Friday, October 28, 2011

WWE SmackDown 10/28/11

WWE SmackDown 10/28/11
October 28th, 2011
Toyota Center, Houston, Texas
Attendance: Unknown at this time

We're about five days removed from the WWE Vengeance PPV as the Smackdown crew rolls into Houston, Texas and honestly I can't say much has changed since last week despite the PPV, which was a good show (and you can read my report for it here: WWE Vengeance PPV Report 10.23.11) but still had the sense of being an obvious placeholder B-show in preparation for Survivor Series next month. Over on RAW John Cena chose The Rock as his dream partner for Survivor Series, but Del Rio is still the WWE champion and Mark Henry is still our World Heavyweight champion. Let's see what Smackdown has in store for us to kick start the road to Survivor Series tonight, shall we?

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

We open the show up with the Smackdown GM Teddy Long already in the ring to announce that because of the ring implosion during the Mark Henry/Big Show match at Vengeance, the World Heavyweight Title is "in a state of flux". Look at Teddy busting out the big words. Of course before he can explain what his plans are, he's interrupted by Christian, who arrives to a chorus of boos. He enters the ring with his own mic and says that the Big Show blew his one shot at the title and that he should fill that number one contendership void now. Christian gets ready to go another one of his delusional tangents to defend this belief when the unmistakable opening riff of "Cult of Personality" rings out, signalling CM Punk's surprise appearance on Smackdown. Now that's a way to get people more interested in Smackdown, bring over the actual A-List stars from RAW. Usual huge pop for Punk. Teddy explains that because Smackdown has been loaning talent to RAW for their weekly "supershows" now, that he was able to snag a few RAW superstars to wrestle on tonight's "Super Smackdown" apparently. Punk gives Teddy a ringing endorsement as GM in comparison to John Laurinaitis over on RAW and then explains that he was excited to come on tonight's show because he's a fan of Christian's, or as Punk refers to him, "Rusty bird"? Christian fires back that he doesn't believe Punk is deserving of a title shot against Del Rio on RAW, and Punk retorts by poking fun at Christian's constant "bitching", which starts a big CM Punk chant. Christian claims that no one wants Punk here tonight but the crowd loudly disagrees with that sentiment. Punk challenges Christian to a one-on-one match on tonight's show, and Teddy instantly approves it. Right on, now that sounds like a classic Smackdown match.

The Miz/R-Truth vs. Air Boom (Kofi Kingston/Evan Bourne)

Well, we haven't seen this match done a good dozen times in the last few weeks have we? Kofi and Miz start us off tonight and it's not long before Miz takes the upper hand and tags out to Truth. Truth eats a pair of boots from Kofi in the corner, allowing him to tag Evan into the match, who explodes on Truth with a quick flurry of acrobatic kicks. Truth knocks Bourne out of the ring, allowing Miz to get a cheap shot in as we take a quick and unexpected commercial break. When we return Truth and Miz are continuing the double-team domination of Evan Bourne. Bourne fires off an enziguri on Truth and gets the hot tag to Kofi, who wipes out Miz with a rolling clothesline, dropkick, and several forearm strikes. Kofi gets a two count off of a huge cross-body onto Miz, but Truth breaks it up. Bourne tries a pescado to the floor on Truth but misses, and Kofi is given the "Little Jimmy's Finale" by both of the heels, which is a combination of both of their finishing moves. Awful name, but it's enough to put Kofi away and give them the win at 4:28 (shown). With Miz and Truth being booked into the main event of Summerslam against The Rock and John Cena, they needed one more convincing win over Air Boom and they got it here rather quickly. Quick and inoffensive. After the match Miz and Truth sow the seeds of dissension by commenting that The Rock is a poor choice for Cena's partner because he might be the only guy to hate Cena more than they do. *3/4

After a commercial break we cut backstage to the locker room where Daniel Bryan is talking to a bunch of the guys about being trained by Shawn Michaels after they watch a clip for the new Bret Hart/HBK DVD coming out. Tyson Kidd walks up to interrupt him and they start an argument over who the better wrestler was, with Bryan obviously sticking up for Shawn and Kidd obviously sticking up for his trainer Bret Hart. Santino of all people is the one to separate them, telling them they should settle their argument in the ring, and both men agree. Bryan vs. Kidd? Sounds good to me.

