Its funny, the last couple months Raw has been leaving Smackdown in the dust for quality. And that isnt an easy thing for me to say, as you know. But as apathetic as I am towards my show these days, most of the time they manage to put on a solid show. And this was more than solid. It probably helps when you have the Baddest Motherf*cker Alive working for you.
Sheamus got a decent pop coming out. Khali seems like the least obvious candidate as a gatekeeper for Sheamus ever, but this actually worked out well in the end. It showed Sheamus facing a monster just like Henry, and the end was great, with the CHOP OF DOOM nearfall, before Sheamus used BABYFACE STRENGTH to ESCAPE THE VICE GRIP (has that happened yet?) and pin Khali clean. Good way to put him over physically. The pin actually got a pop too, you could see the crowd actually going crazy, which is a good sign. Thumbs up.
AJ’s music is so bad, and yet so completely appropriate, that its great. Its funny, when Nattie came out to face her I thought “This is a babyface match, but how funny would it be if they do the same angle on both shows.” But this was actually a hell of a sub-2 minute match. AJ when she’s in there with a genuine worker (which means Naomi or Nattie so far – the state of Smackdown women, honestly) she looks pretty great. They told “AJ hanging with Nattie the Worker” really well in a matter of seconds, before Nattie is just like “OK, that was fun, but now, Sharpshooter” and thats the ball game.
AND BAM HEEL TURN BITCHES! Even after my brainwave before the match, I was still shocked that this happened. Sweet beatdown of AJ, who is great at being thrown around. And far from being a lame C+P angle, Nattie actually referenced Beth and seemed to team up with her from beyond the “brand split”. Sweet. Man oh man, NatBeth going on a tear as monster heels beating the crap out of the Kellys and AJs of the world as Kharma substitutes will be awesome. Suddenly I love women again. Hallelujah.
OK, I laughed at “State of the Showski Address”.
Funny, they plugged some Divas photos on the website, and mentioned a bunch of old Divas including Stacy Kiebler. I think they’re trying to capitalise on her 15 minutes of gossip mag fame. Not the worst idea, lets be real.
Orton promo. Whatever.
But the segue to commentary made it all worth it because Booker got to bust out TNA AFRICAN BOOKER! I laughed. Plus another cool Gabes video, and I like that they’re still trying to build him up as a babyface first before he comes back to TV.
Bryan vs Tyson was another fun Bryan vs Tyson match. These guys are great together. DBry has new music, and its actually pretty good. Not as cool as Wagner, sure, but what is? It still sounds kind of classical, but heavier and a little spooky. Sounds like Dimmu Borgir, actually, without vocals. Anyway, cool indy rolling before we get the big Bryan TOPE and then the knee sell. Tyson was great working the knee and Bryan is great working from underneath. He was also BEATING THE SH*T OUT OF THIS GUY WITH FOREARMS the entire match. Cool stretch and especially the finish, I love BAMGUILLOTINE as a finish. Barrett managed to get a couple of points across above the BICKERING, and I left this actually wanting to see Bryan vs Barrett, which is a job well done.
Zack is mildly over as…whatever he is. I love that he got “ZackDown” onto TV in any case. Zeke, God bless him, is such a terrible promo. The poor guy should not be talking. They couldnt even properly express the “NOT a handicap match” joke, which was the point of the conversation. The good thing about Cody was that he put over the title and said a guy losing with it devalues it. What a concept. Teddy doing his dance and Zack following along RULED. While giving Zeke Zack makes sense for some babyface revenge, I’m not sure what the point of Zack is if he’s a babyface wrestler on Raw but a heel authority on Smackdown who has already got his comeuppance ONE WEEK into the role.
But whatever, a decent squash. I appreciated Zack busting out the Layout. God in Heaven I miss Layla. I laughed at Zack tapping furiously on the top of Zeke’s head too. I hope Cody does win the title. I dont care about him anymore, but he’s miles better than Zeke, who is boring as hell in his role, as it turns out.
So, in a random segment, Teddy is in his office when AKSANA OF NXT FAME walks in, now with jet black hair, and suggestively ‘business propositions’ Teddy, causing him to stammer and drop his pen on the floor. I kid you not. So, apparently, Aksana is coming to Smackdown to entertainment you. So thats three of the five NXT alumni accounted for. And the best two are, of course, still in FCW. I WANT NAOMI BACK DAMN IT.
[singlepic id=760 w=450 h=300 float=center]
MARK HENRY. Here is a man. Kozlov, again, sounds like a strange choice on all levels, but it actually worked perfectly. I like how each guy’s opponent is a mirror of the other guy, as a genuine sort of warm up. Kozlov is big enough that he could fight back initially and look semi-credible before Henry just monsters the hell out of him. My mother loves Kozlov and she legit screamed at the top of her lungs when Henry Pillman’d him. I aint heard her that scared since Taker got Tombstoned at Wrestlemania. It was a bit weird that Sheamus was too late for the save, but whatever. I like Henry’s “Put the chair down!” He’s badass enough to kill poor dudes with a chair, but he wont step up if the other guy has a chair too, which in all honesty is the sensible decision. This feud has been great so far and I am legit excited for this match. It beats the sh*t out of Orton/Christian #300, thats for sure, and dont get me wrong, I’ve loved all their matches and will love the next one too. But this is seriously exciting.
The Usos and Trent are a hell of a trio, I tell you. This match was fine enough for one involving the tag champs. And like I said the other day, their development of double team moves means they’re slightly better than totally worthless now.
The main event was a pretty fun tag. Morrison sold well, Truth was great. I liked the early spot where Orton chased Christian into the crowd. I like how they’re pushing Orton as Psycho IED Orton. Really fun hot tag stretch leading into the finish, which was done well because after Morrison’s plancha you dont expect Truth to interfere again from the other direction. And Christian actually pins Orton, through interference. LOVED Christian’s wacky celebration, you have to see this. The floor belt kissing takes it over the edge. Up there with the best celebrations in a long time. All in all, a fun show.