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Wrestling’s 4R’s Monday Edition 8.23.10: ROH, Superstars, Impact & SmackDown Reviewed!

August 23, 2010 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas


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    Your Regular R’s will continue as normal, but first…a word on a very special occasion by the inestimable Larry Csonka. I was going to write something myself, but I don’t think I could top what Larry says here, so I simply sit back in awe of the original and true Master of the R’s once again.

    ~And So We Hit 500~

    And so this is the 500th edition of the “Wrestling R’s” here on 411Mania. To say that the column hitting 500 is a surprise would be correct. You see, before I came to 411, I wrote for a little place called “TWTF,” and the proprietors of that site were Lino and Trent (aka the Penguin). I started doing TNA recaps there in LATE 2003, and as 2004 began I started venturing into columns. I felt that I needed a hook to review the shows, and along with my wife, we came up with the R’s concept. The initial editions of the R’s are HORRENDOUS to say the least. I hadn’t found my voice, I relied on clichés and well, they sucked. But they eventually became a good read, and something I enjoyed.

    On May 26th 2004 I joined the 411 family, recapping TNA, and the R’s went on hiatus. But in August of 2004, when the GRAND EXODUS HAPPENED here at 411, I became wrestling editor. Ashish said, “write whatever,” and so the 3R’s of Wrestling came to 411. It started with me, and when I lost Smackdown Nick Marsico joined the family. When he left the column, longtime friend Geoff Eubanks took over the SD coverage. The R’s were a weekly labor of love, and eventually PPV editions came, special editions, the R’s of the WrestleManias and so on and so forth.

    When I took over administrative duties here at 411, Jeremy Thomas who had been helping with the column when Geoff left took over the mantle, and along with Michael Bauer, Aaron Hubbard, Steve Cook, Daniel Wilcox and Chad Nevett have carried on the column. But then, in the tradition of 411, when a concept takes off it migrates. My baby that started back in 2003 is started running wild in Movies, Music, MMA and Games, and like a proud father, I sat back with a big grin on my face.

    Today’s edition of the R’s is the 500th edition in wrestling, and I sit behind my computer proud of that fact. It would never have happened without you, the loyal 411 family. We may not always agree, but you always clicked and shared your opinion, and YOU made this column the success it has become. And for that, I humbly thank you.


    Larry Csonka

    In HD where available…

    By: Aaron Hubbard

    ROH on HDNet 08.09.10:

    Rhett Titus def. Jerry Lynn [**1/2]
    El Generico vs. Erick Stevens was thrown out [**3/4]
    The House of Truth def. Mike Sydal & Aden Chambers [*]
    ROH World Title #1 Contender’s Match: Roderick Strong def. Davey Richards [***3/4]


    STRONG VS. RICHARDS: This is the second time these two have battled on television this year, and I enjoyed this considerably more than their first outing, which never seemed to kick into third gear. This one was a bit tedious in the early going but did not stop getting better down the stretch. Richards is awesome, Strong is awesome, the match was excellent, but I really hope they get a chance to outdo themselves before Davey’s probable retirement. Also of note is that Richards continued to show disdain for Shane Hagadorn’s involvement in his matches, a theme carried over from Death Before Dishonor’s main event with Tyler Black. This time, Davey pretty much cost himself the match by shoving Hagadorn down when he tried to help Davey. Obviously this is leading to the full face turn, which is fine but not needed since most ROH fans love him anyway. Good main event.

    GENERICO VS. STEVENS: This turned out better than I expected. I’m probably one of the few remaining fans of Erick Stevens, and Generico is good. This wasn’t a blow-away match by any measure, but it looked like they could easily approach show-stealing category if given the chance. The interference from Kevin Steen and Steve Corino was expected and fine. I’ve personally been enjoying the feud every step of the way and have no problem with it continuing, so long as the promos and matches continue to live up to the standard they’ve been setting.

    CORINO & STEEN ON CHAINS: Oh, I loved this. This was a great money promo, with Corino and Steen both using the chain as a metaphor in different ways. Corino used it to symbolize the bond he has with Steen that makes them strong, while Steen used it to explain how his career was chained to El Generico. This was all building up to the double-chain match at Glory By Honor IX, which is shaping up to be another tremendous Internet PPV.

