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WWE Smackdown Report
TAIT'S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT 2/11: Alt. perspective review of World Title match, Chamber hype, Del Rio vs. Kofi feud continues, Best/Worst Moments

Feb 12, 2011 - 11:32:33 AM
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WWE Smackdown TV alt. perspective report
February 11, 2011
Taped in Green Bay, Wis.
By James Tait, Torch int'l Smackdown correspondent


- The opening video package recapped the Edge-Ziggler-Kelly-Vickie saga from last week including Kelly Kelly's 'firing' and tonight's World Heavyweight Championship main event with Vickie as special referee.

- Josh Matthews opened Smackdown from Green Bay and hyped the main event.

- Ricardo Rodriguez stood in the middle of a ring bedecked in red carpet and balloons and introduced Alberto Del Rio, who drove to the ring in a cherry red 1988 Excalibur Sedan. A replay of the fiesta fiasco with Hornswoggle and Kofi Kingston last week was shown. Booker T said Hornswoggle hitting Del Rio in the crotch with the kendo stick was an accident.
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Del Rio introduced himself in his usual manner as Rodriguez clapped from ringside. He said that with Valentine's Day approaching (that explains all the red), he wants everyone to know that even though he is a great athlete, Royal Rumble winner, and main-eventer at WrestleMania, that doesn't mean there isn't any love in his heart. Del Rio gestured for Rodriguez, who was carrying a giant love heart box, to come in the ring.

Del Rio said there are a lot of things he loves in his life. His beautiful cars for one. At this point, he took a long look at Ricardo before professing his love for the beautiful country of Mexico. Ricardo looked crestfallen for a second that Del Rio didn't just profess his undying love for him. Del Rio said he also loves the fact that the six Superstars hoping to face him at WrestleMania are going to destroy each other at Elimination Chamber. Del Rio said what he loves most in life, though, is this...and he opened the heart box to reveal the word 'destiny.'

Del Rio said he loves destiny because destiny loves...him. Del Rio dug further into the heart box to reveal a grinning portrait of the Mexican Aristocrat. Del Rio said that Aaron Rodgers may have won the Super Bowl, but unlike him, he doesn't need to pretend that he's a World Heavyweight Champion. Members of the Packers were shown ringside. Del Rio continued, saying that he doesn't need to pretend because he will become the World Heavyweight Champion at WrestleMania.

Kofi Kingston's music hit and out came the Intercontinental Champion looking less than amused. Kingston said all Del Rio ever talks about is destiny and the future like he knows something everyone else doesn't. He said nobody knows what the future holds and there's no such thing as a crystal ball, but if he knows one thing, it's the past. Kingston said he remembers Del Rio beating him with the kendo stick last week. Kingston said he may not know anything about destiny, but he does know about the present and right now it's just him and Del Rio. Kingston said this is Del Rio's destiny, as he ducked under the ring and pulled out a kendo stick. The Intercontinental Champion hit the ring and Ricardo bailed, leaving Del Rio cowering against the ropes.

Kingston held the kendo stick high and was almost frothing at the mouth as he attempted to resist the urge to beat Alberto senseless with the stick. Booker urged Kingston to do it as Del Rio fell to his knees begging for mercy. Kingston held Del Rio hostage for what seemed an eternity before lowering the stick. Del Rio got to his feet, only for Kingston to mock Alberto's signature wink and go to town on Del Rio with the kendo stick. Kofi landed several shots before Del Rio bailed. Kingston then set about destroying the decor in the ring. After smashing all the roses and overturning all the tables, only Del Rio's love heart portrait remained. Kingston hit it for a home run with the kendo stick and screamed at Del Rio that this was his destiny as Smackdown went to the first commercial.

TAIT REAX: Decent opening segment. I like that Kingston has been Del Rio's foil of late, as Kofi definitely needs the main event rub. He sounds like a robot in his promos, though. The delivery is fine, but the writing is just terrible. If you presented a promo from most of the wrestlers in WWE, especially the mid-carders, and removed the names, you would have a hard time distinguishing between characters because they all sound exactly the same - like video game characters. Kingston is really lacking that bit of character that sets him apart from everyone else and it's incredibly hard to push that character through when working with a generic, mediocre script.

