Smack of the Week (17/07/2010): The Ladder is Central

This week we had big ladders, small ladders, reinforced ladders, all the ladders under the sun. Indeed, it seemed the Money in the Bank ladder match coming up this weekend was, understandably, central to this ‘go home’ episode.

Two people that must be considered among the favourites squared off in the first match of the night: Kofi Kingston and Cody Rhodes. The strong mat-work of Cody helped Kofi look very good while he managed to show off his explosive high-flying ability. There was a lot of good, quick-paced back and forth here, and while there was no winner, it didn’t hurt the match too much. Indeed, it was probably best that neither went over and needlessly make the other look weak, not that I think that would have been the case after the match was given decent time. It was Kane that stopped the match finishing cleanly, out as he was to warn Jack Swagger, in case he needed it, that he had to provide an alibi or face the consequences of ‘the Big Red Justice,’ one of Matt Striker’s few good nicknames.

The following match also had Money in the Bank ramifications, and had the other two real favourites face off: Christian and Drew McIntyre. There were quite a few very good matches this week, and this was probably the best. Drew McIntyre’s technical but vicious style seems to fit whoever he wrestles very well, as it did with Christian. There was, again,a lot of good back and forth here, some nice chains of moves and a good chemistry which also led to believeable near-falls. I’m not sure how deliberate it was, but one brutal spot occured when Drew push Christian – who was sat on the top rope – backwards, hitting the ring apron and then the floor in an awkward-looking, high impact way. With that in mind, it seemed that many of the competitors were taking bigger bumps this week, maybe warming up for the MITB match itself. Again, it was given good time and shone. For that reason, if one of the four wrestlers i’ve already mentioned wins, they will have laid a foundation of credibility this week. It probably trumps the earlier match, if for no other reason, for getting to finish.

Big Show then added his two cents with a ladder-themed promo. It started with the Straight-Edge Society in the ring, talking about how they remained strong despite recent mishaps, before Show came out with ladders in toe. After a bit of a verbal altercation, the S.E.S. went to stand at ringside while Show delivered his promo about different kinds of ladders and how he will be able to win the match. Like Goldielocks, Show tried out two unsuitable ladders before bringing out a monster of a reinforced ladder that he said he was going to use. I really hope he does, it could be used for some great stuff at the PPV. The promo went on for a little too long though to be honest. I think it could have been cut by not doing the bit with the small ladder, but that’s just me. It was good value, and CM Punk – trust him! – made it quite innovative by standing at ringside commentating and criticising Show all through it, drawing great heat. His words eventually led to a top-of-ladder altercation between the two in which Show finally unveiled the bald CM Punk (surely and unlockable character on SvR 2011!). This was great, as it was used to fit in to Punk’s messianic character in that they talked about Punk no longer being able to hide his ‘shame.’ As I say, it was quite time consuming, but very good overall.

The one poor match of the night was, predictably, the match with Kelly Kelly, tagging with Chris Masters to take on Layla and Trent Baretta. Now, Kelly did show some good aggression and selling, but it’s clear she’s still nowehere a championship level. Apart from some half-decent stuff between the divas, the men never tagged in, and there was a goofy segment where the Dudebusters helped Rosa Mendes jump rope for a while, eventually leading to Layla’s loss. Hopefully this is leading up to a Layla-Rose feud. While Rosa’s no legend of the ring, i’m sure she could carry a match better than KK.

Another good match with MITB implications was Dolph Ziggler vs Matt Hardy, which followed. Both guys looked genuinely strong here in a very solid match, which had good back and forth, and as I said, seemingly more high-risk moves preparing us and themselves for MITB. Indeed, we saw something from Matt that we haven’t seen in a long time: a genuinely high-risk move, the return of his moonsault! The end was quite a good chain and story. After a few moves strung together, Dolph pushed Matt towards an interfering Vickie Guerrero. Acting the face, Matt stopped the collision, but was distracted enough to back in to the Zig-Zag, allowing Dolph to pick up the win. I was surprised not to see any involvement from Christian. It seemed he was turning heel against Matt. Maybe not, or maybe the next twist is simply yet to come. We shall see.

The climax was the segment where Jack Swagger brought his ‘daddy’ along with him in order to prove his innocence concerning Undertaker’s attack. Another decent segment where Swagger showed a few comic photos of him working out with father, he says during Memorial Day. Unfortunately for the Swagger’s, Kane didn’t buy it, and went after both of them. Swagger briefly turned the tables on Kany, synching in an ankle lock, but Rey Mysterio put paid to that with a 619. What was great about Rey’s involvement was that it really sold his injury, something I think will be crucial at MITB. Rventually, Swagger ended up being pushed from the ring while Kane held his father in the chokeslam grip. A resigned Swagger turned his back on his doomed father as he received a chokeslam, creating a very powerful image. He went on to leave the ring-side area altogether as his father received a Tombstone Piledriver. Swagger showed his fear, trepidation and remorse all quite well, but my only problem with the segment was that it didn’t reveal any more about Undertaker’s attacker. OK, Kane still thinks it’s Swagger, I think, but Swagger didn’t admit anything and still seemed to be begging Kane to believe him. I still don’t think it was Swagger. Firstly because I really hope it isn’t, as it would be quite boring for it to be his heel rival behind it. Meanwhile, Kane hasn’t properly questioned the faces, Big Show and Rey Mysterio especially about the attack. It would make my year if it is Mysterio, simply because he’s been a solid superhero-esque face for so long and uninterrupted a time. I have a feeling Swagger will be acquitted at Money in the Bank.

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