Maybe I am in the minority here, but I am not convinced that AJ Lee’s return to WWE is completely “best for business.”
Her surprise return Monday night definitely is a shot in the arm to a dragging Divas division. And – just maybe –putting the Divas title back around her makes sense because you always want your top-name performer to sport the gold.
But on the other side, AJ’s return is only going to ramp up the “CM Punk” chants from the crowds. And sooner or later, WWE is going to have to publicly address them, whether or not they want to.
After all, that is his wife who is wearing the Divas title. Not his storyline wife…his real-life spouse.
Maybe that is cracking open the door for a possible Punk return. Lord knows the WWE Universe would eat it up.
But he says he is done with wrestling. That’s not stopping his wife from getting back into it.
To top it off, AJ seems to be all over her crazy-girl phase. No high-pitched screams. No thousand-yard stares. The skipping still is there, but it seems to have regained the reflection of a child-like innocence, not the psychotic break of a modern-day Baby Jane.
When AJ was around, the Divas division had become fun to watch. She is not the truest wrestler in the division – that distinction still belongs to Natalya. But AJ connects with the crowd in a way that none of the other Divas seem to do.
You possibly could include the Bella Twins as ones who can connect with the crowd. But they do so in a Hollywood glamour, unapproachable style. AJ, however, comes across approachable, as the next-door neighbor you might wave at over the fence or hang out with at a neighborhood block party.
She certainly moves the needle in terms of being a charismatic champion.
Thankfully, her arrival and Monday night victory brings an end to the dreadful Paige experiment as Divas champion. In my opinion, Paige was rushed into the top spot way before she was ready. But she offered the ideal storyline “out” for AJ to step aside, get married and get some much-needed rest.
Skills-wise, Paige had all the makings of a good champion. What she may have lacked in personality, she made up for in ring moves. Her combo of a Scorpion leg lock and chicken-wing lock was one of the most original finishing holds I have seen in a long time.
But you cannot succeed as a top champ on skills alone. That is why we refer to wrestling as sports entertainment.
As champion, Paige was not entertaining. As champion, AJ was very entertaining.
I just have a feeling that WWE may have waded into waters they did not intend to navigate.
Ever since his abrupt departure earlier this year, Punk has been the 800-pound gorilla in the room for WWE. Maybe they think they moved past all this on that night last March when they played his entrance music, only to have Paul Heyman come out.
Since then, the Punk chants have become a staple at WWE televised events. They may not start the show and may not end the show, but you know they are going to come sometime.
And they do, usually during matches where the audience is bored.
That’s all changing with AJ’s return. As soon as the first few notes of “Let’s Light It Up” blare across the sound system, the chants will start … and continue throughout her appearance.
And they likely are not going to die down as long as AJ remains active on the roster – or Punk finally makes some kind of appearance. He now is claiming he is retired, but think about it. Have you ever seen anyone completely “retire” from WWE? Even Edge and Shawn Michaels make appearances on the show despite the maladies that forced them out of active action.
Meanwhile, the Punk chants are going to continue. And WWE has only two choices to deal with this.
Come to some kind of reconciliation with Punk. Or invest in a whole bunch of noise-cancelling headphones.
Bill Atkinson is a frequent contributor to Camel Clutch Blog. Follow him on Twitter at @BAtkinson1963.
There have been many power couples in the world of professional wrestling. None, however, may have the most “stroke” in the business as Triple H and Stephanie McMahon have right now. While the McMahon family continues on the tradition of the family business, these two “power hungry” heathens of the wrestling world are in a position that makes them the biggest bad asses on the block.
And there is not a couple in the WWE right now that can stop them. Until an idea hit me like a bucket of bolts.
The rumored return of AJ Lee at some point next month, coupled with the mention of CM Punk returning to Twitter has me thinking the newly engaged (there is a lot of that going on in the WWE these days) couple could be the elixir this company needs to challenge the owners of the company for supremacy.
With all due respect to Daniel Bryan and his new bride, Brie Bella, there isn’t enough firepower in this super couple to challenge the likes of the McMahons. But the brashness of Punk and Lee and the characters they play on the screen are perfect for a family to family confrontation on television.
Just to let you all know, the McMahons are no slouches when it comes to building a dynasty. are the founders and owners of the professional wrestling and entertainment company WWE (legally World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.), previously known as Capitol Wrestling Corporation; World Wide Wrestling Federation; Titan Sports; World Wrestling Federation, and World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc.
Historically, the company’s primary business has currently been professional wrestling, but it has at various times expanded into bodybuilding promotion, TV network, home video production, film production, nightclub, merchandising superstore, and a professional football league.
But this isn’t about what the family has in the media and entertainment world as much as it is about what two factions can do in a wrestling ring. While we all know at one point or another, the McMahons have been in the WWE ring, beating the hell out of wrestlers and each other. This would certainly make for great drama and would also keep the fans and the WWE Universe interested and entertained.
Just a few questions need to be answered before this kind of a confrontation can take place.
When is AJ Lee coming back?
What will her role be in the Divas Division?
Will the WWE use the romance by Lee and Punk to their advantage?
When will Punk return?
And if he does return, which one of the members of Evolution does he face (Batista)?
It looks like I have everything all planned out for this little confrontation and to be honest, I do in a way. But Punk has to want to come back and do this. There has been conjecture he is done with the ring battles and the injuries and will move on from the business. There has also been talk that Lee wanted time off – but will be back sooner than anticipated by several media outlets.
I stated in my column yesterday the WWE should stay the course and continue to promote what they have been successful with concerning current feuds in the company. But it would also be foolish for this company to take a simple scenario – one many of us would love to see, and not make it work to some point.
[ad]Right now, the company is building Evolution as the new authority figure on the WWE and its main focus is to beat the hell out of The Shield. Great concept, great idea and bad way to remain stagnant. Everyon should be the focus of Evolution. And when it comes to the new “love birds,” they should be priority number one on the hit list.
This Saturday marks a milestone for AJ Lee and her being the Divas Champion and that is her tying Maryse for the longest reign as Divas Champion with Sunday being the day she become the all time longest reigning Divas Champion to hold that title.
Sure records may become broken at some points in sports, but this one, I’m not really feeling at all here because during AJ’s title run, nothing really memorable has happened besides the epic promo she cut on the total divas back in the Summer of last year and also, there is a debate on twitter on who had the better run of Maryse and AJ Lee. While looking at this and looking at what fans of Maryse have been saying and fans of AJ Lee have been saying, I have come to the conclusion about both of those reigns.
My verdict: Neither of them had the better reign over each other.
Reason being of that is, I found both of those title runs to be unmemorable regarding the Divas Championship. Maryse won the title back in 2008 on a episode of SmackDown where she defeated Michelle McCool for it. She was improving in the ring, but I felt like it was not the right time to put the title on Maryse. I predicted that she was going to win the title in January of the new year, but it seemed like the focus on the Royal Rumble Pay Per View with Melina going after Beth Phoenix for the Women’s Championship. Maryse would go on to win the title, but only to become injured at a house show. It was a disappointing start to her title run as she was slidelined for a bit only until returning back in the ring. Her challengers along the way were Michelle McCool and Gail Kim before being drafted to Raw that year and defending the title against Kelly Kelly before finally dropping it to Mickie James. To me, her run is not really that memorable. The only good matches that I can recall was her against Michelle McCool for the title before Gail Kim would come in and attack both and against Gail Kim on her last match for SmackDown.
Now for AJ’s reason, it was all about having the title on their over diva back last year. We all know that AJ Lee was Diva of the year in 2012, turning heel to align with Dolph Ziggler and at the side of him when he won the World Heavyweight Championship. She would then move on to win a number one contenders battle royal to get a shot at Kaitlyn’s title. However, during the time, there was no progression with the feud for the title and the go home show before Payback was the final straw with Big E being the secret lover of Kaitlyn before AJ revealed it was a hoax. At Payback, AJ Lee would win the title from her former best friend and tag team partner. While the both of them did feud over the summer with the first ever contract signing with the both of them, their rematch at Money In the Bank and their last match at Summerslam with Kaitlyn and Dolph Ziggler getting the win over AJ and Big E. From there, AJ would have contenders left and right for the title, but her only feud right after was with Brie Bella, in which she would retain the title against her a couple of times, but from there, AJ had people challenging her for the title and not a real feud. While AJ fans are saying that AJ’s run is a good one and that it’s something to remember, to me, I feel like it was nothing, but a bust. The only time I remember when a over diva had the title and a actual feud for the title was Kelly Kelly. Remember Beth Phoenix? That was Kelly’s real feud for the title before Kelly would drop it to Beth Phoenix at Hell in a Cell in 2011. Kelly’s run was memorable in a way, but her feud with Beth Phoenix was one of them.
