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WWE Smackdown Report
TAIT'S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT 2/4: Alt. perspective review of Rumble fall-out, Booker T's commentary debut, Kelly's prominent role, Best & Worst of the night

Feb 5, 2011 - 2:04:20 PM

WWE Smackdown alt. perspective report
February 4, 2011
Long Island, N.Y.
Report by James Tait, Torch int'l Smackdown correspondent


-Josh Mathews introduced the show from Long Island and talked up the Royal Rumble winner, Alberto Del Rio. The camera showed a Wrestlemania piñata that Michael Cole said had been shipped up from Mexico by Del Rio. Cole said there would be a fiesta tonight to celebrate Del Rio’s Rumble victory.

-Booker T’s music hit to a big pop from the crowd. The five-time WCW champion came out suited up and looking terrific for his 45 years. Tony Chimel introduced Booker as the newest member of the Smackdown announce team. Booker made his way down the ramp, posing with a sign from a fan. Booker got in the ring, took off his jacket, and did a Spinaroonie. Mathews said ‘vintage Booker T.' If Mathews is going to steal quotes he should consider stealing ones that are actually good. Booker left the ring as Vickie Guerrero’s shrill voice rang out excusing herself.

-The "acting" General Manager of Smackdown came out with Dolph Ziggler at her side. Mathews said that Vickie has vowed to leave no stone unturned in her search to discover Theodore Long’s attacker. Mathews said we may never see Teddy Long on Friday nights again. Vickie said tonight will be a Smackdown we will never forget. Vickie said there would be qualifying matches to see who would be in the Smackdown Elimination Chamber match for the World Heavyweight Championship. Speaking of the World Heavyweight Championship, Vickie continued, tonight’s Smackdown would be one we never, ever forget. She said tonight the uncrowned World Champion Dolph Ziggler would team up with Lay-Cool to face Kelly Kelly and Edge. Vickie ordered that little tramp to come out to her ring right now as Ziggler comforted her.

Out came Kelly, who was sporting hot pink hotpants that left very little to the imagination. Cole rehashed Kelly’s attack on Vickie at the Royal Rumble. Cole said she had no reason to. Booker piped up for the first time in rebuttal of Cole and said that Kelly had to have a reason. He said that Vickie makes her own rules. As Kelly faced Vickie and Ziggler in the ring with a mic in hand, Cole retorted that Vickie is the boss and is allowed to do that.

Vickie asked Kelly who she thinks she is putting her hands on her at the Royal Rumble. She said Kelly is the reason Ziggler is not the champion right now. Vickie said she has thought about firing Kelly all week long but said that would be too easy. She said she would rather humiliate her and break her dignity down piece by piece so she can see how it feels to be the reason that Edge will not be walking away as champion tonight. Kelly cut in and said that Vickie is the one who doesn’t know who she is. She said that Vickie is trying to destroy her character, goes through all her stuff in the locker room, and is constantly in her personal life and she’s sick of it. Kelly said if Vickie wants to fire her then maybe she should quit. Vickie cackled and said she had no idea what Kelly was talking about. She called Kelly ‘little Barbie.’

Kelly got right up in the Acting General Manager’s face and called Vickie a vindictive, paranoid, power-hungry witch and that everyone is sick of her. Ziggler cut in and said that he doesn’t care what Kelly says Vickie did, Kelly cost him his World Championship. He said Kelly has nothing else to say and that she’s the reason he’s not the champion right now. He said that Kelly hitting Vickie allowed Edge to hit the illegal spear on him before showing a still shot of Edge spearing Ziggler.

Ziggler continued, saying that although Vickie can’t reverse the referee’s decision, he is the uncrowned World Heavyweight Champion and the only reason why she’s allowed to stand in the ring with he and Vickie is that she may be the reason he officially becomes World Champion tonight. Ziggler said until then they have no use for her and told Kelly to get out now. Kelly slapped Ziggler across the face, only to be confronted by Vickie. Vickie went to slap Kelly but the move was blocked and Kelly awkwardly pushed her to the mat. Cole said Kelly should stop pushing her boss around as Lay-Cool hit the ring and got in Kelly’s grill. Michelle said that if she wants to mess with Vickie she has to mess with them. The Flawless Ones backed Kelly into a corner and Edge hit the ring to clear them off. Ziggler ran at Edge, who responded with a clothesline. The Rated-R Superstar stood in front of Kelly as Lay-Cool, Vickie, and Ziggler left the ring. Edge and Kelly walked to the back as Cole said there was no way Edge could win tonight.

