WWE Friday Night Smackdown 3/18/11
March 18th, 2011
Sprint Center, Kansas City, Missouri
Attendance: 15,000 +/- ?
March 18th, 2011
Sprint Center, Kansas City, Missouri
Attendance: 15,000 +/- ?
We continue on down the Road to Wrestlemania tonight as Smackdown stops in Kansas City, Missouri as the Wrestlemania clock counts down. They’ve been advertising a tag team title match on tonight’s show between the champions Justin Gabriel & Heath Slater against the reunited team of Edge and Christian. Not much else going on tonight as far as I’m aware, so let’s jump right into it.
Your hosts are Michael Cole, Josh Matthews, and Booker T
We open the show and the first thing that’s announced is a tag team title match tonight with Gabriel and Slater defending against Kane and the Big Show? What the hell happened to Edge and Christian? Something must’ve happened because they advertised Edge and Christian getting the title shot on Raw and all week on ads for Smackdown, hell even my cable box says that Edge and Christian will get a title shot tonight. Hope it’s nothing serious for Edge or Christian, that would be terrible so close to ‘Mania, especially with Christian literally JUST coming back from injury.
Michael Cole get’s his own ring introduction and gets some very nice heat. He comes out with his Slammy award in hand, and takes a seat in the “Cole Mine” (a large glass box around his own personal announcer’s table, similar to the old Pope Mobile box). I freaking love the Cole Mine, what an awesome idea.
Edge vs. Brodus Clay
So I guess Edge is okay, still would like an explanation as to the bait-and-switch for tonight’s main event, but whatever. This is just another way of building up to Edge vs. Del Rio at ‘Mania and there’s nothing wrong with that at all. Edge gets a few right hands in to start before Clay’s power quickly takes over. He grabs Edge off the top rope and gives him a huge overhead belly to belly suplex. Clay goes to work on Edge, choking him over the second rope. Clay starts to work on Edge’s left wrist and arm as a small “Let’s go Edge!” chant starts up. Edge gets a back elbow in and tries for the tornado DDT off the top, but Clay just tosses him off. He tries for a big splash off the ropes but Edge moves at the last second and lays in a few forearms. Edge gives him a drop toehold into the corner and then flies off the top with a big cross-body splash for a quick two count. Edge tries to roll him up but Clay just sits on him and gets a two count of his own. Clay goes for the big butt-bump into the corner but Edge moves and hit’s a bulldog off the top rope. Edge calls for the spear, but Ricardo Rodriguez distracts the ref and Del Rio trips up Edge, letting Clay splash him for what looks like the cheap win, but he kicks out at two. Suddenly Christian comes down to the ring to fight off Del Rio, giving Edge the chance to hit the spear and get the win at 5:10! Nice way to kick off the show and throw some more heat on the Edge-Del Rio feud, I probably would have given Clay the cheap win to get some more heat for himself and Del Rio, but that’s a minor complaint. Nice little opener. *¾
After the match Del Rio, Edge, Christian, and Clay all start fighting in and out of the ring, prompting Teddy Long’s music to hit and the General Manager of Smackdown to come out with a mic. Long books the main event tonight to be Alberto Del Rio vs. Christian, and to assure there will be no interference, it will take place inside of a steel cage! Well shit, that sounds good to me, if we can’t get another E & C reunion, this more than makes up for it.
Sheamus vs. Kofi Kingston
Sheamus is hot off of his US title win on RAW this week, while Kofi is our Intercontinetal champion (I know, I forgot too) so this is Champion vs. Champion here. Sheamus overpowers Kofi to start, working on the left arm. Kofi gets a few lefts and rights in and then hops up to the top rope with Sheamus in the corner, laying in fists until Sheamus just tosses him up and he lands face-first on the top turnbuckle. Big clothesline and Sheamus tries for the cover, but Kofi kicks out at two. Big neck breaker gets Sheamus another quick two. Big back elbow from Sheamus and he poses a bit for the crowd, drawing some nice heat. Kofi tries a quick roll-up, but Sheamus kicks out quickly. Kofi tries to mount a comeback, climbing to the top rope and flying off with a huge cross-body, but Sheamus holds on and rolls through, lifting Kofi right up off the mat without ever breaking the hold and trying for a running power slam, but Kofi slides out of his grip and hit’s a few big kicks and forearms. Nice Russian leg sweep from Kofi and a big clothesline and Kingston is getting fired up. He hit’s the Boom Drop and sets up for the Trouble in Paradise, but Sheamus plays possum and lures Kofi in, hanging him up over the top rope. Kofi hit’s the SOS (a ranhei) though, 1-2---NOO! Sheamus grabs the bottom rope at the last second. Sheamus rolls out of the ring to catch his breath, but Kofi follows him out leaping off the steel steps with a beautiful cross-body. Sheamus slams Kofi’s leg into the steel steps though and hit’s the Brogue Kick back inside the ring and that’s enough to put Kofi away at 5:16. Short, but sweet while it lasted. Sheamus seems to work very well with smaller, fast-paced opponents like Kofi and Daniel Bryan. **
We cut to backstage where Kane (what the hell is Kane anyways? Face, heel, tweener? I have no idea anymore he’s flip-flopped so much) and the Big Show discuss their tag team title match tonight with The Corre. I completely and totally forgot that these two were ever tag team champs before, but Big Show reminds me. Both men choke each other for a bit and then start laughing, Kane saying that Big Show “completes him“. Clearly we’ve stumbled upon some kind of freaky auto asphyxiation sex game between the two.
