By CLIFF BRUNT
INDIANAPOLIS — WWE SmackDown in Indy was special for multiple reasons.
First, Booker T was announced as the General Manager of SmackDown. Now can you dig that…SUCKA!!!
More important, it was announced that Survivor Series, the major pay-per-view that takes place around Thanksgiving each year, will be held at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Nov. 18.
Indianapolis has hosted several major wrestling events over the years, notably WrestleMania XIII in 1992 and SummerSlam in 2008.
With the new Lucas Oil Stadium having just hosted a Super Bowl, there are hopes among local fans that the WWE will bring WrestleMania back to Indy. A successful Survivor Series, and of course, a bid from the city, would likely give Indianapolis frontrunner status in the near future.
But now, back to the card.
This was one of the better events I’ve attended, not a bad match on the card. Highlights included Mr. McMahon making the announcement about Booker T, Booker then announcing that Teddy Long would be his special assistant and Randy Orton making his in-ring return against Alberto Del Rio.
The six-man tag match between the team of Daniel Bryan, The Miz and Dolph Ziggler vs. the team of Chris Jericho, Kane and Christian was very good. I’m impressed with Bryan, but came away most impressed with Ziggler. He has the whole package and is another guy the WWE should push soon.
Orton got one of the biggest pops of the night after returning from a 60-day suspension for violating the rules of the WWE’s Talent Wellness Program. He’s still got it with the crowd and should quickly return to a primary role.
The main event, which wasn’t a SmackDown match, pitted John Cena against Big Show and Cody Rhodes. First impression? Big Show is a huge man. I’ve covered the NBA for seven years, yet have never been as impressed with the sheer size of a person as with Big Show. Cena, of course, won. He is the present-day Hulk Hogan, though no one really quite fits that title.
Afterward, John Laurinaitis then came down to the ring. Just as Cena was set to hit him with the Attitude Adjustment, Cena put him down. Turns out, it was Laurinaitis’ 50th birthday. Somehow, Cena convinced the gullible Laurinaitis to put a blindfold on. Referee Charles Robinson pulled it off right before Cena put a cake in Laurinaitis’ face. The fans left with smiles on their faces and Laurinaitis left with frosting on his.
A much better night than expected in many ways!
Other things of note:
The crowd really likes Broadus Clay. He pulls off the perfect mix of being a serious wrestler and a fun crowd favorite. He could get a push in the near future, but McMahon hasn’t always pushed cartoonish-type fan favorites. Clay could easily become more serious and be sold as a real threat.
The crowd didn’t respond to Tensai. For whatever reason, Sheamus’ opponent didn’t make much of an impression. Some bad guys create a buzz. He didn’t.
Jericho’s still got it. His entrance remains one of the highlights of any card, and he’s still performing well into his 40s.
Cliff Brunt’s photo gallery:
Justin Whitaker’s photo gallery: