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February 12, 2010
– Adam Russell

The Bigger Picture

The Elimination Chamber pay-per-view is just nine days away, and so far only three matches have been signed. With WrestleMania
following Elimination Chamber, you can’t blame WWE for looking at the bigger picture. However, with the news the company has
decided to drop the Survivor Series pay-per-view, you wonder that they don’t either put more effort into promoting these B-level pay-per-
views, or just forego them completely. At least on this week’s Smackdown, we were promised three matches pitting the 6 Smackdown
elimination chamber combatants against one another.

--- Rey Mysterio Vs CM Punk (w/Luke Gallows and Serena)

We went straight to action this week, and Punk got in Rey’s face, pie-facing him. Mysterio responded with a slap to the face, a dropkick,
and a victory roll for a two count. He then went to work on Punk’s leg, with kicks and then a leglock, and then transitioned into a Greco-
Roman knucklelock, which Rey turned into a sunset flip for another two count. Rey went back to the leg, but Punk connected with an
enziguri kick, and then threw Rey to the outside. Rey rolled through, suckered Punk to the outside, and then teased a dive as we went to
commercial at 3’47. We came back at 6’57 with Punk landing a leg lariat for a nearfall. He back body dropped Rey onto the apron, and
Mysterio head scissored Punk to the outside and hit a seated senton off the apron. Punk then back suplexed Rey onto the security wall,
turning the tide of the match. He sent Rey back into the ring and hit a hilo to the back, and then a baseball slide dropkick, sending Rey
into the ringpost. He followed up with a short clothesline on the outside, and then locked on a bow and arrow back in the ring. Next came
a big backbreaker, and then he applied an armbar surfboard, which Rey kicked his way out of. Mysterio hit a drop toe hold, sending Punk
into the turnbuckle, and then went to the top rope. Punk took his leg out, hanging him in the tree of woe, but when he went for another
baseball slide, Rey powered into an upright position, crotching Punk against the ringpost. Rey then hit a seated senton from the top
rope, and a springboard cross body block for a two count. Punk came back at Rey again with a snap powerslam, and then hit a kneelift in
the corner. He couldn’t follow up with the bulldog, and instead Rey dropkicked him into the 619 position. Serena climbed up onto the
apron to cause a distraction, and Gallows tried to get involved, but Rey hotshotted him, and then went for the 619 on Punk. Punk moved
and went for the Go To Sleep, but Rey countered into a hurricanrana for the victory at 14’52. Gallows attacked Rey after the match with a
clothesline, and then hit a backbreaker and a splash in the corner. He then placed Rey on the waiting Punk’s back, and the Straight-
Edge Saviour delivered the GTS. Serena also joined in the attack with a kick to the ribs.

This was an excellent way to start the show. The match was fast-paced, full of action, but also managed to work in the psychology of
Punk going after Rey’s back. I’ve probably said it before, but Punk may be the best in the company of bringing in new offence which
specifically targets the body part that he is going after. The post-match beatdown could have been the first play towards a Punk-Rey
match at WrestleMania.

Drew McIntyre came out next to some new entrance music, which suits him much more than the generic rock riff he had before. Drew
said that he doesn’t care who his opponent is, because he is undefeated and unstoppable. That usually means somebody big is going
to come out, and sure enough, out came Kane. Drew said that on second thoughts, he has nothing to prove to Kane, and if he wants a
match, he can have it next week. The bell rang anyway, and Kane booted McIntyre over the top rope.

--- Drew McIntyre Vs Kane

The two brawled, with Kane coming out on top and going to the top rope. Drew ducked out of the ring, and we took a break 46 seconds
in. at 3’39 we came back, with Drew in control with an armbar. Kane fought out and hit a clothesline, another one in the corner, and then
a side suplex for a two count. He connected with the flying clothesline and went for the chokeslam, but Drew broke free and went for the
Future Shock DDT. Kane fought out and went for a chokeslam again, and the struggle ended with both on the outside, where they
brawled until both were counted out at 6’55. Back in the ring, Drew hit a big boot on Kane and tried to hit him with the Intercontinental
championship belt, but Kane countered with the chokeslam. Not a terribly interesting match this one, and it looks like it will set up future
battles for the Intercontinental title. McIntyre still hasn’t really done anything to impress me all that much, but I suspect his push will
continue with a win over the Big Red Monster.

We went to the back, where Mickie James was helping herself to a piece of fruit. Michelle and Layla appeared, and made fun of her
weight. I thought this storyline was over. Michelle offered her a plate of cottage cheese, but Mickie knocked it out of her hand. It was then
revealed that she knocked it right into Vickie Guerrero’s face. Nothing about this segment says good television to me.

--- Mickie James Vs Layla (w/Michelle McCool)

Mickie dominated for the first 26 seconds, at which point Vickie Guerrero came out and made this a handicap match. Mickie got double
teamed, but managed to slam McCool’s head into the mat and then hit a Thesz press on Layla. Michelle hit a backbreaker, Mickie made
a brief comeback, but eventually succumbed to the Faithbreaker at 3’01.

Josh Matthews introduced Batista to the crowd, as we were promised an explanation for his actions over the past couple of weeks. Big
Dave came out in a snazzy all-denim affair, but didn’t say a word, dropping the mic and walking back to the back after killing a few
minutes. This lasted maybe a little bit too long, but I’m fine with the idea of it, playing up Batista’s silent-but-deadly persona. To be frank,
he’s one guy who is much more interesting when he doesn’t talk.

