Saturday, June 2, 2012

6/1/12 Smackdown

Sin Cara vs. Heath Slater: 1/2*

Damien Sandow vs. Ezekiel Jackson: N/A (squash)

Ryback vs. Ryan Shelton & Chris Lyons: N/A (squash)

Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler: ***

Zack Ryder & Santino Marella vs. Titus O'Neil & Darren Young: N/A

Cody Rhodes vs. Tyson Kidd: N/A (squash)

CM Punk vs. Kane (WWE Title): ***3/4

WWE Title defended on Smackdown for the first time in four years. Has it really been that long? Smackdown's in Baton Rouge for this one.

Sheamus promo at the start, then Otunga interrupts. Otunga orders Sheamus to apologize for nearly running over Big Johnny the other week. No dice with Sheamus. Alberto then arrives. Alberto gets to pick Sheamus' opponent later tonight. Brogue Kick to Otunga.

Sin Cara finally makes his in-ring return after a severe knee injury sustained last year. Modified flashy ring entrance, no trampoline over the top rope. He went under the bottom rope and did some springboard somersault in the ring. He's also in red tonight. More Sin Cara lights. Heath Slater jobbed, nothing new there. Yup, Sin Cara still flies like a luchador. Some tilt-a-whirl from Sin Cara ends things.

Damien Sandow  gains a win over Ezekiel Jackson. Sandow didn't want to face another ignoramus, but the match started anyway. Zeke on a downward spiral here. I mean, when you have to team with Khali to get a win, that's pretty bad. At least Zeke got in offense at the start. Neckbreaker wins it for Sandow.

Ryback's next. Destroyed two more smallish jobbers. Jobbers, in LSU country, praised rival University of Alabama. Good stuff for Ryback to at least solidify himself as a face. I guess he'll ultimately get a feud. Not sure yet on who it should be against. Hopefully a good in-ring veteran. In the meantime, feed him more!

Alberto picks Ziggler to face Sheamus. Vickie out to introduce Ziggler, but Dolph is all business. He still shows off, though. Vintage handstand during a rest hold! Another great match with several near falls. Awesome top-rope facebuster from Ziggler. ZigZag countered into White Noise. Swagger provides ineffective interference. Swagger and Ziggler collide, Brogue Kick for three. More tension to get Ziggler away from the group and into a singles star.

Santino/Ryder vs. Titus/Darren didn't last very long...maybe a minute or so? Meh, not rating it. Oh, that's why. Big Show gets to nuke more guys. Tonight, Santino and Ryder get destroyed.

AJ and Daniel Bryan in the back. Yeah, Daniel Bryan is a lover!

Christian on commentary. Rhodes faces Tyson Kidd. Tyson in some long pants tonight. Merely another chance for Cody to be booked strong for No Way Out.

Main event intros for Punk and Kane. Lilian at least didn't botch things this time. Very physical match here. AJ comes out in the middle of the match, again with the Punk shirt and short shorts. Exciting second half...VERY exciting. Daniel Bryan interference even helped the crowd get more riled up. Kane looking for a chokeslam, but DB with a missile double dropkick, and the match is thrown out. Still tremendous. Woulda been at least four stars without the DQ ending.

Kane double chokeslam on DB and Punk to end the show. Oh, here's Big Johnny! It's official: triple threat match for the WWE title. Punk vs. Bryan vs. Kane. It's a nice way to mix things up during this main feud.

It would be interesting, actually, to put the title on Kane, then have Punk and Bryan continue to feud with AJ in the middle of all this....


Lastly, I'd like to quickly address the suspensions of Chris Jericho and Randy Orton. Jericho got 30 days for kicking the Brazilian flag at a house show there (it's a felony in Brazil, so Chris was nearly arrested). Orton violated the Wellness Policy a second time, so he got 60 days.

This couldn't have come at a worse time for the WWE roster. Ironically, seeds were planted for Orton and Jericho to face each other over the summer, with Jericho then likely taking time off to tour with his band, Fozzy. Regardless, the roster is now that much more depleted of main event stars. It puts more pressure on guys like Sheamus and Alberto on Smackdown, while Punk and Bryan are likely leading the way on RAW.

The suspensions had to be given out. For Jericho, WWE finally got a show in Brazil, and with the cops storming the ring, WWE had to take immediate action. Orton is a repeat offender of the Wellness Policy. In fact, this is actually Randy's THIRD suspension, but the first one was disciplinary (bad behavior) and not Wellness Policy-related. With Linda McMahon running for office again, I'm sure there was no more need to give her opponents any more ammo.

I actually wonder now if Jericho will just take the time to tour with Fozzy earlier, then return during the latter part of summer. Orton's out until late July, and it looks like he will miss RAW's 1000th show.

This actually could be a blessing for the likes of Dolph Ziggler, who remain on that main event cusp.

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