WWE Friday Night Smackdown 5/6/11
May 6th, 2011
Amway Center, Orlando, Florida
May 6th, 2011
Amway Center, Orlando, Florida
In the interest of full disclosure let me just start off this review by saying that I read the spoiler for this show already, and that one major thing that happened on this show really pissed me off as a fan. I'll address it when we get to it and try to be as objective as possible, but remember, just like you I am at the end of the day a fan. And fans are a fickle bunch, aren't we?
Your hosts are Michael Cole, Booker T, and Josh Matthews
We open the show with a great video package highlighting Christian's quest for the World title and his win at Extreme Rules. As the show officially kicks off Christian comes out to a huge pop. There are tons of Christian signs in the crowd. Before Christian can even begin to speak on the mic he's interrupted by the a chant for his name. Finally he says that the crowd will have to bear with him as he's waited 17 long years to be able to raise the World title above his head proudly. He talks about how all of his life-long dreams pale in comparison to the feeling of actually standing before the crowd as the new World Heavyweight Champion. He says he got a text from Edge right before he came out here that said "Enjoy this night because you earned it" and Christian is visibly getting emotional here as his voice trembles slightly. He says without Edge and his peeps he wouldn't have made it this far. Before he can get much further though, Mark Henry comes out to interrupt him and asks Christian for a title shot. Christian cracks a funny joke on Henry and suddenly the Great Khali's music hits and he comes out to the ring and throws his hat into the ring for a title shot. Ranjin Singh claims that the Great Khali has wrestled white Bengal tigers into submission, I shit you not. What a batshit crazy thing to say. Of course as soon as Khali is done challenging Christian, out comes Randy Orton to a monster pop. Orton looks incredibly strange with the lame neckbeard he's got growing on his face. Orton of course wants to throw his name into the hat as well for a title shot, so finally Teddy Long comes out and decides the fans will choose who Christian's opponent is tonight. They chant and cheer for Randy obviously, so it's Christian vs. Orton for the World title tonight in our main event.
Backstage the Great Khali and Ranjin Singh run into Jinder Mahal. Jinder criticizes Singh for having Khali dress up in a pink tutu on Raw.
Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan
Oh hell yes, this is the way to start the show. I'm overjoyed that Bryan was drafted to Smackdown as he was totally lost in the shuffle on RAW and being on the "wrestling" brand can only help him. Cole is still all over Bryan's case. Sheamus overpowers Bryan early with his raw strength but it's not long before Bryan begins utilizing his speed to avoid Sheamus. Bryan dropkicks Sheamus out of the ring and then flies out after him with the tope suicida. Back inside Sheamus hits a huge backbreaker as we cut to commercial. When we return Bryan is fighting out of a headlock, but ends up getting hit with another high angle backbreaker. Sheamus pounds away at Bryan on the ropes and then knees him right in the face on the apron. Bryan's selling here is excellent as Sheamus gets a two count back inside the ring. Bryan manages to block a superplex attempt and nails Sheamus with the missile dropkick to pop the crowd. Bryan utilizes his lethal kicks to chop Sheamus down to size so to speak and a final shot to the temple gets Bryan a near fall. Bryan gets taken inside-out by a clothesline from Sheamus who then attempts the Celtic Cross, but Bryan counters out of it and sends Sheamus to the apron. Sheamus goes for a slingshot shoulderblock, but Bryan grabs his arm in mid-air and locks him into the LeBell lock! Sheamus eventually is able to get the rope break though. Bryan goes to try another tope suicida, but this time Sheamus sees it coming and nails him with the Brogue Kick right as he attempts the move (psychology!). Back in the ring Sheamus gives Bryan another Brogue Kick for good measure and gets the pinfall victory at 5:38 (shown). Reasonably, this match shouldn't be as good as it was with only 5 and a half minutes of TV time. But my GOD did they pack a lot into that five minutes. There was the psychology of Sheamus taking the tope early in the match and then being able to see it coming towards the end, Bryan's selling was great during the extended beatdown sequence in the beginning of the match, and all of it wrapped up in your basic power vs. speed formula. About as good of a five minute TV match you'll ever see. ***¼
Cody Rhodes comes out to the ring next and accuses Rey Mysterio of adding insult to injury at Extreme Rules by searing his eyes with the mist. He claims that he's exposed Mysterio as the gutless coward he is. He says that he once again can see through everyone here tonight and that they're all ugly. Cue Rhodes paper bag assistants to hand out paper bag masks to the front row. Everytime I see this I'm reminded of Ugly Bob from the South Park season two premiere. Rhodes takes off, having garnered some nice heat as usual. Looks like the Rey feud is over.
