Archive for the ‘Smackdown’ Category

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While Raw left many questions about what would happen come Sunday’s Money In The Bank pay-per-view, Smackdown took the time to not only give the MITB match itself a HUGE push, but to set up future storylines once the PPV is over. All eight men involved in MITB participated during the show in one way or another. The World Heavyweight Championship match, however, got no such push. Let’s take a look at Friday’s Smackdown.

WWE Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston v. “Dashing” Cody Rhodes

For the first time in a long time, Raw and/or Smackdown started with an actual match. Kingston and Rhodes put on an entertaining five-minute match with the usual spots and bumps. It wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, but it was still good. Kingston did a great job selling the effects of Nexus’ beatdown from Tuesday’s NXT. I would love to see these two feud at some point, especially with the IC Title at stake.

The match ends in a no contest when Kane intervenes, chokeslams both men, and tells the WWE Universe that there will be a bludgeoning later. Yikes. A great opening segment that gave us both a quality contest, MITB hype and a reason to stick around until the end of the show.

Rey Mysterio backstage promo

Mysterio is being worked on by a doctor in the back when Josh Mathews enters to ask Mysterio about his condition for this Sunday. Mysterio tells Mathews that he can’t go and will forfeit his title tonight to Jack Swagger. Mysterio stands up and tells Mathews that there is no way he will forfeit his championship. This reminded me of what Sheamus did after Fatal 4 Way when he considered handing the WWE Championship to Mr. McMahon, but ultimately revealed that he was kidding. While that instance was more of a heel tactic, Mysterio’s built sympathy and added to his “Ultimate Underdog” persona. The ankle will play a big part on Sunday.

Speaking of Swagger, he is on the phone with whoever has his evidence. I liked these segments because it teased the end of the show while also giving significance to whatever Swagger’s alibi is. It should be important because, you know, he will get killed if he doesn’t get it.

Drew McIntyre v. Christian

This was another solid mid-card match to promote MITB. This was as even as a contest as you could imagine. Each man expertly scouted the other, countering several big moves, including each man’s respective finishers. McIntyre and Christian kept looking at the briefcase, which makes sense and shows its importance. McIntyre wins with an eye rake and Future Shock DDT, much like he defeated John Morrison at TLC last winter. While this would make for a good feud, I don’t think it will become one. Check out my MITB prediction column for more insight.

Alberto Del Rio vignette

The word of the day is “education.” I want to see him in the ring already.

Straight Edge Society/Big Show promo

This was the highlight of the night for me. With Swagger dealing with Kane and the other six competitors facing off, the Big Show had to be involved in some way. Show interrupts C.M. Punk and uses his newly found time to show the WWE Universe how he would climb a ladder this Sunday. He takes one step onto the normal ladder and breaks it. After thinking about a step ladder, Show brings out a350lb ladder that can hold up to 2000lbs. Look for that ladder to make some sort of appearance Sunday and in a big spot, too. Anyways, C.M. Punk has Luke Gallows and the Masked Man (who you can totally tell is Joey Mercury up close, even though we knew that already) jump the Big Show. Show fights back and Punk is all alone on top of the ladder. Show catches him and pulls Punk’s mask off! You should have seen the look on his face. Here it is!

Merry Christmas from the WWE

I didn’t expect Punk’s mask to be removed this way, but it was a nice surprise. I guess we can assume that Punk and Show will start feuding after MITB. It seems that any teased tension among the SES was just that: teased. Show/Punk should be an interesting one to say the least. Stay tuned.

Trent Baretta & WWE Co-Women’s Champion Layla El (with Caylen Croft) v. Chris Masters & Kelly Kelly (with Tiffany)

I know I have said this before, but I love when the WWE uses WWE Superstars (the show) to push mid-card feuds that wouldn’t have time to blossom on Smackdown or Raw. While the focus on this match were on the Divas (and Rosa Mendes’ jump rope skills), the Dudebusters and Chris Masters got to face each other once again after the Masterlock Challenge from Superstars two weeks ago. Kelly goes over, which makes me feel that Layla might win Sunday (even though I picked Kelly). Only time will tell.

Matt Hardy v. Dolph Ziggler (with Vickie Guerrero)

Hardy says before the match that if he wins Sunday, he will cash in that very night against the WHC. Good move by Hardy to show confidence and a possible outcome to the show Sunday. Hardy and Ziggler work very well together. There were two spots I especially liked: Hardy’s counter of Ziggler’s leg lariat into a powerbomb and Ziggler using his finger to break the count. Ziggler gets the win when Guerrero distracts Hardy enough for Ziggler to hit the Zig Zag. I hope Ziggler learns not to depend on Guerrero or his push will be marked with an *.

Jack Swagger/”Mr. Swagger”/Kane promo

I know that “Mr. Swagger” wasn’t his actual dad, but you can’t tell me that they didn’t look alike. I liked the Mr. Swagger character; I don’t normally like these decoys (see: Momma Benjamin), but Swagger’s dad worked out pretty well and I would love to see him again.

Swagger claims that he and his father were competing all Memorial Day and had pictures to prove it, even though almost none of them had time stamps. Kane doesn’t believe Swagger and attacks him, but Swagger gets the upper hand and puts Kane in the Ankle Lock. For some reason, Mysterio makes the save. Why would he save Kane, someone who has accused him of hurting the Undertaker? Kane gets Mr. Swagger and Swagger decides to get out of dodge. It was a good heel tactic and a good way to end the show.

Check out my prediction column at Bleacher Report and right here later today!

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I do not want to sound like a broken record, so let me be brief. Smackdown is getting better than Raw each and every week. Let’s not waste any time in checking out last Friday’s Smackdown.