Elsewhere backstage Teddy Long is talking to Hornswoggle, who is fist-bumping with his Zack Ryder head-band and sunglasses on. That's not a good sign, anytime Hornswoggle endorses your product it's only a matter of time before the IWC turns on you (ex: DX). Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger, and Vickie Guerrero walk up to interrupt them so Teddy books Dolph into a match tonight against Randy Orton, and Swagger is banned from ringside. The heels take off in anger as the cheesy 80s saxophone music kicks in and NXT-reject Aksana is back apparently to try and rape Teddy again. Is there a single person that's actually interested in this angle?

Wade Barrett vs. Trent Barreta

Hey it's my main man, radical dudebuster Trent Barreta! Oh and he's facing Wade Barrett...damnit, jobbing duties again for Trent. Keep hangin' in there kid, one day the brass will give you a shot like they did to Ryder. This is nothing more than your usual squash match for Wade, but Trent is probably one of the better bump-takers in the company right now so he makes Wade look like a million bucks. Trent gets a few lucky shots in but Barrett puts him away easily with the Waste Land at 2:32. About what you'd expect from a squash match with these two. 3/4*

Randy Orton vs. Dolph Ziggler

These two had a rather spirited match on RAW a few weeks/months back so this should be solid. Cody Rhodes joins the commentary table for the match as well. Both men are (surprise surprise) all head and chin-locks to start the match, feeling each other out. Booker provides us with our first unintentionally homoerotic line of the night by glowing about this match-up, proclaiming "These two are going one-on-one; man on man, that's what I like to see!" Crowd is hot for every early near-move and counter and are firmly behind Orton as he starts to grind Dolph into the mat with a pesky armbar. Ziggler manages to escape the hold and the action spills to the outside floor where Orton leap-frogs over Vickie Guerrero to clothesline Ziggler in a cute spot that leads us into a commercial break. When we return Ziggler is dropkicking Orton out of his boots for a near fall back inside the ring. Stiff knee to the gut nets Dolph another two count, and he tries to apply a scissors submission hold that vaguely resembles the old Rings of Saturn. Orton ties to lift Ziggler up onto his back, but Ziggler counters into a big DDT for another near fall. Ziggler fires off a big neckbreaker, but again Orton kicks out much to Vickie's chagrin at ringside. Ziggler goes to the top rope but Orton crotches him and superplexes him off the top rope with a devastating impact for a close two count. Back on his feet Orton is fired up and starts to slowly go into his trademark Viper routine (snap powerslam, second-rope DDT, etc). He goes for the RKO but Ziggler blocks it and delivers a stiff superkick that almost gets him the upset pin before Orton rolls out of the count. Ziggler goes for the Zig-Zag, but Orton evades and Ziggler steps right into the RKO from Orton, which means good-night for Mr. Ziggler and another Orton victory at 10:28 (shown). Great television match and a welcoming return to form for Smackdown's usual in-ring quality here. Orton and Ziggler have some fine chemistry together, I wouldn't mind watching them wrestle some more once the feud with Rhodes is over. ***

After a quick recap of the supposed "end" of the two Sin Cara's feud we cut backstage to Matt Striker who is with an unmasked Hunico/Sin Cara Negro to ask him how he feels about the whole situation. He complains that Cara took away his identity, and then rambles something in Spanish before saying that Cara took something from him and it's payback time.

