April 23, 2010
– Adam Russell
Remember around this time last year when Smackdown put on a series of shows that felt fresh and exciting, centred around young talent,
who maybe hadn’t had a chance to be in the spotlight before? Well, this week’s show kinda reminded me a little bit of that. Don’t get me
wrong- it wasn’t in the same stratosphere in terms of the actual quality of the show, but it did feel like the wrestling, and wrestling angles,
were the focal point of the episode, and that some consideration was taken for the future of the company, rather than just the present.
The show began with a man who should be the poster boy pf this kind of attitude, but sadly isn’t; World Heavyweight Champion, Jack
Swagger. Swagger began with the ridiculous statement that he is on a roll (unless he meant a roll of being booked poorly). He talked
about beating two future Hall of Famers in Chris Jericho and Edge last week, and then dominating The Undertaker on Raw last Monday
(he didn’t mention, of course, that he lost that match). A short video package then aired showing Swagger on offence against ‘Taker,
before Swagger continued that he wants to be a permanent member of the Smackdown roster after the draft next Monday, because this is
a show that he is respected on. He then turned his attention to this Sunday’s Extreme Rules pay-per-view, calling himself the antidote to
his opponent, Randy Orton’s, venom.
This was not a good promo from Swagger, and the guy could really use a mouthpiece. His delivery comes across very forced, and lacks
any real character. I just can’t take him seriously when he talks, no matter how stoic his appearance.
Jack Swagger Vs John Morrison
This none-title match was a rematch from a couple of weeks ago, when Swagger picked up a rare victory. The match began with Swagger
showcasing his amateur skills, taking Morrison down, first with a single leg, and then with a waistlock. He powerslammed Morrison, but
then missed a legdrop, allowing Morrison to hit his running knee, before Swagger connected with another takedown, sending us to
commercial at 1’34. he returned 4’51 in, with Morrison caught in a bodyscissors. Morrison fought back and hit a missile dropkick for a two
count, and then executed a la magistral for another near fall. He went for the Flying Chuck, but Swagger caught him with a boot to the
midsection, and then hit a couple of elbowdrops and a legdrop to the gut. He followed that up with a wheelbarrow suplex, before Morrison
hit back with a round-the-world DDT, and a flying shoulderblock. He then hit the Flying Chuck for a two count, but was caught by a hotshot,
and then the gutwrench powerbomb from the champion. Morrison, though, got his hand on the bottom rope before the ref could count to
three, and Morrison hit an overhead kick, and then a particularly weak-looking Starship Pain to pick up the victory at 12’16.
So, Swagger loses again, making that three one-on-one defeats for him in the month since he won the championship. That obviously
speaks for itself. What makes it more annoying is that I honestly can’t see Morrison being propelled to the next level because of this win.
Last year he had a similar run where he defeated then World Heavyweight Champion, CM Punk, twice in none-title matches, and he was
still at the same level after those wins. The match itself was not good, despite a few well-executed spots. Swagger looked lost a lot of the
time, highlighted by how he attacked the midsection of Morrison after catching him with a painful-looking boot off the Flying Chuck, but
then within moments went to work on the arm, as though he’d just ran out of moves he could do to the abdomen.
From there, we cut to the guy who is probably the best at finding ways to work different bodyparts in his matches, CM Punk, as he
complained to Teddy Long about having a lock of hair shorn by Rey Mysterio on Raw. Long just obnoxiously told him it was his problem,
and then made a tag match for later in the night pitting Punk and Luke Gallows against Rey and Kane.
R-Truth and Matt Hardy Vs Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler
Truth and Ziggler got us started, with Truth dominating with a headlock. As an aside, I’d much rather see Truth in the position that
Morrison is in, picking up wins over world champions. He just has a much more natural connection with the crowds. Hardy tagged in, and
hotshotted Ziggler dangerously on the bottom rope before we went to a break. 4’54 had passed in the match when we returned, and Matt
was hitting clotheslines of Ziggler, followed by a pull-out powerbomb in the corner for a two count. Hardy’s offence is looking really bad
these days. He went for the Side Effect, but Ziggler elbowed out and sent Hardy’s shoulder into the turnbuckle, which sent Hardy to the
outside. There, McIntyre stomped Matt’s head into the steel steps behind the referee’s back. This was sold as a possible concussion,
and the ref thought about ending the match. Matt said he wanted to continue, and kicked out of the following pin attempt, but then the ref
decided that he couldn’t defend himself, and called the match in Drew and Dolph’s favour at 7’33. After the match, as Matt was being
helped out, Drew attacked from behind and sent the back of his head into the steps, telling him that he never wanted to see him again.
I really enjoyed this angle, and thought it was probably the best thing that McIntyre has ever been involved in. everyone put over the
curbstomp on the steps as a big deal, with Todd Grisham in particular getting over just how serious it was, and how Drew stepped over
the line. Really good stuff.
Chris Jericho and Wade Barrett made their way out next, and a cage lowered over the ring, symbolizing the cage match that Jericho and
Edge will compete in on Sunday. Jericho said that he will end Edge’s career at Extreme Rules, and then Edge will have to watch the draft
on Monday from a hospital bed. He tried twice during this promo to get the crowd to chant ‘spear’ at him, but they weren’t having any of it.
