WWE Friday Night Smackdown- July 8, 2011
-From Tucson, AZ. Our hosts are Michael Cole, Booker T, and Josh Matthews.
-We kick things off with Josh Matthews hosting the participants of the upcoming Smackdown Money in the Bank ladder match. Daniel Bryan says he’s excited and nervous about the match, but feels the opportunity is worth the risks. He’s cut off by Cody Rhodes, who dismisses Bryan as a common man, while he is one of the exceptional people of the world. Wade Barrett is sick of hearing from the others and puts himself over for his big achievements in the past year (debatable, I know). Sheamus runs in and clears the ring with a chair, connecting on some shots on Barrett. Sheamus says he’s going to win the match and cash in after Orton beats Christian for the umpteenth time. Sheamus challenges Orton tonight, vowing to hit him so hard he’ll knock the voices out of his head. Haha, that’s wonderful. Christian comes out voicing his frustration that no one thinks he can beat Orton. Sheamus calls Christian a “scrawny, malnourished, googly eyed weasel” which is bordering on a Chris Jericho-worthy insult. Christian mocks Sheamus’ intelligence (and accent). Theodore Long shows up in time to officially announce Sheamus vs. Orton for later. I enjoyed this opening, even if it did make most of the Money in the Bank participants look like schmucks.
Cody Rhodes and Ted Dibiase (with the baggers) vs. Daniel Bryan and Intercontinental Champion Ezekiel Jackson
Bryan starts against Dibiase in an even contest. Jackson enters after pie-facing Dibiase from the apron. Jackson dominates against Dibiase and knocks Rhodes off the apron. Bryan tags and delivers a suicide dive onto both Dibiase and Rhodes. Cue the commercial. After the break, Bryan is nailing Rhodes with a series of hard kicks. Rhodes rebounds with the Alabama Slam, which I guess is no longer a finisher. Dibiase tags and continues to wear down Bryan. Jackson gets the hot tag and destroys Dibiase with a series of clotheslines. Jackson meets Rhodes with a power slam. Jackson looks for the torture rack on Dibiase but Rhodes breaks it up. Dibiase hits Dream Street and pins Jackson at 6:14 (shown). The match was kind of dull and will likely prove forgettable, but Dibiase and Rhodes are on a serious roll.
Winners: Ted Dibiase and Cody Rhodes
-Matt Striker nervously interviews Mark Henry backstage. Striker says Henry is facing potential fines, lawsuits, and criminal investigations for what he did to the sound technician last week. Henry doesn’t say anything, just intimidates Striker into fleeing the scene. Good stuff here.
Jinder Mahal (with The Great Khali) vs. Trent Barreta
Who let Barreta back on Smackdown? Khali joins the commentary team and blabbers incoherently. Barreta tries to put Mahal away quickly. Mahal counters by tossing Barreta into the turnbuckles and nailing a clothesline. Mahal delivers the Full Nelson Slam for the win at 1:06. Welcome to Jobbersville, Baretta.
Winner: Jinder Mahal
-Todd Grisham interviews Sheamus about his recent rampage. Sheamus explains it’s an Irish thing, so he wouldn’t understand. I like the new Sheamus.
Tamina (with Alicia Foxx) vs. AJ (with Natalya)
AJ attempts an arm-drag but it’s blocked. AJ runs into a chop. Tamina ruthlessly beats down the hapless AJ. Tamina misses a splash, giving AJ an opening for some basic offense. AJ dodges a corner splash and rolls up Tamina for the victory at 2:28. I’ll be honest, this flat-out sucked.
Kane vs. Mark Henry
Henry shakes off a series of shots and nails a clothesline to take control. Drop-kick to the knee by Kane takes Henry off his feet. Henry counters the flying clothesline with a belly to belly suplex. Big boot by Kane gets 2. Flying clothesline by Kane, but the choke slam is blocked. Kane blocks the World’s Strongest Slam and delivers the choke slam. Henry saves himself with a rope break. Kane looks to put Henry through the announce table but Henry fights back. Back to the ring, Henry hits a splash for 2. The World’s Strongest Slam finishes it at 5:54. Holy crap, I enjoyed this!
