WWE Super SmackDown 8/30/11
August 30th, 2011
Intrust Bank Arena, Wichita, Kansas
Attendance: Unknown at this time
August 30th, 2011
Intrust Bank Arena, Wichita, Kansas
Attendance: Unknown at this time
Fresh from a weekend joust with Hurricane Irene here in my humble state of Rhode Island, I'm back to do the live report for a special live edition of SmackDown tonight. It was an interesting few days living in the dark ages again with absolutely no power in most parts of the state (including the entire island that I live on) from Saturday to Monday afternoon, but I'm more than glad to be back in the cool air-conditioned, lap-top chargin', HD Smackdown watchin' days of the present. We're in Wichita, Kansas tonight for a special live Tuesday edition of Smackdown and we've got several big-time match-ups advertised for the show, including two World Heavyweight title matches with one contested inside of a steel cage. WWE champion Alberto Del Rio was also scheduled to face Sin Cara (apparently being played exclusively by Hunico indefinitely from now on) but because of real-life work visa issues Del Rio had to return to Mexico and will miss the show tonight. Should be a great show regardless as Smackdown usually winds up being the best show every week without hesitation. So stay tuned to this page and remember to refresh during every commercial break for all of the live updates, semi play-by-play, and a healthy dose of smark analysis from yours truly.
Your hosts are Michael Cole, Booker T, and Josh Matthews
We open with a quick video package that immediately informs us about Triple H replacing Kevin Nash for the match against CM Punk at the Night of Champions PPV. I'm sure the match will be good, but I was hoping they'd go the slow-burn route on that match and build it up for a big show like Survivor Series of Wrestlemania next year. Nash apparently wasn't cleared to wrestle because of some minor injury. The jokes write themselves here, so I won't even bother.
John Cena's music hits and the former champ comes out to his usual mix of cheers and jeers to open the show. He hypes the show tonight and name-drops everything from the XFL to Smoky Mountain Wrestling to the Shockmaster and beyond. Fun references for the old-time fans but I'm not sure the younger people in the crowd even know what those things were. Cena calls out Albeto Del Rio, but instead we only get Ricardo Rodriguez. He informs Cena that he's going to have to wait until Night of Champions to get his hands on Del Rio. Ricardo goes all Stepford Wives on us and can't stop announcing Del Rio's name over and over again like a malfunctioning android until Cena tells him to shut his trap. He shoves Ricardo to the floor and suddenly Wade Barrett's music hits.
Barrett makes his way out with a mic of his own to chastise Cena for beating up announcers and trying to hijack Smackdown already in the opening minutes of the show. Barrett seems to think that Cena hasn't learned his lesson from their previous feud, so he's gotten a match signed for tonight between the two of them. Cena levels with Barrett, telling him that he's got a bright future in the company, but he's been on Cena's hitlist for a while and tonight he's more than happy to fight him for a bit of revenge. We take a commercial break before jumping right into the match.
John Cena vs. Wade Barrett
The bell sounds as we return from the commercial break and both men lock up. Cena takes to the offensive immediately, brawling with Barrett and planting him on the mat with a bulldog as a big Cena chant starts up. Cena gives Barrett a big powerslam and then tosses him into the ropes. Barrett bounces off of them and delivers a spinning sidewalk slam to Cena, building a bit of offensive momentum for himself for the first time in the match so far. Cena delivers a pair of shoulder-blocks and a fallaway slam before hitting the Five Knuckle Shuffle. He delivers the Attitude Adjustment to Barrett and pins him clean at 3:18. I can already hear the smark masses complaining about SuperCena dominating a young star in an almost squash-like fashion, but I think that may be a bit of an overreaction. The loss doesn't hurt Barrett very much since he's already lost to Cena many times, and while it would have been nice to have atleast made Barrett look like a moderate challenge for John, I for one don't really think Barrett is ready for that kind of main event push yet. Still, there was really no need to make Barrett look like such a tool here, it's not like Cena needs the heat. The match itself was fairly decent as these two have clearly become comfortable with one another in the ring. *1/2
Backstage Matt Striker asks Mark Henry who he prefers to face for the World Heavyweight title tonight, Christian or Randy Orton. He doesn't seem to care, that rebel. Striker asks a silly question about what a cage match is like and Henry explains the dangers before promising that he'll win the title tonight.
