March 4, 2011
Report by: Mike Tedesco of Wrestleview.com
We open up the show with a video recapping the events of last week’s episode. Vickie Guerrero was put in a match with Drew McIntyre as her partner against Edge and Kelly Kelly with Vickie’s job on the line. Needless to say Vickie’s team lost and General Manager Teddy Long subsequently fired her. The whole firing segment went a little long and I was left feeling bad for her at the end of it.
Tonight we’ll see the contract signing for the World Heavyweight Championship match between Edge and Alberto Del Rio at WrestleMania. They put over the unpredictability of WWE contract signings.
The Smackdown video plays and we’re brought into the arena to hear Edge’s music hit. The World Heavyweight Champion makes his way to the ring and he’s set for action. As he makes his way to the ring the announcers put over the return of Undertaker to Smackdown. Our announcers tonight are Josh Mathews, Michael Cole, and Booker T.
Edge grabs a microphone and says he’ll be out here later tonight for an official contract signing for his match for the World Heavyweight Championship against Alberto Del Rio at WrestleMania 27. Edge says he’s looking forward to it because he wants to get face to face with Del Rio and have him look into his eyes. He wants Del Rio to see what it takes to be a champion and to main event WrestleMania. Edge also has a bone to pick with him because last week he was rudely interrupted. Edge was in the middle of a going away party for a woman we all love to hate, Vickie Guerrero. Edge got rid of her and she’s gone.
Edge wants them to start singing like last week and he’s just about to get it going when Drew McIntyre runs down. McIntyre punches away at the champion but Edge quickly outsmarts him and sends him over the top rope. Teddy Long’s music hits and he thanks Drew on behalf of himself and the WWE Universe for losing the match to send Vickie out. Long says if McIntyre doesn’t get in the ring and have a straight up match with Edge then he’ll be fired, too. Edge says Teddy brought up a great point – thanks to him, Vickie Guerrero is gone. Edge starts a “Thank you Drew” chant.
Edge vs. Drew McIntyre
The match begins and Edge quickly hits a drop-toe-hold. Edge punches and stomps him down into the corner. Edge sends him to the opposite corner but McIntyre moves, causing Edge to hit the ring post shoulder first. McIntyre takes him down by the arm, injured last week by Del Rio, and gets a one count. McIntyre stomps on the arm and uses the rope to illegally stretch it out. McIntyre bangs the arm off the apron and applies an arm bar in the center of the ring. Edge fights up and punches out. McIntyre reverses a whip and gives him a nice big boot, sending Edge out of the ring.
McIntyre follows him outside and bounces the arm off the announcer’s table. McIntyre screams that Edge isn’t going to WrestleMania and he’ll end his career. McIntyre puts him in the ring and pins him for a near fall. McIntyre takes the extra padding off the injured arm and drops some knees on it. McIntyre goes back to the arm bar but Edge again fights up and out of it. Edge goes into the ropes but McIntyre quickly hits him with a back elbow, sending him out of the ring again. McIntyre again follows him outside and runs into a back body drop!
Edge throws McIntyre back into the ring and goes to the top rope. Edge hits a nice cross-body block for a near fall. When’s the last time Edge did that? McIntyre again reverses a whip and punches the arm. Edge all of a sudden blocks a kick, spins McIntyre, and Spears him! Edge covers and lifts McIntyre’s shoulder at two and a half. Edge applies the Edgecator, his variation of the Sharpshooter, and gets the submission victory!
Winner by Submission: Edge
Match Rating: * 3/4
Tonight we’ll see Big Show take on Kane. The Undertaker also makes his return to Smackdown.
Michael Cole talks about his first official match against Jerry “The King” Lawler at WrestleMania. Cole says he’ll have a lot more to say about that later in the night.
Rey Mysterio’s music hits but it’s not him that runs out. Its “Dashing” Cody Rhodes wearing the mask that he ripped off Mysterio’s head last week. Rhodes stomps on the mask and makes his way to the ring wearing his own mask, a plastic face guard. They show a replay of Cody Rhodes and his father Dusty setting Mysterio up and assaulting him last week.
