Date: June 3, 2011
Location: Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines, Iowa
Commentators: Josh Matthews, Booker T, Michael Cole
We have a world title match in the main event tonight when Orton faces Sheamus. Thankfully this isn’t the PPV match because I couldn’t take a whole month of buildup and matches between these two. I’d bet on some Christian shenanigans in this, likely setting up Christian vs. Orton III which should be good. Either way, this should be an ok show as Smackdown tends to be able to pace their show as well as anything. Let’s get to it.
We open with a video about Christian waiting for seventeen years to become champion but losing very quickly and then doing it again to Orton. There’s also a bit of talk about the title match tonight but it’s an afterthought based on the video.
Do you know your enemy? Mine is the heat of the summer.
Christian vs. Mark Henry
Oddly enough Christian is introduced for his match with Chimmel saying “ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Christian!” I’ve never heard that for a match before. The referee sounds a lot louder tonight than usual. Henry uses his power to start and Christian is sent to the floor. Christian gets back in and tries a dive but is caught by Henry. Henry then stands him back up on the apron. I guess intelligence isn’t a requirement to be the strongest man in the world.
Back in the ring now and Christian takes over with his power before hitting the nerve hold. I didn’t know he was Samoan/Tongan/Indian. Christian gets up and fires off some clotheslines but can’t take Henry down. Middle rope elbow can’t do it either so he tries the Killswitch. This fails again and the Canadian is sent to the floor. He sends Henry into the table and back into the ring we go. A top rope cross body is caught by a World’s Strongest Slam attempt which is also reversed into the Killswitch for the totally clean pin at 4:27.
Rating: B-. Well that was unexpected. This was almost shockingly decent here, with Henry doing his job perfectly as the big power man. Christian getting a clean win like this is exactly what he needs as it keeps him in the main event scene by beating an upper midcard guy. Pretty good stuff here which was a very nice surprise.
Barrett vs. Jackson later for the IC Title.
Post break Christian is feeling chatty. While that was a good win, he wants to be in the world title match tonight. We get a clip of the triple threat last week with Orton getting involved and the distraction costing Christian the pin on Sheamus. He has a good point actually. Christian thinks he should have one more chance to be champion and the fans seem open to the idea.
Here’s Teddy though who agrees that Christian was a victim of circumstance last week. Christian takes a poll of the audience who seem to want part three of the trilogy, even though that’s usually the weakest part. It certainly was in Back to the Future and Matrix. They don’t seem thrilled about Sheamus getting the shot though. Teddy however says he can’t do it. Christian suggests a triple threat but alas it’s still a no. However, Christian does get to be guest referee.
We get a video on Sheamus and how awesome he is. Rather true, rather true.
Alicia Fox/Tamina vs. AJ/Kaitlyn
Rosa is with the evil ones and now has jet black hair which is working for her. An inset interview shows AJ and Kaitlyn saying they’ll make Natalya proud. Her advice: don’t lose. Kaitlyn and Tamina start us off here. And never mind the match as it’s time to talk about Kharma. I can live with this as it’s not like the Divas mean anything. Kaitlyn gets a rollup for two.
Off to Alicia who is far too pink at the moment. Josh gets a very smooth transition as he talks about how AJ is the girl next door and often wears WWE gear, which you can get at Kmart. That was awesome actually. Back off to Tamina as the beating is on. Tamina overpowers AJ and hits the Samoan Drop for the pin at 2:05. Well that was abrupt.
Video on Sin Cara, who hopefully can go a second straight week with no visual botches. These little 30 second videos are great things to use to get people on TV while not taking up too much time.
Here’s Cody with his bag people. We get a quick clip of last week’s issue with Daniel Bryan where Bryan beat him and was then bagged post match. Cody says that while Bryan may have allegedly won, his humiliation after the match means he lost, not Cody. The bags are handed out, which is a great touch. There’s a bag over the camera and we see the camera through the bag’s view. Nice touch. Cody says he’ll win the world title soon while everyone else has paper bags over their heads.
DiBiase vs. Bryan later.
