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WWE Friday Night Smackdown- June 24, 2011
-From Hershey, PA. Our hosts are Michael Cole, Josh Matthews, and Booker T.
-We kick things off with Theodore Long. He addresses the controversy from Capital Punishment, when Randy Orton pinned Christian while Christian technically had a rope break. Christian comes to the ring and gets into Long’s face. Long admits the referee made a mistake but says the decision stands. Christian has a valid reason to be upset here, despite being the supposed heel in the feud against Orton. Christian demands a title match but Long says he has to earn it. Long puts Christian in a match against Kane. If I were Christian, I’d put Long down with the Killswitch, but alas he just pouts.
Sin Cara vs. Ted Dibiase
I hate the mood lighting for Sin Cara matches and I don’t think I’m alone on that position. Anyhoo, Dibiase targets the arm but Sin Cara outmaneuvers his clunky opponent. Sin Cara hits a flying cross body to the floor. Dibiase counters Sin Cara’s springboard with a drop-kick. Cue the chinlock! Sin Cara counters but eats a big boot. Dibiase retains control with a clothesline. Sin Cara forges a comeback with his high flying arsenal. Dibiase counters with a spinebuster. Sin Cara uses a spinning head scissors into an arm takedown for the win at 5:09. Decent exhibition match, the crowd was into what Sin Cara had to offer.
Winner: Sin Cara
-Recap of Daniel Bryan defeating Cody Rhodes on Raw. Bryan won the match but Rhodes put a paper bag over his head afterwards.
-Cody Rhodes and his associates come out to the arena. Rhodes slams Hershey, PA for making people fat by manufacturing so much chocolate. His associates hand out paper bags to fans, many of whom are happy to wear them for the sheer novelty of it. Daniel Bryan interrupts Cody’s rambling. Bryan’s message is “looks aren’t everything.” Bryan points to a picture of Dusty Rhodes on the tron, who was not attractive but was charismatic and a good person. Bryan calls Cody a bitter, arrogant jerk, who will never live up to his father’s standards. Ouch.
Cody Rhodes vs. Daniel Bryan
Michael Cole is using a paper bag as a Booker T puppet, which sounds funnier than it actually is. Rhodes is pissed and aggressively goes after Bryan. Bryan delivers a drop-kick, sending Cody to ringside for a temper tantrum. Ted Dibiase shows up for a pep talk. Cue the commercial! We return in time to see Rhodes tossing Bryan to ringside. Rhodes has control and methodically wears down Bryan. Cody misses a knee drop but regains control with a clothesline. Modified camel clutch by Rhodes but Daniel fights out and forges a comeback. Bryan hit’s a bad Pele kick but has better luck with a head scissors takedown. They collide and both men go down. Dibiase grabs Daniel’s leg and takes a suicide dive as a consequence. Rhodes takes advantage of the distraction with a hard kick to the head. Bryan’s leg is stuck in the ropes, which Cody is more than happy to capitalize on. Another hard kick and Cross-Rhodes finishes Bryan at 8:18 (shown). Strong television match that effectively continues the ongoing Rhodes/Bryan rivalry.
Winner: Cody Rhodes
-Rhodes puts a paper bag on Bryan for good measure.
-NXT Season 4 Winner Johnny Curtis cuts a backstage promo. He addresses why he hasn’t made his Smackdown debut yet. He has ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise on a table. He picks the ketchup and mayo, but tells the mustard that it doesn’t “make the cut.” Insert sigh here.
-Matt Striker interviews Big Show, who doesn’t seem to be in a good mood. Striker has Show watch a hype package of Mark Henry’s recent string of violence. Henry is the latest in a long line of big men to “never man-handle Big Show like this.” Henry suddenly shows up and tackles Show through the makeshift set. Henry blocks a referee from checking on Show, which simply isn’t nice.
Ezekiel Jackson © vs. Wade Barrett
This is rematch from Capital Punishment. Barrett attacks Jackson from behind during his entrance. Barrett drives Jackson into the ring post and barricade. They enter the ring but the referee won’t ring the bell until Jackson is on his feet. Barrett continues the aggression as the match officially begins. Jackson is hapless as Barrett wears him down. Spinning side slam by Barrett only gets 2. Jackson fires back with a uranage! Barrett lures Jackson to ringside to take back control. Jackson blocks Wasteland and locks on the Torture Rack! Barrett submits at 4:36! Barrett looked like a killer here and effectively put Jackson over. I happen to love the Torture Rack, so good stuff here.
Winner and still Intercontinental Champion: Ezekiel Jackson
-The World Heavyweight Champion, Randy Orton, is interviewed backstage. Orton says he’s more than happy to face Christian again. Orton adds that he’ll knock Christian out with another title shot to the head. Orton isn’t one of those cute and cuddly baby faces, which really helps in this day and age.
-Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater mockingly applaud Wade Barrett. Barrett says he forgot those two existed and says he’s got bigger ambitions than the IC title. Gabriel and Slater tell Barrett to watch their match because they’re going to do something Barrett can’t: win.
Jimmy and Jey Uso vs. Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel
The Usos have added a dance routine to their entrance. Josh Matthews explains that it’s a Polynesian war dance. I think I like it. Gabriel kicks things off but eats some chops. The Usos make a quick tag to overwhelm Gabriel. Gabriel tosses Jey to the floor. Slater dives off the apron onto Jey. Slater and Gabriel isolate Jey with some quick tags and double team moves. Gabriel springboards into a Samoan drop! Jimmy Uso gets the hot tag and cleans house. Jey dumps Slater, Slater dumps Jey, and Jimmy drops Slater with a thrust kick. Slater counters a splash and gets the pin at 4:28. This was quite good while it lasted. I would love to see a stronger push for the Usos.
Winners: Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel
Yoshi Tatsu vs. Jinder Mahal (with the Great Khali)
This will be the first time I see Jinder Mahal in action. Jinder pie faces Yoshi. The referee won’t ring the bell since Khali is in the ring. Mahal ignores the referee and goes to work on Tatsu with a suplex. Khali nails Yoshi with a chop to the head. Full Nelson slam by Mahal. Khali clotheslines Tatsu to the floor. Mahal takes the mic and puts themselves over as the world’s most powerful and privileged men. Mahal says he was born the best so he never had to struggle. Khali is done kissing American fat women. Nothing will stop the “Eastern winds” from blowing through the WWE Universe. I like where this is heading. Also, I hope Tatsu tries to gain some revenge next week.
Kane vs. Christian
If Christian wins, he gets another shot at Orton’s title. If Kane wins, he gets squat. Kane uses his size and power advantage in the early going. Kane misses a leg drop but grabs Christian by the throat. Christian drops Kane neck-first on the ropes and delivers a missile drop-kick. Christian continues targeting the injured neck area of Kane. Christian slithers out of a press slam and sends Kane crashing to ringside. Christian tries to gain a count-out victory but Kane returns at the 8 count. Flying head butt by Christian only gets 2. Cue the chinlock and commercial! After the break, Kane is up and hits a sidewalk slam. Kane catches Christian in mid-air for a power slam. Tirt-a-whirl power slam by Kane! Kane blocks a sunset flip but Christian kicks in the ropes. Christian blocks a choke slam and nails a tornado DDT. Kane counters the spear with a big boot. Christian yanks Kane off the top rope for a close near fall. Christian flies into Kane’s fist for a close 2 count. Flying clothesline by Kane but Mark Henry
runs in and attacks Kane to cause a DQ at 9:28 (shown). I really enjoyed the odd chemistry between Christian and Kane, they pulled off some great near falls, **¾
Winner by DQ: Kane
-Mark Henry continues beating down Kane. Theodore Long comes out and tells Christian he lost again. Long says he knows it’s not Christian’s fault, so now he must win a tag team match. It’ll be Christian and Mark Henry vs. Kane and Randy Orton!
Christian and Mark Henry vs. Randy Orton and Kane
Orton starts against Christian. Orton is fresh and gains control. Henry tags and pounds on Orton’s back and head. Christian tags in and spends too much time staring at Kane as Orton gets an inside cradle. Henry returns and continues to club away on Orton. Kane gets a somewhat hot tag and pummels Henry. Kane fights off Christian and delivers a flying clothesline. Kane is unable to follow through with a power slam as Henry is too heavy. Kane finds himself isolated as Christian and Henry make quick tags. Kane rebounds with a choke slam on Henry out of nowhere. Orton gets the hot tag and lunges after Christian, who hops off the apron. Orton signals the RKO but Christian runs in. Orton dispatches Christian with a rope assisted DDT. Henry is up and blocks the RKO. Randy bounces into Christian for an RKO but is immediately caught by Henry’s World’s Strongest Slam. Henry gets the win at 7:36! Christian gets another title win by sacrificing himself so Henry could get the victory. This was a lively main event with a compelling storyline. Christian is working well as a righteous heel.
Winners: Mark Henry and Christian
Final Thoughts: I’ve been hearing a lot of bad things about Smackdown these days, but this was a strong episode. The wrestling in every match was good and there was a lot of angle progression. The problem with this show tends to be that they recycle matches too often, and you can see that with the fact that Orton and Christian will be having yet another singles match on pay-per-view, but at least they are finding logical ways to keep Christian in the title hunt. As a stand-alone episode, this week’s Smackdown was very good. Thumbs up!
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