Unless someone defeats AJ for the title during the SmackDown tapings which will air on Friday, AJ will not reach that record as she will just miss it by four days (In SmackDown terms, 1 day), but unless something happens and they give AJ a decent feud, I don’t see her run as champion as memorable. So I’m going to ask this question for everyone that reads the Camel Clutch Blog, do you honestly think that AJ is having a good run as champion? If she passes Maryse’s record, what would you like to see? If she drops the title, did you see it as a good and memorable run?
WWE Divas champion AJ Lee supposedly got into a bit of trouble recently when she took exception to NBC reporter Michelle Beadle speaking to CM Punk. The “controversy” took place during WWE’s Tribute to the Troops and since that time, many fans have been more than a little upset at AJ for apparently embarrassing WWE.
Wow. Okay, what now?
I have to say that when I first saw this nonsense online, I almost skipped right over it. The headline itself did not give me much cause to stop and read; in fact it actually made me want to just keep going. But because of the work I do, I decided to take a moment to click and read.
Truth be told, it read like something of a non-event. It was not news to me, more like an isolated incident between people that the majority of WWE fans do not know off camera. None of us were there and because of that, there is no one reliable source from which to draw from.
So I for one believed it meant nothing. I moved on. But then I began my daily routine of social media for the first time that day and I was just astonished by what I saw.
Fans lost their minds over this one. Seriously, it was amazing.
Twitter was blowing up with shock and disappointment; the reactions were just too unbelievable to be true. Words like “sad” and “ridiculous” were everywhere. Phrases like “she really is crazy,” and “I’ve lost respect for her,” were repeated more than once.
I read all of this and did my best to digest it. And believe me that was not easy to do.
Here’s the thing. If all of this is true then yes, it’s more than a little silly. And it unfortunately plays right into the character that AJ portrays, suggesting that it’s more true to life than anyone realized. But whether or not it all happened that way is really unclear right now.
What is clear however is that some fans can be very critical and extremely judgmental over basically nothing.
It never ceases to amaze me, to be honest. The fact is that much of the same crowd who supported AJ just one day before this all happened turned on her without knowing any real details.
They turned on her without one shred of actual proof that anything really happened at all. They took one story, one report and accepted it as rock solid truth. And I for one have a real problem with that.
Why, because I blindly support WWE Superstars due to my role as an analyst? Not at all. The truth is that part of what I do means that I have to be as objective as possible, depending on the type of column I write on any given day.
And I do not work for WWE. I have nothing to gain by holding them up on a pedestal or refusing to believe anyone in that company is incapable of wrongdoing.
My issue with the reaction to this story lies in the fact that fans immediately jumped at the chance to believe anything legitimately happened with a pro wrestling entertainment company. Think about this for a moment. The entire business of pro wrestling is predicated on the lie that matches are won and lost based upon actual competition.
WWE lies to its fans on a daily basis to support the initial lie that what they’re seeing in the ring is actually happening. They work the crowd to get what they want and we as fans are supposed to react accordingly. This is how the business works and it will never change. Vince McMahon did not invent this concept, it has always been there.
And the truth is the majority of fans are fine with it. We like to be entertained and most of us know how this works.
Yet we take one story and completely blow it out of proportion, as if suddenly WWE is not an entertainment company with fictional characters and manufactured storylines. AJ Lee may as well have been an executive in a Fortune 500 company, under internal investigation by the human resources department.
Its pro wrestling, folks. This is not reality we’re talking about here. How anyone can automatically believe anything even remotely relating to WWE is beyond me. Again, if AJ Lee did anything that requires her to be reprimanded, then so be it. She’s an adult and she should know better.
But instead of snapping to judgment, can we all at least take a step back and understand that we’re dealing with real people here? Real people make mistakes and that is likely what happened here; AJ spoke out of turn, embarrassed herself and now we should all move on and just let it go.
The fact is that dirt-sheets rarely ever get anything right. And when it comes to this story, they’re not exactly batting 1000.
Some of the same speculation revolving around all of this included the possibility that AJ would be punished for what she did by losing her Divas Championship at TLC. What happened to that bit of “news?”
Don’t believe everything you read, folks. I don’t.
Tom Clark is a WWE Featured Columnist & Consultant for Bleacher Report, a Contributor for JBL’s Layfield Report and a Contributor for Whatculture.com
“Hell hath no fury than a woman scorned.” In the WWE, that is code word for, “Don’t piss AJ Lee off.”
The “Black Widow” of the WWE struck again Monday night, causing her “former” boyfriend Dolph Ziggler t lose another match against Alberto Del Rio and placing his chances of winning the World Heavyweight Title on life support.
Lee still has a stronghold on breaking hearts and taking names in the company that has made her a superstar.
Let’s see, Daniel Bryan was “crazy” when she dated him. She “cost” him the WHC. CM Punk “dug” the crazy chick, but did not want to marry her. Kane did not know what to do with the crazy chick. Daniel Bryan tried to marry the crazy chick. John Cena had an interest in her but found out how “crazy” she was. And if you are scoring at home, she fell “crazy” in love with Dolph Ziggler and his WHC title aspirations.
Excuse me while I catch my breath, That’s plenty of frequent flier miles for anyone, regardless of how hot she looks.
Ok, getting back to the crux of this column. Everyone stay with me here.
The fact Ziggler has decided to part ways with the most evil woman in the WWE this side of Scary Sherri Martel is simple —- Shawn Michaels walked away from the association of a woman in the ring and now, the “Show Stealer” is following suit.
There is no way Ziggler can be the “hit” everyone wants him to be and the leading player the WWE wants him to be if he is connected to the WWE’s biggest female draw and one of the biggest flaws in getting over.
Randy Savage could do it with Elizabeth. Their chemistry was “real” and fans loved them both.
Eddie Gilbert could get away with it with Missy Hyatt. For any of you who are not aware of who Missy Hyatt is, google her and see what she looked like in 1985.
The point I am making is singles champions are usually more successful without the drama associated with the woman by his side. For months, Ziggler made it work with Vickie Guerrero, but the angle grew stale and fans did not like Ziggler in the role.
Lee cost John Cena the WHC Title Ladder match at TLC and then began her “whirlwind” romance with “Ziggy.”
Awww. I am sure Susan Lucci is giving her a standing ovation.
If it is predetermined by the WWE that stars like Ziggler will replace the likes of Shawn Michaels and CM Punk replaces Randy Savage, John Cena is the next Hulk Hogan and so on, they need to follow suit, realize the character strengths of the past and use those “skits” but not to a pint where they completely emulate them.
Ziggler is in the right place at the right time — right now, to be great. The recent matches with Alberto Del Rio have been nothing less than magic. Much like Michaels and Chris Jericho in years past.
I have always said wrestlers push each other for greatness and success. The angle now presented to us will move away toward Ziggler’s title chances and his dealing with the decisions he has made. This is good news for his “muscle” Big E Langston and their potential feud. And if anyone has even thought of this, it could be a reason Kaitlyn recaptures the WWE Divas Title (what’s good for the goose is good for the gander).
The WWE may have hit gold with this “breakup” and consequences of a love pairing gone bad. Like all soap operas, there are a few bumps in the script that need to be worked out before we truly know if this is an award winning performance on both sides of the script.
This week’s WWE SmackDown! opens with Fandango and Anonymous Broad heading down to the ring. Lilian Garcia enters the ring, and Fandango begins fondling her. He tells her she’s looking excellent tonight, then asks if she’s ever been dipped before. Have you ever made moves on anyone before? Lilian, have you ever Fandangoed before? It feels good. Real good. Fandango then spins her and goes to kiss her, but instead dips her before telling her that was terrible. Fandango then drops Lilian in the middle of the ring. He tells her she’s beautiful, but there’s nothing beautiful about the way she dances. You’re just like each and every one of these people who butcher his name and mock his dance. Can you at least pronounce his name correctly? Pay attention: It’s FAN…
Santino Marella comes out on the stage and calls him “Fandingo”. Fandango is a very rude person, the way he talks to the WWE Universe and the way he just treated Lilian. Hi, Lilian. It pains Santino to admit it, though: Fandango has some good moves. That dance looks like so much fun. In fact, he really hopes if the WWE Universe doesn’t mind if Santino does his version. But first, he’d like to introduce his dance partner…it’s the Cobra. Together, they are going to do a 2-step all over Fandango’s face. Santino begins dancing to Fandango’s entrance theme, getting in Fandango’s face in the process. Fandango eventually charges at Santino, but Santino low-bridges him to the outside.
