This week’s show started out with a powerful promo from the Undertaker, appearing – as he used to -before the WWE Universe and insisting on the spotlight. During it, he said he thought the only possible stipulation for his match with his brother is a No Holds Barred match, and while Kane didn’t reply, the mere mention of the stipulation suggests to me that that will be booked. CM Punk, Undertaker’s opponent for the night, then came out to interrupt ‘Taker and belittle his power, saying that while everyone should doubtless respect the undertaker, he no longer saw ‘the Phenom’ but a broken-down shadow of the former Deadman. A good build-up for both the main event and Night of Champions.
Our first match saw Jack Swagger take on MVP. This is a feud that I think could be really good for both guys, though maybe more so for MVP, as he tends to outshine Swagger in verbal exchanges. It’ll be interesting to see when, or indeed if, Swagger returns to the main event. Their match was good and both got in some strong offense. They have good chemistry in and out of the ring and that showed here, with both move-sets complimenting each other pretty well. MVP looked strong, getting in the most offense. Swagger was the one who got the victory though, attacking MVP’s ankle with the steps before putting him in the ankle lock. What we need now, to take this to the next level, is MVP to hit the ring next week, selling a bit of a limp perhaps (though that might be too similar to Matt Hardy’s current predicament), and take out Swagger during a match.
If it were up to me, there would be no ‘special attraction’ matches at Night of Champions, like there will be this year, where no championship is on the line. I think it takes away from the character, and possibly the prestige, of the PPV. However, if there has to be one from Smackdown, I would prefer it was MVP vs Jack Swagger in a two out of three falls match (the gimmick helping it’s being sold as a ‘special attraction’). I would certainly not like to see, as we will be, CM Punk vs The Big Show. Their feud has been flatter than a pancake, despite the best efforts of both me. It’s not their fault, they’re both god wrestlers (though in very different ways!), they just have zero chemistry! I hate that we’ll be seeing it at NOC, but at least that must be the end of the feud!?
Alberto Del Rio kept up his impressive run by defeating a very game Matt Hardy (who even went ‘extreme,’ hitting his moonsault). There’s not much more to say about the match. It was to further build-up Del Rio as a legitimate force, while setting up a feud with Christian. That is a feud i’m very keen on seeing, as Christian is very worthy and able, but could do with the rub. On a side note, i’m no Spanish speaker, but I understood some of what Del Rio’s ‘personal ring announcer’ said when announcing him, and it brought a whole new dimension to that aspect of his entrance. He said something a long the lines of ‘the man who injured the chiwawa, Rey Mysterio.’ Before, I thought he was just really complimentary of Del Rio, but if he’s lauding what he’s actually done in previous weeks, that makes his entrance even better!
Kaval made his much anticipated debut on Smackdown this week, against fellow rising star, Drew McIntyre. These two worked well together, and though it was a (relatively) short match, Kaval managed to show off his amazing balance, athleticism and deadly offense against ‘The Sinister Scotsman.’ In what struck me as a little weird though, Kaval lost. Now, I can understand the reasons for this in some ways: they wanted McIntyre – understandably – on televison and looking strong, and this was the only match that he (and Kaval, actually) could have fitted in. Kaval defeating McIntyre could have made him look weak, which is undesirable. Nonetheless, I feel it’s also undesirable to have your ‘next break-out star’ lose his debut match on a main brand. Luckily, Kaval didn’t look weak, only losing after taking a sickening powerbomb to the barrier and a Future Shock DDT. If this leads to a full-on feud between the two, the booking will be passable as the best of an awkward situation. I just hope it’s not a sign of things to come in Kaval’s future.
There’s not too much to say about the tag match between Dolph Ziggler & Chavo Guerrero and Kofi Kingston & Chris Masters. The match was good with a good tag-team finish, and the booking was refreshing (for a feud which has, until now, been Dolph vs Kofi every week). It’s nice to see Chavo especially, who deserves the spotlight, on Smackdown. I’m not even that keen on Masters, but it’s good for him too. As expected, there will be an Intercontinental Championship match at Night of Champions, and it will be no disqualification and no count out. That means that if Dolph wins (which I think he probably will), it will definitely be the end of this feud, which lost a lot of steam weeks ago.
Our main event was the mouthwatering match-up between CM Punk and the Undertaker, wrestling for the first time since returning from his injury. Thoughout this angle, WWE have been brilliant in not just having Undertaker return and devastate everything in his path. That would have been boring and stale. Instead, ‘Taker has looked vulnerable and has sold it excellently. This match was a very good main event, lasting at least ten minutes and having both guys really put on a good show. CM Punk, on his own, got to show off why he is so respected, getting a lot of brilliantly executed offense in on the Undertaker. The story of the match was very well told. At no point did the Undertaker look like he was at full strength, but he managed to power through, defeating a very powerful punk by submission. The victory wasn’t convincing, but it suggested that the Phenom may be on his back to prominence. Just to check that atmosphere, Kane asserted his own power, hitting his own pyro when ‘Taker assumed his usual post-match pose of respect, laughing in omnipresence to close the show. Nonetheless, the important point that Undertaker still has at least something of his former self in reserve, was made.