*NOTE -- The following will contain spoilers for the Smackdown taped on 4-12-11 set to air 4-15-11. Do not continue reading if you want to watch on Friday without knowing what happened.
Ricardo Rodriguez started off the Smackdown taping by introducing Alberto Del Rio. Alberto came out to some significant heat from the crowd. He launched a promo mainly stating how he should be the heavyweight champion as the title is being vacated and he is the No. 1 contender. Teddy Long then interrupted Del Rio and informed him that he is receiving no title, and that he'll face the winner of tonight's 20 man battle royal at Extreme Rules for the belt. The mention of a battle royal drew a nice pop from the crowd.
The Corre came out next getting moderate heat. Ezekiel Jackson in singles action against Kofi Kingston, who received a fair pop. This was essentially a squash match as Ezekiel tore through Kofi in a matter of minutes. I noticed Kofi was working very soft in this match. Before and after the match, there was noticeable dissension between members of the Corre.
After the match Barrett had a short promo saying how he was going to win the battle royal much to the chagrin of the other Corre members. Zeke also gave a promo and was heckled for mispronouncing a word.
The disfigured Cody Rhodes came into the ring next while a LayCool promo was played on the TitanTron. LayCool were getting couples counseling in a shrink's office. Layla was into the counseling, trying to make it work, while McCool was standoffish and eventually left the couch. This segment was only okay. It was a good premise that could have been better.
After, Cody was able to cut his promo. Cody's promo, as usual, was great as he ripped on Rey Mysterio and talked about his desire to become world champion. Rey eventually stormed the ring to a decent pop, where a brief battle ensued. Cody was able to evacuate the ring and walked backstage.
Mysterio stayed in the ring as Drew McIntyre walked down the ramp to little reaction. McIntyre looks bigger in-person. The two combatants proceeded to work a very good match. The action was back and forth as both got in their signature offense and had multiple near falls. Mysterio eventually hit the 619 and a top rope splash for the win.
Edge finally came out to give his Smackdown sendoff. The crowd was hot throughout with constant cheering, "Thank you Edge" chants, and even a "Thank you Mom" chant as Edge's mom was in attendance. Edge thanked the fans, his mom, his fellow wrestlers and noted that he won his first world title in Albany. He also thought up the ring name "Edge" in a rental car in Albany. His promo was excellent and he did his entrance two times as he made note of how that was special to him.
Next in action was Kelly Kelly taking on Layla. Michelle McCool sat at the announcers table. Kelly Kelly rolled up Layla with a school boy for the pin. The match was just a means to an end as LayCool had another disagreement post-match with McCool shoving Layla and walking off.
The 20 man battle royal was next with Del Rio at the announce table. The competitors were Big Show, JTG, Kane, Drew McIntyre, Chris Masters, Justin Gabriel, Wade Barrett, Rey Mysterio, Kofi Kingston, Christian, Jack Swagger, Yoshi Tatsu, Trent Barreta, Tyler Reks, Ezekiel Jackson, Chavo Guerrero, Curt Hawkins, Broadus Clay and Heath Slater. Christian eventually won a hard fought and very entertaining battle royal to move on to Extreme Rules against Del Rio.
Edge returned to the ring to congratulate Christian. They did some posing and hugging and then the entire roster, faces and heels, walked out on the ramp and gave Edge an ovation. Big Show, Mysterio, and Chavo all walked into the ring to hug Edge. HHH's music then hit and The Game walked to the ring to embrace Edge. Edge gave another emotional farewell speech. Edge then high-fived the fans and walked to the back in conclusion of his in-ring career.
Overall this was an excellent live Smackdown with an epic feel to it. One of wrestling's great legends gave his heartfelt farewell in exquisite form. 5 out of 5 stars.
1- Del Rio
2- Michael Cole
3- Wade Barrett