Guest Writer: Captain Hindsight – Best of Smackdown 09-10

Waddup, kids? It’s your boy, the main man who once had insisted on having wrestling on the TV while having sex with my girlfriend, just to annoy her.

Got a bit of a different thing today, one of my boys, Red29, is a writer, much like yours truly. He does great reviews, and once in a while he’ll grant me to post his work here. So, enjoy, and read up kids. You’ll enjoy it, and if you don’t, you’re wrong.


Red29 [redw29@gmail.com and if you’re a twitter type person, redw29]

 

With the WWE all about TV season sets of late, witness our first incarnation of a Smackdown season set:  “The Best of Smackdown 2009-2010.”  Now, 2009 was a great year for Smackdown, as it featured a solid six months of programming and highlighted all the goodness in the Jeff Hardy/CM Punk feud and John Morrison’s slow move up the WWE food chain.  Wait, what?  Oh, this set starts in October 2009.  While the main brand gets a calendar year season set, the B-brand gets a ‘Best of’ that goes from October to October.  I was stumped on this mystery until I noted that the Smackdown 10th Anniversary show was October 2nd.  So because of that, we’re getting October to October sets for the next 20 years – unless the show is actually cancelled due to falling behind TNA in ratings.

What was the reaction of folks when this title first came out?  Well, Charlie Reneke requested this DVD for winning a bet.  My bias going in was that any comments about the set had to have “Best of” in quotes – see, because it sounded like complete crap that no one would want to buy outside hardcore collectors that can’t help themselves.  Quick preface, just weeks after its release, this set was $14.99 on WWE.com with a sale of an extra 20% off and free shipping.  For $4 a disc is this set worth it?    Let’s find out.

Another quick note, thanks to the WWE saving money for future political campaigns, we no longer get inserts in their sets (noticed this starting with High Flyers), so I have no idea what the match listing is for this going in.

The DVD is set up where they just move match to match (or promo) with a small interlude of highlights for the particular month.  I don’t do full play-by-play, but do try to describe the flow or important parts of the match and mix in commentary along the way.

Disc 1:

October 2, 2009:

We kick things off with The Rock’s taped promo from the Smackdown 10th anniversary show.  Well, I can’t argue that this is a heckuva way to start off the DVD.  It’s a little hokey to start but Rock finally kicks it into gear.  After singing the Smackdown Hotel, the Rock proceeds to bury the current superstars (Dolph Ziggler, CM Punk) that could desperately use a rub from the old guard who are so highly revered.  Well, at least he could put over that young and up-and-coming talent, The Undertaker.  This definitely warranted inclusion.

D-Generation X (Triple H & Shawn Michaels), John Cena, and The Undertaker vs. Randy Orton, Legacy (Ted DiBiase & Cody Rhodes), and CM Punk

JR calls this the most star-studded match in Smackdown history.  He could be correct, at least looking at the names on the face side here.  I was curious if we’d get the house show fare here but everybody bumps around and the faces are really into the match with rooting each other on and getting the crowd fired up.  We get actual foreshadowing with the Undertaker refusing to take a tag from HBK early also.  Without a doubt this was (and possibly is) the highpoint for DiBiase and Rhodes, as they are talked about here as future big stars as they got a decent push with the D-X feud.  Pretty standard eight-man tag match with HBK and Cena taking turns playing the face-in-peril.  Of course they cut out the action during commercial breaks, which I’ll never get with DVD sets.  HHH buries Punk in their sequence, continuing the neutering of Punk’s character that would lose the belt just days later in the opening match at the first Hell in a Cell pay-per-view.  The ending sees all the faces in the ring with Orton and Orton eats a Tombstone for the finish.  This was perfectly acceptable anniversary show eight-man tag wrestling.  ***

From October 29, 2009:

CM Punk vs. The Undertaker © – Submission Match for the World Heavyweight Championship

Punk has his crooked referee (Scott Armstrong) and Teddy Long with him, a callback to Breaking Point and wrestling’s annual reenactment of the Montreal Screwjob (this time in Montreal at least).  Vince is involved (shown backstage earlier) as the announcer’s question if the fix is in.  At this point (show before Bragging Rights) the WWE still had the idea that people wanted to see Vince vs. Undertaker at Wrestlemania.  As was the style at the time, Punk’s offense is limited to two kicks outside the ring as Undertaker tears him apart and then goes after the ref and Teddy.    Punk does get one of the WWE’s last chairshots to the head in on Taker (well protected, like they can be) after a distraction and Punk hooks in the Anaconda Vice on a limp and listless Undertaker (Punk’s 4th move of the match).  Long tries to call for the bell (he was on probation and threatened as part of the Vince conspiracy) but we finally get another ref.   Taker was playing possum of course as he is immune to any kind of weak submission from Punk and quickly reverses to Hell’s Gate and Punk taps.  *1/2

From November 20, 2009:

John Morrison © vs. Dolph Ziggler – Two out of Three Falls Match for the Intercontinental Championship

This has the potential to be very good.  Morrison is the champ thanks to a 30 day vacation for Rey Mysterio and it’s not hard to feel bad for Ziggler not getting the win over Rey after all their solid encounters in the summer of 2009.  The Morrison/Mysterio match was great but didn’t make the cut thanks to the date, but it is the last match on Morrison’s DVD.  First fall sees Morrison get the pin on a roll-up after Ziggler blocked Starship Pain.  Second fall comes quickly as Ziggler hits the Zig-Zag for the pin.  Ziggler really works Morrison over and gets a ton of offense in as we build to the last fall but Morrison overcomes all and reverses a tilt-a-whirl into a DDT and hits Starship Pain for the pin.  Without commercials this was very short (around seven minutes).  I was hoping for more here.  **1/2

From December 4, 2009:

Mickie James vs. Beth Phoenix vs. Natalya – Triple Threat Match

This determines the #1 contender for the Women’s Title, held by Michelle McCool.  For those trying to forget, this is during the “Piggie James” stuff that would carry on all the way through to the Royal Rumble.  Beth and Natalya do a lot of squaring off as they casually keep dumping James to the outside.  And Mickie is the face here?  Of course during commercial we miss Mickie’s comeback.  Some decent action between everyone as James bumps around and steals a pin from Beth Phoenix after hitting the Glam Slam on Natalya.  Weird booking but they actually paid off this storyline well with a squash at the Royal Rumble.  They show the entire post-match fracas including what has to be one of Maria’s last WWE appearances.  *1/2

From December 25, 2009:

Rey Mysterio vs. The Undertaker – World Heavyweight Championship Match

Rey took some crazy bumps in their matches as the Undertaker was able to lawndart him around in some pretty good encounters.  This match is no exception with suicide dives and bumps to the outside and the barricade.  The action heats up to their Royal Rumble-type level until Batista makes his appearance and washes out the match by attacking both men.  Post match sees Rey hit a couple 619s (gleefully no sold by Undertaker).  I loved where this was going because Rey worked the big man/little man stuff PERFECTLY with Undertaker.  **3/4

From January 15, 2010:

Rey Mysterio vs. Batista – Steel Cage Match

Pre-match we get the entire feud recapped (finally!) and thanks to supernatural interference in their previous encounter, this #1 contender’s match is in a steel cage.   Mysterio utilizes his speed to really pop the crowd with quick escape attempts and the psychology works to get around all of Batista’s power stuff.  Any time Rey can grab the cage, he quickly climbs to evade the bigger guy.  The 619 is neutralized here with the cage so Mysterio runs at Batista and climbs up his back to climb the cage instead.  Rey does try to go for some quick pin attempts and Striker calls out this strategy and I agree.  Batista gets cocky and plays his heel role pretty well as he almost lets Rey crawl out the door.  Rey again quick climbs the cage and gets over while Batista quickly calls for the door to be opened so he can exit first.  Rey kicks it in Batista’s face and falls down for the win.  I liked that ending and the psychology throughout.  This was a decent blow-off and I was really happy they did the extended ppv-esque recap on the DVD before the match.   ***1/4

From January 22, 2010:

We get the full Straight Edge promo where Punk shaves Serena bald (12 minutes +).  If you’ve seen it once, it is an easy skip given the drawn out setup.