We go over highlights of the tag team title match that the Big Show and Kane had with Wade Barrett and Ezekiel Jackson at Extreme Rules before Big Show makes his entrance to the ring to face Big Zeke in singles action. Zeke comes with the Corre, so naturally Kane comes out next to back-up his partner as we cut to commercial break.
Big Show vs. Ezekiel Jackson
We return from commercial by joining this match already in progress. Show mixes things up early with a nice takedown and front face lock on Jackson but Zeke counters out by giving Show a back body drop in an excellent display of strength. Jackson hammers Show in the corner and then gives him a big body slam, but Show kicks out at two. Both men begin trading punches and Show shoots Zeke into the corner, ramming him with the almighty power of ass. Show signals for the chokeslam but The Corre attack Kane on the outside so he goes out to make the save. Show wipes out The Corre outside the ring but eats a boot to the face on his way back into the ring and Jackson gives him a lariat for the win at 3:34 (shown). This was actually far better than you'd think it would be, as Show actually looked motivated for once and Ezekiel played off the power vs. power dynamic very well. Not bad at all for the time it was given, and it gives Zeke a rub by beating the giant. **
After the commercial break we recap the Rock's birthday celebration on RAW this week. Great video package of the show's highlights.
Layla vs. Alicia Fox
Layla beat her longtime BFF Michelle McCool in a Loser Leaves WWE match this past Sunday, and since then has been trying to convince the divas backstage that she's changed. Crowd still boos her out of habit because of the music, but there are atleast a few cheers. To put over Layla's face turn Cole goes all heel on her, questioning her actions as Layla lays some kicks into Fox and nails her with a neckbreaker for the quick victory at 0:52. After the match Kharma (Awesome Kong) comes out to wreak havoc once again, so Layla splits. Fox nails her with a kick from behind but Kong no-sells it and lays her out with a lariat and the implant buster. Apparently Fox is so inept in the ring that she separated her shoulder trying to take the bump for the lariat, so don't expect to see her anytime soon, not that it matters. The match itself was just a squash for Layla, but it wasn't offensively bad or anything, so it atleast gets ¼*
Backstage Wade Barrett, Heath Slater, and Justin Gabriel confront Ezekiel Jackson about possibly splitting ways, but Jackson beats him to the punch (literally) and attacks Barrett! The Corre take the upper hand though and beat Zeke down, slamming what appears to be a huge dish rack onto him as they leave and we cut to commercial. Looks like Zeke might be in store for a big push down the road.
When we return from commercial Chavo Guerrero has joined Booker and Josh at the commentary table for the next match with Sin Cara, which is a nice move reminiscent of when WCW used to bring in Mike Tenay when they had the luchadores on Nitro.
