Date: January 21, 2011
Location: BOK Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Commentators: Michael Cole, Matt Striker, Todd Grisham
With only two weeks left before the Rumble, things should be starting to get interesting. It should be interesting to see where the new-but not new because we already gave the other team the name New-Nexus goes from here. Other than that we’ll also get the next step in Edge vs. Ziggler which hasn’t been built badly at all so far. Let’s get to it.
The opening video recaps Barrett vs. Show from last week and the whole Caesar concept of Barrett, which oddly enough makes sense.
Here are Barrett and company to the music that I’m still not sure what to think about. Barrett says that Big Show won’t be here this evening. You may know him from his time on Raw leading the Nexus, which he led until they threw him out. Now he’s learned his lesson and now it’s about the team, not just him. This is the Core. Not thinking I like that name.
Jackson speaks for maybe the first time ever and has a slight French accent. He’s proud to be part of the Core. Slater says he’s the One Man Rock Band. I guess he didn’t have enough friends to play Xbox with him. Gabriel says he has a great finisher. Barrett says that what the original Nexus did will pale in comparison to what the Core does.
Here’s Teddy and he more or less says he’s the boss. Barrett says they respect him and will be representing Smackdown in the Royal Rumble. Teddy says he doesn’t buy what they’re saying and he isn’t going to let Barrett just lead these men. Barrett says he’s not the leader and the Core is about equals. Teddy basically says no more gang attacks and if you don’t like that then you’re gone.
After Teddy leaves and the Core is still in the ring, here’s Alberto of all people. He welcomes them to Smackdown, but lets them know that Smackdown is his show. Alberto says he’s going to win the Rumble which is his destiny. That’s all he saws, making this a very short promo. I like how they’re making it seem like he actually has a chance to win and while it’s very unlikely, it seems like it’s possible actually.
Alberto Del Rio vs. R-Truth
Has Del Rio fought anyone other than Truth or Rey this year? Striker sings with him and Cole has his head in his hands. Del Rio gets him into the corner to start and strikes away. They head to the ring for just a bit and Truth locks on an armbar. We cut to the back where Teddy is laid out on the floor of his office. Vickie, Ziggler and someone that looked like Michael Tarver standing near him while paramedics look at him. To be clear, Tarver, Vickie and Ziggler weren’t being accused of having done it but were apparently the people that found him.
Back to the ring now with Truth in control. Alberto gets sent to the floor as we take a break. Back with Truth getting a boot up to stop a charging Alberto and that’s about it for his offense in this part of the match. We start talking about the Rumble and Alberto’s chances to win it. To the back again where Teddy is being put on a stretcher and being taken to the hospital. The medics throw Ziggler, Vickie and Tarver out.
Back to the ring again and a sitout Gordbuster by Truth gets two. Running enziguri in the corner by Alberto gets two. Cole gets information from a source on the scene that Teddy has suffered severe trauma to the back of the head. Could this be the return of the vegetative state? The undefeated Ricardo distracts Truth so that Alberto can drape the arm over the top rope. Cross Armbreaker ends it moments later at 7:53 shown of 11:23 total (as always assuming 3:30 for commercials).
Rating: C. This is a hard one to grade as a lot of it was thrown to the back where the scenes took about a minute or so each. The match was nothing special at all but it wasn’t terrible. These two really need to find some new opponents though as I’m getting tired of seeing them against each other. With Rey and Alberto the matches are at least pretty good. This on the other hand was nothing special at all, albeit decent.
Teddy is loaded into the ambulance.
Back from a break with Vickie and Dolph being nervous. They come into an office and the Core is standing there. They had nothing to do with it apparently. If they need anything tonight, the Core is at their service. Vickie uses her incredible acting skills to say one of them will face Edge tonight. Two things to note here: first is that Tarver was nowhere to be seen so based on this alone he may not be associated with Ziggler and Vickie. Second, where else but in wrestling would it be ok for a woman to walk into her office and find four adult muscle men in their underwear, telling her they’re at her service tonight?
We get the Rumble numbers package which I always love.
