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March 20, 2010

CM Punk-Rey Mysterio, Edge-Chris Jericho programs heat up on Smackdown

WWE did a good job on Friday night’s episode of Smackdown of getting heat on both the CM Punk-Rey Mysterio match at WrestleMania XXVI (which wasn’t announced until last week) and the Edge-Chris Jericho bout at the pay-per-view extravaganza a week from Sunday.

Punk – who in my opinion is the most compelling character in the business right now – continued to torment Mysterio by showing still photos on the big screen of their confrontation last week that involved Mysterio’s family. An incensed Mysterio wanted to go after him, but Punk said that if Mysterio lays a hand on him between now and WrestleMania, their match is off.

Mysterio suggested their match at WrestleMania be a street fight, but Punk said that would only happen if Mysterio could first beat Luke Gallows, and if he didn’t beat Gallows, the stipulation for their WrestleMania match would be that Mysterio has to join the Straight Edge Society if he loses. How Punk has the power to dictate all that I’m not sure. Regardless, this was good stuff and I’m looking forward to their match, especially because Mysterio did lose to Gallows, which means there is a possibility that Mysterio will be forced to become a member of Punk’s cult.

In “The Cutting Edge” segment, Edge and Jericho both did a nice job on the mic, especially Edge, who admitted that he’s not really sure if he’s completely recovered from the torn Achilles’ tendon injury he suffered last summer. The verbal confrontation turned physical, resulting in Jericho attacking Edge’s previously injured ankle. It was an effective angle, although I was surprised that Jericho didn’t really do a number on the ankle. All he did was stomp on it one time. It seemed out of character that Jericho would stop there while Edge was totally defenseless.

Other thoughts on Friday’s show:

The long-rumored hair vs. mask stipulation for the Punk-Mysterio match obviously isn’t happening – at least not at WrestleMania. …

Punk was effectively creepy the way he just kept staring at Mysterio and shaking his head while Mysterio was beating on Gallows after their match. Punk showed no fear of being so close to Mysterio because of the stipulation that Mysterio cannot touch him. …

I really don’t understand what’s going on with Drew McIntyre’s push. WWE had been doing a nice job of trying to gradually get him over as a star, but whatever credibility he may have gained has been erased over the past month. After McIntyre backed into the Money in the Bank ladder match following consecutive losses in qualifying matches to Kane and Matt Hardy, he got squashed by The Undertaker on this show in about three minutes. I get that it’s The Undertaker and he needs to look strong going into his WrestleMania match against Shawn Michaels, but McIntyre should have gotten in more offense before doing the job. Then again, why even have McIntyre in this match in the first place? ...

I actually thought that Michaels was going to interfere behind the referee’s back and cost Undertaker the match (at least by countout if not by pinfall) against McIntyre. That would have furthered the Undertaker-Michaels program and allowed McIntyre to claim a victory over The Undertaker heading into the Money in the Bank match. Instead Michaels took out The Undertaker with a superkick on the stage after the match. …

I couldn’t help but roll my eyes when Edge said “you nailed me in the head with that championship” to Jericho. Seriously, is the WWE Universe going to implode if someone says the word “belt” on TV? …

Wade Barrett of WWE NXT got a nice rub by accompanying Jericho to the ring for “The Cutting Edge.” I’m guessing Barrett is pretty happy that he got paired with a star such as Jericho rather than, say, Carlito. …

Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger make a good tag team. I was glad to see them get the win over Hardy and MVP. They need it more. …

Judging by the crowd reaction on this show and last week’s, Beth Phoenix is on her way to becoming the top female babyface in WWE. That was a sweet-looking vertical suplex into a slingshot suplex that Phoenix delivered to Layla during the tag team match that saw Phoenix and Tiffany defeat Layla and WWE Divas champion Michelle McCool. Phoenix got the pin on McCool to set up their title program. …

Vickie Guerrero booked herself in a match with Phoenix next week. I’m sensing a Simply Flawless ambush. …

John Morrison and R-Truth needed to get an impressive win since they have a shot at WWE unified tag team champions The Miz and The Big Show at WrestleMania, so I don’t have a problem with them defeating The Hart Dynasty. However, Tyson Kidd and David Hart Smith deserve better than having to do a two-minute job. …

Kudos to Matt Striker. In one episode, he got in mentions of Mike Rotundo and Tully Blanchard, as well as my two favorite bands – Kiss and Rush. He also referred to a move by Phoenix as the “Glamish Hammer,” an obvious nod to Ivan Putski’s “Polish Hammer.” …

As soon as I realized that Cryme Tyme’s “Word Up” segment was in fact a not-so-subtle Slim Jims ad, I did what I always do when there’s a commercial on: Fast forward, yeah yeah. Fast forward, yeah yeah.

