If you weren’t already planning on buying WWE’s “Over the Limit” PPV on Sunday night, then Friday’s edition of “SmackDown” from Ottawa wasn’t going to change your mind.
The show was bookended by a decent opening segment and closing sequence but was mediocre at best in-between.
The show began with the members of the Straight Edge Society (minus the “mystery member”) in the ring with 3 dudes who couldn’t have been more than 20 years old. Luke Gallows and Serena reaffirmed their dedication to the straight-edge lifestyle and admonished Canada for allowing teenagers to drink (drinking age in Canada is 18 or 19 depending on what province you’re in).
CM Punk welcomed the kids to the straight-edge life as the S.E.S. members each grabbed their razors and began the head-shaving initiation (did the lucky bastard who got shaved by Serena win some sort of contest?).
The clipping was interrupted by Rey Mysterio who showed a picture on the Titantron of what Punk will look like bald (hit up old AWA superstar Boris Zhukov on Google Images). The segment culminated in the S.E.S. turning on the new members and providing a beatdown. (Same guy that got shaved by Serena caught a punt to the ribs from her as well…where do I sign up?).
This was probably the least interesting promo involving both sides since the feud began in earnest right before Wrestlemania 26. I don’t need the feud to end, but I’m ready to see it progress in some fashion.
The final match of the night pitted Intercontinental Champion Drew McIntyre against Big Show, as set up By SmackDown GM Theodore Long last week. I was curious to see if McIntyre would get heat again since last Friday marked the first time it had ever happened.
Boos were definitely audible but if the crowd reaction is any indication, then McIntyre still has a ways to go before people are buying into his character.
In the ring, Show and McIntyre locked up for a short but entertaining match (my favorite of the night) before World Heavyweight Champion Jack Swagger (Show’s opponent on Sunday night), came out to break up the party. Swagger got in some good offense on Big Show, but after grabbing a chair at ringside, was quickly sent retreating up the ramp as Show recovered and stood in the ring enraged.
It was a solid finish to a weak “SmackDown”, and it ratcheted up the intensity a little bit as both men looked a little goofy after last week’s in-ring trophy presentation/destruction.
In between the opening and closing segments, the show was a major disappointment. JTG beat Caylen Croft (one half of “The Dudebusters”). Vance Archer and Curt Hawkins squashed a couple of jobbers. Archer’s entrance theme kicks ass… he also has a tramp stamp. They cut a post-match promo on how they have just over three weeks left on their contracts to make an impact. Based on the crowd reaction (or lack thereof), they have a lot of work to do.
To be fair, the crowd seemed dead throughout much of the show. Even a solid if unspectacular Jack Swagger-Kofi Kingston match kept them sitting on their hands.
Christian received the biggest pop of the night from his fellow Canadians when he reintroduced his “Peep Show” talk show. His guest was someone he’s “never seen eye-to-eye with.” Guess who? Horn-f’n-swaggle!!! So much for the main-event push I hoped Christian was going to get. To make matters worse, it looks like we’re going to get a Christian-Dolph Ziggler feud since the segment was broken up by Dolph appearing out of nowhere for a “Zig Zag” on “Captain Charisma” after Vickie and Chavo Guerrero had come down to ringside to argue with Christian.
More in ring action featured a tag team affair between MVP and Rey Mytserio taking on Punk and Gallows that again didn’t do much ahead of Sunday’s match at “Over the Limit.”
There was also one of the better Divas matches that I remember for quite some time as Kelly Kelly and Tiffany took on “LayCool” who got the victory.
One of the few positives on the night for me is that the Matt Striker “heel announcer” character is beginning to grow on me. It seemed forced when it first started, but he’s settled in nicely. He works well with Todd Grisham and his constant pop culture references (like quoting Jay-Z), or singing along with some of the heel’s entrance music (“LayCool” this week) have been funny. The only place I haven’t liked him is in the three-man booth with Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole during the PPV’s so I am interested to see how it works out this Sunday during “Over the Limit.” The commentary at last month’s “Extreme Rules” made me want to cut off my arms and soak the stumps in vinegar just to have a distraction.
Speaking of “Over the Limit,” it happens on Sunday night. Without further ado, I present my predictions:
WWE Champion John Cena vs. Batista in an “I Quit “match…it’s rumored that Batista’s contract is up and that he’s leaving for good or at least taking some time off, so I think the suspense here is just plain lacking…either way, I’m done after getting this match for the third PPV in-a-row
Copeland’s choice: Cena retains.
World Heavyweight Champion Jack Swagger vs. Big Show…Good job by Show of getting under Swagger’s skin the last couple of weeks although both men looked a little too goofy at times. They remedied that at SmackDown this week, though. I think Show will eventually be the champion, but there’s still more buildup that they can milk from it.
Copeland’s choice: Swagger retains
Intercontinental Champion Drew McIntyre vs. Kofi Kingston…after all of the trouble that WWE creative went through to help manufacture some boos for McIntyre, it’s too early to strip him of the title. There’s much more to be done to make him look badass. It begins against fan-favorite Kingston.
Copeland’s choice: McIntyre retains
Rey Mysterio vs. CM Punk in a pledge to the S.E.S. vs. hair match…I’m ready for the payoff, but I think Punk keeps his greasy locks. They have yet to unmask the “mystery member” of the S.E.S. and seeing Mysterio in the Society against his will would be gold.
Copeland’s choice…Punk wins with a little help from his friends
Randy Orton vs. Edge…hardest result for me to pick. Edge didn’t work as a face, so his heel turn has been forced down our throats since the WWE Draft to mixed results. Then the “go home” show for the PPV is in his hometown where the crowd pops huge…poor guy. Orton has been insanely over, but has been relegated to hitting the RKO on D-list celebrities on “Monday Night Raw” lately. Not sure where WWE is going with either character right now.
Copeland’s choice: Orton by DQ
Unified Tag Team Champions “The Hart Dynasty” vs. Chris Jericho and The Miz…this feud has potential. Hart Dynasty gets a huge pop and “Chris-Miz” (can I copyright that?) on the mic is pure gold. Plus, this would breathe some much-needed life into the WWE’s tag division.
Copeland’s choice…Jericho and Miz win the titles.
Diva’s Champion Eve vs. Maryse…wish I cared about this match, but the blame falls on WWE’s shabby handling of the division for that.
Copeland’s choice…Maryse wins the title
R-Truth vs. Ted Di Biase…As Ted’s search for “The new Virgil” continues, R-Truth looks for a little revenge since Ted suggested Truth for the role a few weeks ago. I believe this is Ted’s first solo match on a PPV. Actually looking forward to this one…hope that they receive a little time to shine in the ring.
Copeland’s choice…R-Truth gets the win by DQ (I also think this will be the match to kick off the show)
Back tomorrow with the results…enjoy the show!
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Written by Pete Copeland