[Commercial Break]

- The announcers brought Smackdown back from commercial. Booker T said Kofi isn't taking any mess in WWE any more, which was probably supposed to make sense in some way but didn't at all. Michael Cole asked how Booker could condone Kofi's assault of Del Rio as the obligatory replay was shown. Kofi and Del Rio were still in the ring and Mathews eventually elaborated that as a result of their confrontation, Kingston and Del Rio are going one-on-one right now.

1 -- ALBERTO DEL RIO (w/Ricardo Rodriguez) vs. Intercontinental Champion KOFI KINGSTON -- non-title match

Kofi went for the lock up, but Del Rio beat him down. Del Rio hit a stiff kick to Kofi's back and Irish-whipped Kingston into the corner, only for Kofi to bounce back with a clothesline. Kingston stomped a mudhole on Del Rio in the corner, but then missed a running boot intended for Del Rio's face. Del Rio regained control and hit a backbreaker for a one count on Kingston. Booker compared Del Rio to other Mexican legends such as Jose Lothario in trying to carve out a legacy for himself. Del Rio slammed Kingston's head into the mat and scored two.

Kofi fought back to a vertical base and crawled to the ropes. Del Rio ran at Kingston, but Kofi dodged at the last moment and Del Rio slid through the second rope to land feet first on the outside. Del Rio ran back into the ring and into a Kofi Kingston chop to the chest. Kingston then botched a dropkick on Del Rio that even the magic of editing couldn't fix. Mathews reminded viewers that Kofi already owns a victory over Del Rio as Kingston hit an awkward looking jumping clothesline.

Kofi hit the Boom Drop on Del Rio. Booker said he was all over Alberto like a cheap suit. Cole asked if Booker read the cliché book before he came out here tonight. Booker retorted that Kofi was all over Del Rio like a cheap suit, like the one Cole is wearing tonight. Ouch. Kofi missed a running splash in the corner but connected with the Pele kick between the ropes when Del Rio tried to get back on offense. Kingston hit a cross body off the top rope and scored a two count.

Kingston hit the SOS on Del Rio and bridged it into a pin, but could only get two. Kingston played to the crowd and set up for Trouble In Paradise. The attempt missed and Del Rio rolled to the outside. Kingston followed him, but Del Rio slammed his arm into the steel steps. As Kingston recovered on the steps Del Rio kicked his arm. Kofi screamed in pain and Del Rio rolled him back into the ring. Cole urged Del Rio to make an example of Kofi. Del Rio quickly locked on the cross arm-breaker and Kofi was forced to submit.

WINNER: Alberto Del Rio via submission in 5:00.

TAIT REAX: I fully expected this match to happen at the Elimination Chamber. It may still happen there, but I was a little disappointed with how it turned out. For some reason the two just didn't gel all that well in the ring, perhaps they needed longer than five minutes. I firmly believe that Del Rio needs to be involved in a match at Elimination Chamber and would back Kingston as his opponent. Del Rio could beat Kingston at Elimination Chamber to look strong heading into WrestleMania and Kingston could have a brush with the main event and, if booked properly, could come off looking strong. Hopefully they continue on this path with this mini-feud but again this match, while adequate, left a lot to be desired.

- Todd Grisham welcomed the World Heavyweight champion Edge as his guest backstage. Grisham asked Edge if he honestly believes that Vickie will call tonight's match fairly. Edge looked at Todd like he was an
idiot and sarcastically said that yes, she probably would call it down the middle. And then Edge and Vickie and Dolph would go and have a celebratory Valentines Day dinner. Edge said when pigs fly, and Vickie Guerrero on an airplane doesn't count. Yes, another fat joke, but at least this one was clever, but it still doesn't make it right. Grisham asked Edge how he intends to retain his title. Edge said he honestly has no idea.

