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WWE Smackdown Report
TAIT'S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT 3/4: Alt. perspective review of continued WrestleMania hype, Weekly Show Highlights, Picks & Evaluation

Mar 5, 2011 - 10:20:55 AM
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By James Tait, Torch int'l Smackdown correspondent

Smackdown_75_137.jpg
WWE Smackdown Alt. Perspective report
March 4, 2011
Taped in Cleveland, Ohio


- A video package played recapping last week's Smackdown and Vickie Guerrero being fired.

- Hype for a WrestleMania contract signing between Edge and Alberto Del Rio tonight before the opening credits.

- Edge came out to pyro and fanfare from the Cleveland crowd to open Smackdown 30 days out from WrestleMania. Michael Cole hyped the return of The Undertaker on Smackdown tonight and asked what Taker would have to say in response to Triple H.

- Edge got on the mic and said he'd be out here later tonight for an official contract signing for his World Heavyweight Championship match with Alberto Del Rio at WrestleMania 27. He said he was looking forward to getting face to face with Alberto so the number one contender could look deep into his eyes and see what it takes to be a champion and main-event WrestleMania. He said he also has a bone to pick with Del Rio after being rudely interrupted last week. Edge said he was having a going away party for a woman we all know and love...to hate, Vickie Guerrero. Lots of boos. Edge said the awesome part is that he got rid of her and she's gone. He said he wanted to start where he left off last week before he was interrupted and seemed to be about to break into song again.

- Drew McIntyre hit the ring out of nowhere and beat down on Edge. McIntyre ran at Edge but the Rated-R Superstar pulled the ropes down and McIntyre tumbled out to ringside. Teddy Long's music hit and the General Manager interjected. He said he and everyone in the WWE Universe owes him a debt of gratitude. Long said last week the deal was if Vickie's team lost she would be fired, so thanks to Drew she has been fired. Long said if he doesn't get in that ring and have a straight up match with Edge right now, he'll be fired too. Edge said Teddy brought up a great point and started a 'thank you, Drew' chant before Smackdown cut to commercial.

[Commercial Break]

1 -- World Heavyweight Champion EDGE vs. DREW MCINTYRE -- non-title match

The bell rung to start the match as Smackdown returned. Drew ran at Edge but the World Heavyweight Champion countered into a drop toehold and went to work on the Sinister Scotsman in the corner. The referee had to pull Edge off Drew as Cole said he didn't blame McIntyre for being upset. Edge ran at McIntyre in the corner but drew dodged and Edge went shoulder-first into the ringpost.

Cole said he spoke with Vickie this week and said that she told him she went and filed for unemployment. McIntyre took control and went to work on Edge's arm, twisting it over the ropes before slamming it into the ring apron. The announcers sold the injured arm from Del Rio's attack last week. Booker T said if McIntyre could get his mind off Kelly Kelly he could be a major player in the WWE. McIntyre cinched an armlock on Edge but the champ fought out of it. Edge ran into a big boot from McIntyre and rolled out of the ring.

McIntyre slammed Edge's injured arm over the announce table and rolled the champ back in the ring. McIntyre screamed at the announcers that Edge wasn't going to WrestleMania because he's going to end his career. Nice little touch there. McIntyre went for a cover and got two before ripping Edge's elbow pad off stomping on his arm. McIntyre tried to wear Edge down with an armlock and again the champ fought out but ran into Drew's shoulder and was sent out to the floor.

Josh Matthews said the Elimination Chamber marked the beginning of McIntyre's new, more aggressive nature as Drew rolled out of the ring. McIntyre ran at Edge but was hit with a back-body drop onto the floor outside. Booker said ten years ago he wrestled Edge at WrestleMania and knows every inch of that ring. Edge rolled Drew back into the ring and went to the top rope, hitting a diving cross body for a nearfall.

McIntyre went for a big boot but Edge blocked it, before ducking a clothesline on the fly and hitting McIntyre with a spear on the rebound from the ropes. Edge went for the cover but pulled McIntyre's shoulders up before three. Edge locked in the Sharpshooter on McIntyre and Drew tapped.

WINNER: Edge via submission in 6:00.

- After the match Edge sat in the ring breathing hard. Cole said he was impressed with the adaptation shown by Edge in using the Sharpshooter. Booker said Edge was sending a message to Del Rio as Edge celebrated with his belt.

