From SunLife Stadium in Miami, FL
April 1, 2012
It’s been purported that each WrestleMania event is generally planned a year in advance, and the booking is written backwards to support what they want to present on the grandest stage. While recent WrestleManias seem a bit more thrown-together at times, owing to an increasingly frenetic Vince McMahon being known to make constant changes, WrestleMania XXVIII was an event where a year-long plot was used, this time as an actual storyline.
One night after WrestleMania XXVII in Atlanta, John Cena called out The Rock. Rather than thrash the previous night’s guest host for costing him his World Title match against The Miz, a calm and happy-go-lucky Cena simply challenged Rock to a match at next year’s big event, giving both men one year to prepare for the clash of the ages.
The idea was unique for a modern time frame in which that $45 secondary PPV that you’re being offered has but two matches booked sixteen days before the event. It’s a little hard to get up for those shows (and buyrates seem to agree), but a WrestleMania where the main event is entrenched in everyone’s brains for 363 days?
Those “in-the-know” fans who balked at WWE’s most overexposed star, and most overexposed part-timer, getting a full calendar of non-stop billing would be rewarded by the successes of their heroes.
WWE was becoming a different place, as CM Punk and Daniel Bryan, who’d each passed through Philadelphia’s Murphy Rec Center on the way to the top, won the WWE and World Heavyweight Championships in 2011.
In spite of all of the social media blitzes, irksome moments from Michael Cole, and use of gimmickless FCW/NXT castoffs, it seemed WWE was crafting a WrestleMania unique among the pack. Between a year-long main event build, and two “workrate” champions, the everyday mold was finally being broken.
Cena and Rock crossed paths prior to the WrestleMania main event, as Rock’s movie schedule allowed him to wrestle at Survivor Series 2011. That night at Madison Square Garden, he and Cena formed a super-team that annihilated The Miz and R-Truth. Afterward, Rock dropped Cena with a Rock Bottom as a reminder that, in four months, they’d each engage in a defining match in their careers.
After Cena was sidetracked by a hard-boiled feud with Kane through early 2012, he and Rock criss-crossed on the remaining road to WrestleMania, insulting each other in their typical juvenille fashion. Rock would host one of his trademark “Rock Concerts” laden with entendres and jibes toward the current company flagbearer, while Cena reinstituted his “Doctor of Thuganomics” persona, ripping into Rock with some lines that would make the kid-friendly sponsors cringe.
The match was even given a TV special on USA Network to promote the history of the icons, giving this match, dubbed “Once in a Lifetime”, a super fight feeling like no other in recent memory.
As if the dream match wasn’t enough to churn buyrates, the “end of an era” was also promised. The Undertaker, 19-0 at WrestleMania, wasn’t happy with how he barely eked the win out over Triple H one year earlier, and demanded a rematch with COO of the company.
Hunter initially balked, but The Dead Man persisted, eventually goading the man technically his boss into a fight. The Game agreed on one condition: that it be a Hell in a Cell match. Shawn Michaels, who’d had his career ended by Undertaker, was made guest referee as one last twist of the screw.
Sheamus was the winner of the 2012 Royal Rumble, last ousting a quizzically-acting Chris Jericho. The Celtic Warrior waited three weeks before deciding which championship to challenge for, ultimately deciding on the World Heavyweight title held by an increasingly-self-indulgent Daniel Bryan.
Bryan was an anomaly, winning the title as an underdog hero on December 18 via briefcase cash-in, but slowly took on a portrayal as an egomaniac jerk. Not only did he ignore the affection of girlfriend AJ Lee, but Bryan began to praise himself more and more for minor victories, many of them tainted. He even allowed AJ to be injured by a stampeding Big Show, all just to keep his title.
As for the WWE Championship, anti-hero CM Punk would face the winner of a ten man battle royal that took place on February 20. Jericho would win, and thus be afforded a chance to continue his vague “end of the world” crusade via the company’s top champion.
Jericho first began the mind games with Punk by claiming the “Straight Edge Superstar” had stolen his “Best in the World” moniker, which Punk gladly challenged Jericho to try and take back. With the champ not fazed, Y2J resorted to revealing the ugly family history of Punk, complete with the addictions his family members all once had. Jericho promised to lead Punk down the road of self-destruction en route to taking his title.
Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler were the evening’s commentators, joined by a now-goateed Jim Ross for the Hell in a Cell match. For the third time, Lilian Garcia performed America the Beautiful. The Hall of Fame Class of 2012 consisted of Edge, The Four Horsemen (dual induction for Ric Flair), Ron Simmons, Yokozuna, Mil Mascaras, and celebrity inductee Mike Tyson.
World Heavyweight Championship: Sheamus def. Daniel Bryan in 18 seconds to win the title
(And we stumble out of the gate. Boy the fans at SunLife dumped on them for this decision. I’ve said it in other mediums: it’s not the treatment of Bryan that made this moment suck; it was the belief by the company that Sheamus was going to look stronger as a result. The people who run WWE couldn’t find the pulse of the fans if they had a GPS)
Kane def. Randy Orton in 10:56
(I don’t know who this “Daniel Bryan” fellow is, but he sure got a lot of chants during this match. Decent contest that ended with a flying chokeslam)
WWE Intercontinental: Big Show def. Cody Rhodes in 5:18 to win the title
(The build was entertaining, with Rhodes showing film of Show’s WrestleMania embarrassments to psyche him out, but the match was all too brief. Rhodes actually reigned as champion for eight months)
Maria Menounos/Kelly Kelly def. Eve Torres/Beth Phoenix in 6:49
(All of these women are gone from WWE, which is a commentary on how women would rather do “something else” than work there. But I’d take a stinkface from Miss Menounos, at least)
Hell in a Cell/”End of an Era”: The Undertaker def. Triple H in 30:50
(Opinions of this one are a little divided. Some call this the greatest match in the history of the galaxy. Others think it was stupid to have Triple H assault Undertaker with basic moves, and have Michaels nearly “stop the match” because Taker couldn’t continue. Because Hunter’s so bad ass. Eh, 20-0 is 20-0, even if was slower and more plodding than Heaven’s Gate)
David Otunga/Mark Henry/The Miz/Dolph Ziggler/Jack Swagger/Drew McIntyre def. Kofi Kingston/Santino Marella/Great Khali/R-Truth/Zack Ryder/Booker T in 10:38
(As a result of this, John Laurinaitis won complete control of Raw and Smackdown from Teddy Long. Oh, and Zack Ryder looked like a useless tool. That’ll learn em)
WWE Championship: CM Punk def. Chris Jericho in 22:21
(A highly physical and intense battle that took some time to find second gear, I still found it to be the best match of the night. The battle at the end over the Anaconda Vise, with Punk refusing to give up on the hold, despite Jericho’s vicious struggle, was a nice touch)
“Once in a Lifetime”: The Rock def. John Cena in 33:34
(Nice throwback to the big-time WrestleMania main events of old, even if it was preceded by a six hour concert featuring Flo Rida and anorexic Shannon Moore. Cena’s undoing came as he tried a People’s Elbow, only to be Rock Bottom’d. Some said it was boring, but I actually liked it. Whether Rock has the endurance for another 30 minute match is another story)
ITS PLACE IN HISTORY
It’s hard to argue with 1.22 million buys, a WWE record, so some would say that a year-long build is the way to go. Rock would remain a part of WWE in a limited capacity, sticking around to challenge for the WWE Title at the 2013 Royal Rumble, but we’ll get to that next year.
The show began disastrously, and the fans largely didn’t come out of their anger-induced coma until the Hell in a Cell match. As many people who remember that match, and Rock and Cena’s epic showdown, equally remember how the show opened with the misstep of Sheamus and Bryan, possibly the worst WrestleMania booking since Hogan went over a tired Yokozuna at WrestleMania IX.
It wasn’t a terrible show, but it wasn’t a home run in any way except financially (undoubtedly important, despite our gripes). For the official “portrait” of the show, my pick will be a split screen. On one side is Shawn Michaels and Undertaker holding up a semi-conscious Triple H on the stage, while The Rock stands tall on the other side. WWE more than ever lives off of the past, as it can’t create an exciting present. Logically, their imagery should make you think you’re in 1998.
When you get past the annoying social media trends, infatuation with past stars, and inconsistent booking, WWE produced a number of classic PPV match-ups on the 2012 calendar. Choosing 20 was hard, ranking them was harder. Here is what I came up with for the creme de la creme, the best of the best for the year 2012.
20. World Heavyweight Championship/Elimination Chamber: Daniel Bryan vs. Big Show vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Wade Barrett vs. Santino Marella vs. Great Khali (Elimination Chamber, February 19)
You wouldn’t think this one would make the classics list, and early on in the match, it didn’t seem to be a likely addition. What made this match special was the dramatic finishing sequence, in which comedy player Marella eliminated Rhodes and Barrett, and came within believable inches of upending Bryan for the title. Despite the crowd cheering him on, the Milan Miracle succumbed to the LeBell/Yes/No Lock, and Bryan retained.
19. WWE Intercontinental: The Miz vs. Rey Mysterio (Summerslam, August 19)
One of my favorite dynamics: Mysterio’s plucky air assault against a conniving villain who will bump along with the lucha icon. Really, Miz can be hit-or-miss, and Rey, even broken down, gets the best out of just those kinds of foes. A rapid-fire build to the end, including Miz busting out a Liger Bomb of all moves, ended shockingly cleanly, with Rey eating the turnbuckle after a crash-and-burn, and Miz spiking him with the Skull Crushing Finale.
18. WWE Championship/No Disqualification: CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan (Money in the Bank, July 15)
The only detraction from this one was something I never thought I’d criticize, and that’s too much AJ. Miss Lee was the special referee for this blowoff between two honorable rivals, and it was a chaotic 28-minute affair. When you combine MMA-inspired kicks and strikes with WWE Main Event Style weaponry, it can make for a suitably brutal affair. Bryan’s current run as a main eventer came to an end via Punk hitting a back superplex through a table.
17. Ladder Match: Dolph Ziggler vs. John Cena (TLC, December 16)
The final PPV match of 2012 hit on all the notes necessary for a satisfying main event: strong booking for both the winner and loser, exciting in-ring action, a hint of controversy, and as a bonus, acknowledgement of the ascension of a young star. Ziggler’s MITB briefcase was at stake against Cena, who had the match won until AJ (she gets around) knocked him off the ladder, allowing for a Ziggler superkick, and contract-retention for the Show Off.
16. Royal Rumble Match (Royal Rumble, January 29)
Some panned this match for being a tad cartoony, what with the commentators, Jim Duggan, and other non-regulars getting involved, but the silly fun was surrounded by some great action otherwise. Miz and Cody Rhodes had great showings during their respective long durations, Kofi Kingston hand-stood his way into our hearts, and Sheamus and Chris Jericho put together a great extended finish, ending with Jericho being Brogue Kicked into the abyss.
15. World Heavyweight Championship: Sheamus vs. Big Show (Hell in a Cell, October 28)
Even though the Sheamus/Show feud was eventually dragged out like a dead kitten carcass across sun-baked pavement, it at least produced this fun match. In recent years, WWE’s produced a number of epic battles between big men, and this ranks among the best. It’s not often see two devastating moves (WMD Punch, Brogue Kick) kicked out of, but it set the stage for a thrilling finish, in which Show KO’ed Sheamus once and for all to win the gold.
14. WWE Championship: CM Punk vs. Dolph Ziggler (Royal Rumble, January 29)
This one took relegation to the scrap heap quickly after it happened, and that was due to two reasons. For one, it failed to match the ‘instant classic’ that Punk and Ziggler had on Raw two months prior (Dolph’s “he’s arrived” match), and two, John Laurinaitis’ involvement overshadowed some of the proceedings. Ziggler’s GTS counter into a rocker dropper was sweet, much like the match itself, which Punk won after finally hitting his knee-on-face finish.
13. Randy Orton vs. Dolph Ziggler (Night of Champions, September 16)
The elevation of Ziggler continued, even in defeat. After Orton cost Ziggler a chance to cash in Money in the Bank on Sheamus (before Cena committed the same act), the two were linked together for a non-championship-related match at a show that’s designed to feature all title matches. Minor quibble aside, Ziggler and Orton battled in a heated 20-minute war, with many near falls, and ending when Orton countered Dolph’s sleeper into an RKO.
12. WWE Championship/Chicago Street Fight: CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho (Extreme Rules, April 29)
The blowoff to the insipid “Punk’s really a vicing degenerate with a messed up family” angle was this unfettered fight to the death in Punk’s hometown of Chicago. Both men even wore street clothes for the occasion, giving old school fans some bunkhouse brawl memories. Punk pulled out all the stops, including hitting the Leap of Faith elbow through Spanish announce table. Jericho nearly won with a chair-assisted Codebreaker, but Punk’s GTS would prevail.
11. WWE Championship/Elimination Chamber: CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho vs. The Miz vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. R-Truth (Elimination Chamber, February 19)
This one left many of us wondering just how Jericho and/or Punk would lose, and still set up WrestleMania without either man looking weak. After one of the better Chamber matches in recent years, complete with Jericho resurrecting the Lion Tamer on Kingston, Punk knocked Jericho out with a bump to the floor, eliminating him via TKO. Left with just Miz, Punk polished him off with the GTS, leaving Jericho to have an out leading into WrestleMania.
10. Chris Jericho vs. Dolph Ziggler (Summerslam, August 19)
Shaking off the disappointment of a pointless, troll-tastic return in January, an uninspired feud with Punk (the writing, not the matches), and the controversy in Brazil, Jericho was able to have one last classic before adjourning from WWE yet again. Opening an average Summerslam, Jericho and Ziggler ping-ponged and bumped for each other to get the party started. After Y2J shook off a ton of false finishes, he tapped Ziggler to his Wal-er, Lion Tamer.
9. Money in the Bank: Dolph Ziggler vs. Christian vs. Tensai vs. Santino Marella vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Tyson Kidd vs. Damien Sandow vs. Sin Cara (Money in the Bank, July 15)
The more discriminating fan was looking forward to this over, say, the Cena/Show/Kane MITB match, since a number of rising stars and internet favorites were involved. Kidd was the unsung hero, making his name on a series of crazy spots (i.e. the mid air twisting sunset powerbomb), while Ziggler continued his subtle suicide with his usual scary landings. Christian had the match won until Ziggler surged in, threw him off the ladder, and claimed the blue briefcase.
8. World Heavyweight Championship/2 Out Of 3 Falls: Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan (Extreme Rules, April 29)
After infuriating many with the 18-second fiasco at WrestleMania, WWE provided a make-good 4 weeks later by booking Bryan in a role he’s seldom played in WWE: a calculating killer who targets an injury and exploits it. Sacrificing the first fall to a DQ, Bryan forced Sheamus to pass out in the Yes Lock to even it up. Bryan couldn’t get the job done, however, and ate a Brogue Kick in the final act. But at least WWE, to their credit, apologized for Mania in their own way.
7. Hell in a Cell: The Undertaker vs. Triple H (WrestleMania XXVIII, April 1)
Though many have heralded this as the hands-down match of the year, I feel there was too much stalling (understandably) to award it the title. It was well built, but just missing that “extra push over the cliff”, to quote Nigel Tufnel. As it was, I dug much of the drama, but felt the parts with Shawn Michaels weren’t needed. Undertaker turning back Hunter’s last-ditch sledgehammer attack before obliterating him made for a fitting culmination of the 20-0 mark.
6. The Rock vs. John Cena (WrestleMania XXVIII, April 1)
Once the pointless concert beforehand came to a merciful end (which included some pretentious purple-haired diva-something or other), Rock and Cena engaged in the big money match, which was equal parts Austin-Rock and Warrior-Hogan. With a more markish crowd, it may have been even more epic, but as it was, it was a great heavyweight battle that will likely lead to a sequel this year. As for round one, The Great One drew first blood.
5. WWE Championship: CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho (WrestleMania XXVIII, April 1)
After John Laurinaitis affixed a stipulation minutes beforehand, decreeing that Punk could lose the gold via DQ, one’s spidey sense smelled screwjob. Instead, it was a red herring meant to mislead the audience, and hope that Punk wouldn’t get gutted by injustice. An intense battle that slowly worked into third gear, Jericho’s head games only intensified Punk’s resolve, as he finished the former “Best in the World” with an unrelenting Anaconda Vice.
4. WWE Championship: CM Punk vs. John Cena (Night of Champions, September 16)
Kinda sad that this was Punk’s first “main event” of the 2012 calendar year, and he’d been champion the entire time. This made up for months of Cena navel-gazing, as the two picked up where they left off the previous summer at Money in the Bank and Summerslam, displaying their remarkable chemistry in a seesaw battle. The double-pin finish would have meant more with a one-on-one rematch, but you know WWE will revisit this soon enough.
3. Tables, Ladders, and Chairs: The Shield vs. Kane/Daniel Bryan/Ryback (TLC, December 16)
You wouldn’t think there’d be a lot of positives to come out of Punk tearing his meniscus, but a dangerous spotfest that gave instantly credibility to three newcomers would be one. The Shield has looked strong since their Survivor Series debut, and they were able to notch a huge win over 3 pushed and established players, in a match everyone was talking about for days. Seth Rollins in particular was made after nearly dying via table bump near the entrance way.
2. Extreme Rules: John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar (Extreme Rules, April 29)
With Lesnar’s return the night after WrestleMania came high expectations for the universally-renowned UFC icon. He immediately entered a feud with Cena, and their fight vignettes hyping their forthcoming brawl were great selling points. The match wasn’t even a match, it was a straight-up fight with lots of blood. After Cena took a hellacious beating for the duration of the contest, he used his chain, and an AA on the ring steps, to win, much to the surprise of many.
1. WWE Championship: CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan (Over the Limit, May 20)
The two indy darling got to bring their blend of pure wrestling and stiff-shot-laden brawling to the big stage, for the game’s richest prize. Bryan and Punk painted a masterpiece for over 20 minutes, with both men expectedly fighting for the advantage. Bryan worked the arm in a manner similar to Bob Backlund, and ultimately hooked the Yes Lock for a sure win. Punk bridged back into a pinning combo and tapped just after the ref counted 3 on his pin.
