As you can probably tell by the headline, there are a distinct lack of big news stories from last night’s Smackdown. Nonetheless, I made a few pages of notes and here are my thoughts.
First of all, if Sky keep pissing me off by delaying the show for an hour for some bullshit cricket that nobody cares about, doesn’t even involve England and is played in an empty stadium, I’m gonna have to call them. Now that’s out of the way, on with the review.
We kicked things off with Booker T, Teddy Long, Brad Maddox and Vince McMahon. The three stooges were all vying for position to become permanent GM by proposing boring matches that we have all seen multiple times. Then he announced Vickie Guerrero and gave her the job. I don’t see how any of this Vickie stuff elevated anything, other than throwing the tiniest piece of firewood onto the McMahon angle. This was a pretty lame opening, so the hot reaction must have been piped in. I just hope this means that Booker is returning to commentary.
Dolph Ziggler v Jack Swagger There is a pretty cool history between these two so I was fairly into this opening match. The ever hilarious Antonio Cesaro and Zeb Colter were thrown out of ringside after the Swiss hit Ziggler with a mean uppercut behind the referee’s back. He protested “I was just here talking to Zeb!” – Hilarious. Ziggler got the win with the zigzag, and got on the mic to proclaim how “Sorry” he was to have dumped AJ… “Sorry I didn’t do it sooner” The crowd got on their feet for facey Zig who is over like hell. You can’t pipe in actual standing ovations. We were shown AJ flipping out and throwing chairs in the back, after seeing it on the TV. Then Langston laid the most awkward attempt at a kiss on her. Strange, but intriguing.
The Shield v The Usos This was a non starter. Dean Ambrose got into the fray before the bell was rung, before Mark Henry came down and made it an all out brawl. The Shield scattered. It’s a pity because this would have been a decent match. By all accounts, their title match on the pre-show the other night was outstanding. It looks as if it’s gonna be a six man tag team match at Summerslam for these guys. Is Mark Henry turning face again then? I sincerely hope not.
VAULT MATCH: Haku & The Barbarian v Mr. Fuji & [Some Gimp Dude] Bobby Heenan must have had some kind of feud going on with Fuji because he kept getting involved and interfering, which was hilarious. The guy is a genius. I didn’t see the name bar come up so I don’t know who this gimp guy was, but he had an amazing physique and some weird black mask covering his whole face. I went into this match hoping it would end immediately, but it was actually pretty entertaining. Classic psychology and great comedy.
Wade Barrett v Daniel Bryan This match was apparently taken off of Raw at the last minute because Punk and Lesnar’s segment went over on time. Good to have it here now. Sadly Bryan won with the Lobell lock far too quickly. I was excited to see a good match. It was positive for his character to be so dominant but it buried poor Wade and robbed the audience of a real contest. Nonetheless the crowd went absolutely mental after the match and like I said before, you can pump in audio, but you can’t fake reality on video. A standing ovation of “Yes!” chants seems to be an ongoing trend that won’t die.
Then Paul Heyman joined The Miz for Miz TV. Paul disgusting him so much with his interview that he had to leave. It was a solid, sickly performance from Heyman as usual. Paul then introduced his client and Intercontinental Champion, Curtis Axel, just to rub it in Miz’s face.
Curtis Axel v Chris Jericho (for the Intercontinental Championship) I’ve seen this match before and it’s pointless. I expected a good farewell match for Chris though, or perhaps that already happened with RVD on Raw. People are doubting Axel but I love his swagger and charisma, especially when he is coming to the ring. Jericho dominated most of the match until he locked him in the Walls of Jericho. Axel made it to the rope after a long, drawn out affair in the middle of the ring. This made the kid look like he has guts. Great work from both guys. Heyman played his part like a pro as usual and worked the distraction so Axel could get the win with his weird neckbreaker thing. Then Ryback came down, I’m guessing to write Chris off of TV for a while so he can go tour with Fozzy. He hit the clothesline, the Shellshocked, and left. “Seeya later Chris” he said with a huge grin.
Damien Sandow came to the ring and cut a promo about how he still respects Cody and still wants the two of them to be friends. Newly face Cody came out, looking like a legend with the huge stitches. Sandow said he forgave him for the attack on Raw, like the underhanded heel he is. He offered him the role of case protector, which was as patronising as anything I’ve ever seen. He got some great heat with this to be fair. Cody hit him in the head with the case and started beating on him, before he escaped up the ramp. This was a decent segment.
Rob Van Dam v Darren Young I wasn’t sure at all why RVD was booked against Black Cena for his first match on Smackdown for eight years, but it turned out to be the match of the night. It was fairly short, but compared to the mediocrity from every other match, it was a classic. I don’t know how people can deny that Van Dam is doing an amazing job since coming back. He looked incredible again, doing crazy moves all over the place, before hitting the five star frog splash for the win. RVD = GOD.
Randy Orton v Alberto Del Rio This was absolute snorefest booking for a main event but I gave it a chance. Well, not so much. I actually fell asleep midway through and couldn’t be bothered to go back and see how it panned out. I woke up in time to see Orton win with the RKO. Shocker.
On the whole, I’d say it was a decent enough show. I’ve seen worse, but I’ve also seen a lot better. It’s very early days in the lead up to Summerslam so it’s to be expected. Rob Van Dam stole the show again and some good segments saved this from being a poor show.
Thanks for checking out my Smackdown review. We have Ring of Honor tomorrow, TNA on Monday and Raw on Tuesday. Stay informed and stay entertained by returning to The Real Mid Card. Hit ‘Follow’ to get daily posts on pro wrestling. Thanks for your continued support. It is appreciated greatly by myself and the team! Peace!