TAIT REAX: Serviceable six-minute match. I'm really enjoying Drew McIntyre's intensity, as it really came to the forefront in certain parts of this match. Edge needed the win to look strong after taking a beating post-match last week but McIntyre's newfound aggression needs to be exploited. It looks like they're setting up Edge's Sharpshooter as a submission to counter Del Rio's cross armbreaker. It's not clear why, yet.

- Hype for a match between Big Show and Kane tonight as well as The Undertaker's return.

[Commercial Break]

- Cole said it was true that he would be having his first one-on-one match at WrestleMania against King as 'Booyaka 619' hit and Rey Mysterio(?) came out in a suit? Closer inspection revealed it was actually "Dashing" Cody Rhodes wearing the mask he pilfered from Mysterio last week. Rhodes looked into his electronic mirror and took the mask off, the music changing to 'Smoke And Mirrors' simultaneously. Cody was wearing the clear protective facemask.

- A replay of the Rhodes family set up on Rey Mysterio last week was shown including the beat down afterwards by Cody and the removal of Mysterio's mask.

- The camera cut to a close up of Rhodes's face in the ring and the Dashing One screamed at the crowd not to look at him. Lots of boos. Cody said that feeling you have that's festering in the pit of your stomach because you heard Mysterio's music and thought you would be seeing him and now you aren't - that feeling is disappointment. Cody said he knows disappointment. He said lately he's been the king of disappointment every day when he wakes up and sees what once was Dashing reduced to this. For the record, Cody looks exactly the same.

- The crowd chanted 'We want Rey.' Cody said his father, the lovable "American Dream" Dusty Rhodes came to him and he convinced him to help him set up Mysterio so he could inflict what he only imagine is a fraction of the damage to Rey's face that he did to his. He said when he was up there rubbing his face in the steel grate and removed the mask it felt good and nothing has felt good lately for him. He said he knew then that it was the right thing to do. Cody stared at the WrestleMania sign and asked the crowd if they wanted to know what else was the right thing to do. Rhodes said he knows his father is watching right now and doesn't want to disappoint him by letting some carnival sideshow freak like Rey Mysterio keep him from becoming the World Heavyweight Champion to boos from the crowd.

Rhodes said if Rey chooses to accept his match at WrestleMania he guarantees to remove the mask of Rey Mysterio and expose his face, or what's left of it, on the grandest stage of all. Rhodes's music hit and the Dashing One stared at the WrestleMania sign once more. Cole said Rhodes was a psychological mess. Rhodes made his way to the back and pushed the camera away.

TAIT REAX: A fantastic promo by Cody Rhodes, his mannerisms and intensity make him seem really messed up and he's pulling the character off perfectly. Just a bit ridiculous that Cody's face is completely unblemished and yet he's ranting and raving about how Mysterio made him un-Dashing. Of course, he's a heel, but would it be so hard to use make-up to put a few bruises around his nose and make it actually look like he has a reason to have beef with Mysterio? Otherwise this feud is moving along excellently. The addition of Rey Mysterio's mask, even though it's been done before, makes it that little bit extra special. It should be a great WrestleMania match and there's still so much time to set it up even further.

- The camera cut to Kane standing in the back. All four members of The Corre approached him. Kane asked them what they wanted. Wade Barrett said he wanted to remind Kane that his greatest victory came in a match where some of them played a pivotal role. Kane retorted that he didn't need or want their help back then and certainly doesn't now. Justin Gabriel interjected, saying that nonetheless, they just want him to beat Big Show tonight. Ezekiel Jackson told Kane to think about it. Heath Slater motioned for them to leave so that they could defend their titles.

- Hype was given for Santino Marella and Vladimir Kozlov invoking their rematch clause for the WWE Tag Team Championships against The Corre next.

[Commercial Break]

- Tony Chimel announced the match for the WWE Tag Team Championships and the champs, Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater, came out to the ring accompanied by Barrett and Jackson. Santino and Kozlov were out next to a big pop. Cole asked what it was about this team that makes them so effective.

2 -- WWE Tag Team Champions THE CORRE (JUSTIN GABRIEL & HEATH SLATER (w/Wade Barrett & Ezekiel Jackson) vs. SANTINO MARELLA & VLADIMIR KOZLOV -- WWE Tag Team Championship match

Santino and Gabriel squared off to begin the match and went back and forth. Marella dragged Gabriel to the corner and Kozlov made the tag and hit a gut punch on Gabriel. Kozlov locked Gabriel's arms and hit a couple of headbutts to his chest. Booker started calling Kozlov 'Koz' and Cole asked if they were buddies as Gabriel rolled out of the ring in pain. Slater tried to attack Koz from behind but Santino cut him off and Smackdown went to commercial with Santino and Kozlov standing tall in the ring.