Edge then came out, and said that nothing will stop him from getting in the cage on Sunday, and nothing will stopping him from getting
into the cage right now. He climbed inside, and said that Jericho keeps talking about how he is going to re-injure him, but he knows how
to come back from an injury, whereas Jericho doesn’t. He wondered if on Sunday we’ll find out if Jericho has what it takes to dig deep
inside and make a comeback. He then said that nothing will stop him from spearing him through the cage at Extreme Rules, and nothing
will stop him from spearing him now. He attacked both Jericho and Barrett with punches, before Jericho clipped his ankle. The two then
went to work on him, but Edge made a comeback, hitting the Edge-o-matic on Barrett, and then teasing a spear on Jericho, who slinked
out the cage door, locking it behind him. He didn’t consider, however, that Barrett was still inside the cage and, after begging to be let out,
the NXT rookie was thrown into the cage wall several times, before eating a spear, as Jericho watched on.
This was a strong segment, with both Jericho and Edge cutting good promos that really got across all of the major points of this feud. An
injured Edge getting into a steel cage with two men is a bit unbelievable, but apart from that, it all made sense. Having Barrett rub
shoulders with these guys is great for him too.
Shad Gaspard came out to do commentary on this next match, bringing out a leather strap indicative of the one that will be used in his
strap match on Sunday against JTG.
JTG Vs Mike Knox
Knox hit his cross body block early on for a two count, and followed up with a splash, before he ran into a boot from JTG. JTG then hit a
shoulderblock from the 2nd rope, a dropkick, and a facejam, which sent Knox to the floor. JTG followed up with a rolling plancha and then,
back in the ring, hit a wraparound clothesline for the win at 1’45. I could complain about the continued way that Mike Knox is treated, but it’
s moot now since he was unfortunately released in mid-week. He had everything needed to be a big player for the company. Shad entered
the ring after the match and whipped JTG with the strap, and then hit a big boot. Shad has looked like a real star since the break-up of
Cryme Tyme, which has really surprised me. I see nothing in JTG.
Speaking of people I see nothing in, Michelle McCool and Layla were up next.
Michelle McCool and Layla (w/Vickie Guerrero) Vs Beth Phoenix and Mickie James
Beth and Layla started, with Beth hitting a giant swing. She went for a press slam, but McCool kicked her in the leg. McCool then tagged in
and kept the focus on the leg with kicks and a leglock. Beth eventually kicked her off, and tagged in another midweek release, Mickie.
Mickie was a house on fire with clotheslines, and a Thesz press off the top rope, but Michelle broke the count with a knee to the face. Beth
cleared Michelle out of the ring, but Layla hit a neckbreaker on Mickie to get the win for her team at the 3 minute mark. Afterwards, Michelle
and Layla double-teamed Beth and smeared lipstick all over her, to no reaction.
The Straight-Edge Society made there way out next, and Punk said that in his match with Rey on Sunday, he will let his actions do the
talking, just like Rey let his actions do the talking on Raw, telling the world that he is a coward. He told Rey that he hopes he finds solace
in that single lock of hair, because that’s all he’s going to get. Punk then walked over to a barber’s chair that was set up at ringside, and
said that somebody is going to get saved tonight.
CM Punk and Luke Gallows (w/Serena) Vs Rey Mysterio and Kane
Gallows and Mysterio got us underway, with Luke dominating with his power, slamming Rey to the mat, and elbowdropping him, before
tagging in the Straight-Edge Saviour. Punk stomped on Rey, before going for a back suplex, but Rey slipped out the back and tagged Kane
in, causing Punk to back off as we went to commercial. We returned 5 minutes into the action with Kane and Gallows the legal men.
Gallows hit a clothesline and tagged in Punk, who ate a thrust to the throat, before Rey tagged in. Rey hit a flurry of kicks, but Punk
countered by launching him face-first into the turnbuckle, and then hitting the kneelift/bulldog combo for a two count. Gallows tagged in
and went for a powerslam, but Rey countered into a DDT and a pair of tags saw Kane and Punk as the legal men. Kane hit a couple of
clotheslines, then a side suplex and the flying clothesline, but Gallows broke up the pinfall attempt. Rey knocked Gallows to the outside,
and Kane dropped Punk with a big boot, before tagging Rey. Mysterio came in with a splash off Kane’s shoulders, but Punk managed to
kick out at 2. Rey then set Punk up for the 619 with a dropkick, but Serena stepped up onto the apron to prevent the move. Gallows took the
opportunity to pull Rey out of the ring, but Kane came over and gave him a thrust to the throat. Back in the ring, Rey went for a springboard
moonsault on Punk, but Punk caught him on his shoulders, in perfect position for the Go To Sleep. Mysterio countered into a sunset flip,
but Punk in turn countered this by holding Rey down and getting the three count at 10’30. Punk attacked Rey after the match, but Rey made
a comeback, setting Punk up for the 619. Punk again avoided the move, this time by rolling out of the ring, but Mysterio hit a baseball slide
which sent him into the barber’s chair. He then grabbed the shears, but Serena threw herself in front of Punk, and they made a quick
This was a really strong end to the show, both with the match itself, and the post-match shenanigans, which was a really good way to take
us home to Extreme Rules.
The show itself had a lot of time dedicated to actual wrestling, and while it wasn’t all good, it was nice to see the focus put on younger
stars like Swagger, McIntyre and Ziggler. It definitely felt like there was more good stuff here than bad, and it just felt overall more fresher
and exciting than it has for a while. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come, and things won’t change after the draft.
MVP of the night- Drew McIntyre, for actually coming off as both someone to be taken seriously, and as a star.