Friday, October 21, 2011

WWE SmackDown 10/21/11

WWE SmackDown 10/21/11
October 21st, 2011
Palacio de los Deportes, Mexico City, Mexico
Attendance: 11,000+ *

With only 3 days to go before the Vengeance PPV this Sunday, the WWE finishes up their recent tour of Mexico with tonight's SmackDown emanating from the famous Palacio de los Deportes in Mexico City, which has seen many a classic lucha libre battle over the years from both AAA and CMLL. Big crowd on hand for tonight's show, reportedly a little more than 11,000, and I'd imagine the WWE wants to make a good impression on the Mexican fans, so this should hopefully be a fun show. Oh, and I'll be covering the WWE Vengeance PPV this Sunday live for 411 in place of Scott, so everyone make sure to check us out for the live report/review from yours truly!

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

We open the show with WWE champion Alberto Del Rio making his entrance out to the ring alongside his personal announcer Ricardo Rodriguez, and he's met with a surprisingly loud pop from his home country fans. Del Rio grabs a mic and says that he was supposed to meet the Big Show tonight in preparation for his Last Man Standing title match against John Cena this Sunday, but that won't be happening apparently because of the attack on Del Rio by Cena on RAW this week. Of course this brings out Teddy Long, who informs us that earlier in the day WWE physicians checked out Del Rio and he's been cleared to compete tonight, but Teddy things Del Rio is just trying to weasel out of a match. This is a rather bizarre segment honestly, the crowd is cheering EVERYTHING Del Rio does like he's the hottest thing since sliced bread, they're practically frothing from the mouth waiting to cheer him as a babyface, but instead he tries to do his usual cowardly heel shtick and the crowd just seems confused, as if they expected Del Rio to be the good guy tonight legitimately. Teddy polls the crowd, asking them if they want to see Del Rio face the Big Show, and they cheer in approval, so of course it's booked for later tonight. Teddy takes off and we're set for our first match of the evening.

Mark Henry vs. John Morrison

Holy crap, either the WWE production team has gotten a lot better at piping in fake pops, or John Morrison is MEGA OVER in Mexico, especially with the ladies. This is a rematch from RAW, where Henry squashed Morrison easily. JoMo tries to get some feisty shots in as the bell rings but Henry just tosses him out of the ring like a ragdoll and then squeezes his head against the steel post on the outside. Back inside Morrison manages to actually get some offense in though, cutting Henry's legs out from under him and nailing him with a Shining Wizard that gives him just enough time to hit the Starship Pain, which Henry of course kicks out of easily at two. Henry is done playing around now and just tosses Morrison into mid-air before slamming him down with the thunderous World's Strongest Slam, which easily finishers Morrison off giving Henry the win at 3:27. So this was basically just a move-by-move retread of the match from RAW. We get the message, Mark Henry is a monster, he squashes midcarders. Can it be someone besides Morrison now? 1/4*

Backstage Vickie Guerrero is talking to Christian about possible business together when Teddy Long barges in to ask what they're doing in his office. Teddy books Christian in a match this Sunday against Sheamus, and Christian takes off pouting as Teddy informs Vickie that not only does Dolph Ziggler have to wrestle with Jack Swagger for the tag team titles against Air Boom this Sunday, but he also has to defend his US title against Zack Ryder at the PPV as well.

