Smack of the Week (15/07/2011): Money in the Casino

This one will have to be short. I have the daunting/exciting task of writing a Money in the Bank preview post later on (hopefully tonight). We opened with an interview, in the ring, with Randy Orton. This only picked up, however, when Christian appeared on the titantron, and continued on his great run on the mic. He started by offering Randy the ‘gift’ of a picture of Christian standing over him holding his world title aloft. Orton thought this pretty tame, but that only provoked Christian into a diatribe about his joke of a father, “Cowboy” Bob Orton being in the joke wing of the Hall of Fame. This got to Randy, and he called Christian to the ring, calling him a joke of a champion after his five day reign. Christian, however, had other things on his mind, namely vandalising Randy’s now-famous tour bus with the words ‘Christian = Uncrowned World Champion’., and apparently stealing Randy’s wallet and betting all of it’s contents at the casino, all with a callous veneer of trying to help his opponent. All this was fine, and entertaining, though the only aspect of it that actually built tension between the two protagonists was the opening interview seg. More was to come, however, in the main event.

I didn’t like that there was a seemingly throw-away Intercontinental Championship match this week. I understand DiBiase pinned the champion, but so did Cody Rhodes, and the match just wasn’t built in any way. The IC title deserves better, especially given that the fact it was a title match wasn’t even important. It was a decent match, which bodes well for Ted – because it certainly wasn’t down to Zeke – as it showed he can put on an entertaining match. Ted was booked to hang with the powerful champion, which made him look better than he has in ages, and there was a nice finish with each guy trying to get their finishers and failing until Zeke finally got him in the Torture Rack to retain his title. This didn’t fly with Rhodes however, who berated DiBiase after his loss, threatening with a humiliating paper bag if he lost just one more time. Rhodes later went out to lead by example against Daniel Bryan. These two had a nice match together, as you would expect from all the matches they’ve had together, though I must admit, I didn’t like the attempted LaBelle Lock on the top rope. It didn’t really make sense and Bryan fell off the rope very quickly. I liked better Rhodes hanging Bryan up in the middle of the top rope and following up with a Beautiful Disaster for the win. I liked this; not because of Bryan losing, but because it was a match that complimented the DiBiase one and the story of how Rhodes expects victory and practices what he preaches as a good role-model (of sorts).

We also had a ‘face to face’ between Mark Henry and The Big Show which really fell down I think. OK, there was tension between the two, but it wasn’t as intense/ on a knife-edge as their appearances have been of late. Kind of a shame.

Sin Cara vs Sheamus was a good match and provided great build for the MITB ladder match. There was some very nice back and forth, and they told a great small guy vs big guy story. Sheamus looked great in the match, and very powerful, but Cara hung with him and eventually went over. All the while, the very erudite Wade Barrett fought through the nonsense Smackdown commentary we’re used to and ended the segment by flooring Sheamus. I thought this was great because last week, the only guy that looked good and viable as a winner was Sheamus. Now, at the very least we have Sheamus and Barrett as protagonists directly linked to the MITB match, and with Cara and Rhodes looking good, the match seems a lot more open now.

The Johnny Curtis preview’s have been panned across the board, but I like them, they’re unique, they’re pretty funny, they make him stand out, and when he does debut, it’ll catch people’s eyes.

I was surprised to see Justin Gabriel take on Heath Slater, unfortunately in a bad way. Right up until Slater came out to face Gabriel, there were no indications that this tag team would be taking each other on! I know why they did it, however. Up until today, neither of these guys have looked at all strong, and it’s telling that The Corre were keeping these guys powerful-seeming! So giving these guys a run-out made sense because they could show off a bit more. They wrestled, to my surprise, a real catch us catch can match; some really nice chain wrestling, and as a match, it worked. The problem is that these skills aren’t that relevant to the MITB match. It helped them, but not much. Also, i’m not sure whether this tag team is splitting up. It seemed that way, with Gabriel spinning out as babyface, but then again, the announcers treated it like a transient tiff. If they are splitting up, it hurts also what has been a bit of a resurgence in the tag division. A good match, and helps the MITB match, but just a bit lazy and sloppy in terms of booking.

When I saw Kane was being booked against Randy Orton, I was really underwhelmed because since last year, despite being called ‘The Big Red Machine’, has been in no way intimidating. So I was pleased when Kane himself said all of that to Teddy Long. His match with Orton didn’t last too long, though it was full of some nice spots – unfortunately, Kane didn’t seem to take his own advice as relates to becoming a monster again. Soon in to the match, Christian entered the arena to distract Randy, which he did successfully, leading to a count out victory for Kane. Kane, presumably trying to be monstrous, attacked Orton in the aftermath, but when Christian tried to join in, he turned on him too. Chrristian escaped and tried to attack Orton with a chair. Orton blocked this, but again, the deliberately pesky Christian escaped and so Kane kopped the brunt of the chair from a furious Orton. This worked at selling the stip of the MITB match in that it showed that Orton can lose his temper, which puts his title in jeopardy on Sunday. It also only amped up the tension between the two as Orton never really got his hands on Christian. It certainly made me more keen, even in the aftermath of Punk stealing the whole show, to see their match at MITB


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