I’ve got this one and the “Top 50 Superstars” DVD sets on my to-do pile, but this one interested me more because I don’t watch the show and thus this is all new to me. Plus SmackDown! is supposed to be generally a pretty good wrestling show, so I’ll give it a shot.
If I can channel Michael Cole for a moment, how annoying is it that they insist on classifying their shows in “seasons” as though there’s a clear break from one year to the next? Also, I know they just have a template for their DVD packages, but three discs of 2 hours each does not equal “approximately 9 hours” unless “approximately” means “plus or minus 3 hours”. In fact this could have easily just been a two-disc set if they were going to play that game. Like seriously, there was an entire year’s worth of footage to choose from, and they couldn’t find any more than six hours of footage for this set?
From October 2 2009:
The Rock “returns” to Smackdown, cutting a promo (requiring multiple takes to nail his catchphrase) in front of his belt display case. I’m sure it would have been a bigger deal had he shown up in the arena, but even his flops gross more than WWE is making on PPV these days, so he’s in a good position to dictate terms. Rock’s suggestion of “BM Punk” never caught on, sadly. He goes through all his catchphrases and does his best to sell the lame duck Punk v. Undertaker Hell in a Cell match, but really he’s got nothing to work with here.
The Biggest Eight Man Tag Match In Smackdown History: Shawn Michaels & HHH & John Cena & Undertaker v. Randy Orton & Ted Dibiase & Cody Rhodes & CM Punk
Man, if Cody Rhodes is involved, it’s gotta be the biggest in history. I should note that I didn’t even come up with that title myself; they actually announced it that way. Cena beats on Rhodes to start, and HHH goes after Dibiase next and gets the neckbreaker for two. He works the arm and brings in Shawn, who continues on the arm and then has a reluctant moment where he debates tagging Undertaker in before relenting. Nice touch, which is totally ignored by Jim Ross for some reason. I guess they were just writing their own material there.
We take a break and return with HHH hitting Cody with a delayed suplex and a kneedrop. Back to Shawn, but he gets trapped in the Legacy corner and double-teamed. I kind of like Cody’s sneering “Now how do you like it?” while laying the beats on him. You don’t get enough “taking it personal” smack talking these days. Over to Punk for a backdrop suplex that gets two. Orton comes in for the CHINLOCK OF DOOM, but Michaels suplexes out of it. Enzuigiri for Rhodes and he makes the hot tag to Cena, who still gets booed. That’s just cold. Cena piles up Legacy in the corner and tries the FU on both of them, but they escape and hit the high-low clothesline on him instead. And another ad break.
Back with Punk and Orton working Cena over, as Orton gets the melodramatic kneedrop for two. His over-the-top supervillain offense obviously works much better as a heel. Orton counters the FU into a DDT for two. JR notes that Cena was able to “literally will himself off the canvas”. Wasn’t that like what Doug Henning used to do? Dibiase with the fistdrops, but Cena makes the tag to HHH. He gets the kneedrop, but Dibiase brings Orton back in. And it’s over to Undertaker, as he destroys everyone until Orton hits the backbreaker. This sets up the patented “Everyone does all their finishers in succession” thing they love so much, until Orton is left alone with all the babyfaces. Tombstone, goodbye at 15:02. Truly of all the 8-man tags I can remember being on Smackdown, this was the biggest. In fact, I want to go back in time and order Hell in a Cell 2009 retroactively. Cody Rhodes has that much star power. ***1/4
From October 2009:
Smackdown World title, Submission match: Undertaker v. CM Punk