    HOUSE OF TRUTH SQUASH: This wasn’t a particularly good match, and clearly the natural grace of Evan Bourne does not run in the family, as Mike Sydal did nothing to impress me here. The reason this is in the right is that it gave Josh Raymond and Christian Able a platform to show off their talents and get some momentum. I’ve enjoyed their work thus far in ROH and think they have a lot to offer in the tag team division, so anything that gets them something of a push is good in my book.


    TITUS VS. LYNN: This was the usual solid opener I’ve come to expect from this show. Lynn doesn’t quite look as good as he did last year, but Titus is quickly becoming one of my favorite acts to watch because of his improvement. His dropkick is one of the most perfectly executed moves in all of wrestling today. I was not a big fan of the finish, as I feel that Titus is in sore need of a win over an established talent to boost his singles credibility, and Lynn wouldn’t have lost anything from Aries blowing smoke in his eyes and Rhett hitting a finisher to defeat him. This felt a little counter-productive to me, but was entertaining for what it was.





    The 411

    Hey, what do you know, I actually enjoyed everything that was on the show this week! Richards vs. Strong was another solid TV main event, not quite as good as last week’s match between Tyler Black and Christopher Daniels, but it was supported by a stronger undercard and one tremendous promo from Misters Wrestling Steen and Corino. A very, very solid hour of wrestling programming this week.

    SHOW RATING: 8.0

    By: Chad Nevett

    iMpact! 08.19.10:

    – Jeff Hardy defeated Rob Terry in the first round of the TNA World Heavyweight Championship Tournament [*]
    – Mr. Anderson defeated Jay Lethal in the first round of the TNA World Heavyweight Championship Tournament [*3/4]
    – Angelina Love (C) defeated Madison Rayne for the TNA Knockouts Championship [1/2*]
    – Kurt Angle defeated Douglas Williams in the first round of the TNA World Heavyweight Championship Tournament [**1/4]
    – The Pope defeated Matt Morgan in the first round of the TNA World Heavyweight Championship Tournament [**]
    – AJ Styles defeated Tommy Dreamer [*]


    TNA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT FIRST ROUND MATCH – KURT ANGLE vs. DOUGLAS WILLIAMS: Prior to this match, there was a little backstage bit with Angle discussing his history participating in tournaments and how that gives him the edge. The pairing of him and Douglas Williams was a smart one, since their styles complement one another quite well. They didn’t get a lot of time, but Angle is one of the best at packing short matches with as much as he possibly can to make the best use of his time. Williams got a good amount of offense and looked good against Angle, but there was no doubt who was winning this match. With every match a ‘win-or-retire’ match for Angle right now, he’s the easy favorite to win the tournament and the title. And that’s just fine with me since Angle’s matches are always good and worth watching even if the conclusion is foregone.

    TNA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT FIRST ROUND MATCH – THE POPE vs. MATT MORGAN: The final match of the tournament’s first round had somewhat obvious participants, but that’s a good thing since out of the possible guys to take these last two spots, the Pope and Matt Morgan were the ones that fit best. This match was surprisingly entertaining with Matt Morgan playing the dominant, cocky heel better than ever before. He’s really developing that element of his performance in the ring, not just in promos, and that really elevates his matches. His strong character helps hide some of his shortcomings and limited moveset in the ring, and makes him look better than he actually is. He tossed the Pope around like a rag doll and took every chance to preen and pose for the audience. He taunted the Pope, disrespected him, and lost the match by not going for the win when he had the chance. While four faces in the semi-finals is an interesting idea, part of me was hoping for Morgan to make it through as the only heel. But, after his dominance over the Pope, him going over would have buried the Pope, so it was the right call.


    TNA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT FIRST ROUND MATCH – MR. ANDERSON vs. JAY LETHAL: This looked like it could be a decent match without an obvious finish. Either of these men would benefit from advancing in the tournament. Anderson has been pushed consistently despite not actually winning matches, while Lethal has been almost unstoppable (aside from Flair cheating). They put on a decent show for the time given. Both men looked like they had a chance throughout and worked together well. There was nothing that really stood out as amazing, but nothing that stood out as bad. Anderson going over was probably for the best since he needs to look like a contender, while Lethal has time to build himself still.