Drew McIntyre/Theodore Long promo

The show opens with McIntyre in the ring. Fresh off renewing his visa, McIntyre has something to say. But before he can, Long interrupts and joins McIntyre in the ring. McIntyre plays the “apology” card and attempts to suck up to Long, but Long doesn’t buy that, playa. McIntyre puts over Atlanta as the site of Wrestlemania XXVII and informs Long that he personally nominated him for the WWE Hall Of Fame. Long still doesn’t buy it.

The point of all of this was that McIntyre wanted Long to give him one of the two remaining spots in the Smackdown Money In The Bank ladder match. I like how Long still made McIntyre get on his knees and beg for a chance at Money In The Bank, but didn’t like how he showed a video of McIntyre forcing him on his knees three weeks earlier. Why would he remind everyone, including himself, of something so humiliating?

Anyways, McIntyre complied and in return, Long told him that he would get a spot in MITB…if he defeated someone who has had his number: Kofi Kingston. These two have good chemistry together and it makes sense that Long would place McIntyre into a match with someone who he has trouble defeating, which if successful, would give Long one up on McIntyre yet again. A strong opening segment.

MVP v. Chavo Guerrero v. Dolph Ziggler (with Vickie Guerrero) – Winner receives a spot in the Smackdown Money In The Bank Match

Vickie joined Matt Striker and Todd Grisham on commentary for this match and puts over Ziggler, who is definitely on the rise as of late. By the looks of it, the WWE is handling Ziggler’s push right this summer. Last summer, as you know, Ziggler was buried three times by Rey Mysterio in a rivalry over the Intercontinental Championship, then languished for a while. Ziggler’s push will continue next Sunday because he earned a spot in MITB by defeating Chavo and MVP.

Chavo and Ziggler worked together throughout the match and when Grisham called attention to it, Vickie (and creepy Striker) acted shocked and insulted. Yet, at one point during the match, Chavo was the only Superstar on his feet and covered MVP. Vickie screamed at Chavo and told him that what he was doing wasn’t part of the plan. The entire sequence was pretty funny. MVP hit the 305 on Chavo and seemingly had the match won, but Vickie pulled the referee out of the ring. Ziggler locked in the Sleeper Hold and that was that. MVP is…well…sad. I don’t understand why MVP is floating (or sinking) right now. I could see a heel turn in the future where he realizes that pandering to the fans is holding him back, sort of like Edge circa this spring. Anything that gives MVP, who was once considered a lock as a future world champion, a shot at becoming a main-eventer would be good.

Alberto Del Rio vignette

We get another look at Alberto Del Rio and his inspirational nature. Del Rio’s vignettes confuse me; he is being built as a heel who looks down upon people who do not possess the qualities he talks about (a la Chris Jericho, albeit Jericho-lite), but said qualities are good ones to have. it reminds me of C.M. Punk, who gets booed for asking people to abstain from drugs and alcohol. I know that the way that Punk preaches is what makes him a heel, but like Rey Mysterio said before Over The Limit, Punk’s message is a good one. The WWE has time to fix Del Rio or perhaps just make a few tweaks. Either way, I am not sold on Del Rio and need to see how he performs on television before I can make a judgment.

Rey Mysterio/Jack Swagger backstage promo

Last week, I mentioned that Swagger’s attack on the Big Show lost all of its momentum and venom when he cut a whiny promo the following week. The WWE got it right this week and Swagger is back on track. Josh Mathews is in the back conducting an interview with the WWE physicians regarding Mysterio’s ankle injury. Swagger busts in and tells everyone to get out. Swagger then attacks Mysterio’s ankle, puts him in the Ankle Lock, and then proceeds to drag Mysterio around with it for a few minutes. The Big Show finally makes the save.

This was a brilliant promo. Not only does it put Swagger over as a vicious beast, but also allows questions to run rampant regarding Mysterio’s status for the PPV. Swagger did little talking, and just like Randy Orton displays, sometimes things are better left unsaid. Mysterio was screaming in agony and makes Swagger look even stronger. The WWE is building up Swagger better now than while he was WHC. If Swagger had this demeanor during his title reigh, it may have been longer.

Christian & Matt Hardy v. Vance Archer & Curt Hawkins

Following last week’s confrontation on the Peep Show, Christian and Hardy teamed up against “The Gatecrashers.”  It wasn’t much of a match because Christian turns on Hardy and leaves him to be defeated by Archer and Hawkins. Before you declare “Christian’s heel turn,” I am not sure if that’s what happened. I think it was just playing into the “every man for himself” mentality of MITB. Also, why would Christian tag with someone who ruined his show last week? Continuity is refreshing.

WWE Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston v. Drew McIntyre – If McIntyre wins, he earns the final spot at MITB

McIntyre has been putting in his best work in the ring recently. His match against Kofi Kingston was no different. What has really impressed me are McIntyre’s expressions in the ring. It’s not only important to put together a good match, but to convey emotion while doing it. Watching McIntyre get frustrated and have it affect his in-ring performance has been golden. As always, matches with Kingston always feature some great spots, including the Boom Drop on McIntyre’s back and the counter to McIntyre’s counter of Trouble In Paradise. Kingston goes for the Boom Drop on the apron, but McIntyre throws him into the ring post and hits the Future Shock DDT for the win and a spot at MITB. After being humiliated earlier, McIntyre regains his heat and I expect big things at MITB.

Straight Edge Society promo

Serena begs for forgiveness for her actions last week and on the tape. Luke Gallows wants nothing to do with her, but C.M. Punk decides to forgive her. The end. Anyways, the SES is falling apart (or so it seems). I only see this as a speed bump before something bigger happens, like Punk being put in a meaningful storyline again. What I do like about this whole thing is that Gallows and Serena are becoming individuals, not just Punk’s cronies. I can’t wait to see where this goes. P.S. When will we finally see Joey Mercury?

