Welcome to the 3-30-12 edition of Friday Night Smackdown!, and the final show before this weekend’s big Wrestlemania event. Honestly, despite what some are saying, I think this year’s installment has the potential to be a really good show. Both title matches are looking great, the IC title match has a good story to it, and Rock/Cena match has the potential to surprise some people. Generally, as much as I dislike John Cena, he can deliver when put in the ring with the right opponents (look to last year’s feud with CM Punk), and the Rock has proven he’s still got “it” despite a near 8-year absence from the ring. I don’t think it will be my favorite match on the show (I have a feeling Bryan/Sheamus will take that spot), but I think it’s going to be surprisingly good.
[adinserter block=”2″]As for the HHH/Taker Hell in a Cell match, I could give a damn less. Sorry, but the Cell gimmick is doing nothing for me here. I didn’t want to see this match last year when it happened (which I hated, BTW. Sorry, Justin, but it’s true), and I don’t want to see it again this year. I’m sure plenty will disagree with me, and that’s fine, but it still won’t change the fact that I am really, really not interested in HHH/Taker Part III.
Already, we’re off to a good start as Zack Ryder makes his way out for the opening match.
MATCH 1: Zack Ryder vs. Drew McIntyre
Commentators for the evening are Josh Mathews and Matt Striker, as both Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler are in Miami for Axxess. We get a cut-away promo with Ryder, who is beaming about Eve, saying she will help lead Team Teddy to victory at ‘Mania. The two lock up, with McIntyre getting the better of it and throwing Ryder to the mat. Another lock up, with Ryder going into a waistlock. McIntyre breaks free but runs into a Mexican Armdrag and a roll-up for 2. Test of strength, but McIntyre suckers Ryder in with a kick to the gut and a kick to the back. Headbutt by McIntyre, but Ryder comes back with a dropkick and a flapjack after a criss-cross sequence. Ryder goes to the corner for mounted punches. He charges in, but Ryder catches a nice kick to the face from McIntyre. Suplex by McIntyre gets 2, and now McIntyre has an armbar locked in. Ryder fights out with forearms, but McIntyre counters with a tilt-a-whirl ribbreaker for 2. Can’t recall ever seeing that one before. McIntyre backs Ryder into the corner and stomps him down before stomping the face. Ryder goes back to the armbar/chinlock combo. Ryder gets back up and hits more forearms, but McIntyre counters with knees to the gut. After a corner boot, McIntyre mounts the middle rope. He dives off, but catches a foot from Ryder. Ryder lands a back elbow, a running forearm, a clothesline and a facebuster off the ropes. Running forearm in the corner sets up the Broski Boot, and McIntyre catches it right across the top of the head for 2. McIntyre starts to go out of the ring and Ryder follows, but the referee interjects. This allows McIntyre to land a big boot for 2. McIntyre goes for a gutwrench suplex, but Ryder rolls out and lands the Rough Ryder for 3.
WINNER: Zack Ryder.
Later tonight, Chris Jericho will face Kofi Kingston. Up next, we get to see more video for Triple H, HBK and Undertaker.
Lord Tensei video immediately follows. Reportedly, Tensai will make his debut Monday night, and is expected to receive a massive push in the process.
We see Cole and Lawler at Axxess, talking about all the things you can do there. This is followed by the video for the Taker/HHH match. No point in recapping this, as I’m sure you can figure out what it consists of.
More footage from Axxess. As you can probably tell by now, this episode is really pointless and a total “throw-away” show.
We now get a recap for the “feud” between Beth Phoenix & Eve Torres, and Kelly Kelly & Maria Menudo or whatever her name is. Of all matches on this card, this is the only one that I have absolutely zero interest in. I can’t imagine anyone outside of the competitors’ families caring one iota about this. Poor Beth Phoenix.
Did You Know? Despite popular belief, the phrase “Mirror, mirror” is never once uttered in the film Snow White. The correct line is “Magic mirror on the wall”.
More footage from Axxess. Why do I get the feeling we’re only going to get one or two more matches tonight? Now, we get a video for the Punk/Jericho feud.
Up next, we’re getting a video for Team Teddy vs. Team Johnny. Man, my job is easy tonight.
After that last lengthy video, we’re supposedly going to hear from Big Show after this commercial break.
