Welcome to the 9/16/11 edition of Friday Night SmackDown! as we head into Night of Champions. Normally, I would order the NoC PPV, but this year’s card just isn’t doing anything for me. Not even the greatness of CM Punk and Alberto Del Rio are a big enough selling point for me. Looks like I’m waiting until at least Survivor Series before I buy another PPV.
Anyway, the show starts off with Justin Roberts introducing Edge back to SmackDown!, as the show is in Toronto, Edge’s hometown. Rehabilitation doesn’t appear to have been as kind to Edge as some others. His arms are looking rather skinny (skinnier than normal), while he’s getting some pudge around his face and gut. Not a lot, but it’s showing. The crowd goes nuts for Edge, and he says misses that, and that it feels good to be in a WWE ring, and even better to be in his hometown. Edge has done fun things since retiring, like shooting a TV show, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t miss wrestling. He misses the competition and the friendships, as well as music and pyro going off every time he enters a room. Edge says, at the risk of sounding cheesy, he misses all the fans. This gets a “Thank you, Edge” chant. He’s hosting The Cutting Edge tonight, with guests Mark Henry and Randy Orton. Cody Rhodes’ music hits.
Rhodes says no one is better than him, and he’s going to enhance everyone’s life right now by handing out more bags to the crowd. Someone in a bag mask then hits Rhodes. Turns out it’s DiBiase. DiBiase jumps the guard rail and slams Rhodes into it. In the ring, DiBiase punches Rhodes a few times before hitting a really high Dream Street. I’m guessing we’re getting a face turn here? DiBiase decks one of the bag boys, grabs a bag and goes to Cody Rhodes, but Rhodes has escaped and is walking back up the ramp. I like DiBiase and all, but this music has got to go.
Up next. Sin Cara vs. Daniel Bryan one more time.
MATCH 1: Sin Cara vs. Daniel Bryan
This is still Hunico playing the role of Sin Cara here. You’ll need to know that in a few minutes (if you’ve already read spoilers, you know what I’m talking about). Bryan comes out second to a pretty damn loud pop. Bryan starts with a running knee and a corner dropkick. Bryan with some punches to the head and abs, followed by some stomps and a European uppercut. Bryan’s wrestling like a heel here. I love it. Cara flips out of a corner whip, but Bryan nails him with a forearm. Bryan goes for the suicide dive, but Cara slides back in with a dropkick to the knee. Cara with stomps now before hitting a legbreaker and a kick to the back of the left knee. Cara’s working over the left leg here. Cara goes for another legbreaker, but just throws Bryan over the top rope instead. Commercial.
Despite WWE being sponsored by Light Strike for months now, this is the first actual commercial I’ve seen for these products. I haven’t even seen these things in stores yet.
Back from the break, and Sin Cara has a modified figure-4 on Bryan. I’m sure there’s another name for this move, but I don’t know it off the top of my head. Bryan gets out by just laying in some nasty forearms to the face. Cara gets a kick to the knee and a running boot to the head. Cara flips out of a corner charge and hits a springboard headbutt for 2. Cara goes for a spinning toe hold, but Bryan boots him off. Cara tries for a Lionsault, but lands face-first on Bryan’s extended feet. Bryan with forearms and some kicks to the head for 2. Bryan lays in some kicks to the chest in the corner and then hoists Cara to the top rope. Cara slides out and crotches Bryan before turning him into the tree of woe and laying some kicks in. Cara refuses to get out of the corner, getting himself disqualified.
WINNER VIA DISQUALIFICATION: Daniel Bryan. Cara hits a corner dropkick before the music plays. Out comes the real Sin Cara. They circle each other in the ring. The actual Sin Cara has more muscle and is slightly shorter, for those of you wondering. Fake Sin Cara slides out of the ring as the music continues to play. Aside from the BS ending (the DQ, not the face-off), this match was pretty decent.
We get a recap of 2 weeks ago when Mark Henry attacked Orton in the cage.
Rage looks friggin’ SICK. Just saying.
In Teddy Long’s office, Zack Ryder asks if he thinks Mark Henry and Randy Orton will be able to control themselves on “The Cutting Edge” tonight. Long invokes the “no-contact” policy again this week, telling Ryder to pass the message on to both Henry and Orton. This leads to Aksana offering to massage Teddy Long. Long says maybe a quick one. She begins to rub his shoulders before Long bends over to get his lower back rubbed. Trish Stratus walks in. Long says it’s not what she thinks. Trish says she’s going to go now. I’m all for Trish Stratus on my screen, but are you telling me that’s the best they could do?