“Dashing” Cody Rhodes v. JTG

The digital mirror that Rhodes looks into on the Titantron is amazing technology. It is really remarkable how advanced of a digital age we live in. Speaking of remarkable, Rhodes has been nothing but. This was a glorified squash. While I could do without the hokey self-interviews, Rhodes is on track to become a singles champion really soon.

Kelly Kelly/LayCool backstage promo

Since there was no Diva action tonight, Mathews is with Kelly Kelly to put over her match against Layla at MITB. LayCool attacks her and I am actually looking forward to this match now.

Also in the back is the Big Show, who cuts a very serious promo that put over Swagger’s viciousness. To make a fun-loving guy like Show turn into a serious man, you must be a bad dude. This helps Swagger even more. Great work.

The Big Show v. Jack Swagger

I didn’t like how Show came out smiling right after he acted so serious. Show did recompose himself during the match, which was more of a fight than a sanctioned match. I loved Show chirping at Swagger while hitting him. The match breaks down and the two end up on the entrance ramp. Swagger kicks Show’s leg out and DDTs it onto the steel ramp. I think the show should have ended there, but instead, we get our weekly appearance from Kane, who corners Swagger and accuses him of attacking the Undertaker. Swagger claims he has an alibi and will have it for Kane next week. After everything that happened tonight to make Swagger look strong, this sucked it all away. Why is he cowering in fear? Oh well. With one week left before MITB, Smackdown has most of its storylines in check.

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Jack Swagger/Big Show promo

Jack Swagger is out to start the show and puts over his actions from last week. I was hoping he would take the time to gloat, but instead, he cries about disappointing his “daddy.” Kurt Angle meter says…it’s starting to become painfully evident that the WWE is trying to reincarnate Angle through Swagger. First the Ankle Lock, then the crying, It’s a bit much and I feel that Swagger lost some momentum from last week by trying to make the WWE Universe feel sorry for him.

The Big Show interrupts and is selling the ankle injury from last week. Show tells Swagger that while he hurt him, he didn’t finish the job. Swagger’s response about not having to prove anything to Show is the tone in which the entire promo should have been in. Show rushes down to the ring as fast as he can to exact revenge, but “Dashing” Cody Rhodes clips him and the beatdown is on. Rey Mysterio makes the save and we have our main event.

Smackdown Money In The Bank Participant Announcement

Todd Grisham and Matt Striker run down the names of the Smackdown participants in the Money In The Bank ladder match for a chance at the World Heavyweight Championship. Yet, only six of the Superstars involved were formally revealed: Kane, Matt Hardy, Cody Rhodes, Christian, Kofi Kingston, and the Big Show. Two spots remain. Here are some names I feel could find their way in: Dolph Ziggler, MVP, Drew McIntyre (if his visa issues get taken care of), Curt Hawkins or Vance Archer. Hopefully, whoever it is, the spots are earned in qualifying matches and not just handed out. Qualifying matches would have given each brand several weeks of material, but at least on Smackdown, Grisham explained that Theodore Long scouted the talent who would take part. Fair enough.

WWE Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston v. Dolph Ziggler (with Vickie Guerrero) – If Ziggler wins, he becomes the #1 Contender for the IC Championship

It has looked like the WWE has been building towards a Kingston/Ziggler IC TItle program for a few weeks now, so when Grisham announced the stipulation, I felt like Ziggler had no chance of losing. Well, I was wrong. Kofi wins by hitting Trouble In Paradise on a distracted Ziggler, who was focused on Guerrero at ringside. These two work very well together; their styles mesh well and have the perfect balance between differences and similarities. I guess because Kingston is involved in MITB, the WWE put the IC program on hold until after. I see Ziggler earning one of the two remaining spots and furthering his feud with Kingston through the match, which would ultimately lead to a IC Title match between the two at Summerslam.

Straight Edge Society backstage promo

C.M. Punk, Luke Gallows, and Serena are in the back. Serena pleads Punk to admit something, but Punk refuses and says he has everything under control. Serena tells Punk that if he can’t handle it, she will. It seems too simple to think that the SES is talking about “admitting” to attacking the Undertaker. Something else must be up.

The Peep Show

Christian’s guest is Matt Hardy. This was a very well-done and very worked shoot-like exchange between Christian and Hardy. Christian and Hardy both mentioned how they had been held down throughout their respective careers, even after being the pioneers of the type of match that has been given its own PPV. I could feel the respect and animosity between Christian and Hardy and I loved how they both said “It’s going to be me” at the same time, which set up their similarities even further. The arguing without the mics was a nice touch and the post-match melee emphasizes the “every man for himself” aspect of MITB. Both of these men deserve to win. A great segment to sell MITB.

“Dashing” Cody Rhodes backstage promo

Rhodes is in the back talking to himself while combing his eyebrows. This is getting a little too TNA for me. The prefix nickname. The hokey backstage segment. I hope the WWE realizes that Rhodes is a great talent and decide not to bury him with this stupid gimmick. I bet the “Uncommon Son” for Rhodes was too much like the “Fortunate Son” for DiBiase. Perhaps that’s why the WWE changed it?

Kane v. Luke Gallows (with C.M. Punk)

Punk accompanies Gallows to the ring and is wearing a sling after having legitimate arm surgery last week. Reports have Punk out for about two months, but Todd Grisham sold the injury as a result of the beating he took from Kane last week. What happened during the match (Kane won by DQ when the Masked Man jumped him from behind) isn’t important. What is important is what happened after.