Welcome to the third edition of WWE Wrestler of the Week! So far Sheamus and Kofi Kingston have taken the honors, however this week the wrestler of the week is very different from these two superstars in many ways, including looks.
I had a little bit of difficulty choosing the WWE WOW as there were a few deserving superstars. I would like to honor the runner up WWE Wrestler of the Week, the Great Khali. The Punjabi giant defeated Brad Maddox in a quick match, but more importantly, won a battle royal on Main Event to become the number one contender for Antonio Cesaro’s United States Championship. I am the farthest thing from a Great Khali fan, but I think I understand what WWE is doing here. I hope, for the sake of all WWE fans, that the plan is to help Cesaro more than Khali. Khali is one of the worst wrestlers, talkers and characters in WWE history. However, Cesaro has become known for punishing superstars, big and small, with the neutralizer. I have to think that Khali only won that battle royal to challenge Cesaro in putting Khali through his finisher.
That was the runner. Now let’s get to the winner. This week’s highlighted wrestler has never held any championships, but she has pinned a champion twice this week. Yes, that’s right. This week’s WWE Wrestler of the Week is a diva. Let’s take a look at the week Kaitlyn had in WWE.
Although the December 21st edition of SmackDown was taped and aired live on the 18th, it was replayed on Friday, allowing it to count towards this week’s WWE Wrestler of the Week. On this particular episode, after an altercation with AJ, Kaitlyn faced Eve in a match with the Divas Championship on the line. At the end, Eve grabbed the referee’s ankle causing him to fall and disqualify her. A win is a win though and Kaitlyn gains one in the win column after this match.
Then, on the Christmas Eve edition of Raw, Kaitlyn participated in an 8 diva tag team match with partners Alicia Fox, Natalya and Layla against Rosa Mendes, Aksana, Tamina Snuka and Eve. Although six other divas were involved, the match came down to Eve and Kaitlyn. Unlike SmackDown though, Kaitlyn finished the Divas Champion with a knee to the stomach and a pinfall.
The third recipient of the WWE Wrestler of the Week is the first diva to achieve the honor. Her impressive wins over the current WWE Divas Champion could be a sign of things to come. Then again, it could be a tease. Eve Torres has done a great job as divas champion and Kaitlyn may just be a long-term challenger like R-Truth and Alberto Del Rio were for Antonio Cesaro and Sheamus, respectively.
Happy holidays to Kaitlyn, WWE and all of you! You are cordially invited back next week for another edition of WWE Wrestler of the Week.
Seth M. Guttenplan is a WWE Featured Columnist for Report and host of OH YOU DIDN’T KNOW!? PWPRadio’s weekly radio show covering all wrestling news and rumors. To read more from Seth follow him on twitter (@sethgutt) and check out guttwrenchpowerblog.com.
This week’s WWE Friday night SmackDown! opens with US Champion Antonio Cesaro and Sheamus on color commentary. They are scouting their respective opponents for this Sunday.
MATCH 1: World Champion The Big Show vs. R-Truth (non-title)
I really like Truth’s chances here. Yessir. Tables, ladders and chairs are all set up around the stage and entrance ramp. I’m sure they won’t be used at any point at all tonight. That never happens. Show clubs Truth down with a forearm. Open-hand chop in the corner. Headbutt. Another headbutt. Another open-hand chop. Truth starts to fight back, but to no avail. Show props Truth on the top rope, then knocks him back down with a body blow. One more chop against the ropes before Show just stands on him. Show goes outside, drags Truth to the apron, and hits another chop. He turns to Sheamus and begins talking trash, trying to get Sheamus to hit him and break the no-contact clause. Show turns around into a boot by Truth, but Truth’s offense is short lived when Show stops an apron dive with another chop before hurling Truth across ringside. Cesaro gets up to talk some trash to Truth, so Sheamus gets up and shoves him back down. Show pulls Truth back up to the apron, then hip tosses him in. Show talks more trash to Sheamus from the ring, and the distraction allows Truth to apply a sleeper. Show snaps him off, but misses a running elbow. Truth hits the Hat Rack Crack, but only gets 2. He goes for a DDT, but Show just throws him off, right on his face. One WMD later, and this one’s over.
WINNER: The Big Show. Show leaves the ring to get in Sheamus’ face once more. Sheamus gets up out of his seat, and Cesaro forearms him from behind, right into Show’s arm. Show begins laughing and saying that Sheamus hit him, seemingly breaking the clause.
Video package for the aforementioned Antonio Cesaro.
Show stops Booker T in the back, asking if he saw what just happened. He knew Sheamus’ temper would get him in trouble, and clearly violated the clause, meaning the match is called off. Book isn’t buying it and tells Show if he’s scared of Sheamus, just say so. Show isn’t scared of Sheamus. Book says that, as far as he’s concerned, the match is still on, dawg.
Damien Sandow is in the ring. For approximately one fortnight, he has been scouring the WWE Universe in hopes to find one-just one-individual who is worthy of becoming his apprentice. Sadly, his quest has been like trying to find a needle in a haystack: a disgusting, sweaty, vile, knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing, monosyllabic haystack. Therefore, it is with esteemed pleasure that he reintroduce to us his tag team partner and best friend. Please, stand up, remain silent, and please show the proper reverence for the magnificent, marvelous, the mustachioed Cody Rhodes! Rhodes makes his way out and says he feels honor as a “Cody’s mustache!” chant starts. He says it’s an honor to be in the ring with Damien Sandow once again. The apprentice search is over because Sandow now has an equal in his partner. Anyone who dares to drive a wedge between the Rhodes Scholars like The Miz, he has to say this…he’s cut off by the Uso’s entrance music.
MATCH 2: The Rhodes Scholars (Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow) vs. The Usos (Jey and Jimmy)
After commercials, the match has already started, and Jimmy drops Rhodes with a clothesline. Jey tags in, and they hit a double headbutt. Rhodes fights back with rights, but Jey drops him. Jimmy back in and sends Rhodes into the corner. He goes for a charge, but Rhodes back drops him over the top. Jimmy lands on his feet on the apron, but Rhodes snaps off an arm wringer over the top rope. Rhodes throws him back in and gets 1. Sandow tags in, pulls the knee pad down and hits a kneedrop for 2. Side-Russian leg sweep before hitting the Cubito Aequet for 1. Rhodes back in, and he hits the standing gourdbuster. Snapmare by Rhodes, and he applies a full-nelson. Jimmy fights out and hits a thrust mule kick to the gut. Jey makes the hot tag before Sandow makes a quick tag in. Jey drops him with a clothesline and a forearm. Another mule kick, followed by an uppercut. Samoan drop connects, and Jey hits the running hip bump. Jimmy tags in and goes for the Samoan Splash, but Sandow begins crawling to his corner. Jimmy jumps down and starts pulling him back before hip tossing Rhodes into the ring. Jey clotheslines him over the top rope, and Sandow sneaks in with a schoolboy with a handful of tights on Jimmy for the 3.
WINNERS: The Rhodes Scholars.
David Otunga is in the back, drinking coffee and looking over what is apparently the no-contact clause. We see Big Show standing by, and Otunga tells him he’s 100% right about earlier tonight. Otunga wants to do this publicly in the ring.
Show and Otunga are in the ring after the commercials. Show says we clearly saw Sheamus put his hands on Show, and it’s not his fault Sheamus can’t control his temper. Show tried to explain to Booker T that Sheamus violated the clause, nullifying his title match at TLC. There is no match. Book won’t listen to Show, so maybe he’ll listen to Show’s legal counsel. Otunga says this is an open-and-shut case. In a not-so-surprising move, Book isn’t following his own rules. He is a clearly biased GM, and they have no choice but to bring this before the Board of Directors, and WWE Headquarters is only 20 miles from the arena. Not only will they demand the TLC match be called off, but they will also demand Book be removed as GM. Book’s music hits, and he comes out on the stage. He tells Otunga that it’s obvious to him that his Harvard degree isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. Contracts go by the spirit of the intent. If Otunga wants to go to the Board and waste their time, go ahead. As far as Book’s stance goes, the match at TLC is still on, dawg. Otunga says that, just because Book has been to prison, it doesn’t make him a legal expert. Sheamus clearly violated the clause, and once he sees to it that Book is fired, he’ll see to it that Sheamus is fired as well. Give Big Show one good reason not to proceed.
Before Book can respond, Sheamus marches to the ring with a chair and a mic. He has a reason why Book shouldn’t stop the match. If he does, then Sheamus can kick Show’s arse right now. Show quietly tells everyone the contract for the match is still valid before leaving the ring. Otunga is still in the ring as Show leaves, so Sheamus levels him with a Brogue Kick.
Matt Striker will interview Randy Orton…yet again…
…Except that doesn’t happen. After the commercials, we see The Shield kicking the hell out of Orton backstage. Man, that’s a beautiful site.
MATCH 3: Aksana vs. Kaitlyn
Lock-up is broken by a kick by Aksana. She hits a hip throw into a side headlock. Kaitlyn snapmares her off, but Aksana holds on and keeps the headlock applied and rolls through in a surprisingly nice spot. She drops some elbows across Kaitlyn’s forehead, then goes for the pin for 2. Aksana applies a rear chinlock, driving her down to the mat. Aksana whips her down for 1 before going back to the headlock. Kaitlyn tries to break the hold with a back suplex, but Aksana doesn’t let go and turns it into a rear chinlock. Kaitlyn breaks the hold and turns it into a powerslam, but Aksana slides out and forearms her in the back before going back to the headlock. Kaitlyn shoves her off and nails a clothesline. Kaitlyn hits a forearm shot in the corner, then picks Aksana up in a fireman’s carry, turning it into a gutbuster for 3.
WINNER: Kaitlyn. Guess she’s got a new finisher. Good for her.
Matt Striker is in the back, and has said that Randy Orton has a separated shoulder, and may have suffered a concussion as a result of the attack by The Shield.
Up next, Team Hell No! will be on MizTV.
The Miz welcomes us to MizTV. He’s not one to shy away from controversy, and the most controversial individuals in WWE right now are The Shield. These 3 NXT upstarts have been wreaking havoc in writing what they perceive as injustices. At TLC, three men look to stop them in a TLC Match, and two of those three are his guests tonight, the WWE Tag Team Champions, Team Hell No! Daniel Bryan and Kane make their way out. Miz starts to ask Bryan questions, but Bryan cuts him off and asks if he is Oprah. He and Kane have been in anger management for months, talking about their feelings. The time for talk is over. It’s time for action, and on Sunday, all the anger Bryan supposedly has will be unleashed until The Shield are begging for the pain to stop. And when they beg, Bryan will tell them, “No! No! NO!” Kane says The Shield made the biggest mistake by attacking them, as the end result is he and Bryan are finally on the same page, which is bad news for everyone. Since Bryan has discovered his inner monster, they are now unstoppable. They will use tables, ladders and chairs, and they will love every single second of it. Yes! Yes! YES!
The Shield appears on the TitanTron, from somewhere in the back. Dean Ambrose says he’s heard the empty threats, and if they want to threaten The Shield, ask Randy Orton what happens. Seth Rollins calls them the harbingers of justice, and Team Hell No! are two of the main perpetrators of injustice. Roman Reigns tells them their actions are to blame. Rollins tells Bryan he can’t hide behind Kane. Reigns calls Kane a helpless victim. Ambrose says they will bring the sword on Sunday, and justice will be served. Kane asks why wait until Sunday, and Reigns replies that this is something they can agree on and drop the camera. Bryan spots them coming through the crowd, but they just stop at the top of the arena. Ambrose gives the signal to head down, and they head towards the ring. Ryback’s music hits, and it stops them dead in their tracks. The Shield assesses the situation for a moment, then decides to leave the area.
MATCH 4: Epico, Primo and The Prime-Time Players (Titus O’Neil and Darren Young, w/Rosa Mendes) vs. International Airstrike (Justin Gabriel and Tyson Kidd), The Great Khali and Hornswoggle (w/Natalya)
Okay, I’ve decided I’m refusing to recap any match where Hornswoggle is an official competitor. My apologies to Epico, Primo and both members of Airstrike (and PTP, I suppose). Sorry guys, but until he is used as nothing more than a mascot or is outright fired, I refuse to accept him being an official part of matches. At least Rosa and Nattie look good. Kidd pins Epico after reversing a roll-up into a sunset flip.
WINNERS: International Airstrike, The Great Khali and Hornswoggle.
Later tonight, the main event will see Sheamus vs. Antonio Cesaro. I am pleased.
MATCH 5: Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston vs. Alberto Del Rio (w/Ricardo Rodriguez)
ADR starts with a kick and a snapmare. Kofi comes back with a hammerlock, but ADR gets a rope break. Kofi blocks a kick, but ADR shoves him into the corner, giving him a clean break. Kofi into a waistlock, and ADR counters into a side headlock. Shoulder off the ropes by ADR, and the crisscross ends in a Kofi dropkick for 2. Armbar is applied by Kofi, and ADR rolls through before taking Kofi down and kicking him in the corner. Kofi comes back with some corner strikes and some corner punches, followed by a European uppercut for 2. ADR backs Kofi into the corner, hitting a knee lift and headbutting him down. Kofi blocks a corner whip with a springboard chop before sending ADR to the floor, where he hits a slingshot plancha. On the apron, ADR shoves him into the post, sending Kofi to the floor. Commercials.
We’re back, and ADR hits a suplex into a float-over for 2. ADR applies a rear chinlock while driving his knee into Kofi’s back. Kofi fights out and gets a sunset flip for 2. ADR pops up and hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for 2. More kicks by ADR, and he mocks Kofi’s taunt. He misses a corner charge, but ADR nails a hard corner whip after some strikes by Kofi. He hits the step-up kick in the corner for 2 and follows up with a Michinoku Driver #2 for 2. ADR goes back to the rear chinlock now, and Kofi kicks his way out. He counters another tilt-a-whirl and knocks ADR down with a chop to the chest. Back elbow and dropkick by Kofi, but ADR ducks a clothesline and hits a back suplex for 2. ADR fires off some rights and goes for a suplex, but Kofi counters into a roll-up and gets a surprising 3-count.
WINNER: Kofi Kingston. Good match, and a good win for Kofi Kingston. After the match, Wade Barrett charges ringside and tries to take Kofi out, but he moves out of the way and blasts Barrett with Trouble in Paradise.
Sheamus and William Regal are in a dressing room. Regal gives him a hard time about his temper before telling Sheamus not to let Show get to him. He tells Sheamus not to take Cesaro lightly tonight either. Sheamus says the only one who should be worried tonight is Big Show. Show can push his buttons all he wants, but Sheamus won’t push back until Sunday. At TLC, Sheamus will wear him out with chair shots until he becomes the new World Heavyweight Champion.
MATCH 6: Sheamus vs. WWE United States Champion Antonio Cesaro (non-title)
Lock-up to start the match, and Sheamus gives the clean break in the corner. Cesaro applies a side headlock before running through Sheamus with a shoulderblock. They repeat the spot, but switch positions. Cesaro with some strikes, but Sheamus counters a corner whip, hits a shoulder thrust and a running knee lift. Running forearm by Sheamus gets 1. Sheamus applies an armbar, but Cesaro backs him into the corner, where he kicks Sheamus down. Cesaro tries to counter a corner whip with a float-over, but Sheamus catches him on his shoulders and hits the rolling fireman’s carry slam for 2. Sheamus hits some forearms, but Cesaro pulls him to the outside by the tights. Sheamus lands on his feet, but Cesaro drops him with a knee to the face on the apron. Cesaro hits a double stomp out of the corner, then applies a cobra clutch, driving Sheamus down with the hold. Sheamus eventually fights out, but Cesaro hits a knee to the face out of the corner, and lands a European uppercut to the back of the head for 2. Cesaro hits the deadlift gutwrench suplex for 2 in an impressive spot. They trade some punches and kicks before Sheamus hits a running forearm. Cesaro stays on his feet and lands a European uppercut. Sheamus rebounds with a pair of Irish Hammers, then hits a running corner clothesline. Cesaro ducks a short-arm version, and back drops Sheamus to the outside from the corner. Sheamus lands on his feet on the apron, nails a forearm to the face, then goes up for the Battering Ram, which connects. Cesaro gets knocked to the apron, where he’s open for the forearm shots to the chest. Sheamus connects with 10 of them, then suplexes Cesaro back into the ring. All of a sudden, we see William Regal knocked on his back on the stage, Big Show standing over the top of him. Sheamus heads up the ramp, and Regal gets up to try and stop him. Show cracks Regal across the back with a chair, and Sheamus gets counted out while checking on his friend.
WINNER VIA COUNT-OUT: Antonio Cesaro. Aside from the cheap finish, this was a good match. I love these old school-style brawls that guys like Sheamus, Barrett and Cesaro can engage in.
WWE SmackDown! General Manager Booker T opens tonight’s broadcast, and he has some business to take care of. We’ve watched his career for years, and we know if he has business to take care of, he’ll do it in the middle of the ring, or to the back, or to the street, or to a supermarket. He knows what it’s like to be in a hot feud, but now he’s the GM. It’s his responsibility to give us a great show each week, which brings him to his next point. Big Show and Sheamus, right now, it’s personal. When things get personal, they also get physical.
He has a drastic decision to make, but before that happens, he wants to show us why he has to do that. We see a video of Sheamus and Show brawling in the parking lot from last month, as well as the brawl after the match at Survivor Series. Back to the arena, Book says in 9 days, Sheamus and Show have a Chairs Match for the World title at TLC, but he’s afraid that’s not going to happen. He’s afraid one of these men is going to do something before then, so he is putting in a no-contact clause that will last until TLC, effective immediately. Normally, he’d go in the back and talk to them individually, but tonight, he wants Show and Sheamus out here to sign this contract and make it official.
