Saturday, April 23, 2011

WWE Friday Night Smackdown 4/22/11

WWE Friday Night Smackdown 4/22/11
April 22nd, 2011
O2 Arena, London, England
Attendance: 15,000 +/-?

We're only nine days away from the big Extreme Rules PPV as Friday Night Smackdown rolls into the O2 Arena in London, England. Tonight Alberto Del Rio has promised to throw a "retirement party" for Edge, while Rey Mysterio and Cody Rhodes face off in a Wrestlemania rematch, the Big Show and Kane get another shot at the WWE Tag Team titles, and Kofi Kingston gets his rematch with Wade Barrett for the IC title. Let's get right to it.

Your hosts are Michael Cole, Booker T, and Josh Matthews

We start the show off with "Sir" Michael Cole being introduced to his usual chorus of boos as he takes his seat in the Cole Mine, which is now adorned with "royal" decorations. The vacant World Heavyweight Championship is hanging high above the ring.

Cody Rhodes comes out next and is followed to the ring by a group of men wheeling out a cart with them. Rhodes grabs a mic and says he wears a mask to protect himself, while Mysterio wears a mask to hide something and because he's ashamed of himself. He says that everyone in attendance tonight wears a mask as well, but he can see through their masks and see their envy for himself and the misery they're in. Rhodes offers a remedy however and pulls out a brown paper bag with eye and mouth holes. The men who came to the ring with him begin handing out the brown paper bags to members of the audience, and like a bunch of goofs they all put them on to drive Cody's point home. He says that he wants the fans to cover their faces until he's drafted from this show or at the very least until he beats Rey in a few minutes, leading us right into our first match of the night. Excellent promo here from Cody, who seems to improve on the mic every single week.

Cody Rhodes vs. Rey Mysterio

Cody's aggressive to start, hammering away at Rey, but he's overzealous and gets tossed out of the ring. Rey follows him out with a running seated senton off the apron as we take a quick commercial break. When we return Rey tries for a moonsault but Rhodes takes his legs out from under him and begins choking Rey on the mat with his knee. Rhodes tries for a powerbomb but Rey counters into a pin attempt for a quick two count. Rhodes picks Rey up around his shoulders in a torture rack and then falls to his knees with a devastating back-breaker that gets a near fall. Enziguri from Rey sets up the 619, but Rhodes counters with a backdrop to the apron. Rey lands on his feet but eats a boot from Cody that sends him crashing into the steel post as we take another commercial break. What the hell, we just took a break less than 2 freaking minutes ago, this must be to give the "retirement ceremony" more time later tonight. When we return Rhodes is working a reverse chinlock on Rey. Snap powerslam from Rhodes gets him another near fall. Cole and Booker bicker on commentary while Rhodes drops a knee and then sends him flying chest-first into the turnbuckle. Rey hits a big seated senton off the top and follows it up with a springboard cross-body block as they trade quick pin attempts. Rey comes off the top again but eats a dropkick from Cody. Rhodes tries for a powerbomb but Rey counters into a rollup and gets the pin and the victory at 7:13 (shown). Fairly good match ruined by an excessive amount of commercial breaks. This was just about giving Rey a win to even the series up, but this "you win one, I win one" booking never gets anyone over and Rey doesn't need the win honestly. **¼

After the match Cody continues to attack Rey, hitting him with his mask and hitting the Cross Rhodes before putting one of the paper bags over Rey's head.

Backstage Justin Gabriel tells Wade Barrett that eliminating him last week in the battle royal was just business and nothing personal. Wade claims he wouldn't have done the same to him. Heath Slater and Ezekiel Jackson both approach them and say tonight needs to be about unity. Big Zeke facetiously calls himself the Corre's "leader", but Wade doesn't seem to think the joke is very funny. The sooner this joke of a stable breaks up, the better.

We get some highlights of LayCool's match and couples therapy session from last week before we start the latest therapy session. McCool whines about Layla losing again and says she rode her coattails their entire career. McCool says she's not sure Layla is flawless which sends Layla into tears and McCool apologizes and they hug...until Michelle shoves Layla down and slaps her a few times. So, are they officially broken up now? Are we done with these time-wasting segments?

After a quick commercial break we return to see Michael Cole in the ring. Cole plays the clip from RAW where JR was forced to kiss Cole's feet (so glad we brought back Jim Ross just to humiliate him some more on national TV) and the bogus "Knighting" ceremony he had. He introduces Jack Swagger and that leads us into our next match.

