We are now a week into the Jack Swagger era. Ever since the moment he won the title, Swagger has been featured prominently on Smackdown and Raw. With Extreme rules just 3 weeks away, Swagger has two men who feel deserving of a shot at his title. These men would have a match on this night to determine who would get a shot at Swagger. The real winner here is the fans, as another encounter between Jericho and Edge sounds good on any night. This and the breakup of Cryme Tyme were the hype going into the show, but by the end, a different Pay Per View match was set up and a few feuds were furthered. Let's take a look back at this week's edition of Smackdown.
The show began the same way it did last week, with Jack Swagger cutting a promo. This time he was in his wrestling gear though, so it was pretty obvious that whatever confrontation he would have would lead to a match shortly thereafter. I'm not a fan of giving away booking plans with hints such as those, but then again, any internet savvy fan can get a non-spoiler match list to find out who is fighting who anyway so maybe I'm overreacting. Either way, Swagger's insinuation of being the best athlete in the WWE leads to John Morrison coming out to challenge those claims. I would agree that Morrison's athleticism certainly matches Swagger, but neither of them are competant on the mic. I think I was supposed to be amused by Morrison's comments about Swagger's lisp, but there was no creativity involved in his delivery at all. Morrison should stick to letting his ring work do the talking, because at this point, we must face the fact that Morrison just isn't any good at cutting promos. Of course, pitting him against the equally inept Swagger doesn't help. Luckily for both men, their match took up a lot more time than their promo, and they both excel in that regard. Excellent TV match that saw Swagger pick up the win after almost 15 minutes. This was a big win for Swagger, as some saw his loss to Orton as detrimental to his title reign, but beating a solid upper midcard talent cleanly is certainly good to boost his current stock.
After his victory, Swagger has a little confrontation with Chris Jericho backstage where Jericho was talking to his NXT rookie, Wade Barrett about how he should still be champion. I liked the parallel Jericho made with Swagger, talking about how his blonde hair, stern facial expression, and wearing a nice suit doesn't make him Chris Jericho. That Jericho always gets you thinking! Nice ending to the segment as when Swagger's comments are kept short, he sounds a lot more convincing. In this case, he pointed to the belt and said "this makes me a champion". Yes it does, captain obvious, but it was a good comment for Swagger to make.
Next was an in ring promo from Shad Gaspard explaining his actions from last week. It's pretty clear that mic skills aren't his strength, but this promo was actually better than I thought. The only problem is that most of it wasn't necessarily a heel promo. He related to the crowd by asking how many of them have been held back by a family member or coworker and got less attention because of it. While it was a good thought, a heel shouldn't relate to the audience, he should mock it or completely ignore it. His point though is that he doesn't want to be known by his group, he wants it to be "my tyme". That's a great idea, but I liked it better when Triple H did it 11 years ago. Does no one else see that it's the exact same story with the exact same catchphrase? I can't wait for Shad to start carrying a sledgehammer around. Anyway, the segment ended when JTG came out to attack Shad but Shad ducked out of the ring and caught JTG with a big boot. Obviously they are going to have a blowoff match on one of the coming Smackdown episodes, and we'll see what happens to Shad from there. I still think his future is not as a singles competitor, at least not without being the muscle for a stable.
In a continuation from last week, Drew McIntyre was to have a match with Matt Hardy. If you remember, he was supposed to have one last week, but he beat up Matt before the match ever got started. This week, we did get a match, but before it, McIntyre did something that I was so impressed by. He put the mic to his mouth a few times, and finally he simply said "i'm not going to waste my breathe on you people". I've often wondered why heels always cut promos when they look down upon the crowd, so I love this tactic of not even giving them the time of day. I now like Drew so much more because of that one line. As for the match, pretty good match that went almost 10 minutes and saw Drew get the victory with his finisher on the outside. As much as I'm liking Drew, I feel bad for Matt. He gets some of the biggest pops but never gets pushed. I'd like to see him get one run at the top before his career is over, but I fear he is destined to flounder in the midcard, which is unfortunate. Of course, Matt is 35 and Drew is 23 so obviously WWE sees more dollar signs associated with Drew's future.
