Commentators: Michael Cole, Josh Matthews & Booker T
Championship’s roll call: WWE Champion: CM Punk… World Champion: Sheamus… Intercontinental Champion: Christian… United States Champion: Santino Marella… Tag Team Champions: Kofi Kingston & R-Truth… Diva’s Champion: Layla
The show opens with acting SmackDown GM, or “ZackDown” GM, Zack Ryder. He organizes the World’s largest fist-pump. He says this is going to be the sickest SmackDown ever, WWWYKI. Alberto Del Rio arrives and calls Ryder a clown then makes fun of his Internet championship. On Sunday, he promises to rule SmackDown. Ryder books the Raw rematch from last week…
Sin Cara vs. Alberto Del Rio (w/Ricardo Rodriguez): Cara starts off tot pounding away on Del Rio; he clotheslines Cara to cut it off and stomps away. Del Rio hits a vertical suplex and chokes him in the ropes. Del Rio misses a charge in the corner and the angry Sin Cara pounds away until the referee physically restrains him. As soon as the ref releases him Cara runs right back over and continues the assault and ends with a short DDT, which gets two. Del Rio comes back with a double chop and a bodyslam for two. He tries the vertical splash against the ropes but Cara moves; Alberto manages to hang onto the ropes and remains on the apron so Cara pendulum kicks him off. Cara topés through the corner post and wipes out Del Rio. Back from commercial, Cara hits a running kick; Del Rio manages to take over when Cara is trying to come off the top with a series of head-butts. He snatches Cara off the buckles and gives him a shoulderbreaker; he slaps on a kneeling armbar. Cara tries a comeback but runs into a lightning quick tilt-a-while backbreaker and goes back to the armbar. Del Rio’s offense is boring but necessary for his character; Cara keeps it entertaining, hitting random highflyer moves, like a hurracanrana out of nowhere, to keep the crowd enthused. Cara aggressively knees the crap out of Del Rio and hits a head scissors DDT move… for a close two. He heads to the top (or “caught up in the lights” if you are Booker T) and MISSES a senton bomb. Del Rio smartly locks him in the cross-armbreaker for the immediate tapout. 5.5/10 Not a bad match, Del Rio is now booked as an overaggressive heel but he is still very clever; judging by the finish here. The result here makes sense considering their respective positions on the card; Del Rio is going for the World title and Cara is merely in the MitB match. Cara has become more of “just another WWE Superstar” that is also a Luchadore as opposed to he is the next coming, as they originally pushed him. Pretty good match that suffers only from Del Rio armwork boredom in the middle.
Here is your winner… Alberto Del Rio @ about 9:10 (broadcast) via cross-armbreaker submission.
Teddy Long tells Zack Ryder that he is doing a great job running SmackDown this week; Big Show shows up and gets in his face and threatened to KO him. Great Khali saves him and Ryder books the match. Khali gives a WWWYKI, which I find funny.
Primo (w/Epico & Rosa Mendes) vs. Darren Young (w/Titus O’Neil & A.W.): I fund the Players one of the most entertaining duos in the WWE right now. Primo and Epico crack me up positioning themselves RIGHT BEHIND Rosa while she does her little hip-swing dance getting the best view in the house. Oh, great AW is mic’d up again but fed through the PA system too. They jockey for position and then slug it out; Primo gets his boot up in the corner to block a charge and hits a beautiful second-rope diving hurracanrana. He pounds Young down and goads Darren into a charge; Primo drop-toeholds him onto the second rope and hits the Mexican vertical splash (that’s where he slides to the floor to complete the move as opposed to Chris Jericho or the Big Bossman where he remains in the ring). Primo argues with O’Neil on the floor and Young is able to capitalize upon reentry with a Stungun. AW informs us that this beat-down is brought to us by All World Promotions. Young gets a nearfall. Young facelocks him onto the apron and hits some forearms; he DARES to steal Undertaker’s legdrop on the apron. Hopefully, that won’t result in months of jobbing out now. Back in the ring, he gets two. Young stays on top with knees and a neckbreaker for a pair of nearfalls. Young calls for “Prime Time”, by pointing to his imaginary watch on his wrist. He drops a leg… so I guess that’s the Primetime Legdrop? He drops some millions of dollars elbow drops and applies a neck crank. Primo makes the prerequisite comeback and hits a springboard reverse crossbody but Young impressively rolls through (in very John Cena fashion) and attempts the Gut Check; Primo counters and lands on his feet and tries the Backstabber but Young hangs onto the ropes. Young looks to capitalize but Primo, the ring veteran, inside cradles him for three. 6/10 I guess Taker called in a favor. Good match that keeps Primo and Epico as legit contenders as opposed to job guys. It sells the Primetime Players still as young rookies, which works for them and makes AW’s involvement much more important than “just another manager”.