[Commercial Break]

Koz had Slater in a headlock on the ground as Smackdown returned. Slater tried to fight out but Koz hit him with a running shoulder block. Slater dropkicked the knee of Koz and beat down on the Moscow Mauler. Slater distracted the referee and Barrett hit Kozlov from between the ropes. Slater tagged in Gabriel, who continued to stomp Kozlov. Gabriel went for a cover but only got two.

The crowd chanted for Santino as Gabriel cinched in a headlock on Koz. Booker asked why The Corre couldn't simply come out here as a tag team and get the job done. Cole retorted that he remembered Booker having his own King's Court who always got involved in his matches. Shot down Book Man. Kozlov fought out and hit a sidewalk slam on Gabriel. Gabriel tagged in the One Man Rock Band, who grabbed Koz's leg and tried to drag him back. Slater, as his character is at life, was unsuccessful and Kozlov made the hot tag to Santino.

Santino hit a few jabs on Slater before doing the splits to avoid an incoming clothesline and hitting a hip toss on Slater on the rebound. Santino fired up and hit his diving headbutt but Gabriel nixed the cover. Kozlov entered the ring and attacked Gabriel, who was pulled out by his fellow Corre members. Slater attacked The Wizard Of Koz from behind and pushed him out of the ring. When Slater turned around he got hit by a sweet looking STO from Santino. Santino called for the Cobra and the crowd popped.

Before he could hit the Cobra, Jackson distracted him on the ring apron. Santino tried to hit Jackson instead but Jackson dodged it. Barrett climbed up on the apron and Santino hit him with the Cobra for his trouble but Slater attacked him from behind and hit a reverse DDT finisher for the three count.

WINNERS: The Corre (Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater) via pinfall in 9:00

- After the match The Corre celebrated in the ring as the crowd heaped boos on them.

TAIT REAX: Finally, a tag team match that actually felt like it meant something! A tag team match that was given more than two minutes! The match itself was average and the finish was pretty underwhelming - give me Gabriel's 450 splash over Heath Slater's wussy-looking reverse DDT any day. Aside from that, it was nice to see the tag division finally given some time to shine. Not sure whether the Corre and Big Show mini-feud is over, but the segment beforehand involving Kane felt like it was alluding to some interference from the group tonight.

- Hype was given for Christian's return to Smackdown next week. A replay of Del Rio taking Christian out last September was also shown. A replay from the Elimination Chamber showing Christian returning and making the save for Edge was also shown.

- Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez were shown in the locker room. Ricardo was warming up his voice. An artist was shown painting on a canvas and Del Rio commented that he had almost captured the essence of Alberto Del Rio, though viewers couldn't see what he was painting.

- More hype for the Undertaker's return. It's up next.

[Commercial Break]

- The announcers were shown at ringside and Matthews said that it was just moments away from Undertaker's return. Booker said he was getting chills thinking about it.

- A replay of Triple H's promo from Raw this past Monday was shown.

- The Undertaker's gong hit and the lights went out. Instead of his familiar theme, though, Taker came out to 'Ain't No Grave' by Johnny Cash. About time! Taker was wearing his leather jacket and trunks instead of his Ministry of Darkness throwback that he wore in his last run.

Taker got on the mic and said he found it mystifying that the strongest of the strong and the greatest of the great don't know when to leave well enough alone. Undertaker said you have to realize there are mountains that cannot be climbed, seas that cannot be sailed and streaks that cannot be broken. Taker said he heard Triple H's comments on Raw and said there wasn't much he said that he couldn't agree with. He said they are the last of an era and a dying breed.

Taker said he is everything he said he is if not more and in his opinion probably the greatest World Heavyweight Champion of the last decade and a half. Wow, that's a pretty big call. Taker said the thing that Triple H said that he found most interesting is that he has figured out how to destroy him and how to make him disappear forever. Taker said it was quite simple; all you have to do is beat him at WrestleMania. Easier said than done according to the Dead Man.

Taker said Triple H has figured out in his mind how he is going to do this. He's going to take everything that he's accomplished, every accolade, his legacy and legend and throw it all on the table and go for broke. If he wins he will be hailed as The Game and as the King of Kings. Taker said if he loses - and Hunter will lose - he will become nothing more than a statistic; a name on a long list of people who came before him trying to do the exact same thing.