Tait Reax: Ziggler’s intensity here in dressing down Kelly was great and even Booker sounded impressed. Ziggler’s promo skills are getting better by the week and it shouldn’t be long before he solidifies his spot in the main event scene. Smackdown’s Elimination Chamber match is for the title and it smells like a change of hands might be coming. Please, not Rey Mysterio, though.

[Commercial Break]

-Smackdown returned and WWE informed the viewers at home that since its debut last fall, Smackdown has been the number one show on Syfy every week. They went to a shot of the announcers at ringside and Mathews introduced Booker T as the newest member of the Smackdown announce team. Booker said you could cut the tension in the air tonight with a knife. Mathews hyped the mixed handicap tag match main event tonight between Edge and Kelly and Ziggler and Lay-Cool.

Tait Reax: It looks like WWE decided that Striker’s awful jokes and pop culture references that were just not needed anymore. It will be interesting to see where they put him, but his best work is done as the sarcastic host of NXT, perhaps continuing that whilst filling time as a backstage interviewer. Maybe even a return to the ring?

-Santino Marella and Vladimir Kozlov came out accompanied by Tamina for a match. A replay of Randy Orton punting Husky Harris was shown from Raw on Monday. The Corre’s theme hit (actually it sounds like different music to the ‘End Of Days’ song that they’ve usually been accompanied by. Maybe that’s just for Barrett?) Out came Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater as the opponents. So Corre is a faction who interferes in matches, gang bashes people. and occasionally throws a tag team together for a match, but they are nothing like Nexus in any way? Good grief. Mathews asked Booker, as someone who has been in a few groups himself, what he thinks of The Corre. Booker said they were just young guys trying to make their mark and doing what they had to do. He said they had to prove that they deserve that spo,t though. Refreshing levelheaded commentary from the Book Man, completely unpretentious and without sounding like he’s patronizing the audience. Striker may not be missed at all.


Kozlov hit a fireman’s carry slam on Gabriel to start the match as Cole reiterated Gabriel and Slater’s time as Tag Team champions when they were part of Nexus. Kozlov grappled with Gabriel on the mat, then Gabriel broke free and tagged Slater in. Mathews asked if a win here tonight would give Gabriel and Slater some vindication after Nexus dominated at the Rumble. Cole said he didn’t think it was vindication. Booker asked Cole what he thought he was talking about and said that beating the Tag Team champion would definitely be vindication. First time in a long time that anyone has sold the Tag Titles as being a big deal; Booker’s debut is going swimmingly. Kozlov pushed off a running Slater. Mathews said it was nice to see someone on Smackdown who disagrees with Michael Cole. Kozlov backed Slater into a corner and tagged in Santino.

Booker said Cole talks a lot of nonsense as Santino hit an STO on Slater for a one-count. Cole said he and Booker go way back, which Booker no-sold. Slater fought back out of a standing headlock and beat down Santino to take control as Tamina cheered from ringside. Slater ran at Santino in the corner, but Marella dodged it and made the tag to Kozlov as Slater went sternum-first into the turnbuckle. Kozlov hit a big boot on Slater as Booker pointed out that everyone on a football team has a position so The Corre must have a leader.

Kozlov hit a scoop slam on Slater and went for the count but it was broken up by Gabriel, who tossed Santino out of the ring. Kozlov tossed Gabriel out in kind but was attacked from behind by the Chick From Wendy’s, who hit the Moscow Mauler with a neckbreaker and made the tag. Gabriel went straight to the top rope and hit the 450 splash on Kozlov for the pin and the win. Vicious looking splash too, Gabriel hit Kozlov with full impact without using his arms or knees to break the fall. That would have knocked the wind out of Kozlov.

WINNER: The Corre (Justin Gabriel & Heath Slater) via pinfall in 3:00.

-Cole said this puts Slater and Gabriel in the driver’s seat for a shot at the Tag Team Championships. The two celebrated in-ring as the camera panned to the WrestleMania piñata hanging high above the ring and Cole hyped Del Rio’s fiesta later tonight.

Tait Reax: The Corre members looked strong in this match and, while it was too short to make anyone really care about the division, it was a breath of fresh air to see Santino and Kozlov finally beaten. It's still baffling that the announcers are trying to sell Corre as almost polar opposites of Nexus when they have so far accomplished nothing that sets them apart.

