Wrestling’s 4R’s Monday Edition 7.19.10: ROH, Superstars, Impact & SmackDown Reviewed!
In HD where available…
By: Aaron Hubbard
ROH on HDNet 07.12.10:
The Necro Butcher def. Bobby Beverly [*]
10 Minute Hunt: Eddie Edwards def. Andy Ridge [1/2*]
Tyler Black, Jerry Lynn & Delirious vs. Austin Aries, Rhett Titus & Kenny King was thrown out [**3/4]
STEEN MAKES A STATEMENT: Our main event of the evening was a six-man war between The All Night Express and “The Greatest Manager That Ever Lived” and three men who do not like them in Tyler Black, Jerry Lynn and Delirious. While I had no qualms about the talent involved, I WAS rather worried that this would be A) a heatless, boring tag team match that seems to happen a lot on HDNet, and B) Aries vs. Black Part 4,392. Fortunately, everybody seemed to remember that they hate each other: Delirious went right after Aries, Lynn went right after King, and Rhett was left to get his butt kicked by the champion. Things settled into more of a traditional tag team match, but for the most part both Aries and Black stayed on the apron. Most of the match was focused on letting the All-Nights get over by beating down Delirious and Lynn, and that is something I approved of. Even the finish worked due to the history of these men.
Of course, the bigger story was Kevin Steen coming out and giving Tyler Black a Package Piledriver to end the show, obviously throwing out a challenge to the champion. This was a great way to end the show, and I actually have to applaud ROH for getting the timing on the TV episode and the live event so well: Steen faces Black at the ROH show this Friday, and for the TV audience, this was a great reminder. If they are able to continue long-term planning to make their taped shows work within their other shows, that is nothing but goodness.
EMBASSY BUTCHER: The show opened with a recap of the storyline about Necro Butcher joining The Embassy. Then we were treated to a Butcher’s Rules decimation of poor Bobby Beverly. This was short, but thankfully, it reminded me of why I like Necro: few, if any, wrestlers on the American Independent Scene have the mixture of size, toughness and creativity to be as brutal as he is. I was entertained by this squash, as well as Prazak talking about the genius of Nana for signing a wrestler with a stipulation in his contract that allows him to do whatever he wants to wrestlers.
10-MINUTE HUNT, PART DEUX: Hopefully this is the last time we get a squash match in these 10-Minute Hunt matches. A real challenger has to step in soon or this will just be the Austin Aries Lucky Lottery without the hats. It really is a great concept, but I won’t be entertained by seeing guys like Ridge try to step up and fail for long. Also, ROH lost a big opportunity to give Ridge a storyline here, in my opinion. Edwards asking Ridge if he was a virgin, like most of the audience, was rather stupid and led to a poor joke, but it could have been saved if Ridge said it was one of the ROH ladies. Remember how Rhett Titus got over by saying that he slept with Daizee Haze and got a feud with Delirious? We could have got Andy Ridge: MsChif’s Plaything or Andy Ridge: The Guy Who Tapped Nevaeh. Instead we have Andy Ridge: Right Leg Jobber.
STRONG SEEKS THE TRUTH: I really, REALLY wanted to put this in purgatory. I love the idea of the paranoid Roderick Strong seeking the “truth” after all of his conspiracy screwings. It is a fine storyline and it gives Truth Martini a higher profile prospect, AND gives The House of Truth a bit of a rub by being paired up with a high profile ROH wrestler like Strong. However, this promo just…sucked. It went on too long, Truth said the same things over and over again, I lost interest and I got bored. I felt like I was watching The Last Airbender (the movie, not the show). When Cornette shows more personality asking simple questions then the people who are supposed to be interviewed, there’s a problem. And sadly, it sucked so badly that I can’t put this in any other category but wrong. GREAT idea, terrible execution.
NOTHING OF NOTE.
More hits than misses, but the hits were bunts. It kept the game going, but it wasn’t exciting. A very middle of the road show, with not enough good to recommend and not enough bad to complain about. It was just there.
SHOW RATING: 5.0
By: Chad Nevett
– Sarita defeated Taylor Wilde in a Street Fight [**1/4]
– Brian Kendrick defeated Douglas Williams in an I Quit Match [**]
– Samoa Joe (#4) defeated Desmond Wolfe and Rob Terry (#10) in a Three-way [**1/4]
– Beer Money, Inc. defeated the Motor City Machine Guns (C) in a Ladder Match to go ahead 1-0 in the Best of Five Series for the TNA World Tag Team Championship [****1/4]
– The Pope D’Angelo Dinero (#9) defeated Matt Morgan [*]
– Jeff Hardy (#2) defeated Jay Lethal (#5) [**]
STREET FIGHT – SARITA vs. TAYLOR WILDE: I really liked this. This was my favorite Knockouts match of any sort since that New Year’s tournament they had with a bunch of women who don’t really wrestle for TNA anymore. I wasn’t a big fan of the brawl starting before the match began. Since it was a Street Fight, there was no reason for that and it took away a little from the match itself. But, there was so much raw passion and brutality here that it’s hard not to be impressed. Both women brought it and made it seem like they hated one another and wanted each other dead. If you look at Taylor Wilde, she looks far too sweet and innocent for a match like this, but, Jesus, she wailed on Sarita with those chops to the chest. Sarita was just as brutal and managed to walk away the winner. Now, if only this was the focus on the Knockouts division and the title instead of those who inhabit the Ridiculous this week.
SAMOA JOE (#4) vs. DESMOND WOLFE vs. ROB TERRY (#10): This is somewhat odd mix. Samoa Joe and Desmond Wolfe would make sense. Desmond Wolfe and Rob Terry would make sense, but this just seemed like it wouldn’t. I was wrong. This was a really solid match. It began with Terry and Joe teaming up against Wolfe until Wolfe did a little divide and conquer, eventually focusing on keeping Joe on the floor, while working over Rob Terry’s leg in the corner. It was methodical and made Wolfe look pretty good until he felt the need to yell at Chelsea (why does she bother coming out with him anymore?) and Wolfe lost when Joe took advantage. Brutus Magnus joined Taz and Mike Tenay on commentary and didn’t add a whole lot. It is nice to have Magnus back, though. I was wondering when he would return.
MATCH #1 OF THE BEST OF FIVE SERIES FOR THE TNA WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP – LADDER MATCH – THE MOTOR CITY MACHINE GUNS (C) vs. BEER MONEY, INC.: Wow. I usually tape Impact and watch the next day when I have time and I just finished this match when my girlfriend got home. I immediately told her she had to come and watch it, so I watched it again. This was a goddamn match! This is what TNA needs to do: stick two talents in the ring and let them go (or, four talents as this match used). These are two of the best tag teams in the world and this match showed it as all four men moved with such grace and ease through the match. Any time there was a down moment, someone did something, and it flowed from what came before. Spots were obviously set up, but they never looked forced or contrived, always seeming like the logical thing to do next. Because both teams have been together so long, you believe that they could work in harmony so well, picking up on what their partner wants to do through a glance. There was a good progression where both teams had moments of dominance and times of rest. There was a slight botch when Sabin tried to run up the ladder in the corner to nail Storm, but that almost worked to their advantage since the resulting knee to the face looked even more brutal and earned. My only real complaint was with the finish. Throughout the match, I wondered why a ref was in the ring since, usually, refs stand on the outside for ladder matches since all they need to do is notice that someone has retrieved the hanging object. Brian Hebner being in the ring led to the screwy finish where the Guns won, but Storm stole the contract for the next match and made it seem like he won. I didn’t buy that and it was the only contrived part of the match. Even with it, this was one of the best matches you’re liable to see on television. I can’t wait until next week and the Street Fight.
JEFF HARDY (#2) vs. JAY LETHAL (#5): This was a match I could see going either way. Jay Lethal is on a roll, but Jeff Hardy is a favorite the TNA management. What we got was a good back-and-forth match where both men looked good and the guy with more experience and more time at the top got the win. That doesn’t hurt Lethal much, while Hardy would have been hurt more by a loss. Lethal is still red hot and Jeff Hardy is Jeff Hardy. I like random pairings like this where we get to see people outside of their usual comfort zone a bit. More than that, it’s nice to see Hardy go up against a fast, athletic opponent. Too often, he fights against more grounded, slower opponents, so someone with a similar style made for an interesting match-up.
THE NEW TOP TEN RANKINGS FOR THE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP: Your new top ten contenders for the world title: 10. Rob Terry; 9. The Pope D’Angelo Dinero; 8. Kurt Angle; 7. Hernandez; 6. AJ Styles; 5. Jay Lethal; 4. Samoa Joe; 3. Mr. Anderson; 2. Jeff Hardy; 1. Abyss. I do have a few issues with these results based only on the matches since Slammiversary. How is Mr. Anderson still in the top three? He lost matches to both Abyss and Jeff Hardy, was counted out with both men, and lost at Victory Road with both men to Rob Van Dam. He’s a loser. It’s hard to buy him being that far near the top. Same with Hernandez being that high up. Or Rob Terry who has been MIA all month except for a loss at Victory Road in a tag match. Hell, by win-loss, Jeff Hardy should be above Abyss, if only because he beat Abyss two weeks ago. You know what the problem with rankings is? Instead of simply wondering why Wrestler A is the #1 contender, you wind up wondering why every single person on the list is where they are. But, whatever, the rankings don’t really matter (clearly, based on what I’ve just said) except for the odd piece of storytelling like Kurt Angle’s quest for the belt, so I’ll stick it in puRgatoRy.
I QUIT MATCH – DOUGLAS WILLIAMS vs. BRIAN KENDRICK: I like the idea of a non-title rematch between these two, but an “I Quit” match leaves them with only a few places to go. Why not a regular submission match so Kendrick can get a submission victory back that leads to an “I Quit” match at a PPV? I’ve liked how this feud has progressed from smaller matches to larger ones, I just don’t know what comes next. This match was good, though. Williams was dominant and cocky like you’d expect him to be after a big win and that was what lost it for him. Kendrick looked believable in beating him. Of course, that was all undone when Kevin Nash came out and simply choke slammed Kendrick as if he were nothing. The match itself was Right, but the stipulation booked and Nash’s entrance pushed it down.
ABYSS WANTS TO INTRODUCE RON VAN DAM TO JANICE: Abyss started the episode by coming out with a big hunk of beef and the two-by-four with nails in it. He got on the mic, addressing RVD and talked about his weapon, which he called Janice and referred to as his girl, talking about her positive qualities, which ended with her being sharp (it’s a pun, get it?). He also made references to Them and Their plans for RVD. He then used Janice on the slab of meat, breaking the two-by-four and eating some of the meat. This wasn’t entertaining or scary or anything, it was just stupid. I don’t know whose idea the two-by-four with the nails was, but it’s an insanely stupid weapon idea because it can never be used. It’s much too dangerous and will cause far too much damage, making it worthless. Abyss’s weird little rant wasn’t creepy as intended. It came across as desperate to be creepy. This new story just exposes how desperate Chris is to be the most hardcore person in wrestling ever and why he never will be. He doesn’t understand that you need the right timing and the proper use of restraint for the harsh moments to really mean something. I fear we’ll see Janice used on him and I just hope I don’t have to watch, because that’s going to be pointless violence that could end a career.
KEVIN NASH WANTS TO GET HOGAN AND BISCHOFF’S ATTENTION: Kevin Nash came into Eric Bischoff’s office, but Easy E wasn’t there, only Miss Tessmacher. Nash went away disappointed before coming back and asking her out. Later, after the “I Quit” match, Nash came out, choke slammed Brian Kendrick and talked about wanting Hogan and Bischoff’s attention. He went through his accomplishments and how he won’t be blown off. So, Jeff Jarrett came out and said it wasn’t about Nash, it was about the younger talent. Nash said Jarrett was an idiot for buying into that. This was his company and now he’s working for the people who took it from him. Me, I’m with Jarrett: it should be about the young guys. So, why am I watching these two talk about how they’re no longer relevant but are trying to be anyway?
THE POPE vs. MATT MORGAN: This could have been good, but it started and then it ended with a quick roll-up by the Pope. I’m pretty sure the entrances were longer than the match. Afterwards, Matt Morgan did his usual routine of hitting the Carbon Footprint and setting the Pope up for the boot to the head against the ringpost, but Mr. Anderson came down and saved him. Because Mr. Anderson took the Pope out, but now is a face, so he needs to make up for it. This seemed mechanical and obvious instead of pretty cool, which I imagine the promised Pope/Morgan match could have been.
FLAIR INTRODUCES THE FIRST TWO MEMBERS OF FORTUNE: Hey, remember that Fortune thing that’s been coming up a lot lately? Yeah, let’s have Flair come out, announce AJ Styles and Kazarian as the first two members, have Desmond Wolfe come out to claim credit for helping them win, and then have Abyss interrupt it, leaving it hanging! Because that doesn’t make it seem utterly and completely irrelevant at all!
THE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE IMPLODE: Okay, this was just awful. Some people can do funny and playful on the mic, while some can do serious and threatening. The women of the Beautiful People can do the former, but utterly fail at the latter. Unless the proper reaction to them trading insults and ‘witty’ barbs was me to laugh and then consider fast-forwarding through the segment. The short version: it wasn’t good. The somewhat longer version: Velvet Sky doesn’t like Madison Rayne, Madison Rayne wants her title back, Angelina Love finds it all funny, Lacey Von Eric is confused and sad, and
Tara the mysterious motorcycle woman follows Madison Rayne’s orders. I am curious to know what reason they could come up with for Tara to follow Madison Rayne’s orders like that, but, otherwise, I don’t care, because this wasn’t good.
ECW ORIGINALS INVADE: What a way to the end the show. Abyss came out, cutting short Ric Flair’s big announcement and called out Rob Van Dam. He even set Janice aside so RVD felt comfortable entering the ring. He then told RVD that They had a plan for him and that the first part of the plan is Abyss taking the belt from him. He wants to have the most hardcore match ever using every possible weapon. Mick Foley came out, distracting and confusing Abyss, then Tommy Dreamer, Raven, Stevie Richards, and Rhino attacked Abyss. Why? Who knows! This lead to one big clusterfuck with security, wrestlers, trainers, TNA management, some switching sides, some just seeming to attack anyone, and none of it clear or making any semblance of sense. It all ended with Dixie Carter coming onto the ramp, telling everyone to stop, because she invited them. Okay, the problems: why are they attacking Abyss? How are we to consider these four guys serious threats when they’ve never been those before really? Why choose clusterfuck over clarity? Why was Al Snow surprised by Carter saying she invited them if he’s on their side? Despite this coming for a while, it came off as thrown together at the last minute. There didn’t seem to be any coordination or plan as to what should happen in what order. Instead of being shocking, it was just confusing. Not answering questions and leaving people wondering is good, but this just left me wondering why they’re even going to bother with this crap next week. Also, why did Dixie Carter wait so long to stop the brawl? She just sat there, watching for a long time. And, I’ve got to wonder: since the previous attempts at an ECW invasion failed, why do it again? Why try and cash in on some past nostalgia that isn’t yours and won’t work now, because everyone is 15 years older, the cultural context is completely different, as is the context of the wrestling promotion within which this story is occurring? It just doesn’t make sense to me.
AUDIO PROBLEMS: In several segments, the mic on the crowd was turned up so loud that it drowned out was being said by either those on cameras or the commentators. I understand the desire to make it seem like people are super-excited by what’s going on, but this is a taped show and the primary concern should be that the viewers can understand everything clearly. I don’t really care that Kevin Nash and Miss Tessmacher were drowned out a little, but it was still irksome. And if Brutus Magnus is speaking too quietly, turn his mic up. Then again, during the three-way match, I couldn’t really hear Taz or Mike Tenay because of the crowd. It’s sloppy and unprofessional. Want to play with the big boys? Get things like basic audio levels right. I wouldn’t like this for a live show and I don’t tolerate it for a taped one.
Look at what made the top two categories and look at what made the bottom two. Notice some differences? Like the past month, when TNA simply lets its people go out and deliver solid wrestling based on simple, basic stories, the show sings. It’s great. It’s exactly what TNA needs it to be. When they have in-ring promos, stories involving two by fours full of nails, or guys-who-weren’t-exactly-big-threats-in-their-prime do run-ins, the show falls apart. That doesn’t mean that I’m taking a hardline wrestling matches are good, promos are bad stance, it just means that these matches are good and these promos/stories are bad. Look at the two Knockouts segments if you want my entire argument broken down into an easy to see example.
SHOW RATING: 5.0
By: Steve Cook
Chavo Guerrero d. JTG (**)
Curt Hawkins & Vance Archer d. Matt Cross & Jamin Canceco (*½)
The Bella Twins d. Maryse & Jillian (**)
Chris Jericho d. Yoshi Tatsu (**¾)
CHAVO GUERRERO vs. JTG: This lands in the “Right” section mostly because it featured Chavo Guerrero actually winning a match. It’s too bad I couldn’t have been at historic Freedom Hall for this monumental event. I’m still not particularly sold on JTG, but he looked better in this match than he has in any of his other singles outings so far. Another sign of the power of Chavito!
THE BELLA TWINS vs. MARYSE & JILLIAN: I’m digging the Bellas/Jillian storyline here on Superstars. This week, Jillian decided that she would combat the Bella Switch by teaming with a fellow blonde Diva. She could pull the switch with Maryse, and the referee would be none the wiser. Unfortunately for Jillian, she failed to take a couple of things into account:
-The Switch only works if you’re wearing the same wardrobe as your partner
-With all due respect to Jillian, who gets a lot of love from your humble correspondent as a fellow Kentuckian, Maryse was #1 in my Hot 100 for a reason.
This idea was doomed to failure, but it led to an entertaining tag team match. I have to admit that I almost wish I was in Lexington on Monday night so I could have met up with these lovely ladies at the Tally Ho, or wherever else you go for food/entertainment in that particular city.
CHRIS JERICHO vs. YOSHI TATSU: I was ready to hate this because it had one of those annoying blood stoppages that I hate so much. However, Jericho did enough heel antic-type stuff during the stoppage to keep me from being too bored by the whole thing, so it didn’t take away from the match. Tatsu has become a really good cruiserweight type guy and it’s too bad he wasn’t around back when WWE had a cruiserweight division, or when WCW had the best one ever back in the mid-90s. He had a really nice comeback towards the end of the match that made sure it found its way into this section.
CURT HAWKINS & VANCE ARCHER vs. MATT CROSS & JAMIN CANCECO: Matt Cross appearing on WWE television keeps this match out of the “Wrong” & “Ridiculous” sections. Matt Striker gets points for dropping the “M-Dogg 20” name. I do have a complaint regarding something else he said, which I’ll address here in a minute.
THE GATE CRACHERS LOSE THEIR NAME: You mean to tell me that Matt Striker gave these guys a name, and then he takes it back and proclaims that they are Curt Hawkins & Vance Archer? That’s pretty freaking lame in my book. Tag teams need things like a name to get over with the people as a cohesive unit. What sounds better: “The Rock & Roll Express” or “Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson”? “The Heavenly Bodies” or “Dr. Tom Pritchard & Jimmy Del Ray”? “The Fabulous Freebirds” or “Michael Hayes, Terry Gordy & Buddy Roberts”? I know WWE isn’t exactly high on tag team wrestling, but doing things like this just serves to make people care even less than they already do.
LEXINGTON FANS CHANT “Y2J”: For one thing, he’s a bad guy. For another thing, he doesn’t call himself Y2J anymore. Then again, when was the last time that Lexington fans said anything that made sense? I got a Kentucky fan complaining about me being “biased” in my SD recap because I made a joke about his university. He’s right, I’m biased against UK as a proud graduate of the University of Louisville, but what does that have to do with my takes on the pro wrestling? Absolutely nothing, unless a Bella wears a UK jersey in a photo shoot and I have to complain about it.
Out of all the wrestling shows that appear on television every week, Superstars is consistently at least in my top two, if not my number one. It focuses on the in-ring action and usually features workers that are really good at it. This week’s was a pretty good example of it, plus we’re getting a weekly dose of the Bellas now. Why wouldn’t I like this show?
SHOW RATING: 7.5
By: Jeremy Thomas
WWE SmackDown 07.16.10
Kofi Kingston & Cody Rhodes fought to a no-contest [* ½]
Drew McIntyre def. Christian [** ½]
Kelly Kelly & Chris Masters def. Layla & Trent Beretta [¼ *]
Dolph Ziggler def. Matt Hardy [** ½]
REY REY NEVER SAYS DIE: So, we got a glimpse from last week about how Rey had become Jack’s blanket to be dragged around the arena. Then they went to the backstage area, where Rey Rey was asked about it by Josh Matthews. Rey said that he was going to have to forfeit his world title to Swagger, which drew a lot of boos. I’ll give Rey credit for playing this seriously, and I bought it for a moment…that he intended to, anyway. I figured that he’d get to the ring and change his mind. But he quickly popped up and said he wasn’t serious and that drew an admirable pop from the crowd. They’re definitely playing Rey as the underdog here, and frankly this is a smart way for them to play him as one. Not as a guy who loses consistently, but as a guy who finds odds to overcome. That’s strength, not weakness, and that’s a good way to do it.
DREW McINTYRE vs. CHRISTIAN: The second of the Money in the Bank one-on-one matches worked a fair bit better than the first. Drew and Christian had the benefit of not going up first I suppose, but they just made for an overall better match. Once again, I really have to point out how much Drew’s been stepping it up in the ring. It’s like he suddenly wants to be worth the push he got and it’s refreshing to see. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that he’s been in there against some great talent of the likes of Matt Hardy, Kofi Kingston and now Christian, and that he’s been given plenty of time in his matches. This wasn’t a TV match of the year candidate or anything but it was a good, solid effort from both men that gave both time to shine. The point here was to put Drew over and it did that well; the cheating effort by Drew also meant that Christian’s momentum wasn’t hurt too badly. This may not have been everyone’s cup of tea but it was just fine in my book and I appreciated the effort.
CM PUNK: THE UNMASKING: This was a segment that had to happen eventually, and honestly I was a little concerned that they wouldn’t pull it off that well. However, they did. It started with Punk and the Society in the ring, complete with masked Mystery Man. Punk trashed us all and said there was no dissention in the Society; that brought down the Big Show with a couple of ladders in-hand. Punk awesomely complained during the entrance, but Show set up the ladders undeterred. He made fun of Punk and said that he and the SES were putting America to sleep and were the cure for insomnia. Show then talked about Money in the Bank, and Punk joked that he wanted to see Show pull a 450 on the top of the ladder. They sniped back and forth, then Show put over Money in the Bank. He tried and failed to climb the ladder, then brought out a tiny ladder and then set that aside. Apparently he changed his mind and had the UBER-LADDER brought out. Seriously, that ladder was freaking awesome. Punk then made some King Kong jokes and said that he should be in Money in the Bank, then the Society attacked Show and Punk climbed up the ladder. That…didn’t go so well. It ended with Show climbing the ladder, grabbing Punk and yanking the mask off. Now, I would have liked to see this be a bigger moment and not used to put over Money in the Bank, but Show and Punk were great there and I loved it.
