WWE Friday Night Smackdown 4/15/11
April 15th, 2011
Time Union Center, Albany, New York
April 15th, 2011
Time Union Center, Albany, New York
And so we've arrived at a very somber and emotional night in the WWE, only a few days removed from the shocking (legit) announcement by Edge that he has to retire for health reasons. Tonight Edge will relinquish his World Heavyweight Championship and say one last goodbye to the fans and business he's loved his entire life. My expectations wrestling-wise for this show are slim, which is fine, because this really is all about Edge tonight. Let's get started.
Your hosts are Michael Cole, Booker T, and Josh Matthews
We open the show with Alberto Del Rio coming out to the ring to some decent heat, doing his usual shtick about how the world title is his "destiny" and all that jazz. He initially puts over Edge, talking about the achievements he accomplished in the business and the respect he's earned over the years. He quickly returns back to himself though, and demands Edge come out to present him with the World Heavyweight title. Instead we get Teddy Long, who sets up a 20 man battle royal for later tonight to decide who will face Alberto Del Rio for the World Heavyweight title in the ladder match at Extreme Rules.
Kofi Kingston vs. Ezekiel Jackson
Quite the clash of styles here, but sometimes that results in an entertaining match. The rest of The Corre is at ringside on commentary, as if anyone cares. Kofi is decked out in all green. Preparing for 4/20 a bit early this year Kofi? Big Zeke shows off the power early on, tossing Kofi around at will like a ragdoll. The Corre are all bickering at ringside, so I guess they're teasing a break up. This would be what, the 2nd or 3rd splintering of the original Nexus members? The action spills to the outside and Big Zeke tosses Kofi right onto all 3 members of The Corre. So wait, are they still stablemates or what? Wade Barrett tries entering the ring which distracts Kofi long enough for Zeke to give him a big side-slam for the pin at 2:24. After the match Big Zeke says he's going to win the Battle Royal tonight. I certainly hope not. They can't seem to make up their mind whether they want to push Jackson or not, but disposing of Kofi that quickly certainly makes him look dominant. What now for Kofi? ¼*
Elsewhere we catch up on Michelle McCool and Layla in "Couples Counseling", bickering like a couple of hens. Does anybody actually care about this? McCool walks off within minutes. Poor adorable Layla.
Back in the ring a hooded and masked Cody Rhodes has a mic and cuts a promo on Rey Mysterio. He says he hoped to feel vindicated after his victory at Wrestlemania, but he feels nothing. He says he's going to scar Mysterio so that children are horrified at the sight of him. Rey's music hits and he runs to the ring and delivers a 619 on Cody. Decent promo from Rhodes.
Another creepy Awesome Kong promo with her flicking off a barbie doll's head. Looking forward to her debut big-time.
Rey Mysterio vs. Drew McIntyre
It's kind of amusing just how much larger Drew is than Rey. And he's not even that big. Big powerslam and a backbreaker from Drew get him a pair of early near falls. Snap suplex gets Drew another two count while Booker T puts him over on commentary. Rey gets a headscissors and tries for the 619 but Cody avoids it. Rey dropkicks him outside to the floor and then tries for a headscissors out of the ring, but Drew holds onto Mysterio and slams him head-first into the guard barrier. Quick commercial break and when we return both men trade waistlocks until Drew is sent outside to the floor once again. McIntyre gets draped over the second rope and Rey hits a springboard legdrop for a near fall of his own. Drew tries working an armbar but gets thrown shoulder-first into the steel post. Seated senton from Rey and he hits a beautiful headscissors takedown and a springboard cross-body block for a close two count. Big boot from Drew nearly takes Rey's head off, but he gets the shoulder up at two. Rey hits a big tornado DDT, but Drew gets his foot on the ropes at two. This is really starting to pick up now. Stiff clothesline by Drew from his knees. He tries another one but Rey counters and Drew gets set up on the second rope long enough for Mysterio to hit the 619 and then a big splash off the top rope for the win at 9:20 (shown). This was damn good, Drew has been really motivated over the last few months and Rey almost looked like the 2003 version of himself here, bumping his ass off. Very good television match. ***
Backstage we see Edge getting a standing ovation and handshakes all around from the boys on his way to the ring for his farewell speech next. HUGE pop for Edge here and tons of signs for the Rated R Superstar. Tony Chimel must be getting misty-eyed that this could be the last time his voice ever cracks like a prepubescent twelve year old while announcing Edge as the "Rated R SOOOOOOperstar". Edge breaks kayfabe immediately in the promo by referring to "last night on RAW", as Smackdown is always taped the Tuesday after RAW. You're breaking the walls of kayfabe man! Edge, being a true lover of this business, HAS to do his entrance one more time though to feel the goosebumps one more time. I'm not going to recap every little thing Edge says here, but suffice to say it's a fitting and touching farewell from Edge expressing how much this business and the fans have meant to him and how honored he's felt to be able to live his dream for the last 18 years. He points out his mom in the front row here tonight and thanks her for all of her support and the crowd actually starts a "Thank You Mom!" chant, which is cute. He says Albany is a special place to him because this is the city he won his first World title in back in January of 2006. He wraps things up with one last thank you and lays the World Heavyweight Championship down in the center of the ring and gives his mother a hug before heading to the back and saying goodbye to the wrestling business (atleast for now). Another great and touching speech from Edge just like on RAW, and I'm glad they gave him some more time to do this on Smackdown, the show he spent most of his career on.
Backstage Rosa Mendes says something in Spanish to Edge, which he doesn't understand. Alberto Del Rio interrupts and offers Edge his hand, but a cocky grin and a wink seems to ruin any chance of a handshake and Edge walks off.
