Welcome to the 12/23/11 edition of SmackDown! Hope everyone’s Festivus season is still going well. I have chosen my opponent for the Festivus Feats of Strength, so I’m set.
On a serious note, I would like to congratulate not only Zack Ryder for finally winning the WWE United States title, but big congratulations to Daniel Bryan on becoming the new World Champion as well. There aren’t too many guys more deserving than Bryan, who has been busting his ass for over a decade to get to this point. And, on a personal note, it is incredibly awesome seeing a man become World Champion who literally grew up about 20-30 minutes north of where I did, at roughly the exact same time. There’s always something cool about seeing someone local succeed so greatly in life, and it’s especially cool when one of those people becomes the World Champion in the number one wrestling promotion in history. Kudos to you, Daniel Bryan. You’ve done the state of Washington proud.
Just as Show’s about to open up, Mark Henry makes his way down to the ring, complete with heavily taped left foot. Henry asks if Show said he was proud, and wants to know what he’s proud of, the shortest title reign in the history of this business? It’ll say that on Show’s tombstone. Henry says Show honestly feels embarrassed and humiliated. He’d feel that way if it was him. Show should take a week off and then leave the business for good. Henry wants his rematch with Bryan tonight. Show wants to know why he gets a rematch.
Daniel Bryan’s music and here comes my hometown boy and the new World Champion. Bryan says he knows Show and Henry can’t believe he’s the new champion. He doesn’t think anyone in the arena believes it, not even him. Let’s face it, Bryan’s not the strongest or the tallest, the fastest or strongest, doesn’t have a cool name or catchphrase, isn’t all that attractive and has nothing that screams “WWE superstar”. What he is, though, is a very good wrestler, and hopes to be one of the great ones some day. Despite all of this, he is still the World Champion. Henry calls him a pipsqueak, and he beats the hell out of Bryan every time he touches him. Henry wants the belt back and wants it tonight. Show interjects and says he deserves the rematch since he beat Henry for the belt at TLC. Henry and Show trade a few more words before Teddy Long makes his way out. Long tells them that before they go to blows, they both deserve the chance to compete against Bryan, but tonight, they’re competing against each other, with the winner becoming the new #1 contender to the World title. He then congratulates Bryan on becoming champion. Henry leaves the ring, and Show takes a moment to shake Daniel Bryan’s hand. He leaves the ring and offers to shake Henry’s hand. Henry goes for it, but Bryan pulls his hand back and keeps walking.
Up next, it’s champion vs. champion as WWE United States Champion Zack Ryder (Woo woo woo! Sorry, I had to do it.) takes on Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes.
Did You Know? Vatican City is the smallest country in the world.
MATCH 1: Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes vs. WWE United States Champion Zack Ryder (non-title)
This should be a good match. As much as I hate to admit it, Rhodes has been looking good lately. I still don’t like him, but he’s been having some excellent matches over the last few weeks. Tie-up to start. Ryder goes into a side headlock and knocks Rhodes down off the ropes with a shoulder. Rhodes trips him up and goes into an arm bar. Ryder elbows out of a corner charge and snaps off a pair of arm drags before locking in an armbar of his own. Rhodes backs Ryder into a corner and breaks the hold. Ryder leapfrogs out of another corner charge, hits another arm drag and goes into another arm bar. Rhodes hits the Goldust uppercut off the ropes then throws Ryder to the floor. Ryder immediately gets back in the ring, but Rhodes clotheslines him over the top rope. Ryder lands on his feet on the apron, but Rhodes knocks him to the floor into the steps. Rhodes charges, but Ryder gets the boot up. Rhodes throws Ryder into Booker T before throwing Ryder back in the ring as we go to commercial.
