Posts Tagged ‘Kane’

For the third month in a row, the WWE gave us another new PPV concept. Money In The Bank was a fast-paced show with plenty of action and questions left unanswered. As always here at N1P, I keep track of my PPV predictions and provide a running tally of my record. Below is the card in order along with my picks and the actual outcome.

Smackdown Money In The Bank Ladder Match

Predicted winner: Drew McIntyre

Winner: Kane (Drew was SO close!)

0-1

Alicia Fox v. Eve Torres – WWE Divas Championship

Predicted winner: Alicia Fox

Winner: Alicia Fox

1-1

The Hart Dynasty v. The Usos – WWE Unified Tag Team Championship

Predicted winner: The Hart Dynasty

Winner: The Hart Dynasty

2-1

Rey Mysterio v. Jack Swagger – WWE World Heavyweight Championship

Predicted winner: Rey Mysterio

Winner: Rey Mysterio (with the Angle/Eddie “loose boot” twist)

3-1

Kane then cashes in his MITB briefcase on Mysterio to become the new WHC (I was half-right; I did say the Smackdown MITB winner would cash it in on Mysterio).

Fun fact (via PWInsider): Kane is the first wrestler in WWE history to hold the WWE, World Heavyweight and ECW Championships under the auspices of the WWE. The Big Show has won all three, but his WHC reign occurred while the title was still in WCW.

Layla El v. Kelly Kelly – WWE Women’s Champion

Predicted winner: Kelly Kelly

Winner: Layla El

3-2

Raw Money In The Bank Ladder Match

Predicted winner: John Morrison

Winner: The Miz

3-3

Sheamus v. John Cena – Steel Cage Match for the WWE Championship

Predicted outcome: No contest

Outcome: Sheamus

Final Total: 3-4

 

 

#1 Pretender PPV Standings

 

 

 

Extreme Rules: 6-1
Over The Limit: 4-3-1
Fatal 4 Way: 2-3
Money In The Bank: 3-4
Updated Total: 15-11-1

 

Join me again next month on August 15 when Summerslam comes to us live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. Don’t forget to keep coming back to #1 Pretender for all of your WWE news and analysis.

Advertisements
e

Courtesy of Wikipedia

Can you believe it’s already mid-July? Where does the time go? Anyways, tonight brings us our third consecutive new pay-per-view concept. Money In The Bank, a staple of Wrestlemania for the past five years, finally gets its own three-hour show. For the first time in WWE history, more than one MITB match will take place on the same night, one from Raw and one from Smackdown. Inside the suspended briefcase is a guaranteed contract for a championship match against the world champion of each respective brand. Who will grab the case and make history? We shall find out tonight. Live from Kansas City, Missouri, it’s Sunday night!

Kelly Kelly v. Layla El – WWE Women’s Championship

Who would have thought that Kelly Kelly would be a legitimate contender for the Women’s Championship? She has really come into her own as the babyface Diva on Smackdown. Much like Eve is doing on Raw, Kelly is continuing to improve every week and while there are still some kinks she needs to work out, she is on the right track. Kelly has gone over both Michelle McCool and Layla El in recent weeks, so we know she can beat them. Based on what I know from watching wrestling for so long, whoever gets the upper hand right before the PPV ultimately loses more often than not. Two weeks ago on Smackdown, LayCool jumped Kelly during an interview segment. I am going to go with history and predict a title victory for Kelly Kelly. LayCool’s run on top of the Smackdown Diva division has been entertaining to say the least, but bastardizing the Women’s Championship by creating a replica needs to end. I have a feeling that it will tonight when Kelly Kelly wins her first WWE title.

Winner: Kelly Kelly

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

This match was announced last week on Raw after Fox’s sneaky tactics that enabled her to retain the Diva’s Championship. Eve did a great job as Diva’s Champion and should regain the belt in the future. For the time being, Fox needs this win. Fox claims she receives no respect (and for good reason), but to gain that respect, she needs a clean win in a one-on-one match. She’ll get it here, but I hope she drops the belt soon to someone more deserving. Paging Gail Kim?