Posted by Kevin Eck at 5:19 PM | | Comments (21)


"...I’m sensing a Simply Flawless ambush"

Do you ever just want to write "there will be" instead of "I'm sensing" for plot lines that are so easily foreshadowed.

How long did Edge's achilles injury take to heal? Just because David Beckham's done his in and looks set to miss the World Cup...

Mac will win the MITB.

Although it is a good program neither Punk or Mysterio will gain anything by from it

I'm not sure why Punk is prepared to forego his Wrestlemania match with Mysterio if Rey touches him before then?
I thought Punk wanted Mysterio in the Straight Edge Society.

As the current conditions stand if Mysterio ambushes Punk then not only does Mysterio get his revenge there's no chance he joins SES. I think that's a flaw in the program the WWE creative team has drawn up for Punk-Mysterio.

Hey Kev,
dunno if you'll have already heard about this, but just seen an advert over here in the UK for the monday 12th april episode of raw (coming from london), where they're advertising cena vs batista for the wwe title. Sounds rather mundane, until they revealed that Bret Hart will be there as 'special enforcer'. It's interesting to see that the wwe seems to be keeping Hart around even after Wrestlemania. I know he was signed on a 4 month contract, but I expected Wrestlemania to be his final appearance. Just wondering if this surprises you at all mate.
Anyway, keep up the good work.

RESPONSE FROM KE: It doesn't surprise me. When the news broke that he signed with WWE it was revealed that it went through a couple weeks after WrestleMania.

-"All he did was stomp on it one time. It seemed out of character that Jericho would stop there while Edge was totally defenseless." What did you expect? Jericho pulling out a steel chair to wrap it around Edge's ankle? Nooo....

- I love McIntyre's new theme. It's a great song!

- To keep McIntyre's credibility, writers should have booked HBK to interfere during the match and allow McIntyre to pin Undertaker. That would contribute to both MITB and their streak v career match.

- After writing that last pointer I see you pretty much wrote the same thing. Glad we think the same way lol

- Why is the word "belt" banned? I don't get it

- Matt Striker is the best commentator in the business, but I really wish he would continue the same criticizing, heelish hosting he did in the first week of NXT, it was brilliant!

Hey kev, do you think this cult leader persona was something the creative team came up with or do you think they just told Punk to go out there and wing it and this whole thing came off by accident like "Austin 3:16". I know Punk kinda got his punished over something really dumb and have a feeling creative had nothing to do with Punk becoming on of the most effective heels in wrestling. I have been watching wrestling for over 20 years and it has been awhile since I have been glued to the TV whenever someone starts cutting a promo. The WWE should hitch it's wagon to punk and keep it there no matter what clothes he wear when he isn't working

RESPONSE FROM KE: My guess is that the Punk character is a combination of the creative team and Punk.

Wrestlemania will mark my 1 year anniversary back in the WWE universe.
I'm getting to know what is the obvious, and the obvious is...Christian is easily the MIB winner. Its only fitting, that not only does ECW fold, he has to job his title to Ezekiel. The name Christian just gloats with respect, and if it is actually that, then he is owed big.
You were right on the mark sir, for the michaels-taker storyline. Why was Drew in that match, and why didn't he win?
Now that makes me wonder if they gonna backdoor Drew to MIB win. Would catch me off guard as he has been stinking of late! I will also be attending Smackdown in Las Vegas, where the advertised main event is Taker Edge vs Jericho Punk. And ringside with Dive Daughter
she wants Morrisons glasses, so the sign will be; painted on sunglasses and " I want you shades" We are so getting those shades!

Dead right Kev. CM Punk is easily the most compelling wrestler in the WWE right now. His p;reformances over the last few weeks have been simply outstanding. Solid Smackdown once again.

The Punk/Mysterio story line and stipulations doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Oh well, this is family friendly entertainment now supposedly directed at kids. If Disney channel show plotlines don't have to make much sense, why should WWE's?

What's your issue with Drew McIntyre's "unbeaten" record being manipulated? WWE did that when he returned in 2009, since I don't remember seeing him win a single match in his first stint on Smackdown. I've kinda thought it was just their way of "winking" to the audience.

I know it's the nature of the beast, but this episode was solely an infomercial for Wrestlemania. What was that miserable Ziggler/MVP/Hardy/Swagger match? Sub-house-show quality.

I used to believe in Swagger... back in his ECW days... but he hasn't impressed me in a very long time. Did you see him wandering vaguely back up the ramp after his victory, like a dementia patient? And what's with that ludicrous pot belly he's toting around these days? Tragic.

