So, no podcasting with Tim tonight, because he's sick means that I get to watch Smackdown when it airs. Michelle is also busy, working on a new gym routine that all of the instructors are learning/practicing tomorrow, so I figured I'd write about Smackdown as it airs rather than after.
Fun/shitty note: this week's episode was taped in Detroit. Michelle and I didn't go for various reasons. But, one good thing about living in Windsor is that, between Detroit and Toronto/the rest of Southwestern Ontario, there are many, many chances to see live wrestling throughout the year. Hell, WWE just had this year's Over the Limit PPV in Detroit! They usually hit the Motor City two or three times a year. So, no worries.
Segment #1: Christian's Peep Show with Albert del Rio as a guest
I've been digging Alberto del Rio. He's good on the mic, has obvious charisma, and is decent in the ring. Pairing him with Christian for his first extended feud is a smart decision since it increases interest in Christian and gives del Rio a great, solid veteran to work with as he gets his footing in the WWE. I also love the nickname 'Juan Bradshaw Layfield.' A good way to start the show and del Rio not agreeing to a match until he's ready is a good heel move.
Segment #2: The Hart Dynasty vs. "Dashing" Cody Rhodes & Drew McIntyre
A solid match. I've been loving "Dashing" Cody Rhodes since he took on this gimmick. It's really given him a strong focus for his character, which was fairly generic before. That added bit has made him better in the ring. Pairing him with Drew McIntyre seems a waste except to put McIntyre in a position where he can improve. This was a solid match that sets up a match between the two duos on Sunday at Night of Champions. That this newly formed tag team is getting a title shot shows how weak the tag team division is in the WWE. [**]
Segment #3: Kofi Kingston cuts a promo before his match
A fairly solid promo by Kingston setting up his Intercontinental Championship shot against Dolph Ziggler at Night of Champions. Nothing special, but Kingston on the mic is rare. He's got some basic skill and just needs more mic time to improve.
Segment #4: Kofi Kingston vs. Jack Swagger
HA! Duelling chants of "Lets go, Swagger!"/"Lets go, Kofi!" towards the end... this match was basically Jack Swagger kicking the shit out of Kofi Kingston for 10-15 minutes until some good back-and-forth with Swagger still maintain an advantage. Once they hit that point, it became very engaging to watch. I don't quite buy Kingston's victory entirely, but he needed it going into Night of Champions. Swagger was just a little too dominant for it to work entirely. It reminds me a little of Rey Mysterio's title defence against JBL at Judgment Day 2006. They should have cut some of the middle out to make it a little less one-sided. Still, once it hit the back-and-forth of the end, it was really, really good. [***1/4]
Segment #5: Trying to teach Hornswoggle to talk
oh god no fuck me this shit is godawful
Segment #6: Kelly Kelly & Rosa Mendes vs. LayCool
Michelle McCool and Layla breathers because of 'Smelly Kelly' was kind of funny. The match was typical Diva shit. LayCool wins before Night of Champions and the unification match. [1/2*]
Segment #7: LayCool picks who will face Melina at Night of Champions
Kaval still hanging out with LayCool? Awesome. I really like LayCool. They have their act down and it's amusing. McCool rigging the choice seems like a fake-out on the duo's part. I still think that, after Night of Champions, we'll have Layla carrying the Womens Championship, while McCool has the Divas belt... until they eventually break up and feud against one another to determine the real Unified Womens Champion.
Segment #8: CM Punk vs. Christian
Going into this, I expected interference from Alberto del Rio based on the show's beginning and his being on commentary ringside and I was... right. del Rio distracted Christian near the end by getting the on mic, allowing Punk to get the win. The match itself wasn't amazing, but solid work by both men, two of the better performers in the WWE. The aftermath with del Rio and the Big Show was decent. Set up the Punk/Big Show match and continued the del Rio/Christian feud. [**1/2]
Segment #9: Kane answers the Undertaker
Kane has been on fire on the mic during this feud. He's really shown how great he can be -- articulate, passionate, and just plain interesting to watch. The Undertaker's entrance was great for when the lights came on and Kane was behind the Undertaker. 'Taker made a face you don't often see: the 'oh fuck me!' face of regret/annoyance. Then, Kane just destroying the Undertaker? Very well done. Definitely the way to end the show leading into Night of Champions.
All in all, a pretty good 'go home' show with almost every segment focusing on leading into a Night of Champions match in some way. Really pushing the PPV. Unlike Raw, you can tell where the focus of this episode was.