Date: June 19, 2011
Location: Verizon Center, Washington D.C.
Commentators: Michael Cole, Booker T., Jerry Lawler
While the main event is fairly weak, we do have another match in one of the most underrated feuds WWE has put together in a long time as new Smackdown World Champion Randy Orton is defending against Christian. Orton had been drafted to Smackdown to replace a recently retired Edge and won the title from Christian that same night. Christian then lost the rematch and turned heel as a result, setting up another match here. Let’s get to it.
The opening video focuses on R-Truth being all crazy and talking to the invisible Little Jimmy. The fans are Little Jimmy’s as well and they’re all sheep following John Cena everywhere he leads them. That sounds like a conspiracy (“C-O-N-spiracy!”) to R-Truth and now he needs an opportunity to win the title.
The set is pretty cool looking with a big capital dome design.
US Title: Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler
Kofi is defending. These two fought a completely ridiculous amount of times with possibly more televised matches than any pairing in history. Ziggler has short hair here which thankfully didn’t last long. They trade headlocks to start as Booker thinks Kofi is a step off tonight. Kofi gets in that dropkick of his but misses Trouble in Paradise.
Ziggler comes back with a legdrop as the announcers debate whether or not Vickie Guerrero is overweight in a rather insulting discussion. We hit the reverse chinlock for a bit before Dolph switches to an armbar. Ziggler’s sleeper (his semi-finisher at this point) is countered with a jawbreaker, followed by a middle rope splash while Dolph is on his hands and knees.
The Boom Drop and SOS get two and they trade rollups for back and forth near falls. Kofi gets up top for a high cross body before sending him hard into the buckle. Trouble in Paradise misses so Vickie rakes Kofi’s eyes and we hit the sleeper for the knockout to make Ziggler champion at 11:16.
Rating: B-. Yeah they fought a lot but they did so for a reason as these guys had some great chemistry. These are the kind of guys that you can have trade the titles back and forth without much of an issue as the matches are always going to range from good to quite good. This worked quite well though and lasted about the perfect length of time, which is all you can ask for. Good opener, as is often the case around here.
R-Truth, with the stolen Raw World Title, arrives and invites Josh Matthews to a party. He runs into former friend Eve Torres and invites her as well but she doesn’t know who he is anymore. That’s true because no one knows who he is anymore so he dedicates his victory to all the Little Jimmy’s.
Miz is sick of hearing from his ex-lackey Alex Riley being some big prospect because Miz saved him from NXT. He’s the one that won all that stuff and during that whole run, Riley was just holding his briefcase. There’s a fine line between luck and awesome and tonight the fans will see what that line is.
We recap Miz vs. Riley which is the old mentor vs. mentee story but with the mentee as the good guy this time. Miz blamed Riley for losing the Raw World Title and a match was made.
The Miz vs. Alex Riley
Miz has a briefcase with him though he cashed in Money in the Bank months ago. Riley is the hometown boy so there’s a good chance he’ll be crushed here. It’s a big fight to start as they brawl on the mat until Miz runs away outside. Back in and Miz stomps away before kicking Riley in the face. A short DDT plants Riley as Cole and Lawler argue over how awesome Miz really can be.
Cole thinks the referee should stop the match all of two minutes in. Riley comes back with some shoulders to the ribs in the corner but gets sent out to the floor for his efforts. A running kick to the face gives Miz two but Riley lunges forward for a slap to the face. Miz grabs a chinlock with a bodyscissors for a bit before a reverse DDT gets two. We hit the Tree of Woe for some kicks to Alex’s ribs as the announcers still want the thing stopped. It really isn’t that bad people.
Riley fights back and hammers away to send Cole into a panic. Something like Roman Reigns’ apron boot gets two and they head outside with Miz being sent into the announcers’ table with Cole giving Riley a lecture about how horrible this is. Alex finally pulls him over the table but Miz grabs the briefcase. That goes nowhere though as Riley hits an inverted DDT for the pin at 10:13.
