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WWE Smackdown Report
TAIT'S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT 7/15: Complete coverage of final hype for MITB PPV, Christian antagonizes Orton, Tait's Overall Breakdown

Jul 15, 2011 - 7:20:54 PM

WWE Smackdown TV report
July 15, 2011
Taped in Uncasville, Conn.
Report by James Tait, Torch int'l Smackdown correspondent

PWTorch columnist Greg Parks will be posting his Smackdown report later this weekend.

- Smackdown opened with the credits and pyro from the Mohegan Sun Casino.

- Booker T hyped Randy Orton vs. Kane later tonight. Michael Cole hyped Ezekiel Jackson vs. Ted DiBiase for the Intercontinental Championship match as well. Yet another IC Title match with zero hype.

- Josh Mathews was in the ring and introduced World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton. Orton came out to his usual pop. Orton got in the ring and Mathews reminded him that if he's disqualified this Sunday, Christian is the new Champion. Mathews asked if Orton was afraid of this possibility given his issues with anger management in the past.

Orton said this Sunday, he will not get disqualified. Orton said he's proven time and time again that there's more than one way for him to beat Christian. He said all this is is a cheap attempt by Christian to get at his title because he knows he can't beat him.

Christian interrupted from the Titantron. Captain Charisma said he didn't need or want to beat Orton by disqualification. He said his lawyers forced him to put that stipulation in his contract. Christian said all he wants to do is to go out there and tear it up with Orton and put on a classic match. He said to show Orton what a nice guy he is he bought him a gift. Christian pulled a cover off a framed photograph of Christian holding the World Heavyweight Championship over a fallen Orton.

Christian asked if Orton remembered that great night. He said that was the night he smashed him in the face with that belt. Christian said maybe Orton could put it up in his locker room on Sunday night and realize that this is exactly how it's going to end. Orton chuckled in the ring. Orton said he sees what Christian is trying to do but if he thinks a stupid picture will set him off. Orton said he expected more from Christian and this is borderline pathetic.

Christian said there are a lot of things that are pathetic. Christian said Orton's family was pathetic. Cowboy Bob Orton was pathetic, wearing a cast for seven years and never even coming close to the World Heavyweight Championship. Christian said he was a glorified sidekick. Christian said that his father might be in the Hall of Fame, but there's a wing in the Hall of Fame reserved for guys like Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels, and Bret Hart, and then there's his father's wing in the Hall of Fame: the one he shares with Drew Carey and Bob Uecker; the wing reserved for complete jokes because that's what Bob Orton is.

Christian said the only reason his father is in the Hall of Fame was because the brass just wanted to keep Randy happy and if he thinks anything different then he's even more pathetic. Orton looked angry. Christian said he's having a hard time hearing him all the way back there and asked him to come down to the ring and repeat all that to his face. Christian said he'll come down to that ring after he beats him for the title by pinfall, submission, or DQ and tell the whole world what a pathetic champion he was.

Orton said Christian was a pathetic excuse for a man and a Superstar and after he beats him this Sunday he'll be no more than a pathetic, whiny, bitchy flash in the pan whose only claim to fame was his best friend helping him become champion for a mere five days. What a run. That's pathetic. Orton's music played him out as he stared murderous at Christian.

- The announcers were shown at ringside and discussed the feud between Mark Henry and The Big Show. Mathews said it was like something out of Transformers. Is he serious? I haven't seen one single explosion since this feud started.

- The same Mark Henry highlight video from the past few weeks was shown.

- Booker T hyped a face off between Show and Henry later tonight.

[Commercial Break]

- A new ring announcer going by the name of Eden Stiles was in the ring when Smackdown returned. She announced the following Intercontinental Championship match scheduled for one fall. Ezekiel Jackson made his way out first. Stiles sounds a lot better than some of the other female announcers they've had in the post-Lilian Garcia era. Ted DiBiase was out next. Cole gave Cody Rhodes credit for DiBiase's career revival. Mathews noted that Rhodes was absent as he was getting ready for his match against Daniel Bryan later.

1 -- Intercontinental Champion EZEKIEL JACKSON vs. TED DIBIASE -- Intercontinental Championship match

Nunzio was refereeing. Jackson pushed Dibiase into the corner and smiled. DiBiase slapped him hard in the face and Jackson snapped, beating him down and tossing him into the middle of the ring where he met him with a shoulderblock for two.