Big Show makes his way out first, followed by Sheamus. A contract table is set up in the ring, so you know it’s either going to get turned over, or someone is going through it. Considering their match isn’t a Tables Match, I’m going with the former. Book tells Sheamus if he wants to disobey him, go ahead, but he’ll lose his title match at TLC. As for Show, he might have an iron-clad contract, but Book knows he loves the World title. If he wants to disobey him, Book will strip him of the title. So, let’s get down to business. He asks Sheamus to sign first. Sheamus looks it over for a minute, then tells Show that, since it’s the holiday season, having to wait 9 days to kick Show’s arse is like waiting for Christmas. He used to hate having to wait to open presents, but in the end, it was always worth it.
In 9 days time, his Christmas comes early and he gets the gift of beating Show head-to-toe with a steel a chair. In the end, he guarantees, fella, he will get the ultimate present with the World title. Sheamus then signs the contract, and it’s now Show’s turn. Show also pretends to look it over, then tells Sheamus Christmas for him has come early. The purpose of the contract is to make sure Sheamus makes it to TLC in one piece. Be careful what you wish for, fella. Sheamus hit him with a chair 25 or 30 times, and Show still got up. What happens when a giant swings a chair and destroys the Irish skin of Sheamus, fella?
He only has to hit Sheamus once. The worst thing Sheamus could do was ask for a Chairs Match, and he should get out of it. He’s too stupid to realize what he’s doing to himself. If Show hits him, it’ll change him forever. He might end Sheamus’ career at TLC. Difference between them is Show thinks things through. Sheamus is all vinegar and fire, and his Irish temper gets the best of him. Sheamus says Show looks ridiculous right now. All he came to WWE for was to fight, and their last two matches have been the greatest fights of Show’s career. Sheamus made him relevant again, and doesn’t think Show has another fight in him. He believes deep down in Show’s big belly that he’s shaking. This match could be the end of him, and he will gladly end Show’s career at TLC. Before Show signs the contract, he shoves the table over the top of Sheamus, then stands up to sign it. Show starts laughing, as Sheamus now cannot retaliate until TLC. Book tries to calm Sheamus down, and says he’s got someone for Sheamus to take his frustrations out on tonight, and that’s Alberto Del Rio. As for Show, he’s got a match with the man who beat him in 45 seconds, that being Daniel Bryan, and that match is next.
MATCH 1: World Champion The Big Show vs. WWE Tag Team Co-Champion Daniel Bryan (non-title)
Bryan hits some kicks to the leg, but Show headbutts him down. Open-hand chop by Show, and Bryan retaliates with more kicks. Show throws Bryan to the corner for more chops, but Bryan escapes and hits more kicks. Show drops him with one body shot, then hits a big bodyslam. Show hits another headbutt, then another. Show hits another open-hand chop. Bryan tries some chops, and Show no-sells them, hitting another body shot. Show hits a hip bump in the corner and goes for the spear, but Bryan hits a dropkick to the knee, sending him to the floor. Bryan takes him down with a plancha. Show picks him up to lawn dart him into the post, but Bryan escapes and shoves Show into it. Bryan runs off the apron, but gets hit with a chop to the chest. Commercials.
Back from the break, the match is back in the ring, and Show hits a big elbow drop for 2. Show starts working on Bryan’s left arm now with some elbows. Bryan tries to fight back from his knees, but no luck. Show proceeds to stand on Bryan’s arm before tying it up in the ropes in a hammerlock. Bryan tries more kicks, but Show clubs him down. Show snaps Bryan down to the mat with an arm wringer. Bryan blocks a corner charge and hits a knee strike from the middle rope. He hits a pair of running corner dropkicks, sending Show to his knees. Bryan hits several kicks to the chest, but Show blocks the Buzzsaw and goes for the chokeslam. He gets Bryan up, but Bryan counters with a DDT for 1. Bryan lands the Buzzsaw this time, then goes up top. As he does, we see The Shield coming down through the crowd. Show hits the chokeslam off the distraction and gets the 3.
WINNER: The Big Show. The Shield come over the barricade as Show leaves the ring. They enter and proceed to triple-team Bryan. Kane’s pyro hits, and he makes his way down to the ring. He fights them off for a moment, but the numbers are too much. They brawl with Kane on the floor, beating him down. Roman Reigns tears the announce desk apart, and they hit the triple powerbomb through the table. Love them or hate them, the members of The Shield are the future of this company.
Damien Sandow makes his way out. Silence the music, he is about to speak. As your intellectual savior, he has attempted to raise the cerebral bar her in WWE for far too long. This attempt has proven itself to be a fruitless endeavor. However, he is going to give one of us the opportunity to become his apprentice this evening. Who amongst us is worthy of such an esteemed position? Please settle down, you’re acting like a bunch of ignoramuses. Settle down. This gets worse every week. Sandow points at one guy and tell security to escort the man to the ring. As always, he urges everyone pay very close attention and test yourselves, because next time, it may be you. Sir, please hurry up. Yes, use the steps. Very good. Now, sir. You have the enviable opportunity of becoming his apprentice. Now, all you have to do-please don’t stand so close to him-is answer three questions correctly. #1: 5 plus 5 equals? The man answers 10. Congratulations, you’ve passed math. #2: Who is the current President of the United States? The man answers Barack Obama, then looks for a high-five from Sandow. Sir, your palms are very sweaty. That is very bad form. Please put your hands by your sides. #3: What 17th century genre of art emanating from the Netherlands focused on still life paintings, depicting mortality and transience? Of course, the man doesn’t know the answer. Sandow is not surprised, and asks the crowd if anyone has the answer. Vanitas! That is the answer. You have disgraced yourself; you have disgraced everyone in this building. That beard on your face is a disgrace to faces everywhere. You sir, lose. You’re welcome!
The Miz heads out to the ring on this note. Miz asks him to answer a question. What 21st century WWE superstar wears his daddy’s bathrobe and buys his pink trunks from Victoria’s Secret? The answer? Damien Sandow. You’re welcome. Miz then leaves the ring. Not sure the point of that, unless they’re building to a TLC match, which could be decent.
MATCH 2: Brodus Clay and The Usos (Jey and Jimmy) (w/The Funkadactyls) vs. 3MB (Jinder Mahal, Drew McIntyre and Heath Slater)
Jey and Slater start the match with a lock-up. Slater shoulders him down, and Jey comes back with a jumping clothesline. Jimmy tags in and hits a headbutt for 2. Slater backs him into the corner and tags in Drew. Drew stomps Jimmy down, but Jimmy comes back with a mule kick. Drew boots him down out of the corner. Jimmy escapes a bodyslam and tags in Clay, who hits a clothesline and an avalanche. Exploder suplex connects, and Jey tags back in. He goes up top as Slater and Mahal pull Clay off the apron and beat him down on the outside. Jimmy takes Mahal out with a dive off the top. Jey kicks Slater off the apron, but gets crotched by Drew. Drew hits the Future Shock and gets the 3.
Up next, Randy Orton faces Wade Barrett once more.
Matt Striker is in the back with Wade Barrett, talking about The Shield. Barrett says Orton doesn’t need to be concerned with The Shield; he needs to be concerned with him. A year ago, he threw Orton down a flight of stairs and put him out for weeks. Tonight, he’ll put Orton out of his misery. The only thing he needs to be concerned about this evening is The Bullhammer.
Kofi Kingston is going to be doing color commentary for the next match.
MATCH 3: Randy Orton vs. Wade Barrett
Orton starts with a side headlock, and shoulders Barrett down off the ropes. Barrett goes into a waistlock, and Orton reverses. Barrett backs him into the corner, and elbows his way out before beating Orton down. Orton comes back with a clothesline out of the corner. Orton sends Barrett into the corner, and Barrett answers with a boot. He kicks Orton in the ribs, but misses a kneedrop. Orton hurls him to the floor and they trade slam attempts into the steps until Orton connects on his second try. He throws Barrett into the barricade before rolling him back into the ring. Barrett rolls back to the floor. Orton follows, where he’s met with a boot. Barrett whips him into the steps before throwing him back in. Orton meets him with a boot and goes for the suspended DDT, but Barrett back drops him to the floor. Orton lands on the apron, so Barrett mule kicks him to down to the floor. Commercials.
We’re back, and Barrett has a rear chinlock applied. Orton fights out before running into a big boot for 2. Barrett ties Orton up in the ropes. Orton fights him off, but Barrrett hits a running boot, sending Orton back to the floor. Barrett heads outside, ramming Orton back-first into the apron. Back in the ring, Barrett gets 2. Kneedrop connects, and now Barrett is stomping him down. He misses an elbow from the middle rope, and Orton fires off the Four Moves of Boredom, connecting with all four. RKO is signaled, but Barrett blocks it before attempting to take off the buckle pad as the referee is checking on Orton. Kingston jumps on the apron, and the distraction is enough for Orton to connect with the RKO for the 3.
WINNER: Randy Orton. Yeah, that makes sense. Have the guy who has a title match at TLC lose, while the guy who has nothing coming up at the PPV gets a win that he didn’t need.
Up next, Hornswoggle and The Great Khali in a tag team match. No. Really.
MATCH 4: Epico and Primo (w/Rosa Mendes) vs. The Great Khali and Hornswoggle (w/Natalya)
I’m not recapping this match. No. It’s not happening. Sorry, Khali fans, but the 2 of you will just have to deal with me not recapping his awfulness. As for Hornswoggle…just…just…screw him. Seriously, screw him. Hornswoggle pins Epico with the Tadpole Splash.
WINNERS: Absolutely no one.
We get a Tout video from The Shield from an unknown location. They are talking about injustice and consequences, in regards to Miz and Orton. They shield WWE from injustice. Team Hell No!, no one says no to them. Ryback has been handed everything on a silver platter, but they’re putting a stop to that. They don’t work for anyone; they work for each other. At TLC, The Shield brings a sword.
WWE United States Champion Antonio Cesaro is in the ring. At TLC, he will be defending the title against R-Truth once again. Cesaro says that, as our US Champion, he has learned so much about America. What has he learned about the so-called greatest country on Earth? He has learned it is weak. America used to be a superpower and there used to be a thing called, “The American Dream”, a belief that anyone could achieve anything. Now that’s a lie. He guarantees most of us-actually, all of us-will never amount to anything. We used to pursue the American Dream, now we look like the American Dream. We then get a quick clip of Dusty Rhodes’ music and a picture of him on the TitanTron as Cesaro just shakes his head. We don’t know anything about hard work and sacrifice anymore. When he looks at America today, he loses all hope. The sad thing is, our children and grandchildren will be more pathetic than we are today.
Before he can go further, R-Truth makes his way onto the stage. He tells Cesaro he doesn’t need a new purse or a Ricola. He needs a dose of the Truth. Cesaro isn’t from around here, because around here, the Truth shall set you free. When he looks across America, he sees a bunch of good, hard-working people, rising up in the face of hard times. He sees hard-working people busting their butts to the bone, trying to make ends meet. He sees them staring trouble in the face, and when the time is right, those same people will kick trouble right in its Lil’ Jimmy. It sounds like Cesaro is picking a fight with America. When you pick a fight with America, it fights back. Cesaro calls Truth everything wrong with America. He talks trash and can’t back it up. Truth is delusional, and that has nothing to do with him having an imaginary friend; it has everything to do with him trying to take Cesaro’s US title, and, like all Americans, failing miserably. THAT’S the truth. Truth says maybe Cesaro doesn’t understand what he’s saying. What he’s saying is when you kick his dog, he’s going to kick your cat (?). Truth spears Cesaro and goes for a jumping side kick, but Cesaro slides to the floor and heads up the ramp.
Sheamus/ADR is up next.
MATCH 5: Alberto Del Rio (w/Ricardo Rodriguez) vs. Sheamus
Tie-up to start, and Sheamus gets ADR in a headlock in the corner. Sheamus beats ADR down with forearms, sending him to the floor. Back in, Sheamus throws ADR to the corner, but ADr comes back with a kneelift and some punches. ADR hits a kick to the side, then uses a foot choke. Sheamus gets his boots up on the charge, then nails a swinging neckbreaker for 2. Sheamus grinds his knee into ADR’s face. He hits a back elbow off the ropes, and ADR rolls to the floor. Sheamus follows out and slams ADR face-first into the announce desk. Back in, Sheamus tries for a suplex from the apron to the floor. ADR counters with a hotshot and dropkicks Sheamus in the knee, sending him back down. Big Show makes his way onto the stage to look on. Commercials.
Back from break, ADR has Sheamus locked in an armbar. Sheamus breaks free, but runs into a mule kick. ADR hits a jumping stomp to the back of the head and follows up with a bodyslam. ADR hits a moonsault for 2. Suplex gets another 2 off the float-over, and now, ADR has a rear chinlock applied that he turns into an armbar. Sheamus gets ADR into the corner and fires off some rights, but ADR applies the jujigatame over the top rope. ADR dives off the top, but Sheamus drops him with an Irish Hammer. ADR is up first, and he hits some rights. Sheamus fights back with his own, hits a pair of Irish Hammers, a running shoulder thrust in the corner and a running kneelift. He goes for the tilt-a-whirl, but ADR escapes. He goes for a dropkick, but Sheamus sidesteps him, and he goes through the middle rope, landing on the apron and leaving him open for the tied-up forearms. Suplex back into the ring by Sheamus, and he goes up for the Battering Ram, which connects for 2. ADR breaks the Irish Curse and hits a backcracker for 2. He calls for the jujigatame, but Sheamus counters into a fireman’s carry. ADR slides free and Sheamus goes for the Brogue Kick, but ADR moves, causing Sheamus to get caught in the ropes. ADR hits a step-up enziguri to the back of the head, but only gets 2. ADR goes to the middle rope for a moonsault, but Sheamus rolls out of the way. ADR lands on his feet and rolls backwards back into a standing position, but runs right into the Irish Curse. He applies the Irish Clover Leaf, and ADR taps.
WINNER: Sheamus. Honestly, this was probably their best match. Show walks down to ringside, applauding. He climbs in the ring, and Show straps his belt to the ropes. He begs Sheamus to hit him, and Sheamus signals for the Brogue Kick. Instead, he sends Ricardo head-first into Show’s groin.
This week’s WWE Friday Night SmackDown! main-event will be Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler. I am officially excited. Every time these two have a match, they just tear into each other for 15+ minutes and I love it.
Unfortunately, John Cena decides to temporarily hinder my excitement by opening the show. Oh, well you can’t win them all. Cena says he’s excited for the main event tonight between Sheamus and Ziggler. Well, at least we can agree on something. Cena is focused on Ziggler because Ziggler is focused on him. Cena is pointing his finger at Ziggler tonight. Ziggler’s greatest accomplishment was being World Champion…for two minutes. Actually, it was about 15, but whatever. Cena also makes a joke about Ziggler being a man trapped in a 15 year-old girl’s body. Who is writing Cena’s material tonight? When I was 15, I don’t remember any girls in school that were 220 pounds of solid muscle. Cena talks about Ziggler losing the MITB case, and when he does, he’ll lose his identity. Ziggler hides behind Vickie Guerrero’s power, yet says he can run with the biggest stars in WWE. On Monday, that was put to the test when Ziggler faced Cena. Ziggler lost. The reason Cena is here tonight, Ziggler doesn’t have a match; he has a fight when he takes on Sheamus.
Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez decide they’ve heard enough and interrupt the party. ADR tells Cena he shouldn’t be worried about Ziggler; he should be worried about ADR. This is his house. This is his show. Cena makes a kiss-ass remark about the show belonging to the WWE Universe. ADR calls Cena a stupid gringo. He reminds Cena he won MITB, the Royal Rumble, as well as 2 WWE titles. Most important, did Cena forget that last time they wrestled, ADR destroyed him? So, why doesn’t Cena leave his show and his ring right now? Cena says he didn’t forget any of those things. He can’t go though, because he has a match tonight, with ADR right now. Cena decks ADR, and it looks like this match will happen right after the commercials.
MATCH 1: John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio (w/Ricardo Rodriguez)
ADR starts with a side headlock. Crisscross ends in a Cena hip toss, and ADR rolls to the floor. ADR hotshots Cena as Cena comes after him, and ADR boots him to the floor. Outside, ADR nails a kick to the chest. ADR slams Cena face-first into the announce desk. Back in, ADR hits a top rope double axe handle for 2. ADR hits some corner kicks, and Cena comes back with rights. It’s all for naught as ADR nails a hard corner whip. ADR hits a low running boot, followed by a second one. Suplex gets 2. We see Ziggler watching the match from the back. ADR has an armbar applied on Cena now, combined with a rear chinlock. Cena tries to break out, but ADR beats him back down. ADR goes for another suplex, but Cena counters into one of his own. Cena charges at ADR in the corner, but misses, colliding with the post. ADR lands a running kick to the ribs, then ties the injured arm up in the rope. ADR goes up top once more, hitting another double axe handle for 2. Quick kick to the bad arm, and now ADR is applying a modified ¾-nelson. Commercials.
We’re back, and ADR misses a second rope senton bomb. Cena fires up the Five Moves of Doom. He hits four, but ADR counters the AA with a backcracker for 2. ADR goes for the rolling jujigatame, but Cena counters into a swinging neckbreaker. Cena heads up top now, but ADR cuts him off with a step-up enziguri for 2. ADR goes for a second one, but Cena ducks and goes for the STF once ADR lands on the mat. ADR kicks him off and hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for 2. ADR goes up once more, but Cena cuts him off with a dropkick. Cena gets up first and goes for the AA, but ADR counters with the jujigatame. Cena counters this into the STF. ADR almost taps, but manages to get to the ropes. He rolls to the apron as Cena approaches, and ADR applies the jujigatame over the top rope. ADR breaks it at 4 and slingshots back in the ring but gets caught in the AA once more. And once more, ADR counters, this time into a German suplex for 2. ADR props Cena up on top, drops him in the Tree of Woe and applies a foot choke. ADR charges in shoulder-first, but Cena pulls himself to the top rope, missing the collision. Cena gets to the top rope, hitting the Rocker Dropper for 3.