Kelly Kelly vs. Layla
McCool is on commentary, as usual. She talks about how couples counseling is just a waste of their time, kind of like this match. Kelly hits a boot and locks in her bizarre headscissors submission over the top rope. She slams Layla to the outside floor and then starts pounding her head into the mat. Layla nearly gets counted out but Michelle tosses her back into the ring and Kelly just rolls her up for the 3 count at 2:05. After the match McCool shoves Layla down in the ring. Barely even a wrestling match here, total DUD.
World Heavyweight Title #1 Contender's Battle Royal Match
(Featuring Christian, Kane, Jack Swagger, Drew McIntyre, Wade Barrett, Ezekiel Jackson, Heath Slater, Justin Gabriel, Tyler Reks, Kofi Kingston, Big Show, JTG, Chris Masters, Yoshi Tatsu, Cody Rhodes, Brodus Clay, Trent Baretta, Chavo Guerrero, Rey Mysterio, and Curt Hawkins)
Never much of a Battle Royal fan, but let's do this. JTG is the first one out, big shocker. Trent Baretta tries to eliminate the Big Show and I almost mark out with the power of a thousand suns at the thought of it, but Show quickly tosses him over and out. Show hits the knockout shot on Slater and eliminates him next. He runs to clothesline Big Zeke out, but in the process he eliminates himself as well and both big men are out, much to Del Rio's delight at ringside. We take a commercial break and when we return Cody Rhodes is stomping away at Rey Mysterio in the corner. Cole cheers on Jack Swagger, despite the fact that he turned on him on RAW. Damnit Cole, you can't even get your own angles right? Rey eliminates both Rhodes and Hawkins in quick succession. Big Brodus Clay eliminates McIntyre next and then tosses Chavo Guerrero out next. Kane and Clay have a showdown in the middle of the ring and Kane tries for the chokeslam, but Clay fights it off. He tries to eliminate Kane but gets tossed out himself instead as we take yet another commercial break. Kofi tries to skin the cat but Wade Barrett eliminates him. Somehow Yoshi Tatsu is still in this thing, which is pretty neat. Christian eliminates Reks next and then eats a series of kicks from Tatsu before tossing him out next as well. Kane tries to chokeslam both Barrett and Gabriel, but they eliminate the Big Red Machine instead. Masters gets booted out next by Barrett, and Gabriel sneaks up behind his Corre stablemate and tosses him out next to a nice pop. Gabriel has got something special about him, and I hope this is hinting towards a break-up of the Corre and a Barrett vs. Gabriel feud with Justin playing the babyface role, that's something I'd actually want to watch. Final four is Christian, Mysterio, Swagger, and Gabriel. The heels and babyfaces partner up of course and Gabriel hits a sweet roundhouse kick on Rey. Rey misses the 619 and Gabriel tries to powerbomb him, but Rey counters and eliminates Justin instead. Rey sets up Swagger for the 619 and Michael Cole runs to protect Swagger, taking the 619 instead of Swagger, allowing him to eliminate Rey and bring us down to just Swagger and Christian. I'm sure you can guess who wins from here. Both men jockey on the apron for a bit and Christian goes for that swing kick ofhis, but Swagger grabs the ankle and applies the ankle lock! Christians rolls out of it and nearlyt gets thrown over the top but he hangs on. Del Rio tries to pull Christian off from the apron but Christian kicks him off and then back drops Swagger to eliminate him and win the battle royal and title shot at 15:33 (shown). I'm not usually one to enjoy battle royals, but this one actually had a pretty good flow to it and things really picked up once it got down to the final 6 or so men. Good stuff for a battle royal. **
After the match Edge comes down to the ring and congratulates Christian as they hug while Del Rio snarls like an angry cat while he stands on top of the commentator's table. Right around here may or may not be where the US broadcast cuts off, but lucky for me I've got the entire feed of the show so we get to see the touching ceremony after the show went off the air. Christian grabs a mic and both he and Edge do one last "Five Second Pose" for the benefit of those with flash photography. Awesome little moment and I'd have marked out if I were in attendance. The entire Smackdown locker room comes out afterwards to the stage and gives Edge one last standing ovation. Big Show, Chavo Guerrero and Rey Mysterio hit the ring and give Edge a farewell hug. Suddenly Triple H's music hits and The Game hits the ring to give Edge a hug of his own. Edge is really emotional here and you can see some tears in his eyes. The ring clears out and everyone heads to the back so Edge grabs the mic one more time and says what the boys just did for him there was the ultimate sign of respect, as it appears the standing ovation and Triple H coming out was just as much of a surprise to Edge as it is to the fans. Edge puts over most of the boys in the back as well as all of the ring and camera crews. Edge totally breaks kayfabe here, even thanking the writers backstage like Brian Gewirtz and Michael PS Hayes. Big "Hall of Fame!" chant starts up. Finally Edge thanks Christian, who's been his best friend for the last 27 years. He says he hopes any Edgeheads out there will throw their support behind Christian now as well. He says he'll always be a part of the WWE and says this probably won't be the last time we see him, but he's going to take a long break and just be with his dogs. He says one last farewell and the crowd gives him one last standing ovation as the show ends. This was probably an even more touching speech than the one earlier in the show, and if it doesn't make the US broadcast it is WELL worth your time to seek this segment out on YouTube.
Bottom Line: I came in expecting nothing more than a good farewell to Edge, but instead we got some good wrestling to go along with it as well. You really can't ask for much more than that, can you? Rey Mysterio and Drew McIntyre had a solid match earlier in the show, the main event battle royal was actually pretty decent, and Christian finally gets a PPV title shot, something I personally have been waiting for to happen for a very long time. Add in the touching farewell to Edge, the REAL farewell, and this was an excellent episode of Smackdown and gets the easy Thumbs Up.