The wrestling world has been in something of a flux since RAW, but it seemed that this week’s Smackdown was something of a tempering piece of programming.
Right from the start of the show, attention was right back on Kane and his investigation in to his brother’s assailants. Whether this turns out to be linked to the NXT ‘invasion’ remains to be seen, but for the mean time, that particular issue seemed suddenly quite distant. While it was mentioned, there was none of the progression that I was personally hungry for. It was my hope that this issue would be WWE-wide, and while that is not yet to be ruled out, it seems less likely for now.
Smackdown started out with the four contenders for the World Heavyweight Championship at Fatal Four Way: champion Jack Swagger, Big Show, Rey Mysterio, and CM Punk. This segment was pretty dry, but necessary, build-up for the PPV, and then Kane cut a promo on them in which he seemed to accuse them of all potentially attacking his brother in order to take his spot on the roster and at Fatal Four Way. This was fine, but not that clear. If they really wanted to give this storyline profile in the context of the huge NXT angle, they needed to progress the story more, perhaps by defining better who Kane suspects and why. For the time being, Kane just seems to be cutting disturbing backstage promos and chokeslamming everyone. I’d have liked to have seen some more direct accusations from Kane, say, to Rey Mysterio, who beat him last week, really interrogating him with some sort of incriminating evidence, and suggesting that perhaps Rey, the super-face, maybe did do it.
Anyway, following this was the match between Rey Mysterio and Jack Swagger. This was easily the match of the night. Despite the fact these two had apparantly never met before on television, they put on a very good match in which they had a high level of in-ring chemistry. After Rey hit his first 619, I worried we were going to see some horrible squash, but some good storytelling saw the ring-savy Swagger reach his ankle to the bottom rope. Rey Mysterio’s size (and consequent weight) makes him more plyable as an opponant, which has helped make many of his previous matches very popular, because people can do things with him that they simply can’t with others. This was also the case in this match, in which Swagger teased a Gutwrench Powerbomb with Rey up in a mid-air starting position. In the end, Rey went over with a pair of 619’s. I wasn’t sure about it initially, but it really got over the jeopardy Jack is meant to be in at Fatal Four Way with three world-class opponents, while avoiding making Swagger look weak.
Just quickly, Vance Archer and Curt Hawkins attacked Christian from behind. The commentators said they had succeeded in making their required impact. This is not true in my opinion. The same attack followed by a high-five does not constitute making an impact. You wanna know how to do that, watch the end of this week’s RAW.
The next thing of real note to be covered this week was the Drew McIntyre story-arc. Drew continues to come across as a strong heel in this angle, treating the GM with a complete lack of respect, as well as the whole roster and ‘Universe.’ He appears to be feuding with two people at the same time: Matt Hardy and Kofi Kingston. This could be either good or bad: either it will be quite a fresh angle (as handicap fueds usually favour heels in numbers terms), ir it will otherwise be a little confusing. It was announced that next week, Drew will take on Teddy Long. This is Attitude-esque, and will be hit-or-miss. It could either be quite memorable, or quite clumsy. We’ll have to wait to see.
The main event was Big Show vs CM Punk. This was a bit of a disappointment, really. As a huge Punk fan, I was looking forward to seeing how well his style would mesh with Show’s, and apparantly, it didn’t really. It seemed like they booked the match, couldn’t think of much to do in it, and so cut it short. It couldn’t have been much longer than five minutes! After the S.E.S.’s interference made it a no-contest, Kane again came out to chokeslam the pair in the ring. Perhaps they’re hoping to get next week’s PPV out of the way before they really catalyse the Kane/Undertaker storyline, and if that’s the case, I guess it’s understandable, but at the same time, we’re going to need something a little different next week, perhaps justifying an interference from Kane at Fatal Four Way …