WWE Smackdown live event
Minneapolis, Minnesota at Target Center
Report by Jason Powell
Matt Striker was the host of the show. He was likable and energetic throughout the night and had some impromptu fun with various performers, most notably Ricardo Rodriguez.
1. Alberto Del Rio won a 12-man battle royal to earn an Intercontinental Title shot. The final five were Del Rio, Justin Gabriel, Heath Slater, Drew McIntyre, and Jinder Mahal. Ricardo interfered on behalf of Del Rio repeatedly, including down the stretch, yet he and Del Rio played to the crowd throughout the night and were total babyfaces.
2. Layla and Alicia Fox beat Tamina Snuka and Aksana. It was odd to see the Divas work longer than two minutes. They tried hard and the live crowd was into it. Aksana was fun to watch from ringside in that she worked the crowd consistently while standing on the ring apron. Layla pinned Aksana for the win.
3. Fandango beat Jamie Noble. Noble came out to "A Country Boy Can Survive." He didn't get a big pop during his entrance, yet it turned out that he was very over with the longtime fans. There were loud Jamie Noble chants a couple times during the match. Fandango works his gimmick well and generated decent heat.
4. Justin Gabriel and Tyson Kidd beat Heath Slater and Drew McIntyre (w/Jinder Mahal). I am not a fan of the 3MB gimmick, but all three guys are going all out to make it work. They had some comical moments and worked hard to generate heat in the building and with the ringside fans. They also had a Rock-Off prior to the match, which was my cue to grab a beer.
5. Kofi Kingston defeated Wade Barrett and Alberto Del Rio (w/Ricardo Rodriguez) in a Triple Threat to retain the Intercontinental Title. Barrett cut a promo that appeared on the set screens at one point to set up his appearance in the match. I'm not quite sure why Del Rio had to win a battle royal to earn this match and Barrett got in, but no one seemed to mind. Del Rio continued to work as a babyface during this match. Kingston was one of the most over wrestlers of the night. The kids really dig his act. I couldn't help but wonder how over the guy could be if WWE gave his character some depth. A good Triple Threat match with some good near falls down the stretch.
6. The Great Khali and Hornswoggle defeated Primo and Epico (w/Rosa Mendes). A five star classic. Well, it may have been. Target Center cut off beer sales, but the bar inside the arena was still serving. It seemed like a logical choice to have another Mich Golden Light rather than watch this match.
7. Michael McGillicutty defeated Alex Riley. The match only went about a minute or so I'm told. I did intend to return for this match, but I didn't expect it to be so short. I don't have a drinking problem. Really. Thanks for making me look bad, guys. Actually, the ringside speculation was that something was up with Riley that kept this match short. The finish is a reversal from the previous night in Green Bay when Riley went over. Let the record show that McGillicutty actually got a win in his hometown.
8. Big Show beat Shemaus in a cage match to retain the World Hvt. Championship. Sheamus threw out Jeff Hardy-like armbands prior to the match. Fortunately, he didn't actually wear the armbands during the match. A very good main event with hard work from both men. The crowd was hot for Sheamus and popped big for his impressive power moves, which included a bodyslam and White Noise. There was one odd spot where Show climbed the cage and Sheamus walked to the door and had a chance exit and win the championship, yet Sheamus went back and stopped Show from climbing instead. There must have been some miscommunication on that spot. Sheamus had such a head start that I assumed someone was at ringside and was about to slam the door on his head. Despite that awkward moment, this was really good house show main event. Shemaus sent the fans home happy with a Brogue Kick afterwards.
Notes: The lower bowl of the arena was close to being sold out. They did not sell tickets for the upper deck. Even so, a strong showing. There appeared to be more fans in attendance for this event than there were the last time WWE taped Smackdown in the same venue. I wasn't all that excited about the show going in simply because it lacked star power compared to the loaded Raw live events this weekend. Fortunately, it exceeded my expectations and the masses seemed to leave the show feeling satisfied. An entertaining evening despite the lack of star power.