So Raw, ECW and Superstars were all fairly disappointing this week, the amazing match between Tommy Dreamer and Christian really being the only thing that stuck out. How did WWE's A-brand, Smackdown, fare in this below-average week?
Show starts off with CM Punk, and he didn't bring any annoying men out of a trunk, so we're already in good shape. Punk heels it up like nobody's business and he's so awesome on the mic, that I won't even fault him for cutting what essentially was the same promo he cut from Night of Champions. Hey, those criminals in the audience need to learn! Seriously though, Punk is so good at being an ass, he makes me want to drink a beer when I write Smackdown reviews.
Oh wow, we're starting off with CM Punk vs. Jeff Hardy for the World Heavyweight Championship? I wasn't sure what the hell was going on until Jeff went right after Punk before the ref could even ring the bell. Officials are trying to pry the men apart and shockingly, Vince McMahon makes a rare Smackdown appearance! Vince brings up Teddy Long's probation (so I guess that storyline is back on?) and says the match will continue later with a Special Enforcer... which was spoiled for me before the show, damn you Twitter!
John Morrison vs. Tyson Kidd have a rematch from last week's Superstars and I think I may have actually enjoyed this match even more. One thing that really stuck out to me in this match was Tyson Kidd's "restholds," which should not be described with the word "rest." A lot of guys (Orton), don't exactly put much torque on basic holds, but watching this match, I thought Kidd was literally going to choke Morrison out. You could definitely tell that Kidd is a product of the Hart Dungeon, he was stretching Morrison all over the mat and it's little things like that which help with suspension of disbelief. Great match, Morrison pulls out a win, but if we graded on points, Kidd definitely took this one. He dominated the majority of the bout and looked like a serious threat to the guy that just took the World Champion to the limit last week.
Jesse has been quite enjoyable the last few weeks as Slam Master J, but I don't think I want to see him wrestle Charlie Haas again anytime soon. The crowd was so not into this one, even Todd Grisham had to acknowledge the fact that they were not amused. Maybe let SMJ hang with Cryme Tyme some more, maybe work some six-man tags before throwing him right into singles action? Just a thought.
Dolph Ziggler vs. R-Truth vs. Finlay vs. Mike Knox was a pretty enjoyable Fatal Four Way, great to see the IC Title getting this much attention heading into SummerSlam. Seriously, putting that belt on Mysterio was nothing short of brilliant, it really restores the prestige of it being the #2 spot in the company. I was pulling for R-Truth in this one just because I'd love to see him go one-on-one with Mysterio, but I'm not surprised that they went with Ziggler and I'm sure it was the right call. Speaking of Truth and Ziggy, did you catch the look on Ziggler's face at the end of the match when R-Truth punched him in the face? Looked like a stiff shot and Ziggler just had this "oh that's what we're gonna do?" kind of look on his face, loved it.
JTG vs. Chris Jericho was a good match, I wouldn't mind seeing these two lock up more; I think JTG has serious potential as a singles competitor someday and working with the best wrestler in the business certainly can't hurt. Not surprised by some of the folks who've worked themselves into a frenzy over JTG winning this one clean, even saw someone call it "insulting." You do know they're fighting at SummerSlam, right? What do you want? Jericho beats JTG this week, Big Show beats Shad next week and then Jericho/Show beat Cryme Tyme at the PPV? Where's the drama there? This is how you build a feud, and kudos to Jericho for making JTG look so good out there, that's one of the 1,004 reasons why he's the best.
If you blinked, you missed The Great Khali vs. Ricky Ortiz, but of course the big story was Kane attacking Khali after the match and abducting Ranjin Singh. That is no way to treat the Sultan of Sideburns, and this "feud" continuing is no way to treat WWE fans!
Matt Hardy is the special guest enforcer! Okay, at least it wasn't some massively huge thing to get spoiled, the way people were acting before I found out, I thought The Undertaker came back.
CM Punk vs. Jeff Hardy was a good TV main event, obviously not the best match these two have ever had, but it wasn't supposed to be. The big story was Matt Hardy costing CM Punk the match and counting the three for his brother... the same brother that he attacked in a hotel stairwell, ran off the road, set on fire with pyrotechnics, hit with a steel chair on multiple occasions, cost the World Heavyweight Championship. Not to mention, he insinuated that he burned Jeff's house down and murdered his dog. See, this is why I didn't like the Hardy feud, because after you make someone that heinous and say they hate their own brother that much, I refuse to believe he's going to do Jeff any favors just because Punk accidentally hit him with a baseball slide.
CM Punk attacks Jeff Hardy after the match, much like last week, except this time he wraps a chair around his neck and rams him into the turnbuckle. Ouch. Teddy Long gets in Punk's face and tells him that if he wants a rematch, he'll get it at SummerSlam, but this time it'll be a TLC Match!
SummerSlam is shaping up nicely after this episode, especially with the addition of the TLC Match, which I'm sure will be nothing short of a Match of the Year candidate considering the participants. All in all, another good episode of Smackdown, finally something to cleanse the palette after a bad week for WWE.