It’s time to see how Smackdown can treat its main face like a heel and its main heel like a face. Yep, Kane is out first to beg for his daddy. And here’s Edge, on the TitanTron, hitting Bearer with a chair. This is not working on any level at all. The crowd is just dead. Bugs Bunny couldn’t make this work.
Damn, Cole is back, but Josh Matthews has replaced Todd Grisham. If I had to choose between the two I’d go with Matthews. At least a Jack Swagger/Kaval match promises to be less stupid. Kaval picks up a kayfabe leg injury early in the match so is fighting from a disadvantage through the whole match. He still does okay but can’t climb the turnbuckle to finish it. When Swagger locks on the Ankle Lock it’s over quickly. Not sure what the point was of making Kaval unable to do a lot of his flashier moves due to a fake injury, but Kaval wasn’t embarrassed here. Swagger is upset he lost the number one contendership after being struck while in the ropes. Did you know being struck in the ropes is illegal? I’ve been watching regularly since 2002 and I’ve never heard someone bring up that rule.
Far less importantly, we have the Soaring Eagle taking on Hornswoggle. Did the creative staff never learn that comedy matches are meant to be short? This is not good and goes on way too long. There’s a place for some comedy in professional wrestling. This was not comedy. Our real main event will pit Kane and Alberto Del Rio versus Edge and Rey Mysterio.
Teddy Long is right, I’d rather see Santino and Koslov on both shows than Nexus. But Chavo Guererro promises to find a partner and make their reign a short one. Speaking of titles there’s a nice long match for the IC title between champion Dolph Ziggler and Kofi Kingston. Unfortunately it’s not a clean ending as Jack Swagger returns to attack Kofi Kingston and end the match without a decisive winner.
A Masterlock Challenge? Really? Cody Rhodes has to try to get out of the devastating Full Nelson. And yes, that’s sarcasm. Cody stalls and Masters slaps him in the face and squeezes his nose. This, of course, infuriates Rhodes who eventually tries to leave. Masters grabs him in the Masterlock, over the ropes, and pulls him into the ring. Rhodes actually passes out to the hold. I’ve never been a fan of Chris Masters and I am not sure why they even keep the guy employed. And Rhodes was in the ropes; didn’t we establish earlier that attacking someone in the ropes is illegal?
Remember a little while ago when Drew McIntyre turned his back on tag team wrestling? Well he joins Chavo to challenge for the tag championships. Do I have to take up Edge’s failed crusade against all things stupid? McIntyre is sullied by being brought into this. And I never thought I’d have to talk about a Cobra being badly hit, but Chavo does eat the pin and McIntyre beats him down afterward to try to rebuild his dying embers of heat.
As we continue to plug the Pay Per View we learn Mysterio and Del Rio’s match will be a Chairs Match. Natalya brings Beth Phoenix with her for her match with Layla. They are some of the most impressive Divas I have seen in a while. Natalya is being booked strong. So strong when she locks on the Sharpshooter and McCool tries to pull Layla to the ropes Natalya actually drags McCool into the ring. Phoenix takes care of McCool and Layla taps out quickly. I’m not sure if the belts are going back to LayCool or, if they don’t get them back, what creative will do with them.
The main event changes when Kane refuses to wrestle. That leaves Del Rio in a Handicap Match. A heel on the short side of a Handicap Match? Except Kane comes back and Edge runs from him. So now we just have a Mysterio/Del Rio match? Apparently. It’s not bad but you can tell they are holding back so the Chairs Match looks more impressive. We end with Kane finding two ladders set up on a catwalk with a wheelchair inside. Expecting another dummy Kane just tips it over. But now it’s the real Paul Bearer and Kane has to try to look shocked at what he just did. He looks dumb instead. This feud would be better suited to a cartoon than professional wrestling. And pushing a man over a catwalk seems less than PG.
Smackdown is turning into a show where young guys get to strut their stuff and learn at the same time but with a bunch of stupid crap thrown in. Get rid of the eagle. Don’t have Hornswoggle wrestle and come up with credible main event feud.
Some brief thoughts on TNA. At the last PPV Jeff Hardy retained, but AJ Styles lost the Television Title to Doug Williams. Hogan is off camera selling the injunction but Bischoff is here. And that’s great. See, Bischoff knows how to play a key role without putting all the focus on himself. Hogan doesn’t. Bischoff books Matt Morgan to face Ken Anderson (who is still not medically cleared) for #1 contendership. I thought it was for tonight but I guess not.
Brother Ray tries to prove he can win with anyone by having some no name student as the new “Devon.” Plan doesn’t work as they lose to Ink Inc., which is awesome, and Devon stops Ray from putting his student through a table. TNA tries to make the Women’s Tag Titles matter but, come on, the WWE Cruiserweight Title carries more prestige and it was retired when it was held by a leprechaun. I didn’t even know Daphne was even still employed.
Anderson tells Morgan he’ll get himself cleared for the match. Morgan does more of his usual pontificating on the danger of concussions. Douglas Williams defends his new title against Abyss. It’s a fluke win but it’s a win nonetheless. Jeff Jarrett actually beat Samoa Joe in a Submission Match at the PPV? Sure there was interference but that is horrible for Joe. Jeff Jarrett issues an open challenge to any fan who can make him tap out, with $100,000 on the line, and nearly causes a riot.
The main event is a Knockout Cage Match between Mickie James and Tara. They spend the whole night building to it, with Tara even lip-synching a song to show up Mickie. These two wrestle a match that would work just as well if they were both men. The problem is they are not impressive when compared to most male wrestlers. So when they wrestle like men they come across as mediocre. Even the money moment, Mickie hitting a Thesz Press off the top of the cage, isn’t as flashy as a lot of the moves I’ve seen off the top rope. Still, it gets Mickie the win.
There was nothing wrong with this episode but putting the focus back on the women at this stage isn’t helping. The booking of their matches seem boring. Like whoever is booking them is giving no thought to the fact these are women wrestling and may be able to use some different moves than the average male. Maybe if the cage had been used more viciously the main event would have stood out more. Or let one of the women bleed. You rarely see that. Do something to make it stand out. Because, overall this episode didn’t.