Friday, June 1, 2012

WWE Friday Night SmackDown! 6/1/12

WWE Friday Night Smackdown
June 1st, 2012
Riverside Centroplex, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Attendance: Unknown at this time

You know the drill by now, another Friday, another edition of WWE Smackdown. While the brand has been relegated to B-show status for quite some time now there are rumors that McMahon and company want to try and bolster the show a bit with bigger matches and names, starting with a WWE title match tonight between CM Punk and Kane so tonight's show look's a bit more interesting than usual.

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

We open the show with the World Heavyweight champion Sheamus making his way out to the ring for a bit of promo time. He cuts right to the chase, talking about how rich and arrogant his opponent at the PPV Alberto Del Rio is. He says you can't buy the title when suddenly David Otunga decides to come out to interrupt. Otunga shows the clip of Sheamus mowing down Johnny Ace on RAW two weeks ago again and orders him to apologize yet again. Sheamus refuses of course and now out comes Del Rio to call Sheamus a peasant and a hooligan before promising to win the title. Otunga says that Del Rio can pick an opponent for Sheamus later tonight when Sheamus gives Otunga a Brogue Kick out of nowhere. Del Rio bails unscathed though and takes off up the ramp as Sheamus tells him to "never trust a hooligan." Sound advice.

Sin Cara (19-5) vs. Heath Slater (4-31)
This is (finally) Sin Cara's return match after a 7 month layover due to a knee injury. He's decked out in new red gear and immediately takes Slater out of the ring with a lucha libre wristlock before taking him out on the floor with a cross body. Slater catches him coming back in the ring and applies a chinlock. Cara hits a springboard cross body then a variation on his old La Mistica finisher for the quick win at 2:25. Just a total squash to welcome Cara back, as I guess they're going to try using the La Mistica-like finisher again instead of the C4 suplex, which sure makes him a lot less exciting. *

Damien Sandow (1-0) vs. Ezekiel Jackson (14-17)
Sandow of course calls Zeke an ignoramus before the match and tries to walk off, but Zeke tosses him back into the ring and clubs him in the corner. He tries for the torture rack but Sandow slips out and hits a series of knees followed by a Russian leg sweep. The cross-armed neckbreaker finishes it for Sandow at 1:37. Sandow props his head on his hands over Zeke's chest while laying on him afterwards, looking delightfully evil in the process. I can't get enough of the old school heel swagger of Sandow, keep this man on my TV please. 1/2*

Backstage Dolph Ziggler approaches Del Rio and volunteers to wrestle Sheamus for him tonight, and Del Rio obliges him, setting our match for later.

Ryback (7-0) vs. Ryan Shelton/Chris Lyons
This week's jobbers try to get some cheap heel heat by doing the University of Alabama "Roll tide" chant before the match. Booker tries to say these two guys are huge on the independent circuit---no sir, they are not. The usual dissection via power moves from Ryback here and he finishes them off with the double marching Samoan Drop at 2:02. Your usual marginally entertaining Ryback squash. 1/4*

Sheamus (34-16-1) vs. Dolph Ziggler (4-16)
Lock up and a side headlock takeover from Sheamus to start. Dropkick from Ziggler but the Irishman responds with a clothesline. Ziggler leaps off the top rope but Sheamus catches him and flips him onto his shoulders for the rolling senton. Ziggler gets tossed to the floor and we take a break. When we return Sheamus hits a knee and wants to go for the Celtic Cross but Ziggler grabs the ring apron and ropes to separate himself from the champ (subtle but cool touch) before dropping Sheamus throat-first over the top rope and dropkicking him off the apron and right into the Spanish commentary table. Subtle but awesome psychology. Back in the ring Dolph hits a neckbreaker for a two count. DDT gets him another near fall and he applies his patented sleeper-hold. Sheamus flips him off his back into the ropes though and lays in the clubbing hammerfists before suplexing Dolph back into the ring. Dolph tries desperately to block the Irish Curse backbreaker but the champ hits it anyways. Sheamus goes to the top but Dolph crotches him and then hits a top-rope X-Factor on him! That was sick and unexpected. Sheamus fights off the Zig-Zag attempt and then hits the White Noise (Finlay's old Celtic Cross) on Ziggler. Jack Swagger hits the apron for the distraction, but Sheamus just boots him off quickly before taking Ziggler's head off with the Brogue Kick for the win at 10:01. Now that was a hell of a TV match right there, Dolph as always was awesome here bumping like a madman and pulling out moves you never see anymore like a top-rope X-Factor. Sheamus looked dominant and powerful in the win as well, just a great match. ***1/4

Backstage CM Punk explains to Matt Striker that John Laurinaitis represents everything he can't stand in the world before promising to make Kane go to sleep later tonight.