    MOTOR CITY MACHINE GUNS VIDEO: While I would have preferred a regular promo instead of a breathless, murky Reaction video package, this was still good. It put over the Guns as a big deal, used some great clips, and gave them a week off to recover a bit after their series of matches with Beer Money. Better this than nothing at all.


    ABYSS AND JEFF HARDY BRAWL BEFORE THE SHOW: The show began with the extremely long and dull showing of Abyss and Jeff Hardy brawling throughout the Impact Zone before the show actually began. I wouldn’t have hated this if they’d cut it down to a few clips, but it kept going on and on and on and on. It wasn’t innovative or engrossing. It was kind of funny to see Hardy’s ass blurred from time to time. Listening to Mike Tenay and Taz act ‘real’ by discussing their monitors and mics seems good in theory, but failed miserably on execution. I applaud trying something different, but a traditional series of 10-15-second clips giving us the highlights would have did the job.

    ERIC BISCHOFF VACATES THE WORLD BELT: Easy E came out to address Rob Van Dam’s injuries and the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. He oversold RVD’s injuries (about as much as the shot at the end of Impact did last week) to the point where his offer of allowing RVD to return to the ring whenever he wants sound ludicrous. The picture he painted was of a man so broken and destroyed that his return to the ring within two years seems impossible unless he looks like Frankenstein’s monster. But, whatever. He then set up a tournament for the title that would involve the top eight contenders (sorry, numbers nine and ten… whoever you are) with the four quarter-final matches that night. Yes, another tournament in TNA. I love tournaments as much as the next guy, but this is the fifth tournament I’ve written about for the Rs and I’ve been doing this for less than a year. They could try something new from time to time. That Bischoff didn’t tell us the top ten at the time also stood out. All in all, a sad, depressing promo full of obvious hyperbole that didn’t do the job of selling the tournament, which it really should have done.

    TNA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT FIRST ROUND MATCH – JEFF HARDY vs. ROB TERRY: Yes, Rob Terry makes the top eight despite losing the Global Championship and the rematch to AJ Styles. Somehow, that warrants moving up at least two spots in the rankings. Don’t ask me how. This match was typical Big Rob fare with him no selling while his opponent tries to drag the match to quality. The Twist of Fate Hardy performed on him at the end was the worst Twist of Fate I’ve ever seen. Add in Rob lying down too far from the corner for Hardy to hit the Swanton Bomb properly and this was just bad. Hardy advances like we all knew he would and the match wasn’t entertaining enough to warrant watching.

    TNA KNOCKOUTS CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH – ANGELINA LOVE (C) vs. MADISON RAYNE: Last week, a commenter asked why the Knockouts keep winding up in the Wrong (though, go back four weeks and there’s a Knockouts match that’s not in the Wrong…) and it could be matches like this. It could be the continued use of the same performers in the same story. While some performers and stories have ups and downs in quality, I’ve found this story to be relatively consistent in bad matches and bad booking. I almost put this in Purgatory because they kept the actual match mercifully short, but the reunion of Angelina Love and Velvet Sky doesn’t feel organic yet, while the continued teasing of Tara as Madison Rayne’s biker enforcer is just sad. Everyone knows it’s Tara, so prolonging the ‘surprise’ decreases whatever impact it will have. The real mystery is why she’s helping Rayne. Anyway, Sky stood ringside to back up Love and counter Tara. Love retained the belt and she and Sky seemed friendly enough in the ring, but were attacked after the match by Rayne and Tara. It continues…

