Canton’s Corner: WWE Smackdown Edition for August 20
By John Canton
Follow me on Twitter at @johnreport
Welcome to the fifth edition of Canton’s Corner. This week, because TJR’s regular Smackdown reviewer Christian Michael is on vacation, I’ll be covering Smackdown like I used to. I won’t be writing about Raw or TNA’s Impact Wrestling. I’ll go back to those next week. This is all about Smackdown although first we will start out with the poll of the week because that’s how Canton’s Corner always begins.
Before we can move on to this week’s poll, we have to look at last week’s poll results.
Last Week’s Poll Results
The question from 8/13: What is WWE’s #2 PPV in terms of importance?
The result: Royal Rumble 70%, Summerslam 27% and Survivor Series 3%.
I’m not surprised by the result although I voted for Summerslam. The Rumble is fun, but it has lost some of its mystique in the last decade. Maybe that’s just me…and 30% of you that didn’t vote for it.
This Week’s Poll Question: Should The Rock vs. John Cena at WM28 be a WWE Title match?
I get asked this question a lot. We know it’s Rock vs. Cena at WrestleMania 28 on April 1, 2012 in Miami. Should it be for the WWE title? Here’s the poll.
My pick? No. I don’t think it’s necessary or good for storylines. However, I think WWE will have Cena walk into the match the WWE Champion because it adds prestige to the match. I think it will add more interest for people that might not order it if was simply a regular match. That’s why I think WWE will make it a WWE Title match.
Now it’s time for the review of the August 19th edition of Smackdown. It won’t be a full play by play of the show, but it will give you a good summary of everything that happened.
Talking Smack: WWE Smackdown Review 08/19/11
We are in Bakersfield, California. The show started with Teddy Long introducing new World Champion (for the 847th time – I’ve lost track) Randy Orton. Why does Orton have to tell us what his name is during his promos? He’s only been on TV for a decade or so. Anyway, he tells us that Christian took such a beating at Summerslam (great match) that he wasn’t at the show. The feud is over, basically. Teddy Long announced that there would be a 20 man over the top rope Battle Royal to determine the new #1 contender. Cody Rhodes & Ted Dibiase came out. Cody brought up their history in Legacy, he said he was a champion now and that he’d win the Battle Royal. Then he gave the microphone to Dibiase, he spoke for a bit and Orton RKO’d him out of nowhere. That was cool. Cody backed off as Orton left.
Rhodes wanted Long to do something about what Orton did. Teddy wasn’t having any of that, so he told Cody that he’d be having a match for the IC title against Ezekiel Jackson. I think they need to tweak Cody’s gimmick a bit more because his promos are too whiny. Maybe it’s time to ditch the mask gimmick too.
Cody Rhodes d. Ezekiel Jackson (*1/4)
Remember when Big Zeke ran through Wade Barrett to win the IC Title? Since then he’s been the strongest jobber in WWE. Cody beat him for the title with some shenanigans and this time he did so in a clean manner in under four minutes. The push of Jackson is over. Perhaps they should find him a tag team partner because he’d be more effective in that role going forward. Cody’s momentum continues. He may not be the World Champion this year, but it will likely happen next year. He’s a star on the rise.
Backstage, assistant to the GM Zack Ryder talked to Teddy Long. He told him that Del Rio would be there while Long told him to invite the WWE Champion with the idea that it was Punk or Cena. I guess the point of this was to show that Zack was incompetent? Didn’t really work. Ryder said he’d win the 20 man battle royal. Then Aksana walked in to flirt with Teddy again. He got out of the situation rather quickly. I love how they enjoy booking Teddy in these angles with women that flirt with him. That must be some inside joke because they do they’ve done them a few times now.
They showed the Justin Gabriel video package from South Africa. The point of this is to say: “Hey everybody he’s a good guy now.” We get it.
Justin Gabriel d. Tyson Kidd (**)
Not as good as their 15 minute match from NXT last week, but still very solid for five minutes. These are two of the best untapped midcard talents in the company that will hopefully be rising up the roster in the coming months. Even though it was short it wasn’t really a squash. It was more of a back and forth kind of match. Their chemistry is very good. Gabriel won with the 450 splash. It was especially impressive because Tyson was in the middle of the ring instead of near the corner where Justin usually does the move. I think making Gabriel a babyface was the right call. It might be wise to make Kidd a face too because his offense is more conducive to that. Either way he’s one of the better workers in the company, so it’s just a matter of giving him a chance.