39 eliminations for Shawn, a record
26 Hall of Famers in the match
183,932 pounds in total, equal to 409 Big Shows
2 women in the Rumble, including Beth who eliminated Khali
11 eliminations by Kane in one Rumble
62:12 is Rey’s record for length in the Rumble which is a lie if you believe the 92 Rumble’s commentary
1 second is the record for fastest time for an elimination
3 is the most wins by a single man, in this case Austin
1 is the worst number but it has produced the most winners as the #30 spot (Shawn and a guy not listed who would be Benoit)
70 which is the percent of winners that have won the title at Mania
Music video about the Rumble follows.
Rey vs. Cody later tonight.
Layla vs. Beth Phoenix
Laycool’s entrance is weak tonight as there’s no snap to it at all. Pretty decent reaction for Beth. Layla charges to start which gets her nowhere. She tries a running dropkick and gets caught in a giant swing. Striker has a crush on Beth. Glamazon’s arm gets sent into the buckle and Layla a tornado one arm DDT (as in the DDT on the arm) out of the corner.
Key Lock/Short Arm Scissors by Layla as she’s using decent psychology here. Beth does the Davey Boy Smith/Shawn Michaels spot and lifts Layla up with one arm. She hammers away with forearms and sells the arm like a good girl. Slingshot suplex takes Layla down for two. Backbreaker sets up the Glam Slam to end this at 3:32.
Rating: C+. The arm work was good here and again I’d like to point out that the Divas are looking far more competent in the ring lately. They’re seeming far more natural out there instead of going step by step and Layla has improved dramatically. Not a terrible match at all for three minutes.
Stand Up For WWE won some awards.
Rey Mysterio vs. Cody Rhodes
Josh thinks Rey will win the Rumble. I think I’d have to shoot myself if that happened. Question for you guys: is Cody the best self-obsessed/I’m better looking than you/fashion dude character ever? Naturally the talk is about the Rumble which I can live with for once here. I usually can’t stand a match being ignored but this is one of the instances where I think it’s ok.
Cody works on the legs to start and we take a very quick look at the crowd which may not have been intentional. Rey tries to speed it up again but gets kicked in the gut and thrown to the floor in a heap. Cody charges again but gets caught in a drop toehold to send him face first into the steps. We may need the ambulance again for Cody if he goes into convulsions from his face getting messed up.
Cody gets a sunset flip back in the ring but Rey rolls through. A swinging kick misses but the seated dropkick hits. 619 connects and the top rope splash ends this at 4:05. What in the world is going on with these quick matches tonight? This is Smackdown, not Impact. Also, kind of a squash here, and no that does not mean a burial.
Rating: C+. Again I’m surprised by the quickness of this match but it was ok. I don’t remember the last time Cody got this little time in the ring and he’s a guy that definitely takes some time to get going. Nothing bad here though and it came off pretty well I thought.
Cody may have a broken nose due to the knee brace of Rey hitting him in the face.
Grisham has an update on Long but is interrupted by Alex Riley. Miz is here and Cole hits high notes by shouting HE’S HERE! Miz says he’s here because he can be. This is really just to establish that he’s in the building.
After a break the trainer says that Cody has a broken nose. We never see his face but when he looks in a mirror he almost cries.
Kofi Kingston vs. Jack Swagger
This is under amateur rules where it’s either a pin or the most points after three minutes. The scoring system is two points for a takedown, one for a reversal, one for an escape, if you get your opponent on your back for two seconds that’s good for two points and if you get a pin you win here. So it’s points or pin to win.
This isn’t something that’s easy to talk about. Swagger gets a quick takedown for two points. Kofi got a point from something that wasn’t explained but I think is an escape. Another takedown and one point for an escape, which is from Swagger standing up. 4-2 Swagger with two minutes to go. Another takedown makes it 6-2 but Swagger let him up so it’s 6-3.
