WWE Smackdown is in Indiana this week. According to internet reports, Vince McMahon has banned WWE announcers and other WWE employees from saying the names of small cities. I did some research and I found out that this week’s Smackdown is at Ford Center in Evansville, Indiana. Smackdown starts with AJ and she enters the ring. She will face Layla in a match. A match at the start of Smackdown? That’s rare.

Layla vs. AJ

During this match, Daniel Bryan came out and chanted “yes” several times. That distracted AJ and Layla won with a roll-up pin. Both Divas tried hard and did several wrestling moves, but it was a boring match. It was only three and a half minutes long, but it felt longer than that.

Winner: Layla

Rating: *1/4

After the match, AJ attacked Layla. AJ looked mad, but what happened to her was fair. AJ has interfered in many of Daniel Bryan’s matches. Maybe now she will realize it’s not cool to distract people during their matches.  Daniel Bryan tells AJ to calm down. He says it’s not fun when someone distracts you in the middle of a match. Unlike AJ, Daniel Bryan is not out here because he craves attention. Daniel Bryan says there is something he needs to talk about with Vickie Guerrero that AJ needs to hear. Daniel Bryan is not leaving the ring until he gets what he wants. Vickie doesn’t come out so Daniel Bryan starts a “yes” chant. AJ starts chanting “yes” too and Daniel Bryan stops his chant. While AJ is chanting, Smackdown goes to commercial.

After the commercial break, Daniel Bryan and AJ are chanting “yes” at each other. Michael Cole says that this has been going on during the commercial break. They are interrupted by Vickie Guerrero. Vickie says she is sure that the fans in the arena are tired of Daniel Bryan repeating his annoying catchphrase. Speaking of repeating annoying catchphrases, Vickie yells “Excuse me” at the crowd. Daniel Bryan says he wanted to applaud Vickie for making him the #1 contender for the WWE Championship. Daniel Bryan says Vickie should be the permanent General Manager of RAW and Smackdown. Daniel Bryan wants AJ banned from ringside during his match against CM Punk at Money in the Bank. Vickie says she doesn’t like AJ and doesn’t like it when AJ calls her grandma. Vickie continues ranting about AJ and Daniel Bryan interrupts her because this is not about Vickie and AJ. This is about Daniel Bryan. Vickie says that there was a poll on WWE.com that asked the WWE Universe what role they want to see AJ play during the WWE Championship match at Money in the Bank. Vickie says there were four options: guest timekeeper, guest referee, guest ring announcer, and guest commentator. Wow, three minor roles and one major role that puts the person in charge of who wins the match. I wonder which one got the most votes. That’s like asking the WWE Universe who they want to see host RAW next week. Michael Cole, Ricardo Rodriguez, David Otunga, or Stone Cold Steve Austin? 76% of the WWE Universe voted for guest referee. Vickie is shocked that 76% of the voters want AJ as the referee. The WWE Board of Directors made that poll and Vickie doesn’t want to disagree with the Board of Directors and says we should agree to have AJ as the guest referee. Daniel Bryan gets angry and starts a “no” chant. Daniel Bryan leaves the ring and Vickie announces that there will be qualifying matches on Smackdown during the next two weeks for the World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank ladder match.

Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Zack Ryder vs. Damien Sandow

Sandow won this match after he hit Ryder with his finishing move. This match got more time than I expected and Ryder got in some offense. Most of Sandow’s matches have been squash matches, but not this match.

Winner: Damien Sandow

Rating: *3/4

Backstage, Daniel Bryan goes to the Divas locker room, but AJ is not there. Kaitlyn tells Daniel Bryan that he should try to get on AJ’s good side because AJ is mentally unstable.

Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Jack Swagger vs. Tyson Kidd

Tyson Kidd won this match after hitting his Code Blue finisher. I don’t remember ever seeing Tyson doing that finishing move before, but that doesn’t surprise me because Tyson Kidd rarely wins on WWE TV. It’s an interesting finishing move and it is similar to The Brian Kendrick’s Sliced Bread finishing move. The match was less than five minutes long, but it was an okay match. Tyson Kidd doesn’t have many accomplishments in the WWE as a singles superstar so this was one of his biggest WWE wins.

Winner: Tyson Kidd

Rating: **1/2

Dolph Ziggler talks to Vickie in her office. It seems like Dolph is upset that Vickie isn’t abusing her power as GM, but Vickie says that she wants to be the permanent GM of RAW and Smackdown. Dolph wants to be the World Heavyweight Champion and he wants Vickie to ban Sheamus’s Brogue Kick and ban Alberto Del Rio’s armbreaker during the World Heavyweight Championship triple threat match tonight. Vickie doesn’t want to do that and Dolph starts yelling at her. Vickie slaps him. Dolph asks Vickie to raise his hand when he becomes the World Heavyweight Champion tonight and Vickie says she will.

Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Santino and Christian vs. David Otunga and Cody Rhodes  

Before the match, David Otunga showed off his body with the lights off and a spotlight on him. It looks like Otunga is the new Chris Masters. He’s better than Chris Masters because Otunga’s mic skills are a lot better. Christian won the match for his team after hitting Otunga with a spear. On paper, this looked like a good match, but Santino and Otunga hurt the match. Not a bad match, but I thought it would be better. The match was about six minutes long. I’m surprised that Cody Rhodes lost because he was an early favorite to win one of the Money in the Bank matches. Maybe next week he will complain that he deserves another chance because he didn’t get pinned.

Winners: Santino and Christian

Rating: **

Backstage, Matt Striker interviews Sheamus. Striker asks Sheamus if he is worried about losing the World Heavyweight Championship without getting pinned. Sheamus says that he doesn’t worry about things and he just kicks arse.

After a commercial break, AJ is backstage and she is talking to herself. Daniel Bryan talks to her and he says he is worried about her well-being. While Daniel Bryan talks to her, AJ is staring and smiling at him. Daniel Bryan says he has a doctor friend who can help AJ. Daniel Bryan offers to give AJ the doctor’s phone number and AJ says “yes”. She continues saying “yes” and she leaves. It looks like AJ’s condition is getting worse.

Ryback vs. Dan Barone and Brendan Burke

Ryback is one of the most dominant superstars in the WWE right now so why didn’t he get a Money in the Bank qualifying match? It can’t be because of his inexperience because Damien Sandow got a qualifying match. I don’t like it when the WWE doesn’t do logical things. Ryback could get a qualifying match on Smackdown next week, but I doubt he will. There was a report on Lords of Pain today that the WWE has been impressed with the crowd reactions Ryback has gotten. I think that means that the WWE will continue to do the Ryback jobber squash matches until the fans get tired of it. I don’t expect Ryback to get a “real” match anytime soon.

Winner: Ryback

Rating: No Rating (NR)

Backstage, Aksana makes out with Antonio Cesaro. Teddy interrupts them and says he is the General Manager of RAW and Smackdown next week. Teddy says they will face Layla and The Great Khali next week on Smackdown.

Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Justin Gabriel vs. Tensai

During this match, Michael Cole announced Cody Rhodes is filing a protest because he didn’t get pinned in the Money in the Bank qualifying tag team match. Wow, what I wrote earlier is correct. The WWE is so predictable. Michael Cole mentioned during this match that Damien Sandow, Santino, and Tyson Kidd have never been in a Money in the Bank ladder match and Gabriel would join that group if he wins. That is incorrect because I was at Money in the Bank last year and Gabriel was definitely in the Smackdown ladder match that night. Gabriel hit a 450 splash off a ladder and it was one of the best spots of the night. But that was a year ago so no one remembers that. As for this match, Gabriel made it interesting for a little bit, but Tensai got the win. That’s too bad because I thought Gabriel would be a great addition to the World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank ladder match. It will be interesting to see what Tensai does in that match.

