I'm writing a full Smackdown recap this week because TJRWrestling.com's regular Smackdown reviewer Andrew Johnson is unavailable to write the recap this week. He'll be back next week. In his place (and in place of my usual Canton's Corner column) here is my review of this week's edition of Smackdown. Enjoy!
Taped from Evansville, Indiana this is WWE Friday Night Smackdown.
The show begins with the usual Green Day intro song for Smackdown. We are welcomed to the show by the Smackdown announcers Josh Mathews, Michael Cole and Booker T.
There was a video showcasing the events from the three way match on Raw where AJ did her prancing around the ring to distract Kane, which led to CM Punk pinning Kane and then Daniel Bryan winning the match.
AJ made her entrance. She's in a match. They replayed her win in the Bikini Battle Royal on Raw.
Layla vs. AJ
This is non-title. There are obviously piped in chants for Layla as she made her entrance. At least they dumped the Laycool song for her although I don't think the new one is a very good song. I was told the song used to belong to Tiffany, but that doesn't mean anything to me because I barely remember who Tiffany is. Layla knocked her down early with a hard chop and then got a rollup for two. AJ came back with a drop toe hold and then a dropkick followed by a clothesline in the corner. Layla hit a crossbody off the middle rope and then a facebuster got her a count of two. AJ came back with a nice spin kick to put Layla down. All of a sudden Daniel Bryan's music started up and he had a microphone with him while he led the crowd in "YES" chants. That allowed Layla to roll up AJ for the pinfall victory after about three minutes.
Post match, AJ attacked Layla from behind with a clothesline to the back of the head. She continued the attack on Layla with some punches to the head.
Analysis: * The match was okay. Three minutes is long for a divas match on WWE these days. It's sad to say that, but it's the truth. I like AJ's work in the ring, which is new to some although I saw her on NXT where she showed a lot of skill. Layla's not generating much of a reaction, though. I wouldn't be shocked if she drops the title soon. I'm still not a fan of somebody's music playing during a match. We can't have run-ins anymore without music playing? That's a little gripe I guess, but it's something we see far too often. It even happened three times on Raw.
Daniel Bryan walked into the ring with microphone in hand. He wants AJ to hear what he has to say to this week's Smackdown GM Vickie Guerrero. He's not leaving until she comes out. He started yelling "yes" repeatedly. He stopped when he saw AJ doing it. They went to commercial.
Analysis: I guess the cliffhanger is will Vickie come out to listen to what Bryan has to say? Gee I wonder. (You can slap me for typing "gee" by the way.)
Back from break, Bryan and AJ were yelling "yes" at eachother while Cole tried to tell us that this has been going on for the commercial break. For the first time ever, Booker T said "Thank God" at the sight of Vickie Guerrero. She made her way down to the ring to say that people are tired of Bryan repeating the same catchphrase, which led to her saying "Excuse Me!" Oh the comedy.
Bryan said that Raw and Smackdown would soon revolve around him once he wins the WWE Title. He said he wants to see Guerrero run Raw and Smackdown on a permanent basis. Bryan had an idea he wanted her to take to the Board of Directors. He wants AJ banned from ringside from his WWE Title match against CM Punk at Money in the Bank. Vickie said she's not a fan of AJ. She's tired of AJ calling her grandma. Vickie said there was a poll on WWE.com asking fans what role they want to see AJ play in the Punk/Bryan WWE Title match. The options were guest referee, guest ring announcer, guest commentator and guest timekeeper. They showed the poll results with "guest referee" earning 76% of the vote. Vickie said that means AJ will be the guest referee for Punk vs. Bryan at Money in the Bank. AJ left the ring saying "yes" while the crowd joined in on the fun. Bryan was mad, so he started yelling "no" repeatedly and left the ring.
Vickie said that over the next two weeks Smackdown will be having matches for the World Heavyweight Title contract for the Money in the Bank ladder match. Try saying that five times fast. She said for the World Heavyweight Championship MITB match, the qualifying matches are open to anyone.
Zack Ryder made his entrance. He's in the first qualifying match.
Before the next match could begin, we heard from Damien Sandow. He's here to help us. He insulted Ryder as well as the fans.
World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Zack Ryder vs. Damien Sandow
Booker said that Sandow needs to stop idolizing Leaping Lanny Poffo. The Genius! Ryder hit a nice flap jack for two. Sandow hit a neckbreaker followed by a move that Cole called the Elbow of Disdain. Ryder hit a facebuster followed by knees to the face and then a nice dropkick off the middle ropes. Ryder hit the Broski Boot in the corner. Sandow countered the Rough Ryder and then hit his neckbreaker variation for the win. Match went about three minutes.