Rating: D+. The match wasn’t the worst but it really showed how annoying Cole could be. The problem here is that Cole was awesome as a mouthpiece for the Miz but the character continued on throughout the show and never actually led anywhere, save for Cole beating Lawler at Wrestlemania in something that was far more confusing than anything else. This really should have started Riley’s push up the card but instead it just never went anywhere for a variety of reasons, each one more stupid than the previous.
Sgt. Slaughter talks to an Obama impersonator who he treats like the real thing. Vickie Guerrero comes in to sing about how happy she is that Ziggler is the new US Champion and seems like she’s hitting on the fake Obama. Security takes her away and this isn’t funny.
We recap Big Show vs. Alberto Del Rio. Show was mad about losing the Tag Team Titles so Del Rio slapped him in the face and ran him over with a car. Naturally a match resulted but first Show beat up Del Rio’s personal ring announcer and Mark Henry as a bonus.
Big Show vs. Alberto Del Rio
Show jumps Alberto during his entrance (makes sense here) and beats him down for a few moments until Mark Henry comes in and beats Show up, giving him a World’s Strongest Slam through the announcers’ table. Henry starts to leave but comes back and steps on the bad leg as a bonus. The opening bell hasn’t rung yet so Show, who is writhing around on the ground in pain, has until ten to get into the ring. I love it when they change the rules on the fly as this would be a DQ/no contest in almost any other match, save for when it fits the story.
The bell rings and Show sends him into the corner but a kick to the leg breaks up a chokeslam attempt. A bunch of kicks to the leg have Show in trouble but he catches a kick to the face and hits the chokeslam. That’s too much on the knee though and Show can’t follow up.
Del Rio is smart enough to bail to the floor for a breather though and things reset a bit. Back in and Alberto goes for the arm out of general stupidity (Heaven forbid he goes with what makes sense instead of his normal stuff.), only to have Show throw him around with ease. Thankfully Del Rio is smart enough to go to a leg lock until Show makes the ropes. Show can barely move though and the referee stops it at 4:57.
Rating: D. Yeah not much here as it was basically an angle instead of a match. It makes Del Rio look good, which is the right idea but at the same time it seems to set up Henry vs. Big Show instead of Show getting revenge here. It’s not the worst idea in the world, but I could go for a better match than a five minute angle.
R-Truth wants his pictures taken while he’s still fresh but the photographer points out the John Cena name plate on the title.
Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett steals the microphone and walks into the arena, talking about how much he hates being here because America needs a queen or a king. Barrett brings up various issues in America, such as the educational system and the national debt, which will mean everyone in here will be speaking Chinese in twenty years. See, America is all shiny on the outside but the closer you get, the more you realize it’s a hollow shell, just like Ezekiel Jackson. Barrett can read Jackson like a book and tonight he’s destroying him.
Intercontinental Title: Wade Barrett vs. Ezekiel Jackson
Jackson is challenging. These two were part of the Corre (Nexus followup) which broke up when Jackson got tired of Barrett bossing him around. The fans chant USA despite Jackson being from Guyana. Even Cole points out how ridiculous that is but Booker says Jackson looks American, whatever that means. The threat of a torture rack sends Barrett outside but he gets in a swinging Boss Man Slam for two.
A chinlock doesn’t get him anywhere as the announcers actually have an interesting discussion about Barrett having to fight on his own for a change. The fans want Ryder (yes as in Zack, who was on fire with his Youtube show at this point) but get a pumphandle slam for two on Jackson instead. Barrett misses a big boot in the corner but comes right back with Wasteland (a forward fireman’s carry slam) for two more. Jackson comes right back with his series of slams (this was a big thing for him) and the torture rack for the submission and the title at 6:36.
Rating: D+. The announcers actually helped a lot here by talking about how Barrett was on his own here, which makes Jackson look like the better man. This was FAR better of a position for Barrett as well as he needed a run in the midcard before he was ready for that main event stuff he was doing last year. Either that or he needed to win the title flat out but instead he came off like a choker, which followed him around for most of his career.
Post match Jackson says this is the greatest day of his life and he’s declaring his independence from Barrett and the Corre.
