A work week is over and I return to the wacky, wacky WWE universe. After a video recap reminding us who they are, Wade Barrett and his “new” crew come out to introduce themselves. They call themselves “The Corre” and that’s not terrible. Heath Slater speaking is. Gabriel is weak on the mic but at least he shows hope. And Jackson has been around long enough in the same gimmick he can cut a promo without any real trouble. Teddy Long interrupts them to assert his authority. The Corre are in the Rumble. You need to find 40 guys somewhere. The Corre has no leader. As long as Barrett is the mouthpiece that’s fine. Long will not put up with gang tactics. They can like Smackdown or leave it.

No sooner does Long leave then Alberto Del Rio shows up. He’s here to welcome them, but it’s his show and he’s going to win the Royal Rumble. It’s his destiny. Very short promo as we go to commercial. When we return Del Rio is set to face R-Truth. Breaking news, Teddy Long is out cold backstage. It preserves the atmosphere of reality to interrupt the show with this news but it’s a kick in the teeth to the wrestlers in ring, especially since the announce team spends too much time on Long. Del Rio continues to need his ring announcer to win. Cheating to win helps keep heels from accidentally getting face heat. Unless you are Eddie Guererro (RIP).

With Vickie Guererro now in charge The Corre comes to tell her they had nothing to do with it. They also offer any help they can so Vickie says one of them can face Edge tonight. Divas fight as Layla El faces Beth Phoenix. Lay-Cool is working an increasingly technical style to face the larger women. It’s not a bad match and the Glam Slam picks up the win for Beth.

Monday we get Edge versus The Miz! Right now Rey Mysterio faces Cody Rhodes. It would be a big win for Rhodes but don’t bet on it. It’s not a bad match and it carries us just past the mid-point of the show but Mysterio win with a 619. Cole is annoyed Rey hit Cody with his knee brace, and in the face to boot. The nose is “broken”.

Miz and Reilly are here. We’re actually seeing an amateur wrestling competition on a WWE program. Jack Swagger challenged Kofi Kingston and the IC champion accepted. Swagger toys with Kofi so Kingston gets some points for escapes but Swagger takes lead on takedowns. Kofi makes a last minute rally but Swagger just edges him out for the win. But Kofi takes Swagger down with a kick to look strong in defeat.

The WWE must see something in Trent Barretta because here he is facing Drew McIntyre on Smackdown yet again. But Drew picks up a pretty easy win so I guess he has more upside. McIntyre tries a handshake, gets a slap, then goes nuts on Barretta. That draws Kelly Kelly who is not pleased. McIntyre is right when he points out he was hit first.

Let’s see what Miz has to say. He wants to remind people what he did to Randy Orton on Monday and how that makes him awesome. Edge is out to defend Smackdown from RAW rejects. Miz is willing to let things go but Reilly tries to get uppity and eats a Spear for his trouble. Edge later has to face Justin Gabriel and Dolph Ziggler becomes the fourth amigo on the commentary desk. Dolph needs to lose at the Rumble due to Vickie, then turn on her and become a face. He should be standing on his own now and he needs new opponents.

Gabriel was the best choice to give away facing Edge free but what shocks me is that, thanks to a sneak attack by Ezekial Jackson, Gabriel actually picks up the upset. Just like Nexus earned its cred by taking down John Cena, The Corre takes down Edge to look strong here. Dolph Ziggler waits for them to move on before entering the ring to plant a foot on edge’s chest like an explorer planting a flag.

So, we have two smaller stables where Nexus once was. Plus, Daniel Bryan, Darren Young and maybe Skip Sheffield will come back. All this from a show, NXT, most people have written off. But this Smackdown was a bit of a write off. Nothing really great happened, the two stables seem repetitive and a lot of the matches were rehashes. I hope next week is better.