Backstage, Striker talked to Jinder Mahal and Great Khali. We found out that Khali will be protecting Mahal in the battle royal. Aww how cute.
They thanked Cee Lo Green for performing at Summerslam. I wish I timed my pee break better that night. You failed me, bladder.
Cole plugged Summerslam photos on WWE.com. Boring. I’d rather tell you about the Divas of Doom photoshoot with Beth & Natalya that is much more fun to look at.
They brought out Alberto Del Rio. He talked about cashing in to be WWE Champion and how he debuted a year ago on Smackdown by beating Rey Mysterio, which is what he did on Monday too. He said he was a real champion that would face anyone, so Daniel Bryan came out. He said it was predictable and pathetic for Del Rio to cash in the briefcase on somebody when they were down. Their match started after the commercial break. This was a fun promo by Del Rio although similar to what we heard on Raw.
Alberto Del Rio d. Daniel Bryan (***1/2)
This was a really good straight up wrestling match between arguably the best worker on the roster (Bryan) and one of the better ones (ADR). When you give two guys like this 15 minutes (with a commercial) to put on a show they are going to do exactly that. I’m such a mark for some of the moves that DBry (channeling my inner Booker T. sucka) does like the running knee off the apron and the missile dropkick where he leaps so high to make it look that much more impressive. The crowd bought the guillotine choke submission too, thinking that he could win the match. Instead, Del Rio was able to finish it off with the Cross Armbreaker for the win. I liked the earlier snap German Suplex by ADR too. It was smart of Booker to point out that a lot of ADR’s offense is fast paced, which can warn the viewer that a finish can come at any time. That’s two straight clean losses for Bryan if you’re keeping track. I’m not sure why he’s losing twice in a row when he’s got a future main event run in him by holding the Money in the Bank briefcase. I realize that it’s at WrestleMania, which is far away, but I’d have DB go on a winning streak. What hurt this match was the commentary, which I will get to in a bit. My hope is that not only do they feud in the future, but that they do so at a main event level. They’re two of my favorite guys. I’d love to see it.
After the match, Del Rio continued to attack Bryan. Sin Cara made the save. It’s the fake Sin Cara aka Hunico that was on last week. The real Sin Cara is able to come off suspension this week. We’re not sure what will happen with him. I guess we’ll find out at Tuesday’s tapings.
Back to the commentary, I’m not sure why Vince McMahon and Kevin Dunn think it’s smart for Cole to continually rip on Bryan by regurgitating the same stuff every week. Maybe Vince finds it hard to believe that somebody can be a Vegan like Bryan is. I’m not sure. I guess they could say it’s building DB up by having a heel announcer rip into him, but it’s not the same way that Bobby Heenan or 90s Jerry Lawler would do. This is an ineffective method.
Backstage, Striker talked to Mark Henry. He said he should already be the number one contender and that Kool-Aid is a good drink to keep your kids cool in the hot summer. I added that last part.
Kelly & AJ d. Natalya & Alicia Fox (*1/4)
Can they give AJ a last name? Maybe AJ AJ like Kelly Kelly. I realize she went by AJ Lee before, but in WWE it’s just AJ as far as I know. This was a decent five minute divas match. Natalya did some strong heel offense on AJ by using the power game, but AJ was able to tag in Kelly. Then what did Kelly do? She was YELLYING~! UP~! It’s like hulking up except with the power of Kelly’s yelling. She beat Alicia with the COME ON~! finisher.
Post match, Alicia argued with Natalya. Alicia went through the ropes, but Natalya decked her with a hard shot that sent her to the floor. Then Natalya gave her a Sharpshooter on the floor. She bent back really far. I enjoy heel Natalya very much. This Divas of Doom angle with her and Beth could lead to some great stuff. They’re the most talented divas on the roster, so they will make everybody else around them better by working with them. I’m not sure if this makes Alicia a babyface although that seems likely. She’s one of the better women on the roster too.
They showed the Summerslam Axxess video package that was on the Summerslam PPV and Raw as well. I busted out the FF on the DVR for this part.
Randy Orton walked out to the ring to sit in a chair and watch the battle royal.