Khali is with Striker and we get a clip from last week where Khali lost to Kane. Cole says this was the continuation of a major losing streak. What in the world are they talking about? I can’t remember the last time Khali lost prior to losing to Kane. I actually rewound the tape to hear that again to make sure I didn’t misunderstand that. We see Khali more or less turning heel as he beat up Singh last week. Mahal pops up and says if you want to talk to Khali, you talk to him. Mahal speaks in two languages and says something about Jinder Mahal’s kingdom. The first step is tonight and that is all.
Jinder Mahal vs. Yoshi Tatsu
Gee I wonder what’s going to happen here. Mahal is like 70% legs. It’s rather freaky looking actually. Mahal dominates quickly and gets a jumping knee and a suplex for two. Full nelson slam ends this in 1:09. Remember when Tatsu was new and awesome? Me either. Khali puts him in the vice grip post match.
Obama thing again. Yeah whatever.
Intercontinental Title: Ezekiel Jackson vs. Wade Barrett
Apparently Jackson was awarded a scholarship to an Ivy League law school. If that’s true that’s rather impressive. Jackson takes over with power to start and drops an elbow for two. Barret gets a knee in to take over and I still can’t get over how loud this referee is. I know you can usually hear a referee once in awhile but here you can hear his voice clearly throughout the entire match. It’s not a bad thing but it’s very different.
Barrett hits a HUGE Bossman Slam with a 180 degree spin that gets a big gasp from the crowd. That was awesome indeed. Off to a reverse chinlock as Booker talks about how Jackson has a muscular head. Barrett gets sent to the floor and then run over when he gets back in. Here come the slams which is something that is growing on me. It’s almost saying that with Jackson being so strong, why not just do the same move over and over again?
Torture Rack doesn’t work as Barrett gets into the ropes. Jackson knocks him to the floor and here come Gabriel and Slater, at least walking slowly this time. Not that it matters because Barrett is counted out at 4:12. No big beatdown DQ here this week which is at least a change of pace.
Rating: C. And most of that is for the Bossman Slam. That was a thing of beauty. Anyway this wasn’t much but Jackson is really getting the hang of this big power man routine. The slams are a very basic yet effective way to make him seem like a force. I’d like to see him actually get a win with the Torture Rack but it’s a fine finisher for him. I’m not sure where this leads with these two, but I’d assume it’s Corre finally telling Barrett to do it on his own.
They set up the three on one attack post match but Barrett doesn’t get in the ring and leaves them to be destroyed. Jackson stands tall.
Sheamus doesn’t care that Christian is referee. He flags Christian down and says he agrees that Christian was robbed. Christian says that was a lie and Sheamus warns Christian against shenanigans (his word) but Christian cuts him off, saying it’ll be right down the middle.
Daniel Bryan vs. Ted DiBiase
Nice dropkick by Bryan gets one to start us off. Ted tries to take it to the mat and just guess how well that goes for him. Bryan gets a big kick for two and here comes Cody with his bag dudes. We take a break and come back with Ted holding a bow and arrow hold. Bryan likes to throw kicks. Ted gets all ticked off and stomps away as he’s looking better than he has in a good while.
Ted bends Bryan around the post as Bryan is in trouble. Daniel gets his backflip out of the corner and hits a clothesline to take Ted down. Time for more kicks as it seems like he’s channeling his inner Kaval. Hurricanrana off the top is countered into a sunset flip by Ted for two. These two had solid chemistry on NXT and it’s showing again here. The following clothesline (as in he sends Bryan in and follows him) by Ted turns Bryan inside out.
DiBiase is sent to the floor and Bryan hits a suicide dive. He gets up, only to have a staredown with the masked dude named Cody. Bryan tries a double axe off the top but jumps into a dropkick for two. They hit the mat again and Bryan gets a GREAT LeBell Lock for the tap at 6:43 shown of 10:13. The way Ted was twisted on his shoulder it looked like it was about to snap at any second.
Rating: B-. These two have solid chemistry together and that’s all there is to it. DiBiase isn’t a guy that is known for being all that good in the ring but his stuff with Bryan is usually very solid. Good match here as it got to the point where Bryan seemed to be in legit danger of losing, which is absurd when you actually think about it. That’s a good sign and it was a good match too.
