The Leaders of ‘The Walkout’ Clarified Their Demands
After the walkout on RAW, Smackdown really had to address the situation straight off the bat, which they did by having the real core-group of walkers start the show with a promo. They did an important job in simply confirming the situation and clarifying their position. It seems my prediction (and desire) that the roster splits along lines of motivation and manner of their agitations for change. Seemingly led by Alberto Del Rio, the core group of heel agitators of Christian, Cody Rhodes, Jack Swagger, Dolph Ziggler and Vickie Guerrero. Again, they performed a very rehearsed promo detailing that they walked out of RAW because of the ‘unsafe work environment’ but added more layers to their position such as that they will only appear on Smackdown until HHH steps down as COO of WWE, and that they may even walk out of Smackdown if he retains any influence over the blue brand. For that reason, HHH stayed away, leaving Teddy Long in charge of a show boasting some of the best displaced talent from RAW as well as the usual Smackdown roster, and with the support of John Laurinaitis. Long, however, is still honourable despite association, and interrupted the posturing of the heels to announce their matches for the night, including Del Rio against ‘the Mexican Sensation’, Sin Cara. Del Rio’s recent darker demeanor continued as he insisted that he is the only Mexican sensation.
Alberto Del Rio def. Sin Cara ‘Azul’
That match was next, and Del Rio was taking on the ‘Azul’, face version of Sin Cara. The two had a nice match together, with few if any botches from Cara and all of his spectacular high-flying ability. Indeed, despite the match not lasting too long, Cara got in some good offense in against the Mexican aristocrat. His active offense was ultimately slowed by Del Rio’s double-knees to the arm, leading to the cross-armbreaker which Cara could not escape and was forced to tap to. Nothing much of meaning came from the match, but the association was good for Cara while Del Rio was able to look good too. Following the match ‘Dark’ Cara made a strangely un-pyro’d entrance before assaulting the wounded Cara with his senton bomb to make sure their feud continued.
Jack Swagger & Dolph Ziggler def. AirBoom
AirBoom had to traverse heeldom in their explanation for why they wouldn’t be appearing on RAW, and did so by saying they were just supporting their peers and that while they think HHH is a good COO, they think he is the target of a conspiracy and so needs to go for the good of the WWE. Now what happened to #1 contender matches, seriously!? Instead of taking on, say, The Usos for a title shot, Team Vickie were booked against the tag champions, and so it means that the champions have to be booked to be beaten at least once a month to find a contender, which can’t be good for them. At least this time AirBoom – who’s new entrance music is a great idea and fitting – were assaulted mercilessly and brutally by Team Vickie before the match even started, making the eventual defeat seem less damaging. The match was, again, ok, as it was filled with passion from the beaten-down champions, but even their high-octane offense wasn’t enough to overcome their handicap and Swagger managed to hit Bourne with his Gutwrench Powerbomb for the victory, and surely, another title shot at Vengeance.
Beth Phoenix w/ Natalya def. Alicia Fox
Not much to say about the actual match as it was a textbook squash, which Beth needed to recover some credibility from the beat-down she received on Monday. The best thing was the reversal of roles during the Pin Up Strong spot; this time, Nattie put Alicia in the submission with Beth recording the creams with the mic. I love that spot and it certainly makes them seem a dominant pair.
Randy Orton & Sheamus def. Christian & Cody Rhodes
This match was slightly disappointing for a main event featuring four of the best workers on the Smackdown roster. Perhaps it was due to the needless segment where Hornswoggle and Booker T traded Spinaroonies, but the match was pretty short for a main event, and that affected it quite a lot, robbing it of much of it’s drama. While Christian and Rhodes performed well as a team, they couldn’t overcome the power of the babyface team, and eventually Sheamus threw his nemesis, Christian, from the ring, allowing Orton to him an RKO on Rhodes for the win. Refreshingly, Orton hasn’t even been pursuing another title match (as Cena would!) and will be moving on, and given his history (both distant and recent) with Rhodes, he would seem like a natural new adversary for The Viper to help bring him up to main event level.
The Big Show Returned to Confront Mark Henry
Ok, so Big Show couldn’t return and just ignore Mark Henry, but I have to admit i’m not interested in Big Show’s title shot. Show is below par on the mic and isn’t that compelling an opponent for someone with the raw charisma of Mark Henry, other than the fact that he’s the only guy bigger than Henry. But we saw that collision at MITB, and arguably, it should have finished there. Nonetheless their confrontation was well done with Henry refusing Show his title shot in confidence before Show came to the ring to do what he had earlier threatened to do: put him through the announce table and break his leg. The impassioned Giant drove Henry from the ring leading to some wonderful facials from Henry as he looked surprised to finally be matched. At this point, Henry’s ‘No’ was more of an anxious ‘no’ as he realised he was being challenged for the first time. My other problem with all this though was that Show is more dangerous than both Sheamus and Orton, which doesn’t seem like a desirable outcome. After a little back and forth, Henry looked to repeat his awesome World’s Strongest Slam to Show through the announce table, but he was denied by Show who reversed it in to nearly as impressive a spot by chokeslamming the World’s Strongest Champion through the announce table. He then went on to try and keep his second promise of breaking Henry’s leg, again, showing just how passionate he is about what Henry did to him. Before he could perform the sickening spot, however, Teddy Long interrupted and (I think deliberately so) showed more control than there is on RAW by telling Show he can have his match if he didn’t break Henry’s leg. Show acquiesced, but settled fora chair shot or two to Henry as we went off the air. Eye-catching, but I wasn’t too happy with it. I’m enjoying Henry’s dominance, and don’t want Big Show to be the one to stall it.