Disc 1 thoughts: The whole disc ran just a bit over two hours.  We get six matches and I felt like I was watching a Coliseum Video tape from 1991 with the quality.  There is a HUGE oversight here as we do not get the January 29th match between Shawn Michaels and Rey Mysterio where Rey actually wrestled as a heel and it worked.  We also skipped over Undertaker/Jericho from England (on Jericho’s set) as well as any Jeri-Show stuff but there are a couple of *** matches here.

 

Disc 2

Interestingly, each disc starts with the show intro they used for that portion of the year.

From February 5, 2010:

We get Edge’s promo on the first Smackdown after his Royal Rumble win.  He kicks off the Jericho feud and we’re saved from more (pun somewhat intended) when Punk and the SES come out to talk Elimination Chamber.  Taker appears as he and Edge clear the ring.  Thankfully this is not the “SPEAR, SPEAR, SPEAR” promo.  Nothing memorable here.

From February 26, 2010:

John Morrison vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. R-Truth w/ David Otunga    – Triple Threat Money in the Bank Qualifier Match

This is the show post-Elimination Chamber and the announcers talk about how great Morrison was and how he stood out in the match.  We’re almost a year later and Morrison just took the next step.  Morrison and Truth are on their way to being wacky inter-racial tag team #1 contenders.  They do a ton of 1-on-1 stuff with the other guy lying outside the ring.  This is ideal when Truth is outside the ring of course.  Speaking of Morrison’s de-push, John hits a sunset flip powerbomb and Starship Pain on Truth but Ziggler pulls him out of the ring and steals the pin.  Curtain jerking Wrestlemania in a four-minute match – here we come!  **

Edge vs. The Miz

Miz is the US champ and half of the Unified Tag Team champs with Big Show, which is why he could show up on Smackdown for this random main event.  This is only Edge’s second match back from injury and the rust and injury show (to be expected).  Miz controls until a double sledge is turned into a flapjack.  Edge hits the Impaler DDT and the crowd chants SPEAR! (and smarks groan everywhere)   Spear finishes Miz clean in a decent television match.  **1/2

From March 12, 2010:

Yes!  We get the full 2010 Slammy Award winning promo where Punk sings Happy Birthday to Rey’s daughter.  Great stuff.  I’ll tip my cap to Rey’s daughter; acting or not, she did a great job there.

From March 19, 2010:

The Undertaker vs. Drew McIntyre

I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about the little monthly recaps where they sell Drew like he is the future Hulk Hogan of the business.  Drew is still “undefeated” at this point, drawing some heat for feuding with Teddy Long and having a previous loss expunged.  Looking back, a lot of people thought Drew was a shoe-in for the Money in the Bank win at Wrestlemania.  I’m not exaggerating, this is around three minutes and Undertaker kills Drew’s streak dead with a Chokeslam and Tombstone.  I’m perplexed on how this made it.  We do get the post-match HBK appearance so I’m guessing that explains that.  1/2*

From March 26, 2010

Kane, Dolph Ziggler, Matt Hardy, Shelton Benjamin, and Drew McIntyre vs. Christian, M.V.P., Jack Swagger, Evan Bourne, and Kofi Kingston