Jackson clotheslined DiBiase out of the ring and followed him out, ramming his head into the apron. Booker talked about Jackson being in his Fave Five as DiBiase rammed Zeke into the ring post and dropkicked him. Cody Rhodes was shown watching from the back as DiBiase rolled Jackson back in the ring and scored two.

DiBiase beat down on Zeke in the corner. Zeke broke free and ran at DiBiase in the corner but missed and hit the turnbuckle. DiBiase hit a cool looking Cobra Clutch Russian leg sweep move that was good for two. Cole called Rhodes the Kenny Powers of the WWE for getting DiBiase back on track. Jackson hit a few running clothesline on DiBiase before clotheslining him in the corner and bodyslamming him.

Jackson went for a bodyslam that DiBiase tried to counter into Dream Street but was thrown off. Jackson bodyslammed DiBiase twice more and went for the torture rack but DiBiase struggled free. The Fortunate Son went for Dream Street again but Jackson pushed him off. Jackson locked the Torture Rack in and DiBiase tapped quickly.

WINNER: Ezekiel Jackson via submission in 3:00.

- After the match, Rhodes was shown watching and shaking his head. Ezekiel Jackson celebrated in the ring and posed with his belt as replays were shown. Booker said the fat lady just sang.

TAIT REAX: What was the point of that? After no hype whatsoever for what should be an important title match, DiBiase was squashed in three minutes. How can the announcers sit there and call this a renaissance in Ted DiBiase's career? After a few weeks of at least having him on the winning side, they blew all that hard work by feeding him to Zeke Jackson, this pointless win doing absolutely nothing for him. Smackdown off to a bad start this week.

- Mathews hyped Sin Cara vs. Sheamus for the first time ever tonight. Cole hyped Orton vs. Kane as the main event. Booker hyped Rhodes vs. Bryan as well.

[Commercial Break]

- Ted DiBiase was shown walking backstage defeated. Rhodes approached him and DiBiase said he tried. Rhodes handed Ted a paper bag and told him to put it on. Cody said these bags are for losers like the people who get in the ring with him and the WWE Universe, who place it over their heads. Rhodes told him to put it on but then snatched it away from him and told him he'd give him one more chance. Rhodes said if DiBiase loses one more match he will come personally to the ring and put a bag on DiBiase's head. Rhodes grabbed a random backstage guy as he was walking past and stuffed the bag on his head.

- Daniel Bryan made his entrance and Cole said DiBiase was in danger of becoming like Daniel Bryan.

- A new video package highlighting the feud between Rhodes and Bryan was shown. Bryan sat on the turnbuckle and stared up at the MITB briefcase.

- Cody Rhodes made his entrance flanked by his usual baggers. One of them tried to hand one to Booker but Booker sent him packing with a glare.


Bryan chopped Rhodes's chest in the corner. Bryan ran at Rhodes, who lifted him onto his shoulders and looked to hit an Alabama Slam. Bryan rolled him up though and went for an early LeBell lock. Rhodes scarpered out to the apron and Bryan tied him up in the ropes, kicking him in the chest. Bryan hit a running dropkick to send Rhodes to the floor as Cole put a paper bag on and began spouting Booker catchphrases.

Bryan hit a suicide dive on Rhodes as a one man 'Daniel Bryan' chant started before the break.

[Commercial Break]

Rhodes hit an inverted suplex on Bryan as Smackdown returned. Rhodes put Bryan in a single-leg Boston crab. Bryan kicked him off and hit some European uppercuts. Bryan rolled up Bryan for two. Bryan ran at Rhodes in the corner but got elbowed. Rhodes taunted Bryan and got booed. Rhodes hit several knees to Bryan's chest and hit a Russian leg sweep for two.

Rhodes locked Bryan in the single-leg Boston crab again. Bryan got his arm over the ropes and the ref forced him to break it. Bryan and Rhodes traded punches in the ring with Bryan getting the upper hand and hitting a running clothesline to get the crowd behind him. Bryan hit a jawbreaker on Rhodes followed by a running knee that got two.