WINNER: John Cena. Decent match, I will admit. And I don’t recall ever seeing Cena win with that move, so that certainly didn’t hurt. And he actually hit it mostly correct this time. As Cena celebrates on-stage, Ziggler comes out and nails him from behind with the MITB briefcase.
We see Kane in the back with Daniel Bryan and Kofi Kingston. Kofi says they know the other two won’t magically get along, but tonight, they’ve got a match with Wade Barrett and PTP. They need to get on the same page. Bryan says that’s fine. His partner is one of the most destructive forces in WWE history. Kane calls Bryan one of the most dangerous submission specialists in history. In other words, the world hasn’t even begun to see how dangerous and lethal Team Hell No! can be, starting tonight. Can they get along? The answer is Yes! Bryan begins the “Yes!” chant, which Kane and the crowd both join in on.
Cena is complaining to GM Booker T about what just happened with Ziggler. As soon as Ziggler goes out for his match, Cena’s going to nail him. Book tells him the show can’t break down, and Cena can’t interfere in the main event. Once the match is over, Cena is welcome to do whatever he wants. Cena reluctantly agrees.
MATCH 2: David Otunga vs. The Great Khali (w/Hornswoggle)
I feel like this match has happens way too often. Otunga starts with kicks and punches, but Khali quickly strikes him down and to the floor. Otunga chases Hornswoggle around the ring, and Khali drops him once more. Back in, Khali nails a brain chop and gets the 3.
WINNER: The Great Khali. Total waste of time and energy.
MATCH 3: Wade Barrett and The Prime-Time Players (Titus O’Neil and Darren Young) vs. WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No! (Daniel Bryan and Kane) and Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston
Wonder if the team will change their name to Hell Yes! in the future? Kane and Young start the match, and Kane immediately starts in with punches. Bryan tags in, and Kane whips him into Young with a corner dropkick. Bryan nails Young with some kicks in the corner, hits a snapmare and tags in Kane who hits a low dropkick for 2. Kane begins working on Young’s left arm before telegraphing a back body drop. Young forearms Kane before tagging in Titus, who runs right into a big boot. Kane clotheslines him to the floor, where Bryan lands a running knee from the apron. Commercials.
We’re back, and the legal men are now Young and Kofi. Young goes for a hip toss, but Kofi cartwheels off of it and lands a dropkick for 2. Kane back in, and he stomps Young before tagging in Bryan. They hit a double hip toss for 2. Bryan with some European uppercuts, and follows up with kicks. Titus makes a blind tag, and Young whips Bryan right into him, who hits a big boot from the apron. Titus stomps Bryan before hitting a bodyslam. Young back in, and they hit a double shoulderblock. Backbreaker by Young gets 2. Young locks in a modified surfboard, then turns it into a waistlock. Titus tags in, hits a shot and then tags in Barrett. Barrett hits a pumphandle slam for 2. Barrett applies a camel clutch, but Bryan won’t be humbled tonight. He breaks out, but runs right into The Winds of Change for 2. Love that move, and its name. Titus tags in and chokes Bryan with his knee. Titus picks Bryan up in an abdominal stretch before dropping him back down. Young tags in, and Titus drops Young into a standing gourdbuster on Bryan for 2. Young applies a rear chinlock, but Bryan elbows out before laying in some heavy forearms. Young comes back with a northern lights suplex for 2. Titus back in and hits two backbreakers before flinging Bryan. Titus gets into a 3-point stance, but runs right into a pair of boots by Bryan. Young and Kane make the simultaneous tags, and Kane hits two clotheslines, two corner clotheslines and knocks Barrett off the apron for good measure. Kane ducks a clothesline and hits a sidewalk slam for 2. Up top, and the flying clothesline connects. Titus breaks the pin up at 2, and Kofi nails him with a jumping clothesline before blasting Barrett with Trouble in Paradise on the apron. Young clotheslines Kofi to the floor, landing on the apron. Kane grabs him, but Young hotshots him. Young dives off the top rope and gets caught in a chokeslam. Bryan tags in and murders Young’s whole family with a diving headbutt before applying the No! Lock and getting the submission win.
WINNERS: Kofi Kingston and Team Hell No! Nice 6-man here. Everyone did a good job, and it was a fun match to watch. I can’t wait to see Kingston/Barrett at TLC. Last time these two wrestled for the IC title last year, it was an awesome match. I have no doubt they can do it again.
Matt Striker is in the back (looking like a pedophile from the 70s with that mustache. Joey Ryan can pull it off; Striker cannot) with Sheamus. He asks Sheamus about the Chairs Match at TLC and tonight’s match with Ziggler. The good news is, Cena won’t interfere in the match tonight. The bad news is, Ziggler is facing him. The last couple weeks of The Big Show doing everything he can to save his title, every opponent looks like Show to him, which means Ziggler is going to get hurt really badly tonight. He’ll be begging for Cena to put him out of his misery. Ziggler considers himself a show-off. Tonight, he can show off his head when Sheamus kicks it clean off his shoulders.
Damien Sandow makes his way out. Allow him to beg your indulgence for a moment. His name is Damien Sandow, and for the last several months, he has attempted to enlighten all of us, an attempt which has proven to be futile. As our intellectual savior, he pledges he cannot, nay, WILL not, abandon all of us. However, he will not be focusing on the masses. He has decided, in his infinite wisdom, he will be redirecting his efforts and sharing with everyone on an individual basis. Therefore, he will be selecting one member from the audience to be his apprentice. Now, who among the crowd will be deemed worthy to accept the position? He says “no” to several people before pointing at a guy in a GTS shirt. Security lets the guy in as Sandow heads to the ring. Now, as Sandow has stated, his efforts will be focused on an individual basis, but we can all learn something, so he suggests we all pay close attention. The fan is yelling “wooo!” in the ring, and Sandow simply tells him, “Stop that”, which I find hilarious for whatever reason. What can I say? The man’s gimmick is genius. This fan has the privilege of having the opportunity to become his apprentice. He will ask the man a series of three questions, which he must answer correctly. Question #1: How many wheels on a tricycle? The fan correctly answers 3. Sandow tells him very good before saying he’s standing with bad form. Question #2: How often does the United States hold Presidential elections? The fan answers every four years, so Sandow tells him he’s smarter than he looks. Question #3: What is the orbital velocity of Jupiter’s moon, Europa? The fan has no idea. You ignoramus! The answer is 13.74 km/second. Congratulations, you have embarrassed yourself, you have embarrassed your family, and you have embarrassed the entire state of Louisiana. Your public display of ignorance is surpassed only by that ridiculous haircut. Leave his ring, you are dismissed. The fan leaves the ring, and Sandow tells the crowd, “You’re welcome!”
I don’t know about you, but I loved that segment. Sandow is too good in this role. He will be in action after the commercials.
JBL and Josh Mathews hype the upcoming annual “Tribute to the Troops” show.
MATCH 4: Damien Sandow vs. Tyson Kidd
Kidd ducks a clothesline and nails some kicks, sending Sandow to the floor. Kidd goes for a plancha, but lands on the apron when Sandow moves. Sandow grabs him by the feet and whips him to the floor. Sandow rams him into the apron before getting him back in the ring for stomps. Sandow hits the side-Russian legsweep and rolls to his feet, landing the Cubito Aequet for 2. Sandow applies a rear chinlock with an armbar, and Kidd fights out. He ducks a clothesline and hits a cross-body. Kidd nails some kicks, sending Sandow to the corner. Sandow tries to get his boot up on the charge, but Kidd swats the foot away and nails a Ghetto Blaster. Kidd hits a mule kick and a low dropkick for 2. Sandow rolls to the floor, where Kidd hits a suicide dive. Back in the ring, Kidd goes for the springboard elbow, but Sandow gets his knees up, blocking the move. Sandow hits the Terminus, and gets the 3.
WINNER: Damien Sandow. Glad his move finally has a name.
Matt Striker is now doing an interview with Dolph Ziggler. He asks if Ziggler has something to prove after his loss on RAW. Ziggler says that was a handicap match. AJ got involved in his business. BTW, the “Golden Boy” didn’t mind taking advantage of the situation, yet he’s the bad guy in this. He’s expecting another handicap match tonight, since Cena and Booker T are such good buds. Cena had an affair with AJ for over a month, and is the biggest liar in the history of WWE. Liars get what’s coming to them: a briefcase shot to the back of the skull. He’s the show-off, the show stealer, the sole survivor. He’s so sick of being so sick, and is the best thing in sports entertainment today. If Sheamus thinks he’s looking at the Big Show when he sees him tonight, he better think again, as he’s looking at the next World Heavyweight Champion. Show. Off.
MATCH 5: The Usos (Jey and Jimmy) vs. Jinder Mahal and Heath Slater (w/Drew McIntyre)
At least these guys have something better than Slater’s old, horrible entrance music. Their new theme isn’t too bad either, all things considering. Slater and an Uso start off. Uso shoulders Slater right into his corner before tagging in other Uso, who shoulders Slater from the apron. Other Uso hits a headbutt from the middle rope for 2, and I find out this is Jimmy. Slater avoids a corner splash, but can’t avoid an uppercut. Jimmy mounts the middle rope, but Slater whips him down. He stomps Jimmy before tagging in Mahal, who hits a butterfly suplex for 1. Rear chinlock is applied and Jimmy fights out before hitting a running chop to the chest. Jey tags in, hits Mahal with a running forearm and a mule kick, an uppercut and a Samoan drop. Running hip bump in the corner gets 2. Slater breaks things up, and Jimmy knocks him to the floor. Slater hits a kick to Jey’s head as the ref is trying to get Jimmy out of the ring, which allows Mahal to hit a full-nelson slam for 3.
WINNERS: Jinder Mahal and Heath Slater.
MATCH 6: Dolph Ziggler vs. Sheamus
Sheamus back Ziggler to the corner, and Ziggler slides to the floor. Back in, Sheamus breaks a waistlock and hits a hip throw. Shoulder off the ropes by Sheamus, and Ziggler ends the crisscross with a clothesline. Sheamus comes back with punches and a running back elbow. A punch drops Ziggler to his knee and hits a bodyslam before doing his own version of the Show-Off Elbow for 2. Ziggler ducks a clothesline and pushes Sheamus to the floor. He goes for a cross-body off the apron, but Sheamus catches him and hits a fall-away slam into the barricade. Back in the ring, Ziggler slides to the apron and back to the floor. Sheamus follows him out and throws him back in. Sheamus goes for the forearms in the ropes from the outside, but Ziggler counters with a hotshot before knocking Sheamus to the floor with a running dropkick. Commercials.
We’re back, and Ziggler is still in control, hitting a jumping avalanche for 2. Show-Off Elbow gets 2. He applies a rear chinlock, but Sheamus counters with a back suplex. Sheamus fires off some rights and hits a pair of Irish Hammers. He goes for a 3rd, but Ziggler trips him into the ropes. Ziggler boots Sheamus from the apron and climbs back in for 1 as Sheamus gets a rope break. Ziggler with stomps in the corner before hitting some headbutts. Ziggler charges in, but Sheamus back drops him over the ropes. Ziggler lands on his feet on the apron, but he gets set up for the forearms to the chest. Sheamus nails 10 of them before suplexing Ziggler back into the ring. He goes up top for the Battering Ram, but Ziggler sees it coming and charges into the turnbuckles. Sheamus jumps off and rolls through and goes for the Brogue Kick, but Ziggler ducks and hits the leaping DDT for 2. Ziggler calls for the Rocker Dropper, but Sheamus sidesteps him before catching Ziggler off the ropes with the Irish Curse for 2. JBL just made a joke about “Jennifer Hudson’s husband got beat today.” Josh Mathews said he meant David Otunga, and JBL responded with, “That’s what I said.” I don’t know why, but I just laughed my ass off at that. Anyway, Ziggler boots Sheamus out of the corner, but runs right into the tilt-a-whirl powerslam. He escapes before it hits, though, shoves Sheamus into the corner and rolls him up for 2. Sheamus looks for White Noise, but Ziggler counters into a sunset flip, which Sheamus tries to counter with the Texas clover-leaf. He eventually locks it in, sitting nice and tight on it. Big Show makes his way out, and Sheamus cuts him off on the apron before Show headbutts him, causing the DQ.
WINNER VIA DISQUALIFICATION: Sheamus. Damn. That was a good match until the end, too. Show continues to assault Sheamus, and Ziggler joins in the attack as well. Cena hits the ring and attacks Show as Sheamus fights back on Ziggler. He hits Ziggler with the Attitude Adjustment before turning around into a goozle by Show. Show goozles Sheamus as well, but they break it and hit a double suplex before knocking him to the floor.
End of show.
Pretty fun episode of SmackDown! tonight. Really have nothing to complain about, save for the Khali/Otunga match. Fortunately, JBL’s jokes about Otunga made it tolerable.
This week’s WWE SmackDown! opens with Sheamus pacing in the parking lot waiting for The Big Show to show up to the building.
In the arena, Cleveland’s own, The Miz, is making his way out for another episode of MizTV. “Miz is awesome” chant almost immediately breaks out. He says it’s good to be home, so welcome to the most must-see WWE talk show in history, welcome to MizTV! In 2 days, the 26th annual (hey, someone on WWE TV got it right!) Survivor Series takes place, and Miz is on Team Foley because of the WWE Universe. He was selected in an interactive vote, but was there any doubt? He’s on the poster, and that’s because he’s a survivor. Also, he’s accomplished more than any other Series participants. He’s not going to follow blindly under any team captain, whether it’s Dolph Ziggler or tonight’s guest, Mick Foley. Foley says he appreciates being on the show, but he’s going to be honest. He had reservations about putting Miz on the ballot on Monday night. Miz tells him not to go for a cheap pop in his hometown. Foley does it anyway. Seriously, although he named his newest book after Miz, had the book been written by Dickens, it would’ve been called “A Tale of Two Mizes”, as there are two forms of this man now. At the Series, will it be the guy who Foley knows he can be, or the vacation-taking, chair-sitting, makeup-wearing, weak beard-growing Miz who shows up on RAW and SD! from time-to-time with little else. Foley needs to ask that question? Really? Miz is the least of Foley’s problems. What he needs to do is look at the rest of the team. Champions who don’t like each other, a violent Apex Predator, and a cheapshot artist who stole Miz’s title. Foley’s glad Miz mentions this, because he planned a team meeting for this talk show. Foley then introduces each other member of Team Foley: Kofi Kingston, Team Hell No! and Randy Orton. Foley tells the team members that he now opens up the lines of communication for the team, and asks someone to begin talking. Daniel Bryan and Kane both want to start, and Bryan does. He says Kane wants to apologize for being the weak link in their team. Kane then thanks Miz for being a great partner on Monday, and his back feels so strong for not having to carry somebody. Bryan says, without him, he’d be roaming basements and scaring children. Kane says he does that anyway. They argue about who the champions is (no, that’s not a mistake), so Kofi tries to step in and calm things down. Miz takes offense to that, saying Kofi kicked him in the face when Miz offered a handshake last week. Kofi says he’ll do it again right now. Foley steps between the two and tells them to show unity. It’s hard to believe the voice of reason on Team Foley may just be Orton. Orton asks for clarification on this before saying he’s spat in Foley’s face many times. Foley threw him into thumbtacks as well. Despite this, he likes Foley more than anyone else in the ring right now. In fact, he doesn’t like any member of the team, or trust them.
Dolph Ziggler’s music hits, and Team Ziggler make their way onto the stage, minus Cody Rhodes. He calls Team Foley the definition of dysfunctional. He says his team doesn’t have any egos, and they’re prime, elite superstars united behind one charismatic leader. Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez are having a conversation during this, and Ziggler wants to know what’s going on. ADR says Ziggler doesn’t have what it takes to be the team leader. In fact, there’s only one person who deserves that. He’s a former WWE Champion. Ziggler says he’s a future champion, and would rather be a future something than a former anything. Foley interjects and said that, when he ran things, he made good matches. So, he asked Booker T if he could make some matches tonight. Book said he could with Team Ziggler’s blessing. Foley’s first suggestion is ADR and Ziggler need to get along, and what better way than in a tag team match against two members of Team Foley who need to get along. It’ll be ADR/Ziggler vs. Orton/Miz. Ziggler says that’s fine, and is glad Miz quit because he couldn’t cut it anyway. They got someone better in Wade Barrett. Barrett says Ziggler has replaced a quitter with a winner. Foley calls himself a fan of Barrett, and sets up a match between Barrett and Kane. Bryan screams “No!” at this before Damien Sandow screams silence. It is obvious Team Foley is in complete disarray. You have a goat-faced, one-word wonder with an anger problem. His partner Kane, who’s anger is the reason Rhodes is not here. Then, you have a braided, neon mute who now claims the ability to fly. Kofi says he expected something smarter from Sandow, and if Sandow wants to see his flying ability, he can look first-hand. Foley then makes a match between Kofi and Sandow, which is next.
MATCH 1: Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston vs. Damien Sandow (non-title)
Sandow immediately applies a side headlock and turns it into a hip throw. Kofi gets back onto his feet as Sandow continues to apply the hold. Sandow hits a shoulder off the ropes, and a crisscross ends with a spinning back elbow by Kofi. Sandow slides to the floor for a breather before getting back in the ring and trying a kick. Kofi blocks it and hits a Japanese armdrag. Another armdrag by Kofi, who turns it into an armbar. He drops a knee on the arm for 2. Sandow fights back, but Kofi blocks a hiptoss and counters with a monkey flip, sending Sandow back to the floor. Kofi chases him back in, and Sandow cuts Kofi off with shots. Kofi comes back with a dropkick out of the corner for 2. Kofi hits several stiff kicks for another 2. Sandow fights back, but Kofi manages to send him to the floor, where he hits a plancha. Commercials.
