The first match of the night was the wonderful prospect of Sin Cara against Daniel Bryan. I had worried that with Sin Cara being one of the new big emergent stars, Bryan would just be jobbing, but instead, we got a great match for either guy to show their wares. Something which is still important for the two up-and-comers, and it was a good job they were given good time to do it. Someone like Sin Cara is always going to be great, but when sharing a ring with Daniel Bryan, he was always going to look his best. This match was a nice hybrid of lucha and technical wrestling, with Cara floating around the ring while Bryan contained him with a ream of ingenious reversals, like catching Cara’s reverse elbow into an attempted LaBelle Lock. There was another awesome progression which saw close grappling end with an innovative pin attempt for a near fall again from Bryan. In the end, Cara kept his impressive run going after Chavo Guerrero distracted Bryan enough to allow Cara to hit his C4 finisher for the win. This meant that Bryan stayed looking strong, while the story between Chavo and Sin Cara built.
Next up Layla cut a face promo (undermined perhaps by her ‘No Photos’ T-Shirt) about retiring Michelle McCool and getting rid of that ‘poison ‘in her life. She also seemed to announce a knee injury, which might explain what was to become of her. I hope she isn’t out for too long, because she was really growing as a star. At this point, Cole came out again berating the divas and Layla, so it was nice to see Layla get to reply and get a pop by telling Cole to shut up. Then, Kharma’s music hit, and as Layla tried to escape, Cole tripped her up, leaving her to Kharma’s clutches. As Cole was mocking the fallen Layla, Kharma turned to face him, and he did a great job of acting terrified as she followed him to his ‘Cole Mine’ and he was stunned still. That was a good way of showing that everyone is scared of Kharma, but as I have said before, I think it’s time we had more variation in her actions – perhaps something at Over the Limit?
Kane vs Wade Barrett was another match in which a Corre member tried and failed to beat Kane or the Big Show alone, and that ended in a DQ This time, at least, Big Zeke came out to confront them. Another positive was that Corre seemed strong again, now they have united against Jackson. Other than that though, I expect Zeke to take the IC title at Over the Limit and continue this slightly uninspiring angle.
Next up was the Khali Kiss Cam. Why am I talking about this? Because of the impact of Jinder Mahal. When talking backstage to Khali in previous weeks it’s been a little uninteresting, partly because it’s been a bit incomprehensible. This week however, Mahal’s appearance following the kiss cam exposed the nature of this angle. Though its sort of entertaining, the kiss cam is a quite humiliating segment for a ‘monster’ superstar, and pressumably representing the pride of India, Mahal went to punish Khali by slapping him in the face and simply walking away. There has been talk of turning Khali in to a monster heel again and teaming him with Mahal, which is probably a good move as it will create a tag team and give Khali something to do. That aside, we’ve been given a storyline which has a unique nuance to it, and if well played out, could lead to some very interesting moments. Khali is the only problem here as he struggles with most of that. My fingers are crossed.
Our penultimate match was Cody Rhodes against Ted DiBiase; a prospect I was very excited about because I think these two definitely have the potential, with their shared history, to headline a future WrestleMania. Anyway, not to get ahead of myself, I was pleased to seeCody and the announcers refer to Legacy, laying the ground for a potential angle. The two had a decent enough match, but Rhodes’ year of being a higher-up guy than DiBiase showed, as he told a great story around his character and honed his in-ring psychology in a way DiBiase simply hasn’t had the opportunity to. Nonetheless, DiBiase was shown to be stronger than he has in the past, and despite losing, I have high hopes for a programme, possibly including Orton at times, between the two which is almost pre-made and would be a great way of getting DiBiase as a face, such is the power that Rhodes has built around his character.
The main event saw opponents at Over the Limit team up against new top heels Mark Henry and Sheamus. This was an exciting and entertaining main event. The rivalry from RAW between Orton and Sheamus added more stories to this match while Mark Henry’s new (well, sort of) persona was something of the wildcard. This was all about Orton and Christian though, and they went over the heels with relative ease, with the classic house-show finish of the faces simultaneously. The way the match finished, and in its aftermath, it was clear that it will be the sort of storyline I have personally wanted to see: a babyface battle based on respect. If it carries on, i’m sure the next few PPVs will see Smackdown main events which are like wars of noble attrition. Whether or not Christian regains the title, if their performances so far, and the way their story has been told up until now, are anything to go by, Christian will become an established main eventer and he and Orton could be one of the best and emotionally charged programmes of the year. As for Henry and Sheamus, they’ll need to stop playing foils to this storyline and get involved in some storylines of their own.