MATCH 1: Fandango (w/Anonymous Broad) vs. Santino Marella
Fandango immediately attacks Santino and throws him to the corner. Santino counters a corner whip and mocks Fandango, so Fandango kicks him. Boot to the head by Fandango, and now some mounted punches. Santino fails at a kip-up, so Fandango stomps him some more. The “You can’t wrestle!” chants have already started. Forearm shots in the corner by Fandango, and then he slams Santino face-first into the mat. Santino once again fails at a kip-up, and Fandango goes for more mounted punches before applying a cravat. Fandango snaps him back to the mat, then rubs himself. Santino succeeds at the kip-up this time, hits some rights, does the splits and hits a hip toss and a saluting headbutt. He goes for the Cobra, but Fandango blocks it and hits a variation of the Flatliner to get the 3.
We see Booker T and Teddy Long in Book’s office. Book tells Teddy things are different now. Teddy didn’t consult him when making a match Monday night between Swagger and Ziggler. The Big Show walks in and thanks Teddy for giving him a tag team partner against Sheamus and Orton. Unlike some who put him in a handicap match, Teddy had the foresight to make sure he’s in a situation where he won’t get injured. Book then stares at Teddy as Teddy leaves.
MATCH 2-Champion vs. Champion: WWE United States Champion Kofi Kingston vs. Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett (non-title)
Lock-up to start, and Wade backs Kofi into the corner. Kofi ducks a right and hits some kicks. Wade counters an arm wringers with a right hand, then begins hitting some elbows to the back of the head. Kofi flips out of an arm wringer and snaps off a hurricanrana for 2. Wade shoulders Kofi off the ropes, and a crisscross ends with a dropkick by Kofi for 2. Kofi applies a top wristlock, and Wade fights out before hitting some straight left jabs. Kofi ducks one and hits a side-Russian legsweep before hitting a kick to the chest. Kofi hits a springboard splash from the middle rope for 2. Wade begins to fight back, but runs into a Pendulum by Kofi. Kofi goes up top, but Wade boots him in the face, sending him to the floor. Wade follows outside, where he continues striking Kofi before slamming him into the announce desk. Back in the ring, Wade rolls Kofi over for the pin, getting 2. Wade sets Kofi horizontally across the top rope, hitting a running kneelift to the gut. Wade goes for the pin again, getting another 2 before applying a rear chinlock. Kofi fights out of the hold with lefts and rights until Wade hits a kneelift and sends Kofi to the corner. Kofi blocks the charge and mounts the middle rope, but Wade whips him back to the mat for 2. Wade drops an elbow off the ropes before going back to the chinlock. Kofi fights out once more, ducks a clothesline, ducks another and gets caught with the Winds of Change. He tries to counter the move into a crucifix, but Wade drops backward into a modified Samoan drop for 2. Kofi holds on and counters the pin into a crucifix and gets the 3.
WINNER: Kofi Kingsotn. Not the best outing for these two, but still a solid match. These two are pretty much always guaranteed to deliver when they face each other.
Renee Young stops Mark Henry in the back to ask why he’s been attacking Sheamus. He says it’s because he can, and that’s just what he does. Sheamus then runs in and tackles Henry through a table and tells him that’s what he does, fella. These two feuded once before, and it was surprisingly entertaining, so I’m okay with WWE renewing this feud.
MATCH 3: Alberto Del Rio (w/Ricardo Rodriguez) vs. Jack Swagger (w/Zeb Colter)
ADR starts with a side headlock, and Swagger immediately goes to the injured left leg. ADR attacks Swagger’s injured shoulder, causing a clean break. ADR goes into a waistlock, and Swagger counters. ADR counters into an armbar, but Swagger fights him off. Swagger hits a kneelift and a hip throw. ADR shoves him off, and Swagger hits a shoulderblock. They go for a crisscross, but ADR lands badly on his injured leg. Swagger capitalizes and kicks him in the knee before dragging him to the ring post from the outside. ADR fights him off, kicking him into the barricade. ADR heads outside and nails Swagger with a kick to the chest before slamming the bad arm into the steps. Back in the ring, ADR goes for the pin and gets 2. ADR kicks Swagger between the shoulders for another 2. Swagger blocks a suplex and hits his own. Back up, ADR counters a corner whip. Swagger back drops him coming in. ADR lands on the apron, but his leg gets caught on the top rope. Swagger hotshots the leg, then knocks ADR to the floor. Commercials.
Back from the break, Swagger has a step-over toehold applied on ADR. ADR kicks him off, then hits a big kick to the bad arm. He jumps off the middle rope, and Swagger shoulders him in the bad leg on the way down for 2. Swagger drags ADR to the middle where he applies a legbar. ADR punches his way out of the hold. Back up, he ducks a clothesline and counters into a crucifix for 2. Swagger gets back up and hits a shoulderblock. Foot choke by Swagger now, but ADR begins to fight back. Swagger backs ADR into the corner and hits a series of kneelifts before working over the bad leg through the ropes. Swagger hits a short-arm clothesline, getting 2. Swagger begins ripping the bandage off of ADR’s knee and strikes it before going for the step-over toe hold again. ADR punches Swagger off and goes for the step-up enziguri, but Swagger ducks and hits an elevated belly-to-belly suplex for 2. ADR rolls to the apron, and he applies a jujigatame on the bad arm over the top rope. Back in, they trade strikes until Swagger kicks the bad knee. ADR ducks a running boot and hits a pair of clotheslines and a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. However, ADR does it over his bad knee, putting himself down in the process. Swagger rolls to the apron, and ADR pulls him through the middle rope, hitting some forearm shots to the back and a Backstabber for 2. ADR calls for the rolling jujigatame, but Swagger counters and picks him up. ADR counters into a sunset flip for 2, then locks Swagger into the jujigatame. Swagger counters into the Patriot Lock. ADR manages to get a rope break, so Swagger breaks it and hits a Swagger Bomb to the back for 2. ADR tries to counter the Swagger Bomb the second time, but Swagger grabs the feet. He goes for the Patriot Lock again, but ADR kicks him in the bad arm and hits a double-knee armbreaker. ADR picks Swagger and goes for the rolling jujigatame, but Swagger shoves him off to the floor on the outside. ADR makes in before the count and hits a thrust kick to the face, getting 2 as Swagger grabs the ropes. Swagger trips ADR and gets the Patriot Lock on, but ADR rolls through and applies the jujigatame. Swagger gets back to his feet and tries to pin ADR, but ADR rolls through and rolls him into a pin for 3.
WINNER: Alberto Del Rio. Match was so-so, but had a nice finish.
We get a video for the Ryback/Cena feud. I don’t know if they’re planning on turning Ryback full heel right now, but it might not be a bad idea.
The announcers are talking about The Shield when the group interrupts. They talk about beating down John Cena this past Monday night, as well as Ryback watching on as Cena got beat down without helping out. Ryback knows how justice feels. He doesn’t want any more of their justice, and the look on Ryback’s face on Monday night was the same as the face on the Undertaker two weeks ago. They saw fear in ‘Taker’s eyes. He was terrified, and has never been so relieved to see Kane and Daniel Bryan. ‘Taker may be undefeated at Wrestlemania, but The Shield are undefeated, period. ‘Taker has run the company for 20 years, but all legends eventually get pushed aside, and ‘Taker’s time is up. Believe in The Shield.
MATCH 4-6-Person Tag Team Match: The Great Khali, Hornswoggle and Natalya vs. Epico, Primo and Rosa Mendes
I am still standing by my policy that matches involving Hornswoggle as a legal competitor will not be recapped. I apologize to his fans out there, but I’m sure both parents understand. Rosa looks good at least. This match apparently came about after an altercation in the parking lot between the two teams. Khali pins Epico after a Punjabi Plunge.
WINNERS: The Great Khali Hornswoggle and Natalya.
“From the Vault” segment featuring Berserker vs. “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka from 1991. Did anyone else find it strange when Snuka inexplicably started wearing boots to wrestle in when he spent so many years doing it barefoot? And speaking of footwear, I remember when Berserker joined WCW and started wrestling as John Nord. Despite no longer doing the Viking-type gimmick, Nord continued to wear the big furry boots for his matches, which was really weird.