Kane chokeslams the Masked Man and Gallows before turning his attention to Punk. As Kane has Punk by the throat, Serena runs down the ramp and pleads with Kane not to hurt Punk. Serena claims that Punk is innocent and can prove it. Punk keeps yelling at Serena to leave, but she doesn’t listen. Serena points Kane to the Titantron, where security camera footage captures Serena at a bar on May 31 (the day of the Undertaker’s attack) drinking alcohol. Eventually, Punk and the rest of the SES find her in the bar and lambast her over her choices. The video ends with Serena running after Punk.

Kane lets go and storms away. My theory of the SES being behind the Undertaker’s attack is now ruined, but something much more intriguing has taken place. Serena tries to comfort Punk and tells him she had to do it, but Punk yells at her again, asking if she has any idea of what she’s done. The SES has shown some very subtle signs of infighting over the past few months, but could this really be the end? It couldn’t be; there is so much more this stable can do. Hell, we don’t even know who the Masked Man is yet. Why would Punk be upset over the footage? It doesn’t show him doing anything incriminating. Unless he went to the bar for a drink, but found Serena and quickly switched gears, but I doubt that. There are many more questions that need to be asked and answered, but we will have to wait until next week to find out. Usually, I am able to come up with something to explain what happens in the WWE, but when I can’t, it must be good. I have no idea what’s going to happen. Stay tuned.

Chavo Guerrero v. MVP

Chavo tells his aunt Vickie that if he wins, he deserves an IC Title shot. Too bad he doesn’t. This match was ugly. MVP botched almost every move he hit. He either needs a heel turn (and fast) or a meaningful program because he might just overtake Primo for “Mr. Thursday Night” status on Superstars. MVP deserves better.

Kelly Kelly (with Tiffany) v. WWE Co-Women’s Champion Michelle McCool (with WWE Co-Women’s Champion Layla El)

Yet another win for Kelly Kelly over LayCool. I guess these four Divas are the only ones in the Smackdown division. Other than Rosa Mendes, I can’t name another active Diva. And Rosa is trying to join LayCool, so everyone is involved in one angle. Melina and Beth Phoenix can’t come back any sooner. I think the WWE is setting up for the inevitable title defense of LayCool with how much Kelly is going over.

Alberto Del Rio vignette

The word of the day is “inspiration.”

WWE World Heavyweight Champion Rey Mysterio & The Big Show v. “Dashing” Cody Rhodes & jack Swagger

Before the match, Mysterio cut a promo about his victory at Fatal 4 Way. Mysterio’s promos are a bit childish, but since his fans are the same, it isn’t so bad. I can’t believe Mysterio as the World Champion. I didn’t really when he first won it several years ago and I don’t now. Maybe he can prove something to me.

All of the matches on last night’s Smackdown were fairly short, but these four Superstars were able to put on a show in a limited time. Rhodes looks like he belongs in the main event. He held his own against Mysterio and sold extremely well when on defense. Show’s press slam of Rhodes onto Swagger and his reversal of Swagger’s Ankle Lock attempt into a suplex were impressive. The good guys win when Swagger doesn’t let go of the Ankle Lock on Mysterio. I loved how Swagger dragged Mysterio from one end of the ring to the other to avoid the Big Show. If Swagger can carry this momentum into a solid promo next week, he can get back on track. Smackdown did a good job selling Money In The Bank tonight. With two weeks left, the Blue Brand has plenty of time to capitalize on all of its intriguing storylines.


 

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You’d think that after the lack of build-up between Raw and Smackdown before Fatal 4 Way, the WWE would try to figuratively hit the ground running with pushing Money In The Bank, the next PPV in about three weeks. Raw failed miserably. Smackdown? It passed with flying colors. We already know what the main event will be as well as some of the details regarding the Money In The Bank match itself. For a show on a lame duck network, Smackdown outshines Raw more often than not. Let’s take a look at last Friday’s Smackdown.

Theodore Long/Vickie Guerrero/Drew McIntyre opening promo

The show begins with a cold open featuring Theodore Long and Vickie Guerrero. Long recaps Fatal 4 Way and declares Rey Mysterio as the new World Heavyweight Champion. Right after that, he announces the concept behind MITB, where eight Smackdown Superstars will compete for a chance to win a guaranteed World Title match. I guess the Raw match will be the same except involving the WWE Championship. I heard reports that qualifying matches were going to start on Raw last week, but were ultimately scrapped. I would much rather have guys earn their spots instead of being handed them. I suppose qualifying will start tonight for Raw and next Friday for Smackdown. Five minutes into the show, Smackdown set up its MITB match.

Drew McIntyre interrupts and tells Long that he will face serious repercussions for his actions at Fatal 4 Way. Long tells McIntyre that since Mr. McMahon was incapacitated by Nexus on Raw, he has the authority to run Smackdown his own way. With that said, he reinstates Matt Hardy and the two will compete against each other tonight. Even Guerrero gets behind Long, which was weird, considering they’ve never seen eye to eye. This power rush of sorts for Long will be interesting to watch. I am not sure if it will only involve McIntyre or if it will carry over to other Superstars. Stay tuned. Either way, a great way to kick off the show.

The Big Show v. Jack Swagger

It gets better with the first match of the evening. Swagger walks out and rubs his stomach (Maybe he has a bellyache?) to highlight where his title used to be (Oh, nevermind).  Swagger cashes in his rematch (no pun intended) at Money In The Bank against Rey Mysterio. The show is not even 10 minutes old and we already have Smackdown’s main event as well. Swagger promises to right the wrongs along the way to MITB and he will start with the Big Show.

