Welcome to Talking Smack. This was a fantastic show delivered by the A crew. It’s a shame that they’ll be broken up after next week when the draft lottery happens. Before I get started, I want to make you aware of a short column I wrote about Smackdown moving to Syfy where I also ask some questions that I’d like you to answer. Let’s get to the show.

Taped from London, England let’s talk some smack…

The show started with what has become a vintage Chris Jericho moment where he’s in the ring complaining about something. This time he’s complaining about how unfair it is that Raw’s Randy Orton gets a World Title shot against Jack Swagger when it should be him. Edge came out saying it should be him. Teddy Long came out saying that Orton wouldn’t be the #1 contender if Edge or Jericho won last week, so what he’s going to do is make it a triple threat for tonight for the belt. Crowd likes that. I like that. Like a lot of people I thought it would be at the PPV, but they shifted gears and put Orton into the title picture.

Drew McIntyre vs. Kane ended in a DQ (*)
McIntyre, with the greatest entrance in WWE, talked about how the fans don’t like and he doesn’t like them. So there! These two again? The match got about three minutes, Matt Hardy came out, we got the predictable DQ finish and then after the match Kane gave each guy a chokeslam. That means a triple threat at the PPV, people. I don’t think it would be wise to move the belt off of McIntyre and onto either one of these guys that’s been around for over a decade. I wouldn’t be shocked if McIntyre gets moved to Raw in the draft.

Backstage, Jack Thwagger complained to Teddy about having to defend the belt in a triple threat. Teddy told him that as long as he’s the champion on his show he has to follow his rules. So there! You go, girl.

Dolph Ziggler came out to apologize for putting the sleeper on Josh Mathews last week although he was very sarcastic in the apology.

Dolph Ziggler d. R-Truth (*)
Remember when R-Truth used to get something of a push? Now he’s losing to a sleeper in two minutes. As I’ve said for weeks, I still don’t think the sleeper is going to get over as a credible sleeper even with the announcers pissing themselves when it’s applied. It’s too weak. They’re trying and I give them credit for trying, but I’m not wild about it.

The Did You Know segment was about diva photos being viewed on WWE.com. I’d like to think that readers of The John Report make up for at least 30% of that number…whatever it was. (Don’t email me what it was. I don’t care too much. The joke is done. Move on!)

Michelle McCool d. Mickie James (**)
I really liked this. Best divas match since that James/Natalya/Beth triple threat a while back. I think Mickie and Michelle up their game when they get in the ring together because they are both good athletes. Michelle’s probably the most fit woman in the company, which says a lot, while Mickie’s very powerful for a woman her size (she’s only 5’2″) especially in her legs. They are also very good when it comes to the timing of moves. The booking and finish were predictable since the top angle now is McCool/Beth, but for them to get five minutes of time in ring is a lot these days. I was very pleased. And that kick at the end? Damn, that looked painful. Mickie’s my favorite and always will be for a number of reasons, but McCool might be my number two. I enjoy her heel work so much. She’s a lot better at it than she was at being a babyface. Remember the “Loving Life” stuff? So bad. I look forward Beth vs. Michelle although I don’t want Mickie to get lost in the shuffle although I’d rather see her stay on Smackdown than move to the poor women’s division on Raw. For more on this match, my friends at Diva Dirt have got you covered.

Backstage, Luke Gallows ripped on Darren “Looks like John Cena” Young until CM Punk separated them by telling them to focus on the upcoming match.

The Hart Dynasty & Rey Mysterio d. CM Punk, Luke Gallows & Darren Young (**3/4)
This is what I like to see! A 14 minute six man tag match featuring a good mix of top guys (Rey & Punk) with some young guys that can benefit from working with them. They used to do this kind of stuff on Raw all the time in the good days (2000 and 2001), which ended up being to the benefit of those guys. Now they’d rather spend three minutes promoting some crappy guest host that does nothing to help the future of the company. I’m ranting, aren’t I? The match was a lot of fun with The Miz sitting there on commentary, which only added to it because he did a great job. I especially liked when he berated Todd Grisham a number of times. The heels worked over Kidd for the second half of the match and he got the hot tag to DH Smith. That’s why I like the Hart Dynasty as faces. Kidd’s great at selling while having great offense and Smith’s the power guy that can come in with the hot tag. I liked the ending of the match with DH Smith, the son of the British Bulldog, getting the pin with a running powerslam (his dad’s finisher) in his father’s country. It was a good match that I recommend viewing if you missed it because everybody held their own here. Even Young, who I’m not that impressed with, looked good when he had his time in there. That’s probably because they didn’t ask him to do too much. I’m really looking forward to Mysterio/Punk at Extreme Rules too. It could be the match of the night.

Backstage, Jericho talked to his rookie Wade Barrett about being a winner like him. What a role model.