Michael Cole suspects that the fix might be in. Wait, a professional wrestling match that’s not entirely on the up-and-up? Why doesn’t someone do something about this? They trade submission attempts and then take a break, returning with Taker beating on Punk outside the ring. Punk whips him into the stairs and stomps him down to take over, however. Back in, Taker tries a chokeslam, but Punk escapes and they slug it out. That goes not well for Punk. Snake Eyes and the big boot set up the gogoplata, but Punk quickly wriggles out. Taker tries old school, but Teddy Long accidentally distracts him and Punk escapes that as well. Punk with the bulldog and he asks Long for his chair, but of course the hand of irony is fickle and results in Punk getting it kicked back in his own face. Undertaker chokeslams the ref, just to be on the safe side in case THE FIX IS IN, but Punk beats the hell out of him with the chair. He hooks the anaconda vice and Teddy Long wants the bell, but Taker reverses into the gogoplata with another ref running in and Punk taps at 8:09. I don’t even get what was going on with the whole Teddy Long storyline. Was he supposed to be a heel? And don’t even get me started on the goofy legalities of who can and cannot declare a winner. Kind of a lame match, actually. **1/2
From November 2009:
Intercontinental title, 2/3 falls: John Morrison v. Dolph Ziggler
Morrison with a dropkick and leg lariat for two to start and he tries Starship Pain, but Dolph bails, so John hits him with a somersault plancha. “Have you ever seen that before?” asks Todd Grisham. Yes, say I, obviously more times than Grisham. Starship Pain misses again, and Ziggler goes for a small package, but Morrison reverses for the first fall at 2:30.
We take a break and return with the second fall and Ziggler holding a chinlock on the mat. Zig Zag finishes at 3:35. Striker notes that the ref has to see if Morrison can answer a count in between falls. What the fuck is he talking about?
Final fall in this gruelling test of wills sees Ziggler getting another chinlock on the mat, and wrapping him around the post as the idiot announcers talk about how Morrison is “running on pure adrenaline”. The match is only 6 minutes long so far! He’s a total creampuff if he’s already that winded. Luckily Morrison hits Starship Pain to retain at 7:10, lest he totally fall to pieces. Luckily Ziggler would improve a lot in 2010, because he looked like a joke here. **
December 2009: A whole bunch of stuff happens and I don’t know who most of these people are. The dude with the beard who’s fighting Kane is Mike Knox, I think, but who’s the latino guy dumping Vickie Guerrero?
Mickie James v. Beth Phoenix v. Natalya
Winner of this is the #1 contender to the Women’s title. Phoenix gets rid of James and has a shoving match with Nattie, leading to them clotheslining each other. And we take a break. Really? We return with Natalya holding a surfboard on James, which Phoenix breaks up. Mickie comes back with a neckbreaker on Nattie for two, but Nattie rolls her up for two. James gets a slam on Phoenix for two, but walks into a Natalya clothesline and Sharpshooter. Phoenix breaks it up with the Glam Slam for two, but James tosses Beth out and steals the pin at 3:50. This was fine while it lasted, aside from the stupid backdrop of the Piggie James angle. **
Smackdown World title: The Undertaker v. Rey Mysterio
Rey tries outrunning Taker, but gets hurled out of the ring for his troubles. Taker misses a guillotine legdrop, and Rey follows with a suicide dive as we take a break. Back with Rey working the leg before Taker headbutts him down. He slowly works the arm and sets up for the powerbomb, but Rey escapes and hits a diving springboard headbutt and legdrop for two. Rey throws kicks, but runs into Taker’s boot in a nice spot. Chokeslam follows, but Batista runs in for the DQ at 6:10. Really? This makes the “Best of 2009” DVD? ** Post-match shenanigans seem to set up a triple threat match on PPV, but that never happened.
January 2010: Serena shaves her head, Drew McIntyre continues boring everyone who isn’t Vince McMahon, and Rey Mysterio becomes #1 contender again. For some reason we get an extended look at the Batista-Rey stuff, which I guess was a video package from Royal Rumble, in lieu of just showing the match. This is kind of a weird DVD package thus far.