We’re back in the arena, and Big Show is making his way out. Surprised they didn’t just do this from Axxess, but I guess they need to give this crowd in Atlanta more than two televised segments. Show tells us he feels very fortunate, as he’s had an extraordinary career. He won the World title his very first televised match. There’s one thing he hasn’t done though, and that’s have a Wrestlemania moment. Cody Rhodes has called him a choke artist and a failure. Rhodes has made it clear he plans to make a name for himself by beating Show at ‘Mania. Looking at history, it’s a brilliant plan. The thing is, though, he’s not stepping in the ring with history; he’s stepping in the ring with the world’s largest athlete. Show’s talked the talk before, but this time, it’s a bit different. Show feels it in his heart that Rhodes is going to get chokeslammed at ‘Mania. His career is going to get broken when Show beats him and becomes the new IC Champion. This Sunday, Show will have his Wrestlemania moment.
We get a video for Edge’s new DVD, You Think You Know Me? The Story of Edge. Perfect timing, as I just picked up Edge: A Decade of Decadence for five bucks at Best Buy.
More footage from Axxess. I feel like I’ve said this phrase repeatedly tonight. Probably because I have. Probably.
Video for Sheamus/Bryan. In my opinion, this could easily steal the show at Wrestlemania on Sunday.
Back to Axxess, as we hear yet even more crap about Taker/HHH. Okay, we get it: this match is important. Move on.
Jericho/Kingston is next.
MATCH 2: Chris Jericho vs. Kofi Kingston
There is still around 35 minutes left in the broadcast. That means that either A) we get a nice, long match between 2 of the best in the company, or B) this match will only be moderate in length, and the rest of the show will be filled with more footage from Axxess. Gee, I wonder which one it will be? Lock up to start, which Jericho immediately turns into an armdrag. Another lock-up, with Jericho going into a hammerlock this time. Kingston reverses into one of his own, but Jericho breaks it with a back elbow. Knee to the head by Jericho as he goes into a side headlock. Shoulder block off the ropes by Jericho. Criss-cross time, which ends in a jumping back elbow by Kingston. Kingston hits an avalanche in the corner before clotheslining Jericho over the top rope and nailing a baseball slide. Kingston throws Jericho back in and looks for a springboard, but Jericho knocks Kingston to the mat by shaking the ropes as we go to commercial.
Back from the break, Jericho slingshots Kingston underneath the bottom rope before baseball sliding him to the floor. Jericho heads out to ringside, where he slams Kingston into the announce desk before tearing a chunk of the barricade off, exposing the steel underneath of it. He throws Kingston head-first into that section before throwing him back into the ring, where he hits a cross-face punch before cinching in a rear chinlock. Kingston fights out with a gut shot. Jericho tries to kitchen sink him off the ropes, but Kingston holds on and rolls Jericho up for 2.
[adinserter block=”1″]Fun fact: the first time I saw that sequence was in a Superstars match between Hunter Hearst-Helmsley and Barry Horowitz just prior to Summerslam ’95. Anyway, Jericho quickly comes back with the step-up enziguri, but can only get 2. Remember when that was his finisher? Very few do. Jericho chokes Kingston over the middle rope, first with his hands, then with his knee, then with both feet across the back. Jericho charges in at Kingston, but Kingston moves at the last second, causing Jericho to crotch himself on the middle rope. Kingston hits a clothesline out of the corner and a jumping forearm. He tries for a jumping clothesline, which Jericho ducks. Kingston ducks a clothesline himself and hits the S.O.S. for 2. Jericho reverses a corner whip, but Kingston counters the charge, hits a clothesline and a dropkick. He follows up with the Boom Drop, and begins looking for Trouble in Paradise. Jericho sees it coming and counters into the Walls of Jericho. Kingston throws him off by twisting his body, goes up top and hits a beautiful cross body for 2. Kingston bounces off the ropes, but runs into a back elbow. Jericho goes for the Lionsault, but Kingston gets his knees up. He goes for Trouble again, but Jericho catches the leg and turns it into the Wall. Jericho sits down tight on it, and Kingston has no choice but to tap.
WINNER: Chris Jericho. Good match. These two have always had good chemistry. I’d love to see what they could do in a longer match somewhere down the road.
As if you couldn’t guess, we get more footage from Axxess. Now, it’s time for Cole and Lawler to talk about Rock/Cena. And…that’s pretty much it.
End of show.
Honestly, I don’t even know why WWE does the “go home” episode of Smackdown! at this point. Every year, it’s the same show featuring one or two matches and a whole bunch of useless footage from Axxess that no one really wants to see.
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Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you next week.