[Commercial Break]

-Tony Chimel announced the first Elimination Chamber qualifying match as Smackdown returned. Kofi Kingston was out first with the Intercontinental Championship held high. Cole announced that Vickie had ruled that Dolph Ziggler has qualified for the Elimination Chamber match by default. It makes sense, but would have been nice to see Ziggler earn his spot with a strong win. Drew McIntyre made his abridged entrance as Cole and Booker got in their first argument. Mathews asked Booker what he thought of Ziggler getting a free pass into the match. Booker replied ‘no comment,’ which Cole chewed him out for, as commentators should always have comments. Cole put over his tedious history as a broadcast journalist and his Slammy Awards. Mathews called Cole a secretary as the match began.

2 -- IC champion KOFI KINGSTON vs. DREW MCINTYRE – Elimination Chamber qualifying match -- non-title

Mathews asked Booker, as a participant in the first ever Elimination Chamber match, what it felt like. Booker said it was a match that you didn’t really want to get in to and that you had to have a strategy because everybody was out for themselves. Cole scoffed at Booker and said that everyone should want to get in and win the World Heavyweight Title as McIntyre attempted a snapmare on Kingston off the middle rope that was reversed into an armdrag takedown. Kingston went for a cover that McIntyre broke out of. The Chosen One backed off into the ropes and stared down Kingston.

Cole went through the annual recital of the dimensions of the Elimination Chamber: 16-feet high, ten tons of solid steel, two miles of chain. It sounded better coming out of Eric Bischoff’s mouth. McIntyre caught Kingston's leg and took him down for a one-count. McIntyre took control and hit some stomps to the face. Booker said that McIntyre’s woman problem might cause him some trouble in a high-pressure match. McIntyre hit a scoop slam followed by a shoulderblock and screamed at Kofi to get up.

Mathews told Booker it wouldn’t get easier working with Cole. Cole protested that he’s just doing his job as a broadcast journalist. Booker asked what that job was, working for Vickie Guerrero and kissing a whole lot of behind? Booker back on track. Kofi leaped over an in-rushing Sinister Scotsman and hit him with a diving elbow on the rebound. Cole said he liked Booker better as King Booker, and Booker said the focus should be on this match and the Elimination Chamber. Double points! Back and forth between the two wrestlers with Kingston locking McIntyre's arm, then Mac fought out and slammed Kingston’s head to the mat. Booker continued to talk about Kelly Kelly and said that she’s hotter than a Mexican plate lunch with a whole bunch of hot sauce on it.

McIntyre Irish-whipped Kingston into the corner and ran after him, only for Kingston to dodge and hit his Pele kick through the ropes. The timing was off on that one and it looked slightly awkward. Kingston climbed to the top rope and went for a cross body, but McIntyre dodged it only to be clotheslined over the ropes by Kingston, who landed on his feet. Kingston followed McIntyre to the outside and began beating him in front of the announce desk. Kingston ran at McIntyre standing in front of the steel ring steps but Drew picked Kingston up and dropped him on the steps as Mathews took Smackdown to a break.

[Commercial Break]

McIntyre was in control with a headlock on Kingston in the ring as Smackdown returned. Booker put over Kingston and McIntyre as the future of the WWE as Kingston showed some fight. Kofi came off the ropes and was hit with a tilt-a-whirl gutbuster onto the knee of McIntyre. Drew scored a two-count and vented some frustration on the ref. Kingston fought out of the corner and attempted to jump backwards over McIntyre, but was hit with another knee to the gut for his trouble and a two-count. McIntyre back in control and pushed Kingston into another corner for three clotheslines.

The announcers hyped the Raw Elimination Chamber match as well as The King vs. The Miz. Mathews predicted that Jerry Lawler would win, to which Cole laughed and urged Mathews to bet his mortgage on that so he would lose his house. McIntyre lay in wait for Kingston to return to his feet and hit a dropkick on the Intercontinental champion for a two-count and more close ups of McIntyre’s frustration. Booker said that Lawler might be the oldest guy out there, but he’s the smartest and most experienced. Cole said after Raw on Monday night Jerry Lawler was found sleeping on a bench like a bum in the Boston airport because he couldn’t get into a hotel. Great story...

McIntyre pulled Kingston out of the corner and into a clothesline but Kofi countered by grabbing Drew’s swinging arm, rolling over the back of the Chosen One and hitting him with a DDT from the front all in one fluid movement. Amazing move and the crowd popped accordingly. Every time Kingston steps in a ring he creates moments like this. Kingston crawled over for the pin, but McIntyre kicked out at two. Kingston backed McIntyre into the corner with some kicks and began stomping a mudhole. Cole screamed for the ref to disqualify Kingston. The ref pulled Kingston off and McIntyre walked out of the corner and into a jumping punch from Kingston, which Mathews dubbed a ‘Superman punch.’ Mathews’s enthusiasm and excitement during matches is gold and actually seems genuine compared to Striker’s child-like ‘wooooow’ whenever a wrestler hits a big spot.

