One clear goal of Smackdown’s showing on USA was to use people like Cena and Orton to draw for the blue brand. Indeed, our first match saw the Viper take on WWE Champ, The Miz one last time in a stellar way to kick off the show. The difference here, as opposed to their match on RAW was that Miz looked a lot more the equal to Orton. Of course he kept his stealthy (if you will) characteristic of sticking and running, but there were times that Miz was on top of Orton without necessarily requiring the help of ‘A-Ri.’ There was even more back-and-forth about this, with Miz’s guardian angel, Alex Riley interjecting when Miz was in danger. Happily perhaps, this was less often than on Monday. Towards the end of the match, there were some great counter/reversal passages which really amped up the atmosphere. As the match came to it’s conclusion, Miz and Orton tussled for position, but after Orton got the upperhand, Riley got involved, taking an RKO and causing the DQ. It certainly makes sense to not hand Miz another clean loss, but I would perhaps have preferred to have seen Miz go over with Riley’s interference. It will be very interesting to see what Orton moves on to now …
I get that Santino’s on something of a rise at the moment, so perhaps a near-squash is fitting, but against Chavo! That guy could wrestle multi-seg matches excellently, and this is what he’s reduced to! No disrespect, but why even keep Joey Mercury hired is he’s not there to job!
Similar, but better was McIntyre’s squash of Kaval. I don’t think Kaval will be a jobber, he was at PPV only a couple of months ago, and seems to be over. While it’s a shame for Kaval, he’s paying his WWE dues and possibly setting up for a feud with the Sinister Scotsman, and McIntyre could do with keeping his profile high, which he is doing with his recent amped-up aggression (as well as his chasing of Kelly Kelly). This was, though it seems an oximoron, an entertaining squash. McIntyre was right on top of Kaval during his entrance, hitting him with a big boot before taunting him by saying “Merry Christmas.” Excellent. A Future Shock DDT was all he needed to finish the World Warrior off.
Though I can’t find much to say about it, the Kofi/Rey vs Del Rio/Swagger match should be mentioned. It was certainly a very good tag match which was no doubt meant to show off a very polished version of Smackdown to first-time viewers on USA. The double splash by Rey and Kofi on to the heels was pretty awesome too. There was a suitably clean ending to the match, with Rey hitting Swagger with a 619 which was followed by a Trouble in Paradise and a West Coast Pop for the face victory.
The main event was essentially a re-match of Dolph Ziggler against John Cena (though Vickie was thrown in, probably to justify the re-match), but if anything, it surpassed Monday’s highly celebrated match and could be a Match of the Year candidate in many ways, at least for television matches. It was really packed, and it’s not worth talking too much about individual moments for that reason, but the match can be characterised (a bit like the Miz-Orton match) by being a lot more packed, and a lot more evenly matched. Ziggler was really on top of Cena for probably most of the match, and at several points, had Cena apparently reeling. Not only that, but Ziggler kicked out of Cena once or twice showing remarkable resilience. What seemed to hold Ziggler back was not Cena, but Vickie, who continuously tagged herself in at inopportune times, disrupting Ziggler’s progress. Towards the end, it is a testament to both men that Ziggler seemed that he might win, and clean. He couldn’t quite overcome the marquee name, however. The ending was perhaps a little silly in it’s use of Christmas camp as Cena finally stopped Vickie’s intrusions by planting a Jericho-to-Stephanie style snog on Vickie, stunning her and allowing him to beat a very game Ziggler, eventually, with an Attitude Adjustment. No doubt Ziggler will be considered for a main event feud in the near future after how stellar his performances have been. I’d like to see him keep that IC title right up to Wrestlemania (or possibly until Extreme Rules to make the dropping of the belt less high-profile) as he wont be main eventing in Wrestlemania season. After that, I think he could challenge for the World Heavyweight Championship.
There was some nice symmetry in CM Punk’s post-match chair-assault to John Cena, in that it mirrored almost exactly the demeanor and events of Monday night’s attack, i.e. chair to the stomach, to the back, before casually leaving the ring and climbing the ramp almost non-chalantly. These two could have a truly awesome feud.