Welcome to Laying The Smackdown. WWE Smackdown is at the Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield, California this week. Randy Orton starts the show. Orton starts his promo like he always does by saying, “My name is Randy Orton.” I think he stole that from Dolph Ziggler. Orton doesn’t care that Alberto Del Rio thinks his match against Sheamus at SummerSlam was tainted. Orton says he deserves to face Sheamus for the World Heavyweight Championship. Orton is willing to bet that some people backstage have a problem with what Orton just said so he invites those people to the ring. Sheamus accepts the invitation and comes out.

Sheamus says Del Rio has had his chances and he has blown all of them. Sheamus wants Orton to be in front of the line to face him for the World Heavyweight Championship. After Sheamus says that, Booker T comes out. Booker T says Orton will always be in line for a world title shot, but they have to talk about what happened Monday night. Before they can talk about it, Alberto Del Rio comes out. Del Rio says the title is not for Orton because it is his. Del Rio tells Booker T that Sheamus is a criminal and a cheater. Del Rio calls Orton a crazy animal. Del Rio says he should have been the champion by now, but Sheamus cheated. Del Rio says the referee robbed him at SummerSlam. Del Rio says the only reason why Orton beat him on RAW last Monday was because Sheamus cheated again. Booker T tries to talk, but Del Rio interrupts him. Del Rio asks Booker T if he knows that Sheamus is a cheater and a criminal. You already said that Del Rio. He must have suffered a serious concussion after Sheamus hit Del Rio with a shoe at SummerSlam. Sheamus tells Del Rio that he should calm down. Del Rio says he was in control during the SummerSlam match and he says he filed a protest. Del Rio says he is still waiting for an answer. Orton says Del Rio is embarrassing himself. Del Rio thinks about Chris Jericho and R-Truth and says that this is a conspiracy. According to Del Rio, everyone is against him. Del Rio says Booker T is a criminal and a cheater just like Sheamus. Del Rio says that everyone in the arena is against him and Booker T tells him to calm down. Booker T tells Orton that the person who was in line next for a title shot is Alberto Del Rio. But, that was before Del Rio came out running his mouth. Booker T changed his mind. Booker T announces that Del Rio will face Orton to determine the number one contender for the World Heavyweight Championship.

Michael Cole says Josh Matthews is not here tonight because he is recovering from injuries he suffered from Kane at SummerSlam. Kane attacking Josh Matthews was one of my favorite moments from SummerSlam.

Ryback vs. Jinder Mahal

Teddy Long did guest commentary during this match. Teddy tells Cole there will be a guest commentator for every match on Smackdown tonight. Ryback won the match with his Shell Shocked finishing move. It was a short match, but it wasn’t an easy win for Ryback. Mahal got in a lot of offense early. I don’t like this feud for Ryback because Mahal has been a jobber for most of his WWE career. I’m not impressed at all that Ryback was able to defeat Mahal. Mark Henry would be a good future opponent for Ryback. A win over Mark Henry would be very impressive.

Winner: Ryback

Rating: *1/2

Layla vs. Alicia Fox

Kaitlyn did guest commentary during this match. This is a rare divas singles match on Smackdown. There used to be a divas match on Smackdown almost every week, but not anymore. Layla won this match with a kick to the head. Short match, but it wasn’t a terrible divas match. There were some wrestling moves performed during the match. Alicia had Layla in a submission hold at one point during the match.

Winner: Layla

Rating: *3/4

After the match, Eve comes out to the ring. Eve raises the hands of Layla and Kaitlyn. Those two will have a future Divas Championship match.

Smackdown shows the RAW Rebound. It is a highlight video of the ending of RAW last Monday.

Backstage, Dolph Ziggler talks to Vickie Guerrero about Chris Jericho and AJ. Sheamus joins them and wants Ziggler to cash in his Money in the Bank contract tonight. Ziggler says it is not going to happen and Teddy Long shows up. Teddy says he will advise Booker T to make a match between Ziggler and Sheamus. Teddy tells Ziggler that his contract won’t be on the line, but Zigger might have an opportunity to cash in his contract if Ziggler is as good as he says he is.

Sin Cara vs. Heath Slater

Cody Rhodes did guest commentary during the match. Heath Slater won this match with a move that I guess is his finisher. I don’t know what Slater’s finisher is because he usually loses all of his matches. The reason why Slater won this match was because Rhodes turned Sin Cara’s mask around so he couldn’t see. This match wasn’t good and I think the main purpose of it was to continue the Rhodes/Sin Cara feud.

Winner: Heath Slater

Rating: *3/4

After the match, Rhodes attacks Sin Cara in the ring. Rhodes tries to remove Sin Cara’s mask, but referees enter the ring and stop him.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Sheamus

Vickie Guerrero was on guest commentary during this match. Sheamus won this match via disqualification after Ziggler hit him with the Money in the Bank briefcase. It was an okay match, but they have had better matches than this one. The match was only five minutes long.

Winner: Sheamus

Rating: **1/4

After the match, Ziggler decided that he wanted to cash in his briefcase, but he changed his mind when he saw that Sheamus wasn’t as injured as Ziggler thought he was. I didn’t read any spoilers this week, but I knew Ziggler wasn’t cashing in. If he did actually cash in the briefcase and win the championship, it would have been all over the internet. Hopefully when Ziggler does cash in his briefcase, he will do it on RAW, a Pay-Per-View, or during one of the live Smackdown shows.

