Welcome to the first WWE Friday Night SmackDown! of 2013. We’re in Richmond, VA, and the show is opening with the returning Randy Orton. I had forgotten he was even gone. Those were good times. Since tonight is the first SD! of ’13, and since it seems to be the “in” thing to do to declare your resolutions, he’s going to make this short and sweet: he wants to be World Heavyweight Champion. SD! was his show, but lately that doesn’t seem to be the case. He’s got a way to change that. Tonight, he officially announces his entry into the 2013 Royal Rumble. On this note, Sheamus’ music hits, and he joins Orton in the ring. He apologizes for interrupting, fella. He’s not here to steal any thunder; he’s here to do the same thing as Orton. He also wants to be champ, so he’s declaring that he will also enter the Royal Rumble. That’s not the only reason he’s out here. He thanks Orton for helping him out with The Shield on Monday. Orton didn’t do it for him; he did it for himself. At the Rumble, it will be about Orton, not Sheamus. Sheamus knows how the Rumble works, as he won it last year. Orton remembers, and that’s why it’ll be special when he eliminates Sheamus. Sheamus asks if he Brogue Kicks his head over the ropes and Orton’s body stays in the ring, does that count as an elimination?
Smackdown! GM Booker T now joins Cesaro and Show on the stage. It’s obvious to him that these four don’t like each other, but tonight, they’ll need to get along, because Show is teaming with Cesaro against Sheamus and Orton. Tonight, we’re going to kick the new year off with a bang. Now, can you dig that, sucka?
Later tonight, IC Champion defends his title against former champion Kofi Kingston.
MATCH 1: The Miz vs. Heath Slater (w/Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal)
JBL calls 3MB “The air guitar version of the Spirit Squad”. Great line. Lock-up to start, and Slater immediately goes into a waistlock. Miz breaks it with an arm wringer into a hammerlock. Slater elbows out before running into a dropkick. Miz takes Slater down with a hip throw into a side headlock. Slater breaks free, so Miz hits another one. Slater gets a corner break and fires off some rights. Miz comes back with lefts, hits a hip toss and another hip throw. Slater counters into a side headlock, so Miz yanks him down by the hair. Mahal causes a distraction, so the ref orders him to get down. Miz thumbs Slater in the eye behind the ref’s back, then hits another hip throw. Miz hits a shoulder off the ropes, and Slater goes for a hip toss off the crisscross, but Miz blocks it and hits his own. Miz drops Slater with a running knee, so McIntyre trips him up. Miz dropkicks him through the ropes, knocking him down. He also knocks Mahal off the apron with a left hand. Slater uses the distraction to land a forearm to Miz’s face. Meanwhile, the ref ejects both Mahal and McIntyre. Miz rolls Slater up in a schoolboy for 2. Slater rolls to the floor as we go to commercials.
Back from the break, Slater is in control with rights in the corner. He boots Miz down before Miz comes back with a double-leg takedown and mounted punches. Slater avoids a punch off the ropes and rolls to the floor. Miz goes out and shoves him into the post. He drops Slater across the barricade before the match returns to the ring. Slater kicks Miz in the leg, then sends him shoulder-first into the post. Slater begins dropping elbows on the left arm, then forces Miz into the mat with a hammerlock. Miz fights out, but Slater snaps him to the mat with an arm wringer for 2. Slater applies a keylock, but Miz escapes and rolls Slater up with a sunset flip for 2. Slater pops up and hits a nice jumping side kick for 2. Miz rolls to the apron, where Slater hotshots his arm across the middle rope. Miz slides under the legs and pulls Slater down into another sunset flip for 2, but Slater is up quickly and lands a clothesline for 2. Miz comes back with a kitchen sink and follows up with a low running boot for 2. Slater sends Miz back to the corner, shoulder-first, then knee-chokes him. Slater goes to the outside and wraps Miz’s arm against the ring post before going back to the keylock in the ring. Miz breaks the hold with a back suplex. They trade punches from the knees, but Miz gets the best of it. He lands a back elbow and a clothesline, followed by a back body drop. Slater counters the Reality Check and hits a neckbreaker out of the corner for 2. Miz sidesteps a charge and hits the hanging clothesline. Up top, double axe handle connects. Miz calls for the SKF, hits it, and gets the 3.
WINNER: The Miz. Considering the two in this match, it was actually pretty good.
Matt Striker is standing by with new IC Champion Wade Barrett. Barrett cuts Striker off and says it’s simple: Wade Barrett is the new IC Champion. That’s not good enough for media-types, because they need a scandal to tear him down, just like everyone else. If Striker wants a scandal, look at Main Event when Kofi attacked him from behind after he defeated 3 superstars. Tonight, he beats Kofi again, and after that, he’s out of chances. Do what you want, because after tonight, Barrett walks away IC Champion.
MATCH 2-6-Person Tag Team Match: The Great Khali, Hornswoggle and Natalya vs. Epico, Rosa Mendes and Primo
Sorry, Eric, but I’m standing by my refusal to recap Hornswoggle matches. Khali is starting to develop a nice spare tire, BTW. Khali pins Epico following a brain chop.
WINNERS: The Great Khali, Hornswoggle and Natalya.
Striker is in the back with Kofi Kingston. He reminds Kofi of his title loss and pinning Barrett in a gauntlet match on Main Event. He asks about Kofi’s momentum. Kofi says it has nothing to do with that. This might be his last shot at the IC title, but this isn’t anything new. He always comes up fighting, and tonight will be no different as he becomes champion once again. Barrett can say he’s running out of option, but Barrett will be running into Trouble in Paradise.
Kofi Kingston video package.
