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.
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.
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.
End of show.
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