SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Opening Segment: This is at least the third straight week that has seen a long talking segment start Smackdown. Now, I don’t want to see that trend continue for much longer. WWE needs to shake things up a bit and have a match to start the show, which is how things typically go on Smackdown (as opposed to Raw which seems to seldom start with a match). However, I have enjoyed all of these opening segments lately. The previous two involved Kane, so it was nice to see Rey Mysterio come out this week to defend himself against Kane’s accusations. It was interesting to see Drew McIntrye come out to interrupt. He gave a good performance on the mic in bad mouthing Mysterio for what has happened to various heels as a result of him allegedly attacking Undertaker and for needing help to do it. WWE created a good hook for the rest of the show with this announced main event, as well as Mysterio’s promise to tell who he believes actually injured Undertaker (although that was pretty predictable).
Kofi Snaps Again: I enjoyed when Kofi Kingston snapped after being slapped last week by Vickie Guerrero. I enjoyed it again this week when he lost the Intercontinental Championship to Dolph Ziggler after Guerrero’s interference. The match itself was just ok. It wasn’t good enough to get a Hit (the ending was particularly poor as Ziggler no sold the Trouble in Paradise to quickly recover and hit the ZigZag for the win), but it wasn’t bad enough to get a Miss either. But, I liked the epic beating delivered by Kingston to Ziggler. I have to admit to losing myself in the moment. I was frustrated with the lazy booking (I’m just not that into the Guerrero – Ziggler relationship and am tired of her interfering in every Ziggler match) and the poor ending with Ziggler no selling (as discussed above), so I was living vicariously through Kingston as he took his frustrations out on Ziggler. It was definitely very physical and very memorable and I want to see where they go from here, so it was definitely a Hit.
Mysterio vs. McIntyre: WWE did a nice job at the start of Smackdown setting up this main event, and Mysterio and McIntyre delivered a good match. McIntyre continues to show his improvement in the ring. I’m glad to see that Mysterio is continuing to sell his injured ankle, but shows improvement every week. I want to see him get to the point where his ankle is 100% and he no longer has to sell the injury, but it wouldn’t make sense for him to be 100% so soon. So, he has been doing a good job of finding that balance the last few weeks. It was good to see Mysterio getting the win as he is the #1 contender for the World Title, but McIntyre held his own and was elevated despite the loss. He also got a little heat back right away when he attempted to throw Mysterio to Kane after the match. The final moments of the show with Mysterio accusing Kane of being Undertaker’s attacker were solid. Kane did a nice job with his performance. It was hard to tell if he was denying being the attacker because he is innocent, or because he is himself in denial. The key will be the follow-up next week as Mysterio needs to explain why he is accusing Kane and Kane needs to respond to the accusation.
Jeff Hardy vs. Cody Rhodes: I was just bored by this match. It didn’t have any major screw ups. It wasn’t sloppy. It was just boring. We’ve seen better work from both of these wrestlers plenty of times before.
MVP Teams with JTG and Masters: I said to my wife when I saw that Montel Vontavious Porter was teaming with JTG and Chris Masters against the Straight Edge Society, “This is the end of MVP’s career.” She thought I was over reacting and said “it’s only the end of his career if he actually takes the loss in the match.” We both assumed that either JTG or Masters would take the loss. We were wrong. Hopefully, we will also be wrong about it meaning the end of MVP’s career. At the very least, it is disappointing to see him being used in this way, teaming with two jobbers like JTG and Masters, and actually getting pinned in the match. He seemed like a main eventer waiting to happen a few years ago on Smackdown before going to Raw where his career totally stalled. I was hopeful that a switch back to Smackdown would do him some good, but based on this match, it hasn’t.