Jack Swagger vs. Trent Bareta

It's Friday, so that means it's time for our weekly Trent Bareta squash. Cole yaks away on commentary while Swagger tosses Trent around the ring like a ragdoll. He hits the big Swagger Bomb and taunts the crowd a bit afterwards. Trent tries for a tornado DDT but Swagger evades, so he hits an enziguri on him instead. What the hell, Trent's actually getting some offense in? He hits a running elbow on Jack in the corner and then springboards right into a huge powerbomb from Swagger, who then locks on the ankle lock and forces Trent to tap at 1:14. Just your weekly Bareta squash match, but it was fast paced for that one minute. ½*

After the match we get some clips of the Big Show doing a segment for the Nickelodeon Kid's Choice Awards last week, followed by a trailer for the new WWE film "That's What I Am", which quite literally looks like the biggest piece of garbage they've ever released, and that's seriously saying something. We also get another Awesome Kong (or as she'll be known in the WWE, "Kharma") promo.

WWE Tag Team Title Match
Justin Gabriel/Heath Slater
© vs. Big Show/Kane

Quite the difference in size in this one. Kane and Slater start us off with Kane dominating early and getting a quick near fall. He tags Show in who uses the power of his ass to slam it into Slater in the corner. Kane tags back in and hits a big uppercut. He tries a body slam but Slater evades and tags Gabriel in, who just runs right into Kane's right hand. Kane goes to the top rope but the ref is distracted and Big Zeke tosses him off at ringside. Slater slaps on a chinlock and Gabriel gets the blind tag as they attempt to isolate the Big Red Machine in their corner. Gabriel hits a nifty tilt-a-whirl DDT and tags Slater back in, who comes off the top rope only to eat another big right hand from Kane. Big Show tags in and cleans house on Slater easily. Gabriel tries to interfere but gets thrown to the floor while Kane tosses Big Zeke off the apron. Big Show hits the choke slam and that's enough for the pin and the titles at 4:04. And the joke of a title reign that Gabriel and Slater had is over, without so much as a single meaningful or clean victory throughout the entire reign. Way to build new stars guys. Putting the tag belts on Show and Kane I'm guessing is just a way to do something with those two, but they really don't need the titles at all. Average, short match. *¼

After the commercial break we cut to The Corre backstage, where Slater and Gabriel blame Big Zeke for their loss. Zeke tells them to look in the mirror to see who to blame for the loss, and Slater shoves Gabriel down afterwards for no particular reason. The WWE always does this, they tease a stable break up for weeks and weeks and weeks until even the most uneducated and casual fan can see the break up from a mile away, so by the time the break-up actually DOES happen, nobody cares. Example: the Legacy break-up last year.

Drew McIntyre vs. Chris Masters

Cole shifts back into analyst mode and puts over Masters. Listening to Cole on commentary is like listening to someone with multiple personality disorder these days. Lock-up to start and Masters goes for the Master Lock early, but Drew counters out. Big clothesline from Drew but he wastes too much time to make the cover and only gets a two count. Masters tries a rollup for a two count and then hits a sloppy sitout spinebuster for another near fall. Masters hits a flying shoulderblock off the top rope and goes for the Master Lock again, but Drew climbs up the ropes and flips out of it. He hits the Future Shock DDT and that's enough for the win at 3:37. Just an extended squash for Drew, but Masters got a surprising amount of offense in. Short and inoffensive. *½

The Raw Rebound recaps the R-Truth heel turn on John Morrison from RAW this week.

WWE Intercontinental Title Match
Wade Barrett
© vs. Kofi Kingston

These two have had a decent feud going over the IC strap, and it's nice to see Wade Barrett paying his dues in the midcard after his mediocre main event run late last year. Big Zeke accompanies Barrett to the ring. Kofi's fired up to start, hitting shots in the corner on Wade and laying in quick kicks. Barrett elbows him though and stomps away on Kofi. Kofi knocks Barrett out to the floor and flies off the top with a beautiful cross-body block to the floor as we take a commercial break. When we return Wade is working his knee into Kofi's back, wrenching away on his arms in a submission hold. Kofi fights him off and sends Barrett crashing to the floor. Big Zeke runs to try and interfere but Kofi moves and he winds up clotheslining Barrett instead. Shouldn't that be a DQ? Wade argues with Zeke and tells him to leave back in the ring while Kofi rolls him up for a close two count. Big dropkick and a jumping lariat from Kingston as he's all fired up now. He hits the Boom Drop and sets up for the Trouble in Paradise, but Barrett ducks and tries to give Kofi the Waste Land, but he loses his balance and Kofi winds up on the top turnbuckle. Big right hand from Barrett and he rolls up Kofi, grabbing the rope for extra leverage to get the cheap win at 4:25 (shown). Another short title match, but this was fast-paced and exciting while it lasted. Finish kind of came out of nowhere and was a bit sloppy, but points for effort.