Rhodes gets in the ring and screams at the crowd to not look at him. Rhodes says the feeling we have festering in our stomachs is disappointment because we’re not seeing Mysterio tonight. Rhodes says he knows disappointment because he feels it everyday when he wakes up and sees what was once “dashing” reduced to this. His father, the lovable American Dream Dusty Rhodes, came to him and he convinced him to help set up Rey Mysterio so he could inflict what he only imagines is a fraction of the damage to Rey’s face that he did to his. When he was rubbing his face in the steel grate and removed the mask from his head, it felt good. Nothing has felt good for him lately and he knew then that it was the right thing to do.
Rhodes says he isn’t going to let a sideshow freak like Mysterio stop him from becoming World Heavyweight Champion. The next right thing to do, while his father is watching right now, is to challenge Rey Mysterio to a match at WrestleMania 27. If Mysterio accepts the challenge then he’ll expose his face on the grandest stage of all. Rhodes walks off trying to avoid letting people look at him.
Kane is backstage when The Corre walks up to him. Wade Barrett reminds him that Kane’s greatest victory came last year in a match they got involved in. Kane says he didn’t need or want their help then and he doesn’t want it now. Justin Gabriel says they just want him to beat Big Show tonight. Ezekiel Jackson tells him to think about it.
Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel will defend their Unified Tag Team Titles next against former champions Santino Marella and Vladimir Kozlov.
WWE Unified Tag Team Championship Match
Heath Slater & Justin Gabriel (c) w/ The Corre vs. Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov
Santino and Gabriel start the match out. They tease kicks and Santino threatens the Cobra. They lock up and Santino takes him down with a body slam. They lock up again and Santino hits an arm drag. Kozlov is tagged in and he knees Gabriel down. Kozlov head-butts the chest and hits a nice sambo throw, sending Gabriel out of the ring. Santino threatens Slater with the Cobra as he tries to blindside Kozlov. The Corre regroups at ringside as we go to commercial.
We come back from the break to see Kozlov applying a headlock on Slater. Slater fights up and whips him off but Kozlov floors him with a shoulder block. Slater quickly kicks him in the knee and punches away at him. The referee admonishes Slater and Barrett gets a cheap shot in from outside. Gabriel tags in and he punches away at Kozlov. Gabriel and Kozlov complete the worst looking snapmare in wrestling history and Gabriel applies a neck vice. Kozlov eventually counters out with a back suplex. Slater is tagged in and he tries to stop Kozlov from tagging in Santino but is unsuccessful.
Santino comes in and hits some stinging left jabs, taking Slater down. Santino splits under a clothesline and hits a hip toss. Santino drops the head-butt and Gabriel breaks up the pin. Kozlov quickly takes Gabriel out with a big boot and The Corre drags Gabriel out. Slater takes Kozlov out of the ring and turns into a reverse STO from Santino. Santino sets the Cobra up and knocks Barrett off the apron with it. Slater uses the distraction to hit his snap reverse DDT for the win.
Winners & still Unified Tag Team Champions: Heath Slater & Justin Gabriel
Match Rating: * 1/2
Christian returns to Smackdown next week after being out for six months! They show footage of Alberto Del Rio injuring Christian last September. They then show Christian coming back at Elimination Chamber and saving Edge from Del Rio’s sneak attack.
Alberto Del Rio is backstage with Ricardo Rodriguez. Rodriguez is doing some vocal workouts and Del Rio turns to a painter and says he’s captured the essence of him.
The Undertaker returns to Smackdown next.
The announcers talk about the Undertaker’s imminent return and show us a replay of Triple H’s promo from Raw. It wasn’t that good that they had to show the entire thing. This is the stuff that I severely dislike about the Road to WrestleMania. I don’t think there’s many people that tune into Smackdown without having seen Raw on Monday. Why do they have to sit through entire segments of Raw on the rest of the shows?
Hells Bells ring out and Johnny Cash sings “Ain’t No Grave” as Undertaker makes his return to Smackdown. Call me a traditionalist but the lack of Undertaker’s real music really hurts his entrance.
