SummerSlam is getting ever closer, and we now have just two episodes of Smackdown remaining before the new Summer classic!
Last week, COO HHH showed up on the Blue Show for the first time in years, and he established that the upcoming pay per view would, yet again, feature a title match between Christian and Randy Orton. Apparently, we're supposed to be intrigued because this one is a no holds barred match.
A contingent of fans are already talking about the fact that they'll act like they want to riot if Christian loses the belt... though they won't actually riot because they don't have convictions THAT strong.
Meaning they're not willing to back up their wrestling-related opinions with the potential for legal convictions.
See what I did there?
Every week, GuysNation gives you our perspective on WWE events through a series of articles, and this one is dedicated to my questions, comments and analysis on the Aug. 5 edition of Friday Night Smackdown!
Despite my expectations of the show starting off with the World Title situation, we don't get a recap or a segment involving Christian or Randy Orton... instead, we get a double-dose of Sheamus!
Highlighting the upcoming SummerSlam match, which has been officially announced, Smackdown starts by giving us a recent history lesson on the saga between Mark Henry and Sheamus.
Sheamus comes to the ring, and although I was expecting a promo, they start things strong by giving us a match!
Match - Sheamus vs. The Great Khali
When I heard the music and saw Jinder Mahal's name on the video screens, my immediate reaction was surprise that Jinder Mahal was no longer getting softball / easy matches, but it appears that the Punjabi Playboy is the opponent, which means Sheamus is going to get the strong-style booking (My apologies to anyone who gets that reference).
Anyone else laugh when Sheamus does his repeated back elbows attack to Great Khali? On a typical opponent, it connects with their head... but Sheamus used it on Khali's ribs.
Outcome - Sheamus wins by pinfall with the Brogue Kick
After the announcers are done hyping up what a great accomplishment it was for Sheamus to beat a guy who hasn't seen a serious one-on-one pay per view match since before Sheamus was World Champion, we get notified of tonight's main event...
Stemming from last week, Randy Orton will team up with John Morrison to face Christian and R-Truth in tonight's main event. Interesting (to me) fact: John Morrison will have teamed up with two different tag team partners this week whose name starts with R and ends with Y (first ReY Mysterio, and now RandY Orton). If only Macho Man were still around... or at least Big Boss Man.
When showing the recap of RAW's Diva Battle Royal, Jim Ross commented on the aftermath, stating that Beth Phoenix was "woman handling" Kelly Kelly. Come on, I realize the gender of those involved, but with Beth Phoenix being as strong as some of her male counterparts on the roster, couldn't he have just said "man-handling"?
After months of Natalya providing guidance for the runner-up from the all-woman NXT season, she gets booked as the opponent for her tonight.
Match - AJ vs. Natalya
The Hart Dynasty Diva obviously being one of the best women's competitors in the business today, this match is certainly showing why Melina Perez was considered expendable in today's cuts.
What I would've liked to have seen from this match would've been AJ showing how she is learning something from Natalya, namely a way to avoid having to tap out to the Sharpshooter... but they got the other direction with it.
Outcome - Natalya forces AJ to tap out to the Sharpshooter
Following the match, Natalya goes the Beth Phoenix route and beats up on AJ, then says she's siding with Beth Phoenix in tearing apart the "perky little princesses".
Ah, something to look forward to later in the evening, as Zack Ryder will be giving his "State Of The Showski Address."
Matt Stryker has the backstage interview, and he's wondering how Orton feels about what he did last week to R-Truth. Orton essentially just agrees that he has anger management issues, and says he's looking forward to getting the chance to take out his aggression on a guy who has never beaten Orton by pinfall or submission.
Anyone want to guess how the main event tonight ends? I'm guessing Christian is going to score a pinfall on the former champ.
Match - Daniel Bryan vs. Tyson Kidd
Ah yes, one of the matches I was looking forward to seeing when Bryan got signed to Smackdown.
How fortunate are we that Tyson Kidd is still on the roster, when his former tag team partner got fired today?
It would take someone being a wrestling fan for at least 15 years, but I'm guessing I'm not alone in the fact that I liked the spot where Tyson Kidd locked in the Figure Four Leg Lock around the corner ringpost.
Also, it was a nice touch to have Wade Barrett on commentary for this match. Clearly they're building up the rivalry between Bryan and Barrett, and they've used this tactic before, but how frequently do they build up something which isn't one of the top two feuds on a show?
Not that I want Wade Barrett to win at SummerSlam (assuming he and Bryan will have a match), but I hope Wade Barrett's paying attention to the match, because Danielson... I mean Daniel Bryan, is selling a leg injury.
Wade Barrett mentions to the other announcers that he's seeing some holes in Bryan's game... though he says he won't tell the other announcers what they are. Booker T says he's failing to see something to exploit... and I'm guessing the former 6-Time champion didn't notice the limp Bryan is sporting due to the damage his leg took this match.
Long-time Bryan fans - did you happen to notice when Dragon was using the forearms against the ropes and the referee pulled Bryan away, Booker T said something to the effect of "he's got until 5"? Not sure if it was intentional or not, but I appreciated it.
So Zack Ryder goes from not being involved in either show, to now being on three straight shows (Smackdown last week, RAW this week, and now Smackdown)
Before Ryder can get into his State Of The Showski Address, he's interrupted by Intercontinental Champion Ezekiel Jackson.
Zeke says he thinks Ryder is expecting Zeke to want to rip his head off, but really, Zeke just wants to know what the Broski was thinking to make that handicap match last week.
Ryder starts to defend himself... but Cody Rhodes shows up and lays it on the line: he wants to take the Intercontinental Title from Zeke and resurrect the division.
Zeke fails to see that his reign is mediocre, and he goes on to talk about how Ted DiBiase is being used, just like Zeke was being used as a member of The Corre.
