Posts Tagged ‘C.M. Punk’

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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!

Courtesy of wwe.com

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.

Courtesy of wwe.com

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.


 

Courtesy of wwe.com

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.



Well, Fatal 4 Way just ended and I must say, what an interesting show it was. We had three title changes, including both the World Heavyweight and WWE Championships as well as a run-in by the NXT Rookies of Season One (or “Nexus” as they might soon be called). Below I have listed the results of the PPV as well as my selections from my “Predictions” column from earlier today.

Kofi Kingston v. Drew McIntyre – WWE Intercontinental Championship

Predicted winner: Kofi Kingston

Winner: Kofi Kingston

1-0

Eve Torres v. Maryse v. Gail Kim v. Alicia Fox – WWE Diva’s Champion

Predicted winner: Gail Kim

Winner: Alicia Fox

1-1

Jack Swagger v. The Big Show v. Rey Mysterio v. C.M. Punk – WWE World Heavyweight Championship

Predicted winner: Jack Swagger

Winner: Rey Mysterio (Boy, was I wrong)

1-2

The Miz v. R-Truth – WWE United States Championship

Predicted winner: The Miz

Winner: The Miz

2-2

John Cena v. Edge v. Randy Orton v. Sheamus – WWE Championship

Predicted winner: John Cena

Winner: Sheamus

Total score: 2-3

Matches not included (not announced before the show)

Chris Jericho v. Evan Bourne

Winner: Evan Bourne

WWE Unified Tag Team Champions The Hart Dynasty v. The Usos & Tamina

Winner: The Hart Dynasty

#1 Pretender PPV Standings

Extreme Rules: 6-1

Over The Limit: 4-3-1

Fatal 4 Way: 2-3

Updated total: 12-7-1

Be sure to join me next month on July 18 when yet another new pay-per-view concept, Money In The Bank, comes to us live from the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. Until then, continue to come back to #1 Pretender for all your weekly WWE analysis!

Courtesy of wwe.com

Happy Father’s Day everyone! What better way to spend a day celebrating men than by watching other men beat the crap out of each other. The second new pay-per-view concept is ready for a test drive (a pun which would have been better used for last month’s Over The Limit, but I can’t be on all the time). Fatal 4 Way features, you guessed it, Fatal 4 Way matches. With Summerslam looming in the distance, the WWE is on the road to its summer Wrestlemania. Enough bad wordplays now. Live from Long Island, it’s Sunday night!

P.S. Five matches on the card? Really? Math time. A three-hour show divided by five matches equals 36 minutes per match. THAT’S not happening. Expect some NXT and Kane mixed in there for flavor.

The Miz v. R -Truth – WWE United States Championship

After holding the U.S. Title for no more than a month, R-Truth lost the championship to the Miz in a Fatal 4 Way match on Raw last week. While it was surprising, the outcome does make sense. Truth is very over with the crowd and does not need a championship to legitimize himself with the WWE Universe. On the other hand, the Miz works so much better when he is on top because it adds a new, even more annoying and braggadocios element to his character. Both of these men are on deck to become major main event stars in the near future and a feud between the two could work wonders for both Superstars. I have a problem with quick title changes because it makes the title and the wrestler holding them look weak and worthless. I cannot see the Miz dropping the U.S. Championship in less than a week. From here, the feud can continue or Truth can move into the main event. A title feud with John Morrison could be a good transition for the Miz; there is obvious history between the two, plus both are Pros on NXT so the angle could take place on more than one show. Regardless, he’s the Miz and he will retain the U.S. Title at Fatal 4 Way.

Winner: The Miz

Kofi Kingston v. Drew McIntyre – WWE Intercontinental Championship

I never thought I’d see this match again, but here we are and here it is. This entire Kingston/McIntyre/Theodore Long/Matt Hardy/Mr. McMahon pentagon has been confusing, and quite frankly, a clusterf*ck. I wish Kingston would just move on and find himself a new challenger and feud (right now, it is looking like Dolph Ziggler).The segment involving McIntyre and Long this week on Smackdown will definitely sell the fight, but what comes next? McIntyre needs to solve his Hardy conundrum and there is no need or point for the IC Title to be involved in said dispute. I am picking (and praying) that Kingston will retain his championship, finally move forward and leave McIntyre behind.