Kofi is still in control until Sandow nails a shoulder thrust. After a kick, Sandow hits a flipping neckbreaker for 2. Sandow goes after the eyes, hits a side-Russian legsweep, and the Elbow of Disdain gets another 2. Kofi fights back, hitting a clothesline, a back elbow and a dropkick. Kofi hits a jumping clothesline and the Boom Drop. He signals for TIP, but Sandow sees it coming and backs off to the opposite corner. Kofi ducks a clothesline and hits a springboard twisting crossbody for 2. Sandow hits a jawbreaker, but runs right into a back body drop. Sandow kicks Kofi in the knee and gets a schoolboy with a handful of tights for 3.
WINNER: Damien Sandow.
Outside, we see Sheamus, still waiting for Show.
MATCH 2: Layla, Kaitlyn and Natalya vs. Aksana, Alicia Fox and Eve Torres
Nattie and Aksana start off, with Aksana landing a kick to the midsection. Nattie counters an arm wringer, and a schoolgirl gets 1. Layla tags in, and the faces hit a double clothesline. A dropkick and an ass to the face by Layla, and a pin gets 2. Fox gets the blind tag, and the heels do a double hair whip for 2. Northern lights suplex for 2 by Fox. Eve tags in as Fox hits a bodyslam, and a horrible flipping senton by Eve gets 2. Eve hits a snapmare and a kick to the chest for 1. Fox tags in and hits a back kick to the gut. Layla kicks Fox off and tags in Kaitlyn. Kaitlyn hits a shoulder and a back elbow before telegraphing a back body drop. Kaitlyn catches her off the ropes with a flapjack, and hits another shoulderblock for 2. Kaitlyn dropkicks Fox into Eve, and hits an inverted DDT for 3.
WINNERS: Kaitlyn, Layla and Natalya.
We see Sheamus once again, and Booker T approaches him. Book knows he’s upset, but Sheamus is putting him in an awkward position. Rumor has it Show won’t come with Sheamus waiting out here. Sheamus agrees to move, but will be waiting for Show in the ring. Book tells him to keep his cool and stay in check. Sheamus can’t promise anything, and then walks off. Book stops him and says if things get out of hand, there will be consequences. Sheamus says, fella, you’ve got that right.
MATCH 3: Randy Orton and The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio (w/Ricardo Rodriguez)
Ziggler and Miz start off. Ziggler hits a shoulder off the ropes, and Miz comes back with a flapjack for 1. They trade punches before Ziggler sends Miz to the floor. ADR sends Orton to the floor as well. Commercials.
Back from the break, Orton is legal, fighting out of a rear chinlock. Ziggler takes him down and hits the Show-Off Elbow for 2. ADR tags in and nails Orton with a kick. Orton fights back by beating ADR down in the corner. After the ref pulls him off ADR, ADR hits a jumping double-knee armbreaker for 2. Ziggler back in, and he kicks away at Orton for 1. Orton fights back, hitting a flapjack and tagging in Miz. Miz beats Ziggler down in the corner before nailing the hanging clothesline. Double axe handle off the top gets 2. Miz mounts the middle buckle after blocking a corner charge, but ADR knocks him to the floor behind the ref’s back. Ziggler goes out and drops Miz neck-first across the barricade. Back in the ring, Ziggler gets 2. ADR tags in and nails a kick. He throws Miz to the corner for more kicks before nailing the step-up enziguri for 2. Armbar is applied, which Miz tries to fight out of. ADR headbutts him into the corner, but Miz counters a charge by backdropping ADR to the floor. Orton tags in, hits 3 out of 4 Moves of Boredom, then drops Ziggler with a powerslam. ADR gets hits with the 4th one as Orton signals for the RKO. Miz tags himself back in and hits the Skull-Crushing Finale for 3.
WINNERS: The Miz and Randy Orton. Miz celebrates the win, so Orton drops him with an RKO. The crowd immediately turns on Orton, which is nice for a change. The score for tonight is now 1-1 for the Survivor Series teams.
Sheamus makes his way out for the next segment. Sheamus tells Big Show he crossed the line. He was happy about their match at HIAC because they had the fight of their lives. But then Show had to go and attack Sheamus and William Regal from behind, proving himself to be a bully. Sheamus is tired of talking, and he doesn’t feel like waiting until Sunday. The time for talking is over. It’s time to fight. Show comes out, but stops on the stage. He says Sheamus doesn’t get it. He’s running his mouth, calling Show out. Just like last week, nothing will happen. Except, maybe, getting William Regal knocked out again. Show is scared of Sheamus, but not because of what Sheamus might do to him, but of what Show might do to Sheamus. Sheamus needs to just say “thank you”. Sheamus calls that the best idea Show’s ever had, and Sheamus thinks he’ll come up and do it right now. Booker T comes out and steps in between them. This is his show. In 2 days, Sheamus gets Show. But tonight, he needs to ask Sheamus to leave the building. This fight isn’t going to happen. Sheamus says he can’t do that, because he’s about to kick Show’s giant arse. Book tells him he doesn’t want to do this. He’s not asking Sheamus. As GM, he’s telling Sheamus to leave. Sheamus heads out by the stage.
In the back, Show approaches Booker T and thanks him for what he just did. Book is glad Show appreciates that, because there’s a main event tonight featuring Show. He’ll find out his opponent when he gets to the ring. Show asks if it’s against Sheamus. Book says no, but remember that no one’s bigger than the show. See you out there.
MATCH 4: WWE Tag Team Co-Champion Kane vs. Wade Barrett
Barrett starts off with rights. Winds of Change gets 1. Kane comes back with a big boot and a clothesline over the top to the floor. Back in the ring, Kane hits the flying clothesline and signals for the chokeslam. The rest of Team Ziggler immediately hit the ring and target Kane, causing the DQ.
WINNER VIA DISQUALIFICATION: Kane, putting Team Foley up 2-1 tonight, winning the mini-series. Daniel Bryan charges the ring, as do Kofi Kingston and Randy Orton. A huge brawl between the two teams is going on in the ring. Orton drops both Sandow and Ziggler with RKOs as Team Foley (minus Miz) stands tall. Miz eventually comes out to the stage and stares Orton down.
R-Truth makes his way out now for color commentary. He has a match on Sunday against Antonio Cesaro for the WWE US title.
MATCH 5: WWE United States Champion Antonio Cesaro vs. Sin Cara (non-title)
I like Cesaro’s ring jacket. Just saying. Also, I like the fact that JBL is alluding to Cara’s CMLL background, including his time as champion there. I don’t like JBL as a wrestler, but he’s great on commentary. Cesaro immediately hits a waistlock takedown on Cara. Cara comes back with a Mexican armdrag, and a springboard hurricanrana. Cesaro answers with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. A kick to the back gets 2. Lifted gutwrench suplex by Cesaro, followed by a European uppercut to the back of the head. Cara fights out of a cravat and counters a hip toss with an armdrag. Cara ducks a clothesline and hits a satellite spinning headscissors. Cara hits a kick to the face from the apron, and a springboard hurricanrana gets 2. Cesaro blasts Cara with the Very European Uppercut, and the Neutralizer puts Cara away for 3.
WINNER: Antonio Cesaro. After the match, R-Truth says that, with all due respect to Lil’ Jimmy, he’d like to quote another Jimmy: “Hacksaw” Jimmy Duggan. He begins a “USA!” chant on this note. Truth climbs into the ring, but Cesaro backs off, holding the US title up as he does so.
MATCH 6: World Champion The Big Show vs. The Great Khali
Unfortunately, this is the exact match I was afraid was going to happen. Show is forced to pretend like he’s concerned about this match, despite the fact that he’s destroyed Khali every time they’ve wrestled. Khali shoves off a lock-up attempt. Show responds with several different strikes. Khali blocks the corner chop attempt, and does one of his own. Khali hits another one in the adjacent corner. Khali with some kicks, and a forearm to the back of the head. Khali does the forearm again, and a clothesline takes Show down. Show comes back with some body blows, and a spear gets 2. He calls for the chokeslam, but Khali fights it off and hits the brain chop for 2. Khali signals for the Punjabi Plunge, but Show fights it off with body blows, and nails the WMD for the 3.
WINNER: The Big Show. Thankfully, a short match. Sheamus’ music hits, but he doesn’t come out. Show stands in the ring, looking around for him before his own music starts up again. Show leaves the ring, continuing to look around as he heads up the ramp.
Show is seen walking around in the back by the busses when Matt Striker tries to stop him for an interview. Show scares him off and heads to a bus, laughing. He opens the door, and Sheamus is inside, waiting for him with punches. Sheamus beats Show down in the parking lot. He shoves Show into a car, breaking a rear window in the process. He then charges in at Show, who throws Sheamus into the windshield of a car before walking off. Sheamus gets back up and dives off the roof of the car, knocking Show into the windshield of another car. Sheamus continues the beatdown until referees and officials finally pull him off. He screams, “I’ll finish this Sunday!” at Show as they drag him away.
Recently, you read about the 10 Worst WWE Champions of all time. That article caused me to consider the worst World Heavyweight Champions of all time. For those who do not know, the WHC was created in 2002 in order for both RAW and SmackDown to each have their own World Title.
Triple H was awarded the belt by Eric Bischoff on RAW. Since then, there have been 49 WHC reigns, much fewer than WWE Championship reigns. Therefore, instead of ranking World Heavyweight Champions, I have decided to present to you the five worst World Heavyweight Championship reigns.
5. Jeff Hardy, Dolph Ziggler and Big Show (Total: 0 Days)
These three superstars tie for fifth place due to holding the WHC for less than 24 hours. Jeff Hardy had just won his first World Heavyweight Championship in a ladder match at Extreme Rules 2009. However, CM Punk decided to cash in his Money in the Bank contract on a beaten down Jeff Hardy and win his second WHC. Dolph Ziggler was awarded the WHC by Vickie Guerrero when she was acting as general manager of Smackdown in February 2011. Ziggler’s reign ended the same night when Teddy Long returned and called for a rematch between Ziggler and Edge. Finally, Big Show’s reign came at the end of his feud with Mark Henry. However, Mr. Money in the Bank at the time, Daniel Bryan, decided to cash in his contract and win his first World Heavyweight Championship.
4. Christian (Total: 2 days)
Thanks to his brother/best friend Edge, Christian was able to win his first World Title in WWE in May 2011. Christian defeated Alberto Del Rio at Extreme Rules to win the WHC. However, five days later (although taped two days later), the WWE Universe chose to have Randy Orton challenge Christian for the belt. Orton would win and begin a great feud that began with a poor title reign. Christian and Orton exchanged title reigns for a while until Christian was demoted to the mid-card.
3. Batista (Total: 8 days)
Batista defeated Chris Jericho for his fourth WHC at Cyber Sunday 2008 with Stone Cold Steve Austin as guest referee. Jericho won the title back eight days later in a steel cage match. Batista would have more successful reigns as WHC and WWE Champion, including defeating someone else on this list. However, his eight day reign would go on to be one of the worst reigns in history.
2. Jack Swagger
In March 2010, Swagger was Mr. Money in the Bank and he cashed it in on Chris Jericho after he had been speared by Edge. Swagger would have a good run, defeating big name superstars such as Edge, Chris Jericho, Randy Orton and the Big Show. Swagger lost his championship at the Fatal 4 Way PPV (which I attended) to Rey Mysterio. As stated earlier, Swagger had a good run, but the fact that he has gone downhill so much since then raises questions. Should Jack Swagger have been WHC to begin with? Did WWE give him enough of a chance? His downfall makes him appear weak and not deserving of ever being a World Heavyweight Champion.
1. The Great Khali
The Great Khali was the worst World Heavyweight Champion for many reasons. First, he won his only World Title in a 20-man battle royal. The guy is over seven feet tall, he is obviously difficult to eliminate in a battle royal. Khali only held the championship for two months. Since then, he has been a Punjabi Playboy, has danced around the ring and overall, has done nothing of importance. Khali’s wrestling ability is very limited, more so than other giants of the past. At least the others on this list have been other champions before and after their WHC reign. Khali’s WHC reign really was his fifteen minutes of fame.
Do you agree or disagree? Which World Heavyweight Championship reigns would you put on the list?
Welcome to the 4-27-12 edition of WWE Friday Night SmackDown! I don’t care if this show is horrible tonight. After last night’s episode of Impact Wrestling, anything is going to be a breeze. Fortunately, I’ve seen the line-up for tonight without reading spoilers, and it looks like it could be a solid episode.
Tonight, our main event will be a rematch from Monday Night RAW, as Sheamus takes on Mark Henry. Josh Mathews is absent this week as a result from Brock Lesnar’s attack on RAW. We then see footage of Lesnar kill-sh*tting Mathews, putting him on the shelf for an indeterminate amount of time. Not sure why Mathews has been added to the Lesnar angle yet, but whatever. At least he’s been trained to wrestle, unlike other announcers who have no business being involved in a match of any kind, voluntary or otherwise.
Daniel Bryan makes his way out to the ring to open the show. Bryan is smiling. He tells us he did it; he cut the umbilical cord and finally got rid of AJ. It feels so good, but there’s still something that’s bothering him, and he came out to set the record straight. The loss at Wrestlemania to Sheamus DOES NOT COUNT. If anything, that loss should go on AJ’s record, not his, because she’s the one who actually lost the match. And yet, Sheamus runs around with Bryan’s championship belt, as if he actually won something. But Bryan plans to rectify the situation at Extreme Rules on Sunday, because Sheamus can’t legitimately beat him once, let alone 2-out-3 falls. Regardless of Bryan’s personal feelings towards Sheamus, when John Laurinaitis asked him to guest referee this past Monday, he promised himself he’d call it right down the middle, and he did. However, there are some who have accused him of quit-counting Sheamus, but he thinks the footage speaks for itself. We then see the footage at normal speed, only it’s been slowed down during the actual count, making it look like Bryan counted fairly. See?
Absolutely nothing wrong with that count; yet, in typical Sheamus fashion, despite knowing he’d be fired if he touched Bryan as a referee, he lost his cool, and Bryan was forced to defend himself. We then see footage from after the match, where Bryan puts Sheamus in the Yes! Lock. I loved hearing Bryan scream “Yes!” as he cranked on the hold. Bryan says it’s now question and answer time. Did Mark Henry beat Sheamus on Monday? Yes. Did he make Sheamus tap out in front of the WWE Universe? Yes! Is Sheamus’ entire title run a fluke because he took advantage of a confused and not very intelligent woman? Yes. Will Bryan regain his title at Extreme Rules? Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Half the crowd is booing, but the other half is enthusiastically chanting “Yes!” Love it.
As Bryan wraps things up, Alberto Del Rio’s music hits, and he drives his car out to the stage as Ricardo Rodriguez introduces him. ADR has a microphone in his hand. Bryan is still in the ring. ADR asks the crowd if Bryan is making excuses about his title loss. Si! Is the winner of the Bryan/Sheamus match eventually going to lose to ADR? Si! (Rodriguez is doing the “Si!”, BTW) Will Daniel Bryan be forgotten when ADR becomes the next champion? Si! Si! Si!
As ADR continues, the IC Champion, The Big Show, makes his way down now. Show asks if it’s “Yes!” or “Si!” The crowd is going back and forth with this. He goes to duck Bryan, who slides out of the ring. ADR does the same. Rodriguez isn’t quite fast enough though, as Show grabs him by the jacket and pulls him back into the ring. He tells Rodriguez to calm down before asking him if it’s “Yes!” or “Si!” Rodriguez yells incoherently. Show says “Si.” Before chokeslamming him.
Up next, ADR takes on Show in a rematch from last week.
Back from the break, the match has already started.
MATCH 1: Alberto Del Rio vs. Intercontinental Champion The Big Show (non-title)
Show hits a clothesline in the corner, but ADR gets his feet up on a second corner charge. Show shakes it off and clubs ADR down. ADR reverses a bodyslam and kicks Show in the leg. Show takes ADR down with a shoulderblock, sending him to the floor. Show tries to pull ADR back up, but ADR hot shots the arm. He gets back in and begins kicking the left arm of Show before hitting the double-knee armbreaker. He looks for the rolling jujigatame, but Show holds on and turns it into a back suplex variation. Show hits a pair of clotheslines, a hip bump in the corner and a spear off the ropes. He signals for the chokeslam, but Cody Rhodes comes in from behind and clips the leg, causing the DQ.
WINNER VIA DISQUALIFICATION: The Big Show. ADR hits a step-up enziguri before leaving the ring. Rhodes pulls a kendo stick and a chair from under the ring. Show no-sells a stick shot, and then punches the chair out of Rhodes’ hand. Rhodes takes his belt off, but runs into a clothesline. Show pulls the shirt off Rhodes and begins whipping him with the belt, but can only get in a couple shots before Rhodes flees the match. How much you want to bet the stipulation for their match will be a Strap Match now?
Backstage, we see John Laurinaitis and Eve Torres. Ace tells her she’s doing a great job with her new position, and if she sees any changes that need to be made, let her know. Torres says she sees a lot of people in the back she doesn’t know, so he should make them wear nametags. He likes the idea. Teddy Long walks up and asks if Torres is his executive administrator, what does that make him. Ace says he’s just an employee, and now he reports to Eve directly. She orders him to go get a nametag.
We see footage of Nikki Bella winning the Divas title this past Monday from Beth Phoenix. Just so you know, Phoenix’s injury is a work, and Bella is the champion now in order to get squashed by Kharma, likely this weekend, as the Bellas are expected to leave after either Sunday or Monday due to their contracts being up. Although they could have re-signed, it doesn’t appear to be that way, and regardless, the plan is still for Kharma to squash Nikki Bella for the belt.
We get another promo from Damien Sandow. This one is about enlightenment. He talks about the “Age of Enlightment”, talking about people like Voltaire and Sir Isaac Newton, who understood enlightenment completely. He says something about how WWE superstars are full of stupid catchphrases and dumb entrance music, but he’s here to usher in a new “Age of Illumination” that we so desperately need. You’re welcome. I cannot stress how awesome this guy is.