Taker told Triple H to make no mistake about it, he plays no game and he bows down to no man, especially the King of Kings. Taker said at WrestleMania he will find out what 18 men who came before him will find out. That he is indeed the last outlaw. Taker said he will also find out what it means to rest. In. Peace. 'Ain't No Grave' played the segment out and Taker made his way to the back.

TAIT REAX: Great to see The Undertaker back on his show. Him coming out to 'Ain't No Grave' was spine tingling, although it somewhat lacked the grandeur of his usual theme, which I hope they stick with at WrestleMania at least. His promo was great because he's one of the few guys in the WWE who sounds unique and not as though he's reading from a script. Both men should get some more face time in the lead-up to WrestleMania after a pretty strong return by The Dead Man responding to Triple H.

- More hype was given to both the contract signing and the match between Big Show and Kane.

[Commercial Break]

- Exterior shots of Cleveland as Smackdown returned and Josh Matthews hyped the signing of Mistico/Sin Cara. They're really going full bore with this.

- Beth Phoenix and Rosa Mendes made their way out to the ring for a Divas tag match. Cole said he was still shocked that Rosa had picked up a win against Layla last week. Booker said Rosa Mendes was a lot of salsa! Lay-Cool's music hit and out came the former self-proclaimed co-Divas Champions. A replay of the match last week was shown with Layla and Michelle arguing and Michelle costing Layla the match. Matthews talked about a possible rift between the two and Cole chastised him for being a 'scab journalist' who feeds gossip columns.

3 -- ROSA MENDES & BETH PHOENIX vs. LAY-COOL (Layla & Michelle McCool)

Michelle and Beth locked up to start things off. Phoenix quickly took control and worked on Beth's leg before tagging in Rosa, who continued to hit the leg. McCool tagged in Layla, who was swung by the hair and thrown by Rosa. Rosa went for a move off the ropes but was hit by Michelle. Rosa confronted her and the distraction allowed Layla to kick Rosa in the gut and tag McCool back in.

Michelle and Layla collided as McCool was getting into the ring. Michelle shoved Layla into the corner before turning around and laying into Rosa. McCool tried to force her out of the ring and hit some vicious-looking knee drops on her. Michelle went to kick Rosa in the head but missed and hit the rope and rolled around like she'd been shot in the leg. Ridiculous overselling.

Beth clamored for the tag and got it as a wounded Michelle tagged in Layla. Phoenix hit a pair of running shoulder blocks on Layla and a double axe handle. Phoenix sent Layla into the corner and ran in after her, Layla tried to jump backwards over Beth but was caught by the Glamazon, who powerslammed her. The pin attempt was broken up by Michelle, who then kicked Beth in the face, allowing Layla to get the cover for the three count.

WINNERS: Lay-Cool (Layla and Michelle McCool) via pinfall in 3:00.

- After the match Booker said there had to be something in Michelle's boot. Lay-Cool hugged it out on the mat and Layla kissed Michelle's boot. Matthews said winning cures everything before hyping Big Show vs. Kane again as Godzilla vs. King Kong.

TAIT REAX: Where is Kaitlyn? Where is Kong? A split between Layla and Michelle isn't going to mean a thing because the Divas division certainly doesn't.

[Commercial Break]

- The Big Show's came out after the break. A replay of Big Show's count-out victory over Wade Barrett and Show's chair-fuelled retaliation was shown. This sentence actually happened, straight from Booker's mouth: 'Big Show got paid last week. He beat Wade Barrett but I think Big Show should have left Wade Barrett... I mean in the dust, he should have beat that boy down like he stole something if you know what I'm saying.' No, Booker, no one could possibly know what you are saying. Kane came out and Cole recapped The Corre's interaction with him earlier, saying that they will be watching this match and hoping that he takes out the Big Show for them.

4 -- BIG SHOW vs. KANE

Show backed Kane into a corner to start the match but was hit with a throat-thrust. Show went back on the attack with punches and headbutts before running Kane into the opposite corner. Show went in after him trying for a big body bump but Kane dodged and Show hit the turnbuckle. Kane ran in but was caught in a goozle from Show. Kane kicked out of it and tried for a running clothesline. Show ducked but on the rebound both men hit clotheslines and went down.