Winner: Alicia Fox

The Hart Dynasty v. The Usos – WWE Unified Tag Team Championship

This tag team “feud” has received little to no attention. Remember, this is the WWE tag team division. Regardless, after weeks of run-ins and pre-match assaults, we will finally see the Dynasty and the Usos battle for the WWE Unified Tag Team Championship. Jimmy and Jey show a lot of potential and the WWE has a knack for giving new teams title runs as a way of elevating them. Yet, other than a squash on Superstars, I can’t remember a solid win that the Usos have picked up. The Dynasty’s title run has gone from intriguing to boring in only two months. Since D.H. Smith and Tyson Kidd have won the titles, they have defended them ONE time, that being at Over The Limit against the Miz and Chris Jericho.

I have a feeling that the Dynasty will go over here and retain their titles, but they are nothing more than “lame duck” champions. Here’s what I would like to see: the Dynasty will retain the titles against the Usos and hold them quietly as they have for a few more months. Nexus will take those titles away from them in a coup of sorts that might also involve Wade Barrett winning the WWE Championship. Nexus can then defend the Tag Tean Championship under the “Freebird” Rule. That hasn’t been seen since the Spirit Squad (yes, I mentioned the Spirit Squad), but might breathe life into the tag team division. Or it could fail, which it has been doing for quite some time. And with the Usos going over last Monday on Raw, that does nothing but solidify my selection. The Dynasty wins, but don’t expect them to hold the belts for much longer.

Winner: The Hart Dynasty

John Cena v. Sheamus – Steel Cage Match for the WWE Championship

Here we go again. John Cena is in a championship match for the 12th time in the last 13 pay-per-views (for those keeping score, the 2010 Royal Rumble was the only one missing). This one, however, should prove intriguing. The steel cage has been put in place by the Raw GM in order to keep Nexus from interfering, since you know, they don’t actually wrestle in sanctioned matches.

Sheamus has been adamant about not helping Cena in fighting Nexus, but last Monday on Raw, after being faced with Nexus, Sheamus literally ran to Cena’s side. Don’t let that fool you; these guys will put on one hell of a show tonight, but the locker room divide is becoming the more fascinating aspect of this Nexus angle.

When the WWE released the Summerslam poster, two familiar faces were on it: Triple H and the Undertaker. Reports from last week surfaced (much to the WWE’s chagrin) that Triple H underwent surgery to repair a torn tendon in his upper arm. The scheduled match between Triple H and Sheamus is in the air. If Trips was ready to return on time, I would have Sheamus going over here, no questions asked. But because of this turn of events, I am going to make a prediction I have yet to make in one of these PPV prediction columns. This match will end in a no contest.

With the events at the end of last week’s Raw in mind, I think that Nexus will exact revenge and find a way to interfere in the steel cage match. This will set up a triple threat at Summerslam with Wade Barrett cashing in his championship opportunity (I have a feeling that the “three month no championship compete clause” will be forgotten, as are a lot of things by WWE Creative). If you are looking for a clear cut winner here, don’t try too hard.

NO CONTEST

Rey Mysterio v. Jack Swagger – World Heavyweight Championship

According to reports I’ve read, the WWE gave Mysterio his second World Heavyweight Championship in exchange for postponing his vacation and taking the Undertaker’s spot at Fatal 4 Way. Keep in mind, however, that it was Mysterio who injured the Undertaker. Why would he be rewarded for that?

Anyways, it is fitting that Swagger is invoking his rematch clause at Money In The Bank because it was that very match that allowed him to earn his first major championship in the WWE. While Swagger’s run was interesting to say the least, I have never seen a world champion pinned cleanly more than Swagger was. Losses to the likes of John Morrison, Mysterio (on several occasions) and the Undertaker took away the luster of what Swagger’s reign could have been. I will give him one thing. Swagger did have one more clean pinfall victory at a PPV than Sheamus did during his first run (Sheamus didn’t have any). As of late, however, Swagger has been built into a vicious monster, adding the Ankle Lock to his arsenal and taking out Mysterio as well as the Big Show with said hold.

The outcome of this match shouldn’t be in question. After the lukewarm response Swagger received from the WWE Universe throughout his time as WHC, I don’t think the WWE would want to put the belt back on him so quickly. Mysterio should be a transitional champion; I am not sure of who will take it from him, but I doubt he will hold it for very long. Hell, he still needs to take his vacation! I could see a heel winning the Smackdown MITB match and cashing it on Mysterio before the end of the night, but I am not convinced. Also, Mysterio’s “ankle injury” plays into his “Ultimate Underdog” persona and what better way to cultivate that persona by retaining the World Heavyweight Championship on one foot?

If you are unsure of my prediction, let me sway you. Commercials for Smackdown‘s Australian Tour have Mysterio defending the WHC against Swagger, the Big Show, and C.M. Punk. I know this is always subject to change, but considering how close we are getting to the show, I doubt plans will change right now. Mysterio retains.

Winner: Rey Mysterio

Kane v. The Big Show v. Christian v. Matt Hardy v. “Dashing” Cody Rhodes v. Drew McIntyre v. Dolph Ziggler v. WWE Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston – Smackdown Money In The Bank Match

This match features more overall MITB experience, including three Superstars with three MITB matches under their respective belts. The potential in this match is much higher, considering there are less bona fide main-eventers among the participants.

Kane (MITB experience: WM21, WM25, WM26) – Kane has come close to winning this match in the past, but could not grab the briefcase when it counted. This match is filler for Kane, but in a different way than Mark Henry on the Raw side. While Henry is there just to fill a spot, Kane needs something to do before the speculated return of the Undertaker at Summerslam. Kane winning this match wouldn’t make sense because his focus needs to be on the Undertaker angle. Bringing the briefcase into it would only lessen its significance.

The Big Show (None) – The Big Show has returned to his jolly self and he is being inserted back into the main event picture because of it. He is so much more believable as a face because he is a genuinely nice guy. Anyways, Show is floating. He has a feud with Jack Swagger, but Swagger is in the WHC match. I think their feud will continue after MITB. With my predictions of Show losing here and Swagger losing as well, that leaves them open for one another.

Cody Rhodes (None) – “Dashing” Cody Rhodes is a stud (not in that way, people, though the nickname screams otherwise). Rhodes, along with the Miz, have zoomed past their respective former partners, Ted DiBiase and John Morrison, which no one saw coming. Rhodes will be a great champion one day, but he still needs some singles seasoning before we can take him seriously as a main-eventer. I see an IC Title run in his immediate future.

Matt Hardy (WM22, WM23, WM26) – Oh, Matt Hardy. He is a pioneer of this very match and always knows how to entertain with the ladders. Hardy has been with the WWE for so long and has yet to sniff world championship gold. I wish he could win, but I don’t think he will. Hardy is a great enhancement talent, but other than a Kane-like title run in the future (maybe it will last longer than a day), I can’t see Hardy as WHC. The crowd loves him, but he just doesn’t have “it.” I know I sound like Matt Striker on NXT, but think about it.

Kofi Kingston (WM25, WM26) – After fading away following his program with Randy Orton last fall, Kingston came back in a big way on Smackdown, winning the Intercontinental Championship. A champion involved in MITB has never won. It looks like Kingston is in this match for his high-flying offensive arsenal and his penchant for big spots. Having Dolph Ziggler in this match will help further their feud, which I can see coming to a head at Summerslam.

Dolph Ziggler (WM26) – Ziggler was my early favorite to win this match, but I took a step back and realized that a world championship isn’t in the cards for Ziggler just yet. Ziggler has yet to win any championship in the WWE. Yes, you can argue that Sheamus hadn’t either when he won the title, but Sheamus was built up from the moment he debuted. Ziggler has been up and down for years. Ziggler deserves the IC Title and will get it very soon. He is in this match to provide some spots and further his feud with Kingston.

Christian (WM21, WM25, WM26) – Who among us wouldn’t love to see Christian win MITB and finally become a world champion? I would, but it won’t. Yes, I am being blunt, but let me explain. Christian is very over with the crowd, but for some reason, he has yet to climb further than an ECW Championship since returning two years ago. I think he needs a heel turn. Him turning on Hardy on Smackdown might be the beginning. Since it seems that Drew McIntyre has moved on to other things, Hardy needs a foil. Christian would fit perfectly. It would give him the chance to work himself over as a heel against a fan favorite. From there, maybe we will see the title run we have been salivating over.

Drew McIntyre (WM26) – The “Chosen One” has fallen out of favor because Mr. McMahon has been “incapacitated” by Nexus. It looks like McIntyre is attempting to get back into Teddy Long’s good graces now that he has no backup. Mr. McMahon disappearing is the best thing that could have happened to McIntyre. I have a strong feeling that it will be McIntyre grabbing the Smackdown briefcase. Remember how I said I could see a heel cashing in the briefcase on Mysterio? Imagine McIntyre doing just that. As WHC, he will once again have the power on Smackdown and the ensuing struggle with Long will make for great television. The “Chosen One” returns at MITB and wins the match.