Cody immediately comes in, stomping Bryan before his music even hits. Booker says this is borderline criminal. Legacy starts the double beatdown but Sin Cara makes the save.
Long video from Raw shows the Cena/Truth stuff.
Here’s….Johnny Curtis. I legit didn’t recognize him until he said his name. He won NXT and was promised a tag team title shot with his pro. Apparently that’s not going to happen so he’s going to do what anyone would do. He pulls out a pan and a gallon of milk. He pours the milk into the pan and sounds like he’s about to cry, then stops crying, drops the pan and pours the milk over his head with a weird look on his face. It’s stranger than it sounds.
It’s announced that Truth gets Cena at the PPV for the title. Josh interrupts and asks about the milk and Cole keeps on talking. Truth has to apologize on Raw if he wants his shot.
Smackdown World Title: Randy Orton vs. Sheamus
TON of time left for this. Christian is the referee remember. Big match intros take up some of the time but that’s ok here. Slow start as Sheamus grabs a headlock. He’s looking extra pale tonight. Sheamus uses his basic power stuff but Orton fires off a clothesline to break the momentum. Out to the floor as this is turning into a brawl. Sheamus is rammed into the barricade as we head back into the ring.
Elbow smash gets two for Sheamus as we head to the floor again. Orton is rammed into the post back first a few times which gets two back in the ring. We take a break and come back with Sheamus holding a crossface chickenwing, only to be broken quickly. Sheamus hammers away with that physical style of his. Front facelock goes on Cole is being his usual jerk self here.
Orton counters a suplex into one of his own and both guys are down. Don’t you love it how a guy can be beaten down for like five minutes by a guy the size of Sheamus but then a single suplex hits and we’re back to even? Orton goes into his normal moveset but gets kicked in the knee and slowed down. In a pretty impressive move, Sheamus is sitting in the corner and grabs the top rope, pulling himself up to the top by flipping backwards. Think of it kind of like skinning the cat.
Anyway it goes badly for him as he gets caught in a superplex for two. Slingshot shoulder block gets two as does a running powerslam. After a quick counter by Orton he walks into the Irish Curse for two. Brogue Kick misses and Sheamus gets caught in the elevated DDT. Christian has been a total non-factor up to this point. I forgot he was the referee for almost ten minutes there.
RKO doesn’t hit so Sheamus hits a running double axe handle (I’m sure there’s a name for that but I can’t remember it. Axe bomber maybe?) and it’s time for the High Cross. Orton counters but is almost shoved into Christian. He puts the brakes on but Sheamus rams into him with a shoulder. Brogue Kick hits and Christian does the two count and then the arm injury. Sheamus gets in his face and gets drilled, knocking him into the RKO for the pin at 11:03 shown of 14:33.
Rating: B. This is pretty much their best match ever by a mile or so. Sheamus has really improved in the last few months as he’s added some more agility based moves to his power offense to make him look like a total killer. Orton was his usual decent self here and while the combination still isn’t great, they’re getting it. Sheamus helped this a lot more than Orton did, but I’m a big fan of the pale one so take that with a grain of salt.
Post match Orton celebrates and walks into a belt shot from Christian as I guess he turns heel. He takes the belt and shouts that he can beat Randy. GREAT heat on Christian as he holds up the belt. Replay shows what a great shot that was too as that belt bounced off his head. Christian leaves with the title and gets one of the most mixed reactions I’ve ever heard as he holds it up. There’s clearly booing but the men are chanting for him. Always interesting.
Overall Rating: A. That’s probably high but I had a blast watching this show. Everything felt important and more than anything else: Smackdown continues to pack in more stuff than anything in two hours and they never once feel crammed or rushed. We got six matches, development in stories, a new tag team feud, a heel turn, Divas and over ¼ of the show was in the ring. This was excellent all around and should be the blueprint for how to run a TV show. Great stuff.
Christian b. Mark Henry – Killswitch
Alicia Fox/Tamina b. AJ/Kaitlyn – Samoan Drop to AJ
Jinder Mahal b. Yoshi Tatsu – Full Nelson Slam
Ezekiel Jackson b. Wade Barrett via countout
Daniel Bryan b. Ted DiBiase – LeBell Lock
Randy Orton b. Sheamus – RKO