WWE Friday Night Smackdown- July 29, 2011
-From Philadelphia, PA. Our hosts are Josh Matthews, Booker T, and Michael Cole.
-We kick things off with the new Chief Operating Officer, Triple H! The Game addresses the confusion over the WWE Championship on Raw, with both CM Punk and John Cena holding the title. Christian interrupts as Triple H is about to talk about the World title. Christian makes the case that Teddy Long is ruining Smackdown. Triple H says he isn’t as patient as Vince McMahon was and he doesn’t want to be interrupted. Triple H announces that Randy Orton will get his rematch against Christian at Summerslam… in a No Holds Barred match. Christian pleads as R-Truth crashes the party. Truth rants about the conspiracy against him to his invisible friends and puts himself over as a man of action. Triple H puts Truth in a match with Randy Orton tonight. Christian offers Truth his advice on how to beat Orton, but Triple H puts him in a match against Raw’s John Morrison. Good idea, Smackdown writers, don’t build anyone in your mid-card, just get some Raw guest stars and it’s all good.
-Triple H is hanging out with Theodore Long when they’re joined by Zack Ryder. Triple H is exasperated with Ryder coming to him with ideas. Triple H solves his problem by making Ryder the new assistant to Theodore Long.
World Heavyweight Champion Christian vs. John Morrison
R-Truth is intently watching the match backstage. Morrison has Christian’s number in the early going. Christian attacks the head. Morrison bounces off the ropes with a kick to the head. Christian dumps Morrison to ringside but misses a dive. Morrison hits a corkscrew dive to send us to commercial. Christian is predictably in control as the match continues. Morrison counters a tornado DDT and mounts a comeback. Christian rebounds with a spinebuster. Morrison answers with the standing moonsault slam. Morrison kicks out of the spear! Morrison counters a superplex on the top but misses Starship Pain. Christian drops him on the ropes and finishes it with the Killswitch at 6:20 (shown). Christian gains some momentum in a brutally by-the-numbers contest.
-Jinder Mahal and The Great Khali are watching Smackdown in a sky box. I guess this means Mahal won’t be in action.
-Wade Barrett is in the ring for an interview. Barrett is really pissed off about Daniel Bryan winning the Money in the Bank briefcase. Barrett wants the paycheck that Bryan will get by cashing in at Wrestlemania. Bryan interrupts and seems amused by Barrett’s rant. Bryan boasts his success to which Barrett responds with a punch to the face. Barrett leans in to talk some smack and Bryan catches him with the LaBell Lock. Barrett taps immediately! I suppose these two are feuding now, which is okay because they have enough history to create a compelling rivalry.
-Mark Henry pays Theodore Long and Zack Ryder a visit. Long says no one wants to deal with Henry anymore, but Ryder is eager to find him an opponent. Henry tells Long to thank his assistant. Long is unimpressed.
-We are treated to footage of Justin Gabriel visiting his home country of South Africa. Gabriel is all smiles as he meets his hometown fans. We get it, we get it, Gabriel is a face now.
Natalya, Kaitlyn, and AJ vs. Alicia Foxx, Rosa Mendes, and Tamina
Natalya is sort of acting like the mother hen to rookie divas AJ and Kaitlyn. Natalya squares off with Tamina in an evenly fought sequence. Tamina scores with a Samoan drop and tags in Foxx. Foxx works a head scissors but Natalya fights to her feet. AJ gets the tag and cleans house on Foxx. Things break down with everyone in the ring. AJ misses a flying cross body and eats a scissors kick. Foxx pins AJ at 2:13. Short and inoffensive.
Winners: Alicia Foxx, Rosa Mendes, and Tamina
-Video recap of Mark Henry destroying Big Show at Money in the Bank, and then Kane last week. Henry comes off as believably frightening in the package, so huzzah to the video editors. Mark Henry lumbers to the ring for his match against Zack Ryder’s handpicked opponent. A local jobber named Bobby Howard shows up on the stage but looks reluctant to compete. Zack Ryder has to walk him to the ring.
Mark Henry vs. Bobby Howard
Howard looks like he’s seen a ghost as Henry gets in his face. Henry drops Howard and follows up with the World’s Strongest Slam. Henry delivers a second slam but he isn’t done toying with the poor guy. Henry delivers a third WSS for the win at 1:04. This was the perfect squash.