Bryan beat on Rhodes in the ring and was pulled off by the ref. Rhodes hit a drop toehold to send Bryan into the ropes and Cody hit his Hardcore Holly throwback kick to the wheelbarrow kick to the midsection. Rhodes followed it up with an Alabama Slam that got two. Cody ducked a clothesline and locked Bryan in ready for Cross Rhodes but Bryan managed to walk up the turnbuckle, while still in position for the finishing move, and backflip over Cody's head. Awesome.

Cody ran Bryan into the ropes and ran in after him but Bryan countered into a LeBell lock, stretching Rhodes over the top rope. The ref called for Bryan to release him but Rhodes pushed him off and onto the floor. Bryan went to the top and hit a dropkick on Rhodes for a nearfall. Bryan fired up in the corner and hit a botched running dropkick on Rhodes, Bryan completely missed with his feet.

Bryan put Rhodes on the top turnbuckle and followed him up but got crotched on the top rope. Rhodes hit a Beautiful Disaster while he was up there and got a three-count from it.

WINNER: Cody Rhodes via pinfall in 10:00.

- After the match, Rhodes stared up at the hanging briefcase on his way back to the ring. A replay of the finish was shown. Cole asked what would happen if Cody hit a Beautiful Disaster off a ladder on Sunday.

TAIT REAX: Another solid match between these two with plenty of good back and forth. Cody needed the win here to keep this feud going after the MITB match. The video package made it look like a huge deal. Cody is shining but Bryan needs to be given more opportunity to do the same (on the mic, he's second to none in the ring). Good to see Smackdown announcers discussing an individual feud in the context of the MITB ladder match and how this will affect the match.

- Teddy Long was shown on his phone in his office. Long told someone to meet him out the front but was interrupted by a referee. Long told the referee to tell Mark Henry and The Big Show that if there's any physicality during their face off tonight he will cancel their match at MITB. Long went back to organizing a night at the casino with whoever he was calling. Long was again interrupted by Kane. Kane thanked Long for honoring his request for a match against Orton tonight.

- Kane said that there was something wrong with him. Long asked if it had anything to do with Mark Henry. Kane said he's a monster and monsters don't lose to anybody. Kane said it's not about Henry, it's about him. He said he's feeling less and less like a monster and he doesn't like it. Kane demanded Long tell him what was happening to him. Long said that, if it makes him feel any better, he's scaring the hell out of him right now. Kane said if he was really scaring him he wouldn't have the guts to tell him, before walking off.

[Commercial Break]

- Jinder Mahal and The Great Khali were shown backstage posing in a photo shoot. The photographer began to focus on Khali and Jinder snapped, grabbing him by the scruff of the neck and shouting at him in Hindi. Jinder said that he's the star and Khali's mission is to serve him. Jinder said that his face is the only one that matters.

- Christian was shown walking around and mock admiring Orton's private bus. Christian freaked out all of a sudden and the camera panned around to show graffiti all over the side of the bus reading "Orton Sux! Teddy Long = Moron. Christian = Uncrowned World Champion." Christian ranted that he would conduct an investigation and vowed that this wouldn't go unnoticed. Christian said he'd find out who did it because he cares.

- Sheamus made his entrance, beating his chest on his way to the ring. Wade Barrett had joined the announce desk and said he was there to study two of his MITB Ladder match opponents.

- Sin Cara made his entrance looking like a Denver Nuggets mascot with all the blue and yellow. Mathews hyped the match to happen after the break.


Sheamus powered Cara into the corner to start and beat him down. Sin Cara hit a springboard hurracanrana on Sheamus followed by a few kicks to the thighs and a dropkick. Cara kicked Sheamus on his knees but Sheamus fought back. Barrett called The Corre the biggest mistake of his career.

Sheamus put Cara on the top turnbuckle but Cara kicked him off and hit a flipping armdrag takeover off the top. Sheamus hit a double axe handle on Cara to ground him again. Sheamus hit an Irish Curse backbreaker in the middle of the ring as Barrett said he should be at the top of Booker's fave five instead of Sheamus.

Cara hit a hurracanrana on Sheamus but ran into a high knee. Sheamus stretched Cara between the ropes and beat his chest viciously. Sheamus taunted the crowd, who responded in kind. Sheamus hit a running knee from the apron and roared, to great disapproval from the crowd. Sheamus wore Cara down in a headlock and hit a shoulderblock.

