This week’s episode opens with a replay of last week’s Edge tribute and highlights from the 20-man Battle Royal, which was won by Christian to make him #1 contender in addition to Alberto Del Rio for the vacated World Heavyweight Championship. Tonight’s action is from London, England with just 9 days until Extreme Rules. We hear the familiar music of Alberto Del Rio as a camera shot of the World Title hanging above the ring.
Josh and Booker bill tonight as ‘Championship Night’ with Big Show and Kane to face Tag Champs Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel. Also, the Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett will defend against Kofi Kingston in a mandatory rematch. That omnipresent douche Michael Cole comes down to the booth to ‘My Country Tis of Thee’ playing, and he’s still working that trite “Sir” Michael angle. Once we realize we’re stuck with him yet again, we hear the new music of Cody Rhodes and he comes to the ring for a promo. He says he wears a mask for protection, but Rey Mysterio wears a mask to hide his fears, his loathing thoughts of the fans, and his shame for himself. He also accuses the crowd members of wearing figurative masks as well—and he can see through our masks, and he can see their envy of him and the misery of their lives. The part of us all wearing masks is true to some extent, but not really the fact that we’re spending any time thinking about him and envying him. He tears into the audience and WWE Universe some more and then pulls out a perfectly cut paper shopping bag, and he reveals he has many to be handed out to the crowd by his ‘assistants’. It’s the classic “embarrassed sports fan” mask and many of the fans seem all too eager to get them. Most of the front two rows are wearing them and they actually look kind of amusing. But Cody embitteredly says they’re to cover our blackheads, shame, fear, etc. He says he hope he’s drafted off this miserable show and he will finish by ending Rey Mysterio’s career tonight…as he holds up a paper bag for Rey. Next comes Rey’s music and he hits the ring for an official match.
Cody is on the attack right at the bell but Rey reverses the momentum by tossing Rhodes out of the ring and landing a seated senton splash from the apron. Rey high fives a cameraman and we go to break with him in firm control. We come back for a very quick segment with Cody now in charge, digging his uncovered knee into Rey’s neck and chest, and stomping away at Rey in the corner. He tries for a power bomb but Rey pushes past and reverses it into a pinning predicament. Cody lands a real nice around-the-world backbreaker that is only possible to give to smaller opponents like Rey. Cody is in charge for the next couple minutes with damage on the outside, and then back in the ring. Rey sets up a 619 but Cody avoids and back and body drops over the top but Rey lands on the apron and drives his shoulder in Cody’s ribs. Cody retaliates by shoving Rey backwards into the ringpost, knocking Rey to the ringside floor as we go to commercial. Back from break and Cody has Mysterio in an inverted chin lock that Rey punches his way out of almost on queue. Cody with a snap powerslam for a near fall as Rey tried to bounce off the ropes to generate offense. Cody with some knee drops and stomps on the downed Mysterio. He drives Rey very hard into the corner turnbuckles chest-first, a la Brett Hart. As Rhodes continues to work over Mysterio, the announcers continue to put over the fact he is demented—Booker is “concerned about him”; Cole says he doesn’t blame him since Mysterio tried to ruin his career, and Josh is mostly silent as usual. Cody perches Rey on the top rope in super-plex position but the masked man headbutts Cody to the mat and climbs one rung up to the top rope. He leaps off and hits another seated senton splash and then lands his reverse springboard dive off the middle rope. This gets a near fall as Rhodes kicks out and lands a boot to the gut. Cody gets a rollup for a near fall of his own but Rey pounces to his feet and blasts Cody in the head with a hard right kick. Next comes an awkward if not surprising maneuver. Rey leaps off the top rope but Cody gets a last second drop kick that lands a little ‘off’ but is still good for a nearfall. Rhodes doesn’t learn from his earlier mistake and goes for another power bomb-type move but Rey turns the table again and turns it into an inverted sunset rollup for the three-count. Rhodes attacks after the bell but it’s too late…Rey has taken another opportunity away from an up-and-coming contender. A pointless victory for Mysterio – I watched an old WCW Nitro from 1996 this afternoon and there was a match against Juventud Guerrero. Mysterio was doing the same moves then and was being billed as the “underdog”, and “never count him out”, and “wins from the jaws of defeat again”, etc. The same old garbage we hear about him … and this was FIFTEEN years ago…my point is his act is old and tired and I’m beyond sick of him. The after-the-match battle between Rhodes and Mysterio goes on for another five minutes and goes into the crowd and back. Rhodes ultimately gets the upperhand with a CrossRhodes on the ringside floor. He places one of those paper bags on the laid-out Mysterio and raises his hand in triumph in the center of the ring.