This is your Money in the Bank go-home inter-promotional match.   30% of this group would be long gone just eight months later.  Not dead – just on their way to drugged out Youtube videos and TNA, Japan on a make-believe visa, or Ring of Honor to recreate a tag team from 2003.  In order to keep the MitB winner secret, the WWE did absolutely nothing to promote Swagger, outside of him sitting ringside for Kofi’s qualifying match on the previous RAW.  Evan Bourne is clearly the most over person in this match and even Shelton manages to not botch a big throw off the turnbuckle on Bourne.  Bourne plays face-in-peril for a bit until things break down and everyone hits all their moves until McIntyre hits the Future Shock on Christian to win it.  Well, at least his music is awesome.  **

From April 2, 2010:

With little doubt, this is the biggest moment on Smackdown in the last year.  Jericho comes out with bandaged-up ribs from Wrestlemania and cuts a lengthy promo before Edge comes out.  Edge hits the Impaler DDT and a Spear before leaving.  I love that, despite being taped, they started playing Edge’s music and cut to a replay like they were going to a commercial before Swagger runs down with his briefcase.  They really made it seem like the segment had ended.  The ref takes as long to come down to the ring as it took Swagger to unhook the briefcase at Wrestlemania.  One gut-wrench powerbomb later and Swagger in your World Heavyweight Champion.

From April 16, 2010:

Jack Swagger © vs. Chris Jericho vs. Edge – Triple Threat World Heavyweight Championship Match

Champ enters first because tradition and pushing new people sucks.  I really thought they would draw out the Swagger/Edge/Jericho stuff for months to help establish Swagger while letting Edge and Jericho continue their feud.  Instead, Swagger faced Randy Orton at the next pay-per-view where I thought this triple threat match should have taken place.  We immediately institute boring triple threat rules by only have two people in the ring at one time (seriously, not all triple threat matches are like this).  Not that the strategy of waiting for an opportunity on the outside escapes me; it just doesn’t make for much of an exciting match.  We’re almost two discs into this set and finally we get Striker making zero sense when talking about a count-out in a triple threat match.  Swagger retains after stealing Edge’s pin on Jericho after a Spear.  I thought they would have let Swagger look a little stronger as most of the match was showing off how powerful Edge was.  Post match Swagger gets some heat back by powerbombing Edge and the crowd is just dead silent.  Swagger would go on to face Orton at Extreme Rules nine days later and pull off a clean win! (I gave it ****)  This match is definitely the best so far on the set – ***1/2

From April 30, 2010:

Edge’s promo after being drafted to RAW where he turns heel again after Christian calls him out for being a liar and using the crowd as his puppets.  Edge agrees and no one cares.  Christian tries to get the crowd to sing the goodbye song “na na na na – hey hey” and the crowd obliges by sitting on their hands and staying silent.  I don’t rate promos, and while having E&C in the ring is always a nostalgia trip, this was forced and boring.

Disc 2 thoughts: If you are a member of the Swagger family or cant’ wait for the Swagger DVD set in 10 years, then this disc are for you!  Outside of those matches (and only five on the disc), this disc is very Edge-heavy with some seriously long promos that I guess were the best Smackdown had this past year.  I would like to know where the hell is the Morrison/Swagger match from April 23rd?  Must be a part of that aforementioned Swagger DVD set.

 

Disc 3:

From May 14, 2010

Michelle McCool and Layla vs. Beth Phoenix – WWE Women’s Championship match

This was supposed to be Rosa Mendes but Vickie comes out and says that Michelle McCool is invoking her rematch clause and she is making this a handicap match.  This is in Beth’s hometown of Buffalo and she is nursing a knee injury.  No tag rules here, and early on Beth gets both women up and drops them for a double fall-away slam.  Instead of making the match more about the knee, McCool and Phoenix collide and hit heads (allegedly), causing Michelle to fall out of the ring and Layla steals the pin.  I’m not even sure I can go ½ here.  ¼* for the double fallaway slam.  This is the Best of Smackdown?