MATT HARDY vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER: The last of the Money in the Bank preview matches pitted the Sensei of Mattitude against Vickie’s main squeeze. Vickie was of course at ringside, and she got a bird’s eye at a pretty good match. Matt and Dolph worked together and had what was probably the flashiest match of the night. I don’t think that they gave it their all quite like Drew and Christian did but they put on a solid TV match that gave both guys a chance to look good. Dolph went over and I think that was the right move; Matt loses nothing by taking the pin here and Dolph gains some. I don’t know if this will play into Money in the Bank at all, but these two made a solid team and Dolph didn’t even use Vickie’s help much which is an added bonus.
JACK SWAGGER IN: THE FUGITIVE: So throughout the night, they had this whole saga going on where Swagger was trying desperately to get an alibi to show up to exonerate himself for Taker’s vegetating. This was, of course, because Kane was ready to murdelate him if he couldn’t provide said alibi. This started with Kane making his big statement in the beginning, and you know I love the commitment with which Kane gives his role. I think he’s still doing very well in this role even when it’s starting to enter iffy areas. Swagger tried to play it off right and acted serious, while still giving us the arrogant buffoonery we appreciate from him. But despite everyone playing this off well, there was one big problem with this and it’s very simple. This distracted completely from what should be the point—Rey and Swagger’s feud. Here, the whole feud was a side note to Kane’s search for his brother’s attacker. I get that they’re trying to put it over, but they could have waited a week unless they’re absolutely going to do something for it at Money in the Bank…which would be a bad idea.
Now to be fair, I did like the main segment just for Swagger’s alibi. I loved the way that Swagger and his dad played off how brilliant and talented Jack is, even bragging about his awesomeness during his alibi. They both put their utmost into this, but I feel like making Swagger look weak is problematic since they’ve been working on building him up. I wanted to like this, but ultimately it failed. The talent made a good effort of it though, and sheer amusement value saves this from being wRong.
KOFI KINGSTON vs. DASHING CODY: SmackDown kicked off with Kofi Kingston coming out for a non-title match against the Dashing One. T-Grish and Striker took the opportunity to talk about (and show a video of) the Nexus angle on NXT. Cody came out next and drew a lukewarm reaction from the crowd. His rebuilding is a work in progress though, so it’s fine for now. Kofi and Cody came out and had a competent match, but not one that is up to the usual hopes for a Friday night opening match. They certainly had their moments and they worked fine against each other but there just wasn’t that X-Factor that elevates a match. In other words, needs more Polaris. Part of the problem here is that they had two guys who needed momentum going into the Pay-Per-View and the ‘E was afraid to have either of them take a loss, so they had Kane come down and kill them both. I see what they were getting at, but it didn’t work. Remember when Scott Steiner would come out on WCW and destroy the two cruiserweights? Remember what afterthoughts the cruiserweights felt like at that point? Yeah, same thing here. I appreciate the effort but this needed something more, and a Kane obliteration wasn’t that thing.
DID YOU KNOW?: Nope. And, as always, I don’t care.
LAYLA & TRENT BARETTA vs. TRIPLE K & CHRIS MASTERS: Okay seriously, what do you want me to say here? I like Layla and I appreciate the effort Kelly puts forth, but this was just retarded. We got about fifteen seconds of match before Rosa Mendes came out and skipped rope, causing Layla to be distracted. The Dudebusters then helped her, and then Kelly got the win. Rosa then skipped rope away. This was phenomenally dumb. Seriously, this was the best way they could come up with pushing the feud? I bet Creative thought this was a unique and interesting way to put it over. It wasn’t; it was just dumb.
This was merely an alright SmackDown. It hard sold the PPV, although not as strongly as perhaps it should have. It started off weakly, but picked up steam and outside of that retarded mixed tag match nothing really pissed me off. I wouldn’t call this must-see WWE, but it was worth watching for the SES/Show promo and the two MITB preview matches that didn’t involve Kofi and Cody.
SHOW RATING: 7.0
…and remember to stay grounded!