We stand around and Swagger tells the referee he needs two more points so he gets them. 8-4 for Swagger and he adds on two more to make it 10-4. Less than 20 seconds to go as this has been one sided. Kofi gets a reversal and a quick takedown and a two count which makes it 10-9 and the time runs out. Was there a point to this? They fights post match and Kofi hits the Trouble in Paradise and the cross body. I’m not going to rate this due to it being such a different format but it wasn’t incredibly entertaining at all.
We recap the Cutting Edge from last week where Ziggler beat up Edge to save him from spearing Vickie.
Last week’s show was the highest watched show in five years on Syfy.
Trent Barreta vs. Drew McIntyre
We get a clip of last week’s incident between these two and Kelly telling Drew to grow up. Drew hammers him down to start and gets a snap suplex for two. Drew throws him into the air but Trent gets a dropkick to take Drew down. A springboard dropkick is caught in a sitout powerbomb for two which ticks Drew off. Trent goes up and Drew him the Kurt Angle running up the corner suplex to win it at 2:17. Drew beats on him a bit afterwards and Kelly comes out to break it up. Too short to grade but Drew looked good.
After a break here’s Miz. He says there’s a saying that says Awesome is as Awesome Does. That means if you do awesome things you are awesome. We get a clip from Raw where Miz beat up Orton. He sets for the catchphrase but here comes Edge. He’s tired of the Raw rejects coming here and bragging so much.
Edge says that Miz is like #27 on things that he has to do and he’ll deal with Miz on Raw. Now get out of his ring, which Miz and Riley do. Actually Riley comes back to run his mouth and gets speared before he can get much out. Miz teases going after him but changes his mind.
After a break here’s Core to announce the opponent for Edge. All four members get into the ring but before they can say anything here’s Vickie. Ziggler is going to be a guest commentator for the match. He’s a funny guy so I can’t complain there.
Edge vs. Justin Gabriel
He’s the only one that stays in the ring and might be the most entertaining main event. After a brief skirmish Edge hits an Edge-O-Matic for two. Gabriel gets him into the corner and hits a nice spin kick which gets him nowhere. The commentators argue again and Ziggler gets them back on track. Edge sends Gabriel to the floor as we take a break.
Back with Gabriel getting a pair of covers for two. During the break Justin went after the ankle of Edge. Koji Clutch by Gabriel has Edge in trouble. STO takes Edge down. WWE has been doing a nice job with expanding the movesets recently. Gabriel goes for the 450 but Edge is up so he has to settle for a cross body. It gets feet though as Edge gets a dropkick and both guys are down.
Flapjack puts Gabriel down and then sends him to the floor. Back in Gabriel gets a jumping enziguri as Edge is going up top. This is a nice back and forth match so far. Edge fights him off and gets a top rope cross body for two. Here comes the spear but Barrett gets up on the apron. Edge takes him but as the referee is distracted, Jackson drills Edge and Gabriel gets the pin at 7:20 shown of 10:50.
Rating: B-. It was good while it lasted but I really wanted another three or four minutes here. Nice way of getting the Core over on their first full night together and Edge saves some face here as he doesn’t lose clean. They’re letting Gabriel look good in the ring when he’s in there and it’s working pretty well for the most part. Good match but not great for the most part.
Core beats Edge down post match of course, including the majority of the finishers. Ziggler comes in and puts his foot on Edge’s chest to end the show.
Overall Rating: C+. This show was more like Impact of all things and that’s not typically a good thing. The wrestling was way too short tonight with no matches getting over ten minutes of air time. It’s not a bad show but it’s really nothing special. It’s like they were stalling before next week, which I’d assume to mean they’re going to do the same thing next week. I wasn’t thrilled with this, but it wasn’t anything awful.
Alberto Del Rio b. R-Truth – Cross Armbreaker
Beth Phoenix b. Layla – Glam Slam
Rey Mysterio b. Cody Rhodes – Top Rope Splash
Jack Swagger b. Kofi Kingston by a score of 10-9
Drew McIntyre b. Trent Barreta – Belly to Belly Suplex Off the Top Rope
Justin Gabriel b. Edge – Pin after a clothesline from Ezekiel Jackson