Here is your winner… Primo @ about 6:40 via inside cradle pinfall.
Raw 1000 memory: Edge’s retirement speech; I agree that was a pretty big moment. In the back Zack Ryder talks to Sheamus about his match at the PPV when Chris Jericho shows up to call the show a trainwreck. Sheamus challenges him and Ryder books the match, bro.
Christian & Santino Marella vs. Cody Rhodes & Dolph Ziggler (w/Vickie Guerrero): This tandem of midcard champions has been doing well as of late; I wonder if the WWE will pull both titles off them and make them a permanent team. I just noticed that the stage has “ZackDown” written on it. Rhodes shoves Christian down and points to the case above the ring; they run the ropes and Christian hits a pair of shoulderblocks. Santino tags in and dares him into an amateur style match; Ziggler gets a tag and chokes Santino down. He pounds him down but a Marella float-over in the corner leads to an armdrag. Santino bars the arm and wrings it, he tags in Christian who comes off the second rope with a forearm, and he slaps Dolph and hits the pescado uppercut. Ziggler makes a quickie comeback and brings Rhodes back in; Christian tries a comeback, from the heel corner, with a tornado DDT but Rhodes pushes him off and he lands flat on his face; Cody gets two. Dolph tags and Cody sets him up for a dropkick. Ziggler with a chinlock. He keeps Christian at bay with a kneelift and tags Rhodes back in; a delayed release vertical gourdbuster follows. Cody hits the Hollycost against the ropes but can’t complete the Alabama Slam; Christian slips down, sunset flip style, and then flapjacks the charging Rhodes. Santino gets the tag and fires up with his comeback sequence on Ziggler (split-legged hiplock and Salute head-butt); the Cobra makes an appearance but Cody blindsides him. The match breaks down and Christian takes out Cody and battles with him on the floor. Meanwhile, in the ring, Ziggler flattens Santino with the Zigzag for the victory. 5.5/10 Average tag match; not bad but the talent involved could have produced much more. I guess my expectations for these four are too high.
Here are your winners… Dolph Ziggler & Cody Rhodes @ about 7:55 via Zigzag pinfall.
The Raw Rebound is the entire ending of Raw from the point of AJ Lee’s tag into the match; they really are overdoing the AJ thing to the point where the fans will probably turn on her soon. Too much of a good thing never proves well for a babyface; ask Rocky Maivia or John Cena.
Great Khali vs. Big Show: Khali hobbles into the ring, no injury, just REALLY bad knees; why is he perpetually being carted out there if he struggles to move? Show chops the crap out of Khali but the talent vacuum chops right back. Khali celebrates but turns right into a WMD! Ha! Show gets the academic pinfall. Booker T’s “TIMBER!” cracks me up. 4.5/10 Okay, this use of Khali is okay by me Any time you make Khali look like a chump and job him out that severely is okay by me. Show doesn’t work by the hour apparently.
Here is your winner… Big Show @ about 1:00 via WMD pinfall.
Ryback vs. Tyler Reks (w/Curt Hawkins): I don’t see this ending well for Reks; pre-match, he says he is going to hand Ryback his first loss. They lock up and Reks gets some knees in and pounds Ryback in the corner. Reks hits the ropes and runs right into a HUGE boot from Ryback. Thanks for coming Tyler Reks. He slams Reks on the mat a few times and launches him through the ropes to the floor. Hawkins looks on bewildered. Ryback pulls Reks back up onto the apron but Tyler hotshots him off the top rope. Back in the ring Reks… runs right into a belly-to-belly overhead suplex. Reks keeps it interesting countering a press-slam and going to the guts of Ryback. Doesn’t last long as he runs right into the Sheffield Lariat; the Shell Shocked follows for the pinfall. Post-match, Hawkins gives Reks an “I told you so” look. 2.5/10 Another squash for Ryback; I guess next week he faces both Hawkins and Reks and crushes both of them simultaneously.
Here is your winner… Ryback @ about 2:10 via Shell Shocked pinfall.
Another Raw 1000 moment is Hugh Jackman’s running Raw and helping Zack Ryder win a match.