Rey Mysterio vs. CM Punk

Their hair vs. mask match is nine days away and I really think the WWE should have floated some action figure pictures of a mask-less Rey to really dupe everyone.  Rey misses a dive to the outside early and Punk throws him into the barricade.  We’re back from commercial (grumble) and Punk is in control, throwing Rey to the outside via under the bottom rope (always a great spot for Rey).  Back in, a good false finish when Luke Gallows comes out to distract Rey and Punk goes for a rollup. The masked Straight Edge Society member shows up but Serena quickly shows that it is her before Rey can punk her out (kind of a pun intended).  Then the real mystery member shows up to knock Rey down and we have a DQ.  Post match, everyone gets their finisher on Rey and then the SES poses him in Punk’s pose.  Well, we needed something about this feud match-wise on the DVD so there you go.  **1/4

From June 4, 2010

Battle Royal – Smackdown Roster (Rey Mysterio, Dolph Ziggler, Drew McIntyre, Kofi Kingston and Kane get entrances)

Winner gets Undertaker’s spot in the Fatal Four Way match at the creatively titled FATAL FOUR WAY pay-per-view.  Big Show and CM Punk have already qualified so they are not in this match.  Swagger is champ and has been feuding with Big Show.  Kane is hunting down his brother’s assailant at this point.  This match is a who’s who of soon to be future endeavored talent.  Pretty obvious who the final two will be and after a good showing by Luke Gallows, we’re down to Rey (feuding with Punk still) and “On the warpath” Kane.  Mysterio, despite stupid battle royal logic of going for the 619 constantly, manages to hurricanrana Kane out of the ring in YOUR Suspension of Disbelief moment of Disc 3.  This one was pretty anti climatic and boring.  *1/2

From June 25, 2010

Drew McIntyre vs. Matt Hardy

Matt Hardy was previously suspended by Vince McMahon and is reinstated by Teddy Long here as a means to get revenge on Drew McIntyre.  This was actually a pretty decent storyline as McIntyre was no longer protected by Vince McMahon because Vince was taken out by the Nexus on RAW.  Hardy and McIntyre had been feuding in the months before this so this is your blow-off tilt.  Decent brawl early and Drew hits a back suplex on the outside to Matt.  Hardy is bumping like crazy as McIntyre hits a modified Michinoku Driver off the top rope.  I don’t think we’re getting a better spot than that in this entire set.  McIntyre gets an extended heat sequence where he just pummels Hardy.  Hardy times his comebacks pretty well and trips McIntyre on the steel steps, and Drew bumps on them.  Haven’t seen that one before.  Hardy counters to a Twist of Fate out of nowhere back in the ring and gets the win.  This had more of a deliberate pace but was pretty entertaining with some great bumps.  Good booking here also.  Post match, Teddy Long announces Drew’s visa has expired and their whole storyline concludes.  A rare gem for the year of Smackdown.  ***1/2

From July 2, 2010

Rey Mysterio and The Big Show vs. Cody Rhodes (now Dashing) and Jack Swagger

Thankfully we skip over the one-sided abortion known as The Big Show/Jack Swagger feud on this set, although I liked Jack’s promo showing off his trophies.  It’s 2010; would it kill them to have the Big Show put someone over?  I know Jack got an Ankle Lock in on Show to really sell the move but they missed the boat with having Swagger take too many losses during his run.  There are other ways for a heel to lose besides a count out and a cheap DQ.  Drew McIntyre was able to deftly use foreign objects or ref interference to get clean wins during his first run.  It certainly would not have hurt to have Show take a pin in this feud either.  Anyway, Rey is champ after the previous Fatal Four Way pay-per-view and Swagger has already invoked his rematch clause for the Money in the Bank ppv.  Rey is your face-in-peril and Cody Rhodes gets some good offense in.   Big Show finally gets the hot tag but hurts his ankle (continuity from Swagger feud?) and then Rhodes kicks him out of the ring.  Rhodes really works Show over too which blows me away quite frankly.  Back in, Rey goes for the 619 but Swagger catches him and puts the Ankle Lock on while Rey is still in the ropes.  Jack refuses to break at the ref’s count of five so we have a DQ.  Swagger then drags Rey across the ring and to the outside without releasing the hold.  This match made Swagger and Rhodes look really good so kudos there.  **