Kingston fired up and hit a Boom Drop backwards on McIntyre. Kingston got the crowd ready for Trouble In Paradise, but McIntyre ducked out of the attempt. Cole said the boom, boom, boom went fizz, fizz, fizz as Ricardo Rodriguez suddenly appeared on the Titantron and introduced Alberto Del Rio onscreen. Del Rio laughed and winked at Kofi, who was distracted long enough for McIntyre to kick out his right leg and hit a Future Shock. McIntyre scored the pin and qualified for the Elimination Chamber match.

WINNER: Drew McIntyre via pinfall in 12:00.

Tait Reax: A really, solid match between these two that was given the time it deserved. Kofi continues to impress with his high-flying ring work. The clothesline counter into a DDT was awesome. It’s these different moves and variations on moves like the backwards Boom Drop that keep Kofi’s matches fresh and entertaining instead of paint-by-numbers. McIntyre continues his strong run and looked good with the win here despite the distraction from Alberto Del Rio. It will be interesting to see whether anything is made of it. It broke the flow of the match up and it’s slightly disappointing to see Kingston not in the Elimination Chamber, as his high-intensity style would have served such a match well.

-The announcers again hyped the mixed handicap tag match main event before the break.

[Commercial Break]

-Rey Mysterio made his entrance when Smackdown returned for the second qualifying match. Cole said he had some really sad and disturbing news to report in a moment. Booker asked if Cole was leaving? Burn. Cole said he was actually referring to the Cody Rhodes situation as Jack Swagger’s music hit and the All-American American made his entrance. Whatever happened to his awesome push up pyro? Cole said that he had spoken to Rhodes earlier today, who was baffled as to why no one from the Smackdown locker room had called him to check on his health and well-being. Cole said Rhodes was also scheduled for facial reconstructive surgery.

3 -- REY MYSTERIO vs. JACK SWAGGER -- Elimination Chamber qualifying match.

Rey Mysterio hit some kicks early to gain control. Booker gave the edge to Rey Mysterio tonight. Swagger ran at Mysterio, who backed into the ropes and pulled the top one down to send Swagger out to the floor. Mathews sent Smackdown to commercial.

[Commercial Break]

Mysterio hit some headbutts to the torso of Swagger in the corner as Smackdown returned. Swagger tried to German Suplex Mysterio off the middle rope, but Rey countered into the wheelbarrow position and hit a bulldog. Mysterio hit a springboard cross body off the ropes for a two count. Mysterio came off the ropes and leapfrogged Swagger before kicking him in the face before mule kicking Swagger into the ropes and trying for a 619. Swagger ducked out of the ring and was hit with a kick between the ropes from Mysterio. Rey tried another springboard to Swagger on the outside but the former Sooner swept Mysterio’s legs and caught him up in the ropes.

Swagger wrenched Mysterio’s knee over the rope on the outside before dragging Mysterio to the center of the ring and slamming his knee into the mat. Cole reminded the audience of Mysterio’s knee problems as Swagger wrapped his knee around the ring post and went for a cover. Swagger continued to work on the knee of Mysterio in the corner. Swagger taunted Mysterio, who rolled out of the ring. Cole said the ref should consider asking Mysterio if he wants to continue. Booker said he’d never heard Rey say ‘I quit’ as Swagger slammed him face first into the announce table. Swagger put his boot on Rey’s chest and pointed to the Wrestlemania sign.

Swagger rolled Mysterio back in the ring and hit a Swagger Bomb from the middle rope for a two-count. Cole said he hopes Cody Rhodes is watching this match tonight because Mysterio is getting everything he deserves. Swagger picked Mysterio up by the knee and shook him around. Mysterio kicked Swagger’s leg out but was quickly beaten down again. Swagger tossed Mysterio to the mat and went for a second Swagger Bomb, but missed and hit the mat face first.

Rey pulled himself up to the middle rope and hit a spinning DDT on Swagger for a two count. Mysterio sent Swagger into the ropes and went for the 619 again but Swagger grabbed Rey’s legs at the last moment. Swagger cinched in the anklelock on Mysterio, who clung to the ropes. Swagger pulled Mysterio off the ropes and Rey countered, sending Swagger into the turnbuckle. As Swagger stood dazed over Mysterio, Rey hit him with a kick to the head from between his legs. Mysterio rolled Swagger back into the pin and scored a three count to join Edge, Ziggler, and McIntyre in the Smackdown Elimination Chamber.