Winner: Tensai

Rating: **

Alberto Del Rio comes out to the ring for the World Heavyweight Championship match. Del Rio cuts a promo and tries to get heel heat by saying that he’s forced to compete in a “horrible, filthy little town”. That confirms that Evansville didn’t make Vince’s list of major WWE cities. I’m not surprised. Del Rio starts to say why he will be the next World Heavyweight Champion, but he is interrupted by Vickie. She says Del Rio will not win tonight and Dolph Ziggler will be the next World Heavyweight Champion.

World Heavyweight Championship Match: Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Alberto Del Rio

Sheamus won this match after hitting Dolph Ziggler with the Brogue Kick and tossing Del Rio out of the ring. I think the WWE shouldn’t book World Championship matches for taped shows. This match didn’t have that “anything can happen” feeling and it felt like a regular triple threat match. When Randy Orton defeated Christian last year for the World Heavyweight Championship at a Smackdown taping, it was almost impossible to not know that Orton had won the title before seeing the show on Friday that week. Even if you didn’t read spoilers this week, it could be assumed that Sheamus retained because the internet buzz about this match was quiet all week. I had a hard time trying to enjoy this match knowing that there wouldn’t be a new champion at the end of the match. Maybe that’s why I didn’t like this match, but I don’t think it was that good. This match didn’t feel like a free pay-per-view match. This match was the best match of the night, but I’m disappointed that it wasn’t one of the best Smackdown matches of the year. I’m not looking forward to a potential Alberto Del Rio vs. Sheamus match at Money in the Bank.

Winner: Sheamus

Rating: **3/4

Matches to Watch: Jack Swagger vs. Tyson Kidd, Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Alberto Del Rio

Matches to Skip: Layla vs. AJ, Zack Ryder vs. Damien Sandow, Santino and Christian vs. David Otunga and Cody Rhodes, Ryback vs. Dan Barone and Brendan Burke, Tensai vs. Justin Gabriel

Best Superstar of Smackdown: Tyson Kidd

Tyson Kidd arguably had the most important win of his WWE career on Smackdown this week. He has had some tag team success when he was one-half of the Hart Dynasty, but he hasn’t had much singles success. I doubt this will lead to Tyson winning at Money in the Bank, but he should be this year’s Evan Bourne and have a great performance.

Best Moment of Smackdown: The AJ-Daniel Bryan backstage segment

In my opinion, AJ has been one of the most interesting WWE Divas in a long time. I was in the middle of my six year WWE hiatus during the Mickie James and Trish Stratus feud in 2006 so I didn’t get to witness Mickie’s crazy gimmick. Everything AJ is doing is so entertaining and the segment she had backstage with Daniel Bryan was no exception.  That said, I’m not excited that she will be the guest referee at Money in the Bank because that match would have been fine without her. I’m still interested in the match, but I think having AJ as the referee will prevent CM Punk having another five star classic at Money in the Bank. With or without AJ, it should be the very good match.

I think this was an average Smackdown. Maybe even a little bit below average. In my opinion, none of the matches on Smackdown this week were three stars or better. I did like that the Smackdown is doing more backstage segments. The segments weren’t all great, but I think Smackdown should continue doing them because the matches haven’t been very good lately. Next week, Smackdown will be shown on Tuesday night. It will be a special live edition of Smackdown called SuperSmackdown Live: The Great American Bash. The Great American Bash was a former WCW and WWE PPV. CM Punk, John Cena, and Big Show are advertised to appear. It makes me wonder why they didn’t book the World Heavyweight Championship for the live Smackdown show. Normally, I don’t have much time to review WWE events in the middle of the week, but it just so happens that the day after Smackdown is a holiday for me so I plan on posting the next Laying The Smackdown less than 24 hours after Smackdown ends.

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