The last WWE show before Unforgiven finishes up and we have to sit here and ask ourselves one question: Am I going to buy Unforgiven? Well, let's take a look at what creative is doing and see if we're interested.
The show opens with a quick vignette on the Undertaker and Vickie Guerrero story line. This runs before the actual opening credits for the show. Good idea, reminding everyone of one of the bigger stories in the company but not wasting much TV time to show it. It seemed like they were getting off on the right foot. But then Triple H comes out with a microphone. I've said it before and I'll say it again; never start a show with talking. People will change the channel. It was an interesting thing to notice that Triple H comes out to "The King of Kings" whenever he is doing a promo and "The Game" whenever he has a match. Triple H talks about the scramble in a typical face fashion before Shelton comes out to interrupt. MVP follows shortly after and the two begin to argue amongst themselves on who is better. This argument actually came off very well. The two flowed with each other and it didn't sound like two wrestlers trying to get a story over, but rather two people on the street looking for a fight. Triple H then plays the comedic role by running down how segments like this always work out, with the heels attacking the face but then the face beats them up. It's fun to see stuff like this because it is Triple H shooting on creative. He's acknowledging that the writing is predictable and it puts it out in the open. It gives the audience a chance to laugh and tells the writers whats what. Too bad it doesn't mean anything in the long run as the stories won't change, but it's always good to know that people in the company know that the writing is redundant. Eventually, The Brian Kendrick comes out to attack Triple H and the heels jump him. Jeff Hardy comes for the save and things get interesting. MVP and Shelton leave, but Kendrick stays behind and is the heel that the camera follows as he backs up the ramp. They are really pushing Kendrick as a top heel now. He was the one that came out to attack Triple H while the others were talking and then he is the heel that they decided to showcase before they go to break.
After break, we see R-Truth versus Bam Neely. R-Truth has a great entrance as he came through the crowd with a live mic and rapped his own theme music. This is the exact idea I had that John Cena should have done when he was the Doctor of Thuganomics. The only problem with this is that R-Truth hasn't developed a huge fan following. So as he makes his way through, the fans give him no reaction. There were a few that seemed into it but the majority seemed to be indifferent. Chavo's music hits and Neely comes out. I never like the idea that certain wrestlers don't have there own theme music. I think it's very disrespectful to them, especially when they've been in the company as long a Bam Neely has been. The match works the way that last weeks R-Truth match should have. R-Truth dominates through the entire thing and looks great doing it. His wrestling style is all flash is it gets the audiences attention pretty quick. If he times it right, he can capture an audience then begin to work a more grounded style to keep them before they realize that he has no substance. R-Truth gets the pin with the axe kick.
Undertaker is standing in the ring and we missed his entire entrance. Interesting move on the WWE's part as the Undertaker is one of their biggest stars. Taker then addresses Vickie Guerrero. he begins to talk about how he is going to kill her on Sunday and send her to hell. At first, this segment was working. But then he kept talking and it started to get tasteless. He begins to describe how he's going to choke her with his bare hands and burn her casket. The only thing I could think about was all the kids in the audience that were listening to this. I understand that this is his character but the WWE wanted to go to a more family friendly environment. I don't see how announcing how you're going to kill someone can be classified as family friendly. The Undertaker then disappears and the next match starts.
MVP versus Shelton Benjamin is up. MVP sold the Undertaker very well. He creeps out of his entrance looking around to make sure it's clear. When his pyros go off, he jumps. this worked great because MVP is a hell and he should be afraid of the Undertaker. Then we get this weird video promo, like last week, that has Shelton explaining why he's the gold standard. His music hits and he comes out. I don't understand the purpose of these mini promos as we already know what Shelton Benjamin is is all about. Both men showed how ruthless they were as Shelton takes the early advantage. There was barley a reaction from the fans as both men are top heels in the company and there was no one to cheer for. A small group of people began cheering for MVP but that died down pretty quick. Shelton picks up the win with a the Paydirt. Now, for these two men, this match was very weak. They are both amazing athletes but because there was no face, they couldn't tell a proper story with there performance. This should have been the match of the night but it feel short.
We head backstage to see Maria getting ready for her match. Maryse comes out and begins to insult her. Now, I may have missed something, but I thought that Maria was suppose to be stupid. She always talked in the high pitched voice and everything anyone said went over her head. Tonight however, she was talking with confidence and won't back down from Maryse. I understand that through character development, she should eventually be like this, but I don't remember this storyline ever taking place. It just seemed like an overnight thing and it doesn't work. She doesn't come off believable in this new character.
After the break we get the match. It has a cat fight open, which should never be seen in a wrestling ring. When you have two women facing off against each other and you're trying to make the audience believe that they are legitimate wrestlers, they should behave like it. Cat fights are what women who don't know how to wrestle do. Now, I'm not saying that Maryse or Maria can wrestle, but we're suppose to believe that they can. The match itself wasn't terrible. They worked a safe style and did very basic moves. Maryse did do some interesting rolling transitions into submission holds. She made them look painful and you can see that she truly is trying to learn. The end of the match sees Maryse pick up the win, but she doesn't hook the leg. It always bothers me when they don't do that. I feel that if you hook the leg, it makes both parties look better as the winner is unsure if the pin fall will be successful and everyone can wonder if the loser could have still kicked out had the leg not been hooked. Overall, a good showcase for Maryse. She has a long way to go before she can be consider good but at least she's visibly improving. What didn't make sense about this was at the end of the segment, McCool comes out to come face to face with Maryse. McCool coming out really served no purpose because that is more of a heel move to confront your enemy and McCool is suppose to be the face. It really felt like they were just trying to get her on TV somehow and it came across as strange.
