Thanks for checking out The Real Mid Card. This is a review of Friday Night Smackdown, once again from Edge’s own Canada. This meant another cool special appearance from the Rated R Superstar. Leave a comment and let me know what you thought of the show.
So the episode opened with the announcement that Edge would be returning to the ring once again to host another Cutting Edge with Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan. This was a nice surprise for those of us who don’t stay glued to the behind the scenes stuff.
Big Show was forced to come to the ring and give an apology for his “abhorrent” behaviour on Raw, when he refused to strike Bryan down. Hunter came out and said he wasn’t satisfied with his sentiment, and suspended him for the night without pay, reminding the crowd that “Big Show is broke” – classic Triple H here. As he went to the back, The Shield came out and Show refused to leave the ring. After putting up a spirited fight in an attempt to remain, he was beaten down and attacked with the steel chair, before taking the triple powerbomb.
Then we were “treated” to another short, and not so memorable six woman divas tag match. AJ was at the announce desk and did a great job once again, solidifying her position as not only the best wrestler of the bunch, but the best talker. She made a great point about how JBL “belittles and trivialises” the division with the way he speaks to it’s champion. I couldn’t agree more. I’m usually a big mark for Layfield, but I have to say, he has been getting on my nerves lately, which makes Jim Ross’ permanent departure from the company an even more saddening blow. AJ jumped in the ring, broke up the match and got beat down. This didn’t really make any logical sense, but I guess she is the crazy chick and can get away with it.
Vickie then presented the horrific “Dancing with the Superstars” featuring R-Truth, Fandango, The Great Khali and Miz-co Inferno (The Miz) – It was depressing as always to see Khali even near the ring for any reason, but I actually found Miz to be entertaining here. JBL did pull a typical gem out of the air with “We dance on Friday night!”
Ryback then conducted an interview with a home town jobber, before beating him up. I actually thought this was hilarious. Again this whole bully thing shows a lack of direction, but at least it’s something entertaining for him to do, and in this format, he was great.
Damien Sandow v Santino Marella The “Italian” once again got a great reception in his real home, and also got the win here. Sandow has been jobbing so much that it is surely inevitable that he will be successfully cashing in tomorrow at Night of Champions. This is precisely why I’d like to see Van Dam get the win, and a token World Title for his record.
Colonel Mustapha (who looked a hell of a lot like Iron Sheik?) took on one of my personal heroes The Big Bossman on The Vault match. I was tempted to watch this but I thought I’d be professional, skip it and get to what I’m supposed to be looking at – current wrestling.
Michael Cole interviewed Paul Heyman and Curtis Axel in the ring. Heyman looked like he hadn’t slept for weeks with red around his eyes, and that stubble you get when you live on the streets. The man is so dedicated to his craft, and that’s why he delivers so well every time. The lengths he will go to are similar to that of a real actor. JBL did well holding the announcing down alone before and during the segment, while Paul continued to show why he is the best salesman in the business: “If you buy this pay-per-view, you are going to see CM Punk get his hands on me” – excellent segment!
Ricardo Rodriguez v Alberto Del Rio I don’t know if this is a Russo swerve or a way for WWE to actually quash the idea that Ricardo is going to screw Van Dam and rejoin Del Rio on Sunday, a prediction held by many in the IWC including myself. These two had a pretty good match, and it’s always cool to see how fans react when they see that Ricardo can actually wrestle. Most people simply know him as a manager, but he is a good worker. He pulled off a terrific tornado DDT, but fell victim to a vicious reverse suplex from the top rope (a lot of superplex kind of things going on lately) and lost the match. He had the last laugh though, when his friend RVD took out Del Rio and hit the five star frog splash after the match. But for how long will these two be partners?
Then we saw an absolutely epic promo vignette for Bryan v Orton, which included excerpts from a worked interview Michael Cole had conducted with Triple H. Hunter was flawless once again.
Dolph Ziggler v Dean Ambrose This match was a formality. I’d actually not realised that WWE hadn’t booked the US title match between these two at NOC officially, and that it was just speculation. That’s how nailed on it was to happen. This was a really good match, a nice slice of what to expect on Sunday. Ambrose was the master psychologist, the old school practitioner. Ziggler was the relentless and tireless athlete striving for success. Dolph seemed set for the win after hitting the Fame Asser, until The Shield got involved and the bell rang. The Usos came down to lend a hand though, which in my opinion kind of gave away who will be winning Tag Team Turmoil and facing Rollins and Reigns tomorrow. Nonetheless, Vickie booked the six man tag match immediately, and a damn good one it was too.
Dolph Ziggler & The Usos v The Shield This was classic tag team psychology at it’s finest as The Shield kept Ziggler contained for most of the match. Unfortunately for them, he did eventually get the hot tag and Jimmy Uso came in, hit an incredible flurry and topped it off with an unbelievable Samoan drop on Rollins. These guys are pure warriors! Then multi-man mayhem ensued, and finishing move chaos followed. Everyone in the ring seemed to receive the epic high kick to the face, made famous by The Usos’ father, the legendary Rikishi. However, Rollins managed to reverse the top rope splash from one of the Usos into a roll-up for the win. The Shield left victorious from a very good main event. Thumbs up!
Then we saw another amazing vignette building up Orton and Bryan. As always, WWE are the undisputed top dogs when it comes to using video packages to hype up matches. TNA have a lot to learn in that respect.
Edge may claim to be happily retired, but you can totally see how invigorated he is when soaking up the love of the fans, and I don’t blame him. He got a great reception again as he came out to interview the top two guys in the company at the moment. He cut a very good promo before inviting them out, which featured a call to arms for Christian and a comment questioning Hunter’s genitals. This was followed by an awesome “Best for business” chant. He then invited Orton and the ultimate underdog,
Foley Bryan out to the ring.
Not wasting any time (because they seemed real short of it) he asked Orton “How does it feel to be a sellout?” to which Orton responded with another cheap shot about Edge’s physical condition. Bryan jumped to the Hall of Famer’s defence, and demanded that The Viper “show some respect!” – That was really cool. Orton did a genuinely great job here, and there seemed to be some legitimate heat between these two. I don’t mean in real life, but on screen, it was palpable. Great stuff.
Bryan gave a stirring speech about “love, satisfaction, passion and dreams” Orton tried to beat him down, but he fell victim to the LeBell lock and tapped out to no avail. The referees separated them, and Bryan was left to celebrate alone in the ring. He really has the whole world behind him right now, but is one month too soon for him to overcome the hurdle?
There were some high points and some low points for this Smackdown, but on the whole it was a pleasing show. I didn’t care too much for the dance bullshit, and the Divas weren’t used well again. But I have to say I was entertained for the most part. There were a couple of really good matches, but the others were just okay. There was some great story work, and it was really cool to see Edge again. It had enough star power, despite lacking a few of the top names (mostly Punk, because Cena would rarely appear on the show anyway) I give it a clear thumbs up, and eagerly anticipate Night of Champions tomorrow.
Be sure to check back on Monday for my thoughts on the pay-per-view, and on Tuesday for my usual full review of Monday Night Raw. For now, thanks for reading.