STEEL CAGE MATCH: Rey Mysterio v. Batista
OK, so after all that, we get this match to determine who gets the title shot at the Rumble. I don’t get why they did the awesome heel turn for Batista and then had him lose, like, EVERY MATCH. Rey immediately tries to run away, but Batista catches up and hauls him back in. Grisham calls this “like locking a fox in a cage with a lion”. Is there an alternate commentary option where I can hear monkeys throwing shit at each other instead of having to sit through these two? Neat bit sees Rey trying the 619, realizing that there’s not enough room between the ropes and the cage, and then running up Batista’s back and almost out of the cage instead. Batista hauls him back in again, however, and chokes him out on the cage while laying the bad-mouth on him. And once again Matt Striker switches between heel commentator (“These fans can chant 619 all they want!”) and all-knowing dispenser of wrestling wisdom. I just hate his commentary so much. Batista puts him down with a big boot, but Rey fights back with a clothesline and springboard leg drop for two. Batista goes for the spinebuster, but Rey gets a weak rollup reversal for two. Batista puts him down again and then spears him, and now Striker switches back to cheering for the heel. Batista with the spinebuster and some pushups and WHY THE HELL DIDN’T THEY PUT THE WORLD TITLE ON THIS GUY?!? I guess they did for like a month in 2010, but he really deserved a much longer run with this character. Rey tries to escape, but Batista keeps pulling him in, so Rey kicks the door in his face and escapes at 6:57. And now Striker is neutral again. Good finish, but I really hate the escape rules because it makes the babyface look like a total coward. Batista just ruled it here with his facials, but it was too quick and simplistic to really tell any kind of a story. **1/2
From January: CM Punk and Luke Gallows have their promo interrupted by Serena Deeb, who runs in demanding that Punk save her. So he shaves her head and admits her to the Straight Edge Society. Given that both Serena and Gallows ended up as a part of the Unemployment Society in 2010, it seems a bit pointless in hindsight to waste this much DVD time on it.
February 2010: Drew McIntyre is still there, like herpes, while CM Punk gets monster heat as the leader of the SES.
From February 2010: Edge returns to the show, as a babyface no less, with his talk show segment. Because that’s what this set was lacking, MORE TALKING. This was before Elimination Chamber, so Edge is mulling over whether he wants to face Undertaker or Sheamus at Wrestlemania at this point. He teases challenging Sheamus (a main event in any arena in the country, as Gorilla would say) but Chris Jericho interrupts, as does CM Punk. Finally, Undertaker chases everyone out to end this boring segment. Really? This qualifies as the best of 2010?
Money In The Bank Qualifier: John Morrison v. Dolph Ziggler v. R-Truth
Striker declares that Morrison “shed his innocence in the Elimination Chamber”. What human being talks like this? David Otunga is at ringside for Truth, which is kind of weird to see now. Dolph runs away to start, so the faces work together and toss him back in before chasing him out again. So Truth hits Morrison with a sidekick for two. Morrison gets a dropkick for two, but Dolph keeps breaking up the pinfall attempts. Truth gets rid of Morrison and goes after Dolph, dumping him and following with a pescado, but he splats on the floor. Back in, Morrison gets two on Ziggler as we take a break. Back with Ziggler doing his usual chinlock on the mat, and then he switches to the MAIN EVENT SLEEPER. Striker completely oversells the move, which Morrison casually breaks up anyway. Ziggler hits John with a fameasser after blocking a springboard kick, and then an inverted powerslam gets two. Morrison rolls him up for two, but Truth saves. Dolph dropkicks Truth for two and gets a powerslam for two. As much as I rag on Dolph, you can see him getting better with his timing and facials as this set goes along, and I always like to see that. Three-way slugfest and Truth rolls up Morrison for two, but Dolph saves. Truth gets a flying forearm on Morrison for two, but Dolph saves again. Zig tries to steal the pin on Morrison, but only gets two. Dolph and Morrison fight on the top, but Truth helps to put Ziggler on the floor and tries for the superplex on Morrison. John counters with the sunset bomb and gets Starship Pain, but Ziggler steals the pin at 9:13. See, we just had that finish in the women’s three-way earlier in the set. Good effort from the guys here otherwise, despite the early hiccups. ***1/4