This match, while shorter than their title match at Over The Limit, was leaps and bounds better. Yes, it ended once again with Swagger losing by DQ, but it was the storytelling that made the match. At Over The Limit, Swagger used the World Title to get himself intentionally DQ’ed because he couldn’t find a way to win. This time, he put Show in an Ankle Lock and refused to let go. While the former was an instance of cowardice, the latter made sense considering Swagger’s comments before the match. Swagger has been fighting Kurt Angle comparisons for his entire career. Let the floodgates open! The entire sequence involving the Ankle Lock screamed Angle, but I loved it. A new side to Swagger’s character would help. He already transformed during his title reign, so let it continue.

Christian, MVP & WWE Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston v. Curt Hawkins, Vance Archer & Dolph Ziggler

Five of these six men have been involved with each other in some way over the past several weeks (Kingston is the odd man out, but I believe the WWE is setting up an IC program between Kingston and Ziggler, so it might make sense). Hawkins and Archer have grown on me a bit, but Hawkin’s pants have not. These two guys will never be champions (in Hawkin’s case, again), but will be the mid-card heel team that each show needs (Sorry, Dudebusters).  Ziggler is the rising star out of this group. We all love Christian, I know, but if he hasn’t received his main event push by now, I am starting to get a little “glass half-empty” about it. Yet, Christian gets the win over Ziggler with the Killswitch. I did love Christian’s stall before hitting it and his staredown afterwards. I love me some storytelling. That’s why I’m a journalist! And MVP? He needs to turn heel again. His best work has been behind him since he turned.

Matt Hardy v. Drew McIntyre

This angle has been beaten into the ground, but this might have been the best match either man has had in quite a while. and for McIntyre, it might have been the best match of his career. I know I’ve said this a few times already, but storytelling is what makes wrestling great. The bumps and spots are great for entertainment value, but knowing why things are happening and having acceptable explanations for those things is what really separates a good match from a great match. In that regard, this was a great match.

Everything from McIntyre’s facial expressions to Hardy’s tenacity really brought this rivalry to a head. Of course, there were some great bumps and spots, especially McIntyre’s Michinoku Driver off the top rope and Hardy’s counter of McIntyre’s head stomp on the steel steps. Hardy wins with a Twist of Fate. After all of the bad that this storyline has brought with it, if this is the end, what a way to go out. Great work.

After the match, Long appears on the Titantron and tells McIntyre that his visa has expired. I loved Hardy waving goodbye from the ramp. I wonder where this will go. Hopefully, he won’t be back in a week like after he was “fired.” (UPDATE 6/29: McIntyre’s work visa has expired, according to Wrestleview. He is “MIA” but might be able to stay in the U.S. since his new wife, WWE Diva Tiffany, is a U.S. citizen).

Cody Rhodes promo

Cody Rhodes is out with his NXT Rookie, Husky Harris, to talk about how good-looking he is. I don’t understand this whole “Dashing Cody Rhodes” thing. Those prefix nicknames are so TNA. I liked the “Uncommon son of a common man” thing he had going on. He did some funny lines though, particularly his line to an audience member that he was “hearing [him] get fatter.” Rhodes is a stud, don’t get me wrong, but this is a wrong turn. He is better as the silent type. His promo skills are adequate, but nothing special. Rhodes is a great mid-card heel, so I hope the WWE doesn’t screw him over.

Dolph Ziggler/Vickie Guerrero promo

Ziggler finds Guerrero in the back and tells her he wants an IC Title match or he’s done with her. I guess it will be Kingston/Ziggler after all. This could be good.

Rosa Mendes v. Kelly Kelly (with Tiffany)

This was a squash. Kelly wins with the K2 in about five seconds. LayCool is at ringside, so this match was just an excuse to further their feud before the inevitable Women’s Title match in the future.

Alberto Del Rio vignette

Alberto Del Rio, better known as Dos Caras, Jr., is debuting on Smackdown with some sort of “honest man” gimmick. I can’t tell where this will go, but hope it doesn’t fall the way of Kizarni or Eric Escobar. Only time will tell.

C.M. Punk v. Kane – No DQ Match

This wasn’t a match, but a fight. Kane is convinced that Punk is the culprit (WHICH I SAID A MONTH AGO. SHAMELESS PLUG) and he goes after him hard. The Straight Edge Society interferes, including the Masked Man in a new outfit. If that is Joey Mercury, damn he is ripped. Anyways, Kane disposes of them, eventually chokeslamming Luke Gallows through the announce table. Kane chases Punk into the crowd and out onto the concourse. Punk escapes and runs into the night in his ring gear, which makes me laugh. What would you think if you saw Punk running through the streets in his underwear? This wasn’t their best encounter, but a Kane/SES program possibly involving the Undertaker through the summer would be fun to watch.



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Looking at my Gucci, it’s about that time. Just kidding, Big Tymers. What I am trying to say is is that it’s time for Fatal 4 Way. Smackdown began and ended with a bang last night, but everything in between was just mediocre. At least the main event should be interesting Sunday. Let’s look, shall we?

C.M. Punk promo/The Mugging Of Kane

C.M. Punk makes his way to the ring to kick off the show. He claims that he nor the Straight Edge Society had anything to do with the Undertaker’s demise. Punk also mentions that he is the only man in history to make the Undertaker tap out and that the WWE is a better place without him. I know a lot of IWCers are pointing towards Kane as the culprit, but I kind of hope that it was Punk. I think that would make for a much better and longer storyline. Anyways, the lights flicker and the Undertaker appears. Except it’s not the Undertaker. It’s Luke Gallows. Hey, he’s expanding his range; first, he played Kane, now the Undertaker. The two get a laugh and Punk even puts on Taker’s hat. Matt Striker’s comment about Punk looking like a rabbi was absolutely hysterical. Punk would be one kickass rabbi.

