Despite the fact that this was a taped show and spoilers were readily available online beforehand, here are the results and quick hits from tonight's (Aug. 19) show:
- Randy Orton got a bigger reaction than I thought he would as the new world heavyweight champion. He opened the show with Teddy Long explaining how he's done with Christian and ready to move on to something bigger and better. Foreshadowing. Long introduced the 20-man battle royal for the main event later that would crown the next number one contender.
- They tease a Legacy reunion by having Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase come out and confront Orton but it's just a cheap way to get Randy an RKO, this one on DiBiase. Rhodes was saved but that was for a match right after against Ezekiel Jackson, which he won with few problems. He's being booked to look fairly strong, which is the right play.
- Justin Gabriel def. Tyson Kidd in a decent match that should have been a lot better. Gabriel was put over with a video package and the win but didn't come out looking that much better than he did coming in.
- Alberto Del Rio def. Daniel Bryan in a non-title match. This was easily the best match on Smackdown so far this year, so much so that it felt like a pay-per-view quality contest. They went 15 minutes and Del Rio did one hell of a job of looking strong while making Bryan look just as good, but not at his own expense. Amazing match.
- Women wrestled and no one cared.
- Mark Henry wins the 20-man battle royal to become the number one contender to the world heavyweight title. If you didn't see it, it was the same as every other battle royal. There's only so many ways to book a match like this but they did it the right way by making Henry look like a beast by eliminating plenty of participants. The real story is the continued growth of Sin Cara (still Hunico), who was getting a great reaction and whose merchandise is selling incredibly well, despite the switch in who's playing the character.
- They ended the show with Henry on the outside staring down Orton, who actually showed some range by looking confident but slightly intimidated at the same time. Henry needs only to stand there to be an intimidating presence, so he was okay. He got cheesy by taking a big whiff of Orton and saying he could smell his fear. I'm not expecting much from this feud, but we'll see how great Randy really is if he can get some money matches out of the physical limited Henry.
The show as a whole was okay but the Alberto Del Rio vs. Daniel Bryan match was truly special and ups the grade considerably. It also instills confidence in the kind of champion Del Rio can be if he's given an extended run, which he, unfortunately, probably won't get.