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.