Smackdown: Look what the draft dragged in
DAVE HILLHOUSE -- SLAM! Wrestling
While Friday night's show was principally used as a John Cena tease during the 2011 Draft, the biggest swap of main-eventers was arguably Alberto Del Rio leaving in return for Randy Orton. The Supplemental Draft brought about important changes, too, but here’s the big question: why didn’t Raw and Smackdown trade picks of Cena back and forth twenty more times?
Kicking off tonight’s show from Greensboro, NC is Randy Orton, modestly hesitating to speak while the crowd showers him with cheers. He wants to talk about this Sunday’s match against CM Punk, but he’s interrupted by Drew McIntyre of Raw. Why? According to Drew, the WWE Universe has been waiting to see Orton versus McIntyre. What they see is a Future Shock DDT reversed into an RKO.
Orton grabs the mic to continue, but Alex Riley is next to cut him off – but he gets an RKO before he even utters a word. All good things come in threes, they say, so one more person comes along to interject himself in the proceedings – and it’s Del Rio. He promises victory on Sunday, which has nothing to do with Orton. Still, Del Rio enters the ring with Brodus Clay and Ricardo Rodriguez, and Christian runs down to square up the numbers.
If I were Teddy Long, I would smell an opportunity for a tag match. Hey, the GM just came out and made the main event a tag match. After a break, though, we have Kofi Kingston on his way to the ring for a match against ... someone. Maybe Sheamus, because the United States Champion runs him down from behind. Sheamus lays a hurting on Kingston, sending him to Raw on an extremely low note.
Match #1 – Jack Swagger (w/ Michael Cole) vs. Sin Cara
Swagger absorbs some of Sin Cara’s rapid-fire kicks early, countering with a hard clothesline. He takes a moment to do some push-ups on Sin Cara’s back before going for the his corner splash – but Sin Cara gets the knees up to take over momentum. Cole slips Swagger a whipping strap, but Sin Cara surprises Swagger with a roll-up for the win.
Winner via pinfall: Sin Cara
Sin Cara gives a little more punishment to Swagger as Cole berates his tag-team partner. A repeat of Kharma’s most recent promo shows her cackling over the destruction of yet another girl’s doll.
Match #2 – Kane & Big Show (C) vs. Justin Gabriel & Heath Slater – WWE Tag Team Championship match
Big Show suffers through some quick and effective double-teaming by the challengers, highlighted by Gabriel reversing a chokeslam into a DDT. Big Show does manage to make the tag, though, and Kane decimates Heath Slater until he and Big Show bring down both Slater and Gabriel with chokeslams, allowing Kane to make the pin.
Winners via pinfall and STILL WWE Tag Team Champions: Kane & Big Show
Match #3 – Rey Mysterio vs. Mark Henry
Before the bell, Mysterio says a fond farewell to the Friday night crowd, then Mark Henry gets to talk some trash to try to re-package him as a heartless monster. Henry delivers power moves at a lumbering pace, with Mysterio’s most notable early offense coming on the outside from dodging a charge and sending Henry cascading over the steel steps. Eventually, Mysterio gets a window to hit the 619 -- and it connects. Before Mysterio can follow up, though, Cody Rhodes attacks Mysterio from behind and negates the match.
Winner via disqualification: Rey Mysterio
Post-match activities include Rhodes beating Mysterio around the outside before rolling him back into the ring for Henry to lay him out with the World’s Strongest Slam. Rhodes caps it all off by putting another paper-bag mask over Mysterio’s head.
Match #4 – Michelle McCool vs. Layla
The FBFF (former best friends forever) attack each other ferociously from the outset, with their scrap soon spilling to the floor. They keep up the mutually aggressive fight until the referee calls for the bell.
Match Result: Double Count-out
Once the referees finally stop the fighting, Layla gets a mic and challenges McCool to match on Sunday with no count-outs and no disqualifications. McCool agrees – but the loser has to leave the WWE. Layla agrees. I have to admit, this is maybe the most patient storyline the WWE has running.
Matt Striker is in the locker room to get Christian’s thoughts about his ladder match for the World Heavyweight Championship on Sunday. He feels he has earned the right to claim the title.
Match #5 – Alberto Del Rio & Brodus Clay (w/ Ricardo Rodriguez) vs. Christian & Randy Orton
Talk amongst the commentators is that Christian has never won a world title. I understand not acknowledging his time in TNA – but even their own version of the ECW Championship doesn’t count?
Del Rio steps in to face Christian in the opening moments, but he quickly high-tails it out of the ring and sends Clay in to set the table. After the big man wears Christian down, Del Rio eagerly tags back in and delivers a running kick to Christian’s head while Orton must be thinking that there’s something familiar about that. Christian brings Orton in soon after, but Del Rio and Clay successfully outmuscle The Viper and control the match to the first break.
Upon return, Christian gets back in against Clay and brings him down with two missile drop-kicks off the middle rope. He stares down Del Rio as he tries a cross-body on Clay, but it’s turned into a fall-away slam. After Del Rio picks away at Christian’s arm to set up his finisher, Christian goes for broke and launches Del Rio off the top rope with a hurricanrana. Orton gets in and pulls out his favourite moves against Del Rio – but the aristocrat tags out before the RKO, letting Clay take the punishment instead for the loss.
Winners via pinfall: Randy Orton & Christian
Del Rio walks away with that indignant look on his face, taking his scowl (but not his protégé?) with him to Raw.
Dave Hillhouse is a screenwriter and teacher, and can’t imagine both world championships on Raw, so either Christian brings it home or some shenanigans await us on Sunday.