Sunday, January 3, 2010

Smackdown Thoughts - January 1, 2010

Here we go, the first post if the decade! Thanks again for bearing with me during the holidays, but it's a new year, a new decade and my goal is to make Kick-Out!! bigger and better over the next 365 days and beyond. With that said, let's get right back into the swing of things and take a look at the first WWE show of 2010, Friday Night Smackdown!

Due to the controversy surrounding Rey Mysterio vs. The Undertaker last week, it looks like all the debate about the #1 contender will be put to bed tonight with the return of the Beat the Clock Challenge. Beat the Clock is a cool idea, it can make any match a little more exciting, but from a selfish standpoint, it makes my job difficult because it intentionally provides short matches, which won't give me much to write about.

CM Punk, Luke Gallows, & CM Punk's beard kick things off with another amazing Punk promo. This one about New Year's Resolutions, with some good cheap heat against a fat guy in the crowd, and Punk telling us he doesn't need to make resolutions because he's already perfect. Punk is in the first Beat the Clock Challenge match tonight, taking on Matt Hardy, but I'm honestly rooting against the Straight-Edge Superstar, not that I wouldn't enjoy seeing him go for the title, but I'd much rather see him in the Royal Rumble match itself. We all know that Hardy is struggling to find his footing these days, but this is the kind of match he needs, back and forth action against someone as talented as Punk, who makes anyone he competes against look good. This match is no exception to that rule, Hardy looks great in this one, but he's no match for a nasty kick to the head and the Go To Sleep; Punk sets the time to beat at 7:20.

Our next Beat the Clock match is not one that I'm very excited about, Kane vs. Dolph Ziggler. I assume Kane will win here and take the lead so they can hype the possibility of Kane vs. Undertaker, but neither of these guys are remotely near the World Heavyweight Title picture. Dolph Ziggler went from next big thing to choke artist in a matter of months and Kane is Kane, we all know my feelings on the Big Red Machine. Luckily, I'm totally wrong here and Ziggler outlasts Kane and neither man will advance in the Beat the Clock Challenge... was Ziggler eligible though? Sometimes the "lesser" competitor in the match can only play the spoiler, but Striker made it sound like Ziggler could've advanced, so I'm not sure. Oh well, Punk keeps the lead and all is right with the world for now.

Up next we have The Great Khali vs. "The Carolina Panther," which is a dude in a Panthers jersey. Punjabi Plunge and this one's done. Oookay then.

Intercontinental Title on the line next with Drew McIntyre defending against the man he beat for that title, John Morrison. And Morrison wastes no time, showcasing his gymnastics routine with help from the barricade... FFS John, you scare the hell out of me sometimes. Anyway, I doubt he'll win since McIntyre is the "chosen one" (apologies to Jeff Jarrett), but I'm rooting for Morrison in this one, after reflection, I think it was too soon to take the IC Title off of him. Morrison should've held onto the belt until it was time for him to step up to the World Title, but the picture is so crowded right now with big personalities like The Undertaker, Batista and Rey Mysterio, there's not any room for a guy like Morrison to climb the ladder. And while I'm right with McIntyre picking up the win, the finish was pretty clever with the champ shoving Morrison into the ref, who was admonishing Morrison for not letting McIntyre out of the corner. The ref took it as an attack and called for the DQ, and definitely D-bag move of the week.

Mickie James vs. Beth Phoenix is our Diva portion of the evening, and I'd be a lot more excited about this match if Michelle McCool, Layla and this absurdly stupid Piggie James storyline weren't surrounding it. McCool tries to kick Mickie while the ref is distracted, but the Women's Champion hits The Glamazon instead, giving Mickie the quick win. "Team Lay-Cool" tries to attack Mickie after the match, but Beth Phoenix will have none of it and it looks like The Glamazon face turn is finally complete! Or not... Mickie gets a Glam Slam for her troubles! Beth Phoenix stands alone, my friends.

Our next Beat the Clock Challenge is... wait for it... Rey Mysterio vs. Chris Jericho! Now that's how you start off 2010! Before the match gets started, Jericho treats us to another fantastic promo, letting us know about his New Year's Resolution, to win every title in WWE, yes please! Correct me if I'm wrong, but the United States & ECW Titles are the only belts he's never held, correct? He should at least get those two.

Okay, so Rey Mysterio vs. Chris Jericho, I could sit here and tell you about how awesome these two always are when they step into the ring together (and I will), but seriously, if you haven't seen this match, just watch it. I don't know what it is about these two, I don't know if they meet up before the match and say, "let's tear it up like it's 1997" or if it just comes naturally when they work together, but if you ever need a definition of chemistry in a wrestling ring, pick any match these two have ever worked against each other. Even with only seven minutes and nineteen seconds to work with, these two put on a PPV caliber match and Rey Mysterio takes the win and the lead in the Beat the Clock Challenge! Obviously my next statement is going to be ridiculous, but this is the Match of 2010 so far.

Our final match in the Beat the Clock Challenge appears to be our main event, Batista vs. R-Truth, which is an odd pairing, but obviously to push the drama with Mysterio's last-second win. Truth gets a surprising bit of offense in here, but things unsurprisingly turn ugly at the end with Batista's barrage of finishing moves. While Batista's wasting time, Mysterio interferes and costs Batista the win! No way this is going to stand, I was expecting them to make it a Triple Threat at the Rumble, but Vickie Guerrero sets up Batista vs. Mysterio next week. I'll still put my money on Triple Threat and say some kind of shenanigans end the match next week.

Overall, a solid Smackdown to start the New Year. Punk vs. Hardy and Jericho vs. Mysterio made this a great night for in-ring action and really, that's about all we got here. No backstage skits, no comedy segments, just a strong pro wrestling show. The show had a defined purpose, setting up a new #1 contender with Beat the Clock, and it continued outlying storylines like Punk/Gallows vs. Hardy, McIntyre vs. Morrison and Mickie James vs. Michelle McCool. Everything had a purpose aside from Khali's "match," and all the results made sense, take note Monday Night Raw!

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