Kane interjects, but on his way to the ring, Jack Swagger jumps him from behind. The Masked Man joins in and it is a four-on-one assault. Eventually, Rey Mysterio and the Big Show come to make what looks like a save, but then Mysterio gives Kane a 619 and Big Show chokeslams him. I like how the four participants in the WHC match “worked together” to take out what has been a thorn in their respective sides and what could be a wrench in their plans this Sunday.

M.V.P. & Christian v. Curt Hawkins & Vance Archer

“The Gatecrashers” have had their contracts extended. Yay for impact! Anyways, this is the team’s first real test, going up against the two guys who have been victims of their post-match attacks. There’s something about Hawkins and Archer that I like, but I can’t put my finger on it. What I don’t like, however, is Hawkin’s pants. Long story short, the Gatecrashers get their first big win after Archer saves Hawkins from the Killswitch, hits the inverted DDT, and Hawkins hits the elbow drop. Christian deserves better. As does M.V.P. Yet, if Hawkins and Archer needed two guys to go over to earn some credibility, Christian and M.V.P. are definitely two of the best.

LayCool is in the back making fun of Rosa Mendes. That’s rude.

Not only that, but Dolph Ziggler is hanging up pictures in Vickie Guerrero’s office while wearing cut-off jean shorts? Moving on. Oh hey, Chris Masters.

J.T.G. v. Chavo Guerrero

What happened to Shad? I didn’t think J.T.G. would be the one to get a “push” after the Cryme Tyme split. J. wins.

Drew McIntyre v. Theodore Long

For months now, it seems like Drew McIntyre has struggled to get the WWE Universe to really despise him. This segment was the best he’s ever done in that regard. Instead of just beating up Theodore Long, he humiliates him. McIntyre makes Long get on his knees, call him the “Chosen One,” and lay down so that he can pin him with his foot on his chest. Both Kofi Kingston (McIntyre’s opponent at Fatal 4 Way) and the “suspended” Matt Hardy try to make a save later in the segment, but McIntyre and his security force are too much to handle. Both Kingston and Hardy eat Future Shock DDTs. I am not a fan of this entire feud, but this was the best angle so far. The fans really want to se McIntyre get his ass kicked and will buy the show on Sunday to do so.

Kelly Kelly (with Tiffany) v. WWE Co-Women’s Champion Layla El (with WWE Co-Women’s Champion Michelle McCool)

Yet another contest involving any combination of these four Divas. Not only is the WWE trying to establish Tiffany and Kelly as credible foils to LayCool, but also Kelly as a formidable #1 Contender. This match did just that. Kelly wins with the K2 Leg Drop and we have ourselves a challenger for the Women’s Championship. I still am curious to see how it works since both Michelle and Layla recognize themselves as champions. If one loses, does the other one lose the belt, too?

Dolph Ziggler (with Vickie Guerrero) v. Chris Masters

A rematch from Superstars a few weeks ago, this match was much better. It played out much like it did on Superstars, but the crowd was much more in it. Ziggler wins with the Zig Zag. Like Kingston, I am glad that Ziggler has two established finishers that he can hit out of nowhere. Speaking of Kingston, I am hoping that Ziggler is next in line for an IC Title shot. In a promo earlier in the night, Josh Mathews asked Kingston if he was worried about his match with McIntyre considering his close relationship with Mr. McMahon. Imagine the possibility of the same thing happening, except with Guerrero and Ziggler. Ziggler is getting another solid summer push, but hopefully this time he won’t lose every title match he’s in. He’s closer to Mr. Perfect than his own son, Michael McGillicutty, who is Kingston’s NXT Rookie. This really was “Six Degrees of Separation.” Now that we have come full circle, I am intrigued.  Stay tuned.

C.M. Punk & WWE World Heavyweight Champion Jack Swagger v. The Big Show & Rey Mysterio

Just like on Raw, Smackdown does the “let’s get everyone in the title match in a tag team contest” main event. It was very short, considering that the Big Show’s only tag into the match was the hot tag. Next thing we know, Mysterio gets ANOTHER clean pin on Swagger. I have voiced my disapproval of this before so I won’t waste time here. Kane comes out, wreaks havok, promises Sunday will indeed be fatal, and poses with a casket to end the show. Are you sold on Fatal 4 Way? If you’re undecided, it’s too late!

Check back tomorrow for my Fatal 4 Way Predictions!

Courtesy of wwe.com

After Monday’s shocking Raw, it would be hard for Smackdown to eclipse it. Yet, the Blue Brand came close with an entertaining show of its own. The show was almost entirely focused on the WHC match at Fatal 4 Way. Let’s look, shall we?

Rey Mysterio/Jack Swagger/C.M. Punk/Big Show/Kane promo

Before his match with Jack Swagger to open Smackdown, Rey Mysterio cuts his typical promo while putting over Fatal 4 Way. Swagger interrupts and cuts HIS typical promo. Swagger has gotten much better on the microphone, so kudos to him. Mysterio takes the low road and picks on Swagger’s lisp. I thought we were past this; this isn’t ECW, it’s the World Heavyweight Championship. It isn’t until Punk enters that the segment gets good. Effectively selling the damage of the NXT Invasion on Monday, Punk compares himself to Malcolm X and John F. Kennedy as trailblazers who were ultimately assassinated. After being attacked by “36 armed assailants,” Punk claims that he survived because he is not a normal man. My thoughts on Punk are pretty evident; he is just plain awesome. I like how he took a creative and refreshing approach to his savior gimmick with this promo. Mysterio and Punk then tease each other like children over each other’s respective masks and baldness, which was actually pretty entertaining. Big Show finally intervenes and aims at Punk, which makes sense since they have a match later and is a good teaser for later.

