This week’s Smackdown started out, for good reason, with the new Intercontinental Champion, Dolph Ziggler and ‘girlfriend’, Vickie Guerrero, looking suitably complacent after last week’s successes. Understandably, former champion, Kofi Kingston took exception to these celebrations at his expense and again went after Dolph with a brawling attack. Teddy Long brought some order to all this, announcing an Intercontinental Championship match at Summerslam, a match the prestige of which deserves to be on the Summerslam match unquestionably. I’m liking the aggression from Kofi and the heat between the two. Them both being athletic guys makes for a good feud, and this match will be really good for both guys if they’re given time and an upper-mid placement.
A brave and honourable Kofi accepted a match made by the vengeful Guerrero against World Champion, Kane. This match was pretty good, and gave some nice prominance to Kofi Kingston, although, in an effort to keep Kane looking strong no doubt, he went over Kofi relatively easily in the end. Off the top of my head, that’s all I can really think that was memorable from this match, which I suppose isn’t a great advertisement for the match.
Cody Rhodes then took on Christian, and backstage before the match, some sort of alliance between Rhodes and Drew McIntyre was teased. I personally think that that’s a terrible idea. I really like both guys, but I can’t see them having great chemistry in a tag team, plus, I think it would be a needless move as both of them are really over as up-and-coming heels and don’t need to enter a tag team now – especially Rhodes, who has only just become ‘Dashing.’ This match was a good one, continuing the stroy of Christian’s injured shoulder and a showcase of some really good in-ring skills. It was pretty one-sided towards Rhodes, but I think if they were to have a more even match, they could have great chemistry. In the end, Rhodes went over, continuing to look strong. I can’t remember the last time he lost. I would still like to see Christian feud with McIntyre. They had great chemistry together and it would give them both a big rub if handled properly. There is a chance that this will happen – it could easily be sold that McIntyre was encouraging Rhodes against Christian not as part of an alliance with Rhodes, but to further hurt Christian. As you can probably tell, I know which one I prefer.
I didn’t see Big Show defeating the three ‘local competitors,’ but I get the idea, and it’s a nice one: Show obliterates three competitors (the same amount as the S.E.S.) to send a message of determination to his opponants while getting over that he can still wrestle with a ‘broken hand,’ making the Summerslam match more credible and believeable. I’m still not at all interested in this feud though, and despite Punk utilising his mic skills, and the appropriateness of the angle, I still can’t get in to this. I’m looking forward to it the least of all on the Summerslam card, and that’s saying something seen as how much I love CM Punk! However, it looks like Luke Gallows split from the S.E.S. is gaining pace. Now that Mercury has been unveiled, it seems Gallows is trying to assert himself as ‘deputy’ to Punk, and Punk isn’t liking his boldness. He was scolded smartingly this week, and it looks like it will continue as time goes on.
Next up was a renewal of the feud between Drew McIntyre and Matt Hardy, and accordingly, this match didn’t struggle in finding it’s aggression. It wasn’t ballet, as they say, but both guys thrive on a blue chip ethic anyway. For Hardy, this manifests in passion, heart, and mild risk-taking, whereas for McIntyre, it manifests as sheer aggression. This makes for great chemistry between the two, and this match was no different, with McIntyre placing Hardy’s foot between the two sections of a set of ring-steps and stomping on it in an act of brutality that has raised the bar even for him. It was only a matter of time before McIntyre dragged the ailing Hardy to the ring for a swift Future Shock DDT and a pinfall. What was interesting – and not that i’m an anti-PG guy, in fact quite the opposite – was how the cameras purposefully showed the bloody ‘seepage’ from Hardy’s ankle. My position has always been that I hate blading, but if someone bleeds as a result of something in the match anyway, I am against them covering it up. I don’t think this incident is the start of the return of blood in the WWE, but encouragingly, it seems like they’re perhaps not shrinking from that sort of thing. As of yet, Drew has no spot at Summerslam. That seems crazy to me, but then again, you never know what will be added on the night.
The most pleasant surprise for me was the return to some sort of prominance for MVP, and in some fashion against Jack Swagger. Swagger himself has been between feuds, and was in danger of slipping down the card for a while, so it is good to see him back on TV too, and in what has the potential to be a really good feud. What was even better was that MVP got to show off his exemplery mic skills in a similar way to when he had a mini-feud with Miz last year that could have been brilliant for both guys and was really over. If he gets the same opportunity with Swagger – and in comparison with Swagger – and it’s followed through (unlike with Miz), he could really get over as a top face. During this match, which had no previous hype before it, the fans were really marking out for MVP, so there’s definately potential there! This was a very good match too. Swagger is clearly a very talented in-ring competitor, but MVP is very talented too, and his smash-mouth style gels well with Swagger’s more classic style, making for good chemistry. The way MVP won, with a roll-up, as well, makes for future matches between these two and making for a feud that will be good for MVP, but make no mistake, for Swagger too, eventhough he’s already a main eventer. He needs something that keeps him a strong and well respected wrestler, and this will help with that.
There was a fresh main event match up between Rey Mysterio and Dolph Ziggler. These guys had a good match up together in which Dolph Ziggler instantly look strong and credible at that level. What was most notable, in retrospect, was that I wasn’t watching thinking ‘wow, look at this, Ziggler in the main event,’ he just seemed to belong there. That will be in part to do with Mysterio. His quickness and agility helps many look good against him, and he worked really well with the relatively small Ziggler too. Plus, as seen in nhis feuds with Jericho and Punk, Rey’s size makes him very manouverable, allowing the competitor to come up with innovative moves. Indeed, Ziggler brought some new moves to the table in this match (the right time to do it, in a main event), one being a spinning flapjack in to the ropes, another being that backwards bridging headlock (which he actually started doing last week), and another, the best, being a kind of hammer lock up in to an electric chair drop with a bridging pin. Brilliant. Eventhough this isn’t a main-event push for Ziggler, the quality of the match makes me think that it’s not far away. This is pretty funny seen as the last time Rey and Ziggler feuded, Rey wouldn’t drop the belt to Ziggler, and now that Dolph has finally won it, his first match is against Mysterio. A certain X-factor was given to the match by Kane’s explosive entrance half way through, casket in toe. In terms of their storyline, I wasn’t that excited by this week’s episode. I don’t think they had much to add to the Summerslam match other than reiterating that each man was blaming the other. I’m sure that some sort of twist will come at Summerslam, but i’ll wait for my Summerslam preview yo speculate on that. In the end, Rey went over (probably for the same reason Kane did earlier) in a very good and promising match.
I do have one qualm though. Since this match was taped, the news of Lance Cade’s tragic death has been broken, but i’ve talked about that in a seperate post. I’m not sure how i’d feel, with this in mind, about the inclusion of the casket in the Summerslam match. I’d applaud WWE if they decided not to include it, or atleast subdue it’s influence.