Mark Henry won a 20 Man Battle Royal (**1/2)
I’m something of a battle royal mark, so I enjoyed the majority of it. They got about 16 minutes with a commercial break in the middle of it. Henry didn’t feel like working the whole match, so he went to the floor where he beat up people after they were eliminated. I actually enjoyed watching him toss around jobbers after they were thrown out. They had a big Khali/Henry showdown that saw Khali chop him down at first, but Henry came back to eliminate him in dominant fashion. The final four, to nobody’s surprise, were Barrett, Henry, Sheamus and Sin Cara, who is FCW’s Hunico as I pointed out earlier. Sheamus was able to eliminate Barrett with the Brogue Kick. There were some good exchanges involving Sheamus & Sin Cara, but Henry was able to outsmart Sheamus by tossing him out as he was setting up to kick Sin Cara out of the ring. That left Henry and Cara. The Kool-Aid man made quick work of the masked luchador after catching him following a leap off the top and he dumped Sin Cara to the outside to win the match. The whole match was dominated by Henry. It was smart booking because it made him look even stronger than he already is. As I state every year around the Royal Rumble, Mark Henry is always a THREAT TO WIN~!
To end the show, Henry had a staredown with Orton. Henry said he smelled fear. I thought Henry did a great job the entire night. He’s doing the best work of his career. Sorry Mae Young.
Call it a 6.5 out of 10. A very solid show wrestling wise. The promos could have been a bit better, but I generally like where things are headed on Smackdown.
Random Clip of the Week
From March 2011. It’s Alex Riley and CM Punk…dancing. It’s awkward, yet hilarious at the same time. Thanks to my perpetually heelish friend Keila Cash for sharing.
Look out Too Cool. You have competition.
Since John decided to focus this week’s edition of Canton’s Corner on reviewing Smackdown, I am mainly going to look at Monday Night RAW. Is everyone enjoying this new reality era as much as I am? It is great to have that nostalgia feeling again and eagerly awaiting each week to watch RAW like we use to back when the majority of us were younger. There is no denying that it has been awhile. With that being said though, I think it is important to ask ourselves what has changed? What exactly about the show makes us excited to watch again? For me personally, CM Punk has been sensational on the microphone ever since his now infamous shoot promo on RAW about two months back. Not only has he been entertaining on the mic, he has been amazing in the ring. That isn’t of course to say he never was. I just don’t think we as wrestling fans truly appreciated the talent that he is. The divas division is also slowly improving. I wish they would book the Divas of Doom in a Kharma like storyline where they just destroy and dominate all the divas in their path. I will also say that Alberto Del Rio has been one of my favourites, even though him cashing in was completely expected. Regardless, I am happy he is the WWE Champion. I am not happy the title has been tossed around more than Melina has been this year.
Now here is the bad, and believe me this isn’t the first time or the last time I will discuss this matter, but to me it is the most important thing effecting the product right now: The commentary. I have said it before and I will say it again. Michael Cole has to go. I wish there was some sort of mute button on my remote to cancel his voice out so I could just hear the crowd, Jim Ross and I guess Jerry Lawler. I am sick and tired of hearing him whine and bitch and talk over the matches. He is a play by play commentator who talks about everything except the actual in ring action taking place during a match. I don’t need to be hearing some pointless story about social networking or anything unrelated to wrestling for that matter. Do you guys remember the Jack Swagger & Alex Riley match? Neither do I. It’s kind of hard to when the cameras were focused on the commentary table the whole time. And while I am on the topic, why in the blue hell did WWE have 3 of their worst commentators call Summerslam? Smackdown is hard enough to watch with Booker T and Michael Cole. They are two of the worst commentators I have ever heard. Everyone will have their own opinion on thism but I think the majority are in agreement.
That’s all for this week. Sadly, I am pulling a Christian Michael and will be leaving for a week today. As John Canton would say, “Blame a woman.” But in all seriousness, it is my one year anniversary so the wife and I are finally going away on our honeymoon. I’ll be back on the 28th so I will miss RAW and Smackdown next week. I won’t be writing a column next week, but I’ll have a special surprise for you. Hopefully you all have a good laugh over it.
Until then, sit back, relax & Melo Out, because that’s what wrestling’s about.
That’s all for this week. Check out my Summerslam recap and Raw Deal column if you happened to miss those earlier in the week. I’ll be back on Tuesday with the next Raw Deal. It won’t be live this week.
Take care, spike your hair and keep a close eye on your wrestling shows because you never know when a mouse might show up.
Have a great weekend.
Visit my 10+ year column archive at the Wrestling Oratory right HERE.