Edge v. The Miz
Miz hides out in the corner, but Edge takes him down and gets a northern lights suplex for two. Edge goes to a headlock and they head outside, where Edge beats on him some more. The World title success comparison of both guys in 2010 makes a strong case that you have much better odds trying to get into Money In The Bank rather than wasting your time entering Royal Rumble. Edge got nothing out of his Rumble win, for instance. MITB is an easier match to win, with better odds, and you can pick your time and place for your title shot if you win. Anyway, we take a break and return with Miz getting a low kick and the corner clothesline to take over. Miz goes up with a double axehandle, but Edge counters with a flapjack and comes back with a legsweep. Edge with the big boot and clotheslines, and the Edge-O-Matic gets two. Striker notes that Edge “has a unique ability to sense a tempo and control it.” What does that even MEAN? Miz comes back and they trade finish attempts, with Edge getting the Impaler DDT and spear to finish at 8:14. Edge was basically doing an extended squash of Miz here, and seemed really off his game. **1/2
March 2010: Drew McIntyre is still all over these monthly recaps despite not having a match on the set yet, CM Punk messes with Rey’s family, and there’s some PPV coming up at the end of the month.
From March 2010: Rey Mysterio brings his family out to the ring to celebrate his daughter’s birthday. This prompts CM Punk and the SES to interrupt and sing a creepy version of “Happy Birthday”. Punk wants a fight RIGHT NOW (offering to let Rey’s children cover their ears so as not to hear the sounds of Punk killing their father) and insinuates that Rey might possibly be a coward. Rey sends his family away while Punk serenades them again with “Happy Birthday”. Sadly, the eventual matches couldn’t live up to the promos, especially the Wrestlemania one.
Undertaker v. Drew McIntyre
Hey, finally Drew gets a match on this set. Taker charges and walks into a powerslam for two, and Drew pounds away on the mat. Taker sits up and beats the boring out of Drew in the corner, then tosses him and follows with the guillotine legdrop. Back in, chokeslam and tombstone pretty much ends Drew’s undefeated streak for good at 2:10. Why completely squash someone who you presumably want to push? 1/2* Shawn Michaels runs out to the entrance and superkicks Undertaker afterwards.
Kane & Dolph Ziggler & Matt Hardy & Shelton Benjamin & Drew McIntyre v. Christian & MVP & Jack Swagger & Evan Bourne & Kofi Kingston
This is RAW v. Smackdown, and we don’t even have to buy a PPV to get that privilege! Sadly, no trophy is on the line. Kofi starts with Dolph and gets a leg lariat for two, and tensions are high as we take a break. Back with Matt Hardy slugging away on Jack Swagger and getting a bulldog for two. Benjamin works the arm, but Swagger hits him with a belly to belly suplex. Bourne tags himself in and gets a double-knee takedown for two. Christian comes in and works Shelton’s arm, and it’s over to MVP with a lariat for two. Bourne goes up, but Shelton brings him down with a pop-up superplex, and we take another break. We’re back and Shelton is still in the ring beating on Bourne, before finally tagging out to Kane. He slams and elbows Bourne for two. Hardy with a fistdrop for two. Ziggler comes in with a punt for two. Back to Hardy for the double-team as this boring match goes nowhere. Bourne comes back with a high kick on Ziggler and brings Christian back in, and he gets a missile dropkick for two. Ziggler gets the MAIN EVENT SLEEPER, but Christian escapes, only to get laid out by Drew McIntyre. And it’s BREAKING LOOSE IN TULSA as everyone his their finishers after 10 minutes of monotony. Drew finishes Christian with his DDT at 11:05. Boring and pointless, as I really hate these “throw everyone involved in a future match into a tag match” lazy booking techniques. **1/4 The other nine guys all beat up Drew McInytre afterwards because they don’t like him.