WINNER: Rey Mysterio via pinfall in 11:00.

-Cole said after the match that Rey Mysterio should be disqualified for a blatant kick to the groin despite the kick clearly hitting Swagger in the head and replays proving it. Cole apologized to Cody Rhodes for Mysterio not being punished. Booker said Swagger made a mistake in toying with Mysterio too long.

Tait Reax: Another good match, although not as good as Kingston vs. McIntyre. Swagger looked great dominating and working Mysterio's knee for most of the match. The ending was a little odd considering it was only a kick to the head that knocked Swagger out. I was hoping that Swagger would come away with the win, but, nonetheless, another decent match. It’s always great to see matches given more than ten minutes.

-A replay from Monday’s Raw was shown of Alberto Del Rio’s decision to face the World Heavyweight champion at WrestleMania including Del Rio hitting El Kabong with the guitar on Edge’s arm.

-Edge was shown backstage talking with Kelly Kelly. Edge said he doesn’t know what to do tonight. He said that he knew his title run wouldn’t last forever, but didn’t think it would end like this. Kelly asked if Edge had no faith in her. Edge said that there was no way Kelly could beat two Divas at the same time in Lay-Cool. Kelly said that he and Drew McIntyre were both the same. Edge apologized, but Kelly said that sorry wasn’t good enough and stormed off.

[Commercial Break]

-Cole said that Jerry Lawler was lucky he was a Hall of Fame commentator because at least he could come back to the desk and do his real job in three weeks when he loses his match against Miz. The announcers hyped the WWE Title match at Elimination Chamber.

-Hornswoggle’s music hit and he came to the ring, which had been carpeted red and adorned with gold balloons. He tossed t-shirts into the crowd with Rosa Mendes, who has dyed her hair black and was wearing tight leather pants. Hornswoggle tossed Booker a t-shirt before Ricardo Rodriguez interrupted, coming out to the stage holding a stick in Mexican colors and introducing Alberto Del Rio. The winner of the biggest Royal Rumble in WWE history came out horn-blasting in a 2010 BMW M6 convertible worth over $150,000. Booker said that WrestleMania in front of 60,000 fans will be a night Del Rio remembers for the rest of his life as Alberto stepped into the ring mic ready.

The crowd was booing before Del Rio introduced himself. Del Rio says they already know his name and already know that it was his destiny to win the biggest Royal Rumble ever. He says it’s his destiny to main event WrestleMania and to be the new World Heavyweight champion. Del Rio said that he was planning to have his celebration later but when he saw Hornswoggle out here he decided to come out right away. (Then why was the ring already carpeted and the balloons set up?) He said he’s here with a present for Hornswoggle. Del Rio pointed to the piñata and told Hornswoggle it was filled with candy and toys that he wanted to share with all his friends in... the number one contender paused and had to be reminded where he was by Rodriguez. Del Rio said he wanted to share it with all his friends here in New Jersey! Lot of hate from the crowd for that one.

Del Rio asked Hornswoggle if he was ready. He said the candy and toys was all for Hornswoggle. Del Rio asked Rodriguez to blindfold Hornswoggle and give him the stick. Ricardo spun Hornswoggle around, who swung the stick around in vain. Del Rio stopped him and asked them to bring the piñata to this... thing’s...level. Cole said this was like the Mexican aristocrat giving to the lowly peasant. Hornswoggle swung at the lowered piñata, but instead caught Del Rio in the groin in homage to America’s Funniest Home Video’s. Hornswoggle thought he hit the piñata and groped on the floor for candy as Del Rio recovered himself. Del Rio kicked Hornswoggle in the head and Rosa left the ring. Del Rio beat down on a blindfolded Hornswoggle before Kofi Kingston hit the ring and clotheslined Del Rio over the top rope. Booker asked if Del Rio had the guts to get back in the ring and go one-on-one with Kofi Kingston as Del Rio backed up the entrance ramp and Mendes checked on Hornswoggle.

Rodriguez tried to get in the ring and Kingston swung at him. Del Rio ran up from behind and took out Kofi. Del Rio hit Kingston across the back with the stick, which was in actual fact a Singapore cane all along. Cole said this was what Booker wanted as Del Rio locked in the cross arm-breaker. The crowd booed as referees hit the ring and pulled Del Rio off of Kingston. Del Rio laughed as Kofi writhed in agony in the ring. Mathews said that these were not the actions of a number one contender. Cole said that Del Rio hit Hornswoggle by accident. Booker asked Cole if it would be an accident if he hit him in the face right now. Cole said he would sue for aggravated assault. Del Rio walked to the back laughing as the mixed handicap tag match main event was hyped once again.