MATCH 5: Mark Henry and The Big Show vs. Randy Orton and Sheamus
Sheamus and Henry start the match and begin yelling at each other. Henry decides to immediately tag in Show instead of fight. Show comes in, and the two immediately trade punches with Show getting the best of it. He drops Sheamus over the top rope onto the apron, then hits several open-hand chops to the chest, knocking Sheamus to the floor. Back in the ring, Sheamus cuts Show off on the apron with a hotshot, then nails Show with several forearms to the chest. Show shoves Sheamus into the corner, and Sheamus boots him in the knee before going up top. Show sees the Battering Ram coming, and Sheamus lands on his feet. He turns around into a kick from Show. Show goes for an elbow drop, but misses. Orton tags in and fires off some rights until Show throws him to the corner. Orton fights out, but gets hit with a sidewalk slam off the ropes. Headbutt by Show, and now Henry tags in. He chokes Orton over the middle rope. Orton fights back with rights before getting caught in a bearhug. Orton fights his way out, but Henry picks him up and rams him into the corner by Show. Show tags in and hits a body blow on Orton, knocking him down. Show hits another one in the middle of the ring. Orton begins to fight back, but runs into a goozle. However, he counters the chokeslam into a DDT. Sheamus tags in, ducks a clothesline and hits a pair of flying forearms. He rams Show into the corner, hits a running kneelift and follows up with a Battering Ram. White Noise connects, and now Sheamus calls for the Brogue Kick. He sees Henry run towards Show on the apron, so Sheamus knocks him down before getting hit with a spear by Show. Commercials.
Back from the break, Show knees Sheamus in the head. Sheamus tries to fight back from his knees, but winds up running into a clothesline. Show hits the Final Cut for 2. Bodyslam by Show, and now he tags in Henry. Henry applies a trapezius claw. Sheamus fights out before running into a big boot by Henry, which gets 2 as Orton breaks up the pin. Show tags in and hits a running body blow on Sheamus as Henry holds him up. Sheamus falls into the corner, where Show hits another body blow. He stumbles across the ring to another corner, and Show hits an open-hand chop. Sheamus starts hitting some rights until Show hits a kneelift and applies a trapezius claw of his own. Show picks Sheamus up and hits a forearm across the back before going back to the claw. Show throws Sheamus to the corner and hits a running hip bump. He goes to the ropes, and Sheamus comes out of the corner with a chopblock. Orton and Henry tag in. Orton ducks a clothesline, hits some kicks and punches, ducks a clothesline and finally knocks Henry down with one of his own. Orton hits a DDT on Henry from Henry’s knees, getting 2. Henry rolls to the apron, and Orton goes for the suspended DDT. Show comes in and hits Orton across the back. Henry tags Show in, and as Show is climbing in over the top rope, Orton catches him with the suspended DDT. Orton calls for the RKO, but Henry comes in and clotheslines him. Sheamus tackles Henry through the ropes, sending them both to the floor. Show gets up and hits the chokeslam on Orton, getting 3.
This week on WWE Friday Night SmackDown, Triple H will appear for the first time in a long time. Also, the NEW World Champion Dolph Ziggler will be making an appearance. I cannot tell you how excited I am to finally see him wearing the gold (yes, I know he was champ for 15 minutes once, but even Ziggler himself doesn’t count that reign).
Big E. Langston makes his way onto the stage to formally introduce the new champ. Ziggler, AJ Lee and Langston make their way down to the ring. Ever since he debuted, he’s been the most physically gift athlete in wrestling, and that’s an understatement. People would look at him and just knew that he was the future of the company, and this World title proves the future is now. Each and everyone of you feels like you’re a part of this. You chanted for him at Wrestlemania despite not being in the match. Then, the next night at RAW, when he made history…the WWE Universe would love to join in on this celebration. But the fact is that the title and that moment belong to only one person, and that’s Dolph Ziggler. He didn’t win the belt because of the fans; he did it in spite of us. All of his life, people have ridden his coattails for whatever reason, but no matter what, you will never be him when you look in the mirror…
Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter appear on stage, and Zeb has a mic in-hand. Ziggler isn’t happy and wants to know what they’re doing out here. Zeb formally introduces himself to Ziggler, and he congratulates Ziggler for what happened on Monday night. Beyond that, as far as the title is concerned, everyone in the WWE Universe knows who to thank for Ziggler’s success, and that’s Jack Swagger. Ziggler says this is his interview time and celebration. Jack, you had your chance at Wrestlemania and you blew it, so go to the back of the line. This is Ziggler’s time. Swagger starts to get in the ring, but then backs down when he realizes he’s outnumbered. Zeb tells Ziggler he should be grateful and give Swagger what he wants and deserves. The feed I have scrambles here, so I’m not sure what was said next by Zeb or Swagger. Ziggler tells them to stop playing Swagger’s music, then says that you can watch what happened on Monday night on DVR, but no one will ever be…
Alberto Del Rio now interrupts. Ziggler asks if ADR is here to steal the spotlight, or if he’s just bummed out because he’s no longer champion. Or, is he out here to get his rematch? If that’s the case, hobble on down and he can have the rematch right now. ADR says he didn’t come out to complain or anything; he came out here to say congratulations. He knows how it feels to cash in the MITB contract. That’s how he won the WWE title, and it feels great. But, when his ankle heals and he gets his rematch, Ziggler will be the one crying and complaining, perro. Until then, hasta la vista, baby.
Ziggler then asks for ADR’s music to be cut off. This is HIS night and HIS celebration. He’s sick of being interrupted. The next person that feels like they need to interrupt him will see why he is the real World Heavyweight Champion. No one comes out for a moment, and as Ziggler starts to talk again, Chris Jericho interrupts. Jericho asks him to please shut the hell up. Congratulations on winning the title, but you’re babbling about everything, including your crazy girlfriend AJ. AJ covers her ears and begins to scream as the fans chant “Crazy!” at her. Ziggler talks about being a show-off; Y2J is the original show-off, baby. It’s time to stop talking and start rocking. Jericho just came from Booker T’s office, and he had some very interesting information for everyone, including Ziggler. He refers to Ziggler’s fans as “Dolphins”. The news is that his very first match as champion is going to be Jericho himself, and it will be later tonight. And when you’re finished with the match, Ziggy Stardust, you will never, ever, EVER be the same again.
You know, JBL is a decent color commentator, but hearing him say “We fight on Friday night” all the damn time is really obnoxious.
MATCH 1: The Prime-Time Players (Titus O’Neil and Darren Young) vs. WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No! (Daniel Bryan and Kane; non-title)
I am amazed Kane and Bryan are still champions. I was certain Ziggler and Langston were going to win on Sunday. Oh, well. Ziggler’s WHC now, so it’s all good. Titus starts off with strikes on Kane. Kane counters into a pair of corner clotheslines. Up top, Kane hits a flying clothesline and calls for the chokeslam. Young tags himself in and runs into an uppercut. Bryan in now, and Kane sends him into Young with a corner whip into a corner dropkick. Bryan fires off some No! Kicks, but telegraphs a back body drop. Titus back in and Bryan ducks a double clothesline. Kane comes back in and chokeslams Young. Bryan applies the No! Lock on Titus, and Titus taps out.
WINNERS: Team Hell No! Man, that was short. The Shield appear on the TitanTron after the match and Dean Ambrose talks about the Brothers of Destruction reuniting, and hopes they don’t think The Shield is afraid. Gotta have a brain to survive, and that’s knowing where and when to strike. They don’t back down or ever run from a fight. Believe that. Believe in The Shield.
MATCH 2: Santino Marella vs. Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett (non-title)
Barrett starts with a side headlock before shouldering Santino down. Santino shoves him and ducks a clothesline, but Barrett nails a mule kick to the gut and hits an elbow to the back of the head for 1. Santino tries to kip up, but can’t do it. Barrett goes into a mount and hits some punches for 2 before going to a rear chinlock. Santino fights out, but gets hit with a knee to the gut. He avoids being sent into the corner before running into the Winds of Change for 2. Barrett signals for the Bull Hammer as Santino finally does the kip-up correctly. He ducks a clothesline, hits a few punches, a hip toss and a saluting headbutt for 2. Santino goes for the Cobra, but Barrett kicks the arm away and absolutely levels Santino with the Bull Hammer for 3.
WINNER: Wade Barrett.
Teddy Long and Booker T are in Book’s office talking when Sheamus interrupts. He wants to know why Book overruled him on Monday night, then booked a match against Randy Orton later on. Randy Orton steps in and is basically complaining about the same thing. Book starts to explain when Teddy interrupts. He says this is Book’s mistake, not his. Book says that Big Show was wrong, and he’s going to right that wrong. Both Sheamus and Orton want Show, and they’ve got it in a 2-on-1 Handicap match tonight. After they leave, Book then stares at Teddy.
MATCH 3: The Bella Twins (Brie & Nikki) and Tamina Snuka vs. The Funkadactyls (Cameron & Naomi) and WWE Divas Champion Kaitlyn
Kaitlyn and Snuka start the match, and Snuka immediately goes on the attack, knocking Kaitlyn down. Kaitlyn quickly recovers with a spear and goes for the pin. One of the Bellas breaks it, so Kaitlyn spears her. The other Bella tags in, and Naomi tags in, hitting a springboard cross-body and a flying headscissors. Rear View connects, and Naomi mounts the middle rope, but the other Bella yanks her to the floor. Cameron takes her out on the floor, and in the ring, one of the Bellas whips Naomi down by the hair and gets the 3.