Cody Rhodes vs. Trent Baretta
Oh shit! Trent Baretta sighting! I wish they’d use this kid more, he’s a good worker and just flat-out fun to watch. Rhodes has new music (thank GOD) and comes out with a black towel over his head, hiding his masked face. I could have cared less if Rhodes was future endeavored a month ago, but this new psychotic Cody Rhodes has won me over quickly and unbelievably I look forward to seeing him every week. Funny how a good angle or feud can do that, huh? Rhodes goes berserk the moment the bell rings, viciously attacking Baretta with big forearms and stiff head butts, which are even more damaging because of the protective mask covering Rhodes’ face. Another stiff head butt and that’s enough to put Baretta away quickly at 0:48. Obviously just a squash match to put over the new mean streak in Rhodes, and it accomplished exactly that. I wish they’d give Baretta a chance as something besides a jobber though. ¼*
Video package about the Triple H-Undertaker feud.
Kelly Kelly vs. Layla
Michelle McCool joins us at the commentary table and sort of flirts with Cole for a bit. Kelly’s looking as fine and dead-eyed as always. Kelly is fired up to start, pushing Layla around and laying kicks into her in the corner. Kelly grapevines her legs around Layla’s neck and hangs her up over the top rope in a Tarantula-like submission move. Damn, when did Kelly learn to wrestle? Lou Thesz press from Kelly and a clothesline, and this has just been all Kelly so far. She hit’s the X-Factor of all things on Layla and gets a quick two count. She tries for the handspring back elbow, but Layla gets the legs up and knocks her down viciously. Kelly goes to the top rope and McCool gets up from the commentary table to yell at her and distracts her long enough for Layla to slam her off the top rope and get the cheap win at 2:06. Much better than your usual Diva’s quickie match, Kelly was fired up and believe it or not actually looked like a legit WRESTLER for a few brief moments. ¾*
WWE Tag Team Title Match
Justin Gabriel/Heath Slater © vs. Kane/Big Show
Still no word on why Kane and Big Show are getting a title shot instead of Edge and Christian like advertised, but oh well, guess they had to switch things around at the last minute. Atleast they gave us a suitable replacement match for the main event. Kane and Gabriel start us off with Kane taking the quick advantage. He hit’s a dropkick off the ropes and gets an early near fall. Gabriel flips out of a back body drop attempt and tags Slater in, who immediately eats a big boot from Kane. Kane misses a big boot and Slater gives him a chop block and tags Gabriel in as both men start to work on Kane’s left leg. Simple and basic big-man vs. little-man psychology here with Gabriel and Slater trading quick tags and trying to take Kane’s leg out from under him. Kane hit’s a big uppercut though and tags Big Show in, who easily cleans house on Slater and Gabriel. Show hits what appears to be the laziest shoulder-block of all time and then gives Slater the choke slam, but Gabriel pulls the ref out of the ring before he can get the 3 count, and apparently that’s enough for the ref to DQ Slater and Gabriel at 3:04. After the match The Corre hit’s the ring and beats down Show and Kane, slamming several steel steps into both men on the ground. You know one of these days you’re going to have to give Slater and Gabriel a clean pin on SOMEBODY guys, Santino and Kozlov got more clean pins than these two have. This whole Big Show/Kane vs. The Corre feud can’t end soon enough. ½*
Backstage Todd Grisham gets a few words with Alberto Del Rio about his steel cage match tonight against Christian. Del Rio says Teddy Long, Edge, and Christian are trying to mess with his destiny, but he’s not going to let them.