[Commercial Break]

- Camera shots of the Packers Hall of Fame brought Smackdown back from commercial. The camera panned over a Brett Favre jersey and the boos were very audible. Mathews made the segue from the most hated man in Green Bay to the most beloved, as shots of Aaron Rodgers holding the replica Big Gold Belt were shown. Footage from Letterman showing Rodgers receiving a replica spinner WWE belt was also shown. The Packers were shown at ringside all with matching belts.

- Santino and Vladimir Kozlov made their entrance, with Kozlov set to compete in singles action tonight. Cole called out Mathews for jumping on the bandwagon and all of a sudden being a Packers fan. Justin Gabriel made his entrance accompanied by the rest of Corre, who surrounded the ring before the match.

2 -- WWE Tag Team champion VLADIMIR KOZLOV (w/Santino Marella) vs. JUSTIN GABRIEL (w/The Corre - Wade Barrett, Ezekiel Jackson, and Heath Slater)

Cole sold that Kozlov had been banged up all week after the match with Gabriel and Slater last week. Gabriel went for a kick to the ribs on Kozlov, but the Moscow Mauler countered into a leg drag. Kozlov picked up Gabriel and drove him into the corner, hitting a shoulder charge before being kicked off by Gabriel. Kozlov picked up Gabriel into a fireman's carry and draped him horizontally over the top rope in the corner. Kozlov hit a headbutt and a kick to the gut before picking Gabriel up over his shoulder.

Gabriel struggled free and hit Kozlov with a few quick kicks to bring him to his knees. Gabriel hit a running boot to Kozlov's face and began beating him down before hitting a one count. Santino shouted encouragement from ringside as Kozlov fought out of a headlock. Kozlov tossed Gabriel off but Gabriel landed on his feet and came back at Kozlov with a stiff kick. Kozlov threw Gabriel into the corner before trapping his arms and delivering several vicious headbutts.

Wade Barrett distracted the referee momentarily and Heath Slater tripped Kozlov over from outside the ring. The ref chewed out Slater, who was distracted long enough to miss Santino approach him and begin setting up for the Cobra. Slater turned around and got hit with the Cobra before Santino was rattled by a Justin Gabriel baseball slide. Gabriel taunted Santino and was punished with a big boot from a recovered Kozlov.

Kozlov roared to the crowd and went for a jumping elbow drop but Gabriel got his knees up and Kozlov went shoulder first into them. Gabriel quickly climbed to the top rope and hit the 450 splash for the pin and the win.

WINNER: Justin Gabriel via pinfall in 3:00

- After the match, Barrett rolled Santino into the ring and hit him with Wasteland. Ezekiel Jackson hit Kozlov with a uranage. The Corre celebrated in the ring. Booker said there might be strength in numbers, but he doesn't think that any one of them could get it done by themselves.

TAIT REAX: Yet another forgettable match in the tag division. There was nothing wrong with the quality of the match. Kozlov puts on a good show for a big man and Gabriel can move around the ring with the best of them, but when they are given but three minutes to tell a story there really is no possible way to make that story a compelling one. The obligatory Corre beat down afterward was predictable and it looks like Corre are next in line for the WWE Tag Titles, but does anyone really care? It doesn't even look like the Corre cares, so why should the audience?

- Cole hyped a match between Wade Barrett and Rey Mysterio happening tonight. Nice to see Smackdown hype matches other then the main event. They have done nothing but promote the main event at every opportunity the last few weeks at the expense of promoting other match-ups that are just as good if not better.

[Commercial Break]

- Chris Masters was already in the ring as Smackdown returned. Drew McIntyre entered as his opponent in a match smacking of filler.

3 -- CHRIS MASTERS vs. DREW MCINTYRE

McIntyre rolled out of the ring as soon as the bell rang and motioned for a mic. Drew said as far as he was concerned, Edge is solely responsible for Kelly Kelly being fired last week. The ref began counting McIntyre out. He said he is not going to forgive Edge. Drew said he knows that Kelly is watching at home tonight and said that this one is for her.