Daniel Bryan vs. Sin Cara
From now on, you're going to have to find out for yourself who's playing Sin Cara under the mask each week, because I've grown tired of having to find out each week. I'm pretty sure it's Hunico tonight though, again. Should be fun to see how this version of Cara works with Bryan, as the original Mistico worked a fun match with him a few months back on Smackdown. Cara takes it right to Bryan in the opening moments with a flurry of quick arm-drags. Bryan nails him with a running boot that sends Cara to the outside floor, and Bryan wipes him out moments later with a big tope suicida! Fireworks already. Back in the ring Bryan nails Cara in the corner with a big running dropkick. He stretches Cara out with the old Mexican surfboard (oh irony) and then transitions into a nasty combination surfboard/guillotine choke briefly. Bryan gets back-dropped out of the ring and Cara fakes him out on the first dive attempt before going through on the second one with a big Asai cross-body. He tosses Bryan back into the ring and covers him after a Guerrero-like tope con hilo for a two count. Bryan back-flips out of an Irish whip and both men collide in the middle of the ring with simultaneous cross-body attempts. Back on their feet they trade stiff precision kicks and Cara gives Bryan a big Olympic slam. He hits him with a springboard somersault senton followed by a lionsault moments later and that's enough to give Cara the win at an even 5:00. You know that old saying about how some workers are so good that you can give them five minutes and they'll almost always come out with a great little match? That's the sort of praise we used to save for guys like Benoit, Guerrero, and Malenko on Nitro, but nowadays the name is Daniel Bryan. Just a flat out fun five minute sprint. ***
After the match both men shake hands in a sign of respect....when suddenly Cara turns on Bryan and beats him down! The crowd is shocked, and frankly so am I. Sin Cara, a heel? I suppose this could be a way to set up an angle for the "real" Sin Cara to return and reveal this one as an imposter known as Hunico, but I'm not entirely certain that's the direction they're heading in.
Backstage Matt Striker is with the new tag team champions, Kofi Kingston and Evan Bourne. He asks about how they feel and Bourne cuts a clean-cut Leave it to Beaver like little promo about how excited they are. Kofi talks about great tag teams in years past (Rockers, Demolition, Harlem Heat) before teaching Striker how to do the "Boom Drop" taunt that Kofi does. I'm all for a revitalized tag team division, but it's going to require more than just throwing two midcard singles wrestlers into a thrown-together team to accomplish that I think. We go to commercial and when we return we see a poll up on WWE.com currently asking who has the better advantage inside of the steel cage tonight between Randy Orton and Christian.
After a brief video package detailing the Orton/Christian rivalry, we join Matt Striker with Christian backstage. Christian says that he's resilient and a survivor, and that tonight he's going to fight for what's right whether the people like it or not. He says he doesn't need to be the World champion to validate his career, he just wants to be the champ for the sake of it.
Beth Phoenix/Natalya vs. Kelly Kelly/Alicia Fox
Aksana, complete with cheesy 80s saxophone "romantic" music in the background, does the announcing duties here. I'm not sure what they see in this girl. Kelly and Natalya start us off with Kelly playing the fiery spark-plug as usual. Beth knows her routine by now though and immediately plants Kelly on her face before tagging Beth in for a double-shoulderblock and a near fall. Beth beats up on Kelly for a bit with forearms until Alicia Fox gets the tag and hits a big cross-body off the top rope. Alicia lays in a forearm and then takes out Beth with a sweet reverse falling elbow off the second rope before knocking Natalya off the apron. She lays in a stiff kick on Beth, but Beth fights back with a pair of knife-edge chops and then delivers a huge Glam Slam on Fox for the win at 2:03. Is it just me, or is the Diva's division actually improving dramatically from a workrate perspective these days? Beth and Natalya looked great in the win, Kelly looked as fiery as ever, and even Alicia Fox looked great, bouncing all over the place and taking bumps. One of these days they're going to give these ladies some actual time to work a match and I think people are going to be surprised by how good it could be. *3/4
They're making a remake of Straw Dogs? Straw Dogs?! Is nothing sacred? I can't imagine there were people knocking down Screen Gems Production's doors demanding a modern take on a film as dark and deeply disturbing as Sam Peckinpah's masterpiece is.
