The contrast between Raw and Smackdown has never been clearer than what we've seen this week. While Raw's Money in the Bank Ladder match has focused on former WWE champions, Smackdown's, in normal fashion, has focused on younger stars such as Tyson Kidd, mid-carders such as Christian, and people who are still looking for that break such as Tensai.
Both Ladder matches are very different, and in many ways, show what both shows are all about. This week on Smackdown, we saw that focus on younger mind-carders who need the attention, and the upper mid-carders that are there to balance the roster out.
Daniel Bryan and AJ
As usual, Daniel Bryan was on top form last night, but not in terms of actual wrestling. Bryan, the slimy, manipulative heel that he is, took to the mic as he demanded AJ to be banned from the WWE title match at Money in the Bank.
However, after finding out that AJ would actually be the special guest referee for the bout he quickly changed his approach to comforting the 'crazy chick'.
It was great to see Bryan transition from the dickhead heel to the guy that pretends to really care for his ex girlfriend.
AJ shouldn't take anything away from what should be a great WWE title match, and should also finally cap off this whole storyline, so I'm all for her putting on the black and white stripped top at Money in the Bank.
Money in the Bank Qualifiers
So, while the participants of Raw's MITB Ladder match were just announced this past Monday, over on Smackdown people had to earn their place in the MITB Ladder match.
To start things off, it was Damien Sandow who picked up the victory over Zack Ryder. While I'm fine with Sandow being one of members in the MITB, you've still got to feel that the man he beat deserves it more than him.
Ryder hasn't done a whole lot this year (and that's an understatement), but put him in a high profile match such as the MITB and you're bound to see him get a good reaction.
Next up was Tyson Kidd who got a rather surprising victory over Jack Swagger in a pretty decent match. It's good to see Tyson be one of the selected few for the MITB Ladder match, even if he'll only be used for a few high risk spots here and there.
What followed was Christian and Santino Marella downing David Otunga and Cody Rhodes in a tag team bout. With Cody Rhodes protesting about not getting into the MITB without even being pinned, I think it's safe to say that he'll find his way into the match eventually.
The MITB Ladder match was looking very solid until Tensai got the win over Justin Gabriel. I get that WWE likes to put a powerhouse in these types of matches but why him? Tensai can just about work singles matches so I definitely see him having trouble keeping up with the rest of the competitors.
Who knows, maybe he'll surprise me, but I'll remain by my opinion that he'll fail to deliver in this match at Money in the Bank.
So, those are the contestants for the MITB Ladder match so far, with the rest being announced next week. So far it's definitely weaker than last years, but you never know who'll get announced next week (well ok, you probably do... Rhodes, Sin Cara and Barrett perhaps?)
Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Alberto Del Rio
With Smackdown featuring small and quick matches for most of the night, it was nice to see the Triple Threat match get enough time and a clean ending.
This was a pretty fun TV match with all three men looking good. With Dolph Ziggler getting pinned, that could mean that he's out of the World title picture, and with Del Rio not getting pinned it means that he has a case for a one-on-one title match Sheamus.
Overall, this was a fairly good episode of Smackdown. It had Daniel Bryan magic, some decent enough qualifying matches and a solid main event. Thumbs up from me.
- "Daniel, I'm sure everyone out here is tired of you saying your stupid catchphrase... I said Excuse Me!” Genius.
- David Otunga doesn't deserve such a long and over-the-top entrance. At all.
- Apparently, to prevent concussions all you have to do is “man up.” According to Booker T anyway.
- Pointers when facing Ryback: Don't run at him. Don't try to escape by running back up the ramp. And for the love of God, don't jump on his back.
- Teddy Long will be in charge of Raw and Smackdown next week, and what is the first thing he does? He announces a tag team match.