Jeff Hardy versus The Brian Kendrick is up next. It was good to see this match at the top of the hour because it showcased two young talents. The match was back and forth which made the audience care about it. These two men worked pretty well with each other but there were some times that it seemed like they didn't communicate too well. Kendrick gets the win with the newly named The Kendrick. I thought this was a genius move as they need to solidify Kendrick as a legitimate threat in the scramble match. Now he has a big win over Jeff Hardy and people should be able to take him serious now.
Vickie Guerrero shows up in a limo and makes her way to the ring. The only thing I kept thinking was "How did she get out of the locked office the week before?"
After break, we see Ryan Braddok versus Super Crazy. It was exciting to see Super Crazy twice in a week because we usually don't see him twice in a month. There really wasn't much to this match as it was used as a transition to the next segment. Crazy gets the win but Braddok kicks out right at 3. I didn't like this because it shows that Crazy just barely won the match, which doesn't show him any respect.
After the match, Kozlov comes out and kicks Super Crazy out of the ring. He then announces that he his done fighting nobodies and he wants a real challenge. Enter The Big Show. Show tells him that he wants a fight and the two begin to square off. Vickie comes down and kicks Kozlov out of the ring. Hopefully, these two will get in a program together and we'll see this match in the near future. Vickie addresses the fact that Big Show has been screwing around with her show and that he will be delt with later. Vickie then demands an apology from the Undertaker come Sunday. This was a strange segment as so much happened in it. But I did like how quick they went through it because it kept it interesting and got straight to the point.
Victoria has a rematch with Brie Bella. There has been no improvement since last week on Brie's part, if that was Brie and not Nicole. She's still too green. This match had the exact same problem as last weeks, the fans couldn't get behind it. It had the exact same ending, Brie goes under the ring and comes out the other side, rather quickly, and hits Victoria with the School Boy of Doom. The story is in place, but The Bella Twins really shouldn't be working with a heel to start off because they're gimmick is a heels gimmick and it's not going to go over to well when they make the reveal.
Another Smackdown Your Vote promo runs. Nothing bad to say about this. The WWE can keep up the good work when it comes to trying to get more people to vote. What I did find interesting was how Mickie James a point to say you need to vote whether you're a democrat, a republican, or an independent. Mickie was asked early in the week if she was a republican and it seemed like she really tried to make sure everyone new that there were independents in the race as well, because that's what she is.
The RAW Rebound plays and only shows the Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho feud. It really feels like the WWE doesn't like C.M. Punk or Rey Mysterio when they're not even mentioned on the rebound. The Jericho/Michaels feud is so stale right now that I'm happy Shawn will be out of action for a few weeks after Sunday. I don't like the fact that he injured himself but it was for the better in the long run.
Eve is backstage with Triple H as they discuss the scramble. Jeff shows up and Triple H shoots on creative again when he asks why no one can finish a thought without someone else coming by to interrupt. Triple H then reminds Hardy of his two strikes through the wellness policy. I thought it was interesting to bring this up. It's all over the internet that the WWE doesn't trust Jeff because he is one drug failure away from being fired. The word going around is that he will not hold the WWE title because of it. For Triple H to bring that up gives Hardy a good chance of winning it. Creative is always trying to swerve the fans so by reminding them that Jeff can never win the title, it means that Jeff might win the title for the big shock value.
After break we have the lumberjack match seeing Triple H versus The Great Khali. The match is the typical Khali match; dominates through out until his opponent figures out to take out his legs and defeats him. The only difference this time was the fact that there was a dominant amount of heels as the lumberjacks. Whenever Triple H fell outside, they beat the hell out of him. The problems I had with this match all came from Triple H's selling, or lack thereof. Triple H is successfully hit with the Choke Slam and kicks out. Khali applies the Vise Grip and Triple H muscles his way out of it. These are both of Khali's finishing moves and somehow Triple H is strong enough to get out of them. Khali is suppose to be unstoppable but it's things like this that make him lose credibility. Triple H gets the win with the pedigree and in a strange event, the referee waits for Triple H to hook the leg before he begins counting. If the referee had counted when he should have, the full count would have been 6. This really made Khali look bad. After the match, Jeff comes in and gives Triple H the Twist of Fate to a very mixed reaction. It seems that people like Triple H just a little more than they like Jeff Hardy. Creative needs to be careful about this as they don't want to accidentally turn Jeff heel.
Looking back at the show, it was rather uneventful. They did a good job advertising the scramble on Sunday but it really didn't add anything that wasn't already there a week ago. Overall, an average show but not the best it could have been. My rating: B-