As per usual, Punk and his Society came out to talk about how wonderful Straight Edge is, but this time, there was a means to an end. This time, their goal was to induct Punk's NXT rookie, Darren Young into the Straight Edge Society. It seemed to be an inevitability until Young changed his mind upon seeing the buzzer. This prompted Rey Mysterio to come out and chase off the society, accepting Punk's hair challenge in the process. This segment was a little too long for my liking, and considering most of it was geared towards converting an NXT rookie who has little to no chance of winning NXT seemed a little wasteful. Of course, the end result was an official PPV match so it did its job.
Something I constantly ask for is character development. Before the next match, we got just that, as the Dudebusters let us into their lives. Of course, the Dudebusters is the team name for Barretta and Croft, and I was actually impressed by their promo. Most of it was them talking about their stupid accomplishments like beating video games and driveway basketball, but it made them seem like "modern cool guys". This is actually a team personality, which is something they were lacking until this. I thought they were going somewhere with their line about them having to work to get to the WWE whereas the Harts were basically bred to be there, but they went off topic. If this feud develops, perhaps more should be given in that regard. The Dudebusters might want to focus more on their wrestling and less on their video games though, as after about 5 minutes, the Hart Dynasty emerged victorious via a sharpshooter by DH Smith. It was really cool to see the maneuver start from a slam, which I think can work for DH given his immense size. It looks a little awkward for a guy his size to lock in a submission move, but Smith did it well. I think the result of this match was obvious, and most fans are still hoping these Hart victories lead to them being number 1 contenders to ShoMiz's titles.
Short promo next that had Dolph Ziggler asked how it felt to put The Great Khali to sleep. His response..........he put Josh Matthews to sleep with the same hold! Clearly they are trying to get this finisher over and I do like it for Ziggler. It has a very 80's feel to it and that finisher leading to an intercontinental title reign doesn't sound so crazy. I'm not sure I buy Ziggler as a main eventer, but this move may finally give him enough to justify a midcard title reign. Of course, that would mean McIntyre has to drop the belt first, so get a Snickers and wait a while.
Before the main event match, Swagger confronts the other participant, Edge. He tells Edge he is pulling for him, just like he said to Jericho, which makes absolutely no sense. What did make sense is what Edge said to Swagger though, which is that Edge knows what it's like to cash in Money in the Bank and get cocky. He lost the title 3 weeks after his first cash in and vows that Swagger will too provided he beats Jericho. I have to say though, Edge is a tall dude and Swagger looked bigger than Edge. I don't think I ever noticed how big a kid Swagger really is, but that is certainly an advantage he has over most guys he'll ever come in contact with. As for this segment, Edge ended it by saying he'll hit Swagger with a thhhhhpear, leaving Swagger to confront the reality that he has a speech impediment yet again. I kind of like that people are picking on it and it's bothering him. It gives just a little something extra to his character. I just hope the WWE doesn't overdo it, as it has already been mentioned twice in one night. It could get old really fast.
The main event was a #1 contenders match between Edge and Chris Jericho, and true to my prediction, no winner was crowned. Due do the disdain both men have for each other, the fighting spilled outside the ring and by the time they returned, both were counted out. I believe this is leading to a triple threat at Extreme Rules, which is a great way to get Swagger a win without pinning a main eventer cleanly. This match was one of the best TV matches I've seen in a while. It got almost as much, if not more time than the Wrestlemania match and every second was fun to watch. It's amazing what you can get with two experienced and accomplished workers. Here's hoping they have plenty of future encounters. They obviously have some unfinshed business, so the near future seems like a sure bet.
What I really liked about this show is that it had a focus on stuck to it. There weren't any meaningless segments, and all the segments pushing feuds were lengthy enough to mean something. Every feud is further along as a result of this show, and that's about all you can ask for in any given week. I'm really digging the Edge/Jericho feud, and I'm hoping Matt Hardy gets his revenge and possibly and IC title reign. If you enjoy quality wrestling and limited fodder, Smackdown is the program for you at this moment.