    FORTUNE ADDRESS THE IMPACT ZONE: Ric Flair began the Fortune segment by introducing the two newest members of the group: Douglas Williams and Matt Morgan. I do like that they’re not limiting it to just four members since Williams and Morgan fit in well with the group. Flair then went on to trash EV2.0 for doing things that anyone can do, arguing that they can’t wrestle. What Flair and Fortune do is wrestle, but anyone can use kendo sticks, tables, and garbage cans. That’s freak show circus crap. He handed the mic over to AJ Styles and Styles was greeted with cheers from the fans. He bashed EV2.0 for not being able to just have their night and leave, that they had to stick around for that one more moment of glory and distract from those that really matter, like Fortune. After all, TNA is the house that AJ Styles built, and the crowd agrees. That prompted Dixie Carter to come out and acknowledge that AJ may have helped build the house, but she owns it. The EV2.0 guys came out looking like hell and Carter said that, because of last week, she’s given them all TNA contracts (even the guys who had ones!). Dreamer took over and said how Flair is a living legend and would rush the ring, except Carter asked them to show restraint. Foley got on the mic and talked about a phone call with Flair in December that supposedly led to Flair coming to TNA and how it’s the one thing he regrets, while Flair suggests they roll in the thumbtacks some more. Foley said he doesn’t work for Flair, he works for Dixie Carter, while Flair said he works for Fortune. Dreamer ended things by saying he respected AJ until last week, so, later that night, it would be Styles versus Dreamer. I liked the beginning with Fortune, but the minute Carter came out, the whole thing went downhill as the crowd seemed to be with Styles and Fortune (or Styles at least). EV2.0 is meant to be the faces, but it’s not working out that way. I wonder if that’s planned or if TNA will adjust accordingly or if they’ll press ahead, oblivious…

    NASH & STING vs. JARRETT & HOGAN IT’S FORTUNE AGAIN, MOTHERFUCKERS!: This segment nearly had me turn off my TV. Nash and Sting came out, and Nash said nothing of any value. Actually, I did like him demanding that anyone who wants his spot needs to take it from him, because no one can just tell him his time is over. Jeff Jarrett came out and said even less. He moved to go down and take on both Nash and Sting, but, then, Hulk Hogan came out to help him, taunting Sting into dropping the baseball bat. They hit the ring and the lights went out. When they came back up, Fortune was kicking the shit out of all four men and this segment moved from the Ridiculous into the Wrong. I love Fortune beating up the old guys, but I had to suffer through promos that made me want to turn off the TV — and I would have if I weren’t reviewing the show here. So, if I were watching just for pleasure, I wouldn’t have even seen the payoff. Not a good strategy: first, hit them with the awful bullshit and, then, just when they want to walk out, bring out the quality!

    AJ STYLES vs. TOMMY DREAMER: Yes, AJ Styles isn’t in the World Title Tournament. Yes, the TV Title wasn’t on the line. Yes, this furthers the god-awful feud between Fortune and EV2.0 that should have ended last week with the old men broken and shattered under the might of wrestlers that can actually wrestle. Watching this match was brutal. Dreamer moved like an elderly woman, while Styles noticeably slowed down so Grandpa Hardcore could keep up. You see the reverse Irish whip near the beginning? Styles is moving at a speed that you expect and, suddenly, Dreamer is running and… he’s running… he’s running… he’s running… he hits the ropes… he pauses… he turns around… he bounces off the ropes… he’s running… he’s running… he’s running… They tried to work a match where Dreamer’s experience was meant to give him the edge, but AJ Styles isn’t some young rookie new to the business. He’s one of the top performers in the world and, I’m sorry, but I’m not buying Dreamer outsmarting him in the ring. This should have been an ugly dissection of Dreamer that made women weep in horror and men shake their heads in pity at the terrible wrath of a pissed off AJ Styles, but, instead, it was an ugly, terrible match that ended in a clusterfuck finish that suggested that Styles needed outside interference and help to beat Dreamer. And, of course, Impact ends with a brawl. Again.


    HULK HOGAN WANTS TO QUIT?: There was a short segment with Hogan on a cell phone, discussing how horrible Rob Van Dam’s injuries are and how he’s thinking of quitting over it. Man, fuck you, TNA… Do not tease Hogan leaving unless you’re willing to pull the trigger. Otherwise, that’s just cruel.