Cody tries to setup a warm-up match between DiBiase and Zeke... Zack Ryder tries to confirm it, but Teddy Long shows up and makes something clear: Zack Ryder is Smackdown's equivalent of Dwight Schrute. He's not the Assistant (General) Manager, he's the Assistant TO the (General) Manager.
Teddy has another match in mind, and it's next!
Match - Zack Ryder vs Zeke Jackson
Showing that the Internet following built up by Ryder means something, he doesn't get COMPLETELY torn apart. In fact, Ryder does realy well for the first half of the match... before Zeke hits his signature three straight bodyslams before locking in his submission.
Outcome - Ezekiel Jackson by submission with the Torture Rack
Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase were banned from ringside for the match, but I see no reason they didn't show up after the match. Maybe they were backstage talking about the fact that someone forgot to bring the paper bags tonight.
Teddy Long gets an interesting visitor, a leather-clad Diva named Aksana, who apparently wants to talk "business" with Teddy. To anyone "in the know," is this the same Aksana who was paired up with Goldust during the female season of NXT?
Match - Mark Henry vs Vladimir Kozlov
So you've got the World's Strongest Man - who already has a match booked for SummerSlam, facing a guy who was released earlier today. With Mark Henry having already "injured" Big Show and Kane in the past month (or thereabouts), who wants to guess how this match is going to end?
Outcome - Mark Henry wins the match in quick fashion, winning with the World's Strongest Slam
After the match, Josh Mathews says that Mark Henry was "all offense" in this match. So what exactly was he doing when Kozlov was hitting him in the corner, and using headbutts? I wouldn't say he was trying to defend it, but it's not like this match was a super-squash. The former WWE competitor did get SOME offense in.
Just like with Kane and Big Show, Mark Henry gets a chair and attacks Kozlov's leg, injuring him in the process, and then Sheamus shows up.
Given what Mark Henry has done in previous weeks, didn't Sheamus get an idea for what Mark Henry's intentions were when Mark got the chair? If he was willing to stop Henry from doing damage, why didn't Sheamus run to the ring sooner?
Oh look, it's more John Morrison parkour practice backstage, using skills that he rarely implements during his matches.
And for your next match, six guys who seemed like they were in line to get fired, had you asked me six months ago.
Six Man Tag - The Usos & Trent Barreta vs David Otunga, Mike McGillicutty & JTG
Don't get me wrong, I think four of these guys are good wrestlers, and the others have decent potential for gaining fans in WWE.
Nice double team move by Otunga and McGillicutty, with Otunga sending Mike into the ropes with an Irish whip, and McGillicutty hitting an elbow smash on an Uso, and then Otunga hitting a diving clothesline immediately after McGillicutty moved out of the way. Double team move of the night so far.
It takes more than one decent doube-team move to make them a good team.... which they really need to establish if they're going to be a centerpiece of the tag division.
Trent Barreta shows why I've been a fan of his for the past few months, using a bunch of fast-paced, exciting moves during his brief stint in the ring. Hopefully this leads to him getting more opportunities, despite the outcome of the match.
Outcome - McGillicutty and Otunga turn into Demolition for their final spot of the match, hitting a back-breaker-assisted elbow smash from the turnbuckles onto Trent Barreta for the pinfall.
Would it kill WWE to start a feud between JTG and Trent Barreta? They don't need to give them a pay per view match (though they could use that to their advantage to hype up their web-show WWE Superstars).
That's the way you build up the future of the business, and I'm hoping this starts a trend of those guys getting in-ring time on Smackdown.
Another Johnny Curtis segment... and he gets one final pun before telling us that he's going to be in action next week.
So let me get this straight, Sin Cara gets powerbombed through a ladder at the pay per view, they sell it as a really serious injury, and yet he's only out three weeks? Would it have killed them to keep him out beyond SummerSlam?
Match - Randy Orton & John Morrison vs Christian & R-Truth
So essentially it's the TNA Alumni vs the guys who have awkward facial hair?
Which show is R-Truth assigned to these days? He may as well get moved to Friday nights, and while they're at it, John Morrison too, if he's not there already.
Yes, I realize I could just go to the WWE website and check which show those guys are assigned to, but it takes a lot of concentration to write this article as I watch the show, and I'm not a WWE announcer, so I can't, in good conscience, ignore the action going on in the ring and talk about something else.
Actually, I was sorta doing that, but going move-for-move? Tougher task than becoming WWE Champion without being friends with Triple H.
Christian draws the ire of Randy Orton and gets him to chase the champ out into the crowd, but when we come back from commercial, everyone gets back to their respective corners where they belong.
Crazy commercial breaks can lead to anything... aside from the match ending, that is. I still maintain they should do that sometime, end things short and then give us a quick video recap. Doing that would open the potential for some interesting things... but it would also require some WWE Creativity.
Out of nowhere, John Morrison executes his standing backflip uranage on R-Truth, and you can really tell that his ring rust is being shaken off, as he hit it crisply this time, and it was certainly the move of the night so far.
Just when things looked really bad for Christian, R-Truth gets into the ring, eats an RKO to save the champ, and Christian sneaks in, hits the Killswitch and scores the victory.
Outcome - Christian gets the win by pinfall over Randy Orton
I guess Christian working together with R-Truth at Survivor Series in 2009 and back in TNA really paid off, as Truth helps Christian get a significant feather in his cap. If this were the final Smackdown before SummerSlam, I wouldn't like Christian's chances of retaining the belt against Orton, but 168 hours from now we'll see how they end the final Blue show to see who has more momentum.
Until then? We'll just have to speculate.
Keep checking back throughout the night, as I'll be updating this article as the show progresses. As always, by the end of the night the GuysNation version of this article will have the infamous polls!