WINNERS: The Bella Twins and Tamina Snuka. A hair whip ends the match? For f*ck’s sake.
Triple H makes his way out to the ring now. He says he told us the ass kicker’s back. He told Brock Lesnar they wouldn’t wrestle or fight, but that they were going to war. Well, they went to war, and Paul Heyman can make any excuses…
3MB of all people interrupt Trips’ celebration. Heath Slater tells Trips to shut up and listen up. Apparently, around here, you have to jump one of the big dogs to get noticed, and what bigger dog is there than Triple H? You think that battle with Brock Lesnar was bad? You ain’t seen anything yet, because 3MB is about to rock your face. 3MB surround the ring as Trips throws down the leather jacket. Before they can attack, The Shield’s music hits, and we see them coming down through the crowd. The Shield yank the members of 3MB off the aprons and destroy them on the floor before staring Trips down in the ring. They now jump on the apron, but before they can attack, Team Hell No! hits the ring to even things up. The Shield decides to head for higher ground.
In Booker T’s office, we see Book and Teddy arguing. Big Show enters, so Teddy leaves. He asks about the match tonight, and Book says it’s because he stuck his nose in business that didn’t concern him. Show says this is typical of Book’s bias against him. How about Show messes up his plans and just leaves the building? With his iron-clad contract, he can do what he wants. Book tells him to go ahead, because he’ll do whatever he can to get that contract destroyed in court. If Show wants to stay, though, his match is next.
MATCH 4-2-on-1 Handicap Match: Randy Orton and Sheamus vs. The Big Show
Orton starts for his side and attacks Show with kicks and punches. He corners Show and hits more punches and kicks. Show hits a sidewalk slam off the ropes before walking across Orton’s stomach. Show hits a body blow, then follows up with a bodyslam before mounting the middle rope, missing an elbow drop. Sheamus tags in, tackles Show and hits some punches. Sheamus hits a pair of Irish Hammers and a clothesline before shouldering Show in the corner and hitting a running kneelift. However, Show rebounds and hits Sheamus with a spear before nailing Orton with another body blow. Show grabs Orton, but Orton surprises him with an RKO. Sheamus calls for the Brogue Kick now, nails Show and sends him to the floor. Show manages to get to his feet, but instead of going back to the ring to make the count, he heads up the ramp instead.
WINNERS VIA COUNT-OUT: Randy Orton and Sheamus.
We see Orton and Sheamus heading back to the locker room, and they’re happy about getting some revenge. Orton walks off as Renee Young stops them for an interview. Sheamus tells her it did take two of them to take Show down, but it still felt sweet, and heart is what matters, not how big and strong you are. As Sheamus says this, Mark Henry clobbers Sheamus from behind, sending him through a table.
MATCH 5: WWE United States Champion Antonio Cesaro vs. Kofi Kingston (non-title)
Cesaro starts with an armbar. Kofi flips out of it, but gets clobbered. Cesaro hits some mounted forearm shots, then nails a straight right. Kofi comes back with a sunset flip for 2, but Cesaro rolls through and nails Kofi for 2. The deadlift gutwrench suplex hits, and now Cesaro yodels before hitting a running European uppercut in the corner for 2. Cesaro applies a mounted rear chinlock before just whipping Kofi down. He misses the double stomp, and Kofi hits a pair of double chops and a dropkick. He goes for the leaping clothesline, but Cesaro counters with a Very European Uppercut for 2. Cesaro charges into the corner, and Kofi counters with a pendulum kick. Up top, Kofi goes for the pumping cross-body, but Cesaro catches him. He looks for snake eyes, but Kofi slides out and shoves Cesaro into the corner. Kofi hits Trouble in Paradise and gets the 3.
WINNER: Kofi Kingston. I am very disappointed with how WWE has been booking Cesaro lately.
Fandango and his anonymous broad make their way out. It absolutely kills me that fans have latched onto Fandango solely for his entrance music. Granted, the music is insanely catchy (I have it set as both my ringtone and morning alarm), but it’s still hilarious, especially when Fandango still is average-at-best in the ring and still has an awful gimmick. I am interested to see if WWE latches onto this or if they pay attention to it for a couple of weeks before deciding to ignore it, as is the norm. The fans are “Fandangoing” by chanting along with the entrance theme here in Boston similar to Monday, only not quite as loud. Still pretty audible, though. Looks like he’ll be looking on during the main event, which means his feud with Jericho likely isn’t over.
MATCH 6: World Champion Dolph Ziggler (w/Big E. Langston and AJ Lee) vs. Chris Jericho (non-title)
Lock-up to start, and Jericho quickly armdrags Ziggler. Another lock-up, and Jericho applies a side headlock this time. Jericho shoulders Ziggler off the ropes, and a crisscross ends when Jericho chops Ziggler in the chest. Suplex by Jericho, but Ziggler begins to fight back with shots to the gut in the corner and follows up with a jumping avalanche. Ziggler hits a few more shots on Jericho in the adjacent corner before sending Jericho into the opposite corner. Jericho blocks a charge and hits a missile dropkick for 2. Jericho chokes Ziggler over the middle rope. AJ trips him, and that allows Ziggler to hit a rocker dropper for 2. Commercials.
We’re back, and Ziggler mocks Jericho with a posing pin. Jericho begins to fight back with rights before getting caught with a neckbreaker for 2. Ziggler applies a rear chinlock, complete with a headstand. Ziggler lands on his feet, turning the hold into a modified inverted STF before rolling back into a rear chinlock. Jericho gets back to his feet, but Ziggler cuts him off with some punches. Jericho comes back with a running forearm and a couple of shoulder tackles before Ziggler sends him to the outside. Jericho lands on his feet on the apron and goes to the top, connecting with a double axe handle. Jericho goes for a bulldog, but Ziggler shoves him off and hits a leaping DDT for 2. Jericho ducks a clothesline and dropkicks Langston through the ropes before knocking Ziggler down and following up with a top rope cross-body for 2 as Fandango and Jericho lock eyes. Ziggler pops back up with a gorgeous dropkick for 2. Jericho blocks the Zig-Zag and tries to roll Ziggler into the Walls. Ziggler rolls through, but Jericho knocks him down and hits the Lionsault for 2. Fandango jumps on the apron, so Jericho hits him with a springboard dropkick. Ziggler comes from behind and hits another rocker dropper and gets the pin with a handful of tights.
WINNER: Dolph Ziggler. Jericho attacks Ziggler after the match. Langston comes in, so Jericho hits him with a step-up enziguri. He scares Fandango off the apron, and that allows Ziggler to hit the Zig Zag. Langston gets back up and hits the Big Ending. So much for “Sudden Impact” being the name of his finisher. Fandango gets back up and gets in the ring. He dances for a moment, then begins attacking Jericho. Fandango dances some more, then jumps to the top rope. More dancing, and the guillotine legdrop connects. His anonymous broad gets in the ring and Fandango announces his own name as she does the splits. The fans go from booing Fandango mercilessly to chanting along with his theme music in a matter of seconds.
This week’s WWE Friday Night SmackDown opens with the reigning WWE Champion, The Rock, making his way into the arena. We are just about a week away from Wrestlemania, so I guess they are trying to give him as much screen time as possible. About a month ago on RAW, Rock did “Story Time With The Rock”. He felt it should continue tonight, and the reason why is because, at 15, he moved with his family from Nashville, TN to a little town about an hour away from here, that being Bethlehem, PA. At 15, he was 6’4” and 220 lbs., rocking a creepy mustache. He asks if we want to see a picture of him at that age, and we see the same picture that’s been floating around on the internet.
He calls himself “looking like a bouncer from Menudo”, then demands the picture be taken off the screen. One of the great benefits of living in Bethlehem, he was an hour away from a special town. In that town, he and his friends went to a special park, rode some rides and ate some chocolate (they’re in Hershey, PA, BTW). He rambles for another minute before doing his “Finally…” bit. He continues telling stories about his childhood, talking about trying to find a Whatchamacalit candy bar. He found one, but someone else grabbed it. That night, he said something to that person, and that something was, “If you don’t put down that candy, I’m going to kick your candy ass.” Just like that, two seconds later, that old lady put that candy down and got the hell out of that store. Bottom line is that “kicking your candy ass” started right here in Hershey. A man will go to great lengths to get what he wants. That means candy bars, as well as beating John Cena at WM29. Last Monday on RAW, Cena got in his face and Rock kicked his candy ass. At WM29, Cena will come back with more passion and fire, but Rock will keep kicking his candy ass if Cena steps to him, and he’ll do it in front of the millions and millions…
Oh, great. John Laurinaitis is back. He comes out just before we go to commercials.