April 2010: Jack Swagger cashes in his briefcase, the draft mixes things up, Edge & Christian reunite with disastrous results.
From April 2010: Chris Jericho brags about retaining the World title against Edge. Edge comes out for his rebuttal and spears the injured ribs of Jericho…and here comes Swagger with the briefcase. He lays out Edge and cashes in against Jericho, hitting the powerbomb to win the title. The crowd pops big here for the title change, but Swagger ended up back at the bottom of the card again by the end of the year. And why did it have to be Jericho who dropped the title? Why not put the belt on Edge at Wrestlemania to pay off his comeback and then move it to the heel Swagger?
Smackdown World title: Jack Swagger v. Edge v. Chris Jericho
Edge dumps Swagger, allowing Jericho to choke Edge out on the ropes. Swagger trips Edge up, allowing Jericho to catapult him under the ropes. Swagger follows with a belly to belly suplex and the heels double-team Edge. They fight outside and we take a break. Back with Edge missing a charge on Swagger and hitting the post, and Swagger gets two. Backbreaker gets two. Swagger works on the ribs in the corner and they all brawl outside again, and back in where Jericho gets a backdrop suplex on Edge for two. Jericho goes to the chinlock, but misses a blind charge, allowing Edge send Swagger into Jericho’s ribs. Edge gets a clothesline off the middle rope and makes the comeback, booting both heels down, but Jericho rolls him up for two. Jericho misses the lionsault and Edge gets two. Jericho tries the bulldog and gets countered into the corner, and Edge sets up for the spear. Jericho somehow counters that into the Walls of Jericho, and Edge is unable to make the ropes. Swagger saves, but Jericho takes him down into the Walls as well. Edge breaks it up by DDTing Jericho, but Swagger goes for the doctorbomb. Edge counters that into the DDT and sets up for the spear, but Jericho clobbers him in mid-run and gets two. Swagger rolls up Jericho for two off that. Codebreaker gets rid of Swagger and Jericho wants to spear Edge in a funny moment, but Edge counters into his own. Oh, irony. Swagger saves the pinfall and steals it for himself at 12:45. Great match after the super-generic three-way beginning , but enough with that stupid finish already. Three times already in the same set! ***1/2
From April 2010: Edge comes out to say goodbye to Smackdown after getting drafted to RAW. This prompts new Smackdown draftee Christian to come out as well. Edge calls him his “best friend”, which I guess clarifies their relationship in canon one and for all. Christian goes over their history, and then calls Edge a big fat liar. He accuses Edge of manipulating the fans all along, and Edge admits that, yeah, he hates this show and hates the fans. So Christian wants to have it out right now, but Edge just lays him out instead. They get into a pretty great brawl and a PPV match seems imminent. And then none of this was ever followed up on or mentioned again.
May 2010: Big Show goes after Jack Swagger, Drew McIntyre gets fired and Kofi gets the I-C title as a result…and then Drew is given the title right back.
Rosa Mendes v. Beth Phoenix
Excuse me, Vickie Guerrero interrupts and changes the match.
Women’s title: Beth Phoenix v. Michelle McCool & Layla
This is a handicap match, not a triple-threat, if you’re like Matt Striker and feel the need to over-explain the rules to anyone listening. Beth is sporting a huge knee brace, lest you think subtlety is dead. They work over Beth’s knee until Beth tries for a double samoan drop, and Layla gets the pin at 2:20 after a collision to win the Women’s title. *
CM Punk v. Rey Mysterio
Punk hammers on Rey with elbows in the corner, but gets sent to the floor. Rey misses a dive and lands on the railing, and we take a break. Back with Punk holding a surfboard, but he misses a blind charge. Rey in turn misses a pump splash and Punk gets two. He goes to an abdominal stretch, but Rey trips him into 619 position. Punk recovers and sends Rey to the floor. Back in, Punk gets two and works on the arm. Mysterio with the bulldog, and he blocks a blind charge, but Punk levels him with an enzuigiri for two. Rey tries another 619, but Luke Gallows distracts him and Punk gets a rollup for two. Another 619 hits and the splash gets two, but the Hooded Stranger runs in for the DQ at 7:08. Boy, the reveal on that one wasn’t exactly a huge payoff, was it? Oh, hey, it’s Joey Mercury, yay. Pretty good match until the DQ ending. ***
June 2010: Undertaker is found in a vegetative state, kicking off decades of endless storyline fun with Kane. Matt Hardy returns from suspension to beat Drew McIntyre, and Drew gets deported. Yeah, that was a real thing for a while. Cody Rhodes is Dashing, and Vickie loves Dolph.
