WWE Friday Night Smackdown 3/4/11
March 4th, 2011
Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio
March 4th, 2011
Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio
Tonight we've got the Undertaker's big return to Smackdown after many months, as well as the contract signing for Edge and Alberto Del Rio's title match at Wrestlemania. Looks like a decent show on paper, so let's get to it.
We recap the events from last week with Vickie being fired before the show begins.
Your hosts are Michael Cole, Josh Matthews, and Booker T
We open the show with the World Heavyweight champion Edge making his way to the ring. His left arm is wrapped up, selling the armbar submission finisher that Del Rio used on him last week. He grabs a mic and says that he wants Alberto Del Rio to look in his eyes and see what it takes to main event Wrestlemania. He says his going-away party to Vickie last week was interrupted unjustly by Del Rio, but before he can get very far Drew McIntyre hits the ring suddenly, but Edge just tosses him over the top rope. This brings out Teddy Long who sets up a non-title match between Edge and McIntyre...right now! After a commercial break, actually.
Edge vs. Drew McIntyre
Drew is still pissed at Edge for getting Kelly Kelly fired weeks back and is even more pissed now after the loss to Edge and Kelly last week that got Vickie fired. Edge starts off hot with big kicks and forearms into the corner on Drew. Edge misses a shoulderblock attempt and Drew goes right to work on Edge's injured arm, wrenching it between the ropes and kicking it repeatedly. He slams Edge's arm over the ring apron and then slaps on a traditional armbar. Drew gives him a big boot that sends Edge to the floor outside and the ref starts the count. Drew follows him out of the ring and smashes his arm into the announcer's table, shouting "I'm going to end his career!" as he does it. Back in the ring Drew rips the bandages off of Edge's arm and goes to work again with the armbar, wrenching away on Edge'shoulder. He breaks free but Drew elbows him out of the ring. McIntyre comes out to follow up, but Edge gives him a back body drop on the floor! Back inside Edge comes off the top with a big cross-body. 1-2--NOO! Drew kicks out. Edge hits the spear suddenly, but he lifts Drew's shoulder up at the two count, apparently wanting to inflict more damage on McIntyre. Cole flips out as Edge slaps on the sharpshooter, and Drew taps out at 5:20. This was damn good for a 5 minute match, with McIntyre focusing on Edge's injured arm the whole match only for Edge to comeback with a few big moves win with a unique variation on the sharpshooter. Pretty damn good for a five minute match. **¾
After a commercial break Rey Mysterio's music hits...but out comes Cody Rhodes in a Mysterio mask, doing Rey's signature pyro stance. I've been a big critic of Cody in the past, but this feud with Rey so far has been excellent thanks to Cody's promo work and it has the potential to finally launch the kid into main event status if they end up having a great match at 'Mania, which I'm sure they will. Cody grabsa mic in the ring and has his creepy clear facemask on, crying angrily into the microphone "DON'T LOOK AT ME!" to the crowd. He talks to the crowd about the disappointment they felt when they saw Cody instead of Rey, and how that's the way they're going to feel when Cody destroys Rey. Cody challenges Rey to a match at Wrestlemania, and he makes a vow to remove Mysterio's mask and expose his face on the grandest stage of them all. EXCELLENT promo here with plenty of heat. I went from not caring for Cody to being a mark for the guy in a matter of weeks. Whoever is writing/booking this program is awesome.
Backstage we see the Corre confronting Kane, reminding him of their help way back in October at the Buried Alive match against his brother, saying they'll be glad to help Kane beat the Big Show tonight. Will Kane accept their help?
WWE Tag Team Title Match
Justin Gabriel/Heath Slater (C) vs. Santino Marella/Vladimir Kozlov
So Koztino finally invoked their rematch clause, and here we are. I've given up hope on the tag division ever becoming good again, so lets just go with it. Gabriel and Santino start with each man teasing strikes before locking up. Santino bodyslams Gabriel and then gives him an armdrag and tags Kozlov in. He throws Gabriel to the floor and both members of the Corre take a breather as we cut to a quick commercial break. When we return Kozlov is working a headlock on Slater in the ring. Wade Barrett sneaks in a cheap shot on Koz while the ref is distracted, and Gabriel tags in, choking Koz in the Corre's corner with the heel of his boot. Gabriel tries for a snapmare but Kozlov totally botches it and he just kind of rolls to his side instead. Communication problems between the two men in the ring perhaps? Gabriel slaps on a headlock but Kozlov counters with a backdrop suplex. Koz gets the hot tag to Santino, who cleans house with his unique offense, getting a two count with a diving headbutt on Slater. Koz gets tossed outside and Marella hits an STO on Slater and then calls for the Cobra. Barrett distracts him though and Slater pins Santino with a reverse DDT at 4:07. Not awful actually, decent formula stuff until the finish and Santino continues to be scary over. *½
After the match Josh Matthews announces that Christian will make his big return to Smackdown next week! Being a huge Christian mark, this is nothing but good news for me and hopefully they involve him in Wrestlemania if he's cleared to wrestle by then. They recap Christian's return at the Elimination Chamber helping out Edge. Oh god PLEASE BOOK THE FUCKING EDGE/CHRISTIAN PROGRAM BEFORE THEY'RE BOTH TOO OLD!
