Orton and Sheamus, even if it's through Big Show.
The Miz v Heath Slater(C+): This is the most exposure Heath has received that did not involved getting squashed in seconds by the likes of Vader or Lita(of which the former was at least badass). I have heard many fans say they do not think Miz works as a fan-favorite. There is definitely room for improvement on the microphone, but in the ring, it only elevates his game to a level previously unseen with him. Someone like Slater can only make him look better, and thankfully the match is long enough to earn a spot in our immediate memory, rather than fading into the weekly blur. Slater truly knows how to pick his spots. Miz gets the crowd involved. I head into the next segment with a good feeling about the rest of this episode.
Out With The Old, In With The New: In case you were too distracted by the New Year to find out what happened on RAW, Wade Barrett did the unpredictable(had you avoided spoilers) and defeated Kofi Kingston for the Intercontinental Belt. Announced earlier tonight was a rematch, and both competitors give a promo before-hand...but the comparison really does make Kofi look weak in comparison, especially when his emotion does not feel genuine when he talks about it.
The Great Khali, Hornswoggle & Natalya v Primo, Epico & Rosa Mendes(D+): I almost do not even want to watch this match. Rosa has never impressed, but most importantly, Khali and Hornswoggle are always around to stink up a good show. Natalya is one of the best females wrestling in the WWE, while Primo is possibly the smoothest wrestler I have ever watched. It is a waste, though...I just hope whatever this is supposed to be comes to an end sooner rather than later.
Kofi Kingston v Wade Barrett(B-): Unlike Big Show and Sheamus, there are some feuds that only seem to get better with each match added to the list. Kofi and Wade learn more about each other with each encounter, and you need to look for no further evidence than the fact that each match makes me more interested in a feud that I had originally written off as a fun detour for Kofi. It doesn't quite capture the same magic of their last match, but it succeeds in not repeating itself. In the matter of longevity, that is much more valuable. The finish was a nice touch, though.
Layla v Tamina(C-): Tamina should never be a on the good side ever again. "Why would that honestly matter?" you ask? Simple. Her wrestling style is far too vicious. In between those ropes, she is absolutely ruthless. Before her face turn before her recent hiatus, she began picking women apart on Superstars, and it was catching my attention. Now that she is back as a heel, it seems she's gained her mojo back, and I am excited to see her progress in the "Diva" division. She should be a future champion. Oh yeah, the match was cool. It was just a thorough squash.
Big Show & Antonio Cesaro v Sheamus & Randy Orton(C): I believe this is the first time Antonio Cesaro and Randy Orton have met, and the acquaintance made is a rough one. It is an amazing step forward for Cesaro, though, especially when that includes partnering up with the current World Heavyweight Champion. He hangs with the big dogs well, but as for the match itself, it kind of meanders. A neat spot here and there, but nothing that quite wows you. The animosity between Sheamus and Orton does seem to be building to something, though. There's that.
Oh, funny side-note - JBL informs Josh Matthews that there's a "Z" in the name of the city "Lucerne," Switzerland.
Wow, the show's already over? It did feel rather plain. At least three matches were given time but was this really all there was to offer? Quite a shame for the first episode of the year, but I will allow them the pass due to this following the frenzy of the holidays. No sleeping next week.