Daniel Bryan vs. Wade Barrett

Before the match we get a spiffy little video promo from Barrett, spouting his usual "I let the Corre drag me down for too long" tagline.These two had a great little match back at Summerslam, and they show off some nice chemistry in the early going with a few submission attempts being traded before Barrett gives Bryan a towering sidewalk slam for a nearfall. Bryan nails Barrett in the jaw with a huge missile dropkick moments later and gets a quick count of his own. Barrett nearly boots Bryan's head off and then lays in some closed fists to the referee's chagrin. Wade shoots Bryan into the corner but he back-flips off the turnbuckle and then bounces off the ropes, nailing Barrett with a flying forearm. Barrett delivers a big pumphandle slam, but again Bryan kicks out at two. Bryan tries to leap off the top rope onto Barrett, but Barrett catches him in mid-air on his shoulders in the perfect position to deliver the Waste Land to Bryan, which is enough for Barrett to pin him clean at 5:14. Well that was going swimmingly until the abrupt finish. These two work quite well together, but I'm not sure I understand the booking. I mean, I guess they're trying to do the whole "losing streak pisses Bryan off so much he flips out gets a big push" thing, but they already did that back when he was in NXT, so I'm not sure what they're trying to accomplish here. Match was good stuff though. **1/2

Sheamus/Zack Ryder vs. Christian/Dolph Ziggler

Vickie gets some decent heat before the match starts, which is pretty impressive since you'd figure anyone named "Guerrero" is going to be cheered endlessly in Mexico. Christian and Ryder start us off with some nice rope running but it's not long before the heels are double-teaming Ryder behind the ref's back, using all sorts of dirty heel tactics on the Long Island Iced Z. Ziggler tags in and takes it to Ryder with a stiff neckbreaker before tagging back out to Christian who continues the beatdown briefly until Ryder gets the hot tag to Sheamus. The Irishman cleans house on the heels and the Irish Curse backbreaker gets him a two count on Dolph. Christian scurries off for safety, abandoning Ziggler in the ring and leaving him open for a huge Brogue Kick from Sheamus, which is enough to get him the pin at 3:58. More of an angle than a match, but it was somewhat amusing while it lasted I suppose. Could have certainly used a few more minutes to flesh things out though. 1/2*

After a commercial break we return to see Cody Rhodes in the ring with a microphone taking in a chorus of boos from the Mexican crowd. Rhodes accuses Orton of trying to disfigure him and then brings up their past in Legacy and how Orton used him and threw him away when he was done with him, which is technically true from a kayfabe perspective. He whines a bit more about Randy's ego (also true) before Orton's music hits and the Viper walks out to a huge ovation with a mic of his own. He tells Cody that he made a mistake in trying to humiliate him, and that in return Orton will tear him apart this Sunday at Vengeance. He pounces to the ring to attack, but Cody's bodyguards cut Randy off and Cody gets some cheap shots in. Randy fights Rhodes off though and delivers the second-rope DDT to one of his bagmen minions. He stomps another bagman's head against the steel steps and Rhodes takes off running with his classic IC belt in hand as Orton gives the RKO to another one of Cody's minions. Solid little segment to build heat for the match this Sunday, nothing special, but solid stuff.

Mask vs. Mask Match
"Good" Sin Cara vs. "Evil" Sin Cara

For the sake of convenience, I'll refer to the Good Sin Cara as just "Sin Cara", and the evil Sin Cara as "Hunico", his former FCW name. This is a big match, or atleast in theory it should be, and I understand why they'd want to have it in front of the Mexican crowd, but man, this seems like a waste just giving this away on free TV when there's a freakin' PPV in 3 days. Luckily since we're in Mexico, the crowd actually understands lucha libre wrestling, and so the reaction for this match is far better than any match the two Sin Cara's have had on American soil yet. This actually almost feels like a big-time lucha match up in a more generic, sterile WWE-lite kind of way. They waste no time in going for the big acrobatics, with Sin Cara wiping out Hunico on the floor with a huge cross-body after a hurricanrana. Sin Cara does the tilt-a-whirl headscissors and the crowd pops big. Hunico dropkicks Cara in mid-air on a springboard attempt moments later though and gets a near fall. Hunico is tossed to the floor again as we take a commercial break and when we return Cara is on the losing end of a huge backbreaker from Hunico back in the ring. The commentators run-down the rules while Hunico goes to work on Cara with several variations on the tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. The crowd starts to rally behind Cara with chants of "Mistico!" and the two luchadors trade various wristlock-cartwheel counters to pop them some more. A sloppy hurricanrana counter gets Cara a two count and a big Death Valley Driver gets Hunico one of his own. There's really not much of any flow at all in this match so far, despite the high-flying fun. A big top-rope frankensteiner from Cara, followed by a Swanton bomb nearly wins it, but Hunico kicks out at the last second. No problem, Cara breaks out LA MISTICA moments later and Hunico taps out immediately, giving Cara the win at 10:22 (shown). As a WWE-style lucha match, this was pretty good. But as a regular lucha libre match? This was nothing. Mexican fans could see a match of this caliber literally any day of the week at a variety of different Mexican promotions. There wasn't much flow to anything here, but at the very least they kept moving and hopping around so it certainly never got boring atleast. After the match Cara rips off Hunico's dark Sin Cara mask in triumph, hopefully ending their very lackluster and underwhelming feud. **1/2