Winner: Damien Sandow - Qualifies for World Title Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Analysis: *1/4 It was too short for my liking, but what they did was fine with me. Ryder got in some of his signature moves, Sandow was able to counter them and he picked up the clean win. I don't think Sandow is a threat to win Money in the Bank. It's nice to see him in a PPV match, though.
The announcers put over Charlie Sheen as the "Social Media Ambassador" for the 1000th edition of Raw. In other words, he'll be tweeting about Raw during that episode.
Backstage, Bryan knocked on the Divas locker room door. Kaitlyn opened it up. She didn't know where AJ was, but she told him to be careful because AJ is mentally unstable. Then she went back into the room while Bryan was frustrated. A man frustrated by a crazy chick? Wouldn't be the first time!
In the ring, Tyson Kidd awaited his opponent. It was Jack Swagger.
World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Tyson Kidd vs. Jack Swagger
Kidd got an early rollup for two. Then he got another rollup after an athletic counter. Kidd hid a dropkick to the face of Swagger, but Swagger countered with a nice reverse slam for two. Swagger hit a legdrop for two. Kidd got another rollup for two. Swagger came back with a clothesline in the corner, a hiptoss and then the Swagger Bomb for two. Kidd hit an acrobatic DDT to counter a backdrop. That drew a nice reaction. Kidd nailed Swagger with kicks including the low spin kick and then a dropkick for two. Kidd went on to Swagger's shoulders, but Swagger was able to plant him face first. He went for the Ankle Lock. Kidd used the ropes to roll out of it. Kidd nailed Swagger with a side kick in the face to stun him. Kidd went to the ropes and hit a Blockbuster off the top. He covered for the win after five minutes of action.
Winner: Tyson Kidd - Qualifies for World Title Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Post match, the announcers put over Kidd's win. They said it was the most important victory in Kidd's career. Kidd showed a lot of emotion while he celebrated the win. In the ring, Swagger was shocked that he lost.
Analysis: ** I'm shocked and excited at the same time. Shocked because they actually put Kidd over on Smackdown, but excited because there's nobody in the company that deserves it more. The guy is as talented an in-ring performer as anybody in the company and I've heard guys like Bryan & Punk put him over in interviews. It's about time he gets the chance to shine on Smackdown. While he obviously won't be a favorite to win Money in the Bank, I'm glad he's going to be there. He'll likely steal the show with his athleticism and my hope is that it leads to more TV time for Kidd on Smackdown or Raw going forward.
We got to see the clips of Jerry Lawler's favorite Raw moment in honor of Raw 1,000 and as we know it was the time when Foley & Austin "visited" Vince McMahon in the hospital. At least Lawler didn't pick something from his awful feud with Michael Cole.
There was a recap of the Contract on the Pole match from Raw, which led to the Sheamus vs. Del Rio vs. Ziggler World Title match that's on this Smackdown show.
Backstage, Dolph Ziggler was talking to Vickie Guerrero in her face. Ziggler wanted her to ban Sheamus' Brogue Kick and Del Rio's Cross Armbreaker. She said that wouldn't look good on her. He went into a rant saying he needs this and she needs to do this for him. She slapped him. That was unexpected. He asked her to announce him and that when he wins the title she'll be out there to raise his hand. She said she would be.
Analysis: The slap was interesting. It could be leading to a Ziggler face turn or it could be quickly forgotten. We'll see.
Santino and Christian made their way out for the next tag team match.
World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Christian & Santino vs. David Otunga & Cody Rhodes
The winners of this match get to be the third and fourth guys in the ladder match at Money in the Bank. Otunga did a series of poses in the ring while Cole put it over huge. Rhodes dropped Christian with a knee to the ribs followed by a front suplex. Otunga hit a bodyslam, which is one of the four moves he knows. Rhodes missed an attack off the middle rope, so he tagged in Otunga while Christian got the tag to Santino. Santino hit an arm drag followed by a chop and then he pulled out the Cobra sleeve. He connected with the Cobra Strike on Otunga. Rhodes pulled Otunga outside to the floor. Rhodes decked Santino and tagged himself in. The heels isolated Santino while Otunga slowed it down with a chinlock. Santino countered with a back suplex. Both guys tagged out. Christian hit a flapjack followed by a back elbow off the middle rope. Rhodes avoided the Killswitch, so Christian dropped him with a reverse DDT. Otunga prevented the Spear from Christian and then he got tagged into the match. Otunga accidentally knocked down Rhodes. Otunga knocked Santino to the floor. Christian used that opportunity to hit a Spear on Otunga for the win. The match went seven minutes.
Winners: Christian & Santino - Qualify for World Title Money in the Bank Ladder Match
After the match, Rhodes was throwing a tantrum. He was yelling: "I didn't lose."