McIntyre was hit by an inrushing Masters as he stepped between the ropes. Masters hit a knife-edge chop to the chest of the Chosen One before rolling him up in a schoolboy and scoring two. Masters hit a clothesline and an elbow to the face of McIntyre before continuing to chop the chest. McIntyre tried to fight back but was hit by an absolutely gargantuan spinebuster from Masters. The elevation he got in delivering it was ridiculous. What did Cole do? He paused in the middle of his inane babbling to remark 'oh my!' before going right back to talking about anything other than the match. One of the coolest looking spinebusters ever, delivered by a perpetual mid-carder who could use all the help he can get, virtually no-sold by the announcers. Good grief.

Masters scored a two count and then climbed to the middle rope. Masters tried to hit a flying headbutt, but McIntyre ducked it and Masters crashed and burned. McIntyre tried for a backslide pin once Masters got to his feet, but the Masterpiece powered out of it. Masters and McIntyre were struggling with each other back to back with their arms locked. Masters flipped McIntyre over his back but this only enabled the Chosen One to lock in a double arm underhook and hit the Future Shock DDT for the win.

WINNER: Drew McIntyre via pinfall in 2:00

TAIT REAX: What looked like a match destined to be forgotten as filler...turned out to be exactly that. Better than expected though with Masters getting in some intense offense early on. Masters has the look and has improved his wrestling ability, he just needs more match time on Smackdown, to be less bland in character, and for the announcers to help put him over. McIntyre dedicating his match to Kelly and holding Edge accountable was good as it adds a new dimension to the Elimination Chamber match as well as McIntyre's character. I fully expected him to take the count-out as some sort of show of pacifism for Kelly, but getting the strong victory before Elimination Chamber is probably just as good, just a shame it had to be in a two-minute Smackdown filler match.

- Booker hyped the Mysterio vs. Barrett match later tonight, literally bellowing that it's the first time they've met in the ring. It's actually great to hear an announcer get excited when talking about a match instead of rattling them off like upcoming events on a calendar.

[Commercial Break]

- Replays of Rey Mysterio breaking Cody Rhodes's face with the 619 were shown as Smackdown resumed. Cole said he still can't get over the total disregard Rey has shown for Rhodes's health and wellbeing. Cole reported that Rhodes successfully underwent reconstructive surgery and that the cards and flowers were pouring in for the Dashing One.

- Rey Mysterio was shown walking to the ring from backstage. Todd Grisham ran up behind him and asked if he had any words for Cody Rhodes. Rey asked Grisham why he would have anything to say to Rhodes, it was just a broken nose and he didn't do it intentionally. Rey said that as a WWE Superstar, Cody should know that injuries are just part of the game. Rey said he hopes Rhodes finds the strength and guts to make it through this difficult time, but laughed after he said it. Rey said tonight his focus was on winning against Wade Barrett and then moving to the Elimination Chamber and becoming World Heavyweight champion. Rey made a noise that sounded like a high-pitched 'ciao', before walking off. Cole said he was glad that it was a big joke to Rey. Cole said he was disgusted that he laughed about assaulting Rhodes as Barrett made his entrance flying solo.

- A replay of Corre dominating Big Show last week was shown. Barrett got on the mic and said that in less than two weeks he will be representing the Corre in Smackdown's Elimination Chamber. Barrett said that this doesn't mean he is in any way better than the rest of the Corre because they're all equal. He said all it does mean is that he will be the man to go to WrestleMania as World champion. Barrett said the great master plan of the Corre is in full effect as we saw tonight. Barrett said the next part of that plan lies in Rey Mysterio.

[Commercial Break]

- Mathews said Smackdown is the number three show all-time in terms of the number of episodes. Does this mean that Michael Cole is going to start referring to Smackdown as the 'third longest running weekly episodic television show in history?' For every time Michael Cole says this, Kane should chokeslam a puppy.

- Mysterio made his entrance as Mathews hyped Rey Mysterio's high-flying style and what it will bring to an Elimination Chamber match. Booker questioned the Corre as equals given that Barrett was the only one given a chance to go for the World Heavyweight Championship. Booker T is speaking with more common sense than any other announcer on this show, this can't be a good thing.

4 -- WADE BARRETT vs. REY MYSTERIO

Barrett took control of Mysterio early and beat him down. Rey fought back with some kicks, but was hit with a running knee to the gut from Barrett. The co-leader of the Corre slammed Rey's head into the turnbuckle and got a two count. Barrett hit a knee drop on Mysterio and then raised his fist and the ire of the crowd.