Cara punched his way out of another headlock. Sheamus went for a big boot but Cara dodged and Sheamus leg went over the top rope and sent him toppling to the outside. Sheamus held his knee in pain and Cara dropkicked him on the way back into the ring for two. Cara hit his Pele kick between the ropes and went for a springboard cross body but was caught in mid air. Sheamus rammed Cara into the turnbuckle and hit a fallaway slam.

Sheamus taunted the crowd some more and set up for the Celtic Cross. Cara turned it into a hurracanrana into a cover and got the surprise three count.

WINNER: Sin Cara via pinfall in 6:00.

- After the match, Sheamus looked furious as Booker said Cara may have just topped the fave five. Barrett hit the ring and hit Sheamus from behind with a big boot. Cole incorrectly called it a Brogue kick. Barrett hit Wasteland on Sheamus and taunted him, pointing up at the MITB briefcase.

TAIT REAX: Not a great match, but possibly the biggest win of Sin Cara's career so far. The match was mostly Sheamus with Cara copping a lot of offense before the surprise victory probably due to Sheamus's inability to gel fluidly with Sin Cara's style. Good to see Barrett get involved in some way and get some measure of revenge for getting punked out by Sheamus last week. Each MITB competitor has looked strong thus far tonight.

- Christian was shown wandering around the casino with Orton's wallet. Christian tossed cards out of it and pulled out a photo of Orton's wife, noting she's not too shabby before tossing it away too. Christian took out a few thousand and said instead of handing this in he might make Orton a bit of extra money, after all, when Christian beats Orton this Sunday he's going to need a bit of extra money for anger management courses. Christian said Orton could use it for his daughter's college fund, because if the she takes after her father she won't be going to college on an academic scholarship.

Christian sat down at the roulette wheel and put all the money on 1 (for Orton's birthday on the 1st of April). The ball landed on 20 and Christian feigned frustration. Christian said it looks like Orton's luck just ran out, before tossing the wallet away and walking off.

[Commercial Break]

- Shots from inside the Mohegan Sun Casino were shown. Teddy Long was in the ring and announced the face off between Big Show and Mark Henry. Long said it was a forum where these two competitors can say whatever is on their mind. Long said if they don't hold their temper he will cancel their match this Sunday. Long introduced Big Show and Henry, who looks ridiculous in street clothes.

Henry stopped on the stage and said he would go no further in case he lost his temper. Show said him holding his temper was the only thing stopping him from walking up there and chokeslamming Henry straight to hell. Henry said Show 'ain't chokeslammin' nobody.' Henry said this Sunday Show will be in his hell. Henry blames Show for all the pain he caused him and cut to a replay of Show attacking and knocking out Henry last month.

Show said he admits what he did changed him and WWE. Show said for 15 years the WWE Universe has waited for the World's Largest Athlete to wake up. Show said Henry has a lot of potential, but shouldn't have directed that potential at him. Show said he lit a fire under Henry and he can put it out. Henry asked Show if he really thinks big is better. Henry said stronger is better, meaner is better, better is better. Here I was thinking that ridiculous quote would never happen again. It sounds like two kindergardeners fighting.

Henry said Show has no idea what he's capable of. Show became irate and demanded for Henry to get in the ring and not wait for Sunday. Henry made his way to the ring but Long interjected, saying he would fine them and cancel their match. Long said this Sunday they would let God decide. Henry and Show death stared each other to end the segment.

- Cole hyped Orton vs. Kane again.

[Commercial Break]

- Rosa Mendes and Alicia Fox were in the ring already with Rosa set to compete tonight. Kelly Kelly made a surprise entrance as her opponent.

4 -- ROSA MENDES (w/Alicia Fox) vs. KELLY KELLY

Kelly went for an early pin cover and got one. Rosa went for her own and got the same result. Booker talked about having a Diva's fave five as Mendes went to work on Kelly. Mathews noted Rosa's Puerto Rican background. Kelly fought out and tripped Rosa, slamming her head repeatedly into the mat.

Kelly licked her hand and slapped Rosa on the butt. Rosa ran at Kelly, who countered into a neckbreaker. Kelly ran Rosa into the turnbuckle and gave her a Rikishi-style stinkface.