When we return from the break, Teddy Long is in the ring for the contract signing between CM Punk and Triple H for their match at Night of Champions. He introduces our COO Triple H and he comes down to the ring with a mic of his own. He says that he canceled the match between Nash and Punk at a board of directors meeting last night in favor of booking Punk against himself. He says that the WWE board was kind enough to let him take off the suit for one night to take out CM Punk, and he calls Punk out for the signing.
The sounds of "Cult of Personality" ring out in the arena as Punk makes his entrance down to the ring with a pipe-bomb/microphone of his own. He sits down casually at the table in the middle of the ring, props his feet up and asks Triple H why he's even here to sign this contract and if there are any new stipulations in it that he should be aware of. Triple H tries to apologize for the abruptness of the match change, but Punk says it doesn't matter because nothing Hunter does surprises him. Triple H says that Punk has disrespected his family and Punk keeps trying to butt back into the conversation while Triple H tries to explain to Punk how he bent over backwards to try and make Punk happy. Triple H claims that he's the one that got Punk's theme change to Living Colour's "Cult of Personality" to go through and that he helped pay for it. He also claims that he was the one to approve of the new Best in the World CM Punk shirt that has been selling like hotcakes. Triple H says he's trying his best to juggle all of his responsibilites, but Punk disrespected him as a man and now Punk has to deal with Hunter like a man (in the ring). Good promo work from Hunter here. Punk says he doesn't want to face the new Triple H, he wants to face the old one---the cerebral assassin. Punk says Vince couldn't separate his personal and business issues, and now Triple H is falling into the same pattern.
Punk says that although everyone thinks he hates the WWE, he in fact loves it. He wants change in the company and he wants things to be better for everyone in the company. Punk says he wants to be the catalyst for that change, but Triple H isn't buying into his rhetoric. Triple H says that Punk's real motive is to be on top as "the man", and that his whole humble man-of-the-people shtick is bullshit. Hunter says he thinks that Punk is alot like he used to be when he started out in his career, mercilessly crushing everyone in his path in order to make it to the top, but the difference in how Punk does this is that Punk backdoors and soft-talks his way to the top instead of being a man and taking action like Hunter used to. He accuses Punk of playing the role of a martyr, and Punk doesn't seem to completely disagree. Punk says that everyone should be able to tune into the WWE and enjoy the show, not just the half and half that Hunter just mentioned. Punk says he tested Triple H with a trial by fire, but he failed and is just another egotistical stooge like Vince McMahon, hiring his old buddies like Kevin Nash to come back and do his work for him. Punk says this match has been a long time coming and finally signs the contract. Triple H takes the Vince McMahon comparison as a compliment and Punk cuts him off again for another diatribe about wanting change in the company. Hunter says unlike Vince McMahon, he won't take a beating from Punk because it's good for business. He says this is personal, and he's going to kick Punk's skinny fat ass.
Suddenly the old NWO music hits and Kevin Nash comes roaring down the entrance way. He steps into the ring and tosses the table aside and Punk goes right to the attack on Nash. Nash gives him a big boot and Triple H shoves him, so Nash shoves Triple H right back and we cut to commercial. Glad they didn't forget about Nash in this whole equation, as it would have been a bit strange to not have him appear tonight. When we return we see a clip of Striker trying to interview Nash during the break, but he has nothing to say.
Sheamus vs. The Great Khali
Last week we saw big Zeke make Khali tap out, can Sheamus do the same tonight? Sheamus tries a side headlock to start but Khali slams him and then stomps a mudhole into him in the corner. He rips some of the bandaging off of Sheamus' ribs and lays in some huge open-palm chops. Khali tries the nerve hold, but Sheamus fights it off quickly. He brings it to Khali with big forearms and then takes Khali down with a dropkick to his knee. Sheamus ties Khali up in the ropes and lays in big hammer-fists, following it with a running knee to the jaw moments later. Sheamus takes Khali down with a flying shoulder-block off the top rope and sets up for a big move, but Jinder Mahal hops into the ring and nails Sheamus from behind to give him the DQ win at 2:49. Shockingly decent until the DQ finish, Khali seems to work well with these big guys like Zeke and Sheamus (who looked great again here). The beatdown continues on Sheamus after the match, but he regains the upper hand and winds up giving Mahal the Celtic Cross. *
The steel cage held high above the arena begins to come down as we prepare for our first World Heavyweight title match. We also take a look at the new Triple H film "Inside Out" as well as the upcoming Randy Orton three disc DVD set. Some good stuff on the horizon, call me crazy but I actually think Inside Out looks like it might be halfway decent, and a DVD set for Orton has been overdue for a long time.