When we return we get a full recap of Triple H's promo on the Undertaker from Raw this week. Show highlights guys, not the ENTIRE promo, you're just wasting time.
The gong rings and the lights go out and it's Undertaker time baby. He comes out to Johnny Cash's "Ain't No Grave", which is apparently his new theme music and is fucking awesome. Quite the epic entrance for Undertaker. He grabs a mic and says that he finds it mystifying that the Triple H doesn't know when to leave well alone. Undertaker puts Triple H over as one of the greatest champions ever, but he says that some things can't be beat and his streak is one of them. He tells Triple H he'll Rest in Peace, and that does it. Good promo from 'Taker to continue the hype for the Triple H/Undertaker meeting at Wrestlemania, made even better by the inclusion of the bone-chilling Johnny Cash song.
After a commercial break we return to have Cole and Matthews put over the WWE signing Mistico. They even acknowledge his old name being Mistico and introduce his new name, Sin Cara. With the way they are hyping up this signing, you can expect a big debut and push for the guy, and I cannot wait to see it.
Beth Phoenix/Rosa Mendes vs. Michelle McCool/Layla
I'd rather just see Beth and Michelle go at it, but whatever. They're still teasing a LayCool break-up, which could be decent as the crowd loves to hate Michelle. Beth and Michelle start us off with a big waistlock as Beth overpowers Michelle and then quickly tags Rosa Mendes in. Layla tags in and Rosa gives her the dreaded hair-pull. Rosa looks totally lost out there as McCool tags back in and goes to work on her. McCool hits her knee against the ropes which I guess hurtsher and both Layla and Beth tag in. Beth dominates and hits a big powerslam, but Michelle breaks the pin up. McCool hits Beth with a loaded boot and Layla gets the pin at 2:20. Just an awful mess of a match. I feel bad for Beth, I hope she gets something to do when Kong eventually debuts. DUD
Big Show vs. Kane
Big Show has been feuding with The Corre for weeks, so no doubt they'll get involved in this match tonight against Kane. Lockup to start and both men trade big forearms and a double-clothesline. Suddenly the Corre comes down to the ring, led by Wade Barrett who slides a steel chair into the ring to Kane, who then uses it on Show for the DQ at 1:14. After the match Kane takes out the Corre members as well with the chair. Nothing match but it served it's purpose to continue to build the Corre/Big Show program for 'Mania, which I guess Kane is involved in now. DUD
After a quick commercial break we return and recap HBK's comments on the HHH/Taker match at Wrestlemania.
Jack Swagger vs. JTG
Before the match starts Cole comes into the ring with Swagger, as Jack is his special trainer for his match against Jerry Lawler at Wrestlemania. Cole gets great heat here, so hopefully some of it will rub off on Swgger. After a quick commercial we start off with Swagger maintaining a waistlock on JTG. Big belly-to-belly suplex from Swagger while Cole is just flipping out sucking off Swagger and Matthews and Booker both have a look on their faces like "When the fuck will this guy shut up?". Swagger hits a pair of Swagger bombs and then applies the ankle lock and JTG taps out at 1:07. Just a squash to remind everyone that Swagger is a force to be reckoned with, though JTG might not exactly be the most credible opponent to squash. DUD
After a recap of the Rock's response to Cena on Raw this week we cut to Edge walking backstage on his way to the ring for the contract signing. He comes across a man who has a large picture of Alberto Del Rio with some painting supplies. Edge grabs a brush and draws a huge handlebar mustache and a unibrow on Del Rio's face as we cut to commercial.
When we return it's time for the official contract signing for the World Heavyweight Title match at Wrestlemania between Edge and Alberto Del Rio. Del Rio has Ricardo Rodriguez sing the Mexican National Anthem, but Edge interrupts of course. Both men sit down in the ring at the table while the crowd begins a "USA!" chant, which is rather hilarious since neither Edge or Del Rio are American. Shouldn't they be chanting "CAN-A-DA!"? Both men talk about their destiny at Wrestlemania. Of course like all contract signings though both men eventually begin fighting. Del Rio looks to destroy Edge's arm with a steel chair, but suddenly Christian runs out and makes the save! Christian lays out Del Rio before refs have to take him off of Del Rio, who's bloodied by Christian. We close the show with Christian's arm around Edge's shoulder as Del Rio takes off with Ricardo. Oh lord please throw Christian into the 'Mania match.
Bottom Line: From a wrestling perspective, after the first match everything on this show is crap. The first match was good for a 5 minute match though, and the rest of the show was all about building up to Wrestlemania, which we saw at pretty much every corner. By principle alone based on the wrestling quality I can't rightfully give this show the thumbs up, but it's not bad either, so we'll go with a thumbs square in the middle.