MATCH 2: Alicia Fox vs. Nikki Bella (w/Brie Bella)
We learn that Beth Phoenix is okay and will be getting her rematch this Sunday. That’s surprising. I wonder if that plan will stick, or if the original Kharma plan will come into play. Nikki knocks Fox down and kicks her for 2. Nikki hits a rolling neck snap for 2. before locking in a modified rear chinlock. Fox elbows her way out before hitting an armdrag. Fox with a hair whip and a pair of dropsh*ts before botching the miserable hell out of a springboard back elbow off the middle rope. Nikki counters a Matrix with a hair pull. Brie switches out when the referee isn’t looking and hits the sit-out facebuster to score the pin.
WINNER: Nikki Bella. Not sure why the switch was necessary, since Nikki was already in control of the match. No cameltoe tonight. I can tell you’re all very disappointed.
Later tonight, Michael Cole will do an “exclusive” interview with Randy Orton. How is this exclusive? Orton does at least one long damn interview every week on this show. Is it exclusive because the toolbox known as Matt Striker is being replaced by the toolbox known as Michael Cole? Ooh, that’s something worth documenting.
Hopefully, I’ll have my Playstation Vita in the next couple of months after I’ve saved a little cash. Just saying.
Did You Know? Despite being the very definition of a “one-hit wonder” here in the U.S., the band A-Ha is one of the 50 highest grossing musical acts in the world today, and they are practically music gods in their native Norway.
We see Yoshi Tatsu warming up in the back. Titus O’Neil and Darren Young walk up. O’Neil says they’re two of the fastest rising stars in the WWE before being very politically incorrect in regards to Tatsu’s race. Ezekiel Jackson walks up and says he doesn’t like what he’s hearing. Zeke will be Tatsu’s partner tonight against O’Neil/Young. The heels then start some really stupid chant. Zeke says they won’t be joking much after the match.
We see Teddy Long in Ace’s office, dusting his things in a maid’s uniform. Aksana and her porn music walk in. Long says things have been unbearable, but knowing his grandkids’ college fund is safe and having her by his side, he feels a lot of better. Aksana says something about not knowing he had grandchildren. I don’t know. You can’t understand what she’s saying. Ace and Torres walk in and say Aksana’s new friend Antonio Cesaro will have a match tonight, and if he’s impressive, he gets a contract. He also makes Aksana the guest ring announcer, because that role carries any weight. Torres then tells Long he’ll have his own ringside commentary table, since Josh Mathews is out. Ace tells him not to worry, as Ace will be in his ear on headset the entire time, and won’t say anything without Ace’s approval. Ace gives him a “People Power” shirt as an alternative to his maid’s outfit.
MATCH 2: Ezekiel Jackson and Yoshi Tatsu vs. Titus O’Neil and Darren Young
We see Teddy Long at his own private commentary table, or the “Teddy Table” as Eve Torres oh-so-cleverly named it. Cole is bashing him for not signing O’Neil and Young when he was GM. Probably because they suck. Probably. Young and Tatsu start off in a tie-up. Young backs Tatsu into a corner. Tatsu reverses and nails some forearms. Young catches Tatsu with a Stun Gun off the ropes. O’Neil tags in and hits a forearm to the back off a snapmare by Young, which gets a 1-count. O’Neil hits a bodyslam. Young back in, and they hit a double shoulderblock. Young with an elbow for 2. Tatsu fires back some chops. Young dropkicks Zeke before kicking Young in the gut. O’Neil tags in, and they hit their version of the Code Red for the 3.
WINNERS: Titus O’Neil and Darren Young. I’m giving Young the nickname of “Choc Cena”. Probably won’t catch it on, but I don’t care. Tell me the guy doesn’t look like an African American John Cena. I dare you.
Up next, Cole’s “exclusive” interview with Randy Orton.
Back from the commercials, Michael Cole is in the ring, making an overly long introduction for Randy Orton. Orton makes his way out, looking over his shoulder every few seconds for Kane. Someone really needs to teach Orton proper beard-grooming. How does he look in the mirror every morning and not notice it’s all uneven? Cole is confident they can conduct this interview as two civil human beings. He mentions an edict that Laurinaitis has passed down that states any superstar who puts his/her hand on announcer will be suspended immediately. Orton says he’s aware, but when pushed too far, he doesn’t act rational. He’s a “shoot first, ask questions last” kind of guy. Cole shows us a video package for the feud between Orton and Kane. The basis for this feud is beyond stupid. After the long-ass video, Cole reminds Orton of Kane stating he has once again “become a monster”. How does Orton feel about a monster that was reborn because of Orton. Orton calls Cole “deep”. Orton says people say what happen at Wrestlemania goes down in history. In regards to his issues with Kane, they think about Kane beating him at Wrestlemania. This Sunday, Orton is going beyond pinning Kane in their match. Kane messed with Orton’s family. Even though there’s a part of him that wants to respect Kane, he refuses to accept it. At Extreme Rules, it’s Falls-Count-Anywhere, which essentially means there’s no rules Orton has to play by. Kane calls himself “the devil’s favorite demon”, but nothing the devil does can compare to the hell Orton will unleash on Kane this Sunday.
Jinder Mahal’s music hits for some reason. He still works here? Well, not for long, probably. He starts speaking in Farsi, before telling Orton that he and Kane will take each other down, and when they do, a new breed of stars will take their place at the top. Mahal basically calls himself better than Orton in various ways, and after Extreme Rules, Mahal will be waiting for him on the other side. He starts to leave, but Orton stops him. He asks if Mahal is an announcer. Mahal says no, before calling himself the “fastest rising athlete” (*snicker*)…Orton cuts him off, saying that while announcers are off limits…he drops the microphone and hits an RKO. Way to earn your paycheck, Mahal.
We see the outside of the building. Apparently, the show is taking place from Grand Rapids, MI.
MATCH 3: Tyson Kidd vs. Antonio Cesaro
Aksana does her awful ring announcing. I really hope Cesaro gets better music in the future, as his current theme is way too generic. Gotta say I’m excited about this match. Tie-up to start, with Kidd being backed into the corner. Cesaro hits a forearm to the gut, a kick and a headbutt. Sharp boot to the face before he grinds Kidd’s face into the mat. Elbow drop, followed by a delayed gutwrench suplex. Kidd reverses a bodyslam and hits a mule kick, but runs right into an elevated European uppercut by Cesaro. Awesome spot right there. Cesaro then hits a cradle facebuster that he apparently calls the “Gotch-Style Neutralizer” (according to the internet) and gets the 3.
WINNER: Antonio Cesaro. Total squash, but Cesaro looked damn good here, and that uppercut spot was vicious. I’m so glad to see him finally on the main roster. At this rate, WWE’s going to be stacked with young talent in just a couple months. After the match, Teddy Long gets ordered to raise Cesaro’s hand. Cesaro and Aksana then make out in front of him.
Now it’s time for a video package for Brock Lesnar that you’ve already seen numerous times.
We see Cody Rhodes heading towards the ring. He’ll be facing The Great Khali next.
“Total Blackout” might be one of the stupidest reality-game show concepts on television right now, and that’s saying something.
MATCH 4: The Great Khali vs. Cody Rhodes
I realize that Khali is still on the roster because he’s considered a huge star in India and helps WWE do big business when they tour there, but he needs to be kept booked strictly for those tours. His immobility is becoming on par with Giant Haystacks/Loch Ness, and it’s painful to watch. Rhodes immediately tries to take the legs out from Khali, but he blocks it and winds up hitting an open-hand chop to the chest. Rhodes chop blocks the leg, taking him down, followed by a leg DDT. Rhodes goes to the top and hits a missile dropkick for 2. Rhodes continues to work on the leg. Khali clubs him off with some forearm shots, but Rhodes stays on offense with a front chancery. Khali dumps him off awkwardly before hitting a couple clotheslines. He looks for the Punjabi Plunge, but Rhodes kicks him in the leg. Rhodes goes for the Beautiful Disaster, but Khali catches him by the throat and…hits the Plunge to get the 3? Really?
WINNER: The Great Khali. Why is Khali defeating Rhodes mere days before Rhodes’ IC title match, especially when Rhodes has easily beaten him in the past? Oh, and we learn that the stipulation for Rhodes/Show at Extreme Rules will be determined that night via a spin of a roulette wheel.
In the back, AW is laying into the WWE Tag Team Champions Primo & Epico, and Rosa. He says it’s embarrassing that they are the champions, yet still not on the PPV. He wants a decision from them by Monday in regards to representing them. Ryback walks by and simply stares them all down. AW follows him, wanting to talk to him.
We see the Usos watching this match in the back.
Before the match, Jacob Kaye says that Ryback’s streak of beating up nobodies ends tonight. He’s been waiting his whole life to escape this city, and he’ll be the first man to score a victory over Ryback.
MATCH 5: Jacob Kaye vs. Ryback
Kaye charges at Ryback, and Ryback throws him away. Ryback hits a big boot off the ropes, then chokes Kaye with his foot. Ryback hits a gorilla press powerslam before picking Kaye up by the ears. Ryback nails a big clothesline before hitting the running fisherman’s suplex for the 3.
WINNER: Ryback, who gets a pretty big pop upon victory. His finisher needs a really good name. Ryback screams “Give me more!” after the match. I like this gimmick.
We see video from last week, when Daniel Bryan officially dumped AJ, followed by AJ’s meltdown against Natalya. On a side note, you can’t see it in the video, but AJ actually split Natalya open in their “match”.
We see AJ walking in the back, when she’s stopped by Matt Striker. He asks her about her relationship with Bryan. She doesn’t answer. He asks about Bryan’s match on Sunday. She doesn’t answer. He continues with the questions, until Kaitlyn steps in and tells him AJ doesn’t need to answer these questions. After Striker walks away. Kaitlyn tells AJ this is a good thing, as Daniel Bryan is a jerk who didn’t respect or love her. AJ then slaps Kaitlyn in the face pretty damn hard before going back to her sulking.
MATCH 6: World Champion Sheamus vs. Mark Henry (non-title)
Tie-up to start, with Henry powering Sheamus to the mat. Henry does it once again on a second attempt. Sheamus goes into a side headlock, which Henry quickly fights out of, backing Sheamus into the corner. He takes Sheamus down with a punch. Sheamus fights back with punches of his own. Henry hits a clothesline off the ropes. Henry goes for a short-arm clothesline, but Sheamus ducks, hits a chopblock and an armbar takedown for 2. Sheamus clubs the arm after an arm wringer, then twists again. Henry shoves him over the top rope with one hand before heading out himself. He throws Sheamus back in the ring, but Sheamus rolls to the apron. He gets to his feet after a punch to the face and follows up with a slingshot shoulderblock for 2. Henry slides to the floor as we go to commercials.
Back from the break, Henry hits a bodyslam off the ropes, but he misses the jumping splash. Henry rolls to the apron, where he’s in a prime spot for the tied-up forearm shots to the chest. Henry elbows Sheamus in the side of the head, then yanks Sheamus to the floor and into the barricade. Back up, Henry throws him into the barricade this time. Back in the ring, Henry gets only a 1-count. Henry with a headbutt before going into a double Trapezius claw. Sheamus fights back to his feet, but runs into a big boot off the ropes from Henry. Clothesline by Henry gets another 1-count. Sheamus slides to the corner, where Henry piefaces him down. Sheamus fights back again, but is once again taken down by a headbutt. Henry locks in a neck vice. Sheamus fights back one more time, hitting a pair of Irish Hammers of the ropes, followed by one to the face, finally taking Henry down. Sheamus lands a DDT for 2. Sheamus sets up for the Brogue Kick, which Henry sidesteps before hitting a hitting a clothesline for 2. Henry backs Sheamus into a corner, where he hits a forearm to the chest. Sheamus gets his boot up on the charge and goes up top to for the Battering Ram. Henry ducks, but Sheamus lands on his feet and rolls through, pops up quickly and nails the Brogue Kick for the 3.
WINNER: Sheamus. Daniel Bryan slowly makes his way out, applauding Sheamus from the stage. Sheamus challenges him to come down to the ring before grabbing a microphone. He then verbally challenges Bryan to come down here, fella. Sheamus accuses Bryan of being afraid of him since he can’t hide behind a referee’s shirt, or maybe he’s afraid of getting his head kicked off in 18 seconds. “18 seconds” chant starts in the crowd. Sheamus says Bryan got off easy at ‘Mania, but Danny Boy, come this Sunday, he won’t get off that easy. It won’t be a fluke. Will he kick Bryan’s arse to remain champion? The answer is Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!
End of show.
Good episode tonight. I’m glad all of the new guys are being added to the SmackDown! roster, as it just makes my job that much more enjoyable. And the main event was surprisingly good, too.
Welcome to the 4-20-12 edition of Friday Night SmackDown! With the stupid subculture this day brings with it every year, I am more thankful with each passing year that I don’t smoke pot.
Tonight’s main event will be a 6-man tag team match, as Randy Orton, the Great Khali and World Champion Sheamus will take on Daniel Bryan, Mark Henry and Cody Rhodes. Speaking of Daniel Bryan, he’s making his way out to the ring right now. “Yes.” That’s what Bryan was saying to himself when he entered his very first Wrestlemania as World Champion. Within 18 seconds, it’s like his title reign never happened. It’s hard for him to talk about what Sheamus did. Sheamus didn’t out-wrestle or out-fight him; he took the cowardly way out. He waited until Bryan was distracted and his back was turned, and kicked Bryan in the face. Just like he did with Alberto Del Rio and referee Chad Patton, and just like he did again to Bryan last week. But, at Extreme Rules, Bryan will not be distracted, and in that match, if Sheamus so much as touches the referee, he will be fired. At Extreme Rules, we return where his rise to the top began, where no one thought he had a chance in hell of winning, the city where he shocked the world and won the MITB briefcase, that being the city of Chicago. At Extreme Rules, he plans on doing the same thing again, shocking the world. It’s a Best-of-3-Falls Match, which means Bryan will not beat Sheamus once, but twice. It won’t be a fluke win like Sheamus had; it will be an undisputable win that will make him World Heavyweight Champion. As an added treat, he gets to show everyone around the world what he does best, and that’s wrestle. He’s going to wrestle Sheamus and show everyone he is a real man. Did Sheamus take the cowardly way out when every time he kicked Bryan? Yes. Will he dominate the match at Extreme Rules? Yes. Will he become the new champion? Yes! Yes! Yes!
AJ makes her way out with a microphone, trying to talk to Bryan. Before she can enter the ring, he tells her to stop talking and go away. AJ says “no” and enters the ring. She’s not here to steal the spotlight, but this is the only way she can see him. She just wants to talk about their problems. Bryan doesn’t have any problems. He HAD a problem, and got rid of it. That problem was her. AJ still thinks they can work this out. She just wanted to see him and wish him good luck. Bryan wishes she hadn’t come out here. He wishes he had never met her. He wished he never would have said “yes” when she asked him out. Come to think of it, Bryan wishes she was never born. Bryan then gets an evil smile on his face and begins chuckling. Now that he’s out here answering questions, he’s going to answer one more. Is there any chance or hope he’d ever take her back? No! Bryan then drops the mic and leaves AJ alone in the ring, crying.
If you don’t love Daniel Bryan, you’re wrong. That’s all there is to it.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again-I love this commercial for Prototype 2 featuring Johnny Cash’s “Hurt”. Why is it seemingly only commercials for video games get access to good music?
Back from commercials, AJ is still in the ring crying as Natalya’s music hits.
MATCH 1: AJ vs. Natalya
Apparently, Natalya is already a heel again. I’m fine with her being heel, but WWE needs to make up its mind. This is bush league. TNA-level bush league. AJ is staring at the stage as Natalya is trying to console her. AJ slaps her, then punches her repeatedly in the corner. The referee keeps trying to pull her off, but she keeps up the attack. Eventually, the referee disqualifies her.
WINNER VIA DISQUALIFICATION: Natalya. Okay, Natalya came down acting like a heel, then tried to be a face after the bell rang. I don’t know what she’s supposed to be anymore. I do like how they’re booking AJ’s meltdown thus far, though.
We get another promo for Damien Sandow. This time, he’s talking about ignorance. We choose to be ignorant rather than access the information that is available to us all the time. Fear not, because he will usher in a new era of enlightenment that will take us to new heights of moral and ethical capacity. You’re welcome. This could be THE hot new gimmick of 2012, easily. Sandow is just too good in this role.
Brodus Clay makes his way out for the next match. While Clay’s girls are fun to look at, they’re voices are so obnoxious. I could really do without their introductions every week. As Clay comes out, he cuts the music, telling us his little brother was supposed to be here. Where is he? He asks the girls to go get him. They head to the back to get him, and come back with g*ddamn Hornswoggle. Well, Clay’s gimmick just got ruined.
MATCH 2: Hunico (w/Camacho) vs. Brodus Clay (w/Cameron, Hornswoggle and Naomi)
Hornswoggle does Clay’s dance before the match, and gets pie-faced. Clay runs in and headbutts Hunico before clubbing him in the corner. Clay with a big back body drop before knocking Camacho off the apron. Clay hits the t-bone suplex and the running splash to get the victory.
WINNER: Brodus Clay. After the match, Hornswoggle hits the Tadpole Splash to the delight of 5 year-olds everywhere as older fans contemplate how much a hit on Hornswoggle’s life would cost.
Did You Know? Kit Kat is so popular in Japan, they have created over 80 different flavors of the candy bar.
We see Teddy Long in the back, looking for Teddy Long. He’s confronted by Titus O’Neil and Darren Young. He’s the guy who didn’t sign them to SmackDown! He used to be the man, but now he’s nothing. John Laurinaitis walks up and says they’re here thanks to the new GM. Young says people want new, young talent like themselves, before saying something about “People Power”. I don’t know exactly what was said this whole time, as O’Neil talks like he has a mouthful of marbles. Ace says that, with his role in the company, he often wears a lot of hats, and tonight, he’ll allow Long to do the same thing before he puts a Queen’s Guard hat on him.
Matt Striker is in the back with Randy Orton. Go figure. Striker reminds Orton of what Kane’s been doing to him and his family before we see a video package of said events. Striker asks how Orton’s dad is. Orton says his dad will be fine in time, but he can’t say the same for Kane. Kane has tried to prove he’s the monster he’s always said he was by attacking Bob Orton, Jr. with a pipe. At Extreme Rules, that’s fine, because he’s in a match with Randy, and it’s Falls-Count-Anywhere. Kane will find out how sick. And twisted. He. Can. Be.