Next we get a backstage skit of The Corre and Gabriel half-heartedly apologizing to Barrett for eliminating in last week’s Battle Royal. He explains, “it was every man for himself and you would have done the same thing”. Barrett is mostly silent as Slater comes in and asks why they’re still talking about last week. He says, “Both of you would sell your grandmother down the river to get ahead, and we have to talk about unity; there’s no leaders here”. Next EZ Jackson comes in and says “It’s a big night tonight and as your leader, I want you to know I’m here for you”. This gets a reaction from Barrett and crew but Jackson chuckles, “I’m just messing with you”. Barrett says ‘maybe it’s the rest of them that should mess with you’ (pointing to Jackson). This leads to more tension that acquiesces with awkward laughter. They end by all shaking hands seemingly on the same page. A recap of last week’s latest breakdown between LayCool is next, which unfortunately leads to another “group therapy” session with those two annoying wenches. I’m not sure what the point is of turning them on each other since neither will be accepted as a babyface. Layla demands respect if LayCool is going to stay together, and Michelle says that’s fine because Layla isn’t flawless. Layla starts crying and Michelle apologizes and hugs her. Why am I writing about this?? Suddenly Michelle pulls a Shawn Michaels and drills Layla when everything ‘seemed’ better them.
Next up is more Michael Cole coverage from the Queen Elizabeth II fiasco last week on Raw…my god, who is it in the creative dept that is so infatuated with shoving this no-talent down our throats so relentlessly. I just don’t get it. Where there’s Cole, there’s usually Jack Swagger and that’s what we have again tonight, with a match pitting The All American American vs. Trent Baretta. This one needs little build up as I’m sure we all smell squash. Swagger takes command at the bell with a hard shoulder block takedown and then tosses Trent around different corners of the ring before quickly landing the Swagger Bomb about 20 seconds in. He begins bitch-slapping Swagger upside the head but Trent uses this opportunity to land a few shots, including an attempted seated senton, which backfires into a power bomb and then the ankle lock for a quick tapout. Jack Swagger wins via submission. Michael Cole does his usual foolish antics in celebration and his dorky little announce cubicle is more junked up than a freshman college dorm room. We get the latest spooky vignette for Awesome Kong during this commercial break as she snaps a doll that could be construed as one of the divas.
Next we have the WWE Tag Team Title match with Kane-Show being announced first to a pretty decent crowd reaction. Slater and Gabriel emerge next with only Ezekial Jackson in two (no Barrett at the onset). I’m surprised Slater’s still walking upright after getting blasted by Big Show in the battle royal last week. He starts it up for the champs against an eager and willing Kane. Kane stalks and Slater uses some speed to land a combination before getting caught by Kane with a big back body drop and low dropkick. Show tags in quick and hits a chop and some butt-busters. He shoves his hefty arse into the face of Slater in the corner and Heath’s first reaction is to run his hand through his hair (fruit!). Kane tags back in and greets Gabriel with a stiff right hand and running lariat in the corner—followed by a second. Gabriel kicks out at two and Kane goes to the top rope, only to be pushed off by Jackson while the ref was preoccupied. This enables Slater to land some offense and a chin lock. Gabriel tags back in and lands an ax-handle from the top and some more stifling holds to slow down the big red monster. Kane fights away but then is subject to a nice tilt-a-whirl DDT by Gabriel. Slater enters again from the top but eats a right hand from Kane. Big Show in next and is all over Slater as usual—knife chop, avalanche, shoulder block, and then he signals for the big KO punch. Gabriel sees what’s happening and jumps into the fray from the top rope but is caught by his throat and tossed over the top rope into EZ Jackson. They both collapse into the announcer’s table. Back in the ring, Slater is alone and vulnerable. Jackson immediately jumps up on the apron to interfere but Kane knocks him off from a running start across the