After a commercial break we return and it's time for Alberto Del Rio's retirement party for Edge. He drives out in a brand new Bentley while Ricardo Rodriguez does the usual epic lucha ring introduction for him. He's accompanied by big Brodus Clay. In the ring are some balloons and various objects covered in black sheets. WWE editing has spliced in some cheesy flamenco guitar music in the background for this promo, kind of like how they used to edit in generic ominous music for Kane's heel promos last year. Not a fan of the background music in promos, it makes the whole promo seem overly-scripted and fake. Anyways, Del Rio says no one throws a fiesta like him and pulls off a black sheet off of one of the "presents" for Edge, which is a grandfather clock. He says Edge can use the clock to tick away the remaining hours in his life. Next he reveals a pack of Depends adult diapers and a bedpan because when you get to be Edge's age, apparently making it to the bathroom becomes too difficult. Next Del Rio introduces one of Edge's "old friends", and to the shock of the crowd and myself Lita's music hits! Big pop from the crowd. Man I loved her theme music, good stuff. Of course it's not really Lita, it's a fat woman with a red wig on. Del Rio says she's never looked better. He says if she and Edge ever want to go for a romantic stroll, they can use a walker that he unveils next. This brings us to his last present for Edge, and Ricardo Rodriguez comes riding out on a power scooter while Frank Sinatra plays in the background. Ricardo even does the Edge pyro entrance, which is just downright hilarious because of Ricardo's great facial expressions. The scooter even comes with a handicap parking pass, how nice of Del Rio. Alberto calls himself the Essence of Excellence and promises to win the world title at Extreme Rules. Suddenly Edge's music hits and the Rated R superstar is in the building! Crowd is pretty shocked by this and so am I, I was not expecting Edge to be back on TV so soon, what happened to him taking some time off? Edge says he went on Facebook and told Del Rio he was going to be here tonight, and then does the old Mick Foley cheap pop by saying they're in beautiful London tonight. Edge says we all know two things about Del Rio, 1) He sucks, and 2) He can't throw a party. He calls Del Rio's group in the ring a "flaming bag of poop". Wow, what a burn Edge. Brodus Clay starts to walk up the ramp to approach Edge but suddenly Christian appears out of nowhere with a ladder and slams it into Clay. He slams the ladder into Del Rio as well and then slides the ladder into the ring, sets it up, and takes down the World Heavyweight title that's been hanging from the ceiling all night long. We close out the show with Christian celebrating on top of the ladder with the World title. You know, this was a pretty good segment all around, it served a purpose and was humorous at times. But the focus was entirely still on Edge and Del Rio, and not Christian, the guy who's actually facing Del Rio for the title at Extreme Rules. I'm all for keeping Edge around on the roster, but the focus here really should have been on building up Del Rio vs. Christian and not continuing the Del Rio-Edge feud, especially since Edge is retired now. Minor gripe though.

Bottom Line: About the only thing I can say about this show tonight was that it was average, but enjoyable. Kind of like a bad action movie in the summer time, there isn't much substance to it but you still enjoy the ride regardless. Cody Rhodes and Rey Mysterio had a decent match to continue their feud, while elsewhere we continued the Wade Barrett-Kofi Kingston feud and crowned new tag team champions. It's clear The Corre are on their last legs as a stable, and it'll be interesting to see where it's individual members wind up once the split officially happens and the Draft takes place on RAW. There's nothing here you need to go out of your way to take a look at, but certainly not a bad show either. Just average really, so we'll go with a Thumbs in the Middle for tonight's Smackdown.

Score: 5/10


Anonymous said...

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JGlass said...

I'm surprised about the Master/McIntyre ranking being only *1/4. I personally thought that match was extremely enjoyable and was really surprised by both guys' showings. Overall I figured it would at least get a **, but for what it was I'd give it ***.

The Rhodes/Mysterio match may have only had 7:13 shown, but they were given over 30 minutes of the show to open! That's insane, over a quarter of the show was dedicated to Rhodes and Mysterio, with an emphasis on Rhodes. Clearly, the WWE has a lot of faith in Cody and probably some big plans for him.

xfearbefore said...

"I'm surprised about the Master/McIntyre ranking being only *1/4. I personally thought that match was extremely enjoyable and was really surprised by both guys' showings. Overall I figured it would at least get a **, but for what it was I'd give it ***."

*1/2 actually. And it wasn't bad or anything, it was fast paced and never boring, but it was still just a four minute squash match for Drew at the end of the day.

And I dig the time they're giving to Cody and Rey too. I just wish they hadn't shoved so many commercial breaks into that match.

Jaimejknd said...

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