Zack Ryder/Santino Marella vs. Titus O'Neill/Darren Young

D-Young and Santino start off but Titus quickly tags in and suplexes his own partner onto Marella. Young tags back in and Santino rolls him up...for the pin? Match is over at a whopping 1:16. The match is so short though because the Big Show comes out as Santino and Ryder are celebrating on the ramp to destroy them with steel steps on the stage. And I mean DESTROY. It's not like one of them is our US champ or anything and Big Show so clearly needed to squash those two guys, right? DUD

Backstage Daniel Bryan asks AJ if she thinks CM Punk actually cares about her. AJ says it sounds like he's jealous and Bryan scoffs, saying atleast he cared about her once upon a time unlike CM Punk.

Cody Rhodes (21-25) vs. Tyson Kidd (0-12)
Christian joins the commentary team for this match involving his next IC title contender Cody Rhodes. This isn't NXT or Superstars so Kidd is in jobber mode here, eating a quick suplex from Cody. He does some nice rope flipping but gets caught with the Cross Rhodes almost immediately for the pin at 1:20. Another quick squash match, but atleast they actually gave the IC title angle some TV time. Hopefully they give Cody and Christian some time to work on the PPV. 1/4*

WWE Title Match
CM Punk
© (2-3-1) vs. Kane (18-14)
This is the first WWE title match on Smackdown in four years, showing you just how much of a B-show it truly has become. Both men lock up and Kane is quickly sent to the floor by a dropkick from Punk, who follows up with a double axe handle from the top rope. Punk wraps Kane's arm around the steel post and goes to work on it with kicks and elbow smashes. Punk works a wristlock briefly until Kane powers out and clotheslines him to the floor as we take a commercial break. When we return Punk is back to working over Kane's arm but waits too long on the top rope and Kane lariats him off to the floor in nasty fashion. AJ decides to run down to the ring to cheer on Punk now as Kane launches the champ into the guard barrier. Back inside Kane works a chinlock and then tries for the chokeslam, but Punk counters into a DDT. Muay Thai knees in the corner from Punk. Punk counters a suplex attempt and hits a swinging neckbreaker. Spinkick to Kane's arm but he responds with a huge big boot. Punk blocks a charge into the corner and hits a leaping bulldog from the top for a two count. He tries for the GTS but collapses under Kane's weight, allowing the monster to hit a running dropkick for a near fall. Kane goes for the top rope clothesline but Punk dropkicks the arm again. Punk goes to the top when suddenly Daniel Bryan runs down to the ringside area, so Punk leaps off and wipes out Bryan outside the ring. The champ hits the Macho Man elbow on Kane moments later and nearly wins it but Kane somehow kicks out and this crowd is hot now. Kane clotheslines Punk and sets up for the chokeslam when Daniel Bryan returns and delivers a missile dropkick off the top rope to both men for the DQ finish at 11:52 (shown). Started off pretty slow but picked up very nicely after the commercial break, the armwork was the recurring theme through-out the match and while it would have been nice to see it play into the finish, Bryan interrupting things makes sense from a storyline perspective, even if it cheats us out of a clean finish to an otherwise good little TV match. **3/4

After the match Punk tries to give Bryan the GTS but Kane chokeslams both men instead. Johnny Ace comes out moments later to announce that the WWE Title match at No Way Out is now a Triple Threat match involving Kane. I know I'm not the only one who saw that awesome classic encounter between CM Punk and Daniel Bryan and thought "You know what this classic scientific wrestling feud needs? KANE!", right? Oh, wait, no one has thought that ever in the history of anything ever. Goddamnit WWE, why ruin a perfectly awesome thing (just about the only good thing you've got going these days) by injecting Kane into the mix? That's like throwing molasses into the gears of a well-oiled machine. That's our show for the week though folks.

Bottom Line: Apart from the ending of injecting Kane into the Bryan/Punk title match leaving a sour taste in my mouth, this was a really solid show this week. There was a bit more star power than usual with Punk defending his title on the show in a rather solid match against Kane but we also got a great TV match in the middle of the show between Sheamus and Ziggler and Dolph continues to bust his ass on a nightly basis in the apparent hope that maybe someday they'll actually reward his constant hard-work with something besides being a jobber to the stars. Everything else was rather perfunctory but it did the trick and I certainly enjoyed this more than last week's show. Thumbs Up.

Score: 7.0/10

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