MATCH 3: The Usos (Jey and Jimmy) vs. Titus O’Neil and Darren Young
Guess O’Neil and Young are officially out of the purgatory known as NXT. Young starts with a headlock on Jey, followed by a shoulderblock. Jey hits a forearm and tags in Jimmy. Jimmy hits a clothesline. Jimmy slides off a corner whip and hits some chops to the chest. Jey tags back in, and they hit a double back elbow and double elbow drop for 2. Young gets his boot up in the corner off a charge and begins stomping Jey. O’Neil tags in and they hit a double team inverted atomic drop/forearm to the chest. O’Neil begins stomping Jey down, followed by a European uppercut. Young tags back in, hits some kicks to the stomach and a swinging neckbreaker for 2. Young locks in a bodyscissors combined with a chinlock. Jey fights up and hits an uppercut. Jimmy tags in and hits a pair of clotheslines, followed by a mule kick. Jimmy hits a Samoan drop and a hip bump in the corner for 2. O’Neil breaks it up, then low-bridges Jey as he charges in. O’Neil gets the blind tag, and the heels hit a sloppy version of the Doomsday Device for 3.
WINNERS: Titus O’Neil and Darren Young. BTW, I apologize if I got the names of the Usos backwards here. I tried to keep up with who’s who, but the commentators kept switching names on who was in the ring, even when no tags were made, so I started to lose track.
MATCH 4: Alberto Del Rio (w/Ricardo Rodriguez) vs. Intercontinental Champion The Big Show (non-title)
ADR tries to start with a lock-up, but Show just punches him. ADR goes to the leg, and Show throws him off. Show gets him into an adjacent corner and hits an open-hand chop to the chest. ADR crawls to the opposite corner, where Show stands on his chest. He gets ADR back up and hits another chop. Show with a bodyslam and an elbow off the ropes for 2. Show with a gut shot. He misses a clothesline, and ADR takes him down with a chopblock. Jumping stomp to the head by ADR, which he follows up with boots to the head and a double-stomp to the midsection for 2. ADR starts working over the left arm with punches and kicks. ADR gets Show in a version of a keylock, but Show gets to the ropes. ADR continues to work the arm over, going into a keylock. Show manages to shove him off and get back to his feet, where he goes for the chokeslam. ADR slips out and takes the knee out once again. A kick to the back gets 2 for ADR. ADR hits the jumping double-knee armbreaker, and is looking for the jujigatame. Show holds on and manages to throw ADR off with one arm. ADR is back up first, but Show takes him down with a chop to the chest from his knees. A couple of clotheslines, a hip bump and a spear from Show. He signals for the chokeslam once again, but Rodriguez jumps on the ropes to cause a distraction. Behind the referee’s back, Cody Rhodes comes in and hits the Beautiful Disaster, allowing ADR to make the pin.
WINNER: Alberto Del Rio. After the match, Rhodes continues the attack, but Show gets back to his feet, scaring Rhodes out through the crowd.
We see Heath Slater and Drew McIntyre watching a monitor in the back, sarcastically wondering who will win the next match.
MATCH 5: Danny Lerman vs. Ryback
Lerman gives a shout-out to his mom before the match starts. Ryback comes out to a fairly decent pop. Lerman kicks Ryback in the leg. Ryback catches the second kick and trips him down. Ryback grabs him by the ears and begins slamming his head into the mat. Ryback picks him up with ease into a nice fall-away slam, followed by a vicious clothesline. Ryback hits the running fisherman’s suplex, and this one’s over.
WINNER: Ryback. I’d be willing to be Ryback is main eventing by the end of the year.
Brock Lesnar interview video. If Gunner studied hours upon hours of Brock Lesnar hitting the F-5, he still couldn’t get it right.
We see Teddy Long in the back, dressed like a guard outside of John Laurinaitis’ office. William Regal walks up and tries to make him laugh. We then see Aksana walk in with…Antonio Cesaro! Yes! He’s finally here! She claims he is a close friend of hers who is a rugby player and wants to become a WWE superstar. Cesaro said that, when he heard Aksana’s boyfriend had an important job in WWE, this isn’t what he pictured. Aksana said they used to be together, but not anymore. Laurinaitis comes out of his office and introduces himself to Cesaro before welcoming him and Aksana into his office.
Antonio Cesaro is going to be HUGE in this company. Mark my words.
MATCH 6-6-Man Tag Team Match: Daniel Bryan, Mark Henry and Cody Rhodes vs. World Champion Sheamus, Randy Orton and The Great Khali
Rhodes takes Khali out from behind as he’s entering the ring, clipping the knee. The match has yet to officially start. One of the WWE doctors is checking Khali out as more doctors and referees head down to check on him. The guy shouldn’t even be wrestling anymore. He can barely walk. Looks like Khali is already gone from this match as he’s being helped to the back. The Big Show’s music hits, and he makes his way out to ringside. Looks like he’s making himself the new 3rd man.
MATCH 6, PART 2: Daniel Bryan, Mark Henry and Cody Rhodes vs. Sheamus, Randy Orton and The Big Show
Back from the break, the match has started, with Rhodes taking mounted punches from Orton in the corner. Orton hits a clothesline for 2. Rhodes tags in Bryan, who runs right into a hip toss. Orton tags in Sheamus, but Bryan runs back to his corner and tags in Rhodes. The two tie up, and Sheamus backs Rhodes into the corner. Rhodes breaks cleanly and gets Sheamus in a waistlock. Sheamus elbows his way out and punches Rhodes into a corner, where he stomps him down. Sheamus whips Rhodes into the corner. Rhodes tries to avoid the charge, but Sheamus catches him and hits the rolling fireman’s carry slam for 2. Sheamus with an arm wringer into an armbar. Rhodes knees him in the gut and hits the Goldust uppercut. Sheamus comes back with an Irish Hammer and a knee drop for 2. Rhodes goes for a neckbreaker off the ropes, but Sheamus blocks it and throws Rhodes to the apron, where he hits the forearms to the chest with Rhodes tied up in the ropes. Rhodes reverses a suplex back into the ring and hits a dropkick, sending Sheamus to the floor. Rhodes with a baseball slide. Behind the ref’s back, Bryan hits a seated dropkick on Sheamus. Bryan throws Sheamus back into the ring by the apron, where he hits an elbow. Bryan tags in and begins stomping Sheamus down. Henry tags in as Bryan chokes Sheamus with his foot. Henry stands on Sheamus’ chest while holding the top rope. Henry goes for a choke before tagging in Rhodes. Rhodes puts the boots to Sheamus, sending him to the mat in the corner. Rhodes puts Sheamus in a hammerlock/rear chinlock combo. Sheamus picks him up and backs him into a corner, but Rhodes immediately comes back with a dropkick to the knee for 1. Rhodes has Sheamus in a front chancery now, but Sheamus is fighting his way back up. He throws Rhodes off, and Rhodes lands on his feet. He goes for the Beautiful Disaster, but Sheamus takes him down with an Irish Hammer in the process. Orton tags in, hits a pair of clotheslines and a powerslam. The suspended DDT gets hit next, and now he’s looking for the RKO. Bryan tries to run interference, but runs right into a powerslam. Henry comes in next and takes Orton down with a clothesline, allowing Rhodes to get a 2-count. Henry tags back in and stomps Orton as we go to commercials.
Back from the break, Henry has Orton in a neck vice. He takes Orton down with a headbutt before tagging Bryan in, who stomps Orton repeatedly. Corner whip by Bryan, followed by a corner dropkick for 2. Bryan with a bodyslam before going up top, where he misses a headbutt. Henry and Show tag in, where Show dominates with clotheslines and a corner hip bump. Rhodes hits Show in the back with a kick, allowing Henry to come back with a clothesline of his own. Rhodes tags in and begins working on the left arm. Bryan tags in, where he continues to attack the arm with kicks. Henry tags in and takes Show down with a headbutt. Rhodes in once again. He begins attacking Show’s left leg, slapping on a figure-4. Doesn’t have it on very tight, though. Rhodes manages to get a 2-count before tagging in Henry, who hits Show with a splash while Show was still tied up in the hold. Henry gets 2 before tagging Bryan in. Bryan hits a low DDT for 2. Show tags in Sheamus, who hits a pair of Irish Hammers. He clotheslines Bryan in the corner, hits some clubbing blows and a tilt-a-whirl powerslam for 2 as Rhodes breaks it up. Rhodes slides to the floor, where he’s knocked out by the WMD from Show. Bryan tries for the Yes! Lock, but Sheamus blocks it. Bryan ducks a Brogue Kick and tags in Henry. Sheamus takes him out with the Brogue Kick and tags in Henry. Show hits a WMD on Henry, followed by an RKO by Orton for the 3.
Well, I hope my readers enjoyed the first part of my adventure down in Miami, Florida over WrestleMania weekend where I discussed attending the 2012 WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony. Again, I want to say that I was so honored to have attended the event, and met some people. It was a blast. I also attended Ric Flair’s induction ceremony when he went in as a singles wrestler, so to have attended both of his inductions, as well as my beloved Edge’s, is mind blowing.
Well, enough about the Hall of Fame, this second and final part will be dedicated to the WrestleMania PPV event itself, so I hope you will enjoy it, so here we go.
I decided to lay around in my hotel and chill out as I stayed out way late after the Hall of Fame downtown. Miami is a nice city, but I do wish WWE had picked another city besides Miami, as the state of Florida just hosted a WrestleMania four years prior. Yeah, Miami has a lot of hotels, and is a tourist spot, but it is so ultra expensive. Also, when I decided to go to the Sun Life Stadium, I nearly had a coronary when I saw what the price was for parking at the Stadium: FORTY DOLLARS. Good Grief. I never paid that much for anything like that as far as parking. I was sickened to death. When ESPN’s Michael Wilbon of the show, Pardon the Interruption says Sun Life Stadium where the Dolphins play is a “dump,” he was not kidding. Outside of the luxury boxes, this stadium had to be the ugliest stadium I have ever been to. I mean, it was just blech. It was old, and broken down. No wonder Peyton Manning didn’t want to play there. Earth to Stephen Ross: You can spruce up your stadium , you know. I mean, WWE could have picked nicer stadiums like Gillette Stadium, Heinz Field, or even where Super Bowl 46 was just played in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium. Those cities also could have been great hosts for the WrestleMania week events as well.
Anyway, I walked around before going to my seat, and bought Edge’s Hall of Fame shirt. It is really cool. It has all these expressions that have described Edge and there is a grey silhouette of him doing the devil sign. I then went to my seat which was in 106 and it was behind the stage. The ring set up was cool with the Palm tree gimmick, but the Palm trees blocked people’s views.
Lilian Garcia came out and sang “America the Beautiful,” and they did the flyover. In my opinion, the PPV was awesome. The top matches delivered for the most part. The undercard was just that, the undercard. I am so glad that I attended. I originally was going to go to the Hall of Fame only and then go home, but the match that sold me was the Taker/HHH match. It was when they put Shawn Michaels in as the referee and made it the Hell In A Cell Match, that really closed the deal. I was like “I am buying a ticket.” I am so glad I did.
(Matches may be out of order)
The pre-show match was just an entertaining tag match. Too bad Justin Gabriel got hurt though. Fun match though.
1. Daniel Bryan (C) vs Sheaumus for the World Heavyweight Championship
What kind of booking was THAT? Now I am aware they want to put over Sheamus’ broque kick, but I just don’t think that is the way to do it. Of course, if you watched Smackdown, it looks like Bryan is going to get a huge push out of it. When I saw the match, I was annoyed to see Sheamus (who I like a lot) win in 18 seconds just like that. Rating: *
2. Randy Orton vs Kane
I wondered why Randy Orton was in a filler match with Kane instead of being in the World Title picture. I still am wondering. Anyway, chants of “Move the Palm tree” were heard during the match. The match was pretty decent for Kane. I am surprised that Randy lost. Again, the show was on his birthday (April 1) ,so that could explain it. Rating: **
3. Big Show vs Cody Rhodes for the Intercontinental Title
Here I am waiting for an Intercontinental Title match on Mania for ages, and this is what I get. The match was just passable. Cody did the best he could with the Big Show. I mean, they could not get a better opponent for Cody to drop the IC title to other than the Big Show? I mean, let’s get real here. The Big Show does not need a title. I am sure they could have done the match with R Truth, or some other face. I was not expecting the second coming of Macho Man vs Rickie the Dragon Steamboat at Mania 3 or anything, but WWE could have come up with something better than Show. It was a fun match though. Rating: **
Throughout the PPV, they had some backstage skits. One of them had Foley and Santino doing a “World’s Deadliest Catch” skit where Hall of Famer Ron Simmons came in and did “DAMN.” They did the announcement of how many people attended, and announced that the next WrestleMania was going to be at the New Meadowlands Stadium on April 7, 2013.
4. Diva Tag Team Match: Beth Phoenix/Eve Marie Torres vs Kelly Kelly/Maria Menounous
It was a fun Diva match. Maria did not take many bumps due to her broken ribs suffered from “Dancing with the Stars,” but the Divas did a pretty good job. The crowd saw that the stagehands were setting up for the Hell In The Cell Match, so during the Diva match, they chanted “Let’s go Stage hands.” Well, I am sorry, but I thought that was rude. Those women in that ring bust their rear ends much like the men, and in my opinion, deserve the same respect. It is bad enough that WWE uses them poorly as it is, especially Phoenix and Natalya, who can actually wrestle a match. The baby faces won, of course. Rating: **
5. End of an Era: Hell in a Cell between the Undertaker and Triple H with HBK as referee
This had to be one of the best matches I have ever seen in person. Great HIAC match as well. Great ring work by both HHH and Taker, but what was even better was the storytelling. At first, HBK was pretty neutral, even at times wanting to stop the match because it looked like Undertaker could not continue. However, HBK was showing partiality towards Hunter. From Hunter’s defiance, to HBK’s facials, to Taker’s constant punishment of HHH, this match was phenomenal. There was even a little color (cut above HHH’s eye). The coup de grace was Taker, HHH, and HBK all walking off, and doing that group hug at the top of a ramp. It certainly was an “end of an era.” Rating: *****
6. General Manager Match : Team Johnnie vs Team Teddy. Winner runs both shows
This was just a filler match that I honestly thought did not belong on the show. I mean, I care about the wrestlers, not non wrestling characters. Last year, as a fan, I put up with feuding announcers. I didn’t care about feuding announcers. I don’t care about Michael Cole putting himself over. This year, I don’t care who runs SD or Raw or whatever. I am guessing this was a way of getting guys on the PPV. Too bad Christian who was supposed to be on Team Johnnie, had to be replaced due to injury. Anyway, the match was something that could have been on Raw or SD. You had Team Teddie screwed over by Eve when she pretended to be supporting Zach doing that Woo chant causing the distraction, and Miz hit Ryder with the Skull Crushing Finale for the win for Team Johnnie. Eve then kicks Ryder in the balls. Sorry, that belongs on TV. Rating 1/2 *
They brought out the Hall of Fame Class of 2012. Everyone got a good sized pop, especially Mike Tyson for some reason. Edge came out to his own music, and did his devil horns sign, and was fighting back tears.
Backstage, a jubliant Johnnie Ace tells Punk that if he (Punk) gets DQ’d, Jericho get’s the Title.
7. Punk (C) vs Jericho for the WWE Title
This was an awesome match. It started a little slow for me, but once it got going, I just loved it. Jericho is such a wonderful heel, by trying to get Punk to snap and get DQ’d. Punk and Jericho did a great job with the holds and counter holds. I figured they would have a great match together, and they didn’t disappoint. Rating: **** 1/2
The Funkasaurus comes out, and has his momma , and her bridge club do a whole dance routine. That was fun, actually. There was a backstage segment with Heath Slater and Flo Rida which saw Slater being beat up. MKG came out and played Cena to the ring, and Flo RIda came out and performed a song for the Rock.
8. Once In A Lifetime: The Rock vs John Cena
Well, it wasn’t a catch as catch can (as Jim Ross would say) type of a match, but I really enjoyed it. When Rock was on the offense, the match was awesome. When Cena was on offense, though, the match was just alright. The Rock is a great seller, but Cena’s offense seemed off, in the very beginning. Once the match got going, everything was fine. There was a lot of heat, obviously, and all the chants came out from the fans. I know in my predictions column, I said we were going to have Cena win (zzzzzzzzzzzzz). However, as the match continued, I started to think that Rock was going to win. What clued me in was late in the match, I noticed Cena acting heelish. I saw him trying to win by short cuts, and things. It was near the end when Cena attempted the Rock’s patented People’s Elbow that I thought Cena was about to lose, and lose he did. I was shocked, and happy. Excellent Match Rating: ***1/2
I honestly had NO problem with the Rock winning. Yeah, I have heard comparisons to David Arquette winning, and how Cena is a WWE talent and should have gone over. Well, here is what I have to say to that. I have no problem with Rock winning because I think it would be more interesting to see what happens to the Cena character now that he has lost. I think you get more of a storyline out of Cena down the road with his losing than if he won. I mean, I remember during the buildup how Cena kept saying how he HAD to win, and such. Well, let’s see what he does now, and he has Brock Lesnar to deal with on top of dealing with his loss to the Rock. I mean, seriously, it is very easy to have Cena win. Cena beats Rock…..well, where do you go from there? Anyone can book that ending. As for the comparisons to David Arquette, now really, contrary to popular myth, The Rock busted his rear to make it in the wrestling business also…just like those who came before him. To compare him to Arquette is just ridiculous.
Well, that is the end of my experience at Mania 28. I hope to make it at Mania 29.
Welcome to the 4-6-12 edition of WWE Friday Night Smackdown! Wrestlemania 28 is in the books, and overall, the show was pretty enjoyable. Punk/Jericho was far and away the match of the night, the HIAC match, as much as I hate to admit it, was relatively enjoyable (albeit wrestled at a snail’s pace), and Rock/Cena was probably far better than it had any right to be. I know a lot of people are upset about Bryan/Sheamus, and admittedly, I was at first, too.