Back from the break, Rhodes whips Ryder into the ropes, but Ryder elbows off the charge once again. Ryder runs at Rhodes, possibly looking for the Rough Ryder, but Rhodes catches him with the Alabama Slam for 2. Rhodes locks in a hammerlock/rear chinlock combination, but Ryder fights out. Rhodes misses a couple clotheslines, but ducks as Ryder goes for a cross body, sending Ryder into the ropes. Rhodes gets a pair of nearfalls before going back to the submission hold. Rhodes throws Ryder into the corner, but Ryder puts on the breaks. He turns around and they simultaneously headbutt each other. Ryder comes back with a forearm and a facebuster. He hits a running forearm in the corner before nailing the Broski Boot for 2. Ryder goes to the middle rope and goes for a dropkick, but Rhodes swats him down and begins laying in some punches. All of a sudden, Booker T grabs a microphone and sings a version of Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer to Rhodes using Rhodes’ name. It distracts Rhodes long enough for Ryder to hit the Rough Ryder and get the 3.
WINNER: Zack Ryder. After the match, Booker T continues to sing to Rhodes.
Backstage, we see Teddy Long watching the show on a monitor. Santino Marella comes in and surprises Long with his Cobra sleeve. Marella says that, since Ryder is now US Champion, he isn’t going to have time to be Long’s assistant. Marella offers to be the new assistant. Aksana’s dumb ass walks in. She knows many positions, and if he needs a hand, he can ask her about doing the job any time. Get it? It’s a reference to masturbation. Ha. Dolph Ziggler and Vickie Guerrero walk in. Ziggler complains about Daniel Bryan being champion. He says Bryan is a good wrestler wanting to be great, so let a great wrestler (Ziggler) show a good wrestler how it’s done. Long thinks it’s a great idea and orders the match for later tonight.
If you didn’t already see my review, the new Steve Austin DVD is fantastic, and one of the best biographical DVDs WWE has released in a long time.
MATCH 2-Winner becomes the new #1 contender for the World Championship: The Big Show vs. Mark Henry
Before the match starts, David Otunga’s music hits. He makes his way out, complete with stupid bowtie and a stupid coffee cup. He continues to destroy the coolness of the argyle sweater. He says he’s the legal counsel for John Laurinaitis. Laurinaitis is responsible for the well-being for all superstars, and although Henry is strong as a bear and has the heart of a lion, he is not medically cleared to compete. He has ankle damage, concussions and a a groin pull, so therefore, this match isn’t happening tonight. After he finishes wishing everyone Happy Holidays, Show hits him with a nasty WMD. Show seriously nailed him on that shot, and it was a thing of beauty. They show a slow motion replay of the shot, and it looks even worse.
WINNER: No contest.
Michael Cole hypes the Bryan/Ziggler match for later tonight, saying “real athletes beat real nerds”. Maybe, except when the real nerd is also a real athlete, like Bryan. In that situation, you’re f*cked.
Backstage, we see Teddy Long in the back, and he’s stopped by Miz. Miz says he was told to be here tonight, but Long knows nothing about it. He says Long is the reason SmackDown is in bad shape. Since Miz won the WWE Championship, no SmackDown! star has been in the main event of a PPV. Miz has been in five. He lists off his accomplishments, then says he’s going to go out to the ring and hold the show up. Miz then tells Long that, if he can find a wrestler worthy of facing the Miz, maybe they’ll have a match.
We then get footage from the Tribute to the Troops show.
After the video (that featured hideously bad music), the Miz makes his way down to the ring. Commercials.
After the break, Miz does his “Really?” schtick before accusing Teddy Long of not being able to find anyone willing to face him. Miz then shows us footage of him taking out both R-Truth and John Morrison in recent weeks. Miz calls the SmackDown! locker room a bunch of cowards who are afraid of the same thing happening to them. Miz says SmackDown! has no face, no major star who can be a crossover star like he is. Apparently, Sheamus has had enough of this, as his music hits and he makes his way out. Looks like we have a match.