JTG d. Caylen Croft (*)
This is your Superstars match of the night with JTG getting the win in about three minutes. I guess they want to build him up before they have Shad beat him. As soon as it was over, Shad beat up JTG until JTG fought back with a dropkick. They made angry faces at eachother to end the segment. I assume the match is next week and that one of them gets moved to Raw the week after.

Edge talked about how he could relate to the position that Swagger’s in and that he was going to win the World Title. I don’t criticize Edge much, but this generic babyface character is losing steam. They need him telling jokes or something. The guy is funny. He shouldn’t sound as generic as the other babyface nerds.

Raw Rebound time. I never understood why they promote the show with more viewers on the show with less viewers when they don’t do it the other way? It’s backwards marketing.

They ran down Extreme Rules. It’s next week. I like the lineup. Should be a very good PPV although let’s hope nobody bleeds because then they have to stop the matches and kill all the momentum they had.

Jack Swagger d. Edge & Chris Jericho in a triple threat match for the World Title (***1/2)
I’m a huge fan of the classic ring introductions for World and WWE Title matches. Notice how Jericho is still selling the rib injury? Why can’t babyfaces ever sell injuries, namely John Cena? They don’t ALWAYS have to be Superman. Maybe people would like the guy more if he showed some pain once in a while. It’s called sympathy heat. Guys like Bret Hart and The Rock were fantastic at it. I miss it in today’s WWE. As I say all the time, I don’t love triple threats. I think they’re too formulaic and boring a lot of the time even if the wrestlers are good. However, in this case it was handled well because they had a lot of one on one stuff with the third guy lying out on the floor. You could see from the get go that the purpose of this match was to prove that Jack Swagger was a legit World Champion on the level of Jericho and Edge. The match was done to push that belief onto the viewer. I think that mission was accomplished. The announcers did a good job of putting over Swagger in a better way than in previous weeks because they didn’t beat us over the head with it. They did it within the flow of the match. If you’ll recall, I complained a lot about that the last two weeks. It was nice to hear that Striker was toned down this time. Or maybe I wasn’t listening to commentary as much since I was enjoying the match? It could be that. As is the case with most triple threats where the guys can work the finish was hot. Jericho got the Codebreaker on Swagger, but he rolled out of the ring. Edge was able to hit Jericho with the Spear. If you looked closely you could see Edge’s feet were at the side of the ring where Swagger rolled out. You should have known what was coming. Swagger yanked him out of the ring and covered Jericho himself for the win. It was funny hearing Striker marking out for the win. It’s too bad he’s not a heel announcer all the time because it would make him more bearable. I thought the match did a great job of showing Swagger belongs in the main event picture. It wasn’t a cheap win. It was a smart win. He capitalized on the predicament in order to win the match. It was nearly a four star match that got 15 minutes. I like that.

Post match, Swagger hit the Gutwrench Powerbomb as a way to send a message to Randy Orton. Meanwhile, Jericho attacked Edge’s foot to end the show and keep that feud going.

Three Stars of the Show
1. Chris Jericho
2. Jack Swagger
3. Edge

8 out of 10
Last week: 7.5

I really liked this show. It was one of the best Smackdown’s I’ve reviewed in the last year. Maybe the best. I don’t even remember if I’ve given a show higher than an 8. The main event was very good, the six man tag was a solid TV match with smart booking and the divas match was better than what we usually get. The IC title picture doesn’t excite me much, Ziggler’s sleeper bores the hell out of me and the Cryme Tyme feud isn’t thrilling, but none of it is terribly bad. In other words, it’s not like some of the bad we get on Raw.

The best thing about this show was how they really elevated Jack Swagger. I’m done complaining about how they booked him poorly for months before the World Title win. I’ve thrown my brain out the window like I tell all of you to do and I’m looking at him in a new light. It’s working.

They’ve added Edge vs. Jericho in a Steel Cage match at Extreme Rules. It’s up on WWE.com as of Saturday. I’d expect Edge to win that one. It should be a very good match although I’m not a fan of the WWE cage matches that can be won through pinfall, submission, through the door or over the cage. It should either be pin/submission or through/over the cage rather than having four different ways. Two ways are enough.

Like I said at the top, it’s a shame that this is the second last Smackdown for this group. After next week’s show we’ll get the draft and who knows what this show will look like.

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You can ask me questions (anonymously or by signing in) at Formspring.me/johnreport and I’ll post a batch of those answers to your questions soon. I’ve already answered over 1,600 questions, so if you get bored and need reading material you can sift through the archives. Also, check me out on Twitter at Twitter.com/johnreport for some random thoughts.

On Monday exclusively on my blog at thejohnreport.net I plan on writing a fantasy booking column about the April 26th draft. What would I do? I’ll let you know on Monday.

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend.

John Canton – john@thejohnreport.net
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