Fearless Nikki offers a first-look at her custom kicks for The Ultimate Thrill Ride.03/22/2017 - 01:00
Things turn volatile between Shane-O-Mac and "The Face That Runs the Place" en route to their clash at The Ultimate Thrill Ride.03/21/2017 - 23:00
Jimmy and Jey Uso make it clear that they've told everyone they were the best tag team from day one, and against American Alpha, they proved it.03/21/2017 - 22:45
The A-Lister and his bride claim to have unearthed supposed never-before-seen footage of Total Bellas.03/21/2017 - 22:45
With his girlfriend and WrestleMania partner Nikki Bella in his corner, The Leader of The Cenation takes on one half of Breezango.03/21/2017 - 22:45
Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose sticks a fork(lift) into The Lone Wolf's first-ever match against The Viper.03/21/2017 - 22:00
Armed with new power from Sister Abigail, The New Face of Fear and his followers trap The Viper.03/21/2017 - 22:00
Following The Usos' non-title victory one week ago, Chad Gable & Jason Jordan go to war with their longstanding rivals for the SmackDown Tag Team Titles.03/21/2017 - 21:30
The A-Lister and his bride claim to have unearthed supposed never-before-seen footage of Total Bellas.03/21/2017 - 21:30
The "Face That Runs the Place" plans to run through Shane McMahon at The Ultimate Thrill Ride.03/21/2017 - 21:00
WWE Top 10 takes you back to this week's SmackDown LIVE to revisit the show's most thrilling, physical and controversial moments.03/15/2017 - 13:15
Refusing to give in following AJ Styles' vicious attack, Shane McMahon announces a startling match for The Ultimate Thrill Ride.03/14/2017 - 22:30
Weeks after The Viper burned down the Wyatt Family Compound, The New Fear of Fear returns more powerful than ever.03/14/2017 - 22:15
"Eck’s Factor": SmackDown 9/23 analysis
DAYTON, Ohio – Here are my takes on the big stories from Friday night’s SmackDown that the WWE Universe is talking about on Facebook, Twitter and WWE.com.
Talking point: Randy Orton snaps, batters Cody Rhodes
Eck’s Factor: Kudos to the WWE production team for editing the aftermath of the Orton-Rhodes match in such a way that made the graphic scene suitable for airing on a PG-rated program. Having witnessed the incident live, I can tell you that it was a gruesome sight.
After Orton was disqualified for using Rhodes’ facemask as a weapon, he smashed Rhodes in the head with the ring bell, causing blood to gush out of the Intercontinental Champion’s head like a faucet. Rhodes’ face quickly became the proverbial crimson mask, and puddles of blood were all over the ringside area. Rhodes’ blood also was smeared on the body of Orton, who cleaned himself off with a towel that had been handed to him by a WWE crew member.
The blood – while unintentional – clearly added to the drama and intensity of Orton’s attack on Rhodes. Orton looked like the psychotic, dangerous Viper of old, which makes his rematch with World Heavyweight Champion Mark Henry in a Hell in a Cell Match on pay-per-view on Oct. 2 even more compelling.
As for Rhodes, who received eight staples in his head to close the wound, he can use the incident to add fuel to his delusion of being grotesquely disfigured.
Talking point: Randy Orton does his first interview since losing the World Heavyweight Title to Mark Henry at last Sunday’s Night of Champions
Eck’s Factor: Orton has always been a man of few words, but I was disappointed that he basically gave a “no comment” when backstage interviewer Matt Striker asked if he had anything to say regarding his loss to Mark Henry. Orton instead chose to focus on his rematch with Henry.
While Orton did not make any excuses for losing, I was hoping that he would be a stand-up guy and give Henry his due for beating him clean in the center of the ring. Not only does Henry deserve that acknowledgement, but I think showing a touch of vulnerability would add another layer to Orton’s character and strengthen his connection with fans.
Talking point: Christian gets one more match
Eck’s Factor: The “be careful what you wish for” adage certainly applied to Christian when he asked WWE COO Triple H for another opportunity at the World Heavyweight Title.
Figuring that Mark Henry will lose the championship to Randy Orton at Hell in a Cell and that Orton will be at less than 100 percent as a result of the match, Christian proposed that he face Orton for the title after the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view. Triple H agreed that Christian deserved another title opportunity, but unfortunately for Christian, The Game made the match – Christian versus Henry with lumberjacks surrounding the ring – for the SmackDown main event.
Ultimately, Christian’s plot to get the title back was foiled, but he was still the star of the show. He had a presence throughout the episode and was at his smarmy best when trying to convince the likes of Sheamus, The Great Khali and Ezekiel Jackson to “have his back” when he faced The World’s Strongest Man. Speaking of Sheamus, he played a major role in Christian losing the match and continues to be a thorn in the two-time former World Champion’s side.
Christian is as sneaky as they come, however, so Sheamus would be wise to watch his back.
Talking point: WWE Executive Vice President of Talent Relations John Laurinaitis endorses WWE COO Triple H
Eck’s Factor: Call me crazy, but I don’t think Laurinaitis was being sincere. On a side note, now that Mr. Laurinaitis is appearing regularly on WWE programming, I’d personally appreciate it if he started using his old gimmick name of Johnny Ace. It’s not that I have any desire to see him rocking a blonde mullet and riding a skateboard down to the ring again, but repeatedly typing “Laurinaitis” is about as much fun as watching a “Best of The Dynamic Dudes” three-disc set.
Talking point: Imposter Sin Cara steals a victory from Original Sin Cara
Eck’s Factor: The finish to the OSC (Original Sin Cara) versus Daniel Bryan match had me scratching my head. If ISC (Imposter Sin Cara) really has in it for OSC, why didn’t he help Bryan win the match instead of stealing a page from the Bella Twins’ playbook and pulling the old “Twin Magic” trick?
It almost seemed as if the two masked men were working together, although I don’t think that was the intention.
Talking point: The Great Khali defeats Jinder Mahal
Eck’s Factor: Now that Khali has broken free from Mahal, doesn’t that mean that Mahal is going to divorce Khali’s sister and send her back into poverty? For those who don’t remember (or care), that’s what Mahal threatened to do if Khali wasn’t subservient to him.
My guess is that Khali realized – or perhaps little brother Ranjin Singh smartened him up to the fact – that he makes enough money as a WWE Superstar to keep his sister from ending up in the Punjabi poorhouse. Way to help a sister out, big guy.
WHO IS KEVIN ECK?
For those who are unfamiliar with me, I come to WWE from The Baltimore Sun, where I was an assistant sports editor and the author of a pro wrestling blog titled Ring Posts. In between two stints with The Sun, I worked as the editor of WCW Magazine from 2000 to 2001.
Follow Kevin Eck on Twitter at Twitter.com/KevinEck_WWE