ring. Show hits a choke slam on Heath and gets the pinfall! NEW TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS ARE KANE AND THE BIG SHOW!! It appears not having that fourth Corre member out there made the difference as Kane-Show was able to neutralize Jackson and still take care of the former champs. I have mixed feeling about this move. It’s good to have a dominant team as tag champs, but from a purity standpoint, I liked Gabriel and Slater better as a traditional tag team. Oh well, most of us don’t put too much stock into the tag titles anymore anyway. Remember what a huge deal it was when the British Bulldogs won the belts from the Dream Team at Wrestlemania II?! That was a memorable match with Dynamite crashing heads with Hammer Valentine from the top turnbuckle, and then Davey Boy crawled on the unconscious Valentine for the dramatic pin. Ah yes, good old fashioned tag team action from days gone by. Sigh…
After the break, we’re backstage and Slater’s crying to Jackson about him not having their backs. Jackson says they “both need to look in the mirror, especially you” (glaring at Slater nose-to-nose). Jackson storms off and Slater says to Gabriel, “what are you looking at?!” as he surprisingly shoves him to the ground. This was interesting as we finally saw some kind of emotion and actual heel persona from Heath Slater. Gabriel looked astonished on the ground but didn’t do anything despite getting punked by the inferior member of the tag team.
Drew McIntyre’s music hits next and I’m trying to determine if there’s a distinguishably more positive reaction from the UK crowd. There’s a smattering of applause but nothing too abnormal as the England crowd doesn’t seem to have too much extra love for the Scotsman. On the other hand, Chris Masters’ music hits and there’s actually a pretty good “pop” for him…at least initially. Drew lands some early blows and avoids a Master Lock attempt from the apron with an elbow to Chris. He slingshots Masters’ throat over the top rope and then hits a spinning neck breaker for near fall. Masters keeps working the neck with a stomp to the back of it and some short-arm clotheslines. He puts his index finger in the air and now seems to be working the crowd a bit more. During his arrogance Masters gets a small package rollup for a 2.5-count, followed by a sitting power bomb. Chris is now showing his strength with a lariat and flying shoulder block from the middle rope. As usual, he goes for the Masters Lock too quickly though and Drew does a nice job of avoiding by running to the corner and pushing off the middle turnbuckle to traject himself (and Masters) backward on to the canvas. Drew quickly locks in the butterfly suplex hold and lands his Future Shock DDT for a much-needed pinfall victory. He grins with a sinister look and leaves the ring proudly.
Still remaining is the IC Title match and the “Retirement Party” for Edge as thrown by Alberto Del Rio. First we get a recap of the Morrison-R Truth drama from this past Monday. It was one of the better heel turns that I have seen recently, and I actually thought Morrison was more of a prick prior to the match. Neither of these guys are good on the microphone so the pre-fight promo was very forced and phony, but the aspect I liked of the heel turn was the initial turmoil he “felt” about wanting to make amends to Morrison but then also wanting to destroy him for costing him his dream match opportunity. That was a pretty cool dynamic I thought. I think a lot of us are kind of wondering about Morrison lately, with some of the news reported on this site and others about his backstage and personal ‘love life’ antics…but I’m guessing we all agree it is a much more appealing main event with Jo-Mo in there instead of R Truth.
Kofi Kinston is introduced and he’s wearing yellow trunks and boots as he prepares for what could be his final IC Title chance for a long time. I’m not sure what would be accomplished by giving him this belt again…he’s already run his course in the mid-card title scene and they don’t seem committed to giving him a World or WWE title push so he’s a man in limbo. Personally, I can do without him right now. I think he needs to be reinvented a bit as my attitude is kind of blasé when it comes to Kofi. Don’t despite him like I do Mysterio, but don’t really care either way if he wins or loses…and perhaps that’s even worse.