    TOP TEN RANKINGS?: So, anyone know what the actual top ten rankings are? We know who are in the top eight, but what about their actual positioning? What about numbers nine and ten? The top ten rankings were introduced on the May 20 episode of Impact and, three months later, they’ve already crapped out on them. I shouldn’t mind since they have no real place in logic. Mr. Anderson remained near the top despite rarely winning matches, while, in this group, Rob Terry somehow ranked higher than AJ Styles, a guy who beat him twice this past month and took the Global Television Title from him. (And, you know, if they announced the top ten officially on that Reaction show, I don’t care. Call me when Reaction becomes a wrestling show instead of faux reality TV bullshit. I do love how the company that’s called Total Non-Stop Action and positions itself as the ‘wrestling promotion’ has the show that’s just talking and no wrestling.)

    The 411

    There were at least three times during this show where I simply wanted to turn it off (and I would have were I not reviewing it here). I would say that any new fans that tuned into last week’s Whole F’N Show must have been thrown by the piece of crap Impact this week, but considering the show was built around last week’s god-awful finish, that probably isn’t likely (plus, the ratings suggest that new viewers weren’t exactly likely either). I enjoyed the World Title Tournament matches, but they were all pretty short. Another week where AJ Styles didn’t defend his TV Title in a match… This episode was overbooked and booked poorly. If I could have, I would have created a new R for a lot of this show: Really Fucking Bad.

    SHOW RATING: 3.0

    By: Steve Cook

    Superstars 08.12.10:

    Primo d. Yoshi Tatsu (**¼)
    Vance Archer & MVP went to a no-contest
    Curt Hawkins & Vance Archer d. MVP & JTG (**)
    Jack Swagger d. Chris Masters (**)


    JACK SWAGGER vs. CHRIS MASTERS: Chris Masters is the ultimate example of how a bad first impression can relegate you to relative obscurity. He’s been one of the more consistent workers in WWE this year, but you still hear people saying that he’s no good. Why? I think a large reason is because when he debuted in WWE a few years back he was absolutely craptastic. Csonka harps on this in his Superstars recaps, and I think he too has fallen victim to the idea that once you suck you always suck. This is why you don’t run wrestlers onto television until they’re absolutely ready to make an impact. Maybe Jackie Gayda could have become a decent wrestler if she didn’t have the worst match in Raw history when she had less business being in the ring than 18 year old me would have. Jack Swagger was ready when he made his debut on the ECW show, and he’s never looked back…well, at least from a performance standpoint anyway. He’s seemingly got other problems that I’d love to know more about, so I’d know why he wasn’t on SummerSlam, is main eventing Superstars and has started feuding with MVP for the fifteenth time on SmackDown. This had the potential of being very good, but you just can’t do a whole lot in five minutes. I loved the ankle lock finish though, so it belongs in this section.


    PRIMO vs. YOSHI TATSU: Primo & Yoshi have good matches. They’ve had a lot of them. So why is this in Purgatory? I have no idea why they’re wrestling each other over and over again. There seems to be no reason why they’d dislike each other. They’re not in contention for any titles. I have no idea what Primo’s goal is, and I don’t know what Yoshi’s aspirations are either. It’s nice to have good matches, but without a reason, you’re just wasting your time. And it’s not like they’re MOTYCs either, they’re just good matches thrown out on Superstars. They’re spinning their wheels here.

    CURT HAWKINS & VANCE ARCHER vs. MVP & JTG: The booking with Teddy Long coming out and making a singles match into a tag team match was interesting, and it’s nice to see that Teddy knows that this show exists. The right team went over, since Hawkins & Archer are actually a tag team. This goes into Purgatory because the in-ring action was just kinda there. It wasn’t good, it wasn’t bad., so I don’t really know where I should put it.


    Nothing of note.


    Nothing of note.

    The 411

    Another place holding show for Superstars. Decent matches, but if you missed them it’s not exactly the end of the world.

