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Eck’s Factor: SmackDown 11/18 analysis
Talking point: Mark Henry brutalizes Daniel Bryan
Eck’s Factor: Henry’s attack on Bryan – which began backstage and continued in the ring – got the show off to a hot start. Henry continues to be a fantastic monster heel, and Bryan – even though he took a beating – is benefiting from being in an angle with the World Heavyweight Champion. Another interesting development regarding Bryan is that A.J. seems to have taken a liking to him. If they end up becoming a couple, hopefully this relationship turns out better for Bryan than his last one.
Talking point: Randy Orton hits the RKO on Wade Barrett after Orton and Sheamus beat Barrett and Cody Rhodes by disqualification
Eck’s Factor: Barrett had been on quite a roll heading into this match, but the fact that Orton was able to hit his finisher on him is a setback for the Barrett Barrage. My guess is that it is a just a momentary one. Even if Team Barrett fails to defeat Team Orton tonight at Survivor Series, I expect Barrett to put on a strong performance.
Talking point: An injured Christian will be replaced by Dolph Ziggler on Team Barrett at Survivor Series
Eck’s Factor: While Christian’s neck “injury” obviously is part of the show, there is no doubt that his severe high ankle sprain is for real. Christian could be out of action for a couple months. That’s a tough blow for WWE, as Christian is perhaps the best all-around performer in the company. The silver lining here is that Ziggler is replacing Christian in the five-on-five Survivor Series match tonight. So that means the WWE Universe will be treated to the ultra-talented Ziggler working in two matches for the second straight pay-per-view (he’s also defending the U.S. Title against John Morrison).
Talking point: Derrick Bateman and Maxine make an appearance
Eck’s Factor: Although Bateman lost to Ted DiBiase, it was a pleasant surprise just to see him and Maxine on the show. If you’re unfamiliar with the couple, you should definitely check out their work on NXT. Bateman and Maxine – who recently got engaged on NXT – have tremendous chemistry. Hopefully, we’ll be seeing a lot more of them in the near future on Raw and Smackdown.
Talking point: Mason Ryan defeats Jack Swagger
Eck’s Factor: This was Ryan’s best performance to date. As I have said before, he’s never going to be a mat technician, but if he is able to master the basics in the ring and refine his character, the massive Ryan is going to be a major star. Internet smarks can scoff all they want about Ryan getting a push, but live audiences are definitely reacting to him.
Talking point: Beth Phoenix and Natalya steamroll A.J. and Kaitlyn
Eck’s Factor: The highlight of Pin-Up Strong’s dominant victory saw Natalya put the Sharpshooter on A.J. and lean all the way back on it, forcing A.J. to tap out. Now that looked painful. To add insult to injury, Kaitlyn seemed to be less than sympathetic toward her ailing tag team partner after the match. What was up with that?