Undertaker says he finds it mystifying that the strongest of the strong and the greatest of the great don’t know when to leave well enough alone. They have to realize that there are mountains that cannot be climbed and seas that cannot be sailed and streaks that cannot be broken. Undertaker heard Triple H’s comments on Raw and to be perfectly honest there wasn’t much he said that he couldn’t agree with. They are the last of an era and a dying breed. Triple H is everything he says he is, if not more. In his opinion, he is probably the greatest World Heavyweight Champion in the last decade and a half. The thing that Triple H said that he found most interesting is that he has figured out how to destroy the Undertaker and make him disappear forever. It was quite simple – all you have to do is beat Undertaker at WrestleMania. Easier said than done.
Triple H has figured out in his mind how he’s going to do this so he’ll take everything he ever accomplished and he’ll throw it all on the table and go for broke. If he wins then he will be hailed as The Game and The King of Kings. But if he loses, and he will lose, he will become nothing more than a statistic – a name on a long list of people who came before him trying to do the same thing. Undertaker warns him to make no mistake – he plays no games and he bows down to no man, especially The King of Kings. At WrestleMania, Triple H will find out what 18 other men found out before him – that he is indeed the last outlaw. Triple H will also find out what it means to Rest In Peace!
Still to come is the contract signing of Edge vs. Alberto Del Rio at WrestleMania 27. We’ll also see Big Show take on Kane.
The announcers put over the signing of Sin Cara, formerly Mìstico. I can’t wait for him to debut.
Beth Phoenix & Rosa Mendes vs. Lay-Cool
The announcers discuss the little spat Lay-Cool had last week during Layla’s match against Rosa Mendes. McCool attacked Mendes, causing a DQ, and Layla was not happy about that at all. McCool said she was handling the business Layla couldn’t.
Beth starts it off against McCool. Beth takes her down with a waist lock and stomps on McCool’s injured foot. She’s still wearing a medical boot. Rosa is tagged in and she works on McCool’s foot. Layla is quickly tagged in and Rosa takes her down, too. Rosa goes into the ropes and McCool distracts her. Layla kicks Rosa and gets McCool back in. Rosa throws Layla into McCool and they shove each other. McCool punches away at Rosa and drops some knees on her. McCool goes to kick her in the head but Rosa moves. McCool goes down in pain.
Beth and Layla are tagged in. Beth takes Layla down a few times and signals for the end. Layla goes to slingshot over Beth but Beth catches her and hits a powerslam. McCool breaks up the pin. Beth goes for the Glam Slam but McCool kicks her in the head and Layla picks up the win.
Winners by Pinfall: Lay-Cool
Match Rating: *
Big Show will take on Kane next.
Big Show vs. Kane
As Big Show makes his way to the ring they show footage of him beating Wade Barrett by Count-Out last week. Big Show then scared The Corre off with a steel chair.
They lock up and Big Show backs Kane to the corner. Big Show gives a clean break and Kane gives him an uppercut for that. Big Show comes back with punches and sends him to the corner. Kane avoids a butt bump but Big Show catches him with a goozle. Kane kicks out of it and goes into the ropes but they both have the same idea with a double clothesline.
The Corre comes down to the ring now and Wade Barrett slides a chair into the ring for Kane. Kane smashes Big Show on the back with it and The Corre comes in to continue the assault.
Winner by Disqualification: Big Show
Match Rating: N/A
Kane watches on as The Corre continues attacking Big Show. All of a sudden Kane absolutely floors Gabriel with the chair. The Corre scatters and drags Gabriel out of the ring. They’re just as confused as I am.
They replay the video of HBK talking about Triple H vs. Undertaker. Even though that guy who recaps Raw, Darwin Stevens, didn’t like it, I did. Though, again, it didn’t need to be replayed in its entirety on Smackdown. Replay entire bits of Raw on NXT and Superstars but not Smackdown.