    SHOW RATING: 6.0

    By: Jeremy Thomas

    WWE SmackDown 08.13.10

    Kofi Kingston def. Dolph Ziggler by DQ [** ¼]
    Serena & Luke Gallows def. Kelly Kelly & The Big Show [* ¾]
    Christian def. Drew McIntyre [** ½]
    Alberto Del Rio def. Rey Mysterio [** ¾]


    REY, MEET ALBERTO: SmackDown kicked off with Rey Rey coming down to the ring, much to the crowd’s pleasure. He did some pointing to the crowd on his way down to the ring and climbed in with a mic to talk about SummerSlam and Kane. Rey Rey thanked everyone for helping him through SummerSlam and such. He said that he may not have won, but he didn’t end up in the casket and said Kane had just been looking for a way to mask his own guilt. Rey had the crowd interested, and then out of nowhere…

    Yes, it’s the long-awaited debut of Alberto del Rio! Long-awaited mostly because that means the vignettes have stopped, but whichever works. He came down to the ring, interrupting Rey with no thought to it until he hit the ring, upon which he said it was an honor to stand in the ring with Rey Rey. Alberto said that his bloodline came from kings while Rey’s came from the horrible streets of Tijuana. I will certainly admit that Alberto did a great job here of trashing Rey with glee and arrogance. Rey Rey turned it around nicely and said he’d seen people like Del Rio a thousand times and that he didn’t deserve respect for the way he dresses. Things turned ugly and this led into a match tonight. I have to say, I’ve crapped on the vignettes and I have no regrets for doing so, but now that he’s come to deliver he started off very well here.

    CHRISTIAN vs. DREW McINTYRE: So, this was a rematch from a few weeks ago, and was one I was looking forward to. Cody Rhodes came down to sit at commentary and he did a very good job there talking trash about Christian while Christian and Drew had a very solid, surprisingly intense match for TV. I think that they focused too the camera a wee too much on the announcer’s booth instead of the match, but that’s a minor flaw and it didn’t go too overboard. Drew continues to impress as he looked very much like he belonged in there against Christian and with a good amount of time, they put on a very good TV match. Christian got the win which was done in a way that didn’t hurt Drew much at all, and the post-match assault on both Christian and Matt by the heels did some nice work in building them up. I’m interested to see where this goes, and I haven’t yet been disappointed by these four since they started wrestling each other.

    ALBERTO DEL RIO vs. REY MYSTERIO: So, this was pretty damned awesome. Del Rio has the JBL entrance with his own car…he even has his own damned ring announcer in Ricardo Rodriguez. It’s over the top and I love it. Del Rio’s little grin says a lot about his character and again, he gets a lot of credit from me for doing some good character work here. He also did some damn good wrestling work too. See, this is what I was talking about when I complained about the vignettes. We needed a reason to care about him in a pro wrestling context, and tonight that’s exactly what he did. So we had weeks of vignettes why? Anyway, enough of that. Del Rio didn’t put on a five-star match with Rey or anything, but he showed very clearly that he has no problem working the WWE style and stay in character while doing so. For some guys, that’s harder than it sounds to do both. Obviously Rey had a good amount of offense, but this was far from a fluke win by Alberto; he looked very good here and he got a legitimate win against a WWE main eventer in his debut match. I’m sure I’m missing someone, but I can’t remember the last time that happened. And more to the point, he made Rey tap. That’s freaking huge. It’s clear that the WWE expects very good things out of Alberto, and now so do I. Great freaking debut.


    KOFI KINGSTON vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER: This was Kofi’s rematch for the Intercontinental Championship since they had that FUBAR of a finish at SummerSlam. Now, these guys have been working well together for a while now, so I had some very solid hopes for this match. Did this deliver? Not quite as much as I think they could have on a stage like SummerSlam given the proper amount of time, but for a TV match it was perfectly fine. They played the story as they have for the past few weeks, with Kofi battling both Dolph and to a lesser degree, Vickie being her annoying, stick-her-nose-in self on the outside. Vickie factored into the ending and cost Kofi the title by giving him a DQ, and Kofi nearly lost it on Vickie post-march. I think the DQ ending hurt things just a touch, but that’s fine in that it ended the opposite way Dolph’s win did; Dolph ended up looking strong post-match and that’s enough for me to forgive the finish. Not a great or even a particularly good opening match, but it accomplished what it needed to. What they could have done with more, though.