MATCH 3: The Miz vs. Sheamus
They lock up, and Sheamus immediately backs Miz into the corner. Miz fights off with punches, but Sheamus takes him down with one punch. A bodyslam gets 2. Miz hot shots Sheamus’ arm off the top and bottom ropes after a game of cat-and-mouse on the outside. Miz gets a 2-count before going into an armbar. Sheamus whips Miz into the corner, but misses a shoulder block. Miz hits the hanging corner clothesline and a pair of running boots to the head before dropping Sheamus with a snap DDT for 2. Sheamus crawls to the corner, and Miz chokes him with his foot. He’s looking for the hanging clothesline again, but Sheamus sees him and hits him with an Irish Hammer, followed by the Irish Curse. Sheamus looks for the Celtic Cross, but Miz slides out and hits a boot to Sheamus’ chest. Miz looks for the Skull-Crushing Finale, but Sheamus fights him off. Miz runs at him but eats a Brogue Kick to the face. Sheamus gets the 3.
WINNER: Sheamus. I’m so glad to see Sheamus finally being booked as a pissed-off badass, like he should have been months and months ago.
Did You Know? The role of the Riddler in Batman Forever was originally set to go to Robin Williams.
Wade Barrett comes out and says the Barrett Barrage has been on a great role as of late. He’s been in Randy Orton’s head like no one else. Now, we’re going to look at the Titan Tron and see how Barrett went about skinning “The Viper”. We see footage from last month when Barrett initially beat Orton. This leads to a clip from Survivor Series. We see one more clip, this time from this past Monday when Orton took the Wasteland through a table. Barrett calls the last clip his personal favorite. He calls Orton one of the greatest until he encountered Wade Barrett. He thinks that entitles him to a World title match against Daniel Bryan. Barrett begins heading up the ramp, but Orton’s music hits. He runs down and they slug it out at ringside. Orton slams Barrett into the apron then throws him in the ring. He looks for the RKO, but Barrett sees it coming and leaves the ring. Orton chases after him into the back. Barrett sees him, and they trade some blows. Barrett hits a nasty mule kick to temporarily put Orton down. Orton gets back up and they continue brawling. Orton slams Barrett into a fence a few times, then sprays him with a hose for some reason. He sends Barrett over a table, then dumps a trashcan on him. Orton throws Barrett on the hood of a car, climbs up on the roof and slams Barrett’s head into it. Barrett gets back to his feet and takes an RKO on the roof. Well, so much for Orton willing to put over younger guys, huh? The few shots Barrett did get in here were completely no-sold by Orton.
We see the latest 1/2/12 video, which ends with “Prophetless.”
MATCH 4: Primo(w/Epico and Rosa Mendes) vs. WWE Tag Team Co-Champion Kofi Kingston (w/Evan Bourne)
Primo starts the match off with a kick and some punches. He stomps Kingston down and hits more punches. Primo gets in a rear chinlock, which he turns into a side-Russian legsweep. Primo holds on and turns the move into a submission hold, but lets go. Back to a vertical base, Primo hits some more kicks, a leg sweep, a legdrop and an elbow drop for 2. Kingston moves out of the way of a corner charge, hits some chops and a dropkick. Primo catches the jumping clothesline, but Kingston turns the reversal into a top rope twisting cross body for 2. Kingston hits the pendulum kick and goes up top, but gets distracted by Epico. Primo manages to hit a top rope armdrag for 2. Primo goes for a clothesline, but Kingston quickly hits Trouble in Paradise for 3.
WINNER: Kofi Kingston. Short match, but good. Lots of reversals and counter-moves.
We get a video package for CM Punk, Daniel Bryan and Zack Ryder. I don’t like the music, but the video’s badass.
MATCH 5: World Champion Daniel Bryan vs. Dolph Ziggler (w/Vickie Guerrero) (non-title)
The last time these guys wrestled for the US title, it was awesome. I’m expecting no less here tonight. Lock-up turns into a waistlock by Bryan. Ziggler reverses. So does Bryan. A couple more leads to a dropkick by Bryan. Test of strength time, and Bryan rolls through into a side headlock. Ziggler goes for a leap frog off the ropes, but Bryan catches his leg and locks him in a surfboard. Bryan lets go of the move after a few second, then tries to turn it into another move. Ziggler makes it to the ropes, breaking the hold. Bryan goes for a dropkick, but Ziggler holds onto the ropes. Ziggler then stomps Bryan a bunch before doing some sit-ups. Bryan quickly tries to lock in the LeBell Lock from this point, but Ziggler makes it to the ropes. Bryan lays in some European uppercuts, but Ziggler drop toe holds him into the middle turnbuckle before hitting an inverted powerslam for 2. Commercials.
Back from the break, Ziggler hits a beautiful dropkick before locking in a side headlock. I “love” how Michael Cole is trashing Daniel Bryan for being small, but could never stop verbally fellating Rey Mysterio during his title reigns, despite the fact that Mysterio is even smaller. Bryan ducks a clothesline off the ropes, and they crash mid-air when they both attempt cross body blocks. Jack Swagger makes his way down to the ring now. Both men are up and they trade some punches. Ziggler with a kick to the gut, but Bryan back drops him to the floor Bryan hits the suicide dive to the floor before throwing Ziggler back in the ring. Behind the ref’s back, Swagger shoulder blocks Bryan to the floor. The Big Show makes his way down to the ring now. Ziggler goes for the sleeper hold, but Bryan throws him off and gets a roll-up for 2 before turning it into a German suplex for another 2. Beautiful sequence there. Bryan kicks Ziggler in the shoulder twice, but misses the third one. Ziggler quickly tries for the Zig Zag, but Bryan blocks it and lands a vicious kick to the head for 2. Bryan kicks Ziggler again, then puts him on the top rope. Bryan snaps off a hurricanrana off the top, but Ziggler rolls through for 2. Ziggler follows up with a rocker dropper for another 2. Ziggler backs Bryan into the corner and props him on the top for some mounted punches. Ziggler goes to the top now, but Bryan slides underneath and crotches Ziggler on the top. Bryan climbs up and hits a perfect back superplex for another 2 as Ziggler gets his foot on the bottom rope. Swagger tries to club Big Show from behind, but to no effect. Show chases Swagger into the ring and prepares for the chokeslam, but Long puts a stop to it and makes the match into a tag team match. That match will happen after the commercials. Damn. I understand the point of all of this, but the fact is Ziggler and Bryan were having an awesome match by themselves. Show and Swagger are not needed here.
WINNER: No contest.
Back from the break, Show reverses a waistlock on Swagger and takes him down with a belly-to-back. Show follows up with a hip throw into a side headlock, which he turns into a pin attempt for 2. Show backs Swagger into the corner and lands an open-hand chop to the chest. Ziggler tags in. Show backs him into the corner and hits some gut shots before landing a big open-hand chop to the chest. Show throws Ziggler into a corner for another chop, then bodyslams Ziggler before finally tagging in Daniel Bryan. Bryan comes in with a European uppercut and a series of vicious kicks in the corner. Bryan corner whips Ziggler, but Ziggler moves as Bryan tries for the corner dropkick. Swagger tags in and hits the Swagger Bomb for 2. Swagger locks in a double chicken wing. Bryan stomps on Swagger’s feet to break the hold, but Swagger still manages to throw Bryan into his corner. Bryan fights out and goes for a body scissors on Swagger, but Swagger holds on and crotches Bryan on the top rope before Bryan falls into the tree of woe. Swagger stomps him a few times before locking in a leg grapevine. Bryan tries to kick him off, but Swagger stomps him and tags in Ziggler. Ziggler locks Bryan in a half-Boston crab. Bryan crawls for the tag, so Ziggler breaks the hold and hits a jumping elbow drop. Ziggler goes for the sleeper, but Bryan sends Ziggler shoulder-first into the corner post in a really good-looking spot. Ziggler tags Swagger in as Bryan tags in Show. Show knocks Swagger down with some clotheslines and a Pounce. Ziggler comes in and eats a big boot. Show looks for the chokeslam, but Swagger slides out and chopblocks Show. Bryan tags in and comes off the top with a dropkick, but Swagger catches him and turns it into an ankle lock. Bryan rolls through and locks in the LeBell Lock, forcing Swagger to tap out.
WINNERS: The Big Show and Daniel Bryan. After the match, Big Show walks up the ramp and looks on with an angry look on his face. Awesome sequence at the end by all four guys.
End of show.
Good episode tonight. In all honesty, not a bad match on the show.
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Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you next week.