However, not only did I find out that the match was so short in order to break the record for shortest ‘Mania match (it failed by 11 seconds) and was not a punishment to Bryan, but I get the feeling that this will lead to something big for Daniel Bryan down the road. Not only is he clearly one of the most over personalities in the entire company, but he has fans in all the right places within the company (hint: his name rhymes with Vince McMahon). So, for everyone complaining Bryan got screwed and it’s over for him, I say take some of your own advice that you always give WWE and that is have some patience and see how things pan out before you jump to conclusions.
I’d also like to send out my best wishes to the family and friends of Chief Jay Strongbow, who passed away earlier this week.
In the arena, we are “treated” to David Otunga, coffee mug in hand. He gives a formal introduction to the new GM of both RAW and Smackdown!, John Laurinaitis. Ace makes his way out, and he now has an entrance theme. Granted, it’s pretty terrible, but at least he’s got one. Ace and Otunga make their way down to the ring, where Otunga hands the mic over. Ace welcomes us all to SD. He’s sure everyone is excited for his first installment of SD as general manager, and the show will now have everything it’s been lacking in the past. Ace won’t abuse his newfound power, and instead will use it for the WWE Universe. This is a new era, an era of “people power”. In this transition, he hopes that Teddy Long will maintain his class and professionalism. He calls Long out, in order to thank him for his years of loyal service.
Teddy Long makes his way out now, with a somber look on his face. Big “Teddy” chant in the crowd. Ace knows the last few days have been tough, but…Teddy interrupts him. He says that being out of a job has a benefit-it gives him the freedom to tell Ace to go to hell. Long didn’t come out here to whine and complain about Wrestlemania, as what’s done is done. Everyone in the back told him he’d have to be crazy to show up tonight, and even crazier to come out to the ring. The fact is, he could not walk away from this show, the greatest job he’s ever had, without thanking everyone who made it happen, namely the WWE Universe. He hopes everyone had fun watching the show like he did being the GM. He asks for a “holla, holla, holla” from the crowd, which responds in kind. He starts to leave, but Ace calls him back into the ring. He’s not finished with what he has to say. Ace would like Long to take a job in his new administration. Long says he does need a job, but not working for Ace. He can take the job and shove it. Ace knows Long is a proud man, but he’s forgetting one thing, and it has to do with Long’s grandchildren and their college education. Otunga grabs the mic and says that, several years ago, the WWE Board of Directors established a college fund for Long’s grandchildren. Technically, that fund is controlled by the GM. Ace says he didn’t want to address this in front of everyone, but he suggests Long takes the job in order to keep the fund safe. Long goes to shake Ace’s hand to accept, but Ace takes his hand back. He tells Long that he needs to tell the WWE Universe that Ace is better than him. If he does that, the fund is safe. What’s it going to be-his pride, or his grandchildren’s college education? Long begrudgingly tells everyone Ace is better than him. Ace says it’s the best decision Long has made his entire life, and he suggests Long go back and start his new job. Long doesn’t know what his new job is, and Ace hasn’t quite figured it out, but there’s a lot of stuff he’s sure needs to be done, so head to the back. As Long heads to the back, Ace announces Kane will face Randy Orton in a No DQ Match. He also pits R-Truth vs. David Otunga and Mark Henry in a Handicap Match. Mark Henry makes his way out, so I guess this match will be on first.
MATCH 1-2-on-1 Handicap Match: Mark Henry and David Otunga vs. R-Truth
Sad. Just 4 months ago, Henry was one of the most dominant champions we’ve seen in quite some time. Now, he’s curtain jerking with David Otunga. Otunga starts off. He trades blows with Truth. Truth backflips out of a corner whip and hits a jumping side kick for 2. Uppercut by Truth, followed by the Lie Detector for another 2. Henry tags in now. Truth hits a few blows, but runs right into a big boot off the ropes. We see Abraham Washington looking on in the back. Henry corner whips Truth, but misses an avalanche. Truth tries another side kick, but Henry catches him and hits the World’s Strongest Slam. He goes for the pin, but Otunga begs to tag in. Henry does, and Otunga easily gets the pin.
WINNERS: Mark Henry and David Otunga. Otunga begins posing, and Henry doesn’t look too happy.
All of a sudden, Kane’s music hits. Guess we’re going right into the next match, as Josh Mathews says it will happen after the break.
This Tuesday night, we’ll have “Blast From the Past” Smackdown!, which from what I’ve read will be like the “Old School RAW” we had a while ago. Honestly, I’m looking forward to it.
MATCH 2-No Disqualification Match: Kane vs. Randy Orton
Was pleasantly surprised Orton lost cleanly at ‘Mania. Not sure it will happen again tonight. Orton starts off with some punches. Kane hits a few of his own, followed by a knee and an uppercut. Kane clotheslines Orton over the top rope and follows out. Orton catches him with a boot and a punch before slamming him into the barricade. Kane comes back with a gut shot before throwing Orton on the announce desk. Another gut shot by Kane. He tries to slam Orton into the steps, but Orton blocks and throws Kane over the desk. Orton fires off some more punches. He tries for the slam into the steps, but Kane blocks and manages to slam Orton into them. Another uppercut by Kane before he throws Orton head-first into the steps yet again. Kane and Orton begin brawling up the entrance ramp, with Kane getting the best of it after an uppercut. He slams Orton head-first into the stage before rolling him up onto it. Orton gets to his feet and fires off some punches, trying to knock Kane off. Kane grabs Orton by the throat and goes for the chokeslam, but Orton blocks with some punches. He tries for the RKO, but Kane pushes him off before catching him with a DDT on the stage. Commercials.
Back from the break, both guys are back in the ring. Orton is laying down in the corner as Kane goes to another corner and pulls off the top turnbuckle pad. Kane tries to throw Orton into it, but Orton blocks and fires off some punches. He tries to whip Kane, but Kane reverses and hits a corner clothesline for 2. Kane hits a few punches to the jaw before hitting a snapmare and a low dropkick for 2. Kane goes up top for the non-flying clothesline, but Orton crotches him, causing Kane to fall back into the ring. Orton hits a pair of clotheslines, but Kane is still standing. He goes down off a dropkick. Orton follows up with a powerslam. Kane rolls to the apron, where Orton tries to set up the suspended DDT. Kane blocks it and manages to hotshot Orton’s left arm. Kane drags Orton to the floor. Orton blocks a whip, hits a European uppercut, then whips Kane into the barricade by the timekeeper’s table before clotheslining him over it. Orton tries for the suspended DDT again, but Kane blocks it and picks Orton up for a powerslam. Orton slides out and shoves Kane into the post, but Kane counters with a big boot. He begins grabbing chairs and throwing them in the ring. Kane throws Orton back in the ring before grabbing another chair. Orton kicks Kane as he gets back in the ring, then grabs a chair and begins ramming it into Kane’s shoulder. Orton dropps the chair before finally landing the suspended DDT on said chair. Orton covers, but only gets 2. Orton’s got a little trickle of blood on his head. He tries for the RKO, but Kane shoves him off, grabs a chair and rams it into Orton’s ribs. He then hits Orton across the back with the chair several times, but still can only get 2. Kane grabs another chair before throwing it back down. He sets up for the chokeslam, but Orton slides out and shoves Kane into the exposed turnbuckle. Orton quickly hits the RKO and gets the 3. Can I call it or what?
WINNER: Randy Orton. Is it just me, or has Kane been really unimpressive since returning?
Lillian Garcia begins announcing the participants for the next match, with one of them, some guy named Barry Stevens, already in the ring. Before the match can start, Stevens gets on the microphone. Before he starts talking, we see a bunch of SD stars, including Hunico, Rosa Mendes and the Usos, watching this on a monitor and laughing. Stevens said he heard this was the happiest place on Earth, but these people in the crowd are the rudest people on Earth. His opponent finally comes out, and it’s the former Skip Sheffield, returning from injury, now known as Ryback.
MATCH 3: Barry Stevens vs. Ryback
Surprisingly, the commentators acknowledge exactly who he is. Ryback immediately backs Stevens into a corner and beats him down. Stevens gets back up, eats a corner clothesline and a hip toss. Ryback picks him up again in a gorilla press and turns it into an over-the-shoulder powerslam. He then hits a running fisherman’s suplex and gets the 3.
WINNER: Ryback. Good to see him back. If this is how he’s going to get booked in the future, I see big things for him. Fans seemed into him, too, which is a good sign.
Daniel Bryan and AJ make their way out. HUGE “Yes! Yes! Yes!” chant immediately follows. As the music dies down, the chant is even louder. Bryan says that, if there was one positive thing to happen this week, he had a chance to think about how everything was going so right, but then went so wrong. Then, it hit him-the moment it all went off the tracks. The truth is…AJ takes the microphone and tells Bryan he is a great wrestler, a great person, and she’s not the only one that thinks that. The chants continue. AJ tells him to listen to the people in the crowd, and remember the chants he got at ‘Mania, and at RAW, when he wasn’t even in the ring. Big “Daniel Bryan” chant now starts. Tell me the guy isn’t over. I dare you. AJ says everyone is here now to support him. Bryan takes the mic back. “Support me? These people are supporting me?” Even more chants. You know, it’s funny, because it kind of feels like they’re mocking him. If they were supporting him, they wouldn’t have chanted “Yes!” for the Rock. These people are mocking him, and even if they mean it, all of the chants from these sheep, they don’t make it up for the fact that AJ cost him the championship. 18 seconds AJ, 18 seconds! He defeated two giants in a cage at the Rumble. He overcame five guys at the Elimination Chamber, and in 18 seconds, it was all flushed down the toilet! All because she had to have that kiss. AJ said that kiss was his good luck charm; that was the kiss of death. AJ tries to explain, but Bryan says she can’t rewrite this story and make him the bad guy. This is her fault. He had everything going for him. His first Wrestlemania, he walked in as World Champion. He dreamed about that since being a kid, and she ruined it for him. She just had to steal the spotlight. Her unbelievable selfishness and clinginess cost him what should have been the greatest night of his life. Bryan hopes she is happy with herself, because he’s not letting her ruin his life like that ever again. Bryan then tells us he has a rematch clause, and when he gets his match, he’s doing it the right way-by himself. So go. Get in your gas-guzzling SUV. Go sit in the parking lot and guzzle the cheeseburgers you love so much, because Bryan is ready to get rid of the dead weight. He’s not talking to her backstage or anywhere. He hopes the kiss was worth it, because it’s the last one he’ll ever get from her. We are through. Now get out of Bryan’s ring. Bryan then yells at AJ before turning his back to her. After a few moments, AJ finally obliges and leaves the ring as the camera looks on at Bryan’s somber face.
Now, THAT is how you book an interview segment. Bryan was so on his game right here.
Cody Rhodes is joining in on commentary for the next match.
MATCH 4: Intercontinental Champion The Big Show vs. Heath Slater (non-title)
Before the match, we see some stills of Show knocking Rhodes at ‘Mania. Match starts, and Show immediately backs Slater into the corner. Show fires off a bunch of gut shots and a headbutt. Slater gets into the opposite corner, where he takes an open-hand chop to the chest. Slater gets his feet up on a corner charge and a dropkick to the knee, but runs right into another chop. Show levels Slater with a version of the Pounce. Chokeslam, pin.
WINNER: The Big Show. After the match, Show challenges Rhodes to get in the ring. Rhodes starts to climb the stairs and get in the ring, but jumps back down the second Show charges him. Show picks Slater up and hits him with the WMD. Rhodes tries to slide in the ring from behind, but Show sees him, causing Rhodes to immediately slide back out.
We see footage from last Monday, where Chris Jericho dumped a bunch of “booze” on CM Punk’s head before prematurely shattering a second bottle on Punk’s head. Michael Cole informs us Punk suffered some contusions to the back of his skull as a result of the bottle shot.
We see the Bella Twins talking to John Laurinaitis in his office. The Bellas are bitching about something. Sheamus walks in. Ace says that, now that he’s in charge, he wants to see good sportsmanship, reminding Sheamus of his kicks to both Daniel Bryan and Alberto Del Rio earlier this week. He expects more from his champion, and that’s why tonight, in Sheamus’ match with ADR, he’s instructed the referee to bring both men face-to-face before it starts. Sheamus says Ace is right, and from now, the only ones who are going to suffer a kick are the ones that deserve it. Whether that’s a little weasel who hides behind his girlfriend, an arrogant rich boy, or his cousin, who bullied everyone in town because he was in charge of the local mill. The funny thing about the cousin though, all the power in the world didn’t do him any good, and the townspeople turned against him, eventually wanting to see how far they could shove his head up his own arse.
You Think You Know Me: The Story of Edge looks pretty decent. Maybe I’ll get to do a review for the site. I love how, in this commercial, they made sure to show a clip of Edge taking Mr. Kennedy out for the MITB briefcase. What WWE saw in Kennedy/Anderson, I’ll never know, but at least they had the good sense to fire his injury-prone loudmouth ass before he could do too much damage.
MATCH 5: WWE Divas Champion Beth Phoenix vs. Nikki Bella
Bella comes out sans-sister. For whatever reason, Kelly Kelly comes as well. Match starts, and Phoenix immediately hits a clothesline before kicking Bella a few times. Phoenix with a knee choke and a corner whip, followed by some kicks and punches in the corner. Kelly tries to distract Phoenix. Phoenix charges in the corner, but Bella slides out of the way. She hits a sit-out facebuster and gets the 3. What. The. Hell.
WINNER: Nikki Bella. There are a lot of things about WWE that I like. Their booking of the Divas division is not one of them.
We get a tribute video for Chief Jay Strongbow. Very classy video, as always.
After the commercials, we are introduced to Damien Sandow. Sandow talks about entertainment, saying it’s at an all-time low in today’s society, discussing pop culture compared to authors like Shakespeare. We are a people of laziness, mediocrity and complacency. Blame us for the ignorance? That is something that he’ll never do. Save us from the ignorance? That is his true calling. You’re welcome. Interesting promo, but very well done. If you don’t know about Damien Sandow, you should definitely look him up, as he’s pretty awesome. If he looks at all familiar, you might remember him from his first run as one-half of The Teacher’s Pets, wrestling as Idol Stevens. Much like Ryback, I expect some big things from him this time around.
RAW Rebound time, which saw the return of Brock Lesnar. While I was really unhappy with how Lesnar left WWE the first time, my opinion on his return is that, as long as he keeps his attitude and his mouth in check, I have no beef with him being here. He’s still very young (only about 34), and can still contribute a lot to the business. I may not like his attitude, but I was always a fan of his in-ring work during his first run. If he can wrestle like that again, I’m a happy guy.
The cast of The Three Stooges is hosting RAW on Monday. Go to hell.
MATCH 6: Alberto Del Rio (w/Ricardo Rodriguez) vs. World Champion Sheamus (non-title)
Glad to see all these guys like Ryback and ADR coming back from injury. These returns are just adding more depth to the roster, which is never a bad thing. Considering how stacked the roster is right now, as well as the loads of talent in FCW who will likely make their debut in the next few months, and 2012 is looking to be a good year for WWE. On another note, can someone explain to me why the World title belt seemingly gets so worn out so fast? It seems like they go through a ridiculous number of belts for that title, compared to the other championships in the company. Anyway, Sheamus starts the match with a lock up, right into a hip throw/side headlock combo. Sheamus knocks ADR down with a pair of shoulder blocks for 2. ADR fights out of an arm wringer and kicks Sheamus down. He backs Sheamus into the corner and hits a forearm, but Sheamus gets his knees up on a charge. Sheamus goes up top for the Battering Ram, but ADR sees it coming. Sheamus lands on his feet, though, and manages to pick ADR up in a rolling fireman’s carry slam for 2. ADR rolls to the apron and manages to hotshot Sheamus’ arm. He gets back in the ring, puts Sheamus in an arm wringer, then lands some blows to the arm. Sheamus fights back with some punches and a knee lift, but ADR comes back with some headbutts. ADR looks for the rolling jujigatame, but Sheamus slips out. He tries for the Brogue Kick, but ADR sees it coming and slides to the floor before contact as we go to commercials.
Back from the break, Sheamus lands the slingshot shoulderblock for 2. After some fighting by ADR, Sheamus manages to tie him in the ropes for the forearm shots to the chest. Sheamus charges, but ADR manages to low bridge him and send him to the floor. As Sheamus climbs back in, ADR hits a nice step-up enziguri, sending him back down. ADR heads to the floor, where he slams Sheamus’ bad arm into the steps before throwing him shoulder-first into them. ADR rolls Sheamus back in the ring and goes for the pin, but only gets 2. ADR gets Sheamus in a top wristlock. Sheamus fights back to his feet and goes for a neckbreaker, but ADR kicks him down, lands a blow on the bad arm and nails a low dropkick for 2. ADR goes back to the arm with an armbar. Sheamus once again fights out. ADR lands a kick off the ropes and charges in, but Sheamus catches him with the Irish Curse. Sheamus is back up and hits a trio of Irish Hammers. Corner clothesline by Sheamus, followed by a tilt-a-whirl powerslam. For anyone who says Sheamus can’t work and is only where he is because of his friendship with Triple H, bite me. Just saying. Rodriguez gets up on the ropes to cause a distraction, but Sheamus just kicks the ropes, causing Rodriguez to fly helplessly into the ring. Good bump there. ADR goes to capitalize off the distraction with a chair, but Sheamus sees him coming and lands another Irish Hammer. Sheamus grabs the chair, and the referee turns around to see Sheamus holding it. The referee thinks Sheamus clocked ADR with it, which results in a disqualification.
WINNER VIA DISQUALIFICATION: Alberto Del Rio. As we learned on RAW, this now means ADR gets a future title match. Sheamus, pissed about the loss, levels the referee with a Brogue Kick.
End of show.
Good episode tonight. Main event was great, awesome interview by Daniel Bryan, and we got the debuts of two new potentially major talents.