Winner: Drew McIntyre

Randy Orton v. Edge v. Evan Bourne v. Chris Jericho v.  v. Ted DiBiase v. John Morrison v. Mark Henry v. WWE United States Champion The Miz – Raw Money In The Bank Match

This is a star-studded match. Three former world champions join five up-and-coming Superstars for what should be an amazing contest. There are three distinct rivalries taking place in this match (Orton/Edge, Bourne/Jericho, and DiBiase/Morrison) and one that will surely resume afterwards (Miz/R-Truth/Mark Henry). I will do my best to figure out who will win, but it won’t be easy. To do that, I will break down each respective Superstar and highlight his chances (or lack thereof).

Randy Orton (MITB experience: WM 23) – Randy Orton is in an interesting place. After being in the title picture for practically all of 2009, his organic face turn has allowed him to stay in the main event while not having to chase or hold the WWE Championship. Over three years removed from his first and only MITB appearance, Orton has changed dramatically and his transformation from cocky Legend Killer into deranged Viper has been entertaining to behold. Yet, I don’t believe Orton will come out on top. Orton does not need to win in order to be inserted into the main event picture and his character, which happens to lend to the unpredictable (something MITB is all about), can still be that way without a win. I don’t think this type of unpredictability is in the cards for Orton.

Edge (WM21, 23. Winner WM21) – Edge is the “Ultimate Opportunist” for a reason, having earned his nickname by cashing in MITB twice (the second time, he won the case from Mr. Kennedy, then cashed it in on a beaten Undertaker after an assault by Mark Henry). While Edge winning tonight wouldn’t seem out of place, it is simply a case of “been there, done that.” A win wouldn’t do anything for Edge. Plus, he’s not finished with Randy Orton and I see a match between the two at Summerslam.

The Miz (None) – The Miz has blossomed into a credible upper-mid-carder and will continue to elevate into a main-eventer. The problem is is that he’s U.S. Champion. Like I said before, no champion who has taken part in MITB has ever won. Miz needs to focus on his U.S. Title and defend against someone like Truth, for example, who is also on the precipice of becoming a main-event Superstar. Plus, with Truth unable to compete in the match due to the Miz’s attack on Raw, Miz should have his hands full.

Mark Henry (WM25) – Henry has been inserted into this match as R-Truth’s replacement. That is all Henry is: filler. Can you imagine Henry attempting to climb a ladder? Yes, I know the Big Show weighs more, but just the thought of Henry climbing a ladder makes me laugh.

Ted DiBiase (None) – DiBiase has floundered since Legacy dissolved before WM26. Cody Rhodes has taken the ball on Smackdown, which no one saw coming. I can’t see DiBiase winning this match, but I can see him possibly trying to buy it off whoever does as an angle heading into Summerslam.

Chris Jericho (WM21, WM24) – Jericho is the “dark horse.” He made mention before his match at Fatal 4 Way that he has gone from the “hunter” to the “hunted.” What better way to change that perception than by holding a guaranteed title match at any time? It is hard for me to do this, but Jericho probably won’t win. Like Orton, Jericho doesn’t need MITB to elevate himself.

Evan Bourne (WM26) – Bourne has skyrocketed from jobber to the stars to credible Superstar in such a short time. Since his tag match victory with John Cena over Sheamus and Edge, Bourne has been on a tear, picking up several wins over Chris Jericho. It would seem that based on current trends, Bourne has no competition heading into this match. But he does. And he won’t win. Why? Don’t get me wrong, Bourne is a fantastic worker. But WWE Champion? I can’t picture that at all. Not yet at least. I can see his feud with Jericho continuing past this, which will allow him to get the experience needed to become a world champion. Bourne might get his chance, but don’t expect it tonight.

John Morrison (WM24) – Morrison’s journey as a singles/face competitor has been intriguing to watch. Last summer, it seemed like a World Title run was inevitable, but it hasn’t happened yet. Morrison has had some IC TItle reigns to his credit over the past year, but as most of the IWC believed, that was behind him. Since being drafted to Raw, Morrison has battled injuries and has slipped down the face totem pole. A win would definitely elevate Morrison to where he belongs. I think he gets it here. Morrison is a multiple Tag Team, ECW, and Intercontinental Champion and it would only make sense for him to add WWE Champion to his resume. He is over with the crowd and he has proven himself worthy. I will go with my gut and say that John Morrison gets a victory at MITB.

Winner: John Morrison

Courtesy of wwe.com

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.



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!