Winner: Mark Henry
-Mark Henry threatens Booker T for bad-mouthing him during the match, to which Booker cowardly backs down, trying to pass the buck to Michael Cole.
-World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton is interviewed backstage by Todd Grisham. Orton addresses the stipulation that if he is disqualified or if the referee screws up, Christian becomes champion at Money in the Bank. Orton says he agreed to it because he’s sick of Christian continually asking for just one more match. Orton also wishes a sarcastic good luck to Sheamus.
Tyson Kidd vs. Sin Cara
Whoa, it’s Tyson Kidd! I’m confused, this isn’t Superstars. Kidd targets the wrist in the early going. Sin Cara counters with a fancy arm drag. Sin Cara sends Kidd crashing to ringside, but Kidd counters a springboard attempt. Kidd shakes off Sin Cara’s comeback and knocks him off the ropes to retake control. Cue the mid-card television match chinlock! Sin Cara counters a springboard elbow drop! Sin Cara rebounds using his bag of tricks. Sin Cara catches Kidd on the top rope and delivers the moonsault slam for the victory at 4:14. Good victory for Sin Cara as he looked good but did not bury Kidd in the process.
Winner: Sin Cara
-Matt Striker asks Theodore Long what he plans to do about Mark Henry. Long says the investigations are ongoing, but Striker doesn’t buy it. Long refuses to answer if he is intimidated by Henry.
Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel vs. Jimmy and Jey Uso
I forget, is there a good reason why they split Tamina up from the Usos? Anywhoo, Gabriel starts off eating an Uso suplex. Slater tags himself in and blindsides the legal Uso. Gabriel tags in and assists Slater in keeping Jey Uso isolated. They take each other down with stereo big boots. Jimmy Uso gets an undeserved “hot tag” and cleans house. Samoan drop by Jimmy but Gabriel makes the save. Gabriel sets up the 450 but Jimmy kicks Slater into the turnbuckles. Suplerplex by Jimmy and a splash by Jey puts Gabriel away at 3:29. I can’t say I saw that finish coming. Short, yet solid outing, it’s too bad that these are the only two real tag teams on Smackdown, therefore they don’t seem to have anyone to wrestle but each other.
Winners: Jimmy and Jey Uso
-Johnny Curtis blows out all the candles on a birthday cake. You see, when he makes his Smackdown debut, he’ll take the cake. The fat guy he stole the cake from hangs his head in sadness. Insert groan here.
World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton vs. Sheamus
The Smackdown writers are hoping that we forget these two wrestled each other about a billion times in 2010. Christian joins the commentary team before the bell rings. They lock up with Orton getting the upper hand. Orton looks for the punt of death but Sheamus retreats. Orton hits the ugliest Lou Thesz press I’ve ever seen and they brawl to ringside. Sheamus drives Orton into the barricade and counters a DDT off the ropes. Sheamus drives Orton into the ring post. Christian hovers over the fallen Orton but Sheamus is just as displeased to see him. Orton eats the ring post again to send us to commercial. After the break, Sheamus is busy wearing down Orton as only a WWE main eventer can. Sheamus misses a slingshot shoulder block and Orton powers back. Sheamus perches on the ropes for a flying shoulder block! Irish Curse Backbreaker by Sheamus only gets 2. Orton blocks the bicycle kick but Christian attacks to earn a DQ at 7:56 (shown). This was far better than most of the Orton/Sheamus encounters I saw last year, good television match here.
Winner by DQ: Randy Orton
-Sheamus angrily puts Christian down with a bicycle kick but immediately eats an RKO afterwards. Orton stands tall, frustrated yet triumphant.
Final Thoughts: I didn’t love this show the way I had in previous weeks. Some of the wrestling felt sloppy and rush, particularly the divas, the Usos, and Sin Cara. The good news is that Christian and Sheamus were both greatly entertaining and Orton worked well playing off them. I’m interested in seeing where things go for Smackdown after Money in the Bank. Thumbs in the middle.
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