Is SmackDown ready for its own “Opening Day?”
A. Bartlett Giamatti once described baseball as being “designed to break your heart.” Giamatti, who served as the Commissioner of Major League Baseball in 1989, wrote those words to describe a sport that manages to get your hopes up annually despite the reality where all but one team will lose in the end. For all the optimism and preparation one can muster, Giamatti felt the competition always “stops and leaves you to face the fall alone.”
It’s a sentiment that is destined to be shared by those WWE Superstars that climb to the top of the WWE mountain - only to one day be knocked back down again.
Just ask Daniel Bryan, who now knows the misery of having lost the World Heavyweight Championship on The Grandest Stage of Them All in 18 seconds. ( PHOTOS) Cody Rhodes can chime in regarding his experience of being on the wrong end of Big Show’s first true WrestleMania moment. ( PHOTOS) Furthermore, Theodore Long can join the chorus now that his very future is in the hands of John Laurinaitis.
Then again, the spirit of renewal that comes with baseball’s Opening Day this weekend may also radiate throughout the SmackDown roster. Both World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus and Intercontinental Champion Big Show prepare to proudly display their respective, newly-acquired titles for the first time on Friday night. The Celtic Warrior and The World’s Largest Athlete will open their championship reigns in earnest at Orlando’s Amway Center, starting a new era of SmackDown superiority.
The rest of the locker room will also make their first pitch with a new sheriff in town. Teddy Long’s tenure appeared secure until an insurrection – supported by, among others, SmackDown Superstars Mark Henry and Christian ( PHOTOS) – created a rift that grew into a void, which only became filled by Team Johnny’s efforts at WrestleMania XXVIII.
The treasonous actions of the few have now paved the way for WWE’s Executive Vice President for Talent Relations to bring a whole new ballgame to the SmackDown playing field.
Who can say if SmackDown changed for the better in the aftermath of WrestleMania XXVIII? With one undisputed General Manager now in control, two new champions as well as a roster and former GM in flux, the WWE Universe can only see that the events that transpired at Sun Life Stadium in Miami have changed SmackDown for good.
Like baseball, those changes may be part of the design to ultimately break some hearts. And like baseball’s Opening Day, the defending champions, the broken-hearted challengers and the restless Superstars can take heart in knowing that this season of change is only beginning on the first SmackDown following The Show of Shows.