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Well folks, it finally happened. The Twitter petitions, the John Cena support, and the internet furry of a thousand suns have yielded the Long Island Iced Z his first singles championship in the WWE! I still fully believe that the WWE will milk Ryder for all he's worth, and hang him up to dry once the internet hype finally dies down. But for now, congratulations are in order for the "Woo Woo Kid".
There's always going to be the haters who wanted Ziggler to retain, and who can blame them? Dolph is truly a key piece of WWE's future, but this loss needed to finally happen. Goodbye midcard, hello potential Royal Rumble win for the biggest up-and-comer in wrestling today! And all the while Ryder has turned into a credible star who looks good holding that United States championship. Hopefully they can get him a few good opponents during his reign, as Ziggler carried the majority of this match to its fullest extent possible. Time will tell if Ryder can continue putting on good matches without stars like Ziggler, Bryan, Cena, Orton, or Rhodes in the ring to help him out... [Rating: A-]
(2) Air Boom def. Epico & Primo
I can't tell you how glad I am that WWE didn't just decide to scrap Air Boom once Bourne had his suspension. He paid his 30 days, and now they're both back defending the tag belts, as it should be. I doubt very seriously if anybody takes Epico and Primo seriously yet, and people were right to be asking for the Usos all over Twitter last night, but it was definitely nice to see two real tag teams with matching ring gear, merch, and cohesion. Real teams need to be developed, and this is the way to do it!
Short match, great action, really cool finish by Kofi. I was scared they would drop the belts to punish Bourne, but I'm very happy with the way things turned out. [Rating: B]
Backstage attack by Cody Rhodes on Booker T. There's no way this match gets cancelled, but the real story here is how awful Alicia Fox is... She can't even act scared correctly.
Comedy segment between Teddy Long and Hornswoggle that bordered on racism, and was clearly not PG... I did honestly "laugh out loud" when Teddy made a crack about a jolly, fat white man coming down his chimney, but the rest was just painful. As Mark Madden recently said, they need to weed out the comedy. It's just not funny, and really took me out of the moment right before a very serious Tables match between Orton and Barrett.
(3) Randy Orton def. Wade Barrett
Wade Barrett is an intelligent wrestler, and it comes through in this type of situation. Rather than sitting on the edge of a table, stunned and waited for his opponent to put him through it, he did the smart thing and knocked it over. Rather than setting up for those big spots that will come into play fifteen minutes into the future, he used the table in basic ways that made sense. This is the kind of stipulation Barrett's aggressive, bare-knuckle persona can shine through. Orton...was a bit more mechanical, and hasn't traveled "outside the box" once during this short feud.
I'm not as upset as a lot of people by Orton's win. Barrett looks strong 30 days out of the month on television, picking up all the necessary wins to get him over. He'll get his PPV wins eventually, but Orton is the top Smackdown star and it shouldn't be that easy for an up-and-comer to take him down. Orton wins again, and I believe it... Why shouldn't he? Barrett is doing just fine! [Rating: B]
More shenanigans with Teddy Long backstage, this time involving Jack Swagger and Sheamus. I love the Great White, and his promos are so fluid and entertaining. Jack Swagger...is just terrible. These squashes are not helping anybody, including Sheamus.
(4) Beth Phoenix def. Kelly Kelly
More filler, and it came at precisely the wrong time. I was expecting the tag team match to be thrown in, and as I've already said I enjoyed the outcome. But after announcing yet another surprise match in Sheamus/Swagger, the Booker/Rhodes match being teased off, and then carting out the Divas, I was beginning to wonder if I was actually getting the PPV I paid to see! Plus, how many times have we seen this match? At least Kelly didn't get the win with a roll-up... [Rating: D+]
Another attack by Cody Rhodes on Booker T. Anybody notice how much Booker did NOT sell that attack? After the divas match, and with Swagger/Sheamus to look forward to, I felt like this PPV got the wind kicked out of it.
(5) Triple H def. Kevin Nash
Continuing to push that "fractured vertebrae" angle was stupid. Not giving this feud proper booking and TV time was stupid. But leave it to Triple H to pull a great fight out of a terrible situation... H matches are much less about the quick in-ring action, and more about the story being told in the ring. He's one of few guys who can make you believe he truly hates his opponent, and every shot with a foreign object is just that much more brutal.
We've seen better from these two in the past, put for two older guys with a history of knee problems to go out there and put on a knock-down, drag-out brawl was pretty impressive. I loved the finish, and for anybody who truly knows the history of the Kliq, it was almost poetic ending this match with the DX chop and a sledgehammer to the face. The build may have poor going into this thing, but Triple H took it to his level and told all the story that needed to be told inside the squared circle. [Rating: B+]
(6) Sheamus def. Jack Swagger
(7) Big Show def. Mark Henry
Injuries that cause title changes are always frustrating. How much worse is it then, when a veteran on the best streak of his career, loses his belt and his dominating streak because of a groin tare? On the bright side, I loved watching these two wield chairs like they were extensions of their own bodies. They didn't try to act like cruiserweights, or hit any unbelievable spots, but managed to put on an intense contest in a short amount of time. I understand the injury, but this one was just too short to merit any better rating... That and Mark Henry's title loss should have been a MUCH bigger deal. Truly disappointing. [Rating: C]