Barrett Irish-whipped Mysterio into the corner, but Mysterio countered an incoming Barrett with a drop toehold face first into the middle turnbuckle. Barrett slumped to a seated position in the corner and Rey hit a running dropkick to his face. Rey played to the crowd before going up to the top rope. Rey looked to be attempting a moonsault, but was thwarted by Barrett, who pulled him backwards and into the Tree of Woe.

Barrett stomped an upside-down Mysterio before applying a foot choke to his throat. Barrett went for a cover but Mysterio grabbed the ropes. Barrett continued to work over Mysterio, hitting a suplex and a pair of knees to the back. Barrett picked Mysterio up but Rey back flipped over his shoulders and hit a dropkick off the ropes to the knee of Barrett, tripping Wade over and sending him into the ropes himself.

Mysterio went to hit the 619, but Barrett turned around and kicked Mysterio in the guts. Barrett sent Mysterio into the ropes and ran after him, only to be hit with a kick to the jaw. Barrett again ran at Mysterio, who lowered the ropes and sent the Season One winner of NXT out to the floor.

Mysterio hit a seated senton off the apron. Booker said he'd been on the receiving end of one of those and Barrett would be feeling it for the next week. Admirable attempt at putting Mysterio over, but this may be just a bit of an exaggeration Booker. Mysterio went right back to work on Barrett, but Wade picked him up and dropped him back first on the barrier to take Smackdown to commercial.

[Commercial Break]

Barrett was in control as Smackdown returned. Barrett missed a running clothesline on Mysterio, who hit a springboard cross body off the ropes onto Barrett and picked up a two count. Mysterio dove off the turnbuckle, but was grabbed in mid-air by Barrett, who sat Rey back on the top turnbuckle. Barrett hit Mysterio with some punches but was pushed off. Rey hit another seated senton followed quickly by a tilt-a-whirl head scissors. Barrett pushed Mysterio into the ropes and Rey rebounded and kicked Barrett in the face.

Rey got another two count. Mysterio tried to get Barrett back to his feet, but Wade picked Mysterio up in a fireman's carry looking to hit Wasteland. Rey struggled free and came off the ropes, but was hit with a side slam from Barrett. Barrett got a two count and went for a pumphandle slam, only for Rey to counter out of it and send Barrett into the ropes to be set up for the 619.

Rey dialed it up but as he was running to the ropes to kick things off he literally kicked an interfering Justin Gabriel off the apron. When Rey turned around he was hit with a monstrous big boot from Barrett, who then delivered Wasteland for the win.

WINNER: Wade Barrett via pinfall in 11:00.

- After the match, the rest of Corre came to the ring and began stomping on a prone Mysterio. Gabriel went to the top rope looking to hit the 450 splash, but he was interrupted by Big Show's music as the World's Largest Athlete ran to the ring. Ezekiel Jackson waited for the Big Show with his arm out, ready for a clothesline. When Show hit the ring, Jackson... walked towards him. Not charged, not sprinted, not even jogged. Jackson walked towards the Big Show looking to hit a clothesline and was promptly thrown over the top rope. Yikes. Show took down Gabriel and Slater with twin headbutts before hitting a chokeslam on Barrett.

Show picked Slater up and hit a huge chop to his chest in the corner and hit another one on Gabriel. Show then looked to hit a double chokeslam on Slater and Gabriel, but was thwarted by Ezekiel Jackson, who this time ran to hit Show from behind. Jackson held a kneeling Big Show's arms and the rest of Corre beat down on him. Gabriel went for a kick to the face, but must have missed it because it was edited so that Big Show was only seen from the neck up upon impact.

Booker begged just one member of the Corre to take it to Big Show one-on-one as Jackson picked up Big Show and hit a huge suplex. That may be the first time anyone has ever suplexed the Big Show and it was executed well, though it still doesn't make up for Jackson trying to hit a walking clothesline earlier. The Corre stood over the fallen Big Show. Jackson picked up Show's head and the Giant was unconscious. The Corre celebrated with arms raised in the ring.

