SmackDown! (01/21/11): Rotten To The…8 Comments
We begin with a look back last week at the emergence of Wade Barrett’s new-ish faction; Heath Slater, Justin Gabriel and the returning Ezekiel Jackson. Tonight, we will hopefully gain some knowledge of the group; perhaps a name?
Barrett kicks off the show by coming down to ringside with his cronies in tow. Unfortunately, the terrible music from last week remains. Maybe it’ll grow on me? Wade announces that Big Show will not be in attendance this evening, so the WWE Universe will be formally introduced to this new group. He says his mistake with Nexus was that it was all about him, rather than the group – this is what will be different about this new venture, which he reveals is called ‘The Corre’. Hmm. That just makes me think of apples. Anyone else? Still, at least it’s not ‘Nexus 2,’ or anything to that effect.
Ezekiel Jackson is next on the mic; he’s not bad, but lacks the air of menace that is so fundamental to his character. Slater is all brag and swag. I like this kid far more than I did during his NXT tenure, but it’s hard to take him seriously – perhaps the blue brand will let the ‘One Man Rock Band’ prove himself in the ring. Finally, we have Justin Gabriel, who should never ever shave off his beard. Seriously. Never. I’m pleased to say that Justin seems to have gained confidence on the mic. It’ll be interesting to see how Gabriel factors into SmackDown!, considering that – Barrett aside – he received perhaps the best treatment in the original Nexus. Not only did the 450 Splash provide the ‘exclamation point’ of the group’s attacks; Gabriel also had a great match with John Cena last year on RAW.
The group are soon interrupted by Teddy Long. The SmackDown! GM decides to flex his authoritative muscle by threatening to pull the group from the roster if they orchestrate any other beatdowns akin to last week’s attack on Big Show. During this exchange, Wade Barrett made mention to the fact that all 4 members of The Corre will be competing in the Royal Rumble match – perhaps we’ll see a confrontation between Nexus and The Corre? Could be interesting.
Just as Teddy Long makes his exit, Alberto Del Rio’s music hits. Del Rio tells The Corre they are welcome on SmackDown!, but this is still his show. He makes yet another claim that he will win the Rumble match this Sunday. Big promises…
Alberto Del Rio vs. R-Truth: R-Truth is over from RAW, much to the delight of the piped-in audience sound effects. Perhaps that’s not very fair – Truth is evidently over with this Oklahoma crowd, although it seems a slightly cooled reception compared to usual. Around halfway through the match, the cameras cut backstage to medics crowding round Teddy Long, who is mounted on a stretcher – looks like The Corre got to the GM, perhaps? Back to the match, and Ricardo Rodriguez continues to earn his paycheck; a timely distraction allows Del Rio to lock in the Cross Armbar and make R-Truth tap. Your winner: Alberto Del Rio
We’re treated to another ‘It’s all about the numbers’ promo for the Royal Rumble match. Needless to say, I am hugely excited. Who do you think will win the match? Let me know your predictions in the comment box!
Layla vs. Beth Phoenix: One of the great things about Beth is the unusual moves she can both deliver and receive – early on in this bout, Layla hits what I can only (try to) describe as a springboard tornado reverse STO… I’m almost certain at least one part of that description is wrong – let me know! All the same, before long, Beth takes Layla out with the Glam Slam. Your winner: Beth Phoenix
Rey Mysterio vs. Dashing Cody Rhodes: The Dashing One quickly gets to work on Rey’s left knee, but Rey soon turns the tide by sending Cody face-first into the steel steps with a drop toe-hold. Not the face, Rey! Jeez! He continues his assault on Cody’s face with a 619. One top-rope splash later, and we have a winner. A trainer appears to check on Cody – it looks like Rey’s knee brace may have broken Cody’s nose. Y’know, despite the complete lack of blood, of course. Your winner: Rey Mysterio
Todd Grisham is backstage to update us on Teddy Long’s condition. I still can’t look him in the eyes without feeling pangs of guilt… Before Grisham can give us the news, however, he is interrupted by The Miz and Alex Riley. Apparently the two men will be appearing later on in the show. Michael Cole is suitably gushing.
Jack Swagger vs. Kofi Kingston: This is an ‘Amateur Wrestling Challenge,’ apparently. The piped cheering is really in force as Kingston makes his entrance. Swagger looks incredibly gormless in his headgear and mouthguard; it’s kind of endearing, to be honest. I’ve never really seen the point in these amateur matches in pro wrestling – there’s rules and points, but no incentive to familiarise yourself with them, particularly with only 3 minutes on the clock. Swagger eventually wins 10-9, after an awkward ‘who actually won?’ moment at the end. Despite winning, Swagger decides to beat down Kofi (I’m guessing Kingston was originally supposed to win?) but it’s not long before he is taken out with a Trouble In Paradise and high crossbody. Your Winner: Jack Swagger
Drew McIntyre vs. Trent Baretta: This little mini-feud has been one of my favourite things about SmackDown! as of late. I just hope the WWE keeps Baretta around – he’s a much better worker than some people give him credit for, as is evident with some of his spots in this match. Despite his short offensive flurry, he is soon on the mat for the 3-count. After getting the pin, McIntyre offers his hand to Baretta who instead launches at Drew, knocking him through the ropes. Uh-oh. Drew runs back into the ring and begins a beatdown, but Kelly Kelly soon appears to stop him. Your winner: Drew McIntyre
The Miz comes out to ringside to bleat about the way he took care of Randy Orton on RAW. Before he can finish his catchphrase, Edge’s music hits. The two men will meet on Monday night, which has the potential to be a great bout. Both men talk trash, with The Miz eventually relenting and leaving the ring. Alex Riley looks to have a go at Edge, but is quickly taken care of with a Spear.
Edge vs. Justin Gabriel: As Barrett and co. come down to ringside, the Tron displays their name as ‘The Corre,’ which was a pain because I had to go back through the article and add a letter to every ‘Core’ I’d typed! All the same, Vickie Guerrero appears before the bell to introduce Dolph Ziggler as a guest commentator for the match. This match culminates in some predictably dirty tactics from Corre – Wade Barrett and Heath Slater are knocked from the apron, which allows Big Zeke to take Edge out with a clothesline while the ref is distracted. Justin Gabriel crawls over and gets the pinfall… from a clothesline? Post-match, all Corre members hit their finishing manoeuvres on the Rated R Superstar. Not bad for their debut proper. Your winner: Justin Gabriel
That’s it for another week – make sure to check back again before the Royal Rumble for some pre-PPV predictions. Cheers!