WWE Friday Night Smackdown- July 22, 2011
-The show opens to Randy Orton seated in the ring. Orton is steaming over his DQ loss to Christian at Money in the Bank, which resulted in Christian winning his World title. Christian comes to the stage to mock Orton some more, pointing out that Orton lost the title because he knowingly broke the rules. The best part is that Christian is 100% correct. Orton angrily demands a rematch but Christian imitates Orton from the past couple of months, stating that nobody likes a whiner. Orton charges the stage, but Teddy Long and an army of referees appear to break it up. Long reminds Orton that heís scheduled to face Kane in a street fight and challenges him to be the bigger man by walking away. Orton decides that being the bigger man is overrated and tackles Christian anyway. The referees break it up, and Long decides Christian should face Ezekiel Jackson. This was a great opening segment, as Christian continues to shine while playing mind games with an easily set off Randy Orton.
World Heavyweight Champion Christian vs. Intercontinental Champion Ezekiel Jackson
Hogan vs. Warrior, this is not. Jackson shoves Christian out of the ring. They trade waist locks, with Jackson getting a takedown. Christian slaps the face but eats a press slam. Jackson dumps Christian to ringside again as we head to commercial. Post break, Christian misses a drop-kick to the floor but succeeds in sending Jackson face-first into the steps with a drop toe hold. Flying elbow shot by Christian cements his control. Jackson counters with a fall away slam and builds a comeback. Christian survives some power slams and applies a sleeper. Jackson counters but Christian sends him into the ring post. The Killswitch finishes it at 6:48 (shown). They worked hard, but weíve seen this match a thousand times.
-Michael Cole reluctantly interviews Daniel Bryan in the ring. Bryan is all smiles after winning the Smackdown Money in the Bank ladder match. Cole dismisses Bryanís big win as a fluke. Bryan says Coleís opinion doesnít matter to him. Cole mocks Bryan for when he inevitably cashes in when the champion is vulnerable in the ring. Cole says Bryan will never deserve to be champion. Bryan fires back by saying Cole didnít deserve to be in a marquee match at Wrestlemania. Right on! Bryan puts over his long, hard quest to make it to the top of WWE. Bryan says if heís going to be World champion, he doesnít want it to be a fluke, therefore he announces that heíll cash in at Wrestlemania! This is AWESOME news. Heath Slater interrupts and predicts Bryan will be the first man to cash in and lose. Slater says Bryan was a loser in NXT and in Nexus, so he got kicked out. Niiiice.
Daniel Bryan vs. Heath Slater
Slater scores first with a shoulder block but Bryan fires back with a drop-kick. Bryan looks for the LaBell Lock early so Slater retreats. Cue the commercial! Afterwards, Bryan gets a nice arm drag but Slater punches the face. Bryan responds with a monkey flip but Slater rebounds with a neck breaker. Slater spends some time wearing down Bryan. After a too-long beat down, Bryan flips over Slater and hits a nice clothesline. Bryan dumps Slater to the floor and hits a flying knee strike off the apron. Missile drop-kick by Bryan! Slater blocks the LaBell lock and delivers a nasty spinebuster. Bryan counters with a knee to the skull and they trade near falls. Slater taps out to a guillotine choke at 6:54 (shown). This was another formula match, elevated slightly by the talent involved.
Winner: Daniel Bryan
-Michael Cole promises that if Daniel Bryan wins the World title at Wrestlemania, he will vomit all over the commentary table. I think we should hold Cole to that.
-Mark Henry is interviewed backstage. He is on a roll after decimating Big Show at Money in the Bank.
-Everything on Smackdown comes to a screeching halt as they replay the entire segment from Raw when Triple H informs Vince McMahon that he is ďrelieved of his duties.Ē Remember, kids, Raw is important, and Smackdown is filler. Donít you ever forget that.
-WWE Rewind: Sin Cara upsets Sheamus last week. Immediately afterwards, Wade Barrett attacks Sheamus with Waste Land!
