For the second consecutive week, Smackdown has ended with Christian holding the World Heavyweight Title high above his head while Randy Orton writhes in pain below him. It seems as though Friday nights have a new Apex Predator.
Smackdown opened with Christian addressing the WWE Universe about his actions in recent weeks. He failed to show any remorse and went on to say that he no longer wanted anything to do with his “peeps,” effectively completing his heel turn. He even had Michael Cole speak to the fans on his behalf, a heat-inducing tactic that surely turned a few more members of the audience against him. In addition to turning his back on the fans, Christian also demanded one more match with Randy Orton, insisting that he can in fact beat him. Later in the show, when faced with an invitation from Randy Orton to face him right then and there, Christian altered his plan and challenged the Champion to a match at Capitol Punishment.
When it was time for the main event, Orton took on Sheamus in a no disqualification match. Sheamus was within inches of winning the championship last week, and he’s doing everything he can to claw his way back to the title. The match was about as good of a main event as you’ll get on free WWE programming, with both men pulling out all the stops and relying on some sheer brutality in attempt to win the bout. Kendo sticks and the ring steps came into play, but it took an attack from Christian with the World Title to put Randy Orton down for the three count. Now that Sheamus has pinned the World Heavyweight Champion, his case for a title match is stronger than ever, and his quest will probably continue past Capitol Punishment, whoever the Champ may be.
- Ted DiBiase vs Sin Cara resulted in a no contest when Cody Rhodes interfered. When Daniel Bryan made the save on Cara’s behalf, Teddy Long changed the match to a tag team contest pitting Sin Cara & Bryan against the former Legacy members. The work that these four men have done over the past few weeks have been the highlight of Smackdown, and this Friday was no different. Bryan picked up the win for his team, countering DiBiase into the Lebell Lock and forcing the submission. The crowd popped big for Bryan’s finisher, and it’s seem like he’s finding his niche on Smackdown after it eluded him on Raw. I’m really looking forward to see what Capitol Punishment match or matches are born from this rivalry
- AJ had her first singles match in the WWE and managed to pick up a win over Tamina after the Samoan diva seemed to turn her attention to Natalya on the outside of the ring. Prior to the match, AJ accurately pointed out that the team of Tamina & Rosa Mendes was a poor man’s LayCool. The commentators put AJ over as a fun-loving, comic book reading, video game playing nerd during the match. Not only do I not believe this for an instant, but I don’t think it’s really necessary to get her over. None of the divas really have much in way of character, so I wouldn’t expect much of one to be built for AJ either.
- Jinder Mahal defeated Trent Barreta with a Full Nelson Slam in a very predictable squash match. Mahal ordered Khali to decimate Barreta after the closing bell, an order that the Punjab Giant readily obliged. Yaawwwn. It’s a shame that Mahal is stuck with Khali. I don’t know if he’d have any potential on his own, but I do know that I’d give him more of a chance if he wasn’t saddled with partnering with the worst wrestler on the roster.
- The Corre is apparently no more. Wade Barrett walked out on Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel during their 6-person tag team match against Ezekiel Jackson and the Usos, allowing Jackson to lock Gabriel in the torture rack and grab the win. After the match, Slater & Gabriel told Barrett that the Corre was over and sarcastically wished him luck at Capitol Punishment. Gabriel and Slater were absolute disasters during their segment, as both are far below average in terms of their interview skills. Without a cruiserweight division in place, I can’t see either of these guys doing much in singles competition, so hopefully they remain a tag team in their post-Corre life.
- There was another strange Johnny Curtis promo, this time where he put a potato chip on his shoulder to indicate that he has a “chip on his shoulder.” I’m not quite sure I get what his deal is. Is his gimmick that he brings cliché phrases into literal actuality? It certainly seems that way, and I really don’t see how this could lead to any success.
There are some dud angles going on right now on Smackdown, such as the Jinder Mahal / Great Khali alliance and the Natalya Team Building stuff, but there are some gems mixed in there as well. Rhodes, DiBiase, Bryan, and Sin Cara have been entertaining for weeks. This week, Rhodes lifted a line directly from Fight Club in “Only when I lost everything was I free to do anything,” and he still delivered it excellently. Sheamus & Orton put on a good main event, and I’m really curious to see how the Celtic Warrior fits into the World Title scene moving forward.