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April 30, 2011

WWE Smackdown: The new Age of Orton gets off to a good start

Randy Orton wasted no time in putting his stamp on Smackdown.

Having moved over from Raw during Monday night’s WWE draft, Orton came out to cut a promo in the opening segment of Friday’s episode of Smackdown. He didn’t get a chance to say a whole lot, however, before he was interrupted by Drew McIntyre, Alex Riley and Alberto Del Rio in succession.

McIntyre and Riley both got RKO’d, but Del Rio was smart enough not to come to the ring alone. He brought Brodus Clay and Ricardo Rodriguez with him, and the three of them cornered Orton. Before they could touch him, however, Christian came out to back up Orton.

Smackdown general manager Teddy Long then announced that Orton and Christian would face Del Rio and Clay in the main event. The babyfaces prevailed in the match, with Orton hitting the RKO on Clay for the victory.

All in all, it was a good first night on Smackdown for Orton, the new face of the brand.

Other thoughts on Friday’s show:

I haven’t seen Orton smile so much since his ill-fated babyface turn in 2004. He also was sporting a new GQ look, with a stubbly beard and slightly longer hair. I hope WWE isn’t planning on softening his character too much. Orton needs to be “The Viper,” regardless of whether he is a heel or a babyface. He knows that, as well. When talking about his current babyface run in an interview with me in March, he said: “If all of a sudden I’m coming out and I’m trying to be like John Cena, that typical white meat babyface, kissing babies, hugging grandmas, slapping high-fives with everybody in the front row, that’s not going to work. If I come out pumping my fist and smiling, it’s going to make people want to barf.” ...

Riley getting RKO’d before he even had a chance to say a word was pretty funny. At least McIntyre got to cut a promo first. ...

Having the talent wear the blue Smackdown and red Raw t-shirts was a good idea. Otherwise, who could possibly keep track of who is on what show at this point? ...

Clay got a nice rub by being involved in the tag team main event with three established stars. Clay being put in that spot once again shows how little it means to win – or lose – NXT. Johnny who? ...

Christian cut a good backstage promo to hype his ladder match against Del Rio for the vacant world heavyweight championship at Sunday’s Extreme Rules pay-per-view. I liked when he said that before last week he had never put his hands on the world title belt because he didn’t feel he earned the right to touch it. ...

I liked that the match between Michelle McCool and Layla – which ended in a double disqualification in about a minute – was a brawl rather than a wrestling contest. Two friends turned bitter enemies should be trying to beat the heck out of each other, not performing moves. ...

After the women’s match, it was announced that McCool and Layla will face each other at Extreme Rules in a no-DQ, loser leaves WWE match. According to online reports, McCool called it a “loser leaves Smackdown” match at the taping. It was very obvious that “WWE” was inserted in place of “Smackdown” in post production. The speculation is that McCool is taking some time off. ...

So much for Kofi Kingston’s winning streak. After defeating Sheamus and being the co-winner of a battle royal on Raw Monday night, Kingston was destroyed by Sheamus on Smackdown. Sheamus attacked Kingston from behind, and their scheduled match never took place. I suppose WWE is trying to re-establish Sheamus as a major player, but it’s a shame that Kingston is going to Raw with zero momentum. ...

The Rey Mysterio-Mark Henry match was good. Cody Rhodes’ interference – which caused Mysterio to win by DQ – was predictable but effective. Rhodes showed a lot of intensity as he beat up Mysterio outside the ring and over the barricade. It was a nice prelude to their falls count anywhere match Sunday. ..

Booker T. asked why Henry suddenly changed his attitude and double-crossed his tag team partners Cena and Christian on Raw. I was wondering the same thing. Hopefully, Henry will cut a promo on next week’s show to explain his motivation. ...

The Sin Cara-Jack Swagger match was entertaining. Cara looked smoother in the ring than he did in his previous appearances. Swagger lost because of an inadvertent distraction from Michael Cole, which led to more tension between the two. ...

Cole, showing the effects of the beating he took at the hands of Jim Ross on Raw, had a black eye and a fat lip. My guess is that the lip was legit and the shiner was a makeup job. ...

The Big Show and Kane’s successful WWE tag team title defense against Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater was a lot better than I expected. ...

FYI: The guy talking to The Great Khali and Ranjin Singh backstage was FCW developmental talent Jinder Mahal. ...

I was hoping that getting drafted to Smackdown would jump-start the careers of Daniel Bryan and Ted DiBiase Jr., but neither of them were on the show. Maybe next week.

Posted by Kevin Eck at 11:49 PM | | Comments (8)


Randy orton is my icon in wwe.he's good and agile.i luv u.

Hi guys ortons move 2 smackdown will make the show more interesting 2 watch is there wrestling 4 people aged 16 yrs?

I'm so glad that Randy is on SD. :)

What was with the blue and yellow lighting during the Sin Cara/Jack Swagger match? It was like an Inferno Match, but without the fire.

Kev, there have been some ideas going around that Cara is the new Mysterio. That Mysterio after a few PPV will become less than a mid card. Is that true?

What the heck was the point of the draft? I think it was done just so they knew what color shirts to wear while still appearing on both shows.

I thought they had Sheamus beat up on Kofi to set up a match for Extreme Rules where Kofi could win the US belt and take it to Raw since Smackdown already has the IC title.
I guess we will find out tonight.

Speaking of Johnny Curtis... :) ... has he even appeared yet on WWE since he won NXT? If I remember correctly, he's supposed to get a tag-team title shot with Truth as his partner. With the R man getting his first big push as a singles rassler and a heel, I can't see that happening for quite a while.

Personally, I'm a fan of Curtis - both his in-ring skills and personality.

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

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