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WWE Smackdown July 19: Five Thoughts

By John Canton (@johnreport)

It was an entertaining edition of WWE Friday Night Smackdown like usual. Here are some of my thoughts on the key happenings from this week's show.

1. Randy Orton defeats Alberto Del Rio, but is now injured?

The main event of Smackdown saw Randy Orton (winner of Money in the Bank All-Stars match) take on Alberto Del Rio (World Champion) in a non-title match. As expected, it was a very exciting back and forth matchup that could have gone either way. I really liked the aggressiveness showed by Orton towards the end of the match and the way he set up Del Rio for that RKO was brilliant. It was a huge win that made me think perhaps Orton had earned himself a World Heavyweight Championship match in the near future.

However, WWE.com reported that Orton was injured during Smackdown, so he could be out of action for weeks or possibly more. The report says Orton "suffered a cervical strain and cervical neuropraxia." In English terms that means a back/neck injury. There's no official diagnosis that has been released, but I would imagine that we'll get more info on Raw.

Hopefully this is something he can come back from quickly because Orton is on a roll these days and I enjoy his work so much. Orton tweeted that he would be fine, but whether that's true or simply a tough guy wanting to compete only time will tell.

2. Vickie Guerrero named the new GM of Smackdown

I can honestly say I didn't see this coming. The WWE Chairman Vince McMahon showed up on Smackdown to announce that there would be a new GM of Smackdown: Vickie Guerrero. Mr. McMahon wasn't happy that Guerrero was removed as Raw's Managing Supervisor a few weeks ago, so he took it upon himself to correct what he felt was a mistake. Guerrero was thrilled with the decision as she yelled at former Smackdown GM Booker T, had his adviser Teddy Long thrown out of the building and she slapped current Raw GM Brad Maddox as well.

I think Vickie's great in the GM role because she's not afraid to make decisions whether the WWE Universe likes her or not. She exudes confides and as we all know she is great at getting a reaction as well.

While I'm sure that Teddy Long will find something to do ("holla holla tag match playa"), I wonder where this leaves Booker T. Could this lead to a return to the announce desk possibly as the third man on a team with Michael Cole and John Bradshaw Layfield? Or is there something else he could do? I'm not sure. I really liked Booker as a GM. I think he had potential to do more. I hope that he gets another opportunity again soon.

3. A rough night for Chris Jericho

As a Jerichoholic, Smackdown was a tough show for me to watch. On his Twitter account he tweeted about how this was his last match in WWE "for now." Will he back? Likely. We don't know when. He has a tour with his band Fozzy that will keep him busy for the next few months and I think as fans of Jericho we should be happy for him. However, as a wrestling fan I'll miss the guy because as he said he's been on a roll this year. Have there been a lot of wins? Not really. But that's okay. It's about entertainment. Few people in WWE entertain as well as Jericho. That's why we'll miss him.

Jericho had a match with Curtis Axel, who he beat twice last week in non-title matches. This time the Intercontinental Title was on the line and it looked like Jericho could win it for a record tenth time when Axel found a way to escape with the win thanks to a distraction by his manager Paul Heyman at ringside.

After the loss, Jericho had to deal with Ryback, who decided to show up to pick up the bones so to speak. Ryback dropped Jericho with Shellshocked and that was the last of Jericho we'll see until he decides to make his return again. Whenever that return is, I think I can speak for all Jerichoholics in saying that we'll be ready for it.

In the meantime, you can check out FozzyRock.com to find out when Jericho and Fozzy are in your area. I've seen them live before. It's a fun show. Check it out.

4. Cody Rhodes stands up for himself

Damien Sandow didn't feel like apologizing for shoving his "best friend" Cody Rhodes off a ladder at Money in the Bank. Instead, he tried to make things better by offering Rhodes something else. What did he offer? The opportunity for Rhodes to become the "keeper" of Sandow's Money in the Bank briefcase meaning it would be Rhodes' job to protect the briefcase to make sure it was safe.

Rhodes took exception to the offer. He hit Sandow in the head with the briefcase and sent Sandow running just like he did on Raw. I have really enjoyed this rivalry since it started brilliantly on Sunday night. I'm looking forward to what's next with a likely Summerslam match on the horizon for two guys who I've enjoyed watching for many years. Both of them may have finally found the rivalry they have been looking for.

5. Decisive wins for Bryan, Ziggler and Van Dam

It seemed like there was a theme on Smackdown as fan favorites Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler and Rob Van Dam made quick work of their opponents.

Bryan defeated Wade Barrett in a couple of minutes. Even though Bryan didn't win at Money in the Bank, he was named #1 contender to the WWE Title the next night on Raw so it can be argued that he is the hottest superstar in WWE. If you listen to the crowd reaction, he might be the most popular guy too.

Dolph Ziggler returned to his winning ways with a victory over Jack Swagger. After the match, Ziggler was proud of the fact that he dumped former girlfriend AJ Lee although he regretted not doing it sooner. It seems like we'll get Ziggler vs. Big E Langston at Summerslam although it's not official yet.

Rob Van Dam's WWE return week continued with a victory over Darren Young. The crowd treats him like a big deal because he is. I think his time away from WWE has made the WWE Universe realize how special of a talent he has been for quite a long time and this return has come at the perfect time for him. Where will he fit in at Summerslam? At this point that's hard to say. It wouldn't surprise me if he has a big role possibly against World Champion Alberto Del Rio or somebody that we would consider a big name.

Quick Hits

- I thought The Miz did a great job in his Miz TV segment with Paul Heyman. He called out Heyman for swearing on his children that Punk could trust Heyman, yet Heyman still turned his back on Punk. That's what The Miz should be doing. He's a great talker who put Heyman in his place. Of course Heyman showed no remorse for what he did, but I'm glad Miz was the one that stood up to him.

- As I wrote on Tuesday, it looks like we'll be seeing a new Mark Henry from this point forward. He saved The Usos from an attack by The Shield on Smackdown. The crowd loved it. It was very well done. I don't think Henry has to change his act much just because the fans are supporting him. The fans have been behind him for most of the last month anyway. Keep kicking ass, Mark. That's what you do!

Final Thoughts

I like Smackdown most weeks and this week was no exception. It's not a show that is full of a lot of promos or silly comedy segments. It's mostly about the in-ring action, which is fine with me.

You can follow me on Twitter @johnreport, email me mrjohncanton@gmail.com and visit my wrestling website TJRWrestling.com for columns like my weekly WWE Raw Deal and others from our amazing staff.

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