[Commercial Break]

-Booker T announced that "Stone Cold" Steve Austin won’t be the only star on Tough Enough, as Booker announced himself as a coach for the show’s reboot. Big news!

-Tony Chimel introduced Chavo Guerrero already in the ring for the next Elimination Chamber qualifying match. Kane’s music hit and the Big Red Monster made his fiery entrance. Mathews and Cole wrote Chavo off but Booker said that Chavo is a third-generation wrestler and could pull it off, though it would be hard. Cole became the voice of logic and said that Vickie obviously couldn’t have given two byes, one to Ziggler and one to her nephew, Chavo, (because???) and that’s why Chavo has this match tonight.

4 -- CHAVO GUERRERO vs. KANE -- Elimination Chamber qualifying match

Chavo went at Kane with punches early on. The former Cruiserweight champion was picked up by Kane, but wriggled out and dodged a clothesline to send him into the turnbuckle. Chavo went to the top rope but Kane locked in the goozle. As Kane climbed up to the top rope Chavo jumped out to the floor, yanking Kane’s arm over the rope in the process.

Chavo went to the top rope again, this time looking to hit the Five-Star Frog Splash on a downed Kane. He connected but Kane locked on another goozle at the point of impact and chokeslammed Chavo in the middle of the ring to be the penultimate qualifier for the Smackdown Elimination Chamber match.

WINNER: Kane via pinfall in 1:00.

Tait Reax: After Chavo got a pretty decent pop working face in the Royal Rumble, this match could and should have been given more than just a minute and Chavo definitely should have been more competitive in defeat. Guerrero is one of the most criminally underused talents on Smackdown. Yes, WWE is in the middle of a youth movement, but established wrestlers like Chavo, who have been with the WWE for years, shouldn’t be forgotten and left to rot on Superstars or be squashed on Smackdown. Kane did look pretty badass countering the Frog Splash into a chokeslam, though. Overall, a meaningless, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Smackdown match.

-The announcers hyped the five qualifiers for the match and announced the next and final qualifying match as Big Show vs. Wade Barrett.

[Commercial Break]

-Big Show made his entrance after the break. Cole said not to let his smile fool you, Show had been pouting all day because of the way he was eliminated in the Royal Rumble. Mathews said Show has to forget about being eliminated by Ezekiel Jackson and focus on the huge opportunity tonight. Booker yelled ‘what’s up dog?’ as Wade Barrett and The Corre made their entrance. Barrett came out to the same alternate theme that Gabriel and Slater entered to before so it appears WWE has ditched the ‘End Of Days’ song; this one sounds tougher and probably fits better.

5 -- BIG SHOW vs. WADE BARRETT (w/THE CORRE) -- Elimination Chamber qualifying match.

Barrett backed into the corner and the ring ropes to protect himself from an incoming Big Show. The ref made Show back off, only for the World’s Largest Athlete to rush back in and hit a giant slap to the chest of Barrett. Show shushed the crowd before attempting to give Barrett another chop to the chest but the former leader of Nexus hit Show before he could connect and went to work, hitting a dropkick to the knee of Show.

Barrett backed Show into a corner but was pushed off. Barrett ran in, but Show turned him around into the corner and hit a third slap to the chest. Show Irish-whipped Barrett out of the corner, then reversed him back into it. The ref was standing there and was squashed by Barrett. Heath Slater got on the apron but was knocked off when Show sent Barrett into the ropes.

Gabriel distracted Show from the apron and Ezekiel Jackson came from behind to hit a monstrous clothesline on Show. Jackson left the ring quickly as the ref came to and made the count. Barrett only scored two and hit a kneeling Big Show with a DDT. Booker said there should be two referees in big matches like this in case one gets knocked out like that. This may have been the smartest, most well-thought-out and logical thing anyone has said on Smackdown, ever. Barrett went for another cover and got a three-count to become the final qualifier for the Smackdown Elimination Chamber.

WINNER: Wade Barrett via pinfall in 2:00

After the match The Corre celebrated in the ring but were attacked from behind by an irate Big Show. Barrett was tossed over the top rope and Gabriel and Slater were knocked down. Show locked a goozle on Jackson, but was attacked from behind by Slater and Gabriel. Jackson bodyslammed Show and the rest of the group gathered themselves. Jackson called for a mic as Corre stood over a fallen Show. Jackson knelt over Show and said ‘the end has come, it has awakened against you.’ What. The. Even Mike Tyson would have found that incomprehensible. Cole attempted to translate and said that it meant there was a new giant on Smackdown and his name is Ezekiel Jackson.

