WWE SmackdownI like Green Day so Smackdown’s new opening makes me happy. We have an Undertaker stunt double standing on the outside of the Rose Garden in Portland. Smackdown has stolen RAW’s idea of having qualifiers for the Bragging Rights team and the first match is Rey Mysterio versus one half of the tag team champions, Cody Rhodes. You figure the tag champs will want to defend at Bragging Rights and Mysterio should go over anyway. It’s a better match than most of the qualifiers on RAW, despite the predictable ending.

Kaval talks his way into a match with Big Show where, if he lasts five minutes, he can earn a spot on the Bragging Rights team. Apparently we get yet another Kane/Undertake match at Bragging Rights, but they’re actually going to do a Buried Alive match in the PG era. Jack Swagger versus MVP for the third spot is at least hard to predict. More comic antics from the Soaring Eagle, but Swagger gets the anklelock on and MVP taps almost immediately.

Next Alberto Del Rio gets his shot and with Chris Masters as his opponent you know he’s going to qualify easily. It doesn’t help that the announce team, which has Cole again and Big Show sitting in as well, barely mention Masters. The match at Bragging Rights is not elimination, it’s one fall to the finish. Edge also gets a shot at the team and, again, you know he’s going to win even before Dolph Ziggler is announced as his opponent. Kaval actually does last five minutes against Big Show so the team is coming together as well as RAW.  Tyler Reks, a new guy I don’t even remember, comes to challenge Kaval for his spot. Kaval is game, but in rough shape after facing Show and Reks quickly beats him.

Drew McIntyre finally shows up for the last qualifying match and Kofi Kingston is his opponent. Smackdown has had to squeeze in all the same qualifiers RAW had to, but because it’s not padded out with Nexus storyline even this very short match seems better than RAW’s matches. Kingtson gets a clean win. It’s just a pity all these matches have gone the predictable way.

The blowoff of the show is more Kane versus Undertaker promos.  Kane is cutting some nice promos lately, but if you don’t look forward to the match they are going to have to blow it off, what does it matter? Taker doesn’t speak but comes out on top of the fisticuffs for a change then creates magic explosions and the urn gets dropped. There’s no rhyme nor reason to who comes out of these exchanges.

Wrestling Recap

Okay, so over at TNA “They” turned out to be Bischoff, Hogan, and the Jeffs, Hardy and Jarrett. So Bischoff has already trotted out his second good idea ever, turning Hogan heel. I’m so glad I didn’t pay to see that.  Eric also swapped contracts last week and Dixie turned control of the company over to Hogan and Bischoff. They are out to yak at first. He’s Hollywood Hogan again, just in case you weren’t already blindly aware of the derivativeness. And, now that TNA is totally dominated by heels, it’s Fortune who interrupts them… But they end up hugging. The claim is being made Kurt Angle is gone from TNA. Sting and Kevin Nash turn face for a bit of balance, but here’s the problem, this is the culmination of months of story building. It should be a huge deal, but I’m already bored. It doesn’t help that we’re a third of the way into the show and we haven’t had a match!

The knockouts get the first action of the night as Madison Rain demands a rematch with new champion Tara. Madison expects Tara to just lay down and she does. So it wasn’t a match after all. This ticks off Mickie James. There’s someone from Jersey Shore here tonight, but that’s best ignored.

Kurt is supposed to retire, but he’s not sure he should after getting screwed. That draws Jeff Jarrett. Their back and forth is pretty good, but it’s still not a match. With security’s help Jarrett gets Kurt handcuffed then slams his head into the stage. This actually draws the ire of Tazz who backs them off. Kurt’s neck is supposed to have been injured yet again so they’re playing up how Kurt could be really hurt. Samoa Joe’s mad at Jarrett too. Now more than halfway through we get a real match as Abyss takes on Joe. Even this match is ridiculously short as Abyss hits Joe with the ring bell for a disqualification. RVD has to chase Abyss off after the match. RVD wants Jeff Hardy, but Bishoff decides he has to face Mr. Anderson tonight for the shot.

The Pope has to face Fortune since he’s been friendly with Nash and Sting. Another joke of a match which leaves the main event as the only real match of the night. Those of you with DVRs had better have learned by now you need to record Reaction to see the end of this show, but even this match ends in a Jeff Hardy run in and inconclusively. TNA is trying so hard to be something special and it’s not working.

An odd week. Lots of matches, but only a few of them are actually good. RAW has the more compelling storylines, but worse wrestling, while Smackdown has action but the Kane/Taker feud is interminable.  NXT is just annoying and TNA can’t do anything right. There never seems to be a week where everybody is firing on all cylinders. It would be nice if it ever happened.