    LUKE GALLOWS & SERENA vs. THE BIG SHOW & KELLY KELLY KELLY: This match was set by a segment beforehand, where Joey and Luke were complaining about Punk leaving them at SummerSlam and Serena saying that they were going to earn Punk’s admiration by facing off against Kelly and Show. Punk came in, put them all down and said that if Luke and Serena lost they were out of the Society. I have to say that Serena was more wooden than usual here and that hurt the segment, but overall I liked this because it’s advancing the storyline of the SES.

    As for the match, I have to admit that I was looking forward to seeing what Serena would finally do in the ring after all her FCW development time and no wrestling since. And she did impress. While Show and Gallows had a little short amount of offense in there, it quickly transitioned to Triple K and Serena. Serena looked good, at least compared to what we usually see from Diva matches and Kelly was less bad than we usually see from here. Things turned chaotic and then Serena hit the fireman’s carry gutbuster. I love that Serena’s finisher is close in style to Punk’s G2S. This was an encouraging match, but too short for me to really give a Thumbs Up to. We’ll see how things go from here.

    BROTHER KANE EXPLAINS IT ALL (AGAIN): So, let’s start off with one thing I hated about this. We came back from commercial right into this segment and frankly, it was more than a bit jarring. Especially with the tacky demon-voice effects to the laugh. It didn’t start it off well, but Kane had a great speech that recovered well. He gave a talk about the Seven Deadly Sins, Pride and how it allowed Taker to weaken and Kane to put him down and then drop him on his head at SummerSlam. Kane was speaking directly to Taker as he gave him a tale about how it started. This went through the entire history of the Kane feud and while again the flashbacks bugged me, I’m starting to get vaguely used to them. Kane talked about his master plan that had stretched over years, allowing Taker to win for years and years and how the loss of his mask created the monster he needed to be. Et cetera, et cetera. I will give them credit for some creative retcon work, but it lacks a bit of credibility. “I decided to get my revenge…by letting you win for years!” Um, okay. Also, ripping on Pulp Fiction (and yes, the Bible) with the Great Vengeance and Furious Anger line was tacky. No one does cheesy as well as Kane, but he only had limited success here. Not one of my favorites of his.

    JACK SWAGGER = MATT HARDY?: Actually, I think that’s an apt equation. Jack’s become sort of a solid upper-midcarder who can put over the lower-card guys these days. The only difference between the two is Swagger’s actually been World Champion. Anyway, Swagger was complaining to Rosa about how he’d been robbed out of being at SummerSlam and robbed by MVP last week. Unfortunately, Rosa was joking in place and listening to her iPod. So instead Swagger got to come face-to-face with MVP. They had a little back and forth sniping where they made fun of each other and MVP even put Swagger over a bit. Swagger invited MVP to the Jack Swagger Senior Invitational, which was an “old school shootout.” If they’re playing with BB Guns, I mark. Anyway, I wouldn’t be surprised if this turns into a Matt vs. MVP “one-up the other” situation, which at least gives them something to do but will waste our time. Remember Matt vs. MVP, eating contest? Yeah, wastes of time.


    DIVA PLANS AND HIDDEN LEPRECHAUNS: Backstage early, Layla and Michelle were laughing about what they did to Melina at SummerSlam. Layla noted that that Teddy Long was planning on punishing them, though. There was some reference to a plan they had that was super-secret and that Teddy couldn’t know, and they wandered off—only for us to see that Hornswoggle was dressed as a plant. Okay, that was weird. Obviously they have a plan here and that’s fine, but anything involving Hornswoggle has me worried from the get-go. I’m giving this a tentative wRong for now because of the many ways I can see this going wrong and the very few ways it could work.


    DID YOU KNOW?: Nope. And, as always, I don’t care.

    The 411

    This was exactly what I was hoping for out of SmackDown coming out of SummerSlam. They got dealt a serious short end of the stick and when that happens, the Blue Brand usually seems to get some fire and comes back with a vengeance. Alberto Del Rio’s debut was handled perfectly, the match and continuing angle with Cody, Drew, Christian and Matt was good and we had a lot of storyline advancement even if a couple matches suffered. I can’t complain much about this one at all and am interested to see where things go from here.

    SHOW RATING: 7.5

    Until Friday, keep on kickin’ it!

    …and remember to stay grounded!


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    Jeremy Thomas
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