Battle Royale: Winner of this gets a title shot (UUGGGGGH), and not even a real title shot, either. You get to compete in a four-way for the title at the PPV of the same name. Did we have a series of qualifying matches for this as well, just to really stretch out the concept? So we’ve got Rey Mysterio, Dolph Ziggler, a bunch of people whose entrance is cut by the ad break, Drew McIntyre, Kofi Kingston, and Kane. There’s a whole lot of people standing around and punching in the corners, and we take a break. I don’t even know who a bunch of these guys are, and I’m betting most of them got fired in the last round of cuts. Kane clears the ring of the Future Endeavour Squad, and Christian tosses Dolph, but then gets chucked out by Finlay. Apparently we are down to the nitty-gritty and we take a break. There’s no version of the “nitty gritty” I’m aware of that still has Vance Archer and Curt Hawkins involved in a major role. In fact, any dude with a tramp stamp is pretty much the exact opposite of the nitty gritty. It’s more like the fruity booty. The shitty battle royale continues with Rey teasing elimination and MVP running wild. And there goes Vance! Aw, that’s a shame. Rey gets rid of Hawkins, leaving Luke Gallows against Kane and Rey. The Hooded Stranger (yes, that was actually his name) distracts Kane and Luke tosses Kane, but he hangs on and gets rid of Gallows. Kane is unable to toss Rey out, and falls victim to the 619, but catches Rey with a chokeslam that Rey reverses into a headscissors to win the match at 12:55. Yay! He gets to headline the least-bought PPV of the modern era!
Drew McIntyre v. Matt Hardy
Grisham dubs McIntyre “The Seething Scotsman”. That sounds like something teenagers look up on Urban Dictionary so they can giggle about it at school. Matt appears to be turning into Kenny Powers at this point, as life on the road does not appear to agree with him. Matt tackles Drew out of the ring and tosses him into the stairs, but Drew sends him into the post and adds a backdrop suplex on the floor. Back in, Drew goes to an armbar, but runs into Matt’s boot. They fight on the top and Drew hiptosses him to the mat for two. Drew pounds away in the corner and gets an elbow for two. He keeps pounding the back forever and adds a backdrop superplex for two. And we take a break. Really? Isn’t this enough time yet? Back with Drew holding an armbar and hitting a clothesline for two. Matt comes back with a neckbreaker thing for two and a Side Effect for two. Drew blocks the bulldog with a big boot for two. Neckbreaker gets two. He sets up for the DDT, but Matt backdrops him to the floor. They fight out there for a bit and Drew runs him into the stairs, but Matt trips him for a flat-back bump onto the stairs instead. Back in, Hardy gets two. Sidenote: I’ve heard about Vince’s insane demands about never using pronouns on commentary, but it’s REALLY noticeable here. Like they’re almost bending over backwards to make sure only to say “Matt Hardy” and “Drew McIntyre” instead of “He” and “Him”. I CAN’T UNHEAR IT NOW. Hardy finishes with the Twist of Fate out of nowhere at 12:32. That was…long. **1/2 It gets worse for Drew, as Teddy Long appears on the screen and announces that McIntyre has been deported back to Scotland. He’d be back by the next PPV. WWE can’t even honor their stipulations in real life.