Wade Barrett vs. Sheamus
This is a battle between two men who were elevated to main event status in 2010 but have been stuck in a mid-card rut in 2011. They should just walk out together and go slap Kevin Dunn around for a bit. Alas, they aggressively battle it out in an evenly fought match. Barrett takes control after a boot to the head. Sheamus blocks an abdominal stretch slam and delivers a back breaker. Sheamus pummels Barrett in the ropes. Knee lift on the apron by Sheamus! The brawl spills to ringside and they risk getting counted out. The match is tossed out at 4:30. This was a fine exhibition of intensity, both competitors looked eager to please.
-Sheamus and Barrett arenít finished brawling. Barrett checks his mouth as he might have lost a tooth. They battle back into the ring, where Sheamus has the final word with a Brogue Kick. I think Sheamus is going to make a terrific baby face.
-Kane is lurking backstage in the shadows with some spooky music. Kane puts over his 14 year career of inspiring nightmares. Sadly, now Kane is the one who is haunted, as heís facing his own humanity. Kane will fix this problem when he punishes Randy Orton in their street fight. Kane laughs maniacally to end a fun segment.
Kane catches Orton off guard in the early going with some aggressive punching. Orton fights back with a Lou Thesz press. Kane counters the RKO and clotheslines Orton to ringside. They brawl through the aisle. Orton finds a kendo stick under the ring and unloads on Kane. Orton pulls Kane back to the ring, only to get dumped back to the floor. Since the match will be longer than 4 minutes, itís time for an advertisement. After the break, Kane is firmly in control. Kane prepares the announce table for some punishment but Orton blocks a choke slam by landing feet first on the table. The table breaks under Ortonís weight, but Orton laughs it off. Orton sends Kane crashing into the ring steps to take control. Orton crushes Kaneís ankle with the steps as we head to a second commercial. The show returns with Kane and Orton trading shots in the ring. Orton nails the DDT off the ropes. Kane blocks the RKO and hits a side slam. Flying clothesline by Kane! Kane signals the end but eats an RKOÖ for only 2! Orton prepares the punt of death but Kane surprises with a choke slam! Itís been three minutes since the last commercial, why not have another one? Back from break, Kane is using a chair to repay Orton for the beating from last week. Orton blocks a Tombstone and hits the RKO onto the chair. Orton seemed to take the brunt of the punishment from that maneuver, but itís enough for the win at 13:11 (shown). This was a solid main event, but THREE commercial breaks during the bout really hurt. Seriously, thatís some TNA Impact level of nonsense.
Randy Orton vs. Kane
Winner: Randy Orton
-Kane offers a handshake afterwards and surprisingly, Orton accepts. The Code of Honor is alive and well. Orton takes his leave as Kane remains to bask in the crowd adoration. Unfortunately, a fresh Mark Henry shows up. Kane is eager to fight but Mark Henry quickly puts him down with a clothesline. Kane is selling his injured ankle as Henry finishes what Orton started. The commentary team flees as Henry comes near them for a chair. Henry wraps the chair around Kaneís bad ankle and splashes it off the turnbuckle! That was DISGUSTING! And by that, I mean awesome. Looks like we might not see Kane again for a while.
Final Thoughts: The crowd was dead throughout the show, which hurt the vibes of what they were going for. I hate, hate, HATE when they replay Raw segments in their entirety, as itís such a subtle, yet effective way to bury Smackdown in front of itís own audience. I know Vince McMahon being fired from his television role is significant, but a Raw Replay video package would have served just fine. Otherwise, this show will stick out in my mind for the big Daniel Bryan announcement and for Christian rolling back into town with the World title. Also, they need to address the problem of commercials during matches. I can remember a time when this never happened, circa 2000. If they could do it before, they could do it again, if they wanted to. Mild Thumbs Up, despite some of my biggest pet peeves being on full display.
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