TAIT REAX: Barrett vs. Mysterio was an interesting match-up and certainly didn't disappoint. This was the first match to be given over ten minutes and both Chamber participants looked good. The after-match beat downs have become so formulaic that it's just mind-numbing, though.

- Mathews hyped tonight's main event World Heavyweight Championship. Cole said Edge had no chance.

[Commercial Break]

- JTG was dancing in the ring as Smackdown returned. Tony Chimel announced a match scheduled for one fall before JTG's opponent entered - Kane.

5 -- JTG vs. KANE

Booker said that JTG was looking to put a bump in Kane's road to WrestleMania. Cole asked if Booker was kidding. Yes, there is no chance JTG is walking away with a win, but underselling his ability, even if it is against Kane, is a cardinal sin and Cole is only hurting the product when he brings down wrestlers like this. Kane sent JTG into the ropes and JTG rebounded and hit a Goldust-esque throat thrust in reply. JTG hit a dropkick that sent Kane into the corner, before hitting a running shoulder block on the Big Red Monster.

JTG ran at Kane in the corner again, but was pushed off and hit with a big boot for his trouble. Kane went to work on JTG, stomping him into a corner. Kane came off the ropes and hit a dropkick to the face of a seated JTG. Kane then hit a sidewalk slam and went to the top rope and hit a diving clothesline. Kane raised his arm signaling for the chokeslam and hit it when JTG returned to his feet, getting the three count.

WINNER: Kane via pinfall in 2:00.

- After the match, Kane shot his signature hellfire out of the turnbuckles. What was interesting was that the referee and JTG were both on the apron when this happened and had to quickly jump off to avoid being hit by pyro. The camera quickly cut back to Kane, who was looking over to make sure everything was all right. Okay. Cole said the Elimination Chamber was going to be like Kane's sandbox, a cringe-worthy analogy. Booker hyped tonight's main event of Edge vs. Ziggler with Vickie in the black and white stripes.

[Commercial Break]

- Lay-Cool were walking backstage as Smackdown returned. The two were badmouthing Eve for slithering her way into the Divas Championship match at the Royal Rumble. Michelle said her win was a total fluke. She said that if the ref had been doing her job correctly she would be the Divas champion. Layla asked if she meant 'we.' Michelle trailed off instead of answering the question before Vickie Guerrero emerged from the shadows dressed in her referee gear. Vickie said that they disappointed her last week and that she thought too highly of them. She said if you want something done right you have to do it yourself and that's why she's the special referee in Dolph's match tonight.

Dolph Ziggler appeared and interrupted, asking why Vickie was talking to this loser. Layla asked who he was calling a loser and Ziggler said it was her for costing him his match last week. Ziggler pulled Vickie away and said they had a championship match to get ready for. Layla chided Michelle for not helping her and stormed off. More seeds planted for a Lay-Cool split?

[Commercial Break]

- Lay-Cool were in the ring as Smackdown returned. A still shot from the Royal Rumble match was shown with Michelle pinning Natalya at the same time as Eve pinned Layla. Eve made her entrance and Cole hyped a match for next week's Raw with Eve taking on Natalya for the Divas Championship. Cole said he hopes Eve destroys Natalya.

6 -- Divas Champion EVE TORRES vs. LAYLA (w/Michelle McCool) -- non-title match

Layla ducked out of the ring as soon as the bell rang. Layla went over to Michelle and asked her to support her, then went to climb in the ring, but came back down and kept talking to Michelle. Eve came to the outside unbeknownst to Lay-Cool and pushed Michelle over before slamming Layla's head into the announce table and rolled her back into the ring.

Eve copped a kick to the gut from Layla upon re-entering the ring. Layla slammed Eve's head into the mat and then choked Eve on the bottom rope. Layla hit a dropkick to the back of Eve for a two-count. Layla locked a crossface on Eve in the middle of the ring as McCool bantered with the announcers at ringside. Eve hit a pair of dropkicks on Layla before clotheslining the Flawless One to the mat and hitting a standing moonsault for a two count. Layla kicked Eve in the gut, but was hit with an inverted STO from the Divas champion. Eve went to the top rope for a moonsault, but was distracted by Michelle on the apron. Layla knocked Eve off the top rope and went for a pin that was reversed into another cover by Eve, who got the three count to end this one.