Analysis: ** It was a solid tag match with the heels working over Santino for the majority of it and then Christian coming up for the win for his team. I'm surprised Rhodes didn't quality for Money in the Bank because he's somebody I would consider to be a favorite to win the match. They could always add him to it next week. Judging by his post match tantrum I would assume that's where it's headed. I wouldn't consider Christian or Santino to win Money in the Bank, but Christian will make the match better and I think Santino will come up big like he did in the Elimination Chamber match too.
Backstage, Sheamus talked about the triple threat match for the World Title. He says he wasn't worried about losing his title. He said Del Rio thinks he's better than everybody and Ziggler thinks he's better because of who he is and tonight he gets the chance to prove them both wrong. He said he doesn't worry. He just kicks arse. That was a basic promo that was straight to the point. It works for Sheamus.
Backstage, Daniel Bryan found AJ. He said he was concerned about her well being. He asked her if she has looked out for professional help. He said he knew a doctor that could help and he asked her if she wanted his number. Her reply? "Yes…yes…yes…yes." And then she skipped her way out of there.
The names of the guys that Ryback would be facing are Dan Barone and Brandon Burke. They cut a promo pre-match about how two are better than one.
Ryback vs. Dan Barone & Brendan Burke
Ryback destroyed both guys easily like usual. He hit a hard powerbomb on one of them and then a stiff clothesline on the other. At least Booker was the first one to say that Ryback needs some better opponents. Ryback finished them off by hitting his finisher on both guys, which is known as Shell Shocked. The match went about one minute.
Analysis: The usual. What's next for Ryback? You would think with different GMs running the show every week that they would book him in a match other than a 1 on 2 match, but I guess every GM has the same idea every week.
Post match, Ryback was yelling "feed me more" and it sounded like the crowd was joining in. The chants could have been piped in though.
Backstage, Antonio Cesaro was in a lip lock with Aksana. Teddy Long walked up to them. He said he doesn’t harbor any hard feelings towards them or their relationship. Teddy Long said that he was in charge of Raw & Smackdown next week. He said on Tuesday's Live Super Smackdown Great American Bash special (that's a long title!) they would be in a mixed tag match against Layla & The Great Khali. Antonio and Aksana weren't thrilled with that announcement. I'm never thrilled with Khali announcements either.
Analysis: Cue the Teddy Long tag match jokes.
Justin Gabriel made his entrance as they went to break.
The Raw Rebound aired. It focused on Big Show destroying John Cena on Raw.
World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Tensai w/Sakamoto vs. Justin Gabriel
Even though he got destroyed a few weeks ago, Sakamoto was still accompanying Tensai to the ring. Tensai destroyed Gabriel with a shoulder tackle and then destroyed him with fists. Tensai hit a delayed butterfly suplex. Tensai gave Gabriel a bearhug and Gabriel was able to fight out with his speed. Gabriel hit a nice kick to the back of the head of Tensai. Gabriel hit a springboard dropkick to a big pop. Moonsault by Gabriel got two. He went to the top, but Tensai dropped him in a Baldo Bomb and then finished it off with a senton for the win after three minutes.
Winner: Tensai - Qualifies for World Title Money in the Bank Ladder Match
After the match they recapped the World Title Money in the Bank Ladder Match qualifiers: Tyson Kidd, Damien Sandow, Christian, Santino & Tensai. They also said that Cody Rhodes was protesting his loss since his partner got pinned, so I think that will lead to Rhodes being a part of the match too. They will likely be adding 3-5 more people so it's either an 8 man or 10 man match.
Analysis: * It's interesting to see a big guy like Tensai in the match because that will add a different element to it. Of course the WWE Title match has big guys in it like Big Show and Kane, but as far as the World Title one Tensai is the biggest guy involved. I don't think he has any chance to win the match. I'm okay with him being a part of it, though.
After the break is the World Title match.
It's time for another Raw 1,000 moment from Triple H. This one is from January 2002 when he returned from injury at Madison Square Garden. No Hunter you are wrong. Your greatest moment was marrying Stephanie. Nothing else is close to that.
Ricardo Rodriguez did his fabulous introduction for Alberto Del Rio. Del Rio ripped on the town they were in, but didn't say the name of the city of course. He was going to tell us why he would be victorious when Vickie Guerrero interrupted. She introduced Dolph Ziggler. Then she left. Josh Mathews made a point to say that the permanent GM of Raw & Smackdown will be announced on the 1,000th episode of Raw. Sheamus entered to a very loud pop from the crowd. They went to break before the match began.
World Heavyweight Title: Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Alberto Del Rio w/Ricardo Rodriguez
Sheamus knocked Ziggler out of the ring early, so he focused his attack on Del Rio. Sheamus continued his early dominance by hitting a clothesline on Del Rio and then he threw Ziggler in the air so that he could take an acrobatic bump by landing face first. Sheamus went to run the ropes, so Ziggler pulled the rope down and Sheamus went crashing down. Ziggler hit the best dropkick in the business on Del Rio. Ziggler slammed Del Rio's face into the ring steps. There are no DQ's in triple threats yet it's rare that people use weapons. Ziggler gave Sheamus a dropkick to keep him out of the ring. Del Rio missed a corner splash on Ziggler, which led to Ziggler getting a two count. There was a "Let's go Ziggler' chant from the crowd, which could lead to that face turn I was talking about earlier. Ziggler knocked Del Rio to the floor. Sheamus snuck up behind Ziggler and dropped him with the Electric Chair Drop. They went to break with all three guys selling their injuries.
The battle went out to the floor where Del Rio hit a kick to the head of Sheamus. Ziggler joined in on the battle outside the ring as they went after Sheamus by the announce table. Del Rio slammed Sheamus' head into the steel steps. Back in the ring, the heels dominated the action while the fans chanted "Sheamus." Del Rio tried to steal a pin, so he and Ziggler fought eachother. While that was going on, Sheamus went to the top and hit his battering ram shoulderblock on both guys. Sheamus hit a powerslam on Del Rio that Ziggler broke up at the count of two. Sheamus hit the ten clubbing forearms on Ziggler. Del Rio avoided a Brogue Kick, but Sheamus was able to hit him with the Irish Curse Backbreaker. Ziggler broke up the pinfall. Sheamus avoided the Ziggler Fameasser and caught him in the White Noise. He nailed Ziggler with it. Del Rio draped Sheamus' left arm over the top rope. Then Del Rio gave Sheamus an armbreaker using his knees. Sheamus countered the Cross Armbreaker, but then he missed a charge into the corner and his injured left arm went crashing into the steel post. Ziggler hit a dropkick on the arm while it was up against the post. That was a great spot. Del Rio destroyed Ziggler with an Enziguiri that sent Ziggler to the floor. Del Rio put Sheamus in the Cross Armbreaker. Ziggler broke it up before Sheamus could tap out. Ziggler hit the Fameasser for two. Del Rio kicked out. Rodriguez was on the apron, so Ziggler drove Del Rio into him and then Ziggler rolled up Del Rio for two. While Ziggler was covering Del Rio, Sheamus destroyed Ziggler with a Brogue Kick. Wow what an awesome spot that was. Del Rio went after Sheamus, so Sheamus dumped him to the floor and then Sheamus pinned Ziggler for the win. The match went about 14 minutes.
Analysis: ***1/2 It was a very good title match that really delivered complete with an exciting finish. What more can you ask for from a televised main event right? That's the kind of match we want to see in the main event slot. I realize they can't do that kind of match every week, but more often than not we are getting excellent matches on Smackdown on a weekly basis. All three guys performed well. Sheamus showed a lot of heart as the babyface champion that kept fighting back and he also did a nice job of selling the arm injury even after the match. That's what I like to see. Del Rio was crafty the entire time. I liked a lot of the veteran heel tricks he did. Ziggler continues to amaze with his athleticism. Plus, the way he sold that Brogue Kick at the end of the match was fantastic.
The show ended with Sheamus celebrating with the World Heavyweight Title as Michael Cole pushed the live Great American Bash themed Smackdown on Tuesday next week.
I enjoyed Smackdown this week. Call it a 7 out of 10. Three stars? Let's go with Sheamus, Ziggler, Del Rio and Kidd. I cheated!
I think we'll get Sheamus vs. Del Rio in a singles match for the World Title at Money in the Bank. They made a point to push that he hasn't had his one on one shot at the title and he didn't get pinned here, so it makes sense to do that. Sheamus will go over there of course.
The first five qualifiers for the World Title MITB match are interesting. I don't think any of those five are going to win, however. I think the win will go to Rhodes, Ziggler or possibly a returning Wade Barrett. Still, I'm happy that a deserving guy like Tyson Kidd will have the chance to be in a major match on PPV.
The Bryan/AJ story continues to be interesting. She was all over the show once again. She did a wonderful job of showing good acting rage too. Being in a big storyline like this is tough because of the pressure involved, but AJ is showing how good she is. I'm very impressed by her work. Bryan continues to be the most interesting character in WWE and maybe the best performer too.
Next week's Smackdown is the live Great American Bash special on Tuesday night. They've advertised CM Punk and John Cena to be there, so it will be a loaded show. I'm looking forward to it.
I'll be back on Tuesday morning with the Raw Deal column as always. It's Canada Day weekend (July 1 is Canada's birthday), so I'll be out enjoying that. To my American friends celebrating the American July 4th birthday mid-week, be safe and have a great time.
Until next time, thanks for reading.
John Canton - [email protected]
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