Jack Swagger makes his entrance and Michael Cole loves it. Cole says he’s welcoming him to Team Cole. Michael Cole gets into the ring and says he wants the crowd to show some respect for the man who will train him and will be in his corner when he embarrasses and humiliates Jerry “The King” Lawler at WrestleMania. Cole says he’d like to invite all of us to Dallas on Raw when he introduces live to the world his special guest referee. This man is grandiose and flamboyant. In short, he’s simply awesome. This man is one of the all time greats in WWE. The one thing that man, Swagger, himself, and LeBron James think is that Cleveland stinks!
Jack Swagger vs. JTG
They circle the ring and Swagger immediately takes him down with a waist lock. Swagger rolls on JTG and applies a front face lock. Swagger hits a nice belly-to-belly side suplex and Michael Cole is putting him over big time. Swagger hits a pair of Vader Bombs and Cole says he can’t wait to perform that move on Lawler at WrestleMania. Swagger applies an Ankle Lock and completes the annihilation of JTG.
Winner by Submission: Jack Swagger
Match Rating: N/A
Michael Cole gets in the ring and celebrates with Jack Swagger. Michael Cole dances around the ring and Booker T says he’s lost his damn mind.
They play a shortened version of The Rock’s promo from Raw. That’s what they should’ve done with all the promos tonight. Just play shortened versions.
Edge is walking backstage when he sees that painter walking with the picture of Alberto Del Rio. Edge takes the paintbrush and paints a mustache and unibrow on Del Rio. Edge then knocks the painter down and continues walking.
The ring is all decorated in preparation for the contract signing. They’ve got the red carpet, a Mexican flag, and of course the table. General Manager Teddy Long is in the ring with Ricardo Rodriguez, who introduces the challenger for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania, Alberto Del Rio. Del Rio comes into the arena driving a beautiful Mercedes. Del Rio gets in the ring and says his name, but we already knew that, of course. Del Rio welcomes us to his WrestleMania 27 contract signing ceremony. The only way to enjoy the ceremony is with the singing of the Mexican National Anthem. Ricardo Rodriguez starts singing it until…
Edge’s music hits and the World Heavyweight Champion makes his way to the ring. Edge puts his championship on the table. Long asks if, for the first time ever in Smackdown history, we can have a contract signing that doesn’t end in chaos. Long asks them to sit down and they do. The crowd chants USA, even though neither competitor in the match is from the country. Edge says after this contract is signed it is all over. Del Rio doesn’t know what it’s like to fight on the biggest stage in the world but he is an eleven-time World Heavyweight Champion.
Del Rio says he already knows that but that’s the past – no one remembers that. This contract isn’t just a piece of paper – it represents the next chapter for WWE. It’s not for Edge; it’s for him – his destiny. Edge says destiny can change in the blink of an eye. It could be that Del Rio is the fastest rising star in WWE or Edge will beat him at WrestleMania, making him another flash in the pan that he made famous for one moment. Del Rio tells Edge to listen to him – once he signs the contract it is the beginning of the end for Edge. Del Rio signs the contract. Edge takes the contract and signs it himself.
Edge says he has an answer for Teddy Long’s request and he runs from the ring. Edge attacks Del Rio and punches him down in the ring. Edge hits an impaler DDT and knocks all the decorations down. Edge sets up for the Spear but Rodriguez grabs his ankles. Del Rio clotheslines Edge down and begins punching away at the champion. Del Rio applies the Cross Arm Breaker and is doing even more damage to it. Del Rio releases it and throws Edge out of the ring, who is bleeding from the nose.
Del Rio applies a hammerlock and sends Edge into the barricade. Rodriguez grabs a steel chair and gives it to Del Rio. Del Rio is going to send Edge into the ring post until Christian attacks him from behind! Christian bounces him off the announcer’s table and chases Rodriguez away. Christian takes Del Rio down in the ring and continues punching. Del Rio escapes the ring and Christian chases him down, punching away at him on the ramp. A bunch of referees run down and pull Christian away.
Quick Match Results
Edge def. Drew McIntyre via Submission (non-title)
Heath Slater* & Justin Gabriel def. Santino Marella* & Vladimir Kozlov to retain the Unified Tag Team Titles
Lay-Cool def. Beth Phoenix & Rosa Mendes
Big Show def. Kane via DQ
Jack Swagger def. JTG via Submission
Bump of the Night: McIntyre taking a back body drop on the outside!