Daniel Bryan vs. Tyson Kidd

Now this is a match-up I'd love to see given a good chunk of time on a future PPV. Shoving match from both men to start followed by a quick trade of armdrags and counter-holds. Bryan does his usual top turnbuckle back-flip counter spot and then nails Kidd with a big running dropkick in the corner while Booker raves about Tim Tebow. Kidd counters a top-rope frankensteiner from Bryan into a sunset flip for a near fall and both men trade several more cradle attempts until Kidd tries to apply the sharpshooter. Bryan quickly counters into the LaBell Lock however and Kidd unfortunately taps out way too early for my liking, giving the match to Bryan at 2:36. I guess this was all just a quick segment to remind viewers of the upcoming Bret Hart/HBK DVD coming out, but I think giving these guys a few more minutes to flesh out a decent TV match would have been more beneficial to everyone in the long run. Oh well. Oh and I guess this ends Bryan's losing streak, though Matthews only mentions it in passing once the match is actually over. *3/4

After another RAW recap and a graphic hyping The Rock for next week's RAW, Michael Cole grabs a mic and stands up on the commentary table to do his usual lame heel shtick about JR. If you watched RAW, then you've already seen this segment, because it's the exact same one from RAW, same poorly photoshopped pictures and all. Moving along.

The Big Show makes his way out after Cole is done with his slideshow and we take a quick break. When we return Show is in the ring with a mic and he proceeds to put over Mark Henry and the match they had this Sunday, which to be honest was far better than anyone was expecting, so give them a bit of credit. Show assures us that Teddy Long has promised him a rematch at Henry's title but before he can elaborate, Mark Henry's music hits and the World Heavyweight champion makes his way down the aisle to interrupt Show. Henry talks some trash to Show about their PPV match and then teases entering the ring to fight him, but he feigns a back injury instead and walks off to massive boos. Here's to hoping these two put on an equally as good match the second time around.

CM Punk vs. Christian

Main event time baby, and we've got a good one tonight with the Punkster taking on Captain Charisma. Christian is all over Punk to start but Punk has an answer for every hold and move Christian attempts in the early going, rousing huge Punk chants out of the crowd. Christian gets some elbow shots in and a big back elbow shot off the second rope which garners him some boos. He tries for a top rope splash but Punk moves and sets him up for the GTS when suddenly Alberto Del Rio's music hits and this distracts Punk long enough for Christian to give him an impaler DDT as Del Rio and Ricardo make their way down to ringside and we take a quick commercial break. When we return Punk is being grinded into the mat with a headlock, some slaps, and a reverse DDT for a near fall. Christian goes right back to the headlock again but Punk fights it off with stiff slaps and sick spin-kick that wipes out Christian before Punk himself collapses seconds later from exhaustion. Punk gets his second wind seemingly here though, firing off a back drop, lariat, and a twisting DDT for a two and a half count on Christian. Punk misses a running knee in the corner and each man tease going for their respective finisher's, but Punk counters a sunset flip powerbomb with a superkick for another near fall. Punk rolls through a top-rope cross body block from Christian for another nearfall and tries for a springboard clothesline, but Christian catches him in mid-air with a sick powerslam! Punk kicks out though and succeeds on a second springboard clothesline attempt, but again Christian kicks out of the pin. Punk goes to the top rope and suddenly Ricardo distracts the ref while Del Rio knocks Punk off the top rope behind his back. Christian sets up for a spear when suddenly Sheamus' music hits and the Irishman makes his way down to ringside to scare Ricardo and Del Rio off. He also manages to distract Christian long enough for Punk to give him the GTS and pin him for the win at 9:35 (shown). This was another solid and fun TV match, but it felt like it was lacking that one small, indescribable element that differentiates a solid TV match from a great one to me, so I'll go slightly under three stars here. Worth checking out though. **3/4

Bottom Line: This was a much better show than we had seen in the previous few weeks. Alot of our readers seemed almost furious that I didn't enjoy the last few weeks worth of programming, but as I always say, there are two things I look for in a wrestling show to give it my recommendation and that's some solid in-ring action combined with some decent angle advancement, and we got that tonight (mostly). Orton vs. Ziggler was a lot of fun and a candidate for TV match of the week, and the main event was solid stuff as well if a bit vanilla. Overall an improvement over the last few weeks and a solid show, so a Thumbs Up from me tonight.

Score: 7.0


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