Fake Obama meets Beth Phoenix, Santino Marella and Kelly Kelly. Santino teaches him the Cobra (a strike to the throat) and is taken down by security.
CM Punk says he’s a politician like everyone else in this town but he tells the truth, unlike everyone else around here. Rey Mysterio lies through his mask and is just trying to get rich like everyone else. Punk is the only real and honest man here and after he wins tonight, he’s going to do the most honest thing the WWE has ever seen.
CM Punk vs. Rey Mysterio
They’ve been trading wins recently and this is the rubber match with Punk’s New Nexus being banned from ringside. Punk gets in some kicks and a slam for an early two and the fans are actually behind him. A dropkick looks to set up the 619 but Punk is actually smart enough to realize you shouldn’t lay on the ropes against Rey Mysterio.
They head outside with Punk dropping him face first against the barricade before we hit a surfboard back inside. A tilt-a-whirl backbreaker gets two on Rey and we hit a bodyscissors. Punk gets two off a hard clothesline (Cole: “Have some faith Rey!”) and it’s off to an abdominal stretch. Rey takes a few headbutts to the robs but is still able to knock Punk to the floor for an Asai Moonsault.
A kick to the head gets two for Mysterio but he takes too long going up, allowing Punk to get a belly to back superplex for two. Punk’s running bulldog is broken up and the 619 sends him out to the floor. Back in and Rey’s top rope splash hits knees, drawing a scream out of Punk. The GTS is countered into a rollup for two but another 619 is countered into the GTS for the pin at 14:58.
Rating: B. This was a strong upper midcard match with Punk looking like the better man, which was exactly what he needed to do going forward. Mysterio was the perfect choice for the loss here as he could pop right back up and be fine because he was over for life at this point. It was a big time for Punk as he would be delivering his famous Pipe Bomb promo eight days later and change his career forever.
We recap Randy Orton vs. Christian. As mentioned, Orton won the title in his first night on Smackdown and Christian snapped after losing the title so soon. Christian didn’t like the fans freaking out that he turned heel when he kept getting ripped off. All he wants is one more match and that’s what he’s getting here.
Smackdown World Title: Randy Orton vs. Christian
Orton is defending and is just coming off a concussion (legitimately actually, to the point where it wasn’t clear if he would be able to wrestle or not) thanks to Christian. A few kicks to the ribs and a shoulder get two for the champ but Christian elbows him in the back. The middle rope dropkick misses though as Booker keeps talking about Orton’s footwork. Christian dropkicks him out to the floor, only to miss a slingshot plancha.
Orton hammers away but gets sent hard into the steps to start messing with Orton’s head. A neckbreaker gets two and Christian slowly hits him in the head. Christian gets in a spinebuster and Orton is looking all woozy. Orton’s comeback, consisting mostly of clotheslines and the powerslam (STOP CALLING IT A SCOOP SLAM COLE!), is capped off by a belly to belly of all things. The champ makes the mistake of using a headbutt but is still able to superplex Christian for two.
Orton’s over the shoulder backbreaker into a neckbreaker (always cool) gets two more but Christian bails to the floor at the threat of an RKO. Back in and the elevated DDT gives Orton another look in his eye, only to have the RKO countered into the reverse DDT. Christian hits a spear of all things for two and only looks somewhat more ridiculous than Edge using that move. Another kick to the head staggers Orton but he backs right into the RKO to retain the title at 14:06.
Rating: B. These two worked together so well and this was no exception. Christian getting more and more frustrated because Orton was the better man is a great story and it made him look even more horrible of a heel when he kept begging for title shots. Orton hunting for the RKO throughout the match was a great story and that’s exactly what they needed here. Good stuff as this feud continues to roll.
Christian tries to tell the referee that his foot was under the ropes so Orton hits him in the head with the belt for some revenge. The referee shows that Christian might have a point. It’s close enough to warrant another look.
Here are the Bella Twins with the Keystone Light guy Keith Stone.
We recap John Cena vs. R-Truth, which is mainly about Truth thinking Cena is in charge of a conspiracy against him. The people are all sheep that follow him wherever he goes and they’re blinded by lies. This is an extended version of the opening video.