MATCH 2: AJ (w/Kaitlyn) vs. Beth Phoenix (w/Natalya)
Poor AJ. Yes, she’s skinny like most of the other divas in the WWE, but unlike them, she has actually trained for wrestling her entire career and can work. Beth gets AJ in a tie-up and backs her into a corner. AJ tries for a body scissors but it’s immediately turned into a back suplex. Phoenix presses AJ up in the air a few times in a gorilla press before dropping her face-first on the mat. AJ gets a few kicks and punches in before eating a big boot. Phoenix with the Glam Slam, and this one’s over.
WINNER: Beth Phoenix. Nothing against AJ, but this is exactly how Beth and Natalya need to be booked-squashing the hell out of everyone else. Phoenix gets a mic and says on Sunday, the clock will strike midnight because all of the little Cinderellas in the WWE will have an unhappy ending to their little fairytale.
This commercial for Night of Champions still shows Ezekiel Jackson as IC Champion. You think someone at WWE would have fixed this, especially since he hasn’t been champion for over a month now.
We get a highlight video package for Sheamus, complete with the new version of his entrance theme. It’s a pretty solid package.
Backstage, Trish Stratus is putting some kind of yoga gloves on Edge’s hands. Christian walks up. He says it’s nice for Trish to show up when she has something to sell before calling her selfish. Christian says maybe Edge cost him the World Championship at Summerslam, maybe he didn’t. Either way, Edge was telling the truth. They hug. Christian says before “The Cutting Edge” segment, maybe Edge could go into Long’s office and get him one more title match. Edge gives him a dirty look. Christian asks Edge if that means he doesn’t deserve another match. Edge starts to call Christian a little bitch, but Christian cuts him off before storming out. Zack Ryder walks up and begs Edge to tell Randy Orton and Mark Henry about the “no contact” rule tonight before running away while saying “Woo woo woo. You know it”. Trish asks if that was just the Internet Champion.
MATCH 3: Wade Barrett and Christian vs. Justin Gabriel and Sheamus
We get a recap of Sheamus taking out Barrett and Christian after the match last week. Sheamus is still using his regular theme. Not sure when the new one makes its official debut. Before the match starts, Sheamus grabs a mic. He has a couple of common Irish pleasantries for Christian and Barrett. He says he has nothing nice for Christian, as Christian’s face looks like a horse’s arse, and Barrett’s about as thick as a bag of horse manure, and half as useful. Then he recites a poem about how he couldn’t find an Ax or a Smasher, so he got himself a “450 splasher”. I love Demolition references. Seriously, I do. Gabriel starts off with Barrett. Gabriel with an arm bar. He flips out of a hip toss attempt into a sweep. Barrett punches out of an arm wringer before throwing Gabriel over the top. Gabriel lands on his feet and leapfrogs over Barrett off a springboard, but turns around into a scrapbuster for 2. Christian tags in and lands some stomps, followed by an uppercut. Christian with mounted punches and a foot choke. Gabriel reverses a suplex into a small package for 2. Christian clotheslines him back down before tagging in Barrett. Barrett with stomps in the corner. Gabriel reverses a suplex attempt by Barrett into another small package for 2. Barrett gets a clothesline before going to a reverse chinlock. Gabriel fights out with elbows and some kicks. He misses a roundhouse, leading to a release flapjack by Barrett for 2. Christian tags back in and chokes Gabriel over the middle rope. Gabriel comes back with some kicks, but eats an uppercut. Christian with a hard whip into the corner. Commercial.
Back from the break, Barrett lands a hard kick to Gabriel’s head, followed by a backbreaker for 2. Barrett gets a stomp to the head before tagging in Christian. Christian does a corner whip, but Gabriel leapfrogs out and hits an STO before tagging in Sheamus as Christian tags in Barrett. Sheamus with a couple of axe handle shots before hitting a tilt-a-whirl powerslam. Sheamus with a running knee lift. He goes up top, but Christian holds his foot. Barrett lands some punches before getting headbutted back down to the mat. Sheamus hits the flying shoulder block. He goes for the Celtic Cross on Christian, but Christian slides out. Sheamus clotheslines him to the floor. Barrett goes for Wasteland, but Sheamus slides out and hits the Brogue Kick. Sheamus tags in Gabriel, who hits the 450 splash and gets the 3.
WINNERS: Justin Gabriel and Sheamus. After the match, Christian tries a sneak attack on Sheamus, but Sheamus sees it coming, so Christian slides back out of the ring before walking away. Not a bad match. Everyone here looked good. I could see either side here forming a regular team, too.
