Immediately, weâ€™re informed of the main event, in which we will see the Undertaker battle CM Punk. Good to see theyâ€™re not forcing Punk to participate in such â€œeliteâ€ matches like the one he had with JTG a few weeks ago.
Straight from there, to Taker in the ring. Iâ€™m not sure how many ways they can say the same three things theyâ€™ve looped on repeat, but itâ€™s sure entertaining to see. In case we forgot, he promises to capture the belt at NoC. Oh wait, something new! A no-holds-barred match is offered to Kane. But instead of Kane, CM Punk walks out, performing the clichÃ©d slow-clap and laughing like a mad man. He begins a speechâ€¦man, he could bring in some heat before, but add that magic with bashing the Undertaker? Gold.
Swagger enters with his spiffy new shirt and his new frown/deadpan look. Next up is MVP. Hey, remember five minutes ago when Jack Swagger was a world champ? Well, thatâ€™s so yesterday.
Bell rings, and here we go. A little grappling here, a little offense there and MVP takes control of the match before knocking Swagger out of the ring. MVP commandeers some of Jackâ€™s signature style with belly-to-back suplexes, but Swagger counters. After a failed pinfall, Swagger moves in for a submission and thenâ€¦
Swagger eats a boot, for a two-and-a-half count. MVP builds momentum after a few clotheslines, goes â€œBallinâ€™â€, but Swagger rolls out of the ring, then drives the steel steps into MVPâ€™s legs. Jack seems to be targeting the ankle, setting up for the ankle lock, locks it in, and MVP taps.
A decent match, but Iâ€™m so bored with these two.
Cut to LayCool, with the NXT Season Two winning Kaval suiting up behind them. Layla and Michelle begin arguing about who will face Melina. Kaval informs us that this will be his debut on Smackdown.
Here we go, a history lesson for the Brothers of Destruction. This should kill some time. Have to admit, itâ€™s a pretty epic little video. I imagine the audience is going apeshit.
Matt Hardy is seen backstage, and evidently, weâ€™ll get to see him face Alberto del Rio.
Alberto is given his impossibly elaborate entrance, and the fansâ€™ boos overpower his obnoxious horn. Now Matt Hardy, and off we go.
Matt Hardy takes an early lead, but Alberto lays a kick to his head that echoes through the arena. Matt hits the floor hard before we cut toâ€¦
Come back to a bug-eyed Hardy, and Alberto has complete control. Hardy builds momentum, but only for a moment. For the first time, del Rio seems flustered as Hardy continues to kick out. A couple clotheslines from Matt, a Side Effect, for a two-count. Hardy to the top rope, moonsault, and another kick-out. Attempted Twist of Fate, countered. Alberto sends Hardy into the ring post which makes a sickening clink, straight into his finisher, and Alberto is still undefeated.
For the first time, I saw a glimmer of what people have been saying about Alberto del Rio. He looked pretty good throughout most of this match, and Hardy put up a hell of a fight.
Alberto isnâ€™t finished with Hardy, as he contemplates his next move, but Christian comes running out. Alberto slithers out of the ring with that signature smile, and retreats.
I canâ€™t wait for Legendary to run its course in theaters, so I donâ€™t have to watch previews and behind-the-scenes for it anymore.
Drew McIntyreâ€™s turn for a match tonight. Kaval enters to some strange but very fitting music. This is an interesting match-up.
The very tall Drew towers over Kaval as he backs him into a corner, but immediately starts with his unique movement. He makes a move to jump over the top rope but Drew knocks him down mid-flight, and Kaval hits the ropes in a way that didnâ€™t look so good. Drew goes to work on the Warrior outside of the ring, throws him in for an attempted pin for two. Kaval leaps over Drew, lands on the top rope, kick to Drewâ€™s head for only two! Some fighting outside of the ring, back in, Futureshock DDT, and itâ€™s over.
For a debut on Smackdown, Kaval looked completely at home against Drew McIntyre. He hit his moves with the same ferocity as he did on NXT, and McIntyre had a much more aggressive side come out. These two worked very well together.
Come back to â€œDashingâ€ Cody Rhodesâ€™s grooming tips, which Iâ€™m sorry to say, I accidentally tuned out.
Now, Vickieâ€™s voice is reverberating through the arena as she enters with her adorable Rookie Diva, Kaitlyn. A little bit of tearing her a new one before introducing Dolph, accompanied by Chavo. After a series of recaps of the Ziggler/Kingston shenanigans, and Kofi enters, along with Chris Masters.
Ready for some tag team action? Here we go. Masters and Ziggles starting it off. Dolph and Chavo keep tagging, working on Mastersâ€™s legs. Kofi comes in against Dolph, and a double clothesline halts both men. Chavo tags in, but the ref doesnâ€™t see it, and kicks Chavo out. While Dolph is distracted, Trouble in Paradise, and itâ€™s over.
Way too short. Dolph and Kofi need a break from wrestling each other. Everything was recycled or dull.
I started writing what happened with Big Show, Kelly Kelly, and Josh Mathews, but I deleted it. Thereâ€™s no need to dignify that segment with a paragraph.
CM Punk enters upon return, immediately belittling his minions and sending them back to the locker room. Undertakerâ€™s turn.
Undertaker a bit sluggish, Punk lands a solid kick to Takerâ€™s leg. Taker starts working on Punkâ€™s arm, goes for Old School (my favorite move), but loses balance and falls which Punk uses to his advantage.
Punk still has the upper hand, locking Taker in a submission. The fight continues outside of the ring, as Punk drives Taker through the barricade. A few counters and reversals later, Punk still dominating the match. Phenom builds momentum, but Punk anticipated it. Chokeslam position, hit, only a two-count. GTS position, connects. Slow to pin, Taker reaches up for Hell’s Gate, and Punk taps.
Punk was finally able to shine, instead of being brought down. Undertaker maintained his â€œhurtâ€ storyline without compromising his power. Overall, very well done.
Kaneâ€™s music blasts, his laughter emanates from some unknown place, and credits roll.
Final Grade: C+
With the exception of Swagger/MVP, most matches were creative and entertaining. The main event was exciting, as I always loved the Punk/Undertaker chemistry. Not to mention, the ending was done perfectly: there was the tease of Kaneâ€™s presence, but it was kept to a mysterious minimum. Definitely a drastic improvement over last week.Ins
Tags: alberto del rio, cm punk, kane, kaval, report, the undertaker, WWE, WWE Smackdown