Sheamus vs. Mark Henry
-Results: Sheamus touches three corners, and counters the World's Strongest Slam into a Brogue Kick, before touching the fourth corner. Sheamus wins (7:59).
The old school strap match is actually one of my favorite gimmick contests, because it – in all it's various forms and incarnations – took two guys who couldn't stand each other, and forced them to beat the hell out of each with no ability to escape. This wasn't a strap match. This was more like a "Touch All The Pretty Green Lights" match.
For the same reason I can't stand the majority of modern day gimmick matches, they yet again overused the catch. It stopped being about the violence and brutality of being physically strapped to another human being (that wants to eat you), and became completely about Sheamus trying to touch a bunch of corners. At that point, the match is no longer a route to maiming your opponent, but rather just another match the babyface has to win, for some arbitrary reason.
Alberto del Rio vs. Jack Swagger
-Results: Originally, Zeb Colter was able to trick the referee by throwing in Alberto del Rio's white tower, awarding Swagger the victory. However, after using an instant replay device, the ref restarted the match, and del Rio locked in the Cross Arm Breaker on the arm he had worked over the entire match. Alberto del Rio wins (11:19).
Remember that one time I talked about over-utilizing a gimmick, resulting in it loosing its meaning entirely? Well… I don't think the "I Quit" contest lost its meaning, but it was sure as hell the most annoying match of the night. In the good old days, a referee would just stand around with a microphone and hold it close enough for us to hear the inevitable decision. This time, Mike Chioda decided to verbally ask each wrestler – about every 20 seconds – if he wanted to quit, and the Superstar was forced to answer by screaming at the top of his lungs. WHY?
Alberto del Rio and Jack Swagger are two of the best technical ring workers in WWE right now. Any match between them should be great. And to their credit, the actual wrestling portions of the match were handled really well. As an added bonus, the use of foreign objects was intentionally limited, but executed perfectly. Both guys worked over body parts to prepare for their respective finishers, and Swagger's Ankle Lock was at the false finish was amazing. Unfortunately, what would have been a solid contest was absolutely ruined by terrible referee involvement. Sorry Chioda…
Side Note: Instant replay in professional wrestling is, plain and simple, absolutely and unequivocally stupid. We all know it's a fake sport. There's no illusion left in pro wrestling or sports entertainment. We all saw Zeb Colter throw in the towel; having to watch the ref figure it out just wasted our time. The actual booking was fun, but all they needed was to have a second ref come out to restart the match. Reports say WWE plans to use instant replay more in the future. It's a stupid idea, and it does nothing but mock the fan's intelligence and waste our time.
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