There have been two aspects of the major Kane/Undertaker/attack storyline that i’ve enjoyed thouroughly: Kane’s promos and the possibility of Rey Mysterio turning heel. The opening segment of the show seemed to fulfil both of these pre-requisites. Kane has been doing a fantastic job of showing believeable passion and even love for his brother. Although it wasn’t announced, the promo seemed to work towards a casket match at Summerslam, which I think would be fitting. The only problem with it all was that this sort of revelation is best announced at the end of the show. Indeed, as the show moved on, it seemed to dilute the impact of Mysterio being cast as the attacker. I realise they had a very specific idea for the end of the show, but it is my view that what they did (which i’ll get to later) was much less gratifying than if Kane would have stormed the ring and cut this promo, forcing Mysterio to respond next week.
On the plus side, the following match was the best of the night, between Christian and Drew McIntyre. It must have been at least ten minutes long, and throughout it told a story of a ruthless McIntyre absolutely brutalising a gutsy veteran in Christian. McIntyre is becoming one of the foremost purveyors of ‘Ruthless Aggression’ in wrestling today, this time with a non-stop assault on Christian’s left arm and shoulder. This started with his now trademark attack using the ring structure (the same way he won the Intercontinental Championship) and then hitting a brilliant and unique shoulder-breaker using the ring steps(!) before adding to this various and constant attacks on the shoulder. Christian managed to hang in there nonetheless before his wiley veteran instincts gained him a victory after a great reversal of McIntyre’s Future Shock in to a roll up pin. These two worked brilliantly together, and seen as a potential Christian-Hardy feud seemed to be killed off last week, perhaps these two will set off on a hot feud that will propel them both further up the food-chain and, potentially, to a PPV finish.
Another person deserving of that kind of attention, however, did not feature on the show for the second week running: the man in question being MVP. I realise that everyone has periods when they’re on the back-burner, and in MVP’s case, he’s getting extra attention on NXT and to a lesser extent on Superstars, but I still can’t help but feel that he is someone who should be on almost every show, being as he is, incredibly over with the fans and someone who could progress to the main event with ease. I really hope he finds something major to be involved in soon.
After cutting a typically successful promo, trying to inject a new sense of impact and intensity into the S.E.S., which was followed by a match with Big Show that became more of an angle, again highlighting a renewed intensity from the Straight-edgers, putting a brutal beating on Show, ostensibly breaking his hand. How this will affect their feud or whether it will be a crossroads for both parties remains to be seen. While I liked the attack, I don’t think the two parties make for a very good feud, and would like to see them both move on. For one thing, MVP could feud with Punk and the S.E.S. That sort of adversity in a feud would make MVP a main-eventer with no problem! As for Show, perhaps he could move on to something with Swagger.
For the second week in a row, Intercontinental Champion in waiting, Dolph Ziggler took on incumbant champion, Kofi Kingston. This was an ok match, but the way it was the same match-up as last week perhaps robbed it of any real innovation. The problem facing them was how to put Dolph over (to earn an IC title shot) without making Kofi look weak by losing twice in a row. They achieved this effectively by adding the Vickie factor, slapping Kofi while the referee’s back was turned, making him see red and get disqualified while assaulting Ziggler. This was fine, but didn’t come across as that believeable. Kofi’s reaction just seemed a little OTT after only being slapped. It is, nonetheless though, an interesting dynamic added to the relationship between Dolph and Vickie. As for the IC title match, I think the championship should really be defended at Summerslam, and so I hope that Ziggler goes over so Kofi can have his re-match at the PPV. If Kofi wins, it’ll be hard to justify Ziggler getting another shot a couple of weeks later, not to mention making next week’s match seem pointless.
In some ways, the Women’s Championship match was frustrating. It only got five minutes at best and for that reason, wasn’t a match befitting a title match. However, what did happen was pretty good. Before hand, I was worried about Tiffany being considered for a title match, but to be fair to her, pulling off a superplex and selling some pretty brutal moves from co-champion Michelle McCool was pretty impressive. Michelle eventually went over with a nice reversal in to a Faith Breaker. It was Vickie Guerrero’s second interference of the night that replaced real champion Layla with McCool, and this, again, seemed to backfire when Teddy Long decided enough was enough, and the co-champions would have to decide on who should be called the official, one and only champion. This is a good move for many reasons. Firstly, it will surely lead to a feud between LayCool which will be incredibly easy to get behind and will probably demand good television time; secondly, splitting up the pair will freshen up what has been a pretty small divas division by, effectively, adding an extra diva to the division (either Layla or Michelle on their own, as opposed to LayCool as a unit); and thirdly, it will make their tenure as Kaval’s pros on NXT all the more interesting. I’m looking forward to see how they deal with this unworkable position next week.
The main event was a no-disqualification match between Rey Mysterio and Jack Swagger. Rey came out as usual, interacting with the young fans and acknowledging the crowd. This, however, was after being accused of being Undertaker’s attacker! This is why Kane’s announcement should have come at the end, because the effect was kinda lost by main-event time. I’ve made no secret of saying I think it’s crucial that Rey is indeed unveiled as ‘Taker’s attacker, but I will only accept that it is actually the case when I hear Rey admitting it. As for Swagger, I quite liked his insistance that he would break the limbs of his ‘tequilla’ rival and throw him in the ‘diseased’ Gulf of Mexico, and his intensity is very impressive. They certainly took the ‘no-disqualification’ stipulation to the extreme, ending up out of the ring quite quickly. At first, this action was very impressive, with Swagger slamming Rey’s body repeatedly against concrete walls among the fans. The match continued on though, out of the arena and to the edge of the water outside the arena. To be completely honest, after a while, it became a little surreal, with Swagger being hurricarrana’d into the Gulf of Mexico himself, before Kane showed up and threw Mysterio in with him. Rey being clearly in the frame for Undertaker’s attack is a very positive step, but what the feud really needs is some kind of questioning of Mysterio and more suspicious actions from Rey (maybe be evasive when asked about the incident, cheat to win a match, or interact less with the fans) to atleast make the fans question whether he could indeed be the culprit. If that happens, this storyline will continue to be really interesting and watchable. If not, it may start to become confusing and less emotionally engaging than it has been so far.