Next out is Wade Barrett with Ezekial Jackson in tow (no Gabriel or Slater, not surprisingly). Barrett gets a lot of heat from the home-country crowd, which kind of surprises me…as compared to the love CM Punk gets in Chicago. This London crowd seems kind of ‘by the book’ in the sense they pretty much cheer all the faces and boo all the heels, from what I can tell. The bell rings and Kingston comes out firing as usual. Some right hands and European uppercuts. Booker T makes an interesting point that Kofi is held back by trying to please the fans too much, and he needs to just go get the job done and not worry so much about them (hmm, another face to heel makeover in the works??). Barrett gets control about a minute into the match with an elbow smash and some hard kicks and stomps to the downed Kingston. Kofi turns the tables with a sweet reverse flying body splash from the top rope on to Barrett all the way down to the outside ring floor. He sells the move as hurting his own ribs and we go to the break. Back from commercial, the seesaw battle is now in favor of Barrett, as he has Kofi in a submission hold. We see a replay of action during the break where Barrett was tossing Kingston around the outside of the ring, including into the steel ring steps. Kingston avoids a charge and dumps Barrett over the top rope. Barrett sells an injury to his wrist. For no particular reason, Jackson comes charging hard into the screen but Kofi gets out of the way and EZ Jackson “accidentally” lays out Barrett. It never really looked too accidental even though Jackson acted like he did not mean it. He seemed to have Wade in his sights all along. Barrett recovers and admonishes Jackson and demands he go backstage. Back in the ring Kofi gets a quick rollup but Wade kicks out. Kingston then hits a high dropkick followed by the double leg drop. He starts signaling for Trouble in Paradise but misses it (as he usually does lately) and Barrett gets Kofi in the fireman’s carry position to deliver his finisher. Kofi fights out to the corner and gets himself positioned on the top rope in a seated position. Barrett blasts Wade with a pump kick to Kofi’s head and goes to pick him up. Kofi tries to roll up Barrett but Wade is too big as he slams the breaks and sits on Kofi’s chest, grabs some rope for good measure, and gets the three count! WADE BARRETT WINS BY PINFALL AND RETAINS THE INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE.
The final “main event” is not a match. It’s a segment featuring Alberto Del Rio to “retire” Edge. After the usual lengthy ring introduction we’re in ring which is decorated with tables, grandfather clock, balloons, etc. Brotus Clay is in the ring too. Suddenly it gets interesting as Alberto Del Rio introduces Lita and her music/images appear on the big screen, but then we get the teaser as a large-scale woman comes out and (ahem) hams it up. Brotus looks sheepish as he opens the ropes for the imposter Lita. So far this is pretty lame as Del Rio pretends Lita has gotten heavier, talks about Edge needing Depends diapers, a walker, handicap parking, and plenty other “old man” cliché jokes. Yawn. I’m expecting some kind of payoff so I’m staying with it, but instead we next get Ricardo Rodriguez coming down in one of those scooters to Frank Sinatra music. He mocks the Edge intro with pyro and all. This will be the all time worst end to a Smackdown episode if this is the only place this segment goes. It’s been a decent episode to this point. As if on queue, “YOU THINK YOU KNOW ME?!”. Edge’s music hits and the real deal comes out in jeans and tee shirt. The crowd loves it and Ricardo looks like he’s going to have a heart attack inside the ring despite them still having 3-1 numbers. Edge has a mic and asks Alberto why he looks surprised to see him, since he told him on Facebook that he was going to be there. He says we already know “Alberto, that you suck” (crowd joins in chant), “and you’re a lousy human being and lousy party host…with Brotus and the weird-looking Ricky Martin guy…and the fake Lita. You’ve got about 1500 pounds of poop down there. You look like one big flaming bag of poop”. The crowd starts chanting “Poop Poop”. Alberto sics Brotus on Edge and as the big man stalks Edge we see Christian come from nowhere (under the ring?) with a ladder and he drills Clay from behind with it. Alberto comes out next and is dropped by Christian as well. With Edge looking on and applauding, Christian climbs the ladder and grabs the World Title that was hanging overhead and holds it in deference as we fade to black. Edge’s tee shirt was cool—“Done it All and Won it All”.
Overall a good match even if the ending wasn’t all that exciting. We saw a title change hands, the continuing demise of the Corre faction, and a solidification of Barrett’s IC Title reign with a win that is about as clean as a heel champion is ever going to get. Thanks for reading and have a great weekend and Happy Easter to all! – Deadhead Dan
Category: TV and PPV |