After another commercial break we return to see Natalya and Beth Phoenix in the ring, mocking the divas and the fans in attendance. They talk about how nothing is more beautiful than watching barbie dolls beg for mercy, and this whole segment is starting to veer into unintentionally sexy territory until Eve Torres comes out to interrupt the heels. Oh, I guess Eve is challenging Beth for the title at the PPV. Good to know that, I guess. Eve talks about how ugly Beth and Nattie are on the inside and then claims to not be a "barbie doll". Beth mocks Eve a bit more before getting shoved down by Eve and nearly popping out of her dress at the same time. Well, that almost became the most entertaining segment of the night. Almost.

Alberto Del Rio vs. Big Show

And it's main event time, as the WWE champion Alberto Del Rio squares off against a recently returned Big Show. Thrilling. Usual Big Show vs. heel match here with Big Show manhandling Del Rio and tossing him all over the ring to start until we take a commercial break and see him continuing to manhandle Del Rio with ease. The action spills to the floor briefly before returning back inside, where the squash of our champion continues. Show applies a loose version of the Cobra Clutch onto Del Rio and then leg-drops him for a near fall. Del Rio manages to get a bit of momentum built with a series of boots to Big Show's head followed by an armbreaker, but this doesn't get him very far either. Big Show goes for the choke slam, but Del Rio counters right into his armbar finisher! Big Show comes dangerously close to tapping, but he fights the submission off and looks to finish Del Rio off when Ricardo hops in for the obvious DQ finish we all saw coming an hour ago, ending the match at 8:40 (shown). Another incredibly lackluster main event this week. I get the idea of trying to make Big Show look strong going into the PPV, but you don't do it at the expense of Del Rio, you're WWE champion in front of his home crowd. This match accomplished nothing for either man really, and all it served to really do was just kill time until the PPV this Sunday. So, by definition, I'd call this filler and a waste of our time. Sorry guys, the work wasn't bad, but I expect a bit more out of Smackdown main events than this. *1/2

After the match Mark Henry hits the ring to try and attack Big Show, but he eats the right hand of DOOM from Show and is knocked out clean. We go off the air with Mark Henry and Del Rio, our two champions, down in the ring squirming as a bloated Big Show walks off with a big grin on his face. Well, atleast someone enjoyed the show.

Bottom Line: I don't know what has happened to this show, but it's fallen off of a cliff in the last month. We've gone from several highly competitive, long matches each week on Smackdown to a month full of shitty five minute main events ending in DQs, useless promos, and a whole lot of people standing around, going through the motions. I know I sound overly negative here, but the show itself was actually an improvement on last week. Still though, absolutely nothing here is going to be remembered in oh...say two weeks from now? Even the two good matches on the show were disappointing because they both ended too soon and had little direction or flow. Not the worst show I've ever seen, but not a good one either. Thumbs Down.

Score: 4.5/10

* - Source: Gate & Attendance Figures for WWE Mexico Tour,

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