While I'm being negative, I can't believe how dull this angle between Edge & Jericho has been. They're two of the absolute best in the biz, What are they feuding over again? Is it about the title? Not really. Is it about... what is it about? Not compelling, and a waste of both their talents, though I still expect great things from the match itself.

On the far opposite (and plus) side, squeaky-clean ultra-baby-face Mysterio continues to be in the strongest, most psychologically powerful angles... he was awesome vs. Jericho, awesome vs. Batista, and is awesome vs. Punk. Few wrestlers in any era could stay so relentlessly goody-goody and yet be in such riveting feuds.

Finally, I agree Drew McIntyre's new entrance is great. Makes all the difference in the world! I used to just find him annoying, and now I'm interested in him.

I'm cranky!!

I think the stuff between Mysterio and Punk over the last few weeks has been amazing and their match at WM is probably the one I'm most looking forward to.

I liked the Cutting Edge segment and I think both men did a good job on the mic. Jericho did make one mistake though - David Beckham does have the same injury as Edge but his career certainly isn't over.

The Punk- Mysterio program is getting good. With it set up so close to WM I hope it continues past next Sunday. I'm glad their WM match isn't a no DQ match since there are already 2 on the card. With no blood or chairs it will be interesting to see how the other 2 matches are pulled off.

I don't understand the point of McIntyre being fed to the Undertaker. Taker didn't need a win over McIntyre. It should have been someone who didn't need to go into the MOTB match strong that was squashed. I'm not sure what the deal is with the strange "undefeated" streak McIntyre has but he is better than this story.

Shawn kicking Taker in the end was good. I hope their WM match ends the same way. All due respect to Undertaker, Michaels should have the big win at WM this year.

there is a possibility that Mysterio will be forced to become a member of Punk’s cult

Is there, really? Mysterio has been pretty consistently beaten by Punk leading up to WrestleMania. Usually that's a sure sign the good guy will triumph. I would be very, very surprised if Mysterio doesn't get the win. There's almost less drama about the result here than Edge vs. Jericho.

I get that it’s The Undertaker and he needs to look strong

The Undertaker looks strong automatically. They could have just stuck him in a drawer until the show and he'll look strong next Sunday. He doesn't need to be built up, and certainly not at the expense of McIntyre.

As for the tag teams: With a match like we're getting at WrestlMania, who cares? It's a perfect example of how WWE is treating tag-team wrestling like Triple Threat, or Hell in a Cell—like it's just another twist on how to present individual characters, not like it's an actual division unto itself. I long for the days of actual tag teams, who were built, booked, and kept as such.

If Drew McIntyre wins money in the bank, we Australian fans will riot!!

I love MITB, and hope that Kofi Kingston knocks out one of the less deserving during their entrance abd takes their place - preferably someone he can later have a good feud with - like Matt Hardy... not that I would normally think he's undeserving... just not so much in the last year. And I don't think they'll axe Kane even though nobody cares about him... they need the token big man. If they go with that angle, and they should - DON'T let it be Evan Bourne!! I can't wait to see how he rises to the occasion.

If that isn't the plan, is Kofi in some backstage trouble? I certainly enjoyed his feud with Orton and thought for his part he did a good job. Why pull the plug on him so quick?

I'm hyped for the UT - Shawn match at Wrestlemania... but as I watching the UT - McIntyre match, i was thinking that Shawn didn't need to make an appearance, that the match is built up so well, that they wouldn't need to show up on the next tapings, and it would still hold its values.

Gotta say WWE really dropped the ball with the Hart Dynasty, bringing Bret back could've done wonders for getting them over. But there's barely a mention of the connection between the Hart's...

Tyson Kidd seemed legitimately ticked off about having to job again to a team thats been together for 2 weeks. At this point they're gonna have to change their slogan to 'Better than Cryme Time, Period'

"I couldn’t help but roll my eyes when Edge said “you nailed me in the head with that championship” to Jericho. Seriously, is the WWE Universe going to implode if someone says the word “belt” on TV? …"

Not sure if you've already covered this, but according to Jericho, Vince no longer wants them referred to as "belts" but rather as "titles."

Drew McIntyre will win MitB, I think.
It's supposed to get more heat on him, the "golden boy" angle.
I think that Rey Mysterio may end up joining SES. It would certainly be an interesting story, but I don't know if it would work.

Rey is so not going to join SES.
Shawn will end 17/0.
Cena,Edge new champs.
Hitman will beat Vince.
ShowMiz will (unfortunately)win.
Kofi win MITB.

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About Kevin Eck
The Baltimore Sun's Kevin Eck blogs about professional wrestling.
E-mail Kevin.

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