MATCH 3-Intercontinental Championship: Kofi Kingston vs. Wade Barrett (Champion)
Lock-up, and Kofi backs Barrett into the corner. Clean break is given, and Kofi goes into a waste lock. Barrett rolls him off, and Kofi counters into a headscissors. Back up, Barrett boots Kofi in the gut, then begin punching him. Kofi comes back with some kicks, then turns an armbar into a pin for 1. Kofi holds on, so Barrett shoves him off and shoulders him off the ropes. Crisscross ends in a Kofi spinning back elbow. Kofi sends Barrett to the floor, then follows out and attacks from behind, slamming Barrett into the steps. Back in, Kofi hits a springboard clothesline for 2. Kofi applies an inverted chinlock, then turns it into an armbar. Barrett fights him off before sending Kofi hard into the corner. Barrett hits some punches to the ribs, then drops Kofi with a short-arm clothesline for 1. Barrett applies a rear chinlock, but Kofi fights out and rolls Barrett up with a backslide for 2. Sunset flip by Kofi for 2, followed by an inside cradle for 2. Barrett boots him in the gut and goes for a clothesline to the floor, but Kofi low bridges him. Kofi levels him with a slingshot plancha. Barrett fires back and throws Kofi into the ring. Barrett starts to get back in the ring, but decides to take the count-out. Kofi interrupts the count and kicks Barrett in the gut. Kofi throws Barrett in at 9 while simultaneously rolling himself in. He ducks a clothesline and gets a nice roll-up on Barrett for 2. Commercials.
We’re back, and Barrett drops Kofi before applying a rear chinlock. Kofi fights out, but Barrett kitchen sinks him, then hits a middle rope elbow for 2. Barrett ties Kofi up in the ropes for some knee strikes, then drops him to the floor with a running boot. Kofi makes it back in at 9, and Barrett cuts him off with a boot and some punches. He drops Kofi across the top buckle, setting up for a superplex. Kofi blocks and knocks him down with a headbutt. Pumping cross-body by Kofi gets 2. Barrett is up first, and he fires off some punches. They trade blows until Barrett throws Kofi to the corner. Kofi hits the Pendulum, but misses a springboard clothesline. He blocks the mule kick and ducks a clothesline, hitting the SOS for 2. Kofi with a running boot, and the Boom Drop connects. Kofi calls for TIP, but Barrett ducks and goes for the Winds of Change. Kofi counters into a sunset flip, getting 2. Barrett immediately stacks Kofi up, getting 2 himself. He hits the Winds of Change on the second try, getting another 2. Kofi ducks a clothesline and hits TIP, but Barrett falls out to the floor before Kofi can make the pin. Kofi rolls him back in for the pin, but Barrett gets a rope break on 2. Kofi props him in the counter, where Barrett boots him off a charge. He calls for the Bull Hammer, but Kofi ducks and goes to the second rope. He dives off, right into the Bull Hammer for 3.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: Wade Barrett. Awesome match. I love it when these two wrestle. And damn, did Barrett nail Kofi in the face. Doesn’t hurt that Kofi sold the living piss out of it, either. I like the Bull Hammer as a finisher more than I thought I would.
MATCH 4: Layla vs. Tamina Snuka
Glad to see Tamina finally getting somewhat of a push. Lock-up ends in a clean break on the ropes. Tamina stares Layla down before shoving her to the floor through the ropes. Outside, Tamina rams Layla into the barricade before throwing her back in the ring. Layla rolls her up for 2, but Tamina is back up and hits a clothesline for 2. Tamina applies a rear chinlock as Layla needlessly does the splits. Tamina hits some forearms to the chest for 2. Layla gets up and hits some kicks, and hits a horrible dropkick to the side. Roundhouse connects before Layla goes for the LOL (Lots of Layla. Yes, that is really the move, and yes, that’s what it really stands for. Ugh.), but Tamina catches her, throws her on her shoulders and hits a Samoan drop. Up top, Tamina connects with the Superfly Splash for 3.
WINNER: Tamina Snuka.
We find out that, on this past Wednesday night on Main Event, WWE Champion CM Punk was announced as being cleared to wrestle, which means he will defend his title this Monday night against Ryback in a TLC Match. Also on Monday night, The Rock makes his return to build to his match with Punk at the Royal Rumble. Yes, Punk will be retaining Monday night.
MATCH 5: World Champion The Big Show and WWE United States Champion Antonio Cesaro vs. Randy Orton and Sheamus
Funny that Show is the main champion of the show, but is the first one out. Cesaro and Sheamus start the match with a lock-up, with Cesaro turning it into a side headlock. Sheamus shoves him off, and Cesaro shoulders Sheamus down. Sheamus with a side headlock now, and he does the shoulder off the ropes this time. Orton tags in, and he hits a European uppercut and a slingshot suplex for 2. Orton punches Cesaro in the corner, but Cesaro turns things around and stomps Orton down. Orton comes back out of the opposite corner with a clothesline before tagging in Sheamus. Sheamus beats Cesaro down in the corner, but Cesaro elbows out off a corner charge, then hits a clothesline. Sheamus comes back with rights and a shoulderblock. Orton back in, and he hits some corner punches. European uppercut by Orton, and Sheamus tags back in. Cesaro blocks a suplex with some kneelifts before tagging in Show. Show headbutts Sheamus down, then fires off some body blows. He goes after Orton, but Orton jumps to the floor. Sheamus comes back with a boot to the gut and a kneelift, and the faces clothesline Show to the floor. Commercials.
WINNERS: Randy Orton and Sheamus.
End of show.
Great IC title match tonight, nice continued push for Tamina, and it was good seeing Cesaro in the main event, who didn’t look out of place at all. Rumor has it WWE Creative is big on Cesaro and he will be a bona fide main eventer by the end of the year, so hopefully, this was a sign of things to come.
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