Jack Swagger vs. Chris Masters
Yikes, Masters doesn’t even get an entrance, looks like jobbing duty for the Masterpiece. Cole is great here, talking up Swagger’s training of him for his match with the King at ‘Mania, bragging about the ankle lock (or as he calls it now, the “Ank-Cole lock”) he put on Jim Ross on RAW this week. Swagger hit’s a big clothesline to start and then tries working a wristlock, but Masters counters with a Samoan drop. Masters goes for the Master-Lock, but Swagger backs him up into the corner and then grabs the ankle, trying for the ankle lock until Masters kicks him off. Swagger slams Masters’ ankle into the steel post a few times and then kicks his ankle right into it. Back inside Swagger applies the ankle lock, and Masters taps out at 1:57. After the match Cole gets in the ring and applies an ankle lock of his own on Masters for a bit, getting some more heat. Just a quick squash to remind us that Jack Swagger is relevant after he’s done absolutely nothing for the last few months. I’ve seen worse squashes. ¼*
Rey Mysterio vs. Ted DiBiase
This is Rey’s first match since the vicious attack from Cody and Dusty Rhodes a few weeks back. Mysterio gets a huge pop as usual, and DiBiase gets crickets, as usual. DiBiase actually dominates to start with a few big forearms, but Mysterio quickly comes back with a head scissors into the corner turnbuckle. He comes off the top rope but DiBiase hit’s a big dropkick on him in mid-air for a quick near fall. Mysterio flips out of a power bomb attempt but then quickly eats a big clothesline from DiBiase for another close two count. Nice backbreaker from Ted and Rey tries for a head scissors from the apron, but DiBiase counters with an attempted power slam that Mysterio then counters into a sloppy tornado DDT. Headscissors takedown from Rey and he tries another one, but DiBiase delivers a huge face buster! 1-2--NOO! Rey kicks out at two. DiBiase tries for Dream Street, but Rey slides out of his grip and hit’s the 619! He follows it up with a big splash off the top rope and that gets the pin at 3:35. Just another semi-squash match, this time to put over the returning Mysterio. It was fast-paced, hard hitting stuff while it lasted though. *½
Christian vs. Alberto Del Rio
This should be pretty good stuff. Christian gets a very nice pop for his entrance. For the love of God, I beg of you WWE, just give this man a main event program. He doesn’t even have to win the World title, just make him a main eventer and I’ll stop my incessant Christian cheerleading, I promise. Del Rio runs at Christian as the bell rings and starts laying in slaps and kicks to Christian on the mat. Christian comes back with a big back body drop and then tries to send Del Rio face-first into the cage, but to no avail. Christian tries for the Killswitch Engage, but Del Rio evades. Christian tosses him into the corner and Del Rio leaps up the top rope, trying to scurry out of the cage quickly. Christian meets him up there though and tries for a German Suplex off the top rope, but Christian holds on and tries to climb to the top of the cage, only for Del Rio to give him a huge Samoan drop from the top of the cage! We take a quick commercial break while both men recover and when we return Del Rio is laying in shots to Christian against the cage. Christian runs at Del Rio, but Del Rio moves aside and just tosses him into the steel cage and then hit’s a baseball slide dropkick to the back of Christian’s head, driving him into the steel cage again. Nice back-suplex from Del Rio gets a quick two count. Del Rio slaps on a chinlock for a bit before slamming Christian’s head into the mat again. Del Rio tries to climb out again, but Christian grabs his leg and pulls him down. Stiff kick to the leg from Del Rio and he tries to launch Christian into the cage like a lawn dart, but Christian grabs the cage and counters into a reverse DDT. 1-2---NOO! Del Rio kicks out at two. Christian tosses Del Rio into the cage and tries for the pin again, but yet again Del Rio kicks out at two. Christian tries to walk out the front door, but Del Rio grabs his ankle so Christian tries to climb out the hard way, but Del Rio hit’s a big forearm and then leaps off the second rope and hit’s a huge spinning enziguri to Christian, sending him flying off the top! That was just sick. Del Rio tries to crawl out the front door, but again Christian grabs him at the last moment. Del Rio goes for his armbar finisher, but Christian reverses into the Killswitch Engage! 1-2---NOO! Del Rio kicks out of Christian’s finisher! Christian tries to climb the cage again but Del Rio knocks him down and slams him into the cage between the ropes, using him as a foot-stool almost to try and climb the cage. He’s halfway over the top, but Christian grabs the leg and climbs up to the top of the cage with him. Both men start trading blows, slamming each other into the steel. Del Rio starts to climb over but Christian jumps on his back almost like a piggy-back and he falls to the floor seconds before Del Rio does, giving him the win at 9:36 (shown)! Excellent little cage match here as Del Rio looked like a legit main eventer going toe-to-toe with Christian, and they were able to actually fit some very cool little spots into the match despite the short amount of TV time they had. Del Rio probably could have used the win more, but as a Christian mark I’m not complaining. Great main event, one of the better ones on Smackdown in quite some time. ***¼
After the match Del Rio attacks Christian, sending him into the front row before grabbing a mic and saying he’s going to destroy Edge at Wrestlemania. He grabs a chair when suddenly we hear a car horn honking…it’s Edge, in Del Rio’s car, a beautiful Bentley. Edge grabs a chair out of the front seat and threatens to wreck Del Rio’s car, but big Brodus Clay runs up from behind out of nowhere and attacks Edge. We close out the show with Del Rio and Clay beating down Edge, giving him the Con-Chair-To to his left arm.
Bottom Line: Very fun show this week as we continued to build to Wrestlemania, and while there wasn’t as much done in the way of angle progression, we saw a lot of talent look impressive in fast-paced little squash matches. Kofi Kingston and Sheamus worked a fun little five minute match, the main event cage match was about as good of a cage match as you’ll see under 10 minutes, and to top it all off we even had a Trent Baretta sighting! Fun show and an easy Thumbs Up.