From July 23, 2010

Kane’s promo after winning the World Heavyweight Championship.  Kane did a great job here and the mixed in Undertaker highlights were pretty cool.  The dramatic background music was a tad much though.  Sadly, there wasn’t much of a creative storyline here as everyone figured it was Kane who attacked his brother months before the story was played out.  The crowd wasn’t as generous with their applause for Kane on the go-forward either.

From July 30, 2010

Christian vs. Drew McIntyre

Forget Swagger, this is a mini-Drew McIntyre compilation.  Sheesh.  This is a rematch from a bout Drew won two weeks earlier and is somewhat set up from a tag match involving Matt Hardy the week prior.  Your Drew McIntyre ‘Innovated Spot of the Match’ sees Drew hiding under the ring and when Christian goes to look, Drew grabs his arm through the beams and thrusts Christian’s shoulder into the apron. Drew continues to work the shoulder (psychology!) including a shoulder breaker on the steel steps!  Christian carries the selling throughout the match, especially after his comebacks.  They trade near falls, including an off the top rope sunset flip for Christian but the build to finish cuts off pretty quickly as Christian reverses out of the Future Shock (they sell the struggle to pull the move off well – which I am always a big fan of) into a rollup, which gets the three.  Bit of a letdown with the ending and I may have to turn in my smark card but I have really enjoyed McIntyre’s stuff on this set.  I’ve watched some of Drew’s stuff with Sheamus from over in Ireland and he certainly can wrestle.  The pace and style is different though, for sure.  I’ll ask the question – what is everyone’s beef with Drew so far?  Is it a boring thing or is he not as technically creative as I’m giving him credit for?   I’m going ***1/4 for the match here.  I like the Hardy one slightly better.

Rey Mysterio vs. Jack Swagger – No DQ Match

This is not their #1 Contender’s match that set up Summerslam, rather the result of Rey winning that match the week prior.  Despite losing, Swagger is able to demand a rematch and the stipulation here.  These two are so familiar with each other at this point that they duck and reverse away from each other’s moves early in the match.  Nice touch.  The match spills outside and into the crowd where Swagger pseudo powerbombs Rey into the higher-up gates that hold back the crowd.  He keeps the hold and does this twice actually, which is pretty awesome.  They fight through the arena, over the merchandise stand and right out the doors to the outside.  The silliness continues as Swagger wants to destroy Rey so badly that he grinds Rey’s face (masked of course) on a guardrail outside as traffic drives by.  Swagger carries Rey arcoss the street to the cement pier, allowing Rey to get his wind back and then take over.  He should have gone for the “walk while I drag you by your mask/hair move” to save energy. Swagger goes for a gorilla press slam into the water but Rey reverses and uses a rana to throw Swagger into the ocean (an assist goes to Jack for running and lunging into the water here).  Swagger’s “I’m drowning, help me!  I can’t breathe!”  is pretty funny as he had just told Rey how much of a man he was.  Kane then shows up and gives Rey a bath also with a chokeslam.  I had better fake-wrestling brawls in my college dorm room thirteen years ago.  This was a little different I guess, but I could have sworn they did the water thing twice on Smackdown this year? *3/4