Tait Reax: Probably good that this match was a short one. The finish was a little weak, but not much can be done when Barrett’s Wasteland finisher requires him to pick his opponent up on his shoulders and roll him off. Just not going to happen on a 450-pound Big Show. Corre continues to look strong, especially Ezekiel Jackson, but I still have no idea what he was talking about. Once again though, it feels like they're just rehashing Nexus with these post-match beat downs.

-The announcers hyped the Elimination Chamber match with the full field of Wade Barrett, Kane, Drew McIntyre, Rey Mysterio, Dolph Ziggler, and World Heavyweight Champion Edge.

[Commercial Break]

-Tony Chimel announced the arrival of tonight’s main event: the mixed handicap tag match for the World Heavyweight Title. Ziggler’s music hit and out came Dolph accompanied by Lay-Cool and Vickie. Mathews said this is one of the most unfair matches in Smackdown history. Kelly Kelly was out next, breaking hearts everywhere in those pink hotpants. Vickie death-stared Kelly on her way out. Edge came out in his signature sunglasses and trench coat. Tony Chimel introduced the participants once everyone was in the ring and Edge and Dolph began to square off but were interrupted by Vickie excusing herself. She declared that if Edge uses the spear at any point in this match he will lose the match and the championship immediately.

6 -- World Heavyweight champion EDGE & KELLY KELLY vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER (w/VICKIE GUERRERO) & LAY-COOL (LAYLA & MICHELLE MCCOOL) -- mixed handicap tag match for the World Heavyweight Title

Ziggler took control off the bat, beating down Edge. The Ultimate Opportunist ducked a clothesline on the fly and took Ziggler down coming off the ropes. Edge sent Ziggler into the corner, who turned around into a flapjack from the World Heavyweight champion. Ziggler went to the outside but was hit by a baseball slide between the ropes from Edge. Ziggler made the tag to Michelle McCool after being rolled back into the ring by Edge. Both Divas attempted to enter the match but Layla was stopped by the referee. When Michelle turned around she was face to face with Edge ready to pounce. McCool screamed and the ref ordered Edge out and Kelly in as per the rules.

Cole said it was the beginning of the end as Kelly stepped between the ropes and into the match. Mathews proclaimed that Kelly Kelly is defending the World Heavyweight Title. It does sound weird. They cut to break.

[Commercial Break]

McCool had Kelly in the corner as Smackdown returned. Kelly put McCool in a headscissors and did a handstand to stretch McCool’s neck over the ropes. The ref counted to three before Kelly released the hold, flipping over to the outside and pulling McCool’s legs from under her from behind. Kelly dragged McCool out started smashing her face into the floor. Kelly let loose a primal scream and climbed onto the apron, delivering a kick to the stomach of an incoming Layla. McCool capitalized on the distraction, sweeping Kelly’s legs from under her.

Kelly wrapped another headscissors on McCool, who picked Kelly up and sat her on her shoulders. Kelly hit a few punches to McCool’s head before McCool swung her around and slammed her headfirst into the barricade at ringside. That looked and sounded absolutely brutal - Kelly would have seen stars from that one. McCool rolled Kelly back into the ring and beat her down some more. McCool tagged in Layla and Irish-whipped Kelly into a clothesline from the Diva Search winner. Layla got a two-count before making the quick tag to McCool and Irish-whipping Kelly into a nice belly-to-belly suplex from Michelle, who scored a two-count herself.

McCool tried for a sidewalk slam on Kelly, who backflipped over McCool’s shoulder and hit her with a slap when she turned around. Edge begged for a tag, but McCool was up quickly and beat down Kelly. Layla hit a snapmare on Kelly after being tagged in again and then locking in a headscissors on a prone Kelly. Edge was going crazy on the apron wanting to get in the match. Kelly hit a facebuster on Layla and crawled to Edge to make the tag.

Before Kelly could tag Edge, Ziggler jumped in the ring and distracted the referee. Kelly eventually tagged Edge, but the ref didn’t see the tag being made and so forced Edge out of the ring and declared Kelly the legal participant. Layla re-entered the match and went straight to work on Kelly. Ziggler and McCool hit the ring, but Edge sent Ziggler packing with a punch. Edge sent Ziggler back-first into the barricade outside as Lay-Cool ganged up on Kelly inside. Layla held Kelly in a full nelson for McCool to kick her in the head, but Kelly ducked at the last moment and Michelle connected with Layla accidentally.