Both men were down when Wade Barrett led The Corre out with a steel chair in hand. Barrett slid the chair into the ring to Kane, who hit Show in the back with the chair to end the match via DQ.

WINNER: Big Show via disqualification in 2:00.

- After the match, The Corre pounced, beating down the Big Show while Kane watched on. Big Show pushed Gabriel off and he accidentally bumped into Kane. The Big Red Monster hit him in the back with the chair. Barrett and Slater pulled him from the ring and the group backed off, looking incredulous. Booker said you don't step on Superman's cape and right now Kane is the Superman of WWE.

TAIT REAX: Hardly a match; just a storyline crutch again. Yet another Corre beat down but this week seemed somehow fresh with Kane turning the tables. Nothing is really pushing this feud forward, though; it seems to be stuck in limbo. It was good to see Justin Gabriel take the chair in the back (if that's ever good) instead of the face this week.

[Commercial Break]

- The announcers were shown at ringside and hyped Undertaker vs. Triple H at WrestleMania 27 before replaying Shawn Michaels take on the match from this week's Raw. Enough with the Raw replays!

- Cole said the real main event at WrestleMania would be Michael Cole vs. Jerry 'The King' Lawler as Jack Swagger's music hit. Cole gave him a standing ovation and said he was his guy. Great to see Swagger finding relevance again. The All-American American did his old push-ups routine on the entrance ramp but alas, no pyro. A replay of Cole and Swagger attacking Lawler on Raw was shown and Cole bragged about how much of a man he was when he slapped King. Cole said Swagger was an integral part of Team Cole.

- Cole got on the mic and asked for the audience's attention. Loudest boos of the night so far. Cole got in the ring and demanded the crowd show Swagger some respect as the man who will train him and be in his corner when he embarrasses, humiliates, and beats Jerry Lawler at WrestleMania. Cole invited everyone to join him in Dallas for next Monday's Raw where he will reveal his special guest referee - a man who is grandiose, flamboyant, and simply awesome. Cole said this man is one of the all-time greats in WWE and the one thing that this man, Swagger, Cole himself, and LeBron James have in common is that the four of them think Cleveland stinks. Hitting Cleveland where it hurts there, Cole.

[Commercial Break]

5 -- JACK SWAGGER vs. JTG

When Smackdown returned Swagger and JTG were squaring up in the ring. Swagger hit a takedown on JTG to take control. Cole said that Swagger had been teaching him mat wrestling moves and that they'd been rolling in the gym all week lifting weights. Swagger lifted JTG into a headlock and then took him down again, hitting a pair of Swagger Bombs out of the corner before applying the Anklelock. Cole was bouncing around at the announce table looking crazed and telling JTG to tap out. JTG showed some resistance but eventually conceded to give Swagger the quick squash win.

WINNER: Jack Swagger via submission in 1:00.

- After the match, Cole got in the ring and hugged Swagger. The two celebrated in the ring. Booker said that Michael Cole has lost his damn mind. Cole imitated Swagger running around the ring with his arms outstretched.

TAIT REAX: Little to say about the match itself, as Swagger looked dominant in victory. I'm hoping against all hope that Jack Swagger will actually be given something decent to do at WrestleMania and not just this coaching spot for Cole, although you can't really complain given that it's thrust Swagger back into the spotlight after weeks of nothing. Swagger definitely needs to be in a WrestleMania match, though. Challenging for either the Intercontinental or United States Title would be great. The special guest referee to be revealed is intriguing. My best guess is it's somebody who has had beef with King in the past; hopefully it'll be someone notable.

- Booker T and Josh Matthews talked about the confrontation between The Rock and John Cena before a replay, yet another replay from Raw, was played recapping The Rock's original verbal smackdown, John Cena's rap response, and The Rock's promo from his home this week. 'Basic Thuganomics' was played in the background while Cena rapped, which was awesome and a much better theme than 'My Time Is Now.' The video package was cool but it feels like more wasted time on Smackdown.

- Edge was shown walking backstage. He ran into the artist from before, who was holding a portrait of Alberto Del Rio that he was painting before, though it is clearly a photograph. Edge grabbed the palette off the artist and painted a mustache, monobrow and goatee on the 'portrait,' before dropping the paintbrush on the floor and kicking the artist over when he bent down to pick it up. Edge walked off.