Santino Marella enters the ring and cuts a promo. Santino says he was the United States Champion for 166 days, 14 hours, 33 minutes, and 22 seconds…approximately. I’m not going to check and see if his statement is accurate. Santino says he feels he is becoming less and less American now. Santino talks about letting people down when he lost the championship and he talks about being asked if he and the Cobra can once again be on the same page with the Cobra. Santino pulls out the Cobra and starts talking it. Santino said the Cobra cost him the United States Championship. Blaming the loss on a sock puppet? That’s worse than Daniel Bryan blaming his World Heavyweight Championship loss on AJ. Santino then quotes Rocky Balboa. I think the quote was from Rocky IV. Antonio Cesaro and Aksana come out and interrupt one of the worst promos I have seen on Smackdown this year. I like Santino, but talking to a sock puppet like it is alive is weird. It is weird to talk to a real cobra, but even weirder to talk to a fake cobra. Michael Cole says, “Thank goodness…the man was interviewing his sock.” Cesaro says “winner” in five languages and then says that unlike Santino, he personifies being a winner. Santino starts attacking Cesaro. Santino gets ready to hit Cesaro with the Cobra, but the Cobra is distracted by Aksana. What the hell? Is Santino not able to control the Cobra? I don’t remember Mankind having any problems with Mr. Socko. After the distraction, Cesaro attacks Santino. Are we going to see Santino vs. the Cobra at the next PPV? Maybe the Cobra will turn heel next week.

Primo and Epico vs. R-Truth and Kofi Kingston

Darren Young and Titus O’Neil did guest commentary during this match. R-Truth won after hitting the Little Jimmy on Primo. That was one of the best two minute matches I have ever seen. It was a very exciting match with great wrestling action by Kofi and Epico during the first 25 seconds of the match. It’s too bad the match didn’t get more time.

Winners: R-Truth and Kofi Kingston

Rating: **3/4

Backstage, Matt Striker interviews Kofi Kingston and R-Truth. The Primetime Players interrupt the interview and say they are going to take the tag team titles. Then a bunch of tag teams enter the area and say they deserve a shot at the tag team titles. The teams were the Usos, Primo and Epico, and Tyson Kidd and Justin Gabriel (they are a tag team now?!). They all argue and then start fighting.

In the general manager’s office, Booker T asks Teddy who he thinks deserves a shot at the tag team championship. Teddy says he is not sure. C’mon Teddy…Booker didn’t hire you just so you can be not sure about things. If you don’t give Booker better answers, he will make you switch jobs with William Regal and you will be Smackdown’s trash man. Is that what you want Teddy? Eve walks in. Eve says she went through the record books and she compiled a win-loss record for all of the WWE tag teams in the past six months. Good thing that the WWE keeps record books that goes back at least six months because according to Vince McMahon, the WWE Universe doesn’t remember anything that happened that long ago. Eve also organized Booker T’s schedule and Booker T is shocked that Eve did all of that in one night. Eve says she is going get started on next week’s Smackdown. Teddy Long does not look happy.

Smackdown shows a short highlight video of the Daniel Bryan/Kane feud. I would have liked to see Daniel Bryan on Smackdown this week instead of the video. Smackdown also shows a video about Brock Lesnar and Triple H.

Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio

Sheamus did guest commentary during this match. Tonight’s Smackdown shall always be remembered as The Guest Commentary Episode. Del Rio won this match after Orton tapped out to the cross armbreaker. I think that was a clean win for Del Rio and that surprises me. It also surprises me that Orton tapped out. That was probably the most impressive win by Del Rio this year. The match was a little bit boring and I didn’t really like it. I enjoyed the finish more than the entire match.

Winner: Alberto Del Rio

Rating: **1/4

After the match, Sheamus enters the ring after Del Rio throws Ricardo Rodriguez’s shoe at him. Sheamus and Del Rio fight in the ring. Ricardo gets involved and that helps Del Rio knock Sheamus down. Del Rio kicks Sheamus and then hits him with Ricardo’s shoe. Ziggler enters the ring and he wants to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase. Before Ziggler can give the briefcase to a referee, Orton hits Ziggler with the RKO and Smackdown ends.

Matches to Watch: Dolph Ziggler vs. Sheamus, Primo and Epico vs. R-Truth and Kofi Kingston,

Matches to Skip: Ryback vs. Jinder Mahal, Layla vs. Alicia Fox, Sin Cara vs. Heath Slater

Best Superstar of Smackdown: Alberto Del Rio

I didn’t like Del Rio’s promo or his match, but I was impressed by his win over Orton. It’s rare to see a heel like Del Rio make a top face like Randy Orton to tap out. This was the win Del Rio needed. It was a clean win over one of the top superstars on the WWE roster. It makes Del Rio look like a worthy contender for the World Heavyweight Championship because if Sheamus is the number one superstar on Smackdown, then Orton is number two in my opinion. Del Rio cleanly defeated the man who is arguably the best Smackdown superstar other than the champion and that makes it hard to argue that Del Rio does not deserve to be the top contender for the World Heavyweight Championship.

Best Moment of Smackdown: The first 25 seconds of the tag team match

If you only have time to watch a little bit of Smackdown this week, watch the wrestling between Kofi Kingston and Epico at the start of the tag team match. Really good stuff by two of the most athletic superstars on the WWE roster.

This was a Smackdown that was okay, but could have been better. I liked the promos and backstage segments, but the matches weren’t very good. Smackdown shouldn’t waste opportunities to use guys like Cody Rhodes, Daniel Bryan, and Christian in matches. Rey Mysterio got injured at SummerSlam and that’s too bad because he probably would have made this week’s show better. There was only one match I really enjoyed and it barely got more than two minutes. The guest commentary stuff wasn’t bad, but I would rather see guys like Cody Rhodes in the ring instead of on commentary. They are paid to be in-ring performers. This wasn’t a terrible show. It had some good moments, but I think Smackdown could have been better this week.

I will be on vacation next weekend and I won’t be near a computer when Smackdown airs. I don’t know if someone will fill in for me, but I will not review Smackdown next week. I will be back for the first Smackdown of September.

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