Kelly went for a bulldog but Rosa pushed her off. Rosa went for a swinging neckbreaker but Kelly hit the K2 facebuster that was good for the three. Kelly celebrated in the ring after the match as Alicia looked annoyed but still applauded.

WINNER: Kelly Kelly via pinfall in 2:00.

- I almost forgot the Divas champion is supposed to defend on both brands. Alicia Fox couldn't be trying harder to look like Rihanna. Kelly Kelly should be trying a lot harder to be the next Trish Stratus and a PG-13 set of signature moves isn't going to cut it. I'll continue to just make random observations about the Divas division until their division actually means something.

- Johnny Curtis was shown backstage. Yes, that was the sound of viewers groaning. He said he still hasn't made his Smackdown debut yet but it's a lot closer than you think. He said next week the cat will be out of the bag, and subsequently pulled a stuffed elephant from a bag. Curtis demanded to know where the cat was and asked 'Mikey,' who was the old guy with the birthday cake from last week. Mikey said it bit him and ran up a tree. Curtis said the elephant in the room wasn't until next week. Curtis ripped the head off the elephant and shoved it in Mikey's hands, Mikey cried into it. Can he just make his Smackdown debut and be forever relegated to Superstars two weeks later already?

[Commercial Break]

- A MITB Ladder match highlight video was shown. More great hype for the PPV. Could they bring Shelton Benjamin back for just one night?

- Christian was shown backstage again in front of a backdrop. He said despite their budding rivalry he was actually a big fan of Orton's. Christian said beyond being an extraordinary athlete he's also a movie star, enjoying a critically acclaimed role in the WWE Studios film 'That's What I Am.' Christian said what people may not know is there is a deleted scene showing his true talent.

The deleted scene was shown with Orton talking to an old lady in an office. Christian showed up halfway through and froze it, asking why they cast a cave person in this movie when it was supposed to be set in the '60s. Christian asked what was with the vacuous look on Orton's face. Christian mocked the movie title and asked Orton if he knew what he was: a bad actor. Christian looked at the old lady and told her he loved her in 'Uncle Buck.' Hilarious.

- Christian was shown backstage again and said he wasn't sure why they cut that scene, giving Orton kudos for playing a short-tempered, obnoxious lunatic, what a stretch for him. Christian wished Orton luck for his match with Kane later tonight.

[Commercial Break]

- Justin Gabriel made his entrance without tag partner Heath Slater for the last in the series of matches between MITB participants. His opponent was Heath Slater as it turns out, mic in hand.

- Slater said he and Gabriel were on top of the world in the tag team division as three time tag champions. Slater said that Gabriel had been dragging him down lately and he wouldn't let him have his spotlight. Slater said at MITB it's going to be his time to shine because he is the One Man Rock Band baby. Awful, awful promo.


Some nice back and forth between the two trading wristlocks. No reaction from the crowd though. Gabriel hit a running shoulderblock on Slater. Slater went for a hip toss but Gabriel countered into a leg sweep for two.

Slater hit Gabriel with a hard punch and pointed up to the briefcase like it hasn't been a cliche all night. Slater went to work on Gabriel with a headlock. Gabriel fought out and hit a spinning kick to the head of Slater. Slater ran at Gabriel in the corner but missed and ate turnbuckle. Gabriel went for the 450 splash but was intercepted by Slater, who back body dropped him off the turnbuckle and missed possibly the worst moonsault ever attempted.

Gabriel hit the 450 splash immediately after and got the pin and the win. Gabriel pointed up to the briefcase after the match as replays were shown.

WINNER: Justin Gabriel via pinfall in 3:00.

TAIT REAX: Last week these guys were high-fiving and hugging each other and all of a sudden there's tension? WWE could have at least provided a quick backstage bit of the two arguing about who's going to win MITB to set this up. It's pretty obvious when these two go their separate ways it'll be Gabriel turning face and Slater turning to FCW or future endeavors.

- Kane and Randy Orton were shown walking to the ring in split-screen ready for their match up next.

[Commercial Break]

- A highlight video done in the style of an emergency broadcast from C.M. Punk was shown recapping Monday's live microphone opening and contract negotiations were shown.

