Due in part to storyline, and in part to necessity, this week’s episode of Smackdown was a monumental one, at least in terms of championship changes. It is a rare treat to see one change on television, but two, that’s pretty special!
I’d like to say, because it may have gotten overshadowed, kudos to Christian and Kofi on a very good match. With it being a television match, and one which would have neither of them as IC champ as the end result, it would have been easy to give them a 5 minute match. Luckily, the prestige of the title shone through and the two put on a match that is surely a future main event. The ending was, I must admit, a little weak, with the Trouble in Paradise out of nowhere, but it wasn’t so bad as to riun the match.
Initially I was unsure whether, if Drew was going to keep the belt, the whole IC tournament thing should go ahead. I thought we might feel robbed after witnessing the whole thing. However, the end result was, I think, very stirring. after investing a lot of intention in to the tournament, winning it seemed like an extra-inpressive achievement, and therefore, all the more anger-inducing when all that hard work was undermined by a Drew McIntyre not even dressed to compete. It’ll be interesting to see how their two styles mesh from now on.
Later on in the show, we had MVP and JTG team up to take on the Dudebusters. The lack of appeal from the Dudebusters aside, I thought MVP and JTG worked well together, and the match was pretty good. It was also good for JTG to get away from Shad and move on with his career without becoming a one-feud-wonder. However, I can’t help by feel that both JTG and MVP really need a decent singles run. The last thing JTG needs to advance is to share the limelight with a partner, and as for MVP, with the fan reactions he’s been getting, I can’t understand why he’s not getting pushed! I have a feeling, luckily, that this partnership was a one-time thing however, so it may not be so bad.
The Jack Swagger segment took up a large chunk of the show. This was quite a unique promo which at first I wasn’t too keen on due to it’s endless nature, but then I realised the heat Swagger was getting for it, and I realised he was just doing a great job of making me not like him. Also, I like the feature they’ve done on the past two Smackdown’s where they’ve cut to commercial and returned with Swagger still talking. It’s a clever way of getting over that he has been talking for ages and loves the sound of his own voice. In some ways it’s a shame that Swagger has had less ring-time and not being featured at either the start or the end of the show. I suppose it’s quite a good work for his Championship aura that he supposedly doesn’t need to wrestle as much though.
Commiserations to Beth Pheonix. She’s a great wrestler, and its a shame to see her reign cut short like this, especially in her home town. I wish her a speedy recovery. She must have been wrestling with some degree of injury on Friday, so major kudos to her too. I don’t know whether it was just her knee or her ACL she was wrestling on, but either way, she performer remarkable. She’s one tough cookie! With her injury in mind, it’s not really fair to judge the quality of the match (though it wasn’t bad at all!), so as for Layla being the new champion, I am very pleasantly surprised. I’ve thought for a while now that Layla has a lot of talent and potential, and another Michelle McCool reign (which, to be honest, I was expecting) would have been horribly boring! This must surely spell the end of Team LayCool too. In wrestling, you can’t overcome the dynamic they’re in now as friends, and the feud should be interesting. They’ve had some great feuds with Mickie James and with Beth Phoenix, so it will be interesting to see if this feud takes a similar direction. It’ll certainly freshen things up a bit.
It was nice to see Chavo in the ring again, but a shame to see him get buried! Hopefully this is leading to a better feud for him with Kane.
As for the main event, I wasn’t all that keen on the booking. Deeing a match that we’re going to see at the PPV seems to me to run the risk of removing some gravitas from the event. However, in this case, I don’t think it did. The match was very good and both guys were given time to put it on. As for the end, it wasn’t really much new, however, Punk’s crucifixion of Rey was a brilliant piece of imagery! (I’ll add the video in to the end of the post. The scene in question is towards the end around 07:45.) In the wrestling world, Punk is the best at imagery, and this is a great example of that. It also looks like the new member of the S.E.S. is going to start playing a bigger role, so the gimmick continues to evolve, which is obviously a healthy thing. I think this feud is starting to come to a natural end. As I said, they’re not really doing much new these days, but I get the feeling it might continue for a while after Over the Limit, with the ramifications of their match stipulation providing the feud with a new dimension.