Justin Gabriel vs. Damien Sandow: They lock up and Gabriel quickly sweeps the leg for a nearfall; Sandow gets mad and pounds him down. Russian leg sweep allows the Cubito Contemptricem, which gets two. Gabriel flips free of a chinlock and kicks his way back. Justin misses a roundhouse kick but scores on the rebound with an enziguri. Gabriel misses a splash in the corner and Sandow follows with the Illumination for the three count. 2/10 Squash for Sandow. This is one of the reasons that the NXT/FCW minor league system works for the WWE; it allows these guys to perfect their gimmicks and evolve/grow into themselves. Once they are called up they have an easier time getting over because the gimmick tweaks are already ironed out.
Here is your winner… Damien Sandow @ about 3:40 via Illumination pinfall.
We get clips of the big Anonymous Raw GM reveal… Hornswoggle. Read my Raw review for my opinion of this crappy realization.
Sheamus vs. Chris Jericho: Rare SmackDown appearance for Jericho. They jockey for position and Jericho retreats to the ropes; he SLAPS Sheamus, which enrages him into pounding Chris into goo. Jericho retreats to the floor, getting Sheamus to chase him ‘round the ring, but his plan backfires in the ring as Sheamus wipes him with a slingshot Battering Ram. He aggressively works Jericho over with knees to the back of the head. Chris counters a cross-corner whip with a boot and second-rope missile dropkick. Jericho tries to rough him up in the corner which never works with Sheamus. Jericho winds up on the apron for some O’Clubbering; the follow up knee knocks Jericho clear over the announce table. Back from commercial, Jericho has taken over with punches to the face while in a chinlock. During the break, Jericho pitched Sheamus into the steel steps and delivered the receipt, tossing him over the announce table, to take over. Back to live action, a chinlock. Sheamus fires back and avoids a charge in the corner, posting Jericho’s shoulder. Sheamus fires up with Irish Hammers and a running kneelift. Jericho counters the powerslam with a chop to the chest but runs into the Irish Curse. Chris tries a tip-over in the corner but Sheamus catches him in a Finlay Roll for two. Jericho retreats to the ropes and utilizes the referee shield to poke the overaggressive Sheamus in the eyes. Awesome. He looks for the Codebreaker but Sheamus blocks and tosses him into the corner; he looks for the Brogue Kick but Jericho sidesteps and Sheamus gets caught in the ropes. Jericho capitalizes with a springboard dropkick. The Lionsault follows but only gets two because it’s Sheamus. Jericho runs into a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker to take back over. He counters the Celtic Cross into the Walls of Jericho. Sheamus wastes no time getting to the ropes. Sheamus looks for White Noise but Jericho counters that into the Walls again. Sheamus doesn’t make the ropes a quickly and Jericho adds to the drama pulling Sheamus to the center of the ring; the Great White eventually powers free. Sheamus finally hits White Noise but Jericho kicks out; he sells the back holding it and taking a while erecting himself. The Brogue Kick is avoided into the Codebreaker but Jericho takes a while to crawl to the cover so Sheamus kicks out. Both guys sell the exhaustion; Sheamus skins-the-cat onto the top rope but leaps… RIGHT into the Codebreaker! Sheamus kicks out of that as well. The fans meekly chant for “Jericho”. Chris runs right into a Brogue Kick and Sheamus wins. Post-match, Alberto Del Rio attacks Sheamus on the ramp and slaps on the cross-armbreaker and won’t let go. 7.5/10 Very good main event; Jericho kept it very interesting countering 90% of Sheamus’ signature spots and finishes, which made it quite fun. I can’t say much more, that is the story of the match and Sheamus snuck in the finish to get the pinfall over a very game Chris Jericho. He uses every sneaky tactic and scouted Sheamus well (making him look very credible in the loss) but still could not stop the forward momentum of the champ, which is a novel idea: booking a champion strong!
Here is your winner… Sheamus @ about 15:50 (broadcast) via Brogue Kick pinfall.
OVERALL 5.5/10 Everything on this show was status quo. As far as the Money in the Bank PPV goes, I think we may see Wade Barrett make a surprise return, perhaps taking out Sin Cara or Tyson Kidd (I hope not) to get the briefcase. I’m picking Chris Jericho on the babyface side bit it will probably be John Cena. Everyone who was involved in the MitB matches were kept strong, which is fine for this show leading into the PPV. The show is capped by an excellent main event.