Sin Cara vs. Tyson Kidd
Looks like they ditched Primo for Tyson Kidd to put over Cara's offense here and on house shows. We've got the same blue and gold lighting deal as last week, which is actually kind of annoying honestly. Cara misses a springboard back elbow but nails Kidd with a tilt-a-whirl headscissors. The action spills out to the floor where Cara delivers a hurricanrana on Kidd on the floor. Cara tries rolling him back into the ring but Kidd nails him with a dropkick and he crumples to the floor. Kidd follows it with a snap suplex on floor before tossing Cara back into the ring. A big "Sin Cara" chant starts up as Kidd gets a near fall. Cara responds with a flurry of kicks and a handspring back elbow. Cara flies off the top rope with a cross body block for two. Both men jockey for position on the top rope until Cara delivers the C4 suplex to Kidd off the top rope for the win at 2:48. Very energetic squash for Cara, give these guys ten minutes and you could have a great match. **
After the match Chavo Guerrero goes to the ring and shakes Sin Cara's hand in an intense staredown. So it looks like they're going to have Cara feud with Guerrero, and that's really a great choice for his first feud. Chavo knows both the classic lucha style and the current WWE style of wrestling, and he can help guide the younger Cara/Mistico to some great matches down the line I'm sure.
Backstage Todd Grisham asks Teddy Long if it's fair for Christian to have to defend his title so quickly, and Long says he's doing it for the fans.
World Heavyweight Title Match
Christian © vs. Randy Orton
Although I already know the outcome to this match before-hand, I'm hoping I can still enjoy the contest itself. We get the big match intros and everything, so the atmosphere is great here to start out. Orton takes the upper hand early with his power but Christian sends him to the floor and then nails him with a dropkick. He tries a slingshot splash to the floor but Orton moves and we take a commercial break. When we return Orton is working away at Christian's midsection with stomps. This is downright strange honestly as Orton is working this match as a heel would beating down Christian mercilessly, but the crowd loves him so they're not booing and thus it seems like they don't care, even though they clearly do.Orton works back bearhug on him and the crowd begins to rally behind Christian, who breaks the hold. Randy gives him a Cactus clothesline to the floor though as we yet again cut to commercial even though we just did that two minutes ago. When we return Christian has Orton in a headlock. Orton hits a big back suplex on Christian and both men are down. Orton nails him with a dropkick and a series of clotheslines, but Christian counters being shot into the corner by nailing Orton with his boot. Missile dropkick off the top gets a two for Christian. Orton fights off a reverse DDT but gets hung up on the top rope. Christian hits a big cross-body block off the top and the crowd totally buys into the near fall. Christian hits a big back elbow off the top rope but Orton counters with a snap powerslam for two. Christian tries for the Killswitch but Orton evades and plants him with the second-rope DDT for another hot near fall. This crowd is going crazy for this match right now. Orton tries for the Angle slam but Christian counters with a reverse DDT for yet another incredibly hot near fall. Orton tries and succeeds in delivering a second Angle slam and looks to set up for the RKO but Christian has it scouted and shoots him off the ropes, trying for the Killswitch again. Orton escapes that though and Christian leaps off the second rope only to have Randy give him an RKO in mid-air for the pin and the title at 10:06 (shown). As a title match, this was fantastic stuff. Both men were hugely over and the crowd was hot for everything they did, both guys worked hard, and the finishing stretch was simply outstanding. Aside from some annoying clipping, this was a great main event match. ***½
After the match Orton celebrates and leaves, leaving a crushed Christian behind in the ring. He gets his fair share of cheers to end the show as he lingers around the ring, staring at the center of the mat where he was just pinned. We close out the show with Christian walking to the back, dejected. I could go on a lengthy rant here about how Christian was never even given a chance to show his worth as a champion, but I've already done that in several places and I'm sick of repeating it. If there's one thing to take out of tonight's show though, it's that Christian is still a world class talent as he showed several times throughout the night. He finally got his due, and while I would have liked for it to have lasted longer, he'll always have that moment at Extreme Rules with his title win. I say keep your chin up fellow peeps, because Christian probably won't be leaving the Smackdown main event scene anytime soon.
Bottom Line: Whether you agree with the decision to have Christian drop the belt so soon or not, tonight's show was extremely entertaining. Sheamus and Daniel Bryan kicked things off with an excellent TV opener, Sin Cara looks to potentially have his first program on the horizon with Chavo Guerrero, and the main event was excellent. All in all, a great episode of Smackdown and an easy Thumbs Up.