We’re back, and Johnny Ace is now in the ring with Rock. Rock asks who in the blue hell Ace is. Ace says everyone knows who he is. His name is Mr. John Laurinaitis. He is the former executive V.P. of talent relations, and the former GM of the WWE. Rock says he doesn’t give a crap, and Ace interrupted story time. Ace says Teddy Long gave him permission to talk to Rock right now. Everyone thinks he’s going to talk too long and end up getting a Rock Bottom. That won’t happen, though, because he and Rock are a lot alike: Rock is the “People’s Champion”, and Ace created “People Power”. He was the greatest GM of all time, and it was ended by John Cena. Cena is the same reason he’s back tonight. The point is, John Cena will do whatever he needs to do at WM29, so he’s got a business proposition for Rock. At this point, Ace offers to be in the corner of Rock at WM29. The people may not like it, but does he want to be popular, or does he want to win? With Ace in his corner, there is no way Cena will beat him at WM29. In Rock’s corner, Ace can guarantee victory. He then compares them to a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. Rock says he loves those cups, but he feels it’s appropriate to involve the people. He asks if the fans would like to see this stale, old, indigestible, stick to the roof of your mouth until you want to vomit piece of peanut butter team up with the most electrifying piece of chocolate the world has ever seen? The crowd obviously boos, so Rock has a proposition for Ace now. It’s not a Rock Bottom. How about together, they send Cena a message together? Ace likes the idea, and Rock says the first part of the business deal is a handshake. Ace shakes his hand, and Rock won’t let go. Rock smiles for a moment and pulls Ace in for a spinebuster before hitting the People’s Elbow. Rock then tells Cena his candy ass is going down again, if you smell what The Rock is cookin’.
MATCH 1: Chris Jericho vs. Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett (non-title)
The Miz is on commentary for this match. He gets a shot at the IC title at WM29 as a result of defeating Barrett on Monday night in a non-title match. Lock-up starts the match, and Barrett turns it into a side headlock before shouldering Jericho off the ropes. Jericho comes back with chops and a back elbow. He follows up with a dropkick before clotheslining Barrett to the floor. Jericho baseball slides him before slamming him face-first into the apron. Back in the ring, Jericho lays in some kicks until Barrett fires off some rights and headbutts. He stomps Jericho down in the corner, and Jericho counters a corner whip. Barrett backdrops Jericho to the outside, where he lands feet-first on the apron. Jericho starts to climb to the top, so Barrett boots him to the floor. Commercials.
We’re back, and Barrett has Jericho locked in a rear chinlock. Jericho fights out and knocks Barrett down with a pair of shoulderblocks. Barrett tries to throw him to the floor, and Jericho lands on the apron, goes to the top and comes off with a double axe handle. Barrett dodges the Lionsault, and Jericho runs right into the Winds of Change for 2. Jericho blocks a corner charge and goes up top, hitting a cross-body for 2. Jericho comes off the ropes, and Barrett catches him over his shoulders Jericho counters into a crucifix and tries to turn it into the Walls, but Barrett fights out. He charges in at Jericho, and Jericho sends him to the floor. Jericho goes for an inside-out plancha, but Barrett moves out of the way, sending Jericho crashing to the floor. Barrett rolls Jericho into the ring before talking some trash to Miz. Barrett eventually gets back in the ring and runs right into a Codebreaker by Jericho.
WINNER: Chris Jericho. Jericho says he’d love to savor this victory with every single Jerichoholic in this arena tonight, but as we can all see, the stage set-up indicates the man he’ll be facing at WM29 will be making his grandiose entrance. The problem is Jericho still can’t pronounce his name proplerly, but he’s going to try again. Jericho makes fun of Fandango’s name a bunch of time, ending with a lyric from Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”. Fandango’s music hits, and his anonymous broad comes first, followed by Fandango himself. Fandango begins to stomp down to the ring, so Jericho goes to the apron and invites him to come in as the “You can’t wrestle” chants begin. Fandango backs off and twirls his broad around a few times before heading to the back.
We get an interview from earlier today with Josh Mathews interviewing Paul Heyman. Heyman stops the interview and says WM29 is a “must-lose” situation for Triple H. He meant not just Triple H’s in-ring career with this match, but his corporate career. After this match is over, Triple H will have to sit back and watch everyone else do what he loves, because Lesnar will take that option away from him. As a result, Trips will resent the entire locker room, because he will be jealous of them. The locker room will rebel against that jealousy and rise up against him. After all these years, Trips made the two biggest mistakes of his life: first, Trips thought he could compete intellectually with Heyman. Second, he thought he could compete physically with Brock Lesnar. Trips is no match for either of them.
Up next, Ryback faces Mark Henry in a “Bench Press Challenge”.
We get a “From the Vault” segment, which features a women’s tag team match between The Glamour Girls and The Jumping Bomb Angels. I certainly don’t mind seeing these segments, but I’m not sure why they’re featured on the show in this way.
Booker T and Teddy Long are on stage with a bench press set up. Tonight, before their match at WM29, two of the most powerful men in WWE will prove who is the strongest. This contest is also used in the NFL, and it’s called the “Bench Press Challenge”. Book first introduces Ryback. We find out the barbell holds 225 lbs., and the contest will be who can do more reps. Before Book can introduce Mark Henry, Teddy Long cuts him off and does the introduction himself. Apparently, the record for this weight is 51 reps. Book steps in between Henry and Ryback and tells them not to violate the “no-contact” clause, or they will be banned from WM29. Teddy and book then argue over who is going first, and Long tells Henry he’s up first. Henry does 53, which would break the record, but no officials from Guinness are here, so I guess it doesn’t matter. Ryback ties it at 53, and as he goes for 54, Henry grabs the barbell and begins pressing it against Ryback’s chest and throat, attempting to choke him. Technically, Henry only touched the bar, so he hasn’t violated the clause. And yes, I realize this set-up probably wasn’t regulation and the weights may have even been props. I’ve been around powerlifting and bodybuilding long enough to know better.
MATCH 2: AJ Lee and Dolph Ziggler (w/Big E. Langston) vs. WWE Tag Team Co-Champion Daniels Bryan and WWE Divas Champion Kaitlyn (w/Kane)
I wish WWE would decide if AJ is going by just AJ or using the surname Lee as well. Seems like it changes every week. The guys starts off this match with Ziggler applying a side headlock and knocking Bryan down with a shoulder off the ropes. He runs into a deep armdrag by Bryan, but fights out of an armbar. Kaitlyn tags in, which mean AJ comes in by default. AJ kicks Kaitlyn in the gut and lands a roundhouse to the face for 2 before slamming Kaitlyn’s head into the mat. She then hits a neckbreaker, rolls through and hits another one for another near-fall. AJ hits a spinning back kick, but Kaitlyn runs through her with a shoulderblock and tags in Bryan. Bryan hits a running clothesline and follows up with a corner dropkick. On the middle rope, Bryan hits a super hurricanrana, and Ziggler rolls through into a sunset flip for 2. Bryan nails several No! Kicks as AJ is distracting the referee. Langston trips Bryan, which allows Ziggler to hit a nice dropkick for 2. Kane drops Langston on the outside, and Ziggler nails him with a baseball slide. Bryan goes for the No! Lock, so Ziggler tags out to AJ. The guys fight on the outside, so AJ jumps on Bryan’s back. Ziggler kicks Bryan before he gets backdropped into the timekeeper’s area. On the apron, AJ hotshots Kaitlyn. She gets in the ring, and is immediately nailed with a spear for 3.
WINNERS: Daniel Bryan and Kaitlyn. This match was a lot of fun for being so short. Very fast-paced and high impact.
The Shield is somewhere in the back, talking about WM29. Dean Ambrose mentions clichés, and says the biggest one is Sheamus, Show and Orton claiming they can put their differences aside. Seth Rollins says they don’t stand a chance against The Shield. Their opposition will be lucky if they don’t implode before WM29. This is not a game; this is a story of justice, and the final chapter will be written by The Shield. After Wrestlemania you will believe. Believe in The Shield.
MATCH 3: The Great Khali (w/Hornswoggle and Natalya) vs. Jack Swagger (w/Zeb Colter)
Khali throws Swagger back out of a lock-up, then backs him into a corner with another one. Khali misses an open-hand chop and fires off some rights before running into a clothesline. Khali throws him back into the corner and connects with a chop this time. He throws Swagger into the adjacent corner for another chop, which also connects. He calls for the Punjabi Plunge, but Swagger breaks free and hits a series of kneelifts in the corner. Khali throws him off and hits a back elbow, followed by a big boot. Another clothesline by Khali, followed by another. He calls for the brain chop, but Swagger sees it coming and rolls to the floor. As Khali follows out, Swagger hotshots the leg and gets back in the ring, where he hits a running shoulder into Khali’s leg in the corner. Khali rolls to the floor and Swagger goes for the Patriot Lock. Khali kicks him off, so Swagger boots him in the face before applying the Patriot Lock. The ref is still counting, and gets to 10.