July 2010: Kane is still very upset, but he wins the World title despite his personal problems. Big Show tangles with the Straight Edge Society.
Big Show & Rey Mysterio v. Jack Swagger & Dashing Cody Rhodes
I’ll give Matt Striker one here: “Dashing Cody Rhodes is so good looking that he makes the kids from Twilight look like Sir Oliver Humperdink.” That’s a great line. Big Show cleans house on the heels to start, and we take a break. Back with Rey missing a charge on Dashing Cody Rhodes, but coming back with a senton for two. Rey sets up for the 619, but Swagger gets the blind tag and puts Rey down with the big boot. Swagger with a hiptoss out of the corner, and Dashing Cody Rhodes adds a front suplex and kneedrop for two. Dashing Cody misses a charge, but comes out of the corner with a springboard kick that looks pretty awesome and gets two. Striker vows to come up with a cute nickname for it. Swagger with a pump splash for two and he goes to a bodyscissors, but Rey reverses a slam into a DDT and makes the hot tag to Big Show. Show goes wild and counters the anklelock into a slam, but he hurts his own ankle in the process. Rey comes in with a springboard legdrop for two, as Dashing Cody Rhodes gets rid of Big Show on the floor. Swagger with a surprise anklelock on Rey, but he refuses to break when Rey makes the ropes, and the ref disqualifies him on five at 7:10. You know, Kurt Angle at least had the god-given sense to break the hold when someone got into the ropes. The parade of lame finishes continue. **1/2
And now it’s time for a Kane promo. There’s some sort of goofy music playing behind him for some reason. He won the World title for his brother! And we still don’t know who the real killer is, but he won’t rest until he finds out. Yeah, heard that one before.
Christian v. Drew McIntyre
Christian slugs away in the corner, but Drew stomps him down, only to get backdropped to the floor. Drew hides under the ring and suckers Christian into a cheap shot, and they head back in. Drew works on the arm, continuing to be the most boring pushed wrestler on the roster. Luckily Christian is an awesome babyface and keeps the fans into the match, timing his comebacks and hitting a clothesline from the middle rope for the big comeback. Drew dumps him to the apron, but Christian necksnaps him and goes up with a flying bodypress for two, reversed by Drew for two. They fight for their finish and Christian gets an inverted DDT, but he still can’t use his arm properly. Drew snaps him right back down with a wristlock takedown and goes up, but lands on Christian’s foot. Christian with a sunset flip for two, and a flying elbow out of the corner. Drew sends his shoulder right back into the post, however, and tries for the Future Shock, which Christian reverses into a small package for the pin at 9:56. Really liked this one, very old school and effective. ***1/2
No DQ: Rey Mysterio v. Jack Swagger
Swagger pummels Rey in the corner and whips him into the turnbuckles, but misses the pump splash and gets dropkicked. Rey quickly goes for the 619, but Swagger bails to escape. They fight on the floor and Rey sends Swagger into the stairs as we take a break. Back with Swagger trying a superplex, but Rey puts him down for the senton. Swagger charges and hits the floor, and Rey sends him into the railing. They fight into the crowd as apparently it’s also no-countout now. But I guess they keep saying you can never count Rey Mysterio out!
Nothing? OK, let’s move on.
Swagger runs Rey into railing and we cut to the back, where Swagger sends Rey into the merchandise table. Before we can explore that avenue very much, they head right out of the arena and into the roadway. Remember kids: Don’t try this at home! Swagger carries him across the street while dodging traffic (“I’m walking here!”) and they actually fight into the ocean. Swagger presumably wants to drown Mysterio, which is a bit more personal than this feud deserves. However, Rey reverses Swagger into the water (sold with GUSTO by Swagger via a dramatic dive), and sadly SWAGGER CAN’T SWIM. Kane is the world’s worst lifeguard, as he shows up and chokeslams Rey into the water as well. Was there a finish here somewhere?
