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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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Yoshi Tatsu & Gail Kim defeated Primo & Jillian Hall

Zack Ryder defeated Goldust

Chris Masters defeated Caylen Croft in a “Masterlock Challenge”

WWE Co-Women’s Champions LayCool defeated Kelly Kelly & Tiffany


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“Talk The Talk” Challenge

Are we going to see the same challenges as last season? What’s next? The Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Challenge? Anyways, the winner of this competition would receive a talk show next week. This challenge, unlike the others, is tailor made for the Rookie with the best promo skills. Last season, there was no doubt that Wade Barrett would win (I know, I was there). This time, Percy Watson won by a landslide. His topic, glasses, was served up to him, while the other Rookies received topics such as “moustache” (Eli Cottonwood), “pigeon” (Alex Riley), and “chicken” (Kaval). The story of the segment was seeing who could do the most with the least. Watson, Michael McGillicutty and Kaval stood out, while Lucky Cannon and Alex Riley were somewhere in the middle. Husky Harris and Eli Cottonwood struggled and need to get better.

My only wish was that during McGillicutty’s promo, he would have used his topic, “breath,” to say something along the lines of “you will say my name and perfection in the same breath.” Whenever he mentions his background, he shines. I still wish he was Joe Henning. I miss that guy.

But hey, at least Watson will get his prize. Last season, Barrett won his own entrance theme. That never happened.

“Showtime” Percy Watson (with MVP) v. Michael McGillicutty (with WWE Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston)

The Pros are sitting on the ring apron as if they were in a tag match, which is a bit weird. This match was short and really put over McGillicutty as the cream of the NXT crop. What was even weirder than the Pros on the apron was how McGillicutty won (a sunset flip). Watson proved already during the evening that he is the best promo guy on NXT, but his in-ring skills are lacking. Watson is a tag team specialist and needs to branch out as a singles competitor. If he can find himself in the ring without help and pair it with his charisma, Watson would be a future Superstar no questions asked.

Titus O’Neil video package

I don’t understand why there is a package on O’Neil after he was eliminated. The Pro’s consensus regarding O’Neil was that he is an imposing figure, but needs to develop more in all areas of the business. He also needs to brush his teeth apparently. I guess this means that O’Neil will be back after getting some seasoning in FCW. If he does come back, he should be booked as a face.

WWE United States Champion The Miz (with Alex Riley) v. Kaval (with WWE Co-Women’s Champions LayCool)

This was the match of the season thus far. Riding some momentum after putting R-Truth out of action on Raw, Miz put together another great showing against Kaval. I’m sure the “internet geeks” wanted Kaval to get some revenge on Miz for Bryan Danielson, but that didn’t happen tonight. Kaval was also impressive; his reversal on Miz into a crossbody and especially his roll-through into a modified Warrior’s Way looked amazing. It did confuse me, however, to see LayCool trying to get the crowd into the match while Kaval was down. Regardless, Miz picked up the victory over Kaval with the Skull-Crushing Finale. Even in defeat, Kaval has looked exceptional every week and the show is his or McGillicutty’s to lose.

Eli Cottonwood video package

Survey says that Cottonwood is awkward in the ring and not intimidating even at 7 feet tall. My thoughts exactly.

Husky Harris video package

The Pros had more positive than negative to say about Harris. His body type and deceptive speed and agility work in his favor. If only he would stop harassing Matt Striker and start putting quality matches together.

Husky Harris & “Dashing” Cody Rhodes v. Mark Henry & Lucky Cannon

Speaking of quality matches, this wasn’t one of them. Since there was only about five minutes left in the show when this match started, it had to be over quick. Cannon and Rhodes have developed a rivalry. Rhodes goes over again, but look for Cannon to get one on Rhodes in the future.

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Well, that was some Raw, wasn’t it? Tonight, we got plenty of push for the MITB ladder match and the Nexus angle, but absolutely nothing for the WWE Championship match. Neither John Cena nor Sheamus were in action, but there were other quality segments to fill the void. And we got CONTINUITY! Yay! Enough chit-chat, let’s get to reviewing.