The lights turn red and Kane appears on the Titantron to play detective. Long story short, he will hurt whoever is responsible for hurting the Undertaker. Then he breathes heavily for a long time. It got a little awkward near the end. Kane’s promo last week was fantastic, but since then, the gimmick has gotten a little cheesy and over-the-top. WWE Creative should tone Kane down just a bit.

WWE World Heavyweight Champion Jack Swagger v. Rey Mysterio

I will say what I liked before I say what I didn’t so that my feelings don’t get mixed it. The story of this match was that this was the first encounter between Swagger and Mysterio. Matt Striker made a good point that it would take Swagger some time to learn Mysterio’s style in order to effectively counter it. Nothing else that Striker said, however, for the rest of the show was useful, but more on that later. There were some good spots and bumps that are typical of a Mysterio match (“typical” must be the word of the night). It was a solid 15-minute contest that definitely helped sell the championship match at Fatal 4 Way.

Now onto the bad. I can never remember a champion that has lost cleanly so many times in non-title matches like Swagger. While it did take three 619s, one springboard splash, and one springboard let drop to beat Swagger (which makes him look strong in defeat), he once again lost to yet another challenger (which makes him look weak). Back to Striker. I understand that the WWE wants to put Swagger over as the decorated athlete that he is, but stop telling blatant lies. He was NOT a 2002 Heisman Trophy candidate and he was NOT the first high schooler nominated for an ESPY. Swagger does a great job putting over his talents in the ring. Stop milking it. I’m looking at you, Striker.

Kane comes down to investigate while Swagger beats down Mysterio after the match. Not once did Swagger look at Kane as he was coming. Really? Not even for a second? Kane chokeslams both men.

WWE C0-Women’s Champion Layla El (with WWE Co-Women’s Champion Michelle McCool and Kaval) v. Tiffany (with Kelly Kelly)

LayCool has been treating Kaval like an errand boy since his introduction on NXT, but it does make for an interesting dynamic. Kaval is a hard-nosed competitor, but looks like he is willing to do whatever it takes to be successful. I wonder where it will go from here. LayCool then cut a local heat promo by telling the audience how ugly they are, which was funny since Michelle’s parents were in the audience. I bet that the WWE didn’t want there to be any kind of “home-field advantage.” Anyways, the match itself wasn’t that long. Layla wins with the LayOut after Tiffany became distracted by Michelle. Tiffany is the Evan Bourne of the Divas division; she jobs to the stars. This match simply set up a probable title match for Kelly Kelly in the future.

P.S. How are there STILL no undercard matches for Fatal 4 Way with the show only a week away?

Dolph Ziggler (with Vickie Guerrero) v. Christian

Yet another great contest between this two. Pairing Ziggler with Guerrero, which I didn’t like at first, might be exactly what he needs to finally get that push. The heat that Guerrero generates is incomparable. The match was short, but each man got his own respective signature spots. What I really liked was the finish. Christian always utilizes the sunset flip during the latter parts of matches, but it usually doesn’t end them. Having Christian win that way makes the move more credible. Vance Archer and Curt Hawkins interfere afterwards to make an “impact” yet again. I think their contracts are up, so here’s what they did: beat up some jobbers, jumped M.V.P., and jumped Christian. Yawn. Ziggler puts the sleeper on Christian to end the segment. This is a great mid-card feud and I hope it gets the time it deserves on a pay-per-view.

Kane cuts a more toned down promo in the back. Kane has definitely taken the ball and run with it. Good for him. He deserves something important.

Theodore Long/Drew McIntyre /Kofi Kingston promo

Drew McIntyre demands that Theodore Long explain why he let Matt Hardy pull his hair out and eat it on Monday. Per Mr. McMahon, Hardy is now suspended from all WWE programming. Long tries to explain himself, but McIntyre rips the mic out of his hand. I wish that Mr. McMahon would actually appear from time to time. I think it would be funny if McMahon revealed that these letters didn’t actually come from him and McIntyre is just drunk with power. Anyways, McIntyre says he has a punishment for Long, but before he can say it, Kofi Kingston interrupts. Kingston cuts the “popcorn vendor” promo a la early 2000s Jericho, except serious. Essentially, Kingston gets the upper hand and we have the continuation of a feud I hoped would be over. Then we find out that Long will go one-on-one with McIntyre next week. Now I definitely wish it was over.

The Big Show v. C.M. Punk (with Luke Gallows and Serena)

This was a short, but effective match. There aren’t too many things to speak about, though Punk’s face when he went to the top rope only to be met by the Big Show was priceless. Show wins by DQ when he attempts to rip off Punk’s mask and the SES (including the Masked Man) come to his aid. The beatdown begins and Citizen (Arrest) Kane shows up again. At least the SES acknowledged his presence unlike Swagger. Kane cleans house and the show goes off the air. A fun edition of Smackdown that definitely sells the title match to the audience. If only they would add other matches…

Courtesy of wwe.com

What a Smackdown. The Blue Brand has an interesting situation on its hands. Let’s get right into tonight’s offering of Friday Night Smackdown.

Theodore Long opening promo/Kane promo

Theodore Long opens the show with an announcement regarding the Undertaker. According to Long, Kane found the Undertaker over the Memorial Day weekend in a “vegetative state” (Too much beer or hot dogs, perhaps?). I have a question. How can the DEAD Man be found half-dead? Anyways, this will explain the Undertaker’s prolonged absence due to injury (If you missed it last week, the Undertaker suffered a broken orbital bone, a broken nose, and a concussion during his match with Rey Mysterio).