From August 6, 2010

Dolph Ziggler vs. Kofi Kingston © – Intercontinental Championship Match

After an unexciting open, Kofi wakes up the crowd (and me) with a suicide dive, barely missing the announcer’s table.  Of course we immediately go to a commercial and come back to Ziggler working Kofi’s arm.  The arm stunner is a nice touch but I’m a little perplexed at the pyschology. The arm doesn’t affect the Tornado kick or the Boom Drop so I’ll spin it as Ziggler trying to cut off Kofi’s ability to elbow out of the Sleeper after his arm drops two times.  The arm leads nowhere, as Kofi hits Trouble in Paradise and Vicki immediately comes in to discuss current events with the ref, who does nothing to try and move her out of the ring.  Kofi just stands there and doesn’t even go for a cover OR go for Vicki which confuses me even more.  Ziggler pops up and hits the Zig Zag and we have a new champ.  Post match, Kofi weakly suplexes Dolph onto the announce table and it slowly breaks and Dolph slides off.  Kofi gets all aggressive and knocks Dolph around and we fade out.  Horrible match.  *

Next up – some grooming tips from Cody Rhodes.  Would it have really killed them to let Cody and Drew McIntyre hold the tag belts for more than two weeks?

From August 20, 2010

Rey Mysterio vs. Alberto Del Rio

This is Del Rio’s in-ring debut after weeks of promos.  I love the personal ring announcer touch, especially since the guy can take bumps and allow Del Rio to heelishly let his announcer get beat up in his place.  Del Rio works the arm and mugs to the crowd.  They trade kicks and Del Rio counters the 619 into a slingshot, and then lunges to trip Rey off the top rope.  Love that spot.  A quick kick to the gut and swinging armbar takedown later and Rey taps. **1/2

From September 10, 2010

Drew McIntyre vs. Kaval

Wow, here’s your one Kaval DVD compilation appearance.  This is Kaval’s in-ring Smackdown debut.  Kaval flies around early with some nice kicks until he’s dumped outside.  Drew overhead slams Kaval with a bump right on his back on the ring apron.  More stiff kicks until Kaval flies to the outside and Drew catches him in a rana attempt and just slings him into the barricade.   Back in, Future Shock DDT ends it.  For a quick match, this was pretty good.  **1/2

Next up, the extended Brothers of Destruction promo.  Drink whenever you hear Kane use the phrase “vegetative state”!   The line “Your weakness allowed me to put you in a vegetative state” is just BAD-ASS.   You can catch this promo on any PPV from where these two wrestled in the past year, but it was warranted here just because so much of the focus was around this storyline during the year.

CM Punk vs. Undertaker

This is Undertaker’s first match since his vegetative stating.  Just so folks don’t’ have a heart attack, the storyline is that Taker is very weak, which is why he bumps around and Punk is allowed to complete full wrestling maneuvers on him.  Punk is still toiling in another terrible Big Show feud, which they definitely gloss over on this set.  Punk counters Old School as the Undertaker (fresh out of Han Solo-esque carbonite apparently) has balance issues and crotches himself on the ropes.  Undertaker keeps the selling going as he does drunken shadow boxing on the ground outside the ring.  This handicap actually lends itself to a good match as Taker gets in some decent comebacks while continuing to sell and let Punk keep up his offense – including a GTS which had the reverse effect as Taker wakes up and grabs Punk in the Hell’s Gate for the win.  Easily the best matchup between the two over the last year.  ***

Disc 3 thoughts: Lot of material here over almost three hours.  Sadly, given the month range of the set, we get very little Alberto Del Rio.  I’m hoping his Smackdown main event match with Rey after Rey’s return from injury is put on a future set.  I did find myself more of a fan of Drew McIntyre after this disc as I enjoyed his matches with Matt Hardy and Christian.

Final thoughts: While there is some notable material missing, if this is your first exposure to Smackdown over the last year, I believe this set has some value.  If you regularly watch the show, I don’t think there’s enough here to run out and pick this up.  If you’re an avid collector, well, you probably already own it.  This was the first season set I completely watched and I’m encouraged by the news of a Best of Nitro (first two years) and the new two Best of Raw season sets.  It sure beats collecting 26 discs worth of bootlegged season sets.

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~ by Caliber Winfield on January 2, 2011.

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