Match of the Night: Edge vs. Drew McIntyre * 3/4
This was a pretty good edition of Smackdown. It was a little storyline heavy but at least we got the program finally going for the World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania. No more sneak attacks and endless arm bars. We finally got a face to face with them actually talking to one another. I liked the intensity and the entire segment was red hot, aided big time by the crowd, who loved everything they were doing. The attack by Christian after the match definitely adds some intrigue to the match. Will they add him to the match as well? I’d personally like to see Christian get his due at WrestleMania but I still think Del Rio should be the one to go over. If they’re really serious about the youth movement then WrestleMania should be a big night for the rookies.
The other big event that happened tonight was the return of the Undertaker to Smackdown. Undertaker spoke for the first time since returning and, mercifully, it wasn’t his typical Undertaker promo. I mean no disrespect to the Dead Man because I love him but his promos normally aren’t that great. They’re a little campy for wrestling in 2011 so I’m glad they went a different route where Undertaker spoke almost like a regular person does. The delivery was great and it got me excited for the match. Undertaker is a man of few words but the words he says mean a lot. One comment I will make, however, has nothing to do with the promo. It has to do with the changing of his music. Johnny Cash is good for transitional music, not entrance music. Tell me that music didn’t hurt his entrance tonight. The Undertaker’s entrance is a legendary tried and true thing – it doesn’t need to be tweaked just because they started calling him the “last outlaw”. Bring back the old music and use Johnny Cash as transitional music into his regular theme. That’s just my opinion.
I really enjoyed Cody Rhodes’s promo tonight. The delivery of it was excellent and I’m really digging the new edge on his character. He was very intense tonight. Rhodes is a chip off the old block and I can’t wait to watch his match against Rey Mysterio at WrestleMania. Rhodes is going places in WWE – mark my words.
The matches for tonight weren’t anything to write home about. The Jack Swagger match was just there to try to reverse all the damage they did to Swagger over the past six months where he’s basically been doing job after job after job. I guess that’s why they took him off the show for about a month so everyone would forget about that stuff and they can pretend he’s this dominating force who’s training Michael Cole to take on Jerry Lawler at WrestleMania. I don’t care – I like Swagger and I personally feel like he’s been mishandled for months now. I’m glad they’re trying to get his character back on track.
I’m a little surprised they haven’t had any Money In The Bank qualifying matches on any of the shows yet. I guess now that it’s got it’s own PPV theme they’re taking it off Mania. I hope I’m wrong about that because MITB is one of the staples of WrestleMania I look forward to every year.
I was left scratching my head after Kane attacked the Big Show and then turned his attack on The Corre. Maybe it was just a mind game to get them into the ring and then attack them. If that’s the case then it looks like we’ll be getting Big Show and Kane vs. The Corre at WrestleMania. That’s more of a dark match than a WrestleMania match because Big Show and Kane are so limited in what they can do, especially with a bunch of rookies.
I’m going to do something that I do probably once a year and not crap on a diva match. I actually liked the match they had, short as it was. I like that Rosa Mendes is getting some action in the ring and I like the little storyline they’ve got going on with Lay-Cool. Now if only they could have continued the storyline with Drew McIntyre and Kelly Kelly. I actually was just starting to get into it and it seems they’ve pulled the plug on it. Speaking of which, where was Kelly Kelly tonight?
My one big complaint of the night is the full replays of entire segments of Raw every week. I could understand the replay of when The Rock first came back and John Cena’s rap. But now we have to sit through Triple H’s entire promo, the entire HBK video, and The Rock’s second promo? Actually I don’t really have a problem with the replaying of Rock’s promo because they shortened it down. I’m fine with shortened versions of these things but I don’t agree with taking an entire block of TV time for it. Raw is their flagship show so I doubt many people are watching Smackdown without first having seen the show on Monday. There’s no need for the long replays. That’s one of the things that I intensely dislike about the Road to WrestleMania for any show that isn’t Raw. I’d like to see them replay Undertaker’s entire promo on Raw.
Final Rating: ***