The show started out with Drew McIntyre being forced to beg Teddy Long for an opportunity to get in to Smackdown’s MITB match. There wasn’t much to this except to announce McIntyre’s return. It remains to be seen whether he’ll regain preferential treatment once (or if) Mr. McMahon returns, and whether or not he will be, from now on, on a level playing field with the rest of the roster.
The first match was a triple-threat match with the winner gaining entry to the MITB match. It was great to see three very capable and probably underrated guys in Dolph, Chavo and MVP wrestle each other, the only problem being (in my view) that each of them should have been booked in the PPV match. This match was very watchable mostly because of the story regarding Vickie Guerrero trying to help Dolph Ziggler gain success, even if they did seem to bury the angle from last week when Vickie apparantly ‘dumped’ Dolph. I was especially pleased to see Chavo get booked in relation to a championship, while MVP seemed to get a big reaction. I also felt it was important that they make MVP looks strong, which they did by the way he would have won had it not been for Guerrero’s intrusion. Perhaps could have been longer, but a good match between quality wrestlers nonetheless, just a shame that MVP (probably) wony make Money in the Bank.
What followed was one of those fascinating situations when two beloved faces – in this case Matt Hardy and Christian – came face to face, and one of them has to fall, in the tragic sense. The last time I remember this happening was when Chris Jericho turned heel against Shawn Michaels a couple of years ago. This time, it looks like Christian may be the one turning heel. Following last week, where Hardy got the upper hand, Christian and Hardy tagged together to take on Vance Archer and Curt Hawkins. This match was ok, but really more of a MITB and Hardy/Christian angle. One thing it reassured me of was how uninteresting a tag team Archer and Hawkins are. For a team that are supposed to make an impact, they don’t have great chemistry, and barely have any distinctive features. It occured to me that, rather than firing Mike Knox a while back, it would have been better to fire Hawkins and paired Archer with Knox. That would have made a really good, psychotic tag team, but alas, here we are with a filler tag team. Anyway, as Hardy went to tag Christian, he was pulled over the top rope in quite an awkward bump. Eventhough Christian was only acting in retaliation, this came across as the starting of a heel turn. I don’t know whether Christian really needed this, but undoubtedly it will help bring more attention to him, something that could push him closer to the main event.
There then followed probably the best segment of the show. Rey Myseterio, in a bad way after last week’s attack, was attacked once more by Jack Swagger with his vicious new weapon: the ankle lock. What was so good about this was the nature of the attack. Swagger’s massive size in relation to Mysterio made the pressure on the ankle seem all the more uncomfortable, and the way he dragger him all through the arena, bashing his leg on things on the way created a genuine pathos for the whimpering Mysterio in his position (the ultimate reaction when addressing fans who know full well it’s all scripted). Indeed, the attack was so stunning, it is difficult to see how even ‘the ultimate underdog’ can retain his belt next week. With that in mind, it will be interesting to see if Mysterio appears next week on Smackdown, and how his prognosis will be portreyed. My instinct is that he wont even make the title match. While it may be premmature to suggest this, I imagine Rey will lose his title before the main event, to whoever wins the Money in the Bank Briefcase for the Smackdown brand. This simply because I can’t see Swagger regaining his title just yet, and Ithink it would be proposterous for Mysterio to retain now. You heard it here first (probably).
For extra insight in to what I believe will be happening at the PPV, I believe the man who won this next match, will probably win the briefcase next Sunday. Ever since the match was booked earlier in the night, it was clear that Drew McIntyre would beat Kofi Kingston to qualify. This would have been less obvious had Drew been going up against someone like MVP, but nonetheless this was a very good match. They appear to be characterising Drew as a man who is ‘stepping up’ now he doesn’t have Vinnie O’Mac’s backing, as was seen against Kofi Kingston, who they hammered home, was someone Drew had struggled against. Good chains and compatability of styles, and some dramatic and very believeable near-falls. A highlight was Drew’s kinda slingshot slam to Kofi, which was starting point towards an emphatic (if morally dubious) victory for Drew. I think he heat he has gained recently, by attacking Matt Hardy and Kofi Kingston, and humiliating the beloved Teddy Long, will be enough to push him to the next stage. Looking at the other entrants to the Smackdown MITB, there isn’t one other than McIntyre that stands out. Big Show, I suppose is a favourite, but it would be a massive crock if he did indeed win.
I’m not sure how I feel about the latest S.E.S. twist, with Serena straying from the path, so to speak. It’s still early in the twist to judge, but it seemed a little wasted with Punk forgiving her the week after her transgresses. Gallows being admonished and leaving the ring might suggest a deeper split, but that remains to be seen.
Not much to say about Rhodes’s victory over JTG. Good to see JTG on TV, but a shame to see him getting jobbed. Hopefully, that’s not the path he’ll be taking from now on. As for Rhodes, i’m glad to see him on this meteoric rise with his new persona. He’s looking very strong, and though I think it’s too early for ‘Dashing’ Cody Rhodes to win MITB and reach the main event, I hope to see him there by around next Wrestlemania. I must say though, i’m not a fan of his new entrance theme. While I understand it’s more befitting of his ‘Dashing’ character, it’s doesn’t announce an entrance so well. It’s not explosive or anything – though the idea of the mirror is really cool.
The main event was a strange affair. To be honest, there wasn’t much of interest in this match – I can’t actually remember much of the action, in fact. However, once the match was thrown out, the action became more compelling. It would have been completely uninteresting if Big Show would have simply got his revenge on Swagger, but thankfully, that wasn’t what happened. Swagger, in a very heel-like way, managed to get the upper hand on Big Show, continuing to attack Big Show’s ankle. This was good for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it made a man who could slip away from the main event if he doesn’t get the attention, Jack Swagger, the opportunity to look strong against two very established main eventers.
I was starting to think, ‘it’s weird that Kane hasn’t done anything this week. I hope they’re not letting his undertaker storyline slip!’ Just then, as Swagger went to back off the scene he had created, Kane accosted him backstage. It’s fascinating that it is Swagger he has chosen to interrogate next. Of the four suspects, you would expect that the culprit would be the last one to be confronted. Not only that, but Swagger seemingly has an alibi. This means that the culprit was not a heel. This is exactly what I personally wanted. It would be uninteresting if it was either Swagger or Punk, and if it is a face (and it isn’t Kane!), i’m sure it will be Rey Mysterio, and we’ll get, for the first time in WWE, a heel Mysterio: something that is desparately needed! But i’m getting ahead of myself …