Well, I already used “Zackdown” for when he became the assistant to the GM, so I had to do something different. Anyways, WWE’s present to me on my birthday was that horrendous screw up of a Raw. I’m not even talking about Bryan/Punk/AJ (more on that later), but the whole Hornswoggle as GM and Santino playing detective? That was complete bull crap. Those are the kinds of moments that make me ashamed to be a wrestling fan. That being said, I will be happy if ANYONE but Santino wins Money in the Bank. Anyways, are we ready? Let’s get to ZACKDOWN!
World’s Largest Fist Pump…Fail.
This crowd didn’t seem nearly as into Zack Ryder as the crowd at the TLC PPV was. He was over, but the world’s largest fist pump seemed a bit…awkward. I’m torn as to whether I like the minimal exposure that Zack got on this episode. On one hand, he’s the guest GM…he should have a bit more face time. On the other, he shouldn’t have detracted too much. I feel like we could have used a little bit more Zack. I enjoyed del Rio’s promo this time around, and I think his intensity has picked up, even if his move set hasn’t.
Segment Grade: B-
Alberto del Rio vs. Sin Cara
This match felt SO much like an indy wrestling show match. Something looked off all match with these two, whether it was the chemistry or the Sin Cara work rate, I felt like something just was missing. A lot of the “indy show” feel had to do with Sin Cara’s crowd pandering and then, instead of following it up with a huge impact move, he just ran over and slugged del Rio…it was anticlimactic. Alberto stepped up a bit for this match, but I feel like maybe his work was amplified by Sin Cara’s lackluster work. Anyways, you couldn’t have Cara go over, so hooray for logical booking. I’m wondering where Sin Cara will go now that he’s in the doghouse again.
Match Grade: B-
Show vs. Khali…that’ll draw…
I like that Big Show is being a bully. I don’t like that Zack countered the bullying with The Great Khali. I like Khali saying “Woo, Woo, Woo.”
Segment Grade: C
Darren Young vs. Primo
Hey, remember when LayCool commentated their matches on the mic for a while? Remember why it died? Because IT SUCKED. Abe Washington telling his client to MOVE where everyone can hear him and then his client NOT MOVING is one of the dumbest, most illogical things to happen. I hope they can this quick, because it’s a terrible idea. Other than that, this match was pretty decent, but I don’t have faith in WWE building up some kind of major program with The Colons and PTP.
Match Grade: C- Mostly for A.W.
You know, Jericho just observing things…in FULL WRESTLING GEAR.
One of my biggest pet peeves is when a wrestler makes an appearance on a show in full wrestling gear and doesn’t have a match. Closely related to that is someone in full wrestling gear saying that they’re not here for a match – because they obviously all ready for one. Especially on a taped show, this shouldn’t happen. Anyways, Jericho and Sheamus, woo!
Segment Grade: B-
Santino and Christian vs. Cody Rhodes and Dolph Ziggler
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned how much I like Christian’s “Vital Element” shirt, but I really like it. I don’t like the idea of Santino doing anything remotely major in the WWE. That includes this match. Santino should not get the hot tag, just like John Cena should not get a hot tag. Of course, most wrestlers now have “Five Moves of Doom” that will be used in a hot comeback or a hot tag, but Cena and Santino seem to be the most obvious with them. Aside from that, this was a very good tag match, with crisp ring work and great storytelling. Like I said, I’d be happy with anyone not named Santino winning Money in the Bank, and I think it’s a good omen for me that Marella took the fall.
Match Grade: B
The RAW Recap
I just wanted to take this moment to mention the ongoing drama between AJ/Bryan/Punk. I have a bunch of friends that are very critical of this angle, saying that there should be wrestling, wrestling, wrestling going on…I, on the other hand, choose to remember some very good love triangles that the WWE Attitude Era spurned. Greats such as Hardy/Lita/Edge, Steph/Hunter/Test, Steph/Hunter/Angle, Jericho/Trish/Christian, and OF COURSE Elizabeth/Hogan/Savage. Look, this formula has worked before, and honestly, I think what makes this so unbearable for some is that most of the drama and talking is happening in the literal confines of the ring. A lot of those aforementioned love triangles involved a ton of video segments that were well put together and funny. So don’t be so critical…we’re just watching three excellent talents at work.
Big Show vs. Khali
Yep. I don’t even put “The Great” there anymore. Can I call this a squash? Because I’m going to.
Match Grade: SQUASH
RYBACK vs. Tyler Reks
Well, Reks and Hawkins talk so much about Change, and here’s something different – this wasn’t a squash match. Sure, Ryback no-sold everything like late 90s Undertaker, but this was the first time that an opponent of Ryback’s has had any kind of offense against him. As much as I want to see Damien Sandow in an angle with the Mental Machine, I think Ryback, Hawkins, and Reks can all benefit from this kind of angle going on. There are talks of a surprise two on one with these three at MitB, and I’d be very interested to see how it went down.
Match Grade: B-
Damien Sandow vs. Justin Gabriel
This was a nice, short matchup with a foregone conclusion. This didn’t have to go as evenly matched as it did, and it’s nice to see these two working with each other to better themselves. I literally just read that the cutthroat neckbreaker is called “The Illumination,” so I’m going to go with that. I’m still not crazy about a bunch of knees being the set up to it, but I suppose it’ll have to do for now…
Match Grade: B-
Sheamus vs. Chris Jericho
Man, I hope Jericho’s growing his hair out for Fozzy, because the fuzzball on his head right now reminds me a lot of when he first got his hair cut to around his ears. It’s WEIRD. This match was a classic TV confrontation. Again, this was just two great wrestlers putting on a great match and making the crowd eat out of the palm of their hand. I’d love to hear whether you guys thought Jericho looked weak after hitting both of his finishers twice and not being victorious. I didn’t at first because I was very appreciative of the PPV caliber main event that we got out of these two, but in retrospect, Jericho basically hit four finishing moves on Sheamus…and didn’t finish him. I understand the concept of having the World Heavyweight Champion going over the MitB participant, but four finishers from someone like Jericho? Ah well, after having read Jericho’s two books, it was probably his idea.
Match Grade: A
In-Ring Action: B- The main event and the tag match boosted this score a lot, but the fact that Ryback wasn’t technically in a squash helped too. I can’t wait for Cody and Ziggler to take that next step up.
Out-of-Ring Action: C- There were two or three Raw Recaps, and that’s just WAY too much. I’m sure some of that could have been filled with Zack Ryder confronting Eve backstage or making fun of her for losing.
Overall: B- Not a bad go home to Money in the Bank. The right people went over, the right angles were emphasized, and you really want to see what these MitB participants will do – especially the brand new comers like Kidd, Sandow, Ziggler, and Rhodes.
Outside the Blog Zone
I unfortunately will not be able to be near the Money in the Bank PPV tomorrow because I’m working. Next week, MPX is having its July show (we went down to one show for the next couple of months because of the crazy Texas heat), and NUMBER ONE SMACKDOWN ANNOUNCER Funaki is coming back! Yup, only a month and a half after being here the first time, Funaki is coming back to take on the monstrous Scott Murdoch. If you guys haven’t seen Scott Murdoch…look him up…he beat on me a couple of times. Our match is on YouTube. Okay, until next week, thanks for making me your CHOICE for Smackdown blogging!