WINNER: Double Count-Out. Hornswoggle tries to break the hold by grabbing Swagger’s leg. Swagger and Colter corner him, and Swagger rams Hornswoggle face-first into the barricade, becoming my favorite wrestler ever in the process. Ricardo Rodriguez appears on the stage on a crutch, and he challenges Swagger to take him out a third time as he limps down the ramp. Alberto Del Rio slides into the ring and begins attacking Swagger before applying the jujigatame. Colter rakes ADR’s eyes, so Ricardo nails him with a crutch. He throws the crutch to ADR and ADR swings for the fences, but Swagger ducks both times and bails to the outside.
Video package for Antonio Cesaro.
Some woman named Renee Young is in the back with Sheamus, Randy Orton and The Big Show. She says no one would assume they could work together as a team. This segues into this past Monday on RAW, when the three of them managed to one-up The Shield by attacking first. Back to the interview, Young asks Orton how they are getting along. Orton says they have a common enemy, so it doesn’t matter. Sheamus says he’s set aside his differences with Show, and Show says he never had problems to begin with, and it’s not his problem Sheamus has trust issues. Orton steps in and says they need to focus, since they have a match tonight. Show and Sheamus agree. Orton says they’re on the same page, which is bad news for their opponents tonight, and worse news for The Shield.
Arnold Schwarzenegger has confirmed that he will be inducting his long-time friend Bruno Sammartino into the WWE Hall of Fame, which is pretty cool.
MATCH 4: Sheamus, Randy Orton and The Big Show vs. WWE United States Champion Antonio Cesaro and The Rhodes Scholars (Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow)
Before the match starts, Sandow says that, unlike this motley crew they are about to face this evening, he, Damien Sandow, his best friend, Cody Rhodes, and their esteemed colleague, Antonio Cesaro are the quintessential six-man team. Not only do they possess superior intelligence, they share a mutual distain for ignorance. Rhodes takes the mic and says their opponents have nothing common except that they are common. He refers to his team as the “instruments of their (Orton’s team) downfall”, and Cesaro yodels for a moment. You’re welcome! Orton and Cesaro start the match with a Cesaro side headlock. Crisscross ends in an Orton back elbow. Orton follows up with a European uppercut and tags in Sheamus, who beats Cesaro down in the adjacent corner. Cesaro counters a charge, then hits a series of forearms and uppercuts. Sheamus blocks a hip toss and nails a short-arm clothesline before tagging in Show. Cesaro tags out to Rhodes. Show shoves him into the corner, hits a body blow and a series of open-hand chops to the chest. He knocks Cesaro off the apron and scares Sandow off before hitting a bodyslam on Rhodes and tagging out to Orton. Commercials.
We’re back, and Sheamus & Sandow are legal. Orton tags in and hits some corner punches on Sandow before hitting a European uppercut. Sandow backs Orton to his corner for some shoulder thrusts, and Sandow then stomps him down. Rhodes tags in for a stomp, then tags out to Cesaro, who hits a double stomp for 2. He grabs Orton by the waist and hits the deadlift gutwrench suplex for another 2. Rhodes back in, and he applies a hammerlock/rear chinlock combo. Orton breaks free and headbutts Rhodes before running into a kitchen sink. Sandow tags in and pins Orton for 2. He hits a series of a kneelifts and a side-Russian legsweep before connecting with the Cobito Aquiet for 2. Sandow applies a rear chinlock, and Orton fights out. He reverses an Irish whip and counters into the 3.0. Cesaro goes to the top to interfere, and Show knocks him to the floor. Rhodes and Sheamus tag in, and Sheamus hits most of the hot tag offense before throwing Rhodes to the apron for the forearm shots to the chest. Sheamus then does the same thing to Sandow for good measure. Rhodes hotshots Sheamus and gets back into the ring, where he immediately runs into White Noise. Sheamus calls for the Brogue Kick, but Sandow and Cesaro attack him. Show knocks Cesaro out with the WMD, then throws Sandow into an RKO from Orton. They order Sheamus to hit the Brogue Kick, which he does and gets the 3.
WINNERS: The Big Show, Randy Orton and Sheamus. The Shield’s music hits, and we see them coming down through the crowd. Instead of waiting, Show, Orton and Sheamus jump the barricade and start heading through the crowd, leading to a brawl between the two teams. They brawl up to the top of the arena, where the faces are getting the best of the fight. The Shield eventually manages to get away and exit the building as Show, Orton and Sheamus pose for the crowd.
On this week’s episode of WWE Friday Night SmackDown, we’re in Cincinnati, OH, and the show is opening with the hometown boy, The Miz, for another edition of MizTV. In the ring with him are Randy Orton and Sheamus. He says their world has been turned upside-down. Ryback is no longer their partner at WM29 per orders of Vicki Guerrero and Teddy Long. Orton starts and says that in his opinion, the man to replace Ryback will be The Big Show. Sheamus admits if Show didn’t come down on Monday night, they would have had their arses handed to them. However, he doesn’t trust Show.
Orton doesn’t either, but you have to do what you can to survive. Show needs them as much as they need him, and come WM29, he wants the big, bad, angry giant on his side. Miz then welcomes Show out to answer for himself. Miz thinks Show can agree with Orton’s mistrust, especially since they used to be partners, and Show ended the partnership by knocking Miz out. Show says Miz’s opinion doesn’t matter to him. As far as Orton and Sheamus are concerned, he’s done something they couldn’t, and that’s knock out a member of The Shield. He can’t stand Orton and Sheamus, but if they work together, no one can stop them. Sheamus says they’ve been to war with each other, and there’s no doubt Show is one of the toughest opponents he’s ever faced, but he’s also one of the most devious. How does he know Show won’t leave them hanging? Show says that, if he were a coward, he wouldn’t have beaten Sheamus for the title. Orton interjects and says they need to work together and get along. Miz makes fun of Orton for being the voice of reason for this group. Show starts to tell Sheamus this will work when Booker T interrupts the proceedings. Book says he needs to know if these three can work together and somehow get along, and that will happen tonight as these three team up in a 6-man main event tonight. Now can you dig that, sucka?
Later tonight, Jack Swagger faces Chris Jericho in a rematch from last week.
MATCH 1: Mark Henry vs. Zack Ryder
Henry throws Ryder into the corner and lands a big back elbow. Hard corner whip by Henry, followed by another one. Ryder escapes a running powerslam, but runs right into the World’s Strongest Slam for 3.
WINNER: Mark Henry. After the match, Henry hits Ryder with another WSS, then a third. Ryback’s music hits, and the two have a stare-down in the ring. Henry talks a bunch of trash and runs into Ryback, but gets nailed with a Meat Hook, sending him to the floor.
Teddy Long enters Booker T’s office and asks Book what he thinks about him and Vicki making the Ryback/Henry match at WM29. Book likes the match, but doesn’t like how Long handled his business. Long works for Book, not Vicki. Long says he thought he worked WITH Book, not FOR him.
Speaking of Booker T, he is the latest inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame, Class of 2013. Pretty awesome video package here. Oh, and just in case I haven’t made it clear on Facebook, anyone who says Book’s induction is “too soon” a) has no idea what the phrase means, and b) clearly doesn’t understand what constitutes a HOF career. Book most definitely deserves this induction, and his track record speaks for itself. Honestly, I hope he gets a DVD set out of this at some point.
MATCH 2: Dolph Ziggler (w/AJ and Big E. Langston) vs. Kofi Kingston
AJ will be doing color commentary during this match, and that’s fine with me. Kofi lands some kicks and punches in the corner, but Ziggler quickly comes back with a neckbreaker. Kofi decks Ziggler, hits a back elbow and a dropkick. Jumping clothesline connects, as does the Boom Drop. He calls for TIP, but Langston causes a distraction. Ziggler pops up with a beautiful dropkick off the distraction for 2. Commercials.