[Commercial Break]

- When Smackdown returned, Teddy Long was in the ring, which was red-carpeted with a table and two chairs in the middle as well as Mexican flags all over the place. What about the Canadian flag for Edge? Teddy said it was time for the contract signing and Tony Chimel introduced Ricardo Rodriguez, who got a lot of boos. Del Rio came out honking the horn of a 2011 Mercedes SL550 worth $115,000.

Del Rio introduced himself as usual, and of course we already knew that. Del Rio welcomed everyone to his WrestleMania 27 contract signing ceremony. He said the only way to begin this ceremony was the singing of the Mexican national anthem. That explains why Ricardo was warming up his voice beforehand. Ricardo broke into a terrible, terrible version of the Mexican national anthem that was interrupted by the World Heavyweight Champion. Cole said it was very disrespectful of Edge to interrupt the national anthem.

Edge got in the ring and stared down Del Rio from across the table. Long said for the first time ever in the history of Smackdown could this be a contract signing that didn't end in chaos. The crowd didn't like that. Long told the men to be seated and they both did so reluctantly. USA chants from the crowd, ignoring the fact that Edge is Canadian. Maybe they were for Teddy Long?

Edge grabbed a mic and said once this contract is signed there is no turning back. Edge said Del Rio doesn't know what it's like to fight on the biggest stage in the world. Edge said he's an 11-time World Heavyweight Champion. Del Rio interrupted and said he already knows that, but that's in the past and nobody remembers it. Del Rio said the contract represents the next chapter for WWE and that chapter isn't for Edge, it's for Del Rio and his destiny. Edge said the funny thing about destiny is that it can change in the blink of an eye.

Edge said his destiny could be that he is the fastest rising star in the WWE or it could be that he beats Del Rio at WrestleMania and makes him just another flash in the pan that he made famous for one moment. Del Rio laughed and said Edge was right about one thing. He said once he signs this contract, and he signed it, it is the beginning of the end for Edge.

Edge grabbed a pen and signed the contract as 'Let's go Edge' chants started. Edge gave the contract back to Teddy Long. Edge asked Teddy if he remembered asking him not to let the contract-signing end in chaos. Edge said he had his answer. Long made a quick exit before Edge leapt over the table and beat down Del Rio. Edge hit an Impaler DDT on Del Rio before clearing the ring of the furniture to make room for the spear.

As Edge set up in the corner, Ricardo grabbed him around the legs, allowing Del Rio to hit a running clothesline on the Ultimate Opportunist. Del Rio took his jacket off and kneeled over Edge, punching him in the face as the crowd heaped on the heat. Del Rio locked the cross armbreaker on and Edge was tapping. Del Rio threw Edge out of the ring before running him, with injured arm behind his back, into the barricade.

Del Rio motioned to Ricardo to get him a chair. Ricardo obliged and Del Rio put Edge's arm through the chair but was jumped from behind by Christian! Christian slammed Del Rio into the announce table and beat down on him. Del Rio got back in the ring and Del Rio took him down and rained down blows. Del Rio slithered out of the ring but Christian was all over him on the entrance ramp. Several referees pulled Christian off and Del Rio had blood all over his shirt. The camera cut to Christian helping Edge up and it was Edge's blood, gushing from his nose. Edge and Christian stared down Del Rio and Ricardo to close Smackdown.

FINAL THOUGHTS: A good Smackdown this week. It started and finished strongly with the only lull being the Divas match in-between. Most storylines were driven further this week aside from Corre vs. Big Show, which is stuck in the mud at the moment. Christian's surprise return at the end was excellent, as was the beat down that followed. I'm interested to find out of WWE will add him to the title match at WrestleMania. Now would be as good a time as any, he's over with the fans, he's fresh back from injury, and he's long overdue. Have him take Edge's side in the lead up and then have him turn on Edge to win the title at WrestleMania - that would be shocking. Yeah... like that's ever going to happen.

Overall match quality was a little slack - Edge vs. McIntyre is the winner for best match, but it wasn't that great. I guess this was more of a storyline Smackdown.

Most of the promos this week were top notch. Hats off to Cody Rhodes for really adding another dimension to his character. I would really like to see WWE take him in a Patrick Bateman from "American Psycho" direction where he's obsessed and driven by perfection. Edge's promo to start Raw off was very good, too. His intensity when asking if Del Rio knew what it takes to main event WrestleMania really sold me on this feud.

Undertaker was the other stand-out, of course. His promo was another excellent one. As I said before, though, I think both he and Triple H need to have more interaction than just verbal back and forth on their respective shows. Have The Game interfere in a match. Have Taker stalk Triple H backstage. Have Shawn Michaels get involved. Do everything it takes to sell this feud.