We get a recap of what happened last week between Mark Henry and Randy Orton. You know, Henry assaulting Orton despite the “no contact” rule in effect? Yeah, that.
MATCH 4: The Great Khali vs. Heath Slater
Khali is sans Jinder Mahal this week after what happened last week. I could care less about either of them. Anyway, considering the opponent is Slater tonight, I’m sure you can figure out who will win here. I don’t think Slater has won a match since splitting with Gabriel. Slater starts off with a kick to the left leg, followed by another one and some punches. Khali comes back with a clothesline. He slams Slater into the corner as Mahal comes out, speaking Punjab. Khali with another clothesline as Mahal is distracting him. Slater gets a shot to the back, but Khali no-sells and goes for the Punjabi Plunge. Mahal attacks him from behind, leading to the DQ.
WINNER VIA DISQUALIFICATION: The Great Khali. Mahal and Slater begin to double-team Khali, but he no-sells that and knocks both down. He hits Slater with a brain chop after knocking Mahal to the floor. Khali then gives Slater the Punjabi Plunge. Khali is supposed to be the face in this segment, but if you were going just off crowd reaction, you wouldn’t know it; the crowd here couldn’t care less about any one of these guys.
We get a video recap for the HHH/Punk feud. I’m sure Punk will lost to Paul Levesque-McMahon here, but I don’t think there’s anyone out there who will disagree with me that Punk has completely owned the verbal aspect of this feud.
MATCH 5: WWE Tag Team Co-Champion Evan Bourne (w/Kofi Kingston) vs. R-Truth (w/The Miz)
You know, both of these teams were just thrown together, but so far, they both work well. R-Truth just called himself “The Suntan Superman”. Haven’t heard him use that one in years. R-Truth starts with a boot to the gut, followed by the boot out of the corner that sends Bourne to the floor. Truth throws Bourne back in for a 1-count. Kingston and Miz are on commentary. Truth with a reverse chinlock. Bourne fights out with elbows, but Truth goes for a suplex. Bourne knees his way out and hits a jumping knee to the face for 2. Bourne with some kicks and a very low hurricanrana. Bourne goes up top for Air-Bourne, but Truth rolls out of the way. Bourne lands on his feet, but Truth hits What’s Up for the 3.
WINNER: R-Truth. I like Justin Henry’s name for the What’s Up-The Moment of Truth-much better. This match was short, but it served its purpose in giving the challengers for the tag titles at the PPV some more momentum. Miz and Truth need a team name. I’ve heard “Awesome Truth” thrown around, which is fine, but it needs to be made official.
WWE RAW recap video time.
Someone give me some additional feedback on Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Is it worth buying at full price?
Back from commercials, and it’s time for “The Cutting Edge”. Edge reminds us of what happened earlier with him and Cody Rhodes, and how Rhodes said he was pandering. Edge says what Rhodes doesn’t realize is how important Toronto has been to him. He sat in row six at Wrestlemania IV, and won his first championship-the IC title-in Toronto as well. He says he knows how important championships are, and is happy to have the guests on tonight that he does. Mark Henry comes out first, followed by Randy Orton. Orton trimmed down his douche beard. Good for him. Edge reminds Henry and Orton of the “no contact” rule in place tonight. Edge says to Orton that the rule is probably a good thing for him, as Henry has been tearing through everything and everyone lately. Edge asks Orton if he honestly thinks he can beat Henry this Sunday. Orton says Edge is right in that Henry has demolished a lot of people, but when it comes to him, the only time Henry decides to put his hands on Orton is after a match, so he hasn’t proven anything. Orton says maybe Henry’s absolute best isn’t good enough, and that’s why he hasn’t won the big one yet. Orton doesn’t think he can beat Henry; he KNOWS he can. Bet you didn’t see that coming. Edge says Orton is telling the truth and calls Henry’s career disappointing. Edge says despite Henry’s size and devastating style, he’s never won the WWE or World title. Maybe it’s because of fluke injuries or bad timing or maybe he just doesn’t have the desire. Maybe Henry isn’t good enough to get to the top level.
End of show.
You know, the way Mark Henry has been booked these last few months has been the absolute perfect way to book him. Having said that, it’s going to be hugely disappointing when he loses on Sunday yet again. Love or hate Mark Henry, you have to feel for the guy. After 15 years, he’s only had two championships, and neither one of them are in existence anymore. Hell, the first one-that being the European Championship-wasn’t even won; Jeff Jarrett handed it over to him after winning the IC title.
Anyway, not a bad show this week. I’d say the best overall match was Sheamus/Gabriel vs. Barrett/Christian. Bryan/Cara was good too, save for the ending.
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Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you next week.