WINNER: Eve via pinfall in 2:00.

- After the match, Eve celebrated with her title as Michelle and Layla just sat around looking glum. A split screen of Ziggler and Edge walking backstage to the ring was shown, the final hype before tonight's main event. Cole guaranteed Dolph would be the new champ.

TAIT REAX: Aside from the split between Lay-Cool looking imminent this was just another filler Smackdown Divas match. How WWE can make this division boring I will never know, but the division is in desperate need of someone like Awesome Kong to get people interested again.

[Commercial Break]

- Edge entered first when Smackdown resumed. Cole said Edge's luck had run out tonight. Cole asked Booker how Edge would find a way out tonight. Booker replied that Edge was the ex-husband of Vickie and knows what she's doing, trying to give Dolph the advantage and send him straight to the moon so he can get the championship around his waist so she can make herself look good. Booker kept explaining the situation almost indecipherably. Cole said Booker lost him using so many pronouns in a hilarious bit of banter between the announcers. Dolph Ziggler made his entrance oddly not accompanied by Vickie. Ziggler got in the ring and Vickie then came out.

Tony Chimel began to introduce the combatants, but Vickie yanked the mic from him and excused herself, to a downpour of boos. Vickie said as the official for tonight's match she is here to remind everyone that the ban on the spear is still in effect. If Edge uses the spear, he will be disqualified and Dolph Ziggler will be the new World Heavyweight champion. The crowd chanted for a spear as Mathews said that Theodore Long's condition was stable, but no word as to when or if he will return to Smackdown. Booker said we need Theodore Long R back on Smackdown. That wasn't a typo; he actually said that. Cole asked who the heck Theodore Long 'R' is. Booker said that's what he calls Teddy because they're friends. Cole probably delighted in burying Booker.

7 -- World Heavyweight champion EDGE vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER -- World Hvt. Title match -- Vickie Guerrero as special referee

Ziggler tried a small package on Edge as the match began and Vickie fast-counted a two. Cole said that Booker couldn't call it a fast count because he hadn't seen how fast she was going to count when Edge made a cover. Mathews said that a new World Heavyweight champion is basically guaranteed tonight as the pair locked up and Ziggler backed Edge into a corner. Edge ducked a clothesline and began punching Ziggler in the corner but was pulled of by Vickie.

Ziggler beat Edge down in the same corner and Vickie sat back watching. Booker wondered aloud why Vickie pulled Edge off but not Ziggler, who went for another pin and got another fast two count. Ziggler was firmly in control and continued to beat down on Edge. Ziggler hit a neckbreaker and locked a sleeper hold on Edge, which the Rated-R Superstar struggled to fight out of. If Vickie is the referee why couldn't she just pull a Montreal Screwjob on Edge while he was locked in the sleeper? So many plot holes.

Edge finally fought out and hit Ziggler with a Black Out. Both men were down and Ziggler rose first, hitting a nice dropkick on Edge. Cole said he could feel the title slipping out of Edge's hands as Ziggler worked him over in the corner. Edge reversed an Irish whip on Ziggler into the corner, but ran head first into Ziggler's boot for his trouble. Ziggler went for a double axe handle off the middle rope, but Edge caught him and hit a flapjack and both men went down again.

Ziggler missed with a clothesline upon both men returning to their feet, but Edge landed two off the ropes and then hit a facebuster on Ziggler as Vickie watched on. Edge went for another clothesline, but Ziggler ducked it and hit a sit-out jawbreaker on the champ. Ziggler went for the Zig-Zag, but Edge hung on to the ropes and brushed Ziggler off. Edge then hit the Impaler DDT and went for a cover. Vickie counted two, but then put Ziggler's foot on the ropes, for some reason counting to three anyway. Vickie cackled as the crowd voiced their disdain. Edge looked at Vickie in disbelief. Booker said this was a joke and that there was no place in the business for stuff like this. Ziggler hit a Fameasser on a rising Edge and got another fast two count. Ziggler tried for a clothesline, but Edge ducked it and hit one of his own off the ropes and both men went down again.