Nexus/WWE Locker Room promo

Nexus is in the ring for the cold open. Wade Barrett’s visa issues must have been worked out (and I hear Drew McIntyre’s visa has been renewed as well) because he is in the ring as well. Barrett tells the audience that the Raw GM requested that Nexus be in the ring at the start of the show, but it is not the right time to explain the group’s agenda. Skip Sheffield gets on the microphone and tells the WWE Universe that while what they did to Mr. McMahon had a purpose, what they did to Ricky Steamboat and the legends was just for fun. I am surprised he mentioned Steamboat, considering his current condition and the fact that the WWE took down footage of last week’s attack on WWE.com.

The lights flicker (for added effect) and we get an EMAIL! Michael Cole takes the podium like a middle school principal and reads the first message of the night. According to the GM, Nexus’ punsihment is as follows: no member can challenge for a WWE championship until furhter notice (we later learn its three months) and the “no-touch” policy has been lifted. Setting up the title ban makes sense; since Barrett is the only one with a guaranteed match and that match will probably be for the WWE Championship, it allows Sheamus a healthy reign before the inevitable Cena win. It also allows this Nexus angle to evolve before the PPV where Barrett challenges, which would be either Night Of Champions or Hell In A Cell.

Speaking of Cena, he finds his way to the ramp and brings a contingent of Raw faces to even the score. Before they can make it down, however, the Raw heels jump them from behind and allows Nexus to get away. The heels (Sheamus, Chris Jericho, Edge, Ted DiBiase, The Miz, and the Usos) respectfully decline Cena’s offer to fight as one because they like what Nexus has been doing. Randy Orton takes the mic from Cena and tells the heels (while focusing on Edge) that he and Cena are not friends and never will be, but will put differences aside if they must (Continuity!).

EMAIL! Cole tells the Superstars that all of them would fight tonight and that Cena will be in the ring with Wade Barrett, but not for a match. The Raw GM wants Barrett and Cena to call a truce. Cena disagrees, but I guess the Raw GM is watching in real time with his computer because he answers right back. The GM says that Cena will face consequences if he does not comply, and “that’s the bottom line because the Raw GM said so.” Did I hear that right? Before you get on the Stone Cold bandwagon, PWInsider’s Dave Scherer reported that WWE sources told him that it is all a “red herring,” or a trick. Three weeks is way too early to make hints as to who the GM is.

I do like the divide in the WWE locker room. It adds another dimension to the storyline, but if improperly executed, could come off as an “Invasion”-lite angle.

John Morrison v. Ted DiBiase (with Maryse)

The Raw GM let it be known that all eight men involved in MITB will be in action against each other. Instead of making fresh matchups, we get to further the rivalries that have started among everyone. It will be more evident later.

In the mean time, Morrison and DiBiase put on a solid match. It didn’t last very long and the focus was at ringside, where Maryse was on commentary. DiBiase wins when Maryse distracts Morrison and the referee enough for DiBiase to get in an eye rake and Dream Street. I am not sure how I feel about this pairing. I would like to see DiBiase actually use his “money.” Perhaps he can buy Maryse the Diva’s Title or invest in insurance for MITB. The possibilities!

Santino Marella & Vlad Kozlov v. William Regal & The Great Khali (with Ranjin Singh)

So after last week, where Ranjin Singh berated Khali for being a coward, why is he dancing alongside of him? If Regal picks him as a partner, does that make him heel? Does anyone care?

Santino and Kozlov get the victory. Singh wants Khali to be more aggressive, so he chops Regal, then dances. That’s aggressive? And I thought I didn’t have to bring out the Continuity Soapbox (patent pending) this week.

Arn Anderson/Sheamus promo

After yet another recap of Steamboat’s demise, Josh Mathews is with Arn Anderson. Anderson tells Mathews that Steamboat is in a bad way, but Sheamus interrupts. Anderson’s still got it. This was an excellent exchange between Anderson and Sheamus. Anderson warns Sheamus that it doesn’t matter if he’s champion if there is no one else around, a “great white shark in a mudhole” as it were. I loved how Sheamus looked pensive after Anderson left, perhaps realizing that Anderson made a good point. If only current Superstars would take notice of how well Anderson cut a promo. I’m sure he hasn’t done one in ages.

R-Truth v. WWE United States Champion The Miz

This match never gets underway because Miz blindsides Truth beforehand and works him over. Miz targets Truth’s arm and does a great job of turning on the hatred. The final blow where Miz ripped Truth’s arm across the ring rope looked absolutely brutal. It is good to see these rivalries incubating through MITB. We later find out that Truth will not be able to compete, leaving a spot open. I wonder who it will be…

The Cutting Edge featuring Chris Jericho & Evan Bourne

To follow up Christian’s Peep Show on Smackdown, Edge hosts the Cutting Edge. His eulogy for Truth was hilarious. Edge explains why he decided not to help the Raw locker room; according to Edge, why would he want to make seven powerful enemies when he can make seven powerful allies? He even offered his services as a leader/mentor. Edge is the “Ultimate Opportunist” and this fits perfectly with his persona.

When Edge introduces Evan Bourne, Jericho comes out instead. These two go at it like they should, bringing up their recent past as well as their storied past. Thank you for continuity. I especially liked his comments regarding Nexus/Wade Barrett and Ricky Steamboat. Bourne eventually intervenes and the Raw GM does, too, announcing a tag match between Jericho/Edge and Bourne/Orton. There goes the continuity.

Edge & Chris Jericho v. Evan Bourne & Randy Orton

I will refer to Bourne and Orton as “The Spirits of St. Louis” from now on. This match was as close to perfect as you can get. The in-ring action was superb, with several near-falls and heavy spots, but the highlight was the storytelling. Jericho and Edge hesitating to tag each other worked very well and the ending, with Edge spearing Jericho and walking out, not only made sense, but emphasized the “every man for himself” that MITB is known for.

Bourne picks up the scraps for the victory. After the match, Orton gives Bourne an RKO. Orton’s facial expression and the way he turned Bourne around was perfect; it looked like he didn’t want to do it, but had no choice. This also works for the MITB vibe as well as Orton’s character. Well done.

Randy Orton/Nexus backstage promo

Orton runs into David Otunga, Michael Tarver and Heath Slater backstage. They apologize for ruining Orton’s shot at Fatal 4 Way, but let him know that if he lets them be, perhaps they can provide a service to whoever wins MITB. Orton thinks about it, but ultimately tells Nexus to get out of his face. This could prove intriguing, especially for Orton. Stay tuned.

Josh Mathews/The Usos/Alicia Fox promo

Mathews is back with the Usos. Before they arrive, Mathews announces that at Money In The Bank, the Hart Dynasty will defend their WWE Unified Tag Team Championships against Jimmy and Jey. Jimmy bets Jey $1,000 that Mathews can’t tell them apart, which he can’t. Tamina buts in and tells Mathews that the Dynasty have given them the same amount of disrespect. This feud has been so poorly booked that it’s hard to get into it. But to be fair, it is hard to tell Jimmy and Jey apart. I just think that each of them are half of Rikishi’s ass.

Alicia Fox enters and claims that since she won the Diva’s Title, she has yet to be interviewed or congratulated. She says she will earn respect when she beats Eve next. Yeah, okay.

Alicia Fox v. Eve Torres – WWE Diva’s Championship

After getting no respect, Fox didn’t do much to help her cause because her showing against Eve was pretty awful. Fox feigns an injury and helps a sloppy scissors kick for the win. Cole made a good point on commentary when he said that if a poll had been taken before Fatal 4 Way, Fox would have probably been voted the least likely to win. I know how much fans preach about pushing fresh talent, but when the fresh talent is anything but, what can you do? With Maryse tied to DiBiase and Eve possibly moving on, does this finally leave an opening for Gail Kim to get the push she deserves? Stay tuned.

John Cena/Wade Barrett confrontation

Long story short, Barrett gives his word and his hand, Cena starts off seriously, ruins it completely by being hokey, then becomes serious again before attacking Barrett. Nexus runs out and the locker room does, too. The Raw GM tells Cena that he will be in 7-on-1 handicap match against Nexus next week. Darren Young is the odd man out and Cena beats the holy hell out of him. I wish Cena wouldn’t try to be funny when it’s not time. Also, a 7-on-1 match screams run-in. Nexus is losing a lot of momentum every week. This won’t help.

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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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I don’t have much to say about tonight’s Superstars, so I am going to just give quick results. I will, however, have my normal comprehensive recap of Smackdown on Saturday. Be sure to check back frequently for new content.

Zack Ryder & Primo defeated Goldust & Yoshi Tatsu

Nikki Bella defeated Jillian Hall

Christian defeated Curt Hawkins

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Just when you thought it was safe, NXT pulls out all of the old surprises. An unexpected elimination? A dumb contest? A new host? We did get the first Pro’s Poll of the new season, but other than that, this episode brought back all of the bad that I had hoped was purged after Season One. Oh well. Let’s take a look.

The Return of the Keg Carry

New host Ashley (who is having some mic difficulties) brings out the NXT Rookies. She mentions that there is a surprise elimination tonight for whoever is in eighth place, but immunity can be won by winning (GASP) the Key Carry. The main problem with last season was all of the twists and turns that “WWE Management” took during the course of the season. During this season’s premiere, Matt Striker spelled out the season’s process. I guess that’s out the window now, too. I don’t want to go too in-depth about the competition. But here were some highlights:

Kaval’s reason for not competing (he didn’t want to wear his body out) makes perfect sense as compared to Michael Tarver just refusing for no reason.

In response to Michael Cole mentioning that he started for four years playing basketball, Josh Mathews said it was because he was home schooled and played by himself. That was HILARIOUS. Point Mathews.

Lucky Cannon wins and receives immunity. Titus O’Neil falls on his ass (or his face, really). I thought we were past this.

Percy Watson video package

Watson is the only Rookie who did not compete, so we get a video package instead. Watson has grown on me. He is very entertaining and he always has a smile on his face. It makes me feel like Watson isn’t a caricature, but just an extension of who he really is. Those are the Superstars who shine through. Watson is still green in the ring, but once he has that figured out, he will be in great shape.

MVP (with Percy Watson) v. Husky Harris (with Cody Rhodes)

Watson joined his Pro, MVP, at ringside for his match against Cody Rhodes’ Rookie, Husky Harris. This match was really slow. The first two minutes was a feeling out process, if you will. A lot of circling and a lot of broken grapples does not lend well to entertainment value. Harris looks a step off with everything that he does. Minus the botched kip-up (which was painful to watch), everything else just didn’t flow. His moves were very basic (elbow drops, scoop slams) and other than his explosive uranage slam, nothing impressed me. MVP wins with the 305 and does an excellent job selling Harris’ offense, which may have salvaged him just a bit. Harris refused to shake MVP’s hands after the match, which makes sense considering his Pro, Rhodes, would do the same.

Lucky Cannon, Kaval & Michael McGillicutty v. Eli Cottonwood, Alex Riley & Titus O’Neil

This was a short match which highlighted Cannon, Cottonwood, and Kaval. Cannon did a great job playing the face in peril while Cottonwood, O’Neil, and Riley beat him down. Cottonwood looked much better than he has in the past, but I’m surprised they put him on the heel team. With a babyface Pro (Morrison), it’s weird to see Cottonwood develop as a heel. Kaval got the hot tag and was able to hit the Tidal Crush and the Warrior’s Way. It’s funny how a man with such a low speaking voice can shriek so loud. Anyways, a good win for Kaval, who won’t be a clone of Bryan Danielson after all.

Pro’s Poll

Here are the results of the first Pro’s Poll:

Kaval

Percy Watson

Michael McGillicutty

Alex Riley

Lucky Cannon

Eli Cottonwood

Husky Harris

Titus O’Neil

O’Neil is eliminated for being in eighth, which is where I had him last week. He gives a great exit promo, but like Cottonwood, O’Neil, though paired with heels, came off as a face. Not that it matters anymore, but just a thought.

Find out what happens NXT on NXT this coming Tuesday. In the mean time, check back tomorrow for my Superstars report.