Kelly kicked McCool out of the ring as Edge got back in position. Kelly then went to the corner and hit a spear on Layla for the pin to allow Edge to retain his World Heavyweight championship.

WINNERS: Edge & Kelly Kelly via pinfall in 10:00.

-After the match Edge and Kelly celebrated in the ring. Vickie joined them in ring and congratulated Kelly Kelly for going out in style, because she just competed in her last match. Vickie fired Kelly on the spot and dismissed her from the ring. Vickie screamed that she didn’t give a damn about Kelly. Vickie screamed high-pitched abuse at Kelly, who walked up the ramp in tears. Impressive, maybe she isn’t such a bad actress after all.

The camera showed Edge behind Vickie, sorely tempted to spear the skin off of his ex-wife. Vickie turned to Edge and said next week he would be the former World Heavyweight champion because he would have a r-ematch against Dolph Ziggler. Vickie said this time there would be a difference because there would be a special referee. Vickie cackled before announcing herself as the aforementioned special referee. Ziggler jumped Edge from behind out of nowhere and hit the Zig-Zag. Ziggler taunted Edge as Vickie laughed her head off to close the show.

Final Thoughts: Average Smackdown this week. Good, but not great. Booker T on commentary was a godsend. He had a few jitters as anyone would on their first night and said a few nonsensical things, but on the whole, I thought he did a much better job at color than Matt Striker. I liked that Striker would call the moves and holds of the wrestlers and not just their finishers, but his jokes and pop culture references were just bafflingly awful at times. We may see Striker limited to hosting NXT, calling Superstars matches with Jack ‘Got Your Back’ Korpela, and occasional backstage interviewing. If I had my druthers I’d actually bring Striker in to manage someone like Yoshi Tatsu as a teacher and interpreter or a member of the Superstars squad like Curt Hawkins with his old heel ‘Striker’s Classroom’ character, which I felt he played really well.

The quality of matches was mixed again. Kingston vs. McIntyre and Mysterio vs. Swagger were both solid, but the opening tag team bout and the Kane vs. Chavo and Barrett vs. Big Show matches suffered from being so short. Chavo deserves better and so does the tag division. Corre continues to underwhelm and look like the poorly budgeted direct-to-DVD sequel to Nexus.

The main event mixed handicap tag match was adequate. The bump Kelly took into the barricade and her real tears after being fired get her a lot of respect. The finisher with Kelly hitting the spear was a great idea and having Ziggler get the drop on Edge again after losing at the Rumble was also the right move as it asserts that Ziggler is still a legit contender.

It seems odd that WWE spent so much time on the angle between Kelly Kelly and Drew McIntyre only for it to be seemingly abandoned so they could throw her into this feud with Vickie. Hopefully it hasn’t been forgotten because it added an extra dimension to Drew’s character and had me intrigued as to what his true intentions were. Cody Rhodes's facial injury angle continues to deepen and it’ll be interesting to see in what shape or form he comes back. I’m predicting mask vs. mask between him and Mysterio at Mania with Cody losing and having to reveal his un-Dashing broken face.

Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of this week’s show was the complete lack of attention given to Alberto Del Rio’s victory at the Royal Rumble. In years gone by when a wrestler from Raw or Smackdown won the Rumble, that brand would have bragging rights for weeks after and there would be a lengthy address from the winner on the next show. I get that Del Rio had something like this on Monday night’s Raw but I still felt that Smackdown should have made a bigger deal out of this. Del Rio got one segment involving Hornswoggle and a piñata. It was a surprise to see Kofi get the jump on Del Rio, though. Hopefully WWE is planning on Kingston vs. Del Rio at Elimination Chamber, possibly even for the number one contender’s spot.

-- Match Of The Night: Kofi Kingston vs. Drew McIntyre

-- Match To Forget: Kane vs. Chavo Guerrero

-- Star Of The Show: Kelly Kelly

-- Please Go Away: Hornswoggle

-- Quote Of The Night: Booker T – “Kelly Kelly is hotter than a Mexican plate lunch with a whole lotta hot sauce.”

-- Quote Of A Thousand Facepalms: Ezekiel Jackson – “The end has come, it has awakened against you!”

-- Most Entertaining Move: Kofi Kingston’s clothesline counter to spinning DDT on Drew McIntyre.

-- Best Moment: Booker T returns to Smackdown with a Spinaroonie.

-- Worst Moment: Hornswoggle hits Alberto Del Rio in the ‘piñata’ with the Singapore cane.

-- Overall Grade: B-

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PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. launched in 1999 and the PWTorch Apps launched in 2008.

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