June 30, 2012
Smackdown: All about the Benjamins (not Shelton)
By DAVE HILLHOUSE -- SLAM! Wrestling
Money in the Bank looms large, as Raw has already decreed that only former champs get a shot at the WWE title. Not surprisingly, Smackdown counters with a different kind of lineup featuring some fresh blood. Also, there’s a World Heavyweight Championship match and a quality Divas bout that doesn’t just fill in minutes.
Match #1 – AJ vs. Layla
Good pacing and solid contact are the unusual highlights of this Divas match. AJ shows a nifty quick-arm drag and has the champ on the ropes until Daniel Bryan hops down the ramp instigating a “Yes” chant from the crowd that proves very distracting to AJ, but not so much for Layla as she rolls AJ up for the win.
Winner via pinfall: Layla
After AJ attacks Layla, Bryan gets in the ring and suggests to her that the distraction thing isn’t as much fun from the other side. He also has something he wants to discuss with Vickie Guerrero, and when she doesn’t come out he starts another “Yes” chant – which AJ mocks in return. This goes on throughout the commercial break before we return to see Vickie in the ring.
Bryan suggests to her that she’d be a great permanent GM, and passes on the idea that AJ should be banned from ringside at the WWE Championship match at Money in the Bank. Vickie responds with the news that AJ has been voted by the fans to be guest referee instead.
AJ is pleased, Bryan is enraged. After they leave, Vickie starts the process of arranging the Money in the Bank lineup for the World Heavyweight Championship.
Match #2 – Zack Ryder vs. Damien Sandow – Money in the Bank Qualifying Match
Sandow drops Ryder with a neckbreaker, then lowers a swirling elbow down on him. Ryder gets some momentum and sets up the Rough Ryder, but Sandow slips away and finishes with another neckbreaker.
Winner via pinfall: Damien Sandow
Bryan is backstage, banging on the Divas’ locker room door and looking for AJ. Kaitlyn steps out to say she’s not there, and also passes along the breaking news that she’s not all there.
Match #3 – Tyson Kidd vs. Jack Swagger – Money in the Bank Qualifying Match
Kidd is flying as Cole suggests that he has to break out of the Hart family’s shadow. Swagger eventually overpowers him with suplexes and a Swagger Bomb, but Kidd still fights back with dropkicks and a DDT, and even escapes the ankle lock. Kidd rises the turnbuckles and rolls Swagger over with a diving neckbreaker.
Winner via pinfall: Tyson Kidd
After break, it’s another “Memorable Raw Moment”. Apparently 1000 episodes hasn’t been enough time to stockpile more than a handful as Mick Foley visiting Vince McMahon in the hospital is repeated.
Backstage, Ziggler bends Vickie’s ear to have the Brogue Kick and cross arm-breaker banned from tonight’s match. She doesn’t see it as her responsibility, and Ziggler yelling at her doesn’t help. She ends up slapping him, and they part ways as less than lovers.
Match #4 – Santino Marella & Christian vs. David Otunga & Cody Rhodes – Money in the Bank Qualifying Match
Rhodes and Christian keep their feud going from the outset before Otunga joins in with a wicked diving shoulder-block on the Intercontinental Champ. Santino gets in and deals with Otunga easily, getting the Cobra and seeming ready for the pin before Rhodes drags his partner out of the ring.
Rhodes tags in and strips off the Cobra, flinging it into the crowd. Christian and Otunga both return to the ring and Rhodes tries to interfere again before Santino chases him off. While Otunga clears Marella from the ring, Christian readies and delivers a spear for the win.
Winners via pinfall: Santino Marella & Christian
Matt Striker is backstage, sporting a green shirt to interview Sheamus, and learns that the champ is not nervous going into the title match tonight.
After the break, Bryan finally finds AJ muttering to herself. He suggests that she sees a doctor, and asks if she wants his own specialist’s number. She says “Yes” – over and over again as she skips away.
Match #5 – Dan Barone & Brendan Burke vs. Ryback
These matches are no longer in any way impressive, if they ever were. Double running Samoan Drop.
Winner via pinfall: RybackBackstage once again, Teddy Long happens upon Aksana and Antonio Cesaro and lets them know that he’s the GM for both shows next week, making a mixed-tag match with them up against Layla and The Great Khali.
Match #6 - Justin Gabriel vs. Tensai – Money in the Bank Qualifying Match
Gabriel is a punching bag at first, but escapes a bear hug to hit a dropkick off the top rope and a moonsault from the second before falling prey to Tensai’s non-hairy back splash.
Winner via pinfall: Tensai
Match #7 – Sheamus (Champion) vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Alberto Del Rio (w/ Ricardo Rodriguez) – Triple Threat for the World Heavyweight Championship
Sheamus responds to the de facto handicap match by tossing both of his opponents around before Ziggler lowers the ropes to send him charging out of the ring to the floor. The Show-Off then turns on Del Rio and knocks him off the top buckle down to the floor as well. The champ takes advantage by returning to the ring, lifting Ziggler off the ropes, and dropping him with an Electric Chair.
After the break, all three are on the floor and both challengers run Sheamus onto the announcer’s table, then the steel steps. They turn on each other again and Sheamus bashes both of them with a shoulder block off the top rope. Then it’s potatoes for Ziggler and a cross-arm breaker for Sheamus – but Ziggler breaks it up.
Sheamus closes up shop shortly afterwards with a Brogue Kick on Ziggler, tossing Del Rio from the ring before getting the pin.
Winner via pinfall and STILL World Heavyweight Champion: Sheamus
Dave Hillhouse is a screenwriter and teacher, and hopes the number of MITB participants stays at a less-than-ludicrous count this year.