Yet again, I thought there were too many replays from Raw. I know it's WrestleMania season, but I think the number of people watching Smackdown who haven't also seen Raw earlier in the week would be minimal, although WWE has argued there's somewhat of a separate audience. Overall, though, save the replays for Superstars.

Weekly Show Highlights and Picks

Match Of The Night: Edge vs. Drew McIntyre

Match To Forget: The Big Show vs. Kane

Star Of The Show: The Undertaker

Please Go Away: Heath Slater

Quote Of The Night: The Undertaker - "Triple H you have to realize there are mountains that cannot be climbed, seas that cannot be sailed and streaks that cannot be broken."

Quote Of 1000 Facepalms: Booker T - "Big Show got paid last week, he beat Wade Barrett but I think Big Show should have left Wade Barrett... I mean in the dust, he should have beat that boy down like he stole something if you know what I'm saying."

Most Entertaining Move: Santino Marella's STO on Heath Slater.

On The Next Episode Of Botchamania: Michelle McCool kicking the bottom rope and selling like she was shot.

Best Moment: The Undertaker returns to Smackdown.

Worst Moment: Yet another Corre beat down on Big Show.

Overall Grade: B+. All in all, an excellent Smackdown that actually got me excited for next week's show - something it has failed to do recently.


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ABOUT US

THE TORCH REACHES MORE COMBAT ENTERTAINMENT FANS THAN ANY OTHER SOURCE

PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. PWTorch.com launched in 1999 and the PWTorch Apps launched in 2008.

He has conducted "Torch Talk" insider interviews with Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Steve Austin, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Eric Bischoff, Jesse Ventura, Lou Thesz, Jerry Lawler, Mick Foley, Jim Ross, Paul Heyman, Bruno Sammartino, Goldberg, more.

He has interviewed big-name players in person incluiding Vince McMahon (at WWE Headquarters), Dana White (in Las Vegas), Eric Bischoff (at the first Nitro at Mall of America), Brock Lesnar (after his first UFC win).

He hosted the weekly Pro Wrestling Focus radio show on KFAN in the early 1990s and hosted the Ultimate Insiders DVD series distributed in retail stories internationally in the mid-2000s including interviews filmed in Los Angeles with Vince Russo & Ed Ferrara and Matt & Jeff Hardy. He currently hosts the most listened to pro wrestling audio show in the world, (the PWTorch Livecast, top ranked in iTunes)


REACHING 1 MILLION+ UNIQUE USERS PER MONTH
500 MILLION CLICKS & LISTENS PER YEAR
MILLIONS OF PWTORCH NEWSLETTERS SOLD
PWTORCH STAFF

EDITORS:
Wade Keller, editor
(kellerwade@gmail.com)

James Caldwell, assistant editor
(pwtorch@gmail.com)

STAFF COLUMNISTS:
Bruce Mitchell (since 1990)
Pat McNeill (since 2001)
Greg Parks (since 2007)
Sean Radican (since 2003)

We also have a great team of
TV Reporters
and Specialists and Artists.

PWTORCH VIP MEMBERSHIP

PWTorch offers a VIP membership for $10 a month (or less with an annual sub). It includes nearly 25 years worth of archives from our coverage of pro wrestling dating back to PWTorch Newsletters from the late-'80s filled with insider secrets from every era that are available to VIPers in digital PDF format and Keller's radio show from the early 1990s.

Also, new exclusive top-shelf content every day including a new VIP-exclusive weekly 16 page digital magazine-style (PC and iPad compatible) PDF newsletter packed with exclusive articles and news.

The following features come with a VIP membership which tens of thousands of fans worldwide have enjoyed for many years...

-New Digital PWTorch Newsletter every week
-3 New Digital PDF Back Issues from 5, 10, 20 years ago
-Over 60 new VIP Audio Shows each week
-Ad-free access to all PWTorch.com free articles
-VIP Forum access with daily interaction with PWTorch staff and well-informed fellow wrestling fans
-Tons of archived audio and text articles
-Decades of Torch Talk insider interviews in transcript and audio formats with big name stars.


**SIGN UP FOR VIP ACCESS HERE**

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THE TORCH: #1 IN COMBAT ENTERTAINMENT COVERAGE | © 1999-2013 TDH Communications Inc. • All rights reserved -- PRIVACY POLICY