It’s Friday, and that means it’s time for SmackDown!
We’ve only got one show to go, before the granddaddy of them all, the biggest show on earth, WrestleMania, so tonight should give us some of the final clues and pointers towards what to expect, a week on Sunday, and will probably also contain a shed load of promos…
The show starts off with a backstage segment with Teddy Long and Edge.
Edge is unhappy, he feels Alberto Del Rio has been getting the better of him, over the last few weeks, and he deserves a little payback, but Teddy Long informs him that if he or Alberto Del Rio touch either other before WrestleMania they will both be banned from the event.
Will Edge be able to contain his himself?
We’re back and we’re off and running with the first action of the night with another WrestleMania rewind, as the ultimate underdog, Rey Mysterio goes one on one with the leader of the new Nexus, CM Punk.
Is there any other way that Rey could go with CM Punk, seeing as the rest of the Nexus have been punted back to FCW?
And how smart is Randy Orton to know which way Florida was, each time he punted one.
I guess he’s wrestlings answer to a Muslim, and FCW is his Mecca, and he always knows which way to face?
Rey has a quick start to the match, but then misses a flying cross body which allows the straight-edged saviour to take control of the bout.
Punk then goes to work, focusing his attacks on the ribs of Rey, before eventually building up for an attack off the ropes but Rey counters with a dropkick to re-gain the upper-hand.
Rey then hits Punk with an Asia moonsault, but just as it looks like he might be able to take control of the match, and score a morale boosting victory, Cody Rhodes comes out of nowhere and distracts Rey, forcing the match to end in disqualification.
Cody Rhodes then sets about Rey Mysterio, with a viscous attack, mainly using his head (or more correctly his mask), as a weapon, before rolling up his pants leg to reveal a knee brace (which we’re reminded is the same article that Rey damaged Cody with), which he then rams into Rey’s head.
After the assault Rey is helped out of the ring by officials.
We then cut to backstage, with Edge and Christian, and Edge says despite Long’s ruling he’s still going to be in the corner for Christian tonight.
It’s now time for match number two, Edge vs. Drew McIntyre.
And right from the bell Edge goes after Drew.
Drew briefly gains the upper-hand, working on Edge’s arm (the same area Del Rio has been working on, are we being shown this for a reason?), but Edge eventually gains control and wins via submission.
Just to ram his message home, after the match Edge also connects with a spear.
After the Mysterio/Punk match it was nice to see a conclusion to the match, and although McIntyres fans might have not been best pleased with how easily he was beaten it was nice to see he was allowed at least some offensive, and wasn’t buried, which shows creative still has some faith in the young Scotsman, even if he’s being used primarily as a whipping boy for the World Champion at present.
It’s now time for th Divas, or the bathroom break, as Michael Cole would have some of us believe…
Layla has the Snooki hair do and her and McCool are both fist pumping, as they pose, but seeing as they are also not even wearing their ring gear I’m not expecting much from this match up.
Rosa and Kelly go straight for the attack, but it doesn’t last long, as it’s yet another quick Divas match with Layla hitting a reverse neck breaker for the win.
After the match Laycool cut a quick promo saying that their opponents for Wrestlemania are no challenge, and I can only suspect that the whole brief match was manufactured purely for the purposes of letting them out there to make that promo.
The Divas division has been used a lot that way recently.
Twice we’ve had Divas matches lately, just for the purpose of allowing Michael Cole to draw heat by interrupting them, and tonight was clearly to give Lay-Cool a reason to be in the ring, and to make a promo.
Next up we have Wade Barrett against Kofi Kingston for the Intercontinental Championship.
I think this has been the most “spoiled” match on the show this week, with barely a soul on the planet not aware of the result ahead of time.
The match itself is quite good, with a lot of back of forth, before Kofi, going for trouble in paradise overshoots, into Barrett’s wasteland.
After the match Justin Gabriel hits his 450 splash (is he ever going to do much else in the company?).
The ending itself was quite cleverly worked, and the match itself wasn’t bad, and it was nice to see it booked as fairly even, and good to see the entire Corre celebrating afterwards, with all of their belts, trying to build themselves up a little in the publics imagination.
One of the reasons that the original Nexus failed was because most of them weren’t ready for the show, and so had to be hidden in pack attacks, but it looks like creative have enough confidence now to give the remaining members, re-branded as the Corre, along with Big Zeke, a little more exposure, and a little more ring time.
I’m still not sure how far Gabriel and Slater can really go in the business, but Barrett is building himself quite nicely, and it looks like when he becomes a full time solo performer he’ll fit quite comfortably into the mid-card, and probably have some main event feuds over his time with the WWE.
I have to say, while with the original Nexus I was a little worried about Barrett, his wrestling skills are not the best (although he’s improved leaps and bounds over the last 12 months, so is obviously working hard at his craft), and although he is quite good on the mic, what worried me was that many of the fans didn’t realize that he was booked as the leader of Nexus, and not as a main event Superstar.
He was the mouthpiece for the rookies, and the guy with the most ring time, but he was still part of a collective, rather than a solo performer in the main event, and it did worry me that some fans didn’t understand this, and Barrett might lose some momentum from this, when he transitioned into the mid card, post Nexus for a while, but he does seem to be transitioning quite well, which bodes well for the future, and does mean we might see him in the main event, in his own right, at times in his career.
After a brief backstage moment with Teddy Long and Alberto Del Rio, and some adverts for WrestleMania, we return for the Undertaker, who walks out to cut a promo.
In the promo little much is added that hasn’t already be said, except for the fact he says he can’t wait till Monday to tell Triple H what he thinks.
It really is a shame that the Undertaker is still nursing this injury, as it’s made the build up very flat, in my opinion.
The opening shots, the silent stare down, between ‘taker, and Triple H was very well done, but since then it’s been very repetitive, with neither having anything more to say, with Undertaker precluded from fighting, and Triple H therefore stuck with squashing people, it’s really lacked a little something.
The big question in this match, heading towards WrestleMania is how bad is Undertakers injury?
I really hope it’s not as bad as some reports suggest, because if it is it would be a very sad and anti-climatic end to his career.
It goes to show though, you need to get out when you can, when you’re healthy, and when you’re on the top.
Next up is Swagger against R-Truth
Before this gets underway I’ll just say I’ve heard a lot of people putting forward R-Truths name for the post ‘mania cuts, but I would be very surprised if he is cut.
Many people don’t realize that R-Truth is a very confident individual, who despite starting to get on in age now, spends a lot of time doing crowd warm up work, and other jobs for the WWE, so though he might not dominate on screen he’s a valuable employee off screen.
It’s one of those areas where fans and the WWE see things differently.
We judge everything purely by what we see on screen, but WWE also judge their employees by off-screen activities too, and their overall contribution to the company.
Aside aside, the match begins and it’s not the greatest of bouts, and in fact R-Truth’s launch over the top rope looks a little botched to be honest, as he falls awkwardly on his shoulders.
Full credit to the announce team, as they play on the accident, rather than pretending it didn’t happen.
But this is another quick match as Swagger targets the leg of Truth, before taking him out with the via ankle lock.
Swagger then calls Cole into the ring, who has been getting a little over excited on commentary, during the match, and Cole draws a little more heat, with his usual shtick.
I had to say I was a little embarrassed by the victory lap afterwards…
Has Swagger now found his new role in the company, as the new Santino?
It seems strange a naturally gifted wrestler being groomed for comedy, but then I guess it’s a case of whatever sells…
& here we are at main event time, Christian w/ Edge in his corner, taking on Alberto Del Rio, who has Brodus Clay with him, and his personal announcer.
I feel a little sorry for Ricardo Rodriguez, I mean first he’s cast in the role of Del Rio’s personal ring announcer, and now he’s even being depushed from that, by the emergence of Brodus Clay.
I just hope for Rodriguez sake they don’t hurt his pride anymore, by then burying Clay, as it will only bury him further.
During the match Brodus attacks Edge on the outside, and Edge returns the favor with a spear and then attacks Clay with a chair.
All these outside happenings distracts Del Rio just long enough to allow Christian to hit the Kill Switch for the win.
After the match Edge looks like hes going to attack Alberto with the chair but Christian stops him, but then proceeds to hit Del Rio with the chair himself.
Two wins in a row, by Christian, over the Royal Rumble winner, and probably future World Champion?
That doesn’t bode well for Christian.
There is always back and forth’s in wrestling, and feuds, and so if Christian is racking up the wins I don’t expect much there for him in the future.
Anyway, that concludes tonights SmackDown, and I’d like to thank WWE for the early viewing.