Jack Swagger vs. Evan Bourne
This is a bonus match but Evan has been getting on Jack’s nerves for a few weeks now. Jack grabs a front facelock to start before cutting Evan off with a gutbuster. Some elbows to the ribs stay on the injury and we hit the chinlock with a knee in the back. Jack stomps on the ribs as this is a very simple yet effective story so far. The running Vader Bomb hits raised boots but Jack kicks him in the face to take over again. Evan pops back up with a great looking tornado DDT but has to bail out of Airbourne. Jack grabs the ankle lock, only to have Evan reverse into a cradle for the quick pin at 7:12.
Rating: C-. This was fine and just a quick way to fill in a few minutes of a show that was running long. Bourne was someone that the company always seemed to want to push but it never quite came to fruition. Swagger on the other hand was on the downside of his run at this point and it’s pretty clear that he isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Here’s the fake Obama for a speech at a podium. He does a good impression but that’s not exactly what the fans want to see. Apparently he watches Raw every week and wants Jim Ross back. He wishes Cena and R-Truth luck tonight and eventually starts to leave, only to have Booker invite him to the ring for a Spinarooni. This was stupid but they kept it short enough that it didn’t get awful. He does a good Obama impression too so it could have been a lot worse.
We recap R-Truth vs. John Cena yet again, just in case you didn’t get the idea already. Again: Truth thinks there’s a conspiracy to push Cena but he’s here to speak the truth, because that’s his name you see. Cena’s basic response: Truth is crazy and I’d be glad to beat him up.
Raw World Title: John Cena vs. R-Truth
Truth is challenging, comes out with the title, and has no music. Feeling out process to start with Cena shoving him around so Truth bails to the floor. Back in and Truth starts hitting him in the face before it’s time for more stalling. The threat of an AA freaks Truth out even more and a sitout gordbuster gets two on the champ. Truth does a ridiculous amount of dancing before dropping a leg for two more.
The spinning forearm gets a very slow two count and a running forearm in the corner gets the same. Cena snaps him throat first across the top but runs right into a clothesline to put him down again. A big hiptoss gets two on Cena and we hit the chinlock as it’s pretty clear that Truth doesn’t exactly have a lot of offense. Cena fights out of a bodyscissors but walks into a suplex for two.
Back up again and Cena initiates the finishing sequence, only to have Truth escape another AA and hit his suplex into a Stunner. Truth comes back with a quick ax kick for two, followed by a jumping Downward Spiral for two. With nothing else working, Truth goes outside and steals a kid’s hat, earning himself a soda to the face. Back in and Cena hits a quick AA to retain at 14:45.
Rating: D. I’ve said this too many times now but this felt like a big Raw main event instead of a match you would ask the fans to pay the full price for. Did anyone really buy the idea that Truth could win the title? I’m sure they did, but at the same time it’s a stretch to suggest that this is the kind of major main event that belonged at the end of a full price pay per view.
Above all else here, there was no reason to believe that Truth could actually pull this thing off. Other than a three week US Title reign, Truth hadn’t actually won much of anything in the WWE. To go from a pretty run of the mill midcard guy to a crazy man is a big jump but it’s not enough to make you into a serious contender for the company’s top title. Cena never felt like he was in any real danger here, even when Truth hit his biggest moves. How can you expect someone to win if even his best is more annoying than dangerous?
Cena brings the kid into the ring to end the show.
Overall Rating: C-. Really weak main event aside, there’s enough good stuff here to keep the show in a watchable territory. The middle section was easily the strong point but it started to go downhill after that. It’s not one of the best shows but the good opener and the rest of the card worked well enough to make up for some of the big flaws. I can’t imagine wanting to see it again but it’ll do enough to get you by.
One last thing though: this show proved how horribly annoying Michael Cole could be when he was cranking the heel meter up to eleven. This was so horribly annoying with Cole not shutting up all night and spending more time insulting his fellow announcers and running down every face wrestler on the show. That’s fine from an analyst but your lead play by play announcer as a heel is really, REALLY distracting.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books.
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