World Heavyweight Title Steel Cage Match
Randy Orton © vs. Christian
These two have had several outstanding matches this year, and if wasn't for the incredible John Cena/CM Punk rivalry, I think Orton and Christian would have had any "Feud of the Year" award in the bag. Christian immediately tries to escape the cage, first trying the door and then trying to scale the cage, but Orton reels him back in and nails him with a beautiful dropkick for a two count as we cut to commercial. When we return we see both men trading blows as Christian again tries to scale the cage. Orton pulls him down again and plants him with a huge back body drop. Christian fights off the second-rope DDT by launching Orton into the cage face-first. Randy counters with a great roll-through cradle for a near fall, but he turns around and walks right into a powerful spinebuster from Christian for a near fall of his own. Christian delivers a reverse neckbreaker, but again Orton kicks out, so Christian tries climbing the cage again. He makes it to the top turnbuckle where he jockeys for position with Orton for a bit until Orton takes him out with a huge superplex off the top rope as we take another commercial break. When we return we see Christian crawling on his knees towards the door to try and escape, but Orton pulls him back in by the legs again and stomps on him. Christian gets sent face-first into the steel cage and gives Orton a chance to catch his breath. Orton goes into his Viper/finishing sequence mode and looks for his usual snap powerslam, but Christian sees it coming (psychology!) and evades the move only to be bounced off the steel cage again and then given the same powerslam anyways for a two count. Christian counters out of another second-rope DDT attempt so Orton tries to launch him into the cage like a lawn dart, but Christian counters into a big reverse DDT for yet another split-second near fall. Christian tries to scale the cage and Orton tussles with him again only for Christian to knock him back down to the mat and then deliver a huge frog splash from the top rope for yet another heated near fall! This match has gone into overdrive baby. Christian tries for a spear and Orton leap-frogs over him. He tries to connect with the RKO but Christian has him scouted again and he evades him long enough to bounce off the ropes and plant Randy with the spear! Yet still Orton kicks out again. Christian sets up for the Orton-esque punt but misses it. Christian feints a leaping cross-body from the second rope as he sees that Orton has already set him up to counter that move into the RKO (which if you remember correctly, is exactly how he beat Christian in one of their previous encounters) and he scales the cage again. Orton grabs him though and delivers a sort of muscle-buster neckbreaker for yet another near fall. Orton counters the Killswitch and tosses Christian into the cage and then plants him with the second-rope DDT. He sets up for the RKO, but Christian counters it again and Randy slams to the mat. Christian scales the cage and climbs to the very top of the cage. Orton meets him on top as they both straddle the top of the cage, trading left and right hands. They struggle again on the top turnbuckle until finally Orton is able to deliver the RKO to Christian from the top rope and that's enough for Orton to retain at 12:15 (shown). Good God all mighty, I stand corrected, this IS the feud of the year because these guys yet again went out and delivered an absolutely unbelievable match with just an insane amount of counter-wrestling, psychology, fighting spirit and everything else you could ever want in a wrestling match. This was off the charts fantastic, and another home-run from these two that stands right up side-by-side with their Over the Limit and Summerslam matches in an incredible three-way tie for the best match in this feud yet. You owe it to yourself to watch this match people. ****1/4
After the match is over, Mark Henry's music hits and he lays down an epic beatdown on Orton as we go off the air.
Bottom Line: This was one hell of a show, simply put. Tons of great stuff to be seen here, from the fun Daniel Bryan/Sin Cara match, to the exciting war of words between Triple H and CM Punk in their contract signing right down to an absolutely incredible steel cage main event that's an easy contender for free TV match of the year, and you've got yourselves one of the best episodes of Smackdown I've seen in quite some time. Brilliant show all-around really, can't say enough positive things here and it's an enthusiastic Thumbs Up obviously.