After the title card, the iconic Gregorian chant begins and druids carry a coffin to the ring. The fire hits and Kane walks out. There was something eerily beautiful about said scene; the red lights combined with Kane walking through the smoke looked really good. I think he should adopt that as a regular entrance. I also liked the musical transition of Kane’s theme music flowing into just the string accompaniment  (I’m sorry. I study music in college and sometimes I can’t help myself). Back to the matter at hand, Kane tells the WWE Universe that the Undertaker may no longer walk among us and will rise from the dead no more. This was Kane’s best promo ever. Period. Never have I felt such raw emotion from the Big Red Machine in his career and I am really looking forward to what transpires.

Who do I think is responsible? The Straight Edge Society. Run with it for a second. C.M. Punk gets back at Kane for allowing Mysterio to shave his head at Over The Limit. Punk takes out the Undertaker. Mysterio takes the Undertaker’s place at Fatal 4 Way, which allows the Rey/Punk feud to continue for a few more weeks. Once the pay-per-view is over and Mysterio takes time off (probably), Punk now has a feud with Kane/Undertaker that will finally bring Over The Limit full circle. Stay tuned.

WWE World Heavyweight Champion Jack Swagger v. M.V.P.

Jack Swagger has been pinned cleanly in more non-title matches than any former champion I can think of in the last few years. Thankfully, that did not happen tonight against M.V.P.. At first, the match highlighted Swagger’s mat wrestling expertise against M.V.P.’s street fighting style. It eventually broke down into a combination of the two, which lent itself well to this 15-minute match. Say what you want about M.V.P., but there is something about him that makes me feel that he will be a world champion in the not-too-distant future. There were a lot of good spots and bumps in this match, especially M.V.P.’s chino kick to the outside and I loved the sequence with the Ballin’ Elbow. Swagger wins when he ducks M.V.P.’s drive-by kick in the corner and rolls him up for the victory.

After the match, Curt Hawkins and Vance Archer appear from the crowd and attack M.V.P. It sounds as if next week is the last week of their “impact” contracts and they finally did something worth writing about (See, I’m doing it right now). There are now two tag teams looking to make such an impact (the Usos on Raw). With a possible union between Chris Jericho and Wade Barrett on the horizon, the Hart Dynasty has found itself some challengers. In the mean time, look for some sort of tag match next week involving Archer, Hawkins, and M.V.P.

There will be a Battle Royal to fill the Undertaker’s spot at Fatal 4 Way. Good idea.

Kane’s Wild Goose Chase

Over the course of the night, Kane made it a mission to find out who was responsible for the attack on the Undertaker. His first suspect is C.M. Punk. Punk begs Kane to trust him and even offers the services of the SES to help a “fallen brother.” I guess it’s because Kane is bald.

Kofi Kingston v. Drew McIntyre – WWE Intercontinental Championship

I like Kofi Kingston, I really do. My only problem with him is that every offensive move he does involves jumping. Just a thought. Anyways, halfway through the match, Matt Hardy is seen walking down the stairs in the audience with a ticket in hand. The whole “I am allowed to be here even if I am banned/suspended/fired because I have a ticket” gag is always a classic. Hardy takes a seat. This match wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. McIntyre slaps Hardy on the outside. Hardy distracts McIntyre long enough for Kingston to hit the S.O.S. to retain. After the match, Hardy runs through security and gives McIntyre a Twist of Fate. I hope this closes the chapter of Kingston v. McIntyre. Next for Kingston? Either Dolph Ziggler or Cody Rhodes.

Kane’s Wild Goose Chase Part II

Kane is shown with Mysterio, who is praying for Kane’s loss. Kane doesn’t buy it and still accuses Mysterio. I like this “no one is innocent” angle.

Swagger is in the back with his OU jersey on again and decides to lead the Texas crowd in the OU Fight Song. Not only is he off key, but he’s off the beat (There’s the music education again). Kane appears behind him and Swagger slowly shuts up. Very funny stuff.

Rosa Mendes v. Kelly Kelly

Rosa is fine. I hear her pants aren’t hiring because she has an ass that won’t quit. Yeah…

Anyways, there isn’t much going on here other than Kelly Kelly getting the impressive victory with LayCool watching. It looks like Kelly might be next in line for a Women’s Title match. How would that work with Michelle and Layla?

Kane’s Chase Part III

His former tag team partner, the Big Show. Now no one is really nnocent.

Smackdown Roster Battle Royal – Winner receives the final spot vacated by the Undertaker in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Fatal 4 Way at Fatal 4 Way

It was nice to see Finlay in the ring for the first time in a while, considering he had been removed from the active roster due to his old age. It is very hard to analyze a Battle Royal (try doing it live), but there were some interesting dynamics working in this match. First, I noticed that Luke Gallows was seemingly trying to help Kane. I always find it funny when these two are in the ring together because Gallows played the “Imposter Kane” during Kane’s feud  for the release of “See No Evil.” Later in the match, however, the Masked Man attacks Kane in an attempt to eliminate him, but to no avail. I also liked the spot where Finlay attempted to throw Mysterio out by running back and forth, but ultimately decided to slam him down instead. Kingston and McIntyre eliminating each other as well as Christian eliminating Dolph Ziggler helps push each respective feud forward. Mysterio wins by eliminating Kane and Mysterio is going to Fatal 4 Way.

It was understandable to have Mysterio and Kane as the last two remaining. Mysterio winning makes plenty of sense. It allows him and Punk to continue their feud in a refreshing way by adding two others into it while also allowing Kane to continue on his chase. A great edition of Smackdown.