Loud 'Vickie sucks' chants rained down from the crowd and Vickie mocked Edge's setup for the spear, backing herself into a corner and yanking on her hair. Vickie went for a spear on Edge, but bounced right off the Ultimate Opportunist. Vickie went down clutching her ankle and was checked on by the ringside doctor, who pulled the acting General Manager from the ring. Vickie had her back turned and Edge quickly set up and hit the spear on Ziggler to loud protests from Cole.

Booker said that a second referee was needed as Edge went for a pinfall with no result. Edge stood in the ring begging someone to come down from the back. Edge set up in the corner for another spear and hit it, this time with Vickie watching. Cole screamed that Ziggler should be the new champion and Edge went for the cover again. The crowd erupted as Packers Linebacker Clay Matthews came out wearing referee stripes and a Packers cap. Matthews ran down to the ring and counted the three, Edge got the win and retained his title.

WINNER: Edge via pinfall in 8:00.

- After the match Cole was going crazy saying that Matthews is a football player and shouldn't even be here. Edge and Matthews celebrated in the ring with matching belts as the crowd went nuts. Edge gave Matthews his belt as Vickie attempted to wave off Edge's victory on the floor outside to no avail as Smackdown came to an end. Cole indignantly declared Ziggler the new World champion as Smackdown signed off.

FINAL THOUGHTS: A decent episode of Smackdown this week, only marginally better than last week's though, and last week's was pretty bad. The main event told a good story, but Ziggler was almost invisible and once again looked more chump than champ. The interference run by Clay Matthews got a huge pop from the crowd and was a good way for WWE to cash in on post-Super Bowl hype, but it just defied logic. Can anyone just show up and be a referee now? Sure, with Vickie nursing an injured ankle with her back turned Edge could have hit the spear and got the count unbeknownst to Vickie, but when he hit it a second time she was WATCHING HIM, then Matthews came out and made the count. Why couldn't Vickie have just disqualified Edge from the floor at ringside, is her jurisdiction limited strictly to the ring area? The ending was great in terms of crowd pop and was really exciting but in terms of logic it was just dumb.

Apart from Barrett vs. Mysterio and the aforementioned main event, the rest of the matches were pure filler. Like I said, there's nothing actually wrong with the match quality this week, but the complete lack of time spent on any of the other matches, all of which clocked under five minutes, is what hurts them the most. I'm disappointed that nothing more was heard on Kofi Kingston after his match against Del Rio, which I believe should have been saved for Elimination Chamber. They could still run with that match, but it'll have half the impact it would have had if they continued to build tension leading into the PPV next week.

Corre did their usual Nexus 2.0 shtick without impressing much apart from Big Zeke's suplex on the Big Show. It was nice to see Masters and JTG get some face time on Smackdown, even if they were criminally underused. Booker T's commentary remains hit and miss. There are times when he's very genuinely enthusiastic and, though he oversells the wrestlers to a point, at least he's selling them unlike Cole. Other times I can't even understand a word he is saying, which Michael Cole wasted no time in pointing out tonight.

- Match Of The Night: Edge vs. Dolph Ziggler w/Vickie Guerrero as special referee.

- Match To Forget: Eve vs. Layla.

- Star Of The Show: Edge.

- Please Go Away: Michael Cole.

- Questionable Quote Of The Night: Edge - "When pigs fly, Todd. And Vickie Guerrero on an airplane doesn't count."

- Quote Of 1000 Facepalms: Booker T - "We need Theodore Long R back on Smackdown!"

- Most Entertaining Move: Chris Masters's huge spinebuster on Drew McIntyre.

- Best Moment: Kofi Kingston beats Alberto Del Rio with a kendo stick and destroys Alberto's decorations in the ring.

- Worst Moment: Clay Matthews apparently licensed to interfere in and referee World Heavyweight Championship matches.

- Overall Grade: B

[Torch art credit Grant Gould (c) PWTorch.com]


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