We’re back, and Kofi is fighting back with rights. Ziggler sends him to the counter, where Kofi counters a charge with a Pendulum. Kofi goes up top, but gets crotched and crashes to the mat for 2. Kofi fights back from his knees, but runs into another gorgeous dropkick for 2. Ziggler applies a rear chinlock, and Kofi fights out once more. Ziggler boots him in the gut, then fires off some shots in the corner. He misses a shoulder thrust, going right into the post. Kofi hits a couple of double chops and a dropkick. Spinning cross-body from the top connects for 2. Kofi goes for a springboard splash, but Ziggler blocks it for 2. He sees TIP coming off the ropes and cinches in the sleeper. Kofi backs into the corner and armdrags out of it before hitting the SOS for 2 as Ziggler grabs the ropes. Ziggler rolls to the floor as Kofi goes for a suicide dive. Langston stands in the way, so Kofi goes up top and hits a plancha on Langston. From behind, Ziggler hits a rocker dropper before throwing Kofi back into the ring. He calls for the Zig Zag, and hits it for 3.
WINNER: Dolph Ziggler. After the match, Langston picks Kingston up and hits Sudden Impact.
We see Show, Orton and Sheamus in the locker room, arguing about what’s going on in their match tonight. Orton says that, if they don’t work together, they are sitting ducks for The Shield before storming off.
Before the next match starts, Jack Swagger welcomes us to his America. Zeb takes the mic and says it’s a beautiful day in Swagger’s America, and what happened on RAW to Ricardo Rodriguez was unfortunate but necessary, and was nothing compared to what will happen to Alberto Del Rio. In Swagger’s America, if bones need to be broken, they will be. What happened to Ricardo should not only serve as a wake-up call to Ricardo, but to everyone who disagrees with what they say, and that includes Chris Jericho. Swagger catchphrase time.
MATCH 3: Jack Swagger (w/Zeb Colter) vs. Chris Jericho
Jericho starts with some forearm strikes and punches, followed by a back elbow off the ropes. Corner clothesline by Jericho, followed by a chop, more punches and a knee lift. More strikes, but Swagger blocks an Irish whip and rolls to the floor. Jericho lands a baseball slide through the ropes, then throws Swagger into the barricade. Back in the ring, Swagger pops up and hits a chop block before stomping Jericho down. Running shoulderblock hits, as does a second one. Swagger goes to the ropes once more, but gets hit with a dropkick for 2. Jericho ducks a clothesline, but gets caught by Swagger off the ropes and gets rammed into the corner. Swagger punches Jericho before propping him on the top rope. Jericho kicks Swagger away until Swagger boots him in the gut. Swagger goes for a superplex, but Jericho fights him off and knocks him to the mat. Jericho gets to his feet and hits a cross-body from the top for 2. Swagger rolls to the floor, and Jericho flattens him with a slingshot plancha. Commercials.
We’re back, and Jericho gets planted with a big boot for 2. Swagger applies a hammerlock/armbar combo, then punches Jericho in the midsection a few times. Swagger ties Jericho’s arm up in the ropes before hitting Jericho in the back with some forearm shots. He sends Jericho shoulder-first into the opposite corner, but misses an avalanche. Jericho hits a couple shoulderblocks and follows up with a double axe handle from the top rope. He hits 10 corner punches as Swagger tries to counter into a powerbomb. Jericho tries to counter that into a hurricanrana, but Swagger counters once more into the Patriot Lock. Jericho manages to roll through and send him to the outside before hitting a springboard dropkick. Fandango’s music hits and…please don’t tell me it’ll be Fandango/Jericho at WM29. Please, no. Fandango makes his way down the ramp with his random woman as, back in the ring, Swagger hits an elevated belly-to-belly suplex for 2. Jericho ducks a clothesline and goes for a crucifix for 2. He goes for the Codebreaker and turns it into a sunset flip, which he then tries to turn into the Walls of Jericho. Swagger blocks, Jericho slingshots him into the ropes before hitting a bulldog. Colter gets on the apron as Jericho goes for the Lionsault. While the ref is distracted, Fandango gets on the apron and blasts Jericho with a kick. Swagger hits the Swagger Bomb out of the corner and gets the 3.
WINNER: Jack Swagger. Fandango enters the ring after the match and beats Jericho down. Fandango leaps to the top rope and hits a guillotine legdrop. He grabs a mic and tells Jericho what his name is.
Matt Striker is in the back with Big Show, and he says it’ll be a challenge for Show to get along with his partners. Show tells Striker that Orton is right and that they need to get on the same page. They’ve all been beaten up by The Shield. Orton and Sheamus can trust him as much as they can trust each other. Trust him.
The Rhodes Scholars and The Bella Twins are in the ring. Rhodes says that, tonight, even though we don’t deserve, they bring to us a special gift. Sandow says that his best friend and he are more than proud to present to all of us, the class of the divas division, the only two women with enough beauty and intelligence to accompany the Rhodes Scholars, the Bellas. You’re welcome. I like both of these guys, and being paired with the Bellas is making it hard for me to approve of them.
MATCH 4: Brodus Clay and Sweet T (w/The Funkadactyls) vs. The Rhodes Scholars (w/The Bella Twins)
I like the fact that Cameron and Naomi deck themselves out in thigh-high socks each week. Just saying. T and Rhodes start with T nailing an uppercut. Rhodes comes back with a Goldust uppercut, but runs into a clothesline. He dodges a splash before Clay tags in. He hits a pair of clotheslines, then a back elbow on Sandow. Avalanche on Rhodes, and one of the Bellas tries to distract Clay from the apron. Cameron yanks her to the floor as Naomi tackles the other Bella. T and Clay try to pull their women off as the Scholars try to interject. The ref just throws the match out at this point.
WINNERS: No contest.
Matt Striker is now in the back with Sheamus and Randy Orton and asks if they’re on the same page. Sheamus says absolutely. They trust each other and trust Show as much as he trusts them. Trust him. No seriously, trust him.
MATCH 5: WWE United States Champion Antonio Cesaro vs. The Miz (non-title)
Wade Barrett is on commentary for this match. Okay Cesaro has dominated this feud. Move him onto something else. Lock-up to start, and Cesaro turns it into a side headlock. Crisscross ends with a Miz roll-up for 2, but he runs right into a kneelift to the face for 2. Cesaro connects with the double stomp for another 2. Deadlift gutwrench suplex hits for another 2. He yanks Miz up by ear before applying a cravat. Miz breaks free and hits some lefts, then hits a knee lift and a running boot. Hanging clothesline in the corner by Miz, and he mounts the top rope for a double axe handle. He calls for the figure-4, but Cesaro boots him off. Miz sidesteps a clothesline and dropkicks Cesaro in the knee. Miz locks in the figure-4, and sadly, Cesaro taps.
WINNER: The Miz. After the match, Miz applies the figure-4 once again while taunting Barrett. Barrett simply holds the IC title up over his head and walks away.
MATCH 6: Randy Orton, Sheamus and The Big Show vs. 3MB (Jinder Mahal, Drew McIntyre and Heath Slater)
Mahal and Orton start with Mahal hitting some strikes before running into a pair of clotheslines. Mounted punches in the corner by Orton, and now Sheamus tags in. The faces hit a double back elbow, and now Sheamus beats Mahal down in the corner. Mahal manages to fights back, but it’s cut short by Sheamus, who sends Mahal into the corner, hits a running shoulder thrust, a kneelift and a rolling fireman’s carry slam. Sheamus mocks Show with some open-hand chops in the corner, then tags in the giant. Drew tags in on the other side, and he tries to attack Show with punches. Show headbutts him, then drapes him over the top rope for the tied-up forearms, mocking Sheamus. Mahal is tagged back in, and Show hip tosses him into the ring. Mahal tags Slater, and Show does the same thing to him. Orton tags in, and he hits a jumping kneedrop. Slater boots Orton in the gut before running into a powerslam. Orton sets him up for the suspended DDT, but Mahal runs interference. Slater hotshots Orton before landing a jumping sidekick for 2. Slater stomps Orton down before tagging in Drew, who beats Orton down in the corner. Mahal tags in and hits a swinging neckbreaker as Slater tags in to get a 2. Slater hits a kneedrop before mounting the top rope. He comes off right into a dropkick by Orton, and Orton tags in Sheamus as Mahal tags in. Show hits a pair of clotheslines, a hip bump in the corner and a spear. Drew lands a big boot on Show, so Sheamus tags himself in. Show knocks Drew out with a WMD, and Sheamus drops Mahal with a Brogue Kick for 3.
WINNERS: The Big Show, Randy Orton and Sheamus. After the match, Show and Sheamus argue about the finish of the match, and Orton tries to cool things down. The Shield make their way down to the ring through the crowd. Show and Sheamus begins shoving each other and Orton gets elbowed by Show as well. The three are all shoving each other now as The Shield surround the ring. The faces stop fighting to hold The Shield off for a moment, and The Shield decide to leave things where they stand and head back through the crowd.
End of show.
Pretty much a throw-away show, but Swagger/Jericho was once again good, and Ziggler/Kofi was also very enjoyable.