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WWE Smackdown- January 1, 2010
by SamoaRowe

Welcome to the first Smackdown of 2010! Tonightís show will feature a Beat the Clock series to determine a #1 Contender for the Undertakerís World title at the Royal Rumble.

-The show opens with CM Punk and Luke Gallows gracing us in the ring. Punk cuts an awesome promo, trying to force the fans in attendance (and watching at home) to take a straight-edge pledge. They sure have some stones in encouraging this family audience to boo a guy who is crusading against drugs and alcohol. The crowd isnít buying it, so Punk threatens to beat up every fan in the arena. That would be entertaining.

Beat the Clock Challenge match:
CM Punk vs. Matt Hardy

The match starts off evenly as they exchange arm work. Hardy takes control from there, unleashing a series of attacks but unable to pick up the victory. Punk delivers his patented martial arts kicks to reverse the momentum. Punk works a head scissors. Punk doesnít really seem concerned with picking up the quick win like he should be, as the clock is ticking. Punk unleashes some slams and suplexes, but canít get the win. Chinlock by Punk, but Hardy counters with a back suplex. Hardy builds some momentum with his trademark tricks. Side effect by Hardy gets 2. Big kick to the head by Punk changes the game. Go To Sleep finishes it at 7:20. This featured solid wrestling, but Punk really should have been more eager to win.
Winner: CM Punk

-Punk is evidently pleased with his win time. Gallows enters the ring and dishes out some additional abuse to Matt Hardy. Itís safe to assume that Punkís 7:20 time will be beaten later on.

Beat the Clock Challenge match:
Kane vs. Dolph Ziggler

The time to beat is 7:20. Ziggler lunges at Kane and tries to lock onto a body part. Kane actually chain-wrestles back, until eating a drop-kick to the knee. Ziggler smells blood and begins targeting the knee. Clothesline by Kane gets only 2, but gives him control. Ziggler counters a back drop with a DDT. A second DDT gives Ziggler a two count. Cue the chinlock! Fame-asser by Ziggler isnít enough. More chinlock goodness. A big boot gives control back to Kane. After some resistance, Kane hits his top rope clothesline. Ziggler targets the neck in the closing seconds of the match. The time expires at 7:20. Ziggler continues to impress me, but itís strange watching Kane wrestle like heís just another guy on the roster and not a monster.
No contest.

The Great Khali vs. The Carolina Panther
The Panther is just some jobber in a sports jersey. Khali no-sells some body shots and delivers the double chokeslam. Itís over at 0:25. This was short enough not to annoy me, so huzzah.
Winner: The Great Khali

Intercontinental Championship:
Drew McIntyre © vs. John Morrison

Hot start to the match, with Morrison taking the fight to the floor. Morrison flips off the barricade, which throws McIntyre off his game. McIntyre kicks the head, causing Morrison to get tied in the ropes, becoming an easy target. McIntyre smells blood and begins targeting the hurt leg. Morrison counters with an enziguri, but is heavily selling his leg. Morrison delivers some blows and manages to hit a springboard kick. McIntyre counters with a tirt-a-whirl backbreaker. McIntyre exposes a turnbuckle, but the referee scolds Morrison for being too aggressive McIntyre shoves Morrison into the referee, which is mistaken for an attack by Morrison. This calls for the DQ at 4:47. This was short, but featured some fine wrestling. It also nicely sets up future matches between these two.
Winner by DQ: Drew McIntyre

-John Morrison is furious and lunges at McIntyre during his exit. They brawl on the ramp and need to be separated by a troop of referees.

Beth Phoenix vs. Mickie James
Michelle McCool and Layla are sitting at ringside, wearing t-shirts designed to butter up Phoenix. Mickie is aggressive but runs into a backbreaker. Mickie fights off Phoenix, hitting a seated senton off the ropes. Layla distracts on the apron. Michelle hops up and accidentally kicks Beth in the head. This allows Mickie to pick up the win at 1:02. Well, that was fun while it lasted.
Winner: Mickie James

-Layla and Michelle attack Mickie after the match. Beth makes the surprise save. I fully support a face turn for Phoenix, so this was good to see. Beth really puts a hurting on Michelle, slamming her hard to the mat and kicking her to ringside. Layla tries sneaking back in but gets kicked out as well. Beth adds a fun shade of gray to the situation by laying Mickie out with the Glam Slam. Awesome, I says.

-Chris Jericho comes to the ring for his match, but wants to talk first. He claims that Smackdown isnít big enough for him. Hell, Jericho goes as far to say that heís bigger than the WWE. Jericho vows victory this Monday on Raw, when he and Big Show challenge DX for the Unified Tag Team titles. Once that happens, Jericho will be the face of every WWE brand. Jericho makes a resolution to win every championship in the WWE this year.

Beat the Clock Challenge match:
Chris Jericho vs. Rey Mysterio

The time to beat is still 7:20, set by CM Punk. Jericho is ruthless in the early going and focuses on the head. Rey speeds things up but gets tossed to the floor. Rey rebounds with a springboard crossbody, but eats a clothesline. Jericho slows things down, but makes sure to keep an eye on the time. Rey sets up 619, but runs into a lucha back drop. Jericho wears down the head and arm, forcing Rey to look at the clock. Rey hits a flying head butt! Springboard crossbody gets 2. Things heat up with only two minutes remaining. Jericho counters 619 with the Walls! Rey counters and connects with 619! Reyís splash is countered by a Code Breaker! Rey kicks out and delivers an inside cradle to win at 7:19! They packed a lot of action and character moments into this one, ***.
Winner: Rey Mysterio

Beat the Clock Challenge match:
R-Truth vs. Batista

Rey Mysterio is watching from ringside, which displeases Batista. That doesnít stop him from getting the early upper hand. R-Truth attempts a roll-up and targets the head with a leg drop. Batista rakes the eyes and delivers a nasty clothesline. Suplex by Batista gets 2. Truth shows off by flipping around, to which Batista responds with a boot to the face. Truth blocks the Demon Bomb and hits a dive to the floor. Batista drives Truth into the ring post and decides to take his time inflicting punishment. Batista takes Truth a bit more seriously after taking a drop-kick. Truth counters a spear with a DDT but canít get the win. Batista swats off a missile drop-kick and connects with the spear. Batista hits the Demon Bomb and seems to be on his way to winning just in time, but Rey pulls out the referee! The time expires at 7:20! This was actually a decent big man vs. quick man contest, with a good hook in Batista becoming overconfident.
No contest

-Vickie Guerrero shows up to ruin the party. She tells Rey that everyone must follow the rules on Smackdown. She orders Rey to face Batista next week to determine a true #1 Contender.

Final Thoughts: These Beat the Clock Challenge episodes are always fun to watch. Every match has a purpose and they are generally exciting. This was not an exception, as it also managed to further the issue between Batista and Rey. Otherwise, I like where things are going with the Morrison/McIntyre feud and the Beth Phoenix developments were intriguing. All in all, Iíd say this was a good way to start the year!

Thumbs up.

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