- Kane and Orton made their respective entrances. Cole said he'd heard Christian's legal team had exerted pressure on Theodore Long to make this match just two days out from MITB.

6 -- KANE vs. World Hvt. champion RANDY ORTON -- non-title match

Orton beat on Kane in the corner to a big pop. Kane fought back with a throat-thrust and a big boot. Kane hit two huge running clotheslines on Orton in the corner followed by a sidewalk slam for two.

Christian slithered out to the stage to watch the match as Kane hit a diving clothesline on Orton. Kane signaled for the chokeslam and locked on a goozle but Orton escaped it and fought back with a boot in the corner followed by a running clothesline. Orton took Kane off his feet with a powerslam and fired up. Kane rolled onto the apron and Orton hit his signature spike DDT on the ropes.

Orton set up for an RKO but was pushed off by Kane. Orton stopped as he saw Christian walking closer to the ring and was clotheslined over the top by Kane, who fell out to the floor with him. Orton chased Christian around the ring as the ref continued his count. Christian splashed Orton with water from behind and Orton missed the ten count.

WINNER: Kane via count-out in 2:00.

- Orton chased Christian around the ring area. Christian ran back into the ring and Orton followed, being met with a throat thrust from Kane. Kane and Christian stomped on Orton in the corner. Kane stopped and scared Christian off. Orton gave Kane an RKO from behind but was speared instantly by Christian, who rained down punches to Orton's face. The crowd booed loudly as Christian stood over both men.

Christian got a steel chair and the World Heavyweight Championship from ringside. Christian went to clock Orton with the chair but Orton countered and kicked the chair out of Christian's hands. Orton picked up the chair to hit Christian but Captain Charisma rolled out of the ring and away from danger. Orton took the chair to Kane's back instead and blasted him with it, looking furious at Christian, who stood on the stage smirking amidst a 'Randy' chant to close out the show.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Smackdown had a few moments of brilliance lost amongst terrible filler. I liked Christian's antics with Orton's things punctuating the show, but it's a shame it just led to a joke match between Orton and Kane later in the show. All in all, I thought the feud between these two is white-hot and this match should steal the show at MITB. Look for Orton to win this one and Christian to move out of the World Title picture.

Big Show and Mark Henry's face-off was a two-minute farce. Their ridiculous dialogue was so out of place within a feud that has been all physical to this point. Mark Henry's 'better is better' quote was once again ridiculous. This whole segment added nothing to the feud. Look for Big Show to get beaten down the entire match and make a miraculous comeback to steal this one at the PPV.

Out of all the MITB Ladder match participants, I thought Cody Rhodes and Daniel Bryan were the two who shined brightest tonight. Wade Barrett got a sparkle in there with his post-match destruction of Sheamus. I believe the build to the MITB ladder matches for both brands has been fantastic and I liked the idea of having a series of matches between competitors. Yes, it's been done many times before, but it's good to remind the audience of the many different feuds and match-ups going on in the one match. There are so many different ways this could go. My instinct says Cody Rhodes wins and WWE finally elevates him into the main event picture, but my head says nothing but Sheamus to slot him into the new number one contender position to face Randy Orton. Gabriel and Slater are nonentities, Barrett is almost in the same category, and Sin Cara and Daniel Bryan are solid but with a long way to go before they're ready to main event (if ever).

Overall, the show was effective at the base elements of finalizing hype for a PPV, but still leaving much to be desired. I'm looking forward to the changing Friday night landscape after Money In The Bank. Until then...


Match Of The Night: Daniel Bryan vs. Cody Rhodes

Match To Forget: Ezekiel Jackson vs. Ted DiBiase

Star Of The Show: Christian

Please Go Away: Heath Slater

Quote Of The Night: Christian - "Kudos, Orton for playing a short-tempered, obnoxious lunatic. What a stretch for you."

Quote Of 1000 Facepalms: Josh Mathews - "The rivalry between Big Show and Mark Henry has been like something out of Transformers."

Most Entertaining Move: Justin Gabriel's 450 splash.

On The Next Episode Of Botchamania: Heath Slater's terrible, terrible moonsault.

Best Moment: Christian messing with Orton's stuff throughout the casino all night.

Worst Moment: Another ridiculously underhyped Intercontinental Championship squash match.

Overall Grade: B-

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