Right, i’m afraid this will have to be something of an abridged review because i’m really busy this weekend, not to mention having to cover Bragging Rights! (though previewing PPV’s is my favourite thing to do here).
Some quick words on the booking. I liked it mainly as we got some great prospects (especially Edge-Punk and Orton-Kane), but I wondered what the thought process behind not booking Tyler Reks was! Well, I can actually guess: they want to keep him mysterious, which makes sense I suppose, but I think they could have done that with more involvement. After all, this guy was an also-ran until last week. I might not have booked him in a match, but I would have dome something with him, specifically, a backstage incident where he could have attacked brutally Alex Riley after he had finished talking with Miz, taking him out. R-Truth’s criminal record mean that he is not welcome in Canada, which is why Riley had so much ring-time anyway, making him RAW’s seventh man for the week. Having Reks beat the holy hell out of Riley wouldn’t have adversely affected Bragging Right’s main event, while making Reks seem like an unknown and dangerous entity, without losing any of his in-ring mystique.
In some ways I would rather not have seen a tag match, with it being obviously similar to the Bragging Rights format, but it was alright given that it was a 6-man tag match. ‘Big Zeke’ needs a new finisher, partly because it’s the same as Otunga’s (though Jackson had it first) but not executed as well, and partly because it’s pretty lame. He needed to ‘dominate’ more. Big Show and Rey Mysterio had good chemistry as partners. Smackdown, consequently, won the match with a Chokeslam/Splash combination from the two to start a trend of Smackdown victories for the night.
Swagger had a decent enough match with Santino. It was as you might expect, flavoured by Swagger’s Soaring Eagle mascot and Hornswoggle. Nonetheless, Santino showed a glimpse of his wrestling capability in the match, performing a few take downs on Swagger and genuinely challenging him at times. The Cobra, however, fell victim to the All American American’s Ankle Lock.
Alberto Del Rio had one of the better matches of the night with John Morrison. These two are actually very similar in style (though Del Rio’s is perhaps more methodical). They both have high-flying capability and use the ring and the ropes as part of their offense a lot. They’re also both incredibly athletic and agile (even for wrestlers), and this all added up to a high octane match with a good finish as moves were countered and countered again until Del Rio hit his rolling cross armbar for the victory.
LayCool had one of their funniest ever segments attempting the classic send-up style segment, approaching the ring with Layla dressed as Natalya (plus Anvil beard) and Michelle dressed as Bret Hart. Layla’s impersonation of Natalya was hilarious in it’s ridiculousness while Michelle’s was funny because she actually impersonated The Hitman very well (and funnily!). The match was actually a tag match, though Kelly Kelly never got in the match. This is fine though, because it increased the heat in this rivalry without ruining the PPV match by just having it one-on-one. Natalya is one of the best female wrestlers there is, showing this again with her incredible double-underhook suplex (something she should use as a finisher I think), but Layla more than kept up with her, showing how much she’s improved as of late. Natalya took it, with Layla perhaps tapping out too easily to make her seem like an even more credible victor on Sunday.
The main event certainly did have an essence of rarity and prestige to it, especially with it being champion vs champion. I was left a tad disappointed by it. I didn’t like how both were going for their finishers early on, fo one thing. After that early flourish, it improved with Kane mostly in the ascendency, and Orton fighting for a foothold, and at this time there was lots of very good wrestling, so good, indeed, that it was bearly noticable. This is good, but there was nothing else ‘noticable’ really added in to make it stand out. The end came when Undertaker’s dark lights distracted Kane as he was about to Chokeslam Orton, allowing the Viper to hit an RKO for the win. For various reasons, I would rather have seen Kane win, partly to rejuvinate his power going in to the PPV, and on Orton’s end to legitimise a loss at Bragging Rights, or make a victory seem even more incredible. Taker then emerged from the ring, ticking off another classic ‘Taker move, and dragged Kane under the ring to close the show. This is of course very apt imagery going in to a buried alive match, but I would have liked to have seen more of a brawl before Kane was subdued perhaps, just to make it seem like he was, literally, subdued.