Teddy Long came out next, and said that since Batista doesn’t like talking, maybe he’ll like competing. He then made Edge Vs Batista
for, what seemed like, later in the night.

The Great Khali and Matt Hardy came out next, and Matt wished everyone a happy Valentine’s day, before introducing Maria as his
special Valentine.

--- Matt Hardy and The Great Khali (w/Runjin Singh and Maria) Vs The Hart Dynasty (w/Natalya)

It looked like David Hart Smith was going to start off with Khali, but Smith bailed and tagged in Tyson Kidd. Khali beeled Kidd into the
ring, and then tagged Hardy. Hardy hit a clothesline, but then a distraction from Smith allowed Kidd to knock Matt down with a clubbing
blow. Smith tagged in and hit a delayed suplex, before Kidd came back in and hit a low dropkick. Matt made a comeback with the Side
Effect, but Kidd blocked the Twist of Fate, and Natalya tripped Matt as he hit the ropes. That caused Maria to attack Natalya with a Thesz
press and, in the confusion, Matt reversed a roll up on Kidd to get the pin at 2’09. Not much really to say about this, except I find it kinda
weird the hot and then cold way in which the Hart Dynasty are booked. I suppose it’s pretty indicative of the way in which tag teams, in
general, are treated as an afterthought in the company.

--- R-Truth Vs John Morrison

A strange one, this, as in the very early stages Morrison went down clutching his leg after leap-frogging Truth. The referee called for the
bell, giving Truth the win after just 53 seconds, and then Truth helped Morrison to the back. I could complain about the company
advertising matches and then reneging on them, but I’ll save that for later. This had to have been a work, but I don’t know where they’re
going with it, unless it’s a way to get Morrison out of the chamber match. If it is legit, the timing is unfortunate.

Edge came out next, and talked about the benefit of winning the Royal Rumble being not just that you get to main event WrestleMania,
but also that you don’t have to compete in the elimination chamber. He said there is no predicting what will happen in those matches,
but he can predict that he will face whoever survives, and teased the various possibilities, mentioning Randy Orton, John Cena, Rey
Mysterio and CM Punk, and saying that the guy who stands out from the pack is the Undertaker, due to his undefeated record at
WrestleMania. He went on that it is out of his hands, but one match he knows will take place is his match with Batista on next week’s
Smackdown. It’s strange, because I, and probably a lot of other people thought that match was going to happen tonight. That is certainly
what we were led to believe by Long’s announcement. I know it’s pretty much impossible to announce a match for the following week,
and not get heat from the crowd who are in attendance that week (why would they care about next week?), but to deliberately mislead like
that… Well, between that and the Truth/Morrison match, I would have felt a bit short-changed had I paid to go to this show.

Before Edge could talk further about Batista, Chris Jericho came out, and said it was strange that Edge didn’t mention him, although he
doesn’t blame him as he is a bad luck charm for the Rated-R Superstar. He went on that he doesn’t know what it’s like to make a
triumphant return from injury the way Edge did at the Royal Rumble, because he doesn’t get injured- he just wins championships and
carries the company on his back. He warned Edge to save himself some grief and choose to face the winner of the Raw elimination
chamber at WrestleMania, because he will be winning the Smackdown one, and if you continue to provoke him, bad things will happen
to him. He then told Edge that if he has any doubt, he should watch what he does against the Undertaker in the main event. The lights
then went out and ‘Taker came out for the match which, for no apparent reason, was a no holds barred match. Edge sat in on
commentary.

--- No Holds Barred Match- The Undertaker Vs Chris Jericho

Jericho did his usual stalling act to start the match, but ‘Taker finally caught up with him and beat him down on the ring apron, hitting the
vintage legdrop, and then sent him into the security wall. Back in the ring, ‘Taker went for “old school”, but Jericho crotched him and hit a
superplex for a two count. The Dead Man came back with punches, a corner clothesline, snake eyes, a big boot and a legdrop for a
nearfall, but Jericho ducked out of the ring before he could hit a chokeslam. Jericho found himself distracted by Edge by the commentary
table, and ‘Taker attacked him from behind, and then tried to throw him into Edge, with Edge sidestepping. Edge and The Undertaker
then had a staredown, with ‘Taker turning to walk away but then nailing him with a big boot, which put a big knot in Edge’s head. ‘Taker
climbed back into the ring, where he was met by a DDT from Jericho, who then took the turnbuckle pad off one of the corners. Undertaker
went for a chokeslam, which Jericho countered into a roll up, with ’Taker’s kick-out sending Jericho into the exposed turnbuckle. The
Undertaker then hit the Last Ride, but Edge came in and delivered a spear to the Phenom. ’Taker eventually sat up, but ate a
Codebreaker as Jericho picked up the win at 7’35.

I really liked the angle here, furthering the issue between Edge and Jericho, but also introducing the Edge/Undertaker element. I can’t
imagine this will lead to Edge/’Taker at WrestleMania, as that was the main event two years ago, but it doesn’t hurt to add to the general
intrigue. I really like the way the main feuds/storylines this year are so deeply layered, leaving the possibility of the company going
several different ways.

This Smackdown didn’t really do much for the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view, with the chamber matches already selling
themselves, but there were several things going on here which could possibly have WrestleMania implications. We started things off
really strong, with the Punk/Rey match, but things went slowly downhill from there (with a peak at the end), and the show seemed to be
filled with a whole lot of nothing for the most part. I’ll take one really good match a week, considering nothing else was too offensive, but
the show would have seemed better had that been the main event, and not the opener.

MVP of the night- Split between Rey and Punk, for that fine opening match.