August 2010: Dolph Ziggler wins the I-C title, LayCool splits up the Women’s title, and we learn that it was actually Kane who attacked his own brother.
Intercontinental title: Kofi Kingston v. Dolph Ziggler
Dolph tosses Kofi to start, but Kofi catches him from the outside. Back in, Dolph gets a cheapshot and goes to the chinlock. What is with the picture quality on this match? It suddenly looks like it’s downloaded off WWE’s website, with a noticeable drop in framerate and soft picture. It’s really distracting, actually. We take a break with Dolph in control after Vickie’s distraction. Dolph works on the arm and adds the Perfect necksnap for two. He drops elbows and works the arm, getting two. Kofi comes back with the wacky kick, which prompts Vickie to come into the ring and protest. Kofi just stands there like a moron and Ziggler hits the Zig Zag to win the title at 7:20. Kofi really comes off like a dope here. ** Kind of amazingly, Dolph is still the champion as of this writing.
From August 2010: Grooming tips with Dashing Cody Rhodes!
Alberto Del Rio v. Rey Mysterio
Del Rio immediately kicks Rey in the knee and whips him into the corner, but Rey fires back with kicks to the knee. Del Rio charges and hits the floor, and we take a break. Back with Del Rio missing a blind charge, then coming back to work on the arm. That gets two. He goes to the armbar and gets an enzuigiri for two. He tries for a senton bomb, but Rey moves and makes the comeback. Seated kick gets two. Seated senton and flying bodypress gets two. He goes for the 619, but Del Rio catches him with a catapult into the corner. Rey counters with a mule kick and goes up, but Del Rio brings him down hard on the arm. Cross-armbreaker and Rey taps at 6:21. Del Rio’s facial expressions and smooth style are just awesome. ***
September 2010: Del Rio is doing great, but the Straight Edge Society is falling apart. Oh, and Undertaker is fighting Kane. Again.
Drew McIntyre v. Kaval
Striker gets another good one, talking about Kaval’s “low key” demeanour. Nyuk, nyuk. Kaval with the mule kick out of the corner and somersault kick for two. He tries a springboard, but Drew knocks him to the floor. He follows with a suplex onto the ring apron, for two. Drew tries a delayed suplex, but Kaval kicks him in the face while upside-down, and then adds a flying kick from the top for two. The crowd is going nuts for Kaval’s offense. Back to the top, but Drew bails and catches Kaval with a powerbomb into the railing. Back in, Future Shock finishes at 3:55. And that’s it for any momentum Kaval might have had coming off NXT. **1/4 There are some really random choices for this DVD.
But enough of this boring wrestling stuff, let’s get back to Undertaker v. Kane again! Another lengthy recap of their feud, in case we’ve missed anything thus far.
Undertaker v. CM Punk
Taker goes for the arm to start and legdrops it for two. He goes old school, but loses his balance and falls on the top rope, allowing Punk to dropkick him off the apron. And we take a break. Back with Punk working the arm for two and he slugs Taker out of the ring. He runs Taker into the railing, but gets hit with the guillotine legdrop on the apron. Back in, Taker misses a charge and Punk gets the dropkick for two. He hammers elbows to the chest for two. Punk goes to the chinlock, but Taker escapes with a backdrop suplex. He makes the comeback and wins a slugfest, hitting Snake Eyes, but Punk counters the big boot with an enzuigiri. Taker keeps coming with the chokeslam for two, however. Punk escapes the tombstone and hits the GTS, but Taker suckers him into the gogoplata at 11:21. Lots of selling for the “injured” Undertaker here, which made for a different type of match. ***
We recap the year to finish things off.
Pretty disappointing set in a lot of ways, but then there’s not really much that happens on this show anyway. By the third disc, loaded with Drew McIntyre matches and Undertaker-Kane recaps, you’ll probably be pretty bored, too. Nothing bad, but nothing to go out of your way to see, either, as all the big angles will be on the Best of RAW set coming in January. Mildly recommended.