Winner: Mark Henry
-Henry grabs a chair and gets ready to Pillmanize the poor kid. Theodore Long rushes out to stop Henry from giving him another lawsuit to deal with. Sheamus joins the party and looks ready to be the next in line to stand up to Henry. Sheamus tells a charming Irish folk-tale that basically leads to the punch line that Henry is a pile of crap. Sheamus slaps Henry and manages to dump Henry to the floor. Sheamus fends Henry off with a chair, causing Henry to toss the ring steps in anger. This feud has some serious potential.
WWE Tag Team Championship:
As cool as the Usos’ dance entrance is, I would be even more impressed if they busted out the Rikishi/Too Cool victory dance. The New Nexus has new music and it sucks. McGillicutty starts off but gets overwhelmed in the early going. McGillicutty shakes off a double elbow drop and tags Otunga. The New Nexus take some shortcuts in the process of keeping Jimmy Uso isolated. Jey and McGillicutty both get tags and the action speeds up. Otunga drops Jimmy awkwardly to the floor. Jey goes high risk but Otunga hangs him up on the ropes. McGillicutty gets a neck breaker for the win at 2:31. This match truly encompasses the pathetic state of tag team wrestling in 2011.
Michael McGillicutty and David Otunga © vs. Jimmy and Jey Uso
Winners and still WWE Tag Team Champions: Michael McGillicutty and David Otunga
-Zack Ryder tries to book a handicap match by himself. Long is defensive about this, but Ryder says the participants all agreed to it. Long backs down and decides to let this one go.
-Matt Striker interviews R-Truth backstage. Truth feels good about his match against Randy Orton because he’s going to cut loose his bad self.
Intercontinental Champion Ezekiel Jackson vs. Cody Rhodes and Ted Dibiase
Jackson kicks off against Dibiase, but Rhodes quickly enters for some double team work. Jackson takes this as an opportunity to clothesline both of them at once. Rhodes and Dibiase recover and work on wearing Jackson down. Jackson fights back with a series of power slams on Rhodes. Dibiase saves Rhodes from the torture rack. Jackson misses a tackle and eats the Cross Rhodes. Cody gets the pin at 2:20. Nothing to see here, folks.
Winners: Cody Rhodes and Ted Dibiase
-Jinder Mahal takes the time to cut a promo from the sky box. He speaks completely in Indian, as you see, foreign languages annoy American wrestling fans. The Great Khali tries to start a Jinder Mahal chant, but fails. This basically served to remind us that Mahal exists.
R-Truth vs. Randy Orton
He might have the World title, but Randy Orton is still the clear star of this show. Orton hints that he’s still recovering from last week’s street fight. Truth is overwhelmed in the early going but fights back with a leg lariat. Truth knocks Orton around ringside. Truth blocks the DDT by thumbing the eyes. Modified stunner by Truth only gets 2. Christian shows up on the stage to enjoy the show as we head to commercial. After the break, Orton makes a short-lived comeback. Truth is in control, so cue the chinlock. Orton blocks a flying Truth and builds some momentum. Rope-assisted DDT by Orton, who now appears to be enjoying himself. Truth slides to ringside to avoid an RKO. Christian hops up on the apron to distract the referee from R-Truth taking liberties with Orton at ringside. Orton loses his temper and violently tackles R-Truth. Christian looks spooked as Orton unloads on Truth with a chair. The DQ is called at 7:52 (shown). This was actually pretty good, as Orton and Truth went toe to toe and managed to put over Orton’s anger management problems in the process.
Winner via DQ: R-Truth
-Orton isn’t finished smashes a monitor over Truth’s head. Christian stands back in horror as Orton demonstrates what he could do in a No Holds Barred match on Truth. Orton hits Truth with an RKO on the announce table! Orton seems to be hearing voices as he hits a second RKO on the table.
Final Thoughts: This really felt like a throwaway show at times, which tends to happen when Raw stars show up on Smackdown, as nothing that they’re involved in seems to have any long term consequences. Triple H gracing Smackdown with his presence was necessary to put over his new role in the company, but I’m not sure what is accomplished by making Zack Ryder an assistant to Theodore Long. Does this mean that Ryder is moving permanently? Otherwise, I appreciated the fresh feuds brewing with Sheamus confronting Mark Henry, and Wade Barrett targeting Daniel Bryan. Smackdown could have a bright August. Mild Thumbs Up.
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