Winner: Kofi Kingston

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

This match is going to be ugly. Eve and Maryse will carry the load while Gail Kim and Alicia Fox will struggle to keep up the pace with more Divas involved. Eve has held the Diva’s Title for about two months, which I consider a lengthy run for her. There has to be some sort of title change on every pay-per-view, so I am going to make a change here. Maryse winning would be too predictable and quite boring to be honest. Fox isn’t ready yet for that kind of exposure. That leaves Gail Kim. She teased some tension with Eve on Monday when she held onto the title for a bit longer than necessary. Kim is a great athlete that hasn’t had a chance to shine since returning to the WWE. Here’s her chance. I will go out on a limb and pick Gail Kim to win the Diva’s Championship.

Winner: Gail Kim

John Cena v. Sheamus v. Randy Orton v. Edge – WWE Championship

This will most likely be the main event and rightfully so. The two biggest faces and two of the biggest heels in the WWE will square off for John Cena’s WWE Championship. I am afraid that this match’s outcome will be painfully obvious. For months, the WWE has been teasing a John Cena/Sheamus feud. It started right after Extreme Rules with Sheamus demanding his shot after taking out Triple H and continued through Over The Limit, when The Celtic Warrior kicked Cena right before the show went off the air. When you put all of the pieces together, Randy Orton and Edge will cancel each other and continue their feud without the WWE Championship (for now). Cena retains and starts a lengthy program with Sheamus, one that should be more entertaining now that Sheamus has come into his own as a credible challenger and champion.

Winner: John Cena

Jack Swagger v. Rey Mysterio v. The Big Show v. C.M. Punk – World Heavyweight Championship

While the WWE Championship match’s outcome is easier to determine, the World Heavyweight Championship’s destiny is less clear. Not only is the winner harder to predict, but so are the programs each man involved will partake in once Sunday is over. I will do my best to explain where I see each participant going.

Rey Mysterio – Mysterio was originally slated to take off significant time after his feud with C.M. Punk came to a head at Over The Limit. With the Undertaker’s injury, however, Mysterio has had to stay on and take his place in the match. I still think Mysterio will take his desired time off, so not only do I see him not winning Sunday, but I also see him disappearing from WWE programming for quite some time.

C.M. Punk – Punk has become the best heel in the WWE and the Straight Edge Society is the most compelling stable since the days of Evolution. Even with all of that, Punk has floated since his amazing feud with Mysterio died down last month. Punk can’t afford to wander; not only would it affect him, but also Serena, Luke Gallows, and the Masked Man (whose identity we don’t officially know yet). I can’t see Punk winning the WHC Sunday, but I don’t know where to place him afterwards. He could feud with Kane by being responsible for the Undertaker’s attack or even for retribution considering it was Kane that allowed Mysterio to shave his head at Over The Limit. There are also some lower main-event wrestlers looking for a feud, especially M.V.P., who had his run-ins with the SES in the past. Punk always seems to follow a formula where he is inserted into the main event for months at a time before being “demoted” to mid-card feuds while WWE finds things for him to do (Check out the transition from Hell In A Cell to Royal Rumble for details). Maybe the focus can be put on Gallows for a bit. Either way, Punk needs something to do. The SES can’t be put on the shelf with the amount of heat it receives. Plus, the mask has to come off somehow and he’s not going to do it by himself.

The Big Show – As I mentioned in my Over The Limit predictions last month, Show is a great challenger, but not a great champion. I definitely can’t see him winning, but like Punk, I don’t where to place him. Perhaps the two of them could work together. Their match on Smackdown, albeit short, was very entertaining.

Jack Swagger – The World Champion has really transformed into a credible main-eventer. The WWE has already done a much better job with Swagger than they did with Sheamus earlier this year (minus all of the clean non-title losses). Rumors circulated that the Undertaker would be Swagger’s next opponent. Keeping in mind that these rumors were unveiled before Taker got hurt, he is only supposed to be out of action for about six weeks, which is plenty of time to build towards a Summerslam program (UPDATE: According to the Wrestling News Observer, the plan for Fatal 4 Way as of mid-week is to have Swagger drop the title. Also, a primary plan has the Undertaker v. Kane in a casket match at Summerslam). Even with all of these potential spoilers (which have a propensity to change at a moment’s notice), I have faith that Swagger will find a way to retain his title Sunday. I could see a mini-feud between Swagger and Kane to hold one of them over for Undertaker while also tying in the other. Swagger wins.

Winner: Jack Swagger

Be sure to come back tonight for